Archive for March, 2010:
Autos have a long history with marketing, and not all of it is good. Car dealers are always trying to get ahead, and a lot of times it’s just plain scary. I, for one, think there should be a law, or at least a publicly posted suggestion, that if you are a car salesman you are not allowed to appear in commercials.
A car is a big purchase. You’re likely going to make payments on it for a while. You’re going to pay for maintenance sooner or later. And you’re going to ride around in it and trust that it will save your hide in the case of an accident. Sorry, Miatas, you’re out of luck. And you too, Ford Focuses! (Or is it Foci?) You can ponder the plural of ‘Lexus’ for a few moments, but it won’t take any time at all to realize that the kind of personality that pushes a person to make a car purchase is not the kind of personality that translates well on screen.
Seriously, acting is a talent and a skill. I don’t have it. I write! When people ask if I record the audio tracks for my books, I say ‘oh, hell, no’. I think this is one of my better qualities – recognizing that I totally suck at acting (even just vocally). And I wish more dealership owners would come to this same conclusion.
But aside from the scary local ads that we all suffer through, there are bigger national, and even international campaign problems with our good buddy the automobile. Most of us have heard of the Chevy Nova problems in the foreign market. Chevy couldn’t sell the things in Mexico or Spain. Apparently, it took them a while to find someone who had passed junior high Spanish I to tell them what the problem was. ‘No va’ translates to “It doesn’t go” in Spanish. Smooth move, Chevy.
The Chilean Earthquake was huge. An 8.8 on the Richter scale. That means it had 100 times the shaking amplitude of the Northridge Quake.
This works because of the logarithmic nature of the Richter Scale. It’s in base ten. In simple terms that means each increase of 1.0 is a tenfold increase. And in Richter terms that means a tenfold increase in shaking amplitude. Lots of people interpret this as power, and while the two are closely related, the amplitude and power aren’t 1:1. In fact, as the difference on the Richter Scale increases, the power varies even more than the amplitude.
Lots of the info out there says that Richter was measuring the power of the quakes, but the best info says he was measuring wave amplitude. This was what he could observe. And observe he did: the scale was born (not surprisingly) in Southern California.
Measuring wave amplitude means that the actual ‘power’ (in the Physics sense, not the everyday sense) varies by a 3/2 exponent (or you could say ‘to the 3/2 power’ but that’s the mathematical use of ‘power’, not the physics use, or the everyday use. Silly mathematicians.) Okay, what this all means is that a 2.0 increase in the Richter Scale for shaking amplitude means a 1000-fold increase in the power of the quake (in the physics sense). Yeah, yeah, if you really wanna know, get your pencil out and get your math on – it works.
Because pictures really are worth a thousand words . . . .
I know that I usually work in words, but there are a handful of images that just stick with me. Some can be shared without the picture (Charleston Chew’s claim that it is ‘chewy flavored nougat’ always makes me smile.) But these just required a photo! Enjoy!