Sunday, June 17, 2018

Model S stands for Spontaneous Combusting Sarcophagus


Alas, incidents such as McCormack's will not help the car's (Tesla) track record, especially if the Hollywood elite, led by anti-Trump resistance leader, Chelsea Handler, make it "uncool" for celebs to be seen in the spontaneous combusting sarcophagus.

Back in the mid-1980s I wase sent to a class on business writing.  The incident that prompted the training was the "discovery" of a document written by a student engineer in the early 1970s.  The document was discovered by trial lawyers in California.

The memo was a very simple cost/benefit analysis of up-armoring fuel tanks against rupture.  To perform the analysis, the student first had to "throw a stake" into the ground with regard the value of a human life.

The value he chose was the net-present-value of the median value of a middle-aged man's earnings...assuming another 25 years of employment.   Remember, this was approximately 1973 and latest statistics (1972) indicated a median household income of $8500.

The writer expected about three other engineers to read the document.

The irony is that the analysis projected that it was economical to up-armor the tanks far more than was the norm.  His SWAG was two orders of magnitude higher than what conventional wisdom indicated.  Within the context of 1973 it was a very aggressive, pro-safety document.

Back to the story.

Several of my co-workers were also sent to that class.  Several had sparkling intellects.  They were a very fun group to work with.  One of them, Craig, wrote a spoof document listing words to NOT use in formal, corporate documents.  High on the list were Spontaneous Combustion and Rolling Sarcophagus.

It makes me wonder if Craig's document also leaked out into the wider world or if it was Craig himself that authored that essay.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes... Words... looked at 20 years later by a lawyer... You ain't going to win that one.


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