Utterly Meaningless » 2013 » August

    Filed on August 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    I had forgotten this bit of WV homeschooling law:

    West Virginia requires homeschoolers to score at or above the 50th percentile on certain standardized tests or to show improvement upon last year’s results in order to demonstrate “acceptable progress.” While this may be an unreasonable requirement (most states that require tests do not require such results: New Hampshire is 40%, Minnesota is 30%, Ohio is 25% and Colorado is 14%), the law does provide alternative options for homeschooling families such as an end-of-year narrative and a review by a certified teacher.

    400 CARNIVALS!

    Filed on August 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    That is a lot of posts about home education. Congrats to the dedicated gang who has kept it going. Especially Henry Cate.


    Filed on at 3:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    Fix the damn windshield!


    August 28, 2013

    Defective windshield in 2013 Prius 2– Safety issue

    I purchased the vehicle new from Bert Wolfe Toyota on 8/2/2013. It was purchased for my wife and she is the principal driver. On 8/18/2013 I drove the car for the first time in the dark. I immediately noticed that headlights of cars approaching me appeared to be distorted. They were tripled with dimmer copies of the lights above and below. These copies showed a distinct rainbow effect. This is very distracting for the driver. I also noticed that the further away the oncoming car was, the larger the spread between the two copies. Basically, the angle between the main light and the copies was constant. Further distance meant a larger spread. Upon reaching my destination I contacted the original salesperson via email to detail the problem. The email is dated 8/18 and is included below:

    “There’s a problem with the car that you WILL want to notify corporate about. Technical problem with the windshield. The vinyl is defective. Anisotropic refraction causes “sundogs” at about +/- 5 deg from the vertical on any bright point source of light. This problem likely affects many many vehicles made with vinyl from the affected rolls. The windshield will need to be replaced. There is no repair possible. Please feel free to forward this to Toyota corporate. They’ll understand the jargon. And feel free to call me @ 910.635.2502.”

    Further emails led to the decision to contact Toyota corporate’s complaint line. That call was made on Monday 8/26 and was assigned case #1308260215. Toyota corporate suggested I visit my local dealer (Superior Toyota) for service. This service visit was attempted today, 8/28/2013. While waiting to catch up with the service manager, I did a bit of internet research and discovered complaints about this same phenomenon going back several years. Replacement OEM windshields do not fix the problem. And this makes sense if there really is something wrong with the plastic polyvinylbutryal interlayer. As long as the manufacturer of the plastic has not changed their process, there is a significant chance that replacement windshields will exhibit the same effect.

    As the evidence supports the notion that the manufacturer of the vinyl interlayer has had an ongoing problem for several years, I do not want an OEM replacement windshield employing vinyl from that manufacturer. Instead, I would like the windshield replaced with an aftermarket replacement glass (ARG) windshield from Safelite®. Safelite® does not use polvinylbutyral interlayer sourced from Japan, so it seems unlikely their windshield would suffer the same problem. I am willing to make the arrangements with Safelite® to have my windshield replaced if Toyota will reimburse me for the out-of-pocket expenses. Alternatively, if Toyota wishes to remove and replace my windshield with an ARG windshield at Superior Toyota, that would be equally acceptable. From the point-of-view of troubleshooting, Toyota corporate may wish to have access to this defective windshield.

    At this point my wife will not drive the vehicle at night due to this distortion. As this is a brand new vehicle with a known and demonstrable defect, I expect Toyota to make it right. Toyota has had, in the past, the reputation for making some of the best and most reliable cars on the market. The last few years have tarnished that reputation somewhat. How it handles this safety issue will speak volumes about whether they are serious about addressing their shortcomings or are a company on the decline.


    Daryl Cobranchi, Ph.D.


    Find high quality car electronics on DHgate.com


    Filed on at 7:15 am under by dcobranchi

    For your and your family’s safety, avoid purchasing a 2010 – 2013 Toyotoa Prius. There is a dangerous manufacturing defect in many (most? all?) Prius windshields. This defect manifests itself as a distortion of bright lights (like oncoming headlights). The distortion causes the lights to appear to be tripled vertically with the two outside lights smearing into a muddy spectrum. The cause is unknown, though I have some strong suspicions. Toyota is denying responsibility in most cases, though it most certainly is a flaw and a safety concern. There is no fix possible, other than replacing the windshield. Here’s an example:


    Filed on August 17, 2013 at 10:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Mark Levine, the dumbest of dumb batshit crazy wingnut bloviators is (again) calling for Obama’s impeachment. Why? Because Bo the First Dog flew on a Marine Osprey to the family vacation in MA.

    Savage also condemned “the goofball in the White House” for sending his dog to Martha’s Vineyard on its own helicopter (FREE audio).

    “Any other president would be impeached on the spot for such a slap in the face to our military and to the nation,” he declared.

    High crimes and misdemeanors, indeed.

    The truth is that Bo flew on a plane that was carrying support personnel. He didn’t get his own plane ride.

    WE ARE 1%ers

    Filed on August 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    The local paper here reports today that there 252 HEKs in the county. My two represent approximately 1% of the total. As an aside, I’d like to suggest that whoever wrote the hed probably should have paid more attention in math class.

    Home school numbers increasing…

    There are only 252 students approved for home-schooling this year.

    For the last three years, the number of home-schooled children has grown, peaking last year at 372 students, he said.

    Hmmm. Last year 372. This year 252. I’d say the numbers are decreasing. Let’s hope the editor wasn’t home educated.