Friday, June 26, 2009

More Bathrooms

I've had quite a few people tell me that they enjoyed the urinals post. With the help of Mr. Wilson, I've added a few related photos.
The first is a public toilet in Houston. Outside and inside view.
What are you comfortable doing in here?
Actually, it reminds me of a bathroom at the Subaru plant in Ota City, Japan. This particular bathroom was built into the inside corner of an L shaped building. As urinals are a later, western addition to most Japanese public bathrooms, they added the urinals under the windows, clear windows, that looked into the windows of the office around the corner. Naturally, that office was the secretary pool filled with young Japanese girls.

A little bit of creative floor painting.
Or an appropriate ceiling fresco for a smoker's room.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Kinetic Plates" on the recommendation of Charlie Lowther

For those of you who don't know Charlie, he is an incurable romantic and a constant seeker of the "Next Step". He also has a much better memory than I because he remembered some of the details of this story that I had forgotten.

Several years ago, before all the departures from Chrysler, Charlie and I would sometimes get office visits from Terry Richards who was always looking for interesting ways to save the planet and save money. Terry came across some guy on the internet that had designed and installed steel plates in the road in front of his house.

As I recall it, the idea was to use the weight of the cars passing on the road to flex the steel plate that somehow pumped water. The energy from the water was used to make electricity. Terry, of course, thought this was a great idea, but Charlie and I were just a little skeptical.

Who knew? Charlie found this on the web from England.

Sainsbury's brings green power to the checkout with 'kinetic plates'
Store first in Europe to pioneer green energy system where customers create 30kWh an hour by driving over plates in car park.

Check out the whole story here.

Silly kinetic plates.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The New, New, New, New,.....Chrysler

Well, the big news is that I got a new job today. This new automaker needed a whole experienced engineering staff and I got lucky enough to get an offer. Now it isn't any more money than I was getting at Chrysler, but at least its not a pay cut.

Of course, the new company is Chrysler Group LLC and, apparently as part of the bankruptcy separation from the old Chrysler, they had to "hire" any staff from the old Chrysler that they wanted in the new Chrysler. It was very strange to get a email with an offer of employment from the company you thought you already work for, but that's what happened.

As the deal was done and I went to work for the new Chrysler, it occurred to me that there have been about 7 new Chryslers that I'm aware of. Including today, I have personally worked for 4 of them, but then I was gone for 20 years in the middle.

Naturally, we had a speech from the new Chairman of the Board and the new CEO. It was very interesting to hear an Italian gentleman who grew up in Canada and is now running an American car company describe the new culture of our company in terms of an African ethic from the Zulu or Bantu area of South Africa.

"Ubuntu is a humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other." From Archbishop Desmond Tutu, " A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good.....One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human."

It looks like a good and interesting start.