Some perspective on the VW emissions scandal…

A lot has been said about the Volk­swa­gen emis­sions scan­dal over the past sev­eral days. It has the media abuzz and the online com­mu­nity agog, but have you really given a moment’s thought to what there really is to stress about?

The short ver­sion is that VW, in cahoots with Robert Bosch, the sup­pli­ers of the elec­tron­ics in ques­tion, designed a soft­ware mech­a­nism into the sys­tem that would alter the given nitro­gen oxide out­put, when the vehi­cle under­went emis­sions testing.

The upside of this is that the con­sumer received a vehi­cle with per­for­mance sub­ject to lesser throt­tling than what would have been needed for the prod­uct to pass the arguably cur­rently real­is­tic reg­u­la­tions — finances and tech­nol­ogy avail­abil­ity con­sid­ered — set by the many reg­u­la­tions in place across the globe. The down­side, nat­u­rally, is that all con­cerned, were lied to; and that your diesel-powered VW *may* now lose some value. Con­sid­er­ing the fact that their diesel prod­ucts are proven and loved, this is unlikely, beyond, per­haps, a suc­cint period of community-fronted goodwill.

You may elect to have your car ‘repaired’, in line with the upcom­ing recall, but how many peo­ple do you know who would vol­un­tar­ily offer up their car for a per­for­mance down­grade and an increase in fuel con­sump­tion? Not many, I expect.

You may claim to be a child of Mother Nature, intent on hug­ging every tree that you pass, but unless you pur­chased a Blue­Mo­tion VW, you’re only fool­ing your­self and BSing us. You bought a diesel for one, or more, of the rea­sons that most do; the torque, longevity & far supe­rior fuel consumption.

Con­sid­er­ing that the scan­dal broke in the USA, let’s take a look at some facts, to put things into perspective…

The L. A. Times report that approx­i­mately 482,000 cars are involved in the scan­dal, across the expanse of the United States. In con­trast, state that some­where in the region of 42 mil­lion Amer­i­cans smoke. That’s about a fifth of the Amer­i­can population.

Nitro­gen oxides, the gas at the cen­tre of this deba­cle, are pro­duced in great quan­ti­ties by both petrol & diesel engines. If you hap­pen to live near to a gas pow­er­plant, or an area prone to heavy light­ning strikes, you’re rich in the sup­ply of NOx too. Lucky you.

Nitro­gen diox­ide is an irri­tant gas, which at high con­cen­tra­tions causes inflam­ma­tion of the airways.

Sounds trou­bling, but con­sider this, in contrast…

There are approx­i­mately 600 ingre­di­ents in cig­a­rettes. When burned, they cre­ate more than 7,000 chem­i­cals. At least 69 of these chem­i­cals are known to cause can­cer, and many are poisonous.

Many of these chem­i­cals are also found in con­sumer prod­ucts, but these prod­ucts have warn­ing labels. While the pub­lic is warned about the dan­ger of the poi­sons in these prod­ucts, there is no such warn­ing for the tox­ins in tobacco smoke.

Here are a few of the chem­i­cals in tobacco smoke, and other places they are found:

Ace­tone – found in nail pol­ish remover
Acetic Acid –  an ingre­di­ent in hair dye
Ammo­nia – a com­mon house­hold cleaner
Arsenic – used in rat poi­son
Ben­zene – found in rub­ber cement
Butane – used in lighter fluid
Cad­mium – active com­po­nent in bat­tery acid
Car­bon Monox­ide – released in car exhaust fumes
Formalde­hyde – embalm­ing fluid
Hexa­m­ine – found in bar­be­cue lighter fluid
Lead – used in bat­ter­ies
Naph­tha­lene – an ingre­di­ent in moth balls
Methanol – a main com­po­nent in rocket fuel
Nico­tine – used as insec­ti­cide
Tar – mate­r­ial for paving roads
Toluene — used to man­u­fac­ture paint

Mmmm, that sounds healthy for you.

The odds that you smoke, know some­one who does and spend at least some time within prox­im­ity to some­one who does, are pretty good.

Unless you’re the recip­i­ent of a Prozac pre­scrip­tion, you’re unlikely to suck on an exhaust pipe, but most would spend time in a smoke-filled enter­tain­ment venue, social set­ting or prob­ing the ton­sils of their ashy-mouthed sig­nif­i­cant other.

…makes you think, eh?

The evi­dence against the case for harsh crit­i­cism of vehic­u­lar emis­sions dimin­ishes even fur­ther when we take a look at the big­ger pic­ture, so to speak; the other major com­po­nents of inter­nal com­bus­tion output…

If you’re, as Nature intended, an omni­vore, you’re even more harm­ful to the envi­ron­ment. Your rumi­nant food is fart­ing; and it’s killing us, slowly but surely. The aver­age car will emit 2.7 tons of methane per year. In stark con­trast, the aver­age cow flat­u­lates 4 tons.

The inter­nal com­bus­tion engine is a rather effi­cient pro­ducer of car­bon monox­ide; a byprod­uct of numer­ous ther­mal processes, the major cul­prit of which takes place in the troposphere.

The nat­ural sources of car­bon monox­ide pre­dom­i­nate (90% of total emis­sions); the remain­ing 10% are made up of motor-vehicle emis­sions (55%), indus­try (11%) and other emit­ters (HORN, 1989).


Car­bon monox­ide is rapidly oxi­dised, to form car­bon diox­ide, which is used for photosynthesis.

You could fol­low the blind Gree­nies, blindly; sell­ing your diesel VW, in lieu of replac­ing it with some­thing else, that has passed the tests, whether legally or not, or, you could carry on as-is, obliv­i­ous to the polit­i­cal ram­blings and selec­tively bul­leted news.

With ever more strin­gent reg­u­la­tions fac­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, it’s highly unlikely that the Volk­swa­gen group, as a whole, are the only cul­prits of such engi­neer­ing. Only time shall tell. Given the past leniency seen with Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ers dodg­ing known issues, the sever­ity of the fine issued to VW will be telling.

What is cer­tainly true, is that main­tain­ing your old clunker, despite its fuel con­sump­tion, is undoubt­edly more environmentally-friendly than any vehi­cle on the deal­ers’ floors at present. The cost of get­ting a new car to mar­ket, in terms of the envi­ron­ment, ver­sus any fuel sav­ing your new vehi­cle, petrol, diesel, elec­tric, hybrid, hydro­gen or oth­er­wise, may offer, will only amor­tise over many more years — likely decades later — than cur­rent vehi­cles are designed to last for.

Hype, opin­ion or fact, per­spec­tive is what brings rea­son­able under­stand­ing to the facts.

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

I’m in quandary…

I’ve been rip­ping off the ANC-led degra­da­tion in our edu­ca­tion sys­tem, stem­ming from their rise to load-shed power in 1994, for years now.

How­ever, here we have a retired teacher, pro­claim­ing an abil­ity to enhance one’s edu­ca­tional apti­tude, when, clearly, their own lit­er­acy level is barely past that of preschooler.


In the shadow of ESKOM, we find dim­ness to be a sta­ple trait of the nation, both in the lit­eral and fig­u­ra­tive sense.

Have stan­dards really dropped, or is it just the next iter­a­tion of stu­pid is as stu­pid teaches?

Pendulous Testicles

Slide it, like KiyonariTomor­row I shall flaunt my new gait, with pride; brought about by my now pen­du­lous testicles.

I’ve def­i­nitely just earned my wet weather motor­cy­cling badge.

Wel­come to Cape Town, in win­ter; where the roads resem­ble rinks, your bike is sailed, rather than rid­den and it is entirely pos­si­ble to obtain your marine license whilst on wheels.

The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.”

Cooking with VWs

Old VWs have enriched every facet of my life. They’ve con­tributed mean­ing­fully as trans­port, as social con­nec­tors, as edu­ca­tional instru­ments, as travel enablers and as accom­mo­da­tion, both at events & at the drive-in, to say the least.

Now I have dis­cov­ered a new form in which their cul­ture has come to assist me; as a cook­ing utensil.

My pan is rather warped, you see, which means that it both resists sta­tic place­ment and cooks woe­fully. How­ever, with the nifty addi­tion of a Bee­tle, both of these prob­lems are over­come, styl­ishly & affordably.

This handy tip was brought to you by Extreme Bach­e­lor; your online bach­e­lor­ing guide.

Beetle panholder


Vrooom! Vroooooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrooooom! Vrooom! Vrooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooooom! Vvroooooommm! Vrooom! Vrooom! Vrooom! Vroom! Vrrrrooooom! Vvroom­mmm! Vroooomm! Vrooom! Vrooooooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrrooomm! Vrooom! Vroooooooomm! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrooom! Vrooom! Vroooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrooom! Vrooom! Vrooooooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrooom! Vrooom! Vrooooom! Vroom! Vrrrroooom! Vvroommm! Vrooom! …

That is the min­i­mum num­ber of throt­tle blips needed to get in or out of a park­ing bay, by a Cape Town Hond­naai Tjooner with a kief cut-coil sus­pen­sie & groot poephol xzorst.

What’s cookin’ at Nic’s place, Part 1

Life at Nic’s… :)

May I present, my (mal)nourishment store.

The Cream Soda bot­tle is water bot­tle #3.

Not shown, due to default rea­sons: Mrs. Ball’s chut­ney, salt, sugar, tea & rusks, i.e.: ‘the sta­ple sta­ble’.

…and all of those mil­lions of women spend a for­tune on fancy diets, try­ing to stay thin. Pshaw.

At first, there was Sur­vivor. Then came Big Brother. Now, it’s time for… Extreme Bach­e­lor.

In speaking of manners…

Peo­ple with progeny…

To avoid your spawn suf­fer­ing the dis­plea­sure of being told, oft & repeat­edly, to for­ni­cate thi­ne­selves else­where, please ensure that the first word & phrase that they use, and under­stand, is:

1. Please.
2. Thank you.

To the rest, who have yet to com­pre­hend the mag­ni­tudi­nous impli­ca­tions of these fun­da­men­tal responses, sit and rotate, you rude halfwits.