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It's easy for biases to creep into different aspects of decision-making—even when you think you’re basing your decisions on objective facts. So how can you limit bias when it comes to making decisions? What exactly is data-informed decision making? And how can you keep bias from infiltrating your data?
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s reflect for a moment.
First, we must address the elephant in the proverbial room: Everyone has biases. Bias is not innately bad or something to be ashamed of—it’s a natural human impulse. Oftentimes, people avoid addressing and exploring bias because they think it’s a weakness or flaw. However, it is something leaders should be aware of to make intentional, informed decisions. Being intentional about practicing empathy and decentering yourself from your decisions can lead to more inclusive outcomes.
Data-informed decision-making uses facts, metrics, and data to guide strategic business decisions that align with your goals, objectives, and initiatives. The emphasis here is on “guide.”
Data is not a silver bullet to negate all bias. However, it can create the space to decenter from your own assumptions and begin to see the range of ways that a particular situation can be viewed, understood, or addressed.
Here’s how to limit biases when making decisions for your business.
1. Embrace data-informed decision-making—just make sure your data itself isn’t biased. Data is meant to be the start of the conversation—not the entire conversation. (Learn more about what data-driven decision-making looks like here.)
When we analyze data, we first look at it in aggregate to get to reasonable sample sizes. However, we can get more insight into different variables and how respondents from different backgrounds responded to a survey by disaggregating the data. Slicing and viewing data according to different variables such as age, gender, race, location, year, etc. can reveal other implications and patterns. Once you start to unpack the data and filter it for different considerations, the story it tells will become more nuanced. For example, if you are looking at employee well-being across your organization, you could look specifically at gender identity and see how and if that influences perception. Make sure you stay cognizant of sample sizes and keep your pools of respondents anonymous.
If you only ask superficial questions, or if you're not thoughtful in regards to how your research is designed, how you're gathering the data, or what data you're collecting, your data will not be as good. To get as close to a full picture as possible, look at all of the information you have, disaggregate the data, and don't make assumptions about what you're seeing. Before you do this, try to reduce the bias in your underlying data. Ensure that your company’s data analysts and business users know how to watch for bias at different stages of working with data; bias can come from the data collection and communication process itself. Here are some highlights from the Urban Institute’s Do No Harm Guide that explain how to do this:
Data collection stage. Diverse teams can help identify biases and make connections between different fields of study whose relevance may not be evident at first glance. They can also better reflect the demographics of the populations they wish to study. When possible, make the purposes of your data collection efforts explicit so respondents understand why their participation is important.
Analysis stage. Don’t completely separate your analyst and communications teams from the data collection teams—collaboration across the entire data workflow is always better than silos. When analysts and communicators receive the data, they should ask questions like: “How were these data generated? Who is included and who is excluded from these data? Whose voices, lives, and experiences are missing?”
Presentation stage. Don’t shy away from complexity and nuance in your visuals if that more accurately reflects the findings in the data. Consider how adding complexity—in the form of more data-dense graphs and charts—can help demonstrate that you and your teams have thought hard about the implications of your analysis efforts.
2. Recognize and mitigate bias—and understand how it influences your decision-making process. Unconscious bias, or implicit bias, refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. This happens when we make quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, and it can be influenced by our background, cultural environment, and personal experiences.
Bias can prevent us from cultivating diverse talent, developing an engaged workforce, leveraging unique experiences and perspectives, and sparking innovation through collaboration. Bias at work can appear just about anywhere, but most often it appears in recruiting, screening, performance reviews and feedback, coaching and development, and promotions.
3. Incorporate inclusive work process practices. An example of an inclusive work practice is creating clear selection criteria for your decision-making process. This criteria should be aligned with your organization’s mission and strategy. Make sure you understand why you prioritize that criteria. Be consistent in how you evaluate everyone, and be intentional.
Consider the example of finding a keynote speaker for a company event. What message do you want to land at your event? Do you need this story to come from a company of a particular size with a certain level of brand equity? Is that as important or less important than the metrics you want to be able to highlight about their story? And what about sharing your platform with perspectives that come from a diversity of backgrounds?
In this scenario, we tend to say we want “everything!” or focus on certain criteria that are high value from our perspective as an individual or as part of a team. But what about when someone brings that low-hanging fruit of having a great title but lacking the right story to tell? Having clear criteria established ahead of time will ensure that the decision you make is true to the outcome you want.
If the decision will be informed by more people than just you, bring in people outside of your immediate network when selecting contributors to a particular project, program, or decision-making effort. The people in your immediate network—your “go to” people—are more likely to be similar to you than bring a different perspective. This is known as affinity bias.
4. Prioritize diversity (representation) and inclusion at your company. Data can help you see and explore concepts that are not your own. Ensuring diversity and inclusion—both in terms of the individuals providing the data as well as the individuals on your team interpreting the data—will result in your team having more interpretations and a greater understanding of what the data is saying. Research has demonstrated the positive impact of having more diverse teams with more diverse perspectives. According to a accurate study, diverse and inclusive companies may be 60% more likely to outperform their peers in regards to decision-making.
Diverse, inclusive teams can disrupt bias by bringing in new ideas from unique points of view. According to Deloitte, cognitive diversity is estimated to Strengthen team innovation by up to 20%.
When folks from different backgrounds explore data, your team can explore the data from different vantage points, uncover new information, and challenge your own ideas or preconceptions. The more you can do that, the more innovation will take place.
Another way to keep bias in check is by creating an inclusive atmosphere in which employees can feel psychologically safe. This way, they will feel comfortable enough to share their unique perspectives. If this isn’t encouraged, people will not be vulnerable and share their potentially ground-breaking ideas. Fostering an atmosphere of psychological safety and being able to work more productively together leads to innovation.
Other questions to consider: Are you creating inclusive teams? Is your organization thinking beyond the recruitment aspect of hiring individuals from different backgrounds?
5. Be intentional about challenging your assumptions throughout your decision-making process. Leverage a framework or tool such as the Do No Harm Guide to do so. Disaggregate your data and ask yourself inclusive practice questions.
Make sure your company’s data analysts and business users know how to watch for bias across their work processes from strategy to execution. Inclusive practice can create moments for disrupting bias—but if it’s only a reflection activity, you will be too late to course correct. Consider using a framework to create moments to reflect on if you’re incorporating inclusive practice into your workflow.
Start the decision-making process with data
Bias will never be completely eradicated, and data itself is not the answer. Rather, data is the beginning of a process to ask more questions that will eventually lead to an informed answer. By having more diverse, inclusive teams, you will be able to maximize interpretations of your company’s data, leading to more innovative insights and decisions.
Make better decisions with data
Learn more about how to use data to make informed business decisions.
The decision to undergo a professional hair transplant procedure is not something that you
should rush into. It’s a surgical procedure that requires some recovery time, so ensuring you
have all the facts and know what you’re getting into and how it will help you is crucial. The
more that you know, the more you can be sure you’re making the right choice and the less
concerned you will be.
One way to discover all you need to know – perhaps the best way – is to speak to hair
transplant specialists. They will have all the answers you need and plenty of advice. Read on
to find out what questions you should ask them to ensure you get the facts that will help you
Something that experts such as Harley Street hair transplant specialists get asked a lot is
about the age that someone can or should have a hair transplant. Is it possible that getting a
hair transplant when you’re young is a waste of time because you might continue to lose hair
(much like getting braces on milk teeth is a bad idea, and getting laser eye surgery if your
eyesight changes every time you see an optician is not recommended)?
The answer to this question is that it will depend on the patient; everyone is different, so
whereas one person might not find their hair is thinning until they are in their 60s, for
example, another might find it’s an issue in their 20s. This is why you need to discuss the
issue with an expert and have a consultation to find out more. If your hair loss has stabilized,
a hair transplant is usually possible, whatever your age.
To have a successful hair transplant, donor hair (usually from the back of the head) is taken
and transplanted into the scalp, where the hair is thinning. So the question that is often
asked is whether or not there is enough donor hair to use.
Your hair transplant surgeon will need to take a look to see what can be used and whether it
is enough. In some cases, there may not be enough donor hair, especially because the
surgeon doesn’t want to leave you with thinning hair in the donor area just to cover the
thinning hair in the original problem area. Not only will the surgeon need to look at the donor
area, but they will need to consider the recipient area – the size of that combined with the
amount of hair in the donor area will establish whether a hair transplant is possible.
One big consideration when it comes to a hair transplant is whether or not the results will
look natural. No one wants to go through hair transplant surgery and then hate the final look
because they know everyone can tell their hair is not ‘natural’.
Modern hair transplant techniques mean that professionally performed hair transplant results
are excellent. It will be impossible to tell whether the hair was always there or has been
If you’re unsure, ask to see examples of the work the clinic you are considering has done,
and this will deliver you a great idea of whether you like the look of the final result and how
natural it will be for you.
Tableau has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics & Business Intelligence Platforms for the 10th consecutive year. A decade as a Leader is an incredible milestone — and it wouldn’t be possible without you, our amazing Tableau Community.
We want to thank you for your continued partnership, unrivaled passion, and generosity with your time. Your honest feedback and creative problem solving continuously help make the Tableau platform more powerful and easier to use.
Get the 2022 report.
This report always provides us a moment to humbly reflect on the impact we’ve created together through a shared commitment to use data to Strengthen our world. In the past year, we’ve continued to broaden and deepen the Tableau platform to transform how people work with data:
This year, our dot is labeled “Salesforce (Tableau),” which represents the progress we believe we have made as a Salesforce company. As part of the Salesforce family, we’re excited to continue broadening our community of data rockstars with Trailblazers and empower everyone with analytics. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping all of our customers be successful with their data.
We never rest on our laurels. You are the reason for everything we do — and we can’t wait to see where our next decade together takes us. To honor 10 consecutive years as a Leader, here are 10 ways we’ll continue to push the boundaries of analytics to unlock the full power of data for everyone.
With all of the success we’ve had making analytics more accessible, it’s still out of reach of many. In order to make analytics truly pervasive, we need to make data dramatically easier to use. We’ll continue to introduce new ways for people to access, analyze, and interact with their data — like with data storytelling — so any business user can get insights fast, regardless of their skill levels.
As part of Salesforce, our mission to help people see and understand data has only been accelerated. We’re putting analytics in the flow of work through our innovations and integrations, including with Slack and our AI analytics. With the right data at the right time, making data-driven decisions can be faster and easier for your entire workforce.
3. Scale trusted data
Valuable insights begin with trusting your data. And with the amount of data growing, it’s becoming challenging to know which data to use, what it means, and where it comes from. You need accurate, trusted data to make decisions, and data management and governance practices are a limiting factor. From data prep, to catalog, to data security, Tableau is focused on unlocking the value of data to business users while enabling IT to have visibility, governance, and compliance across their analytics environment. With our approach to self-service data management, we will help you securely manage the data within your analytics environment, ensuring that trusted and up-to-date data can be surfaced to drive decisions.
4. Unleash a world of analytical apps
We’re growing our ecosystem so that anyone can succeed with data. Every app can become an analytical app powered by Tableau. We’ll enable the Tableau Economy — consisting of customers, partners, and individuals — to build analytical solutions across every industry and line of business, using the magic of Tableau as a key ingredient. We will invest in our platform so that developers and partners can bring their valuable data solutions to more people, ultimately solving new use cases for customers. The better and more relevant these solutions are, the more Tableau can deliver on its vision of bringing data to more people, and the faster anyone can generate value from their data.
5. Bring data science to business users
We’re making AI-enabled solutions tangible for organizations and it’s all about augmenting human decision making. Tableau Business Science allows people with domain expertise to make smarter decisions faster and with more confidence. By equipping more people with governed, no-code AI, what-if scenario planning, and guided model building, business teams can do the analysis themselves that would otherwise be reserved for data scientists.
6. Provide unparalleled flexibility and choice
We’ll meet you where you are, and stay with you where you’re going. This means we’ll stay at the forefront of evolving data technologies while also remaining agnostic to your infrastructure and industry. Tableau can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, offered as a SaaS solution, or embedded in your applications. We’ll connect to all your data, wherever it lives — live, extracts, or hybrid. And we’ll support you as a small business, nonprofit, or Fortune 500 enterprise.
7. Connect a global community of data rockstars
Today, more than a million people make up the diverse, passionate Tableau Community including analysts, executives, developers, journalists, and teachers. This amazing network accelerates learning, provides inspiration, and offers support to people at any analytics skill level across every industry. We’re committed to fostering the magic of this community to benefit individuals and organizations as they grow their data expertise. We’re helping 10 million people become fluent in data in the next five years. And with the new “Hire Me” button in Tableau Public, hiring managers and recruiters can easily connect with Tableau experts from around the world.
8. Do good with data
We have a responsibility to harness the power of data to create positive change in our immediate and global communities. Combining our software, people, and partners, we empower organizations and nonprofits who are driving toward measurable, positive impact in society.
Learn more about Tableau Foundation and explore the Living Annual Report to dive into the work we’ve done as well as our learnings from along the way.
9. Build and celebrate Data Culture
We go beyond the technology to help you achieve success and evangelize data and analytics in your organization. Tableau Blueprint provides prescriptive guidance to scale your analytics and build a data culture. Combined with our industry-leading enablement resources, we’re helping organizations all over the world make the most of their data and analytics investments.
10. Help people see and understand data
We’ve learned and grown tremendously over our decade as a Leader, but our mission hasn’t changed since day one. The key word is still people. Whether it’s drag and drop, asking questions with natural language, or running a statistical model with a click, people love Tableau because it puts the user first, encouraging creativity and confidence when working with data.
See what’s coming soon from our development teams, explore features from previous releases, or share your ideas for what you’d like to see in the next version of Tableau.
The future is bright. We are just getting started. Thank you for your partnership.
This post was originally published on the Tableau Blog
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence, March 23, 2022, Austin Kronz, Kurt Schlegel, Julian Sun, David Pidsley, Anirudh Ganeshan. This report was named Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms (2013-2017), Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms (2018-2022). Appeared as Tableau Software in the Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, 2013. GARTNER and Magic Quadrant are registered trademarks and service marks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
We wanted to find out from you, our listeners, what you’re thinking about COVID-19 – especially as restrictions are disappearing and new vaccines are available.
Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Lisa Barrett is on the show to answer the COVID-19 questions you have right now, like: When you get sick, is there any way to tell if it’s COVID-19 or the flu or a cold? How long should you isolate if you have COVID-19? What’s the right time frame to get a bivalent vaccine – and what does bivalent mean?
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Julius Akhere
Former Governor of Edo State and National Chairman of the All Progressives (APC), Adam Oshiomhole has been called out concerning some financial infractions allegedly committed by his administration. At the moment, Oshiomhole is being battered on several sides by aggrieved members of the party whose toes he stepped in the aftermath of the internal elections of the party, which cost the APC dearly in the national elections. On another side, a fresh round of war has started between him and his predecessor in the office of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. As if that is not enough, the current governor of Edo, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has drawn a battle line against Oshiomhole.
It is not a surprise, therefore, that a string of supposed dirty deals involving the APC National Chairman has come to the public. Among many of his alleged sins is Benin Ultra-modern Hospital, particularly the supposed ‘Five-star World Standard’ Cancer Treatment Centre’ was playing games with the lives of cancer patients, what happened to the 5-billion-naira project budgeted for the hospital extension? Is Madam Golda, the caterer turned contractor and girlfriend of the ex-governor willing to emerge from hiding to tell Edo people what happened to the money for the project?
This is one of the charges brought against the ex-governor by the present generation of Edo people. This is a man who projects himself as a former labour leader and therefore a defender of the interest of the vulnerable population. We are talking about a former activist who supposedly embodies the ideals of progressive governance, the true story of the unconscionable criminal deception regarding the building of an ultra-modern extension at the Benin Specialist Hospital is indeed an instructive expose on his real character. It is may be believable that Oshiomhole could play games with many other aspects of our political affairs, but to tell a reckless lie before the world that he was commissioning an extension of the Benin Specialist Hospital for the treatment of cancer, which was not true, marks the absence of any compunction.
Oshiomhole had amassed a N5billion budget from the wealth of hard working people of Edo State under the guise that he was going to execute a project for the extension of the Specialist Hospital in Benin and that the extension will include a cancer treatment centre. Of course, a considerable segment of the population was justifiably excited that Edo land would have a near world class cancer detection and treatment centre to confront a very vicious medical condition. Unfortunately, the entire project was a conceived by a morally diminutive character. Let those who really care about a modicum of accountability in governance pass by the flimsy cartoon-like box structures next to Benin Specialist Hospital- that is the pitiful contraption that the ex-governor described as the proposed extension to house the world class cancer treatment center. Of course, the location will be so classed in the warped imagination of Oshiomhole. Far beyond the physical structure, the entire facility does not even have furniture like beds and much less any medical equipment. So, what happened to the money budgeted for this project as Edo State seem to have simply been dumped into huge debts? One must ask, how and why Oshiomhole’s successor should try to revive such a humungous financial liability without restarting the whole idea all over with transparent and sustainable fiscal strategy. It is in fact advisable that Governor Obaseki should steer clear of the alleged hospital project until the thick cloud of questions are cleared by Oshiomhole and Madam Golda.
Despite the obvious monumental fiscal disaster that the project represented, Oshiomhole had no qualms in inviting President Buhari and the distinguished Edo community to the commissioning shortly before he left office. Five months before the end of his tenure, Oshiomhole allegedly hijacked some beds from another hospital and commandeered furniture from a nearby secondary school to stage the launch of his lifeless Specialist Hospital extension. Right there without an iota of regret, Oshiomhole told President Buhari and the other guests that the hospital was ready for takeoff and that Edo people will not need to travel too far any longer for the treatment of cancer. The ex-Governor orchestrated the ceremonial cutting of the tape to the project only to ship the beds and the furniture back to their rightful locations immediately after the President’s departure.
How can someone entrusted with such sacred responsibility and the blessing of two terms by Edo people act so criminally and cruelly against his people? How can Oshiomhole be so heartlessly avaricious to deliver such a crucial life- saving project to the hands of a woman with no experience whatsoever in building since the woman in question has spent all her life in low level catering services in Abuja?
The truth must be laid out for the sake of accountability and transparency. Can it be true that Madam Golda and Oshiomhole simply walked away with huge fraction of the initial 75 percent that they collected as mobilization for the contract? The 75 percent would amount to N3.75 billion. I would expect the National Chairman of the APC and ex-governor not to stain the banner of integrity that President Buhari has so nobly flown. At the minimum, Oshiomhole should show his presumed boldness and encourage Madam Golda, to come out from hiding and publicly explain how far she went with the execution of the hospital project before Oshiomhole left office. This is not the time to immediately join the advocacy with those who think that an organized Edo citizenry should seek the assistance of the EFCC and the DSS to ensure the recovery of what they consider an executive heist.
So far, this special investigation project has failed to locate Golda in her supposed place of business in Abuja. Other addresses linked to Golda do not seem to show any credible association between her and building contracts. It behooves ex-governor Oshiomhole to boldly step out and tell the world where Golda is hiding. On his own, Oshiomhole must respond to inquiry for full accountability on the ill-fated extension of the Specialist Hospital project which he said was meant for cancer detection and treatment. Oshiomhole should be careful not to become a political cancer on the APC as President Buhari begins a historic second term.
*Akhere writes from Benin City, Edo State
West Yorkshire’s experimental art-poppers unveil their most ambitious album to date
There’s something quite admirable about the way The Orielles have yet to be fitted into any kind of pigeonhole. Their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, could be loosely described as indie pop, but the 2020 follow-up Disco Volador dived into all sorts of different territories.
During lockdown, the band filled their new-found free time by creating and scoring their own experimental film, La Vita Olistica. That experience, together with a monthly show on Soho Radio, has provided the inspiration for the Halifax trio’s third album, Tableau. It’s an album which pretty much defies categorisation from the start – it’s certainly their most ambitious album to date, with 16 tracks and over an hour’s running time.
All the tracks effortlessly run into each other and are loose and free-form with nods to jazz, electronica experimentalism and bands such as Stereolab and Broadcast. Some tracks last little over a minute, others have a running time of over eight minutes. Esmé Dee Hand-Halford’s vocals are sometimes whispered, and sometimes a dead ringer for Sarah Cracknell (as on lead singer The Room). It’s definitely an album you have to devote some attention to.
When Tableau hits form, it really flies. Anyone who’s seen The Orielles live knows that they’re excellent musicians, and there are moments on this album where they just seem to catch fire. The Room flies and glides by, while Darkened Corners (a duet between Hand-Halford and guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade) is beautifully atmospheric.
Sometimes, the album dips into ambient territory – the opening Chromeo 1 is slight, wispy, and pretty hypnotic, before it merges into Chromeo II which turns effortlessly into a more indie-rock direction. Now and again, it seems like the ambition may be a bit too much: The Improvisation 001 is a nine minute long instrumental epic that plays just on the right side of self-indulgence, but ultimately pulls it off.
The most impressive thing about Tableu is the amount of care that’s obviously been lavished on each track. The eerie synth sound which opens Beams/s, before it slowly unfurls into a string-accompanied masterpiece is one such example, right up to the spoken word closer Stones. Even a short interlude like quasi-classical By Its Light makes an impression despite being only 47 seconds.
If there’s a criticism to be made, it could be that it sometimes feels a bit drawn out, and that the noodly improvisational side of The Orielles often takes precedent over their more accessible side. There’s a lot to take in on Tableau – maybe, at times, almost too much – but it’s another solid record from West Yorkshire’s very own experimental art-poppers.
Q. Do new tires loose a little air every month? I bought a new Honda Pilot in May of this year, every two months a light comes telling me my car has low tire pressure. It happened a few times so far, all four tires were low by five pounds and had to be inflated by the dealer. When I asked about this the service manager said this is normal, is it?
A. All tires will lose air over time, it is normal that most tires can lose a couple of pounds of pressure every month or so. In cooler weather tires can lose one pound of pressure for every 10 degree drop in temperature. This is why it is important to check your car’s tire pressure at least once per month, using a quality tire gauge. Maintaining the correct pressure will maximize both fuel economy and tire life.
Q. The oil light came on in my car while driving, shortly after that the car shut off. It is a 20-year-old Mercedes Benz, what do you think is wrong.
A. When the oil light or any other red light comes on you need to stop driving immediately. The oil light indicates there is/was dangerously low oil pressure. Driving with the oil light on could have seized and destroyed the engine. At this point take the car to a mechanic and have it checked out. Although considering its age (the average car on the road is a little over 12 years old) it may be near the end of its useful life.
Q. I have a 15-year-old Saab which I like driving better than my BMW and Audi. My question is, what is the life expectancy of the airbag system? I want to deliver the car to my daughter after winter and just was wondering if the airbags wear out?
A. Most car manufacturers consider the airbag system to last the life of the car. Now of course if the airbag light is on, this would indicate one of the systems that support the airbag has failed and will needs to be repaired.
Q. I was recently at a dinner party and was telling someone I found a low mileage 2019 Chevrolet Sonic for my daughter for a college car. Someone called it a rolling coffin, are these cars as unsafe as this person was making them out to be?
A. The Chevrolet Sonic is a safe car that utilizes advanced seat belts, air bags and traction and stability control. In the design of the car it utilizes a safety cage to protest the occupants. In fact it got a five-star rating from NHTSA and a good rating from IIHS. Now all of this doesn’t change the law of physics when it comes to vehicle crashes and doesn’t remove the responsibility of the driver to drive safely.
Q. Now that the cool Fall weather is here, every time I get out of my car I get a shock. Is there something I can do?
A. Static electricity is the imbalance of positive and negative changes. During the summer when the weather is more humid these charges tend to roll off of us more quickly. With winter, comes cold dry air and the imbalance of charges tends to build until you touch your car and the charge goes to ground. Using a fabric spray such a Static Guard once or twice a month will usually help eliminate static shocks.
Q. I have a work van (former Grumman bread truck) and it is always cold inside. I remember years ago I had a friend with a Volkswagen with a gasoline heater. The heater would drive you out of the car and only used a little bit of gas. Is there a modern equivalent for trucks?
A. The only item that I’m familiar with is the Blueheat unit by Webasto. These units heat the air or the coolant depending on the model, using vehicle fuel. They work almost like a little household furnace. My only experience was years back with one installed in a Dodge Sprinter. This was a great system, provided plenty of heat, used a minimal amount of fuel and had a timer that could be programmed so the interior was warm when you needed the truck. Best of all there was no excessive idling, wasting fuel and adding to air pollution worries of an engine running unnecessarily.
Q. I have a 2008 Toyota Prius Touring model and one of my front headlights is intermittently going out. I thought this would be a simple fix, but it turns out Toyota wants $300-$500 to install the new bulb? I’m wondering if there are other options out there (quicker, cheaper fixes) or if that’s actually the price I’ll have to pay for a new bulb. Is the dealer the only option?
A. This has been a fairly common failure on certain year Prius vehicles with HID headlights and I’m surprised that they lasted this long. Unlike halogen bulbs that dim and then burn out HID bulbs flicker or just turn off. The repair generally involves changing both headlights. There are non-Toyota parts including the ballast which are generally cheaper than the factory parts. Any competent garage should be able to repair the headlights.
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