Archive for the ‘Pitt’ Category

Smart ‘Crete

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

“From now on, when we build something out of concrete, it will probably be wired for power and communications. Electronic sensors will be embedded right into bridges, interchanges, and tunnels. This “talking concrete” will emit information on capacity, crash pre-cursors, mobility options, and maintenance issues before they become problems. Drivers will be able to pay tolls and fees electronically. Worldwide, machine-to-machine connectivity will mitigate the human factors that currently limit infrastructure safety and efficiency. Instead of relying solely on the federal trust fund, people will pay for transportation as a utility based on usage.”

An interesting insight from a civil engineering periodical I ran across today. (Sorry, no link.) While much of the Libertarian platform seems to have gone down in flames, this idea seems to have caught on in certain circles. Here in the D.C. area they’ve constructed two new toll roads in the past 5 years- one an expansion of the I-495 Beltway in Virginia, and the other a completely new road, the ICC in Maryland, which joins I-95 and I-270. Both use electronic-only tolling, and vary toll rates based on traffic, time of day, and other factors.

I can’t say that I’m a fan. Having grown up around the NYS Thruway, I heard all the stories about how when it was built, the politicans claimed the tolls would go away over time as the road was paid for.

The Thruway opened in 1954.

Open your pockets, motorists! Speed cameras, red light cameras, gas taxes, insurance, registration, licenses, inspections… and soon, a toll plaza at every driveway!

How do you say “Pecan”?

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

I’ve always been oddly fascinated by the way people in different parts of the United States pronounce words and refer to things differently.  Here’s a set of maps that, if you’re like me, may entertain and enlighten you and all your “rotary”-sayin’ friends.


Space Center Coffee Mug

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I was perusing the cabinets in the kitchen at the office today, looking for a non-disposable beverage container, when I discovered this:

Found my new coffee mug!


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

This is fantastic. I just stumbled upon this guy’s work, and I think I need to find more of it.

Here’s another great parody from a bit further back in time.

By the way, if any of this seems familiar, McCall contributed to National Lampoon, which came up with the “Vacation” movie- including one very parody-tastic Wagon Queen creation.

Hey matt, what’s up with the edit function in Chrome? I can’t see what I’m typing, or insert links or resize pictures, or, well….

Happy Pi Day!

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Mmmmmm….pi pie.

And, there’s a new Pope in Rome, too!  I wonder if he likes pi[e]…


Thursday, March 7th, 2013

It’s official: UN sanctions against North Korea were approved.

Duck and Cover!

In Perspective

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

“A human is a system for converting dust billions of years ago into dust billions of years from now via a roundabout process that involves checking email a lot.”

Super Blackout

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Even if you are living under a piece of slate and completely missed one of the biggest annual sports events in the world last night, you’ve by now probably heard about the 34 minute-long blackout at the stadium in New Orleans. I nearly feel asleep before the game resumed; it was nearly physically _painful_ listening to the announcers attempt to fill the dead air, and since it was unscheduled, there weren’t even any unique commercials to watch.

Which reminds me…this was the first Superbowl in a long, long time where the game itself was actually the most entertaining part. Most of the commercials were forgettable, the halftime show somehow managed to be both vulgar and boring (did anyone else feel like it was missing a pole, and there should have been dollar bills shoved down her…whatever little clothing she did have on?), the pregame was just tedious, and they didn’t even have reliable electricity at the stadium.

But man- a fake field goal, a near 22- point comeback, an intentional Safety, decent officiating, amazing pass and rushing games by _both_ teams, and enough interesting human back story for two movies.

Charm City’s feeling good today.

New Phone, Lost Numbers

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Owing to the fact that my last cellular telephone was manufactured prior to the time when we had a Democrat from Chicago as president, Verizon was unable to transfer over my contact information to the new Smart device I had purchased. And owing to the fact that my old phone is not functional, I have no way to manually retrieve said information. So, if you’re reading this, and you have my old phone number, please shoot me a text to that old number (which I kept) with whatever contact information you want me to have.  Thanks.

Verizon Technical Support: Ignorant or Incompetent?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

On Jan 6th I got a Blackberry 9930, and after activating the phone the internet/ data functionality did not work.  When I attempt to access the web, I get the following error: “Browsing over the cellular network is not included as part of your current service plan.  To browse the web, you must use Wi-Fi or contact your service provider to change your service plan.” My service plan does include web browsing- my wife uses it on her smartphone.  Called tech support on Jan 7 and was told it would be working within 8 hours.  Called back later that day and was told up to 72 hours.  Called next day (Jan 8th) and was told up to 5 days.  No one can tell me what’s wrong or give any updates, and the time to repair keeps getting longer and longer.  Phone tech support does not seem to know anything other than form troubleshooting, which has not worked (if they tell me to remove the battery one more time, I think I’ll lose it).  Their ignorance is very frustrating.