Archive for June, 2013

Powerful Like a Gorilla

Friday, June 28th, 2013

In the ongoing arms race that is the creativity and absurdity of themes for LeMons cars, one California (big surprise) team created an all-out real-life replica of “The Homer”, the monstrosity of a car that Homer Simpson created during his short tenure as an automotive designer.

It’ll be hitting the race track this weekend, and trading paint at 100mph, just like real art cars should.

Evaluation

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

In a city whose school district has a graduation rate under fifty percent, you’d think that the Superintendent would be on the hot seat. The board would be demanding answers. They wouldn’t be doing things like approving her annual evaluation without reading it first.

At least, that’s what you’d think if you’d never been to Buffalo.

Seat Cushions

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The NFL has banned seat cushions in their stadiums, because TERRORISTS.

Has everyone in this country lost their goddamned minds?

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!

Space Race

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Every time 40 rednecks get into their NASCARs and drive in circles at 200 mph, they manage to attract 100,000+ people to come see it in person, and millions more tune in on television to watch.

But recently, when they launch astronauts into space at 10,000 mph, only a fraction as many people take notice.

Solution: Have two or more rockets racing each other into space. Americans like competition- that’s why the original “Space Race” was such a success- us versus the Ruskies. We need to bring back that type of competitive atmosphere to the space program.

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.

 

Bicycle Paranoia

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Today in The Atlantic: an interesting transcript of some LA radio DJs complaining about bicycles. The comment section is a fun-filled flame fest as well.

I guess I don’t wear enough Lycra to be a real cyclist. Maybe that’s why I stop at stop signs.