"Murphy was an optimist!"
We don’t need no stinkin’ weight limits May 31, 2008 8:42 pmPosted by utterz in : Daily Life, Podcasting
Heroes text message May 31, 2008 2:50 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Uncategorized
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Safer traffic is with less, not more May 30, 2008 1:52 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Privacy, Touchy Subjects, Transportation, Travel
Michael Silence has posted that another Oak Ridge camera company (we have many: Ipix (dead), Pips, Perceptics, Aldis, others?) is attaching cameras to traffic lights. The full story is in the Knoxnews. These new cameras are being tested to replace the magnetic strips in the pavement that detect the flow of traffic or vehicles backed up at an intersection. These strips are often the bane of motorcyclists as they sometimes do not get detected and have to sit at a light forever. These cameras might be a good thing! Of course, No Silence Here commenter Joe Lance notes "Chattanooga has invested in a couple of cameras — complete with loudspeakers — that announce to illegal dumpers that they are being photographed." When do cameras cease to be a good thing?
I twitch a bit as we throw up more traffic lights, more signs, more lines on the road, more cameras, cameras, cameras. Traffic engineer Hans Monderman believes signs to be a danger to driving.
To him, they are an admission of failure, a sign – literally – that a road designer somewhere hasn’t done his job. "The trouble with traffic engineers is that when there’s a problem with a road, they always try to add something," Monderman says. "To my mind, it’s much better to remove things." [Source, Wired, Roads Gone Wild]
How does Monderman recommend building better intersections?
- Remove signs
- Install art
- Let lighting illuminate both roadbed and pedestrian areas
- Do it in the road (ie, get store fronts and Cafes closer to the road)
- Negotiate right-of-way by human interaction instead of signs
- Eliminate curbs
Knoxville has re-engeered roads for traffic control. Of course this project is not yet complete and Knoxville hasn’t reported on it at all much less said anything about its success or lack of success. Re-engineering roads for traffic control is not simply about removing lights and putting in traffic circles. It is about not cutting down that tree which seems so close to the road. A road with such an apparent danger causes drivers to be more alert. Re-engineering is about not straightening the roads and letting curves control speed. Re-engineering is about rethinking the paradigm by which we design our roads. I think some direct quotes from the article are in order. My favorite is when Monderman proves that designing without signs and signals works by putting hsi hands behind his back and walking backwards, blindly into traffic.
Monderman is one of the leaders of a new breed of traffic engineer – equal parts urban designer, social scientist, civil engineer, and psychologist. The approach is radically counterintuitive: Build roads that seem dangerous, and they’ll be safer.
He [shows] a favorite intersection he designed. It’s a busy confluence of two busy two-lane roads that handle 20,000 cars a day, plus thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians that doesn’t contain a single traffic signal, road sign, or directional marker, an approach that turns eight decades of traditional traffic thinking on its head. Several years ago, Monderman ripped out all the traffic lights, road markings, and some pedestrian crossings – and in their place created a roundabout, or traffic circle. The circle is remarkable for what it doesn’t contain: signs or signals telling drivers how fast to go, who has the right-of-way, or how to behave. There are no lane markers or curbs separating street and sidewalk, so it’s unclear exactly where the car zone ends and the pedestrian zone begins.
Monderman and I stand in silence by the side of the road a few minutes, watching the stream of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians make their way through the circle, a giant concrete mixing bowl of transport. Somehow it all works. The drivers slow to gauge the intentions of crossing bicyclists and walkers. Negotiations over right-of-way are made through fleeting eye contact. Remarkably, traffic moves smoothly around the circle with hardly a brake screeching, horn honking, or obscene gesture. "I love it!" Monderman says at last. "Pedestrians and cyclists used to avoid this place, but now, as you see, the cars look out for the cyclists, the cyclists look out for the pedestrians, and everyone looks out for each other. You can’t expect traffic signs and street markings to encourage that sort of behavior. You have to build it into the design of the road."
In West Palm Beach, Florida, planners have redesigned several major streets, removing traffic signals and turn lanes, narrowing the roadbed, and bringing people and cars into much closer contact. The result: slower traffic, fewer accidents, shorter trip times.
In the village of Oosterwolde was once a conventional road junction with traffic lights [which] has been turned into something resembling a public square that mixes cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. About 5,000 cars pass through the square each day, with no serious accidents since the redesign in 1999. "To my mind, there is one crucial test of a design such as this," Monderman says. "Here, I will show you." With that, Monderman tucks his hands behind his back and begins to walk into the square – backward – straight into traffic, without being able to see oncoming vehicles. A stream of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians ease around him, instinctively yielding to a man with the courage of his convictions.
[Source, Wired, Roads Gone Wild]
Some countries have no traffic controls what-so-ever and still function fine. We can also use traffic calming methods or make our roads play music to control speed.
Here is how to make a city bicycle friendly and how to get cars under control.
Uploaded by Streetfilms
Related: One way to be environmentally sound and avoid tickets is to pickup a free bus ticket from Kroger when you buy groceries!
Perhaps a better way to reduce red light running lies in improving the design of the intersection. Studies have shown that extending the duration of the yellow light by just two seconds has significantly decreased the number of red light violations. In Dallas, longer yellows and signs warning motorists of red light cameras have helped reduce the violations so dramatically that the cameras are no longer generating the revenue needed to keep them in operation. [Source, The New York Times,Trolling for Trouble in the Red Light District]
Update 6/4/08: Red light cameras legal?.3comments
Disturbing News of the Day May 29, 2008 11:29 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Mental, News, Of Interest
Can you say "psychotherapy?" I knew you could!
A 12-year-old girl has testified in court that she saw her father kill her mother and he then forced her to help dismember the body with a circular saw. [Source, WBIR]
Now that’s some authoritative parenting! I can’t even get my children to sweep the floors! I wonder what that girls career will become. And the grossness continues…
Police said James Hawkins cleaned the saw and returned it to a store where he had obtained it. [Source, WBIR]
…which means someone else bought that circular saw and is cheerfully using it to build their bookshelves in their house. Of course, they’ll never understand why the books seem to rearrange themselves, occasionally jump off the shelf, and exhibit symmetrical book stacking just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.
I don’t get how someone could do this to another human being much less include their child in the act!add a comment
Badges May 29, 2008 10:38 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
We need some stickin’ badges!add a comment
Oversleeping May 29, 2008 10:18 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Health, Mental
Oversleeping takes on whole definition when the person you are working with is 5 hours (or 14) ahead of you!
Stress seems to make it worse wearing the body down. I have written before that the stress reaction used to make sense. You are on the savanna, a lion pops out of the tall grass and begins chasing you, stress kicks in causing an adrenaline rush, and you bolt into the forest to escape becoming a picnic dinner. The stress is short lived. But ongoing stress (days, weeks, years) beats the dickens out of you! Then add to it that I have been staying up past midnight and waking up with or before the roosters and the body feels run over. I suppose those conditions beg for a collapse. Why couldn’t it have come in two days instead of this morning?!1 comment so far
Of Being Dad May 28, 2008 10:46 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Daily Life, Family, Of Being Dad
Dear child, if you put chewing gum behind your ear so that you can brush your teeth, you will have gum stuck in your hair. Love, Dad4comments
Collation? May 28, 2008 5:19 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : MS SQL, Programming, Technology
You mean like getting the papers from the copier in order?
You know, I have probably exported and imported data from hundreds of databases at this point in my life. And never, I say never, have I ever had a collation problem. Collation has to deal with how a database handles issues of sort order, case sensitivity, and sensitivity to accents. It becomes important when your database is not US centric or is going to serve an International audience. Last night it got me.
I tried directly updating data on a server that is probably located in Amsterdam and ended up with:
Cannot resolve the collation conflict between "Latin1_General_CI_AS" and "SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS" in the equal to operation
Ugh.add a comment
It’s good to be 3 May 27, 2008 3:10 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family
Do-It-Yourself Vasectomy May 27, 2008 9:35 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Family, Sex, Touchy Subjects
In December, I set up a chipin campaign to raise money for an operation I promised Cathy 3 years ago. The vasectomy campaign ends in six hours and the Internet hath spoken! Either the digital world out there wants 1) me to have more children or 2) see a DIY vasectomy. As complimented as I am that you desire more of my DNA stay in the gene pool, I am going to have to go with the DIY vasectomy. The only question that remains is to stream via webcam or not to stream? And do I create a chipin campaign for pain killers and re-constructive surgery? Now where’s that Swiss Army knife?
(ala Rocky Horror‘s Time Warp)
It’s just a snip to the left
And a snip to the right
Pull the sack up and put the sutures in tight
No pelvic thrust
For 30 day ay ay ayay ays
Let’s do the vasectomy today!
From the mouths of babes May 25, 2008 12:31 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes
Evan, raiding my desk: "I found keys car Daddy."
Me, firmly: "Give me the car key!"
Evan, bolting for the stairs: "I need them!"
Ring pops? May 24, 2008 8:17 pmPosted by utterz in : Daily Life, Podcasting
Simple, yet powerful May 22, 2008 9:43 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Communications, Cool Sites, Of Interest, Poetry, Publishing
To live, to learn, to love, to leave a legacy. Perhaps our blogs use too many words.add a comment
So where’s the Reality? May 22, 2008 6:48 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Of Being Dad
On the positive side, Tommy has graduated high school which is quiet a momentous event. This is the last week of school and the two teens are already out with the tween and young girl having their last half day today. I have been coding like a madman staying up as late as 2am and waking as early as 2am And we have entered birthday season. And with the kids out of school for the summer I don’t have to turn into a taxi quiet as regularly.
On the negative side, I am not turning code quickly enough to keep my clients in a happy place (but does software ever develop quickly enough?). I have a stack of paperwork that needs a couple day’s worth of attention. (TMI alert) I have not bathed in a week (it takes too much time away from programming) and my head is starting to look like Einstein with dreads. I have a squirrel trap in the attic building negative karma in my life with an interest rate that makes Sears look tame. Speaking of interest rates, someone opened the flood gates on that sieve I call a bank account at the same time the food shelves decided to run bare. Did I mention it’s birthday season?
I think that sums up the last week or so and probably accurately predicts the coming month or two.5comments
Life is hard… May 21, 2008 2:41 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
…but you can still enjoy it!
This next one is with credits to WillFul. Thar’s worty dirds in it.add a comment