Traffic signals can operate as a dumb clock. So many seconds of green in this direction, then a yellow clearance interval, then red for that direction while some number of seconds times down for green in the other direction. The engineer sets the times, and then turns it loose.
Old traffic signals in the 1950s operated that way. An electric motor turned a shaft, and on that shaft was a series of cams. Each cam was identified with a signal display. The cam was made with break-off “ears,” so that, as the shaft turned, the cam only made contact with the lead for that display for a portion of the rotation of the shaft.... [Read More]
TOTD: God’s good creation is awesome.
The swamp behind our house is a really interesting place, but it is difficult to access. There are large parts that are impenetrable thickets, where the land had been pasture or bean fields when acquired by the Conservancy. The Conservancy is letting them grow up, but right now there is only about nine or ten years of growth because the first two or three years of Conservancy ownership included a lease back to the farmer that sold the land. A thicket with ten years’ growth is really difficult to traverse.
Continue reading “Beaver swamp works”
My friend has always been a snarky libertarianish conservative, very cynical about political causes. However, when he talks about Kavanaugh, he is furious. He voted already,and has been much more active in political discussions – even trying to get a job with a campaign.
The formerly squishy, comity-at-all-costs Senator Graham has been a font of righteous indignation. In addition to his unloading both barrels on the Dem on the committee and calling out their blatant partisan exploitation, he has been getting really snarky off-the-cuff. In response to a protestor whining about the need to give Kavanaugh a polygraph, he dropped a Monty Python reference: “Why don’t we dunk him in water and see if he floats?”... [Read More]
What items do you normally carry around with you?
For me, aside from keys, wallet, cellphone, ID badge that anyone would need to wear at work, I typically carry a small flashlight and a Schrade pocket knife. I also have a all kinds of supplies in my backpack, such a multi tools, nail clippers, a flash drive, a small wrench, a much larger flashlight, an umbrella, multiple chargers, flat palm hairbrush, generic tylenol, etc.... [Read More]
I’ve often wondered about the control of public menaces and hidden hazards (such as an undisclosed vat of toxic chemicals in the workplace, or a lack of purity in medicine) if we got rid of government regulatory bodies. I’m not sure how a person would deal with a major public menace without filing a bankruptcy-inducing lawsuit. It gets worse if the hazard is not immediately obvious. Now you have to bring in an expert to make your case and get the data. Better sell off your organs now before the chemicals damage them too much to be of value.
The government has tons of useless regulations, and some that are actively harmful. (I’d bet losing 5% completely at random would not cause severe harm) However, I do not see why state governments doing regulation, with the feds stepping up for interstate cases, is worse that having to sue any time someone is not working safely, or polluting, or distributing contaminated medication. In fact, the standard gives the employer some peace of mind – there is actually an achievable standard to meet as opposed to whatever a jury will think
Why do we almost exclusively use prison and fines for punishment? Why do we not use physical methods, as they were certainly not considered unusual in the Founding era?
We can lock up a rapist for decades, putting him up at taxpayer expense, or we could physically prevent the scumbag from ever raping someone again. (Let the victim have the first swing)... [Read More]
When you proclaim your allegiance to a set of principles, you are expected to follow them. When you carry a banner for an organization, you are expected to support its goals and those of its members.
When this is out of alignment, there is a reckoning coming. No matter how much you put it off, there is going to be a moment when either the group changes to fit the leadership, or the group tosses out the leadership. We have seen this in numerous settings, most recently the conservative movement and the Catholic Church. A similar disconnect between the leaders and the bulk of the organization.... [Read More]
There are always ways of enforcing norms and mores. These show up in all human societies. Even in a criminal gang, pirate crew, or savage tribe, there are rules, and breaking them will get you punished. The social contract in the US gives the state most of the power as a grant from the sovereign people. Other countries have differing rules, but the fundamental principle behind the rules is ensure justice and fairness, or at least the appearance of such.
This is especially applicable when someone is accused of a crime. Because mobs demand blood and the state is not entirely trustworthy, we weight the system in favor of the accused. Even if someone kills some poor guy in front of a police station on camera with dozens of witnesses, we give him his day in court. However, this only works if the government is willing to punish wrongdoing.... [Read More]