Category Archives: Life

Re-Engineering the Road

Imagine a dangerous road curve. Do you blame the drivers and call it a day? After all, not everyone crashes over the edge or into oncoming traffic.

Or do you bank the turn, calculate a safe speed limit and add a railing?

It won’t stop all crashes, but it’ll reduce them.

Re-engineering the road doesn’t ignore the driver’s decisions, but it acknowledges that they don’t happen in isolation. Change the circumstances, and you change how many drivers crash and burn.

Red Alert for Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality ensures your cable company can’t pick winners and losers from the sites you visit and services you use online. It was a guiding principle of the net until ISPs tried to violate it. After a long effort, the FCC stepped in and made the principle a legal requirement in the US.

The new FCC is rolling it all back, which helps no one except Comcast, AT&T, etc. Congress can stop it. The big ISPs are trying to present it as big government vs. business in order to make it partisan.

It’s not government vs. business. It’s everyone vs. your cable company.

Net Neutrality helps you, your business, your friends, your political organization, the people who make your favorite shows, games and books, literally everyone except the big ISPs. (And possibly entrenched players with deep pockets who would cheerfully let ISPs stifle any start-ups that might threaten them with *gasp* competition.)

The Senate is voting soon on a resolution to undo the FCC’s rollback and keep net neutrality alive. But those big ISPs have convinced most of the GOP senators that they’re the only side that matters. We need to convince them otherwise. Right now we need one more vote in the Senate to pass the CRA, and then we can move on to the House.

Contact your lawmakers today at Battle for the Net!

Double Solar Halo

Thin clouds and contrails cross the sky. A bright rainbow-like ring circles a spot just out of view above the frame. A fainter rainbow-like line runs across the sky below it.

Two solar ice halos spotted at lunch today.

The 22° halo around the sun is really bright and clear, and not that uncommon even in Los Angeles. I’ve seen so many that I still take photos, but I often forget to post them unless there’s something unusual about the view.

The circumhorizon arc below it, on the other hand, I’ve only seen a few times, usually fragments. It’s faint, but it’s the longest and least wispy of these arcs that I’ve seen (though the best was probably this one from 2010).

The lower one could be an infralateral arc. It wasn’t quite long enough to tell in person whether it curved upward or was parallel to the horizon, and it’s hard to tell how much of the curve in the photo is due to lens distortion. But according to Atmospheric Optics, they’re a lot rarer than circumhorizon arcs.

It’s cool to be able to get pictures of these with my phone. There was a time I’d run to get a camera and hope it wouldn’t fade first.

Saturation enhanced. It was really hazy!

Drink From the Bottom Of Your Shoe

I was looking for sandals and found these. They’re flip flops with a built in bottle opener, I suppose to make them more…cool? Gadget-y? But it’s on the sole of the shoe.

Someone really didn’t think this design through.

Update: There are some replies at Wandering Shop from people who’ve worn or used these. Apparently there’s another variation with a built-in flash.

GPS Navigation Options We Need

GPS navigation options we need:

  • I know how to get to the freeway from home.
  • I know how to get home from the freeway.
  • Don’t send me down someone else’s narrow residential streets just to save two minutes.

If I’m trying to get somewhere other than home after work, I’ll use GPS to get an idea of the time remaining and the fastest route. Since I’d rather avoid the freeway during rush hour, it keeps trying to send me on these zigzag paths through residential neighborhoods to avoid backed-up arteries or just avoid busy intersections. I used to follow those routes, but after a while I started noticing other cars ahead of me that were clearly doing the same thing. It’s not just one car being added to that lumpy narrow road with lots of driveways, stop signs, kids on bikes and people taking out the trash. It’s a lot of cars. And of course we’re following the same apps drawing from the same data, so we’re all taking the same side streets, not spread out among all of them.

If there’s a big difference, that’s one thing, but for two or three minutes? What’s the point?

Of course the avigation app seems so testy when I decline to be part of the problem, and it has to keep recalculating…