Friday, February 3, 2017
 
The Super Bowl is Sunday. Rush stated that he couldn't care less: Rush is a pro football aficionado, nay, freak. And I agree with Rush. I'm a UT football aficionado, and it takes a lot more to get me interested in an NFL game.
These two teams are unlikable, and my favored team is only a mild preference of my own over the Patriots. It won't be a good game, and the outcome makes no difference to me, so I will be looking for something else to do.
Happy Sunday.
 
 
Monday, January 30, 2017
 
Heard on WLKF-FM during today's 3 o'clock news broadcast, speaking about the new movie  'A Dog's Purpose:'
"… and the poor dog was thrown into a swimming pool without its permission."
 
What an amazing statement.
 
I think that was Carol Zimmer in one of her insightful moments.
 
I wonder if the usual requirement for throwing a dog into a swimming pool is to get  it to sign a release waiver first.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
 
I'm going to lay off the politics today to alert everyone to a looming menace spreading across our beloved country.
This is a danger that is expanding from its entry point in New England rural areas of the early 20th century. From there, it has jumped to Florida, where it is now beginning to spread maliciously.
I refer to the awful and obnoxious traffic circle, sometimes also referred to as 'roundabout' or 'traffic impediment extraordinaire.'

When I was at UT, it seems like centuries ago, when, as future architects, we sought to find easy ways to refer to our distant colleagues within the engineering disciplines.


This was a good thing to do for those engineers we sought to put into categories such as electrical or mechanical or structural, tended to remain there and stay within those niches for life. There were exceptions of course, but these were few and far between.


Among these niches, within the civil engineer specialty, was the niche occupied by traffic engineers.


There were qualifications that had to be met before an engineer, sometimes a perfectly good, unspoiled one, would be shoved into the traffic engineering discipline.


The first qualification was that one had to accept, unquestioningly, that the role of the traffic engineer was the primary method of controlling ordinary people's lives: how they traveled, drove to and from work, took short trips to the market, etc.

The second was that the budding traffic engineer have a philosophical grounding in the absolute rightness of the other people in his discipline and the rulemaking by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Officials – yes, they have their own society; they need their support network). Most traffic engineers work for the government. Civil engineers that work in private practice tend to be more versatile.

Third, and most important, to become admitted to the profession, a budding traffic engineer must have the credentials necessary to become an Engineer In Training, but with testing results in the lower 1/4 of one's class. Then, if licensing is required, a passing grade with scores near the bottom.

Those qualifications help explain a lot of the traffic problems in the United States. Traffic engineers in foreign countries are held to entirely different standards depending on the country, some better, some worse, but all are characterized by their presence in the lower part of the qualification.

Yesterday's visit to the Villages, the new retirement community development in central Florida where a friend lives, revealed a new trend. The whole discipline of traffic engineering has taken as its goal to impede the flow of commerce. This endeavor reaches a maximum amount of intrusion where the roundabout (traffic circle) is used as in the Villages.

My trip was a reminder of these facts, and of the practices that result from the selection of ill intentioned engineers. The greatest example of these practices, and the one that hit me right between the eyeballs, concerns the huge bloom of roundabouts in the area where I visited.


In this densely packed development, traffic speeds approach the breakneck velocity of 15 miles an hour, sometimes peaking near the supersonic  20 miles an hour. The posted speed limit is 35, if you can accelerate quickly.


They are everywhere. I must have gone through 125 of them at the Villages.


And then, the final insult. On the way home, about 3 miles from my house, at the intersection of Dean Still Road and FL 20 there had risen, all on it's own and surreptitiously, a brand new roundabout. There was a cluster of traffic there, on that lightly traveled road that has seldom had a traffic jam, caused by this ill conceived product of some traffic engineer's fantasy. 


They are spreading. They have no human interaction for their design or construction. They need none, just traffic engineers.

This is fair warning. Beware!

**This is mostly surmise. I know of no different qualification for traffic engineers than for others. There should be some way of marking them, though. Something to make them easier to see in a telescopic site.