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Comment Data about the Crashes and Safety Implications (Score 3, Informative) 367

In general the data seems to suggest that yes, total crashes at the intersection will decrease (CMF = 0.8). CMF stands for Crash Modification Factor. Right-angle crashes will decrease (CMF = 0.67) and are generally more severe than rear-end crashes. Rear-end crashes may increase though (CMF = 1.45). Both groups generally tend to loudly argue their own point and both may be correct without listening to the whole safety argument. See and then search for "red light" and you'll see what I mean. All of this doesn't sort out the monetary costs and privacy aspects of the programs, but the safety data is reasonably easy to figure out so they can stop arguing over it.

Comment Re:Oregon's Final Report on Milage Taxes (Score 1) 792

Actually, the equivalent single axle load (ESAL) is 0.000019425 for the Fit and 0.0007716 for the F-150 (assuming equal distribution on axles). So really that F-150 does over 39 times the damage the Fit does. To be fair though, that's nothing compared to semis for which the legal single axle load is 18,000lbs for an ESAL of 1.0. Either way though, it doesn't take away from the fact they are doing the same amount of damage by traveling the same number of miles they were previously, and paying less to do so which is the entire point of the VMT tax. ESALs explained.

Comment Oregon's Final Report on Milage Taxes (Score 3, Insightful) 792

Since it doesn't look like anybody actually READ the report Oregon put out on milage taxes I'll provide a link to the report. The reports themselves are in the top right of the page. They realize there is a privacy issue. Transportation Research Board (TRB) who conducts millions of dollars of research each year realizes there is a privacy issue. They are working on it. Please stop yelling "The sky is falling" so loudly and let's have a well informed, civil discussion about this. The gas tax hasn't been increased in ~20 years, so we'll have to pay for new roads somehow. If you hadn't received a raise in 20 years you'd be looking for new sources of income too. On top of that, vehicles are getting more miles to the gallon (a good thing), but are still damaging the road the same amount and paying less to do so (a bad thing). Either way, I think I'm late to this discussion, but they are worthwhile reports to read and should be attached to every discussion on this topic. I'd guess this paper should be read too, but I haven't read it myself.

Comment Re:Strength? (Score 5, Insightful) 213

You're right in that we want strong and durable concrete. As another poster pointed out we are constantly changing the concrete mix proportions and admixtures. Admixes themselves are relatively new (~50 years) in the grand scheme of making concrete. It gets introduced slowly...and the universities then test it beyond belief for different properties. Maybe you'd like to be a grad student in civil engineering and make hundreds, or perhaps thousands of ever so slightly different mixes to determine the properties of your variable. I'm all for making concrete more "green" and I figure the universities and companies will test it before they use it in important projects.

Comment Re:Good for them for doing some research (Score 1) 414

I'm not sure that's the best analogy, although I'm sure mine is not much better. With yours generally somebody ELSE is accusing them of murder. GP's claim is one that is filed by the person, in their example rape. Perhaps a better version is "A person is accused of murder. They have previously been GUILTY of murder in the past, but in this case the person actually did NOT commit a murder this time." Is the jury likely to know this? I'm guessing it gets brought up in court. Just like I think prior accusations of rape should be. Note: I've seen how destructive accusations of rape can be to somebody, even if acquitted in the end. Yes, the accuser had a history of accusations.

Comment Re:Then find the Clearance Interval (Score 1) 740

Somewhere behind the "city" is hopefully a professional engineer (P.E.) who had to sign off on all of this. That's who's going to care if you find his/her timings are set incorrectly either on purpose or accidentally. And once it has been brought to their attention they had better be going to change it. So no, the politicians may or may not care about the signal timing, but their P.E. should. Maybe it's just me, but I'm of the opinion if you know something is wrong and have the means to fight it, do so. That would be one less signal timed incorrectly, but there are a lot of citizens, and only a few people in government. It all adds up. The government "works for us." Make them. I'm sure I don't know about other parts of government, but I'm hoping those who do will speak up and change it if it's wrong. When it becomes well known the lights aren't timed correctly they are all going to fight them, which means all of those cases are going to get tied up in the judicial system. Yes it takes our time, but it also takes the city's time to lose each of them. "Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties" from the ASCE code of ethics. If the P.E. gets called out for intentionally shorting the yellow interval they are in a world of trouble in staying licensed. Your third paragraph is on a tangent, I'll leave it be. And don't worry about ranting as long as you have coherent thoughts to discuss.

Submission + - How Would You Improve Homework? 1

Wellington Grey writes: "A Penn State study on homework find that more homework is not helpful:

"Instead of improving educational achievement in countries around the world, increases in homework may actually undercut teaching effectiveness," says David P. Baker. "Most teachers are not making efficient use of homework, they assign homework mostly as drill, to improve memorization of material either in math, science or the humanities."

My school has a policy that recommends about six hours of homework a night. A lot of this work seems like busy work that is not always beneficial to the students. What do you think is the appropriate amount of homework? More importantly, what would you do to improve the quality of homework? What kind of activities should the students be engaging in that aren't just math-drills?"
The Media

Reading the New York Times On a Kindle 2 193

reifman links to his thorough and thoughtful review of the experience of reading a newspaper on the Kindle 2. "I've been eager to try The New York Times on the Kindle 2; here's my review with a basic video walk-through and screenshots. I give the Kindle 2 version of The Times a B. Software updates could bring it up to an A-. Kindle designers should have learned more from the iPhone 3G. Unfortunately, my Kindle display scratched less than 24 hours after it arrived. As I detail in the review, Amazon customer service was not very accommodating. Is it my fault — or will Kindle 2 evolve into an Apple 1G Nano-like $22.5M settlement? You can read about Hearst's e-reader for newspapers from earlier today on Slashdot."
The Internet

Submission + - Is old boys club choking UK broadband? (

Barence writes: "Former colleagues connect everything from the Ofcom boardroom to the Government, to Britain's biggest broadband companies. While Britain struggles with broadband speeds that are slower than those of Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, those at the forefront of the industry pat themselves on the back for a job well done. The question is whether our internet is suffering as a result of the ties that connect the senior players in the British broadband industry. This article exposes the connections are keeping UK broadband down."

Comment Re:Another Anecdote (Score 1) 353

Assuming you were traveling at the posted speed limit and that the clearance interval timing was within the legal limits you shouldn't have to break as hard as you say you must. The downtown loop may have been re-timed within the last 3 years as well. The whole Kansas City area is in the midst of re-timing many of the traffic lights on arterial streets. See Operation Green Light for more information.

New York City Street Lights To Go LED 303

eldavojohn writes "Wired has a short piece on NYC's new street light project. I don't think we need to belabor the many benefits that LEDs hold over traditional light bulbs, but the finishing touches are being addressed, and they will hopefully be put into place sometime next year. This design won a competition back in 2004, and OVI has been whittling down the prototypes. At $1.175 million, this sounds like a pretty cheap deal considering the DOE forked over $21 million to 13 R&D projects along the same lines."

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