07/29/2011 01:55 AM -
i have discovered a new way to make pb&j sandwiches. these are seriously, by far, the best you will ever experience. some comments include:
oh my god. i just made and tried it.. making it exactly how it was made in the video and i am a changed man now. i don't think i could ever eat peanut butter and jelly again unless it has been prepared like this. the convenience is mind-blowing, everyone has pb&j and it's so easy to make. you don't have to worry about not cooking it for a certain time, only to what you feel is right. i didn't have any idea that food could taste this good.. until you posted this video. thank you, tsilb. ?
~ 0brinx0 comment on the youtube video
i tried them for breakfast this morning - you sir, have changed my life.
~ @shamsadh via twitter
go make this. go make it right now.
07/03/2011 06:08 PM -
for one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the fourth of july.
i remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as christmas. this was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.
no later than the third of july — sometimes earlier — dad would bring home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. we’d count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the fourth of july.
i’m afraid we didn’t give too much thought to the meaning of the day. and, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless handling of the fireworks. i’m sure we’re better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals. yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a giant “cracker” — giant meaning it was about 4 inches long. but enough of nostalgia.
somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. july fourth is the birthday of our nation. i believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.
there is a legend about the day of our nation’s birth in the little hall in philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. the men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. even so, to sign the declaration of independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words “treason, the gallows, the headsman’s axe,” and the issue remained in doubt.
the legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. he is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. he cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, “they may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. to the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. sign that parchment. sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever.”
he fell back exhausted. the 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. when they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.
well, that is the legend. but we do know for certain that 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.
what manner of men were they? twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. they were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. they had achieved security but valued freedom more. their stories have not been told nearly enough.
john hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. for more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. he died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
carter braxton of virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. and so it was with ellery, clymer, hall, walton, gwinnett, rutledge, morris, livingston and middleton. nelson personally urged washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for general cornwallis. nelson died bankrupt.
but they sired a nation
07/01/2011 02:23 AM -
the traffic system was designed poorly, and has many flaws that are glaringly obvious to the astute observer. herein, i describe just a handful of the most annoying ones:
if i stop at a red light, and i can clearly see there are no cars for a good distance (i.e. i know it's safe), there's no reason i should have to stay there. once i know it's safe to proceed, i should be free to proceed through the intersection. realistically, however, it should have seen me coming and changed ahead of time.
four way stops:
there should be no such thing as a four-way stop. one road should always yield to the other. the smaller road should always yield to the larger (main) road. equal roads should have their stop signs alternated; i.e. get right of way on odd-numbered intersections, but not even; or vice-versa.
speed limits should not exist. many factors are involved in deciding the maximum safe speed for a given stretch of road: road conditions, visibility, traffic type, traffic quantity, road straightness / curviness, vehicle maneuverability, driver skill, etc. no static number could ever possibly account for all these variables. speed limits are posted based on road classifications, not practical use.
if you can't figure out on your own how fast you can safely drive, you shouldn't have a license to begin with. there is no reason i should have to limit myself to 30mph on a three-lane road at night just because there's construction going on during the day.
the liability of accidents should be based on who actually caused the crash. according to colorado law, if one involved vehicle was in reverse, it's automatically deemed that driver's fault. i know this because i was once involved in an accident when i was in reverse. fortunately, so was the other guy. we'll call him eric, because that's his real name.
in my apartment complex parking lots, the roadways go right up to the buildings. i was backing out of my one-car garage. with about a foot of space on both sides of the car, i couldn't see what was coming until the car was halfway out of the garage. eric was on the adjoining roadway, backing up, and on my right side.
eric was watching for traffic through his passenger-side rear view mirror. the garages being on his left, he didn't notice when i pulled out behind him. i couldn't see him because there was a building in the way; but he could have seen me if only he had been watching where he was going.
the only way i could have possibly prevented the crash would be if i had a spotter. who's gonna use a spotter for pulling a car out of a garage? according to colorado law, we were both equally at fault. obviously, the liability should be placed on eric, who caused the crash. it was his irresponsible driving that caused it to occur. the worst part is that eric was an employee of the apartment complex. so now i park in the parking lot, where i can see what's going on around me.
laws that exist but are not enforced:
keep to the right except to pass. do not impede traffic. slower traffic keep right. turn into the closest lane if you're in the closest lane, proceeding one lane away for each lane away on the road you're turning from. lane 1 turns into lane 1. lane 2 into lane 2, and so forth.
bonus rant points:
there is no such thing as being completely safe. the purpose of the transit system is to get from one place to another. safety is important, but not as important as getting where you're going. if safety is more important to you, stay home. safety is not why we have the roads.
somehow, in the video, i managed to segway from that to the tea party movement.
america is based on freedom. freedom is based on minimizing restrictions and limitations. the more laws you have, the less free you are.
07/01/2011 02:11 AM -
most traffic engineers are doing a bad job.
picture this: you're sitting at a red light, waiting for the other side to turn yellow, so you know when your turn is coming up. the opposing road seems to stay green for minutes on end, with nary a car passing through it. eventually, it turns yellow, at the exact moment when a pack of cars approaches it.
now picture the other end of it: you're driving along a major road, making decent time, but impeded slightly by being in the middle of a pack of cars. suddenly, one of the lights turns yellow, right as your group gets close enough to have to slow down. you realize at that moment that, had you been going 10mph faster, you would have made it through that light; but alas, 'twas not meant to be.
this is exactly the opposite of how it should work. the light should turn green when the pack of cars gets close to it. either the lights are designed to do this, or the engineers aren't accounting for the actual speed of the vehicles. perhaps they're using the speed limit as a reference; but they have those hose-box things to measure traffic and speed, so obviously they have this data. why, then, do they program the lights to do exactly the wrong thing?
from what i understand, there are three basic types of traffic sensors at intersections: weight sensors, motion sensors, and some weird electromagnetic field sensor. i'm not exactly sure how that last one works, other than "poorly". when i pull up to a red light, if there are no cars on the other road, that light should see me and give me a green light. very few lights work this way. this is the proper way for low traffic.
for high traffic, it's a simple case of arithmetic. you know when the next light over turned green; you know how long it takes to get from there to here; simply add the two together, subtract a few seconds for human response time, and that's when this light should turn green.
the only applicable exception to this is vehicles that turned onto the road from a side street that doesn't have a light. obviously we can't do the same math for them, and we'll have to rely on the (less reliable) sensors. all traffic engineers should be required to do practical tests on their systems, including at night. traffic light mistakes are especially obvious at night.
07/01/2011 01:46 AM -
when you're approaching a red light, examine the lanes available. if the right lane is a shared right/straight lane, move one lane over. this way, you allow people to turn right on red. once you get through the intersection, move back over to the right. if you had stayed in the right lane, none of those people would have been able to turn and it would be your fault.
obviously this also applies to "left on red" for one-way roads turning onto one-way roads, and to countries that drive on the other side of the road. also obvious is that if there is a right-turn only lane, just go ahead and follow your standard "keep to the right" rules.
07/01/2011 01:27 AM -
there are only two valid reasons ever to drive in the left lane: you're passing someoneyou're about to turn or exit left, or you just turned/merged left and haven't had time to move over yet.
anything that slows you down -- i.e. gets in your way -- impedes the traffic system. if you're in the fast lane, and you're not passing anyone, you need to get a ticket. that's how it works on the autobahn; where traffic is highly successful in flowing freely. as if that were the whole purpose of the road system. that way, when you want to pass someone, you can.
the slowest people need to stay over to the outer (right) lane. when approaching an onramp or offramp, move one lane over if the merging and exiting traffic is moving slower than you, or if the slow lane doesn't offer enough space for traffic to merge. when the merging and exiting has finished, move back over.
people seem to have the wrong impression of how the left/inner lanes work. it's not a matter of personal preference; it's not even a matter of people being in your way. it's a matter of whether or not you're actually passing someone. the right lane is the default lane. you should be there at all times, unless you have a very specific reason not to be.
why is it that the police enforce laws that slow us down, but not the laws that speed us up? have you ever seen someone get pulled over for going too slow? i haven't; yet i see people getting pulled over for speeding all the time. watch for another rant on that topic.
highways should never have a "left" exit. all exits and merges should be on the right.
the most important thing to keep in mind, in this context, is that the only purpose of the road system is to get people from one place to another.