a collection of musings and interesting finds
25 Feb 09
Bicycles are motorcycles with organic engines.
— Serge Issakov, rephrasing a concept put forth by Wayne Pein; Why clarity in the law is important (ChainGuard-ML msg #26760); 20090223
23 Feb 09
You fear the powerful eye of genius, that is why you encourage ignorance. Tis opium you feed your people, so that, drugged, they do not feel their hurts…
— Marquis de Sade; Juliette; 1797
23 Feb 09
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people …
— Karl Marx; A Contribution to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, introduction; 1843.
23 Feb 09
Religion is not the opiate of the masses; religion is the placebo of the masses.
— "Gregory House, M.D."; episode 515, Unfaithful; originally aired 20090216
12 Feb 09
Medical decisions must be made by qualified persons; legal decisions must be made by qualified persons; cycling decisions should only be made by qualified (knowledgeable) persons.
— Jim Grayson commenting upon legislators passing laws based upon flawed understanding of cyclist’s needs.
Jim Grayson; Re: Madison Door Zone Law; Chainguard, 20090211
12 Feb 09

Colliding Satellites

Experts are calling it an “unprecedented event.” Two large satellites have collided in Earth orbit. Kosmos 2251 crashed into Iridium 33 on Tuesday, Feb. 10th, approximately 800 km over northern Siberia; both were destroyed. The resulting clouds of debris contain more than 500 fragments, significantly increasing the orbital debris population at altitudes where the collision occurred. The Air Force Space Surveillance Radar is monitoring the clouds as they pass over the radar facility in Texas. We, in turn, are monitoring signals from the radar and you may be able to hear debris “pings” by tuning in to our live audio feed. This is a story that will unfold in the days ahead as researchers study the evolution of the debris clouds and piece together the details of the collision.

Stay tuned to http://spaceweather.com for full coverage.

06 Feb 09

DART Ridership - 200812

DART ridership up in December

DART ridership in December was up, the transit agency said Thursday.

Bus trips jumped 3.4 percent compared with the same month in 2007. Ridership on TRE commuter lines increased 15.9 percent, and DART light rail was up 8 percent.

Meanwhile, toll traffic on NTTA’s roads eased. Toll transactions were down on both Dallas North Tollway and the Bush Turnpike in the first full week of December.

Michael A. Lindenberger

source: Dallas Morning News; “Local briefs”; 20090205

30 Jan 09

"Safe Passing" proposal

The following is proposed language for a bill submitted during the 81st Texas Legislative Session. It have been designated SB488 (sponsored by Rodney Ellis and John Carona) and (following revision) HB827 (sponsored by Linda Harper-Brown).

  	relating to the operation of a motor vehicle in the vicinity of a
  	vulnerable road user; providing penalties.
  	       SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 545, Transportation Code,
  	is amended by adding Section 545.428 to read as follows:
  	       Sec. 545.428.  VULNERABLE ROAD USERS. (a) In this section,
  	"vulnerable road user" means:
  	             (1)  a pedestrian, including a runner, physically
  	disabled person, child, skater, highway construction and
  	maintenance worker, utility worker, other worker with legitimate
  	business in or near the road or right of way, or stranded motorist
  	or passenger;
  	             (2)  a person on horseback; or
  	             (3)  a person operating equipment other than a motor
  	vehicle, including a bicycle, motorcycle, horse-driven conveyance,
  	or unprotected farm equipment.
  	       (b)  An operator of a motor vehicle passing a vulnerable road
  	user operating on a highway or street shall:
  	             (1)  vacate the lane in which the vulnerable road user
  	is located if the highway has two or more marked lanes running in
  	the same direction; or
  	             (2)  pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.
  	       (c)  For the purposes of Subsection (b)(2), the operator is
  	presumed to have passed the vulnerable road user at a safe distance
  	if the distance between the operator's vehicle and the vulnerable
  	road user is more than:
  	             (1)  three feet if the operator's vehicle is a passenger
  	car or light truck; or
  	             (2)  six feet if the operator's vehicle is a truck other
  	than a light truck or a commercial motor vehicle as defined by
  	Section 522.003.
  	       (d)  An operator of a motor vehicle that is making a left turn
  	at an intersection, including an intersection with an alley or
  	private road or driveway, shall yield the right-of-way to a
  	vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction
  	and is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection
  	as to be an immediate hazard.
  	       (e)  An operator of a motor vehicle may not overtake a
  	vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and
  	subsequently make a right-hand turn in front of the vulnerable road
  	user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable road
  	user, taking into account the speed at which the vulnerable road
  	user is traveling and the braking requirements of the vehicle
  	making the right-hand turn.
  	       (f)  An operator of a motor vehicle may not maneuver the
  	vehicle in a manner that:
  	             (1)  is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to
  	a vulnerable road user; or
  	             (2)  threatens a vulnerable road user.
  	       (g)  An operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care
  	to avoid colliding with any vulnerable road user on a roadway or in
  	an intersection of roadways.
  	       (h)  A person may not open the door on the side of a vehicle
  	that is adjacent to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to
  	open the door without interfering with the movement of traffic,
  	including vulnerable road users. A person may not leave a door open
  	on the side of a vehicle that is adjacent to moving traffic for a
  	period longer than necessary to load or unload passengers or goods.
  	       (i)  A person may not harass, taunt, or throw an object or
  	liquid at or in the direction of any vulnerable road user.
  	       (j)  A violation of this section is punishable under Section
  	542.401 except that:
  	             (1)  if the violation results in property damage, the
  	violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not to exceed
  	$500; or
  	             (2)  if the violation results in bodily injury, the
  	violation is a Class B misdemeanor.
  	       (k)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that
  	at the time of the offense the vulnerable road user was a person
  	operating a bicycle in violation of Section 551.103 or
  	       (l)  If conduct constituting an offense under this section
  	also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or
  	the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or
  	both sections.
  	       SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

This is bad for vehicular cyclists, who - along with slow moving vehicles in general - were the original beneficiaries. By including the terminology “vulnerable road users” (many of which are not even legitimate vehicles), the sponsors have opened the door to subsequent, protectionist laws targeting cyclists and have delegitimized our recognition as vehicles. For the broadest benefit, the verbiage must remain generalized and apply to a blanket beneficiary termed simply “slow moving vehicles”.

Let more appropriate sections of the Transportation Code address the needs of pedestrians.

28 Nov 07
You don’t have to be a security expert to see that notarization doesn’t provide any strong security to the signature authentication process. For some time the real value it has conferred is in its ceremonial aspects, reinforcing in the signatories that they are performing an important and official act.
Electronic Notarization
Internet Infrastructure Features Staff, 20071120.
21 Nov 07

behold missing link
cdesign proponentsists
enlightened best!