Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

Posts tagged ‘Weird’

Asleep at the intersection

Today, while waiting to cross the street, I saw something that should never happen.

Here in BC, at many intersections, there are left turn lanes. In some of them, the traffic light will show a green arrow that gives right of way to those turning left. The crosswalk I was at was one such intersection. And as you might expect, the left turn arrows came on in both directions. However, there were no vehicles in either left turn lane.

Is it not obvious that the above situation leads to unnecessary idling, and therefore wastes energy? I see no reason why it is impossible to put a sensor in a left turn lane that, that while the light is red, detects and counts the cars passing over. Perhaps it could detect cars by pushing down slightly when a set of wheels passes over. This will happen twice per car (once per axle). The cars’ weight could press the sensor down. While not perfect (a semi or other long vehicle with more than two axles would result in an incorrect number of vehicles) this will be a good enough approximation to form a sensor system. The number of cars passing into the left turn lane could then be used to decide whether to activate the arrow the next time the light turns green. This system would prevent unnecessary idling due to unneeded turning arrows, and ought to be relatively simple to implement (a computer could probably do it).

FAIL of the day

Today, I had to take a carpool home from work. Since the Lower Mainland is right near the US border, we get a couple of US radio stations. The driver had on one such station. And do you want to know what ad I heard on the way home?

An ad for the US’s Small Business Administration loans.

During a government shutdown.


And another irony meter bites the dust

Look at this rubbish by one of Serena Joy’s relatives. I’d like to draw your attention to the big photograph accompanying it at the top (screenshot below).


Does the big photograph right below the title look familiar?

Look familiar?

It should, because the photograph is actually one of Lela McArthur (left), and Stephanie Figarelle (right), the first same–sex couple to get married at the Empire State Building.

In other words, a screed against gender equality is accompanied by a photograph of a same–sex couple, an example of an institution that helps to increase gender equality.

You really, really can’t make this up.

And speaking of same–sex marriage, I strongly suspect that much conservative opposition to it is rooted in misogyny. As Echidne (and others) have argued, same–sex marriage subverts traditional/stereotypical gender roles. In (say) a marriage between two women, it can be a partnership of equals or not. If it is a partnership of equals, than neither is in the stereotypical submissive “feminine” role. If it is not  partnership between equals, than one partner (who, be definition, is female) must be in the stereotypical dominant “masculine” role. It therefore means that some woman is adopting a stereotypical masculine gender role in her marriage. The same reasoning applies to a same–sex marriage between two men. If it is a partnership of equals, than neither partner is dominant or submissive. If it is not a partnership of equals, than one man must be in a stereotypical submissive feminine role. Either way, either neither partner is in their sex’s stereotypical gender role, or else one partner is, but you cannot tell which purely by determining their gender. As Echidne put it (my emphasis):

“I cannot help thinking that those who are opposed to same-sex marriage might be opposed to the idea of a marriage where they cannot tell, right off the bat, who should be the high priest and who the congregation in the family. In other words, they treasure the patriarchal form of marriage more than the idea that the partners should be of different genders.”

Via Jessica Valenti.

Update: The picture has been removed. But I saved a screenshot. The internet never forgets.

Update 2: Figarelle released a statement. You can read it at Feministing.

Link farm and a random thought

In no particular order:

The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.

Quote of the day (emphasis added):

“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”

I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.

Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).

I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).

Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.

Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.

And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?

This post has been edited since publication.


Today is December 12, 2012, also spelled 12–12–12. It is the last day with that sort of pattern for decades. Let’s mark the occasion together.


While leaving a comment at another blog, which is written only in the English language, I was required to enter a CAPTCHA. This was part of the CAPTCHA I was required to enter:


What does this say?


The first word was “ipWein” (see update), but what is the second? Now, since I only speak English, I chose a new CAPTCHA (which was fine). But this got me wondering; what exactly is the second word? (Since this is a CAPTCHA, it’s possible that this is no word in particular and instead is just a string of abugida characters.) It’s obviously written in some Indian script. To me, it looks like it’s probably Telugu, but it might possibly be Malayalam. Distorted Sinhala or Burmese are much less likely possibilities. So, if any of my readers happen to know what the second word is, please let know. Thank you.

Update: This post originally displayed the whole CAPTCHA, but I cropped the image to remove any possibly trademarked parts of the screenshot. A picture of text alone has no interface/form, and therefore displays nothing trademarkable.

No fat lady in a horned helmet over here

The Arbourist’s partner, The Intransigent One, is a choral soprano who has received some vocal training. She has even taught herself arias. The Arbourist himself sings in a choir but mostly plays the piano. With that information in mind, I wonder they think of this video, another incarnation of the “Sh*t people say” meme:

It’s Sh*t Opera Singers Say, and is brought to you by mezzo–soprano Jennifer Rivera and Tenor William Ferguson.

Some trivia: The song sung when she puts on all those scarves is not a made up, but rather is a few measures of what is arguably the best–known opera excerpt sung by women, the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also known as Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. The fact that she doesn’t reach F6 shows she’s no coloratura soprano.

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