Monday, June 16, 2008

MNDOT strikes again!

What in the world is wrong with the Minnesota Department of Transportation? I have driven thousands of miles of Interstate and I have NEVER seen ANY interstate highway completely shut down for resurfacing. What normally happens is they close one lane, resurface it, open it back up, close the other lane, resurface that one, then open it up again. Thanks to them, I didn't get to church Sunday morning. I wasn't late -- I couldn't even get out of the city!

Let's see how many ways MNDOT has angered me since I moved here.
  1. Wavy roads. (I-90 westbound when you first enter the state.)
  2. Snow accumulation that doesn't get plowed for hours, if at all.
  3. Potholes big enough swallow up small cars. This could be one reason why Minnesota has more trucks than cars or vans.
  4. Bridges that randomly fall in the river. (Well, one so far.)
  5. Unmarked highway entrances.
  6. Randomly closed highway entrances.
  7. Poorly planned roads that spawn HUGE traffic jams, turning a 15-minute commute into an hour-long ordeal.
  8. Northbound highway entrances with no corresponding southbound entrance.
  9. Westbound highway entrances with no corresponding eastbound entrance.
  10. Abnormally narrow lanes.
All in all, it's the worst state I've ever driven in. It's almost as bad as driving in Canada.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

21 less-than-obvious ways to save the planet

There are many ways to save the planet. One recent planet-saving fad has been replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. But there are many far-less obvious and just as important planet-saving methods. Here are a few:
  1. Go to bed as soon as it gets dark out. It should save you a bundle on electricity.
  2. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. It's good exercise! 30 floors isn't that much! It takes a lot of energy to move that box up and down. Of course, you can always elevator-pool to save energy.
  3. Drink tap water instead of bottled. It takes a lot of CO2 to get that stuff from Fiji!
  4. Walk or bike to work! It's not THAT far.
  5. Replace your electric guitar with an acoustic one. The less you have to plug in the better.
  6. Read a book instead of watching TV. It must not be a new book, however. Those require trees to be cut down.
  7. Hum instead of listening to the radio. If you really need to hear music, walk to the grocery store. They usually have music playing there.
  8. Get your pizza delivered instead of picking it up. The delivery guy is going out anyway. You might as well save the fuel in your own vehicle.
  9. Move to a warm climate. You'll save money by having no heating bills in the winter. (Air conditioning is for wusses).
  10. Shorten your commute by moving closer to where you work. Bonus if you can work from home, or live in the same building as where you work.
  11. Skip a meal a few times a week. Calories are energy too!
  12. Send an email instead of writing a letter. (Use someone else's computer so you don't have to turn yours on.)
  13. Watch church on TV instead of driving to one. You don't talk to anyone anyways, so why not? Bonus if you can watch it on someone else's TV. Radio is acceptable too.
  14. Sleep as often as you can. You won't be needing the lights or appliances, and you can save on food by sleeping through mealtimes!
  15. Grow a garden! Build a rainwater collector to irrigate it, so you don't have to use tap water. Freeze what you can't eat so there is no waste.
  16. Eat whatever you can raw. That way you save the electricity you'd normally use cooking your food. If you need to cook something, find some dead leaves and twigs in your yard and burn them to cook your food.
  17. Replace your electric alarm clock with a mechanical alarm clock, if you can still find one.
  18. Live in a city. Cities consume less energy per person than small towns. Plus, they often have public transportation, which is a great way to meet people.
  19. Don't be poor. Poor people often can't afford to adopt planet-saving habits. Remember, saving money is not the same as saving the planet! Saving the planet requires all of us to make financial sacrifices. You can't make financial sacrifices if you are poor.
  20. Don't own any unnecessary animals, like chameleons, monkeys or cats. Dogs are okay only if they help you catch food so you don't have to drive to the store.
  21. Die. Dying saves the planet by eliminating the CO2 emitted providing you with sustenance as well as preventing any further CO2 emission via respiration. Additionally, you restore vital nutrients to the soil. Bonus for dying before you get the chance to reproduce.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunset on Mars

Very cool. And not from BBC News.

UPDATE: High-res version here (like for computer desktop backgrounds)

Brigitte Bardot no longer that hot

Apparently Brigitte Bardot has been fined for "for inciting racial hatred". According to BBC News, "She was prosecuted over a letter published on her website that complained Muslims were 'destroying our country by imposing their ways'." My, my! What would Charles Martel say? Well I have to defend her because a mistrust of foreigners is typically part of a nationalistic attitude in almost any nation. (It just happens to be illegal in France.) I don't think it "incites hatred".

Here in America, it is not illegal to say such things, but Muslims certainly do not "impose their ways" here in St. Paul; they just wear Islamic clothes, speak Islamic languages, eat Islamic foods and publish Islamic newspapers. The history of America is full of immigrants who came here and were vilified by the resident population. Italians, Irish, Germans, Chinese -- all have become an inextricable part of American culture. But it is perfectly natural to want to protect the culture you know, even if that means excluding others. It's not hatred, it's just opinion.

Obama / Hillary '08

Apparently Ms. Clinton is "open" to being Obama's VP candidate. It may be a handy way for Obama to clinch the November election, but if I were him I think I'd get some extra security guards. And not sit next to the VP while eating. And hide behind her during public appearances.