Traffic, People Simply Don’t Understand

I went into Atlanta a couple of times last week. The first trip was to the Auto show at the Georgia World Congress Center. I drove to the nearest MARTA (subway/train) and caught a train downtown. A very pleasant ride. The next day my wife and I drove through Atlanta to visit our daughter. Traffic was terrible! The irony of the traffic situation in Atlanta became very clear. Everyone who has to drive in and around Atlanta complains endlessly about how bad the traffic is. They keep asking the Department of Transportation to build more roads, widen existing roads etc. While you are actually in that horrible traffic, hardly moving at all, you notice that you are surrounded by cars with one occupant and lots of tractor trailers. People will not car pool and they will not take public transit. Companies continue to ship freight all over the country by tractor trailer even though that is the most inefficient way to do it.

Seems that everywhere except Georgia, governments realizes that public transportation is essential to a well run city to both prevent traffic congestion and lower pollution. You could pave the whole state and still not have enough roads for all those single occupant cars. Asking for more roads is not the solution! Recently in the news, Gwinnette County held a referendum on extending Atlanta’s public transportation system (MARTA) into that county. As with all such referendums in the past, it failed. People in Georgia have always opposed public transportation. You can not have it both ways people! Where is the logic; you demand less traffic, but refuse to car pool or use public transit. You get to choose one or the other, not all of the above!

The number of tractor trailer that are clogging up our highways annoys me greatly. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates started investing in railroads a few years because they knew the reality. For moving freight, trains are hundreds of times more efficient than trucks. However most long haul freight goes by truck these days. This may be convenient but it is expensive and polluting. Freight moved between cities should be done by train, and trucks only used for local deliveries. We endure higher than necessary prices because companies will not ship goods by the most efficient means and we endure higher that required levels of traffic on our roads. A looser all the way around.

Bottom line, don’t complain about the traffic and then refuse to do the logical things to fix it.

I Hate Daylight Saving Time; Let’s Dump It

At least Donald Trump gets it, even if few other lawmakers do:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6795547/Trump-endorses-making-Daylight-Savings-Time-PERMANENT.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

This bi-annual change in time keeping is annoying. DST was conceived in the late 1800 and implemented in the early 1900. It was a good idea then but the world has changed significantly in the last 100 years. DST is obsolete in this day and age, and annoying. Yet governments that can never agree on anything, can not agree to abandon it. Granted, in the scheme of the world today, this issue is pretty insignificant; but it is still annoying. To muddy the waters even more, the powers that be occasionally change the dates of implementation.

The title of the 1916 Act that implemented DST in the US says it all with regards to the stupidity of governments; “An Act To Preserve Daylight”. We all thought the earth’s orbit around the sun controlled daylight, but here is a government decree that says that a simple act of government can control it.

Perhaps there is hope yet:

https://www.msn.com/en-sg/money/news/lawmakers-are-pushing-to-make-daylight-savings-time-permanent/vi-BBUEB5L

Superbowl is Not a Game!

With a Superbowl game looming I must reflect again that this event is about as far from a sporting event as it could possibly be. Professional football today is big business, a media event, an entertainment extravaganza. The whole process is more akin to the production of a blockbuster movie (a work of fiction). There is nothing sporting or sports related about it, except for the fact that a ball is involved.

We have a bunch of over paid, over privileged actors (referred to as football players) who have publicly stated that they feel their most important roll is political activism and that being a football celebrity is simply a means to achieve that end. How can we call that sporting? And what are the big media stories surrounding the Superbowl; it is, who are the most politically correct entertainers to employ for the halftime show.

For us who live in the Atlanta area, the next biggest story is the unprecedented level of security that will surround “game” week. Atlanta will be an armed camp with security greater than a maximum security prison. I certainly understand that this level of security is necessary in today’s political environment. But it does underscore the fact that Superbowl is more like a rock concert than a sporting event.

Of course, after the event there will be lots of hype about which of the rich and famous people attended the event to be seen, as well as to see. Then again, the rich and famous people are the only ones who can afford the cost of attending.

I am all for calling things what they really are. Professional football is a group of commercial enterprises who are in the entertainment business (like movie studios). There is a single goal in any of the events; to make money, just like any other successful commercial enterprise. It is time to quit referring to Superbowl and other professional football events as games or sporting events.

More on Racial Labels and The Fickle Media

I get so annoyed when I hear the media using racial/ethnicity labels to describe people; as if that were a relevant fact to any news story.  Again a few days ago I heard a news reporter mention that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is the first  “mixed race” member of the British royal family.  Because her father was Caucasian and her mother was African-American they felt it necessary to put a label on her ethnicity. In these times we should be morally and socially evolved enough that sub-divisions of the human race is not required. 

It is even harder to follow how the media define these new labels that they constantly create for their news stories. The press chose to label the past president of the US, Barack Obama as America’s first black president.  His parentage ( Caucasian mother and African father) enabled the press to label him as “black” rather than “mixed race”. 

So, let me see if I can decode the definition behind these two media labels. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Media definition of  “mixed race” –

If your father is Caucasian and your mother is African-American your media label is  “mixed race”.

Media definition of  “black” –

If your mother is Caucasian and her father is African-American your media label is  “black”.

Confused yet? I am.

WordCamp 2018 – Nashville

I use a web publishing system; also called a Content Management System (CMS), named WordPress to compose and publish this blog. I have been using WordPress for a couple of years and learning as I go. I decided to dig deeper into WordPress by attending this week’s “WordCamp US” in Nashville Tennessee. You can see details of the  agenda etc. at – https://2018.us.wordcamp.org/

WordCamps happen several times per year in different cities around the world.  This one consisted of 3 days of in-depth presentations by WordPress developers and insiders. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see some behind the scenes details.

WordCamp US, Nashville, Dec, 2018Several companies that offer web and WordPress services and software add-on products had booths set up to demonstrate their products.

There were approximately 2000 attendees and most of the sessions were packed like this one. I will definitely attend future WordCamps when I get the opportunity.

My Visit to Oak Island, Nova Scotia

I have watched the show “The Curse of Oak Island” on History Channel since its beginning.  The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel

I grew up in Nova Scotia and the Oak Island is about 90 miles from my boyhood home. I had heard the stories of the island, the rumors that Captain Kid’s treasure was buried there, and the treasure hunters who looked for it.

The History Channel series covers the most extensive efforts to date to solve the mystery and find what, if anything, is buried on Oak Island. Brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, along with their partners Craig Tester, Dan Blankenship and David Blankenship, work to fulfill a life-long dream and solve the 220-year-old Oak Island mystery.

While I was in Nova Scotia, Canada this summer I decided to visit Oak Island and see first hand the place I had seen so often on TV, while sitting at home in Georgia, USA. I found out from the Web  Oak Island Tours   that tours of the island were only available by reservation and only on Saturday and Sunday. Further 2018 tours were totally booked. However, anyone could visit the The Interpretative Centre on the island. The center is open from May 19 to October 14, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

Causeway

A view of the causeway connecting the island to the mainland.

Still seemed to be worth the 90 mile drive from my cabin in Nova Scotia. You may be wondering how you drive to an island. Well the island is only a few hundred feet off shore and the treasure hunters have built a narrow, one lane, causeway to the island to get construction equipment etc. to the dig site. The public is allowed to use the causeway to get to the Interpretative Centre on the island.

Interpretative Centre

My wife and I arrive at the Interpretive Centre

On July 16 my wife and I, along with two friends, drove to Oak Island. As I had learned from the information on the web, the area where the digging was going on was gated an only crew allowed in. I really enjoyed seeing all the exhibits in the Interpretative Centre. Artifacts that I had seen being recovered on previous television shows were on display.

 

 

However the highlight of the visit was when a number of the cast members from the TV show showed up in front of the “War Room”, which is also outside the fence, in the public area. Even more surprising, the stopped and talked to the visitors and even invited them to take pictures. The thrill of the day, I got to shake hands with Rick Lagina and introduce myself to him. Marty was absent. Then they let several people including me have pictures taken with the group. Some lady in the crowd was kind enough to take my picture with my phone.

Oak Island Crew

Myself surrounded by the crew from “The Curse of Oak Island”

The people in the above picture are, left to right: Paul Troutman, Doug Crowell, Craig Tester, Me, Rick Lagina, David Blankenship, Charles Barkhouse

Such a friendly group; and no, this was not the typical touristy scam where they take the pictures of you and then try and sell them to you. There is no charge to get on the island, no charge to tour the Interpretative Centre, and no charge to talk to the celebrities.