Living Really Green in the Big City

Living Really GREEN In The Big City – How a Middle-Aged Man Does It In Central Phoenix

Until he retired at age 50, John was well-employed and spending his money on the usual middle-class things: cars, TVs, computers and so on.  Then he bought a fixer-upper house and began to question his lifestyle.  He had become addicted to his computer games and his TV.  So, he unplugged the computer and limited TV usage to viewing movies on VHS tapes.  Most significantly, he began a crusade to limit his consumption of electricity, natural gas, water and gasoline.  Today, he uses little more electricity than enough to power one refrigerator, only three therms per year of natural gas, about two “units” of water per month, and rides one of his bicycles, uses public transportation or walks to get around Phoenix.  How he got there is the subject of this story.

 

[to be continued]

Toyota’s Safety “Brake-To-Idle” Cannot Work If Computerized

The brake-to-idle safety feature required by Federal Regulations to be on all newer cars CANNOT work if it depends on the existing car’s Computer(s) to detect two conditions and control the throttle; a separate and independent device is required

In simplified form, this safety feature reduces the engine speed to idle if the brake and the accelerator (gas pedal) are depressed at the same time.  To work, two conditions must be detected and one operation must be accomplished.  The two conditions are the gas pedal position and the brake pedal status; the operation is the closing of the throttle to idle position.  If these things depend of the car’s main computer, then the feature cannot work if that computer freezes or otherwise crashes.

Computer crashes or freezes were the cause of Toyota’s sudden unintended problems a few years ago (not floor mats or driver error).  When the computer malfunctioned, the driver had, except for brakes and steering, almost no control over his or her car, especially over the engine or the transmission.  In most cases, the brakes were not powerful enough to stop the car.  The driver could not shift the transmission into neutral or turn off the engine.  The crashes were often deadly!

It seems to me that if the main computer has serious problems, it may not be able to detect the position of the gas pedal or the depressed status of the brake pedal and may not be able to cause the throttle towards closure.  Or, it may not be able to compare the positions of the gas pedal and the brake pedal and perform the operation of closing the throttle.

If, however, the feature uses a separate and independent “computer” or some sort of ultra-reliable logic processor, then the feature may work.  I will do further research and report back later.

Note that I recently bought a 2013 Toyota that has this feature but was not told about it by the dealer’s personnel.  As a result, I was almost struck in the rear when I changed lanes and could not accelerate because I was resting my left foot on the brake pedal (a safety habit I use to reduce my reaction time in case of emergency).  Now I have to keep my left foot off the brakes to avoid activating this so-called safety feature while losing my ability to be a safer driver by resting my left foot gently on the brakes when a situation appears to require prompt braking.  So much for governmental regulations!!

More to come …

Trump Makes America Great with World War III

I Voted for Trump to Make America Great Again – via World War III                                                                                                             Dick Gayer,  11 March 2017

President Trump is a remarkable man who will apply business principles to improve our economy for Americans of all socio-economic classes.  But in order to make America great again, he must start or get into a world wide nuclear war against a recognized enemy of the Free World.  Such enemies include Russia, China and North Korea.

Since even China does not like North Korea, Trump will probably select that enemy as his starting point.  Moreover, he will probably be able to obtain United Nations approval of such an action.  The problem with North Korea as a target is that any attack on that country exposes South Korea to substantial harm.  But, where is another target?

Trump could decide on the Chinese installations on islands in the South China Sea, but those may not be large enough for greatness.  Besides, China is almost a kind of ally, since countless American companies manufacture their products there.  As a result, North Korea must be the first target.

I believe that Trump is likely to sacrifice South Korea in order to seek his greatness and restore that of America.

 

Marijuana: When I Was a Child, I Thought as a Child, But …

When I was a child, I thought as a child, but I did not DARE speak my thoughts for fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed.  Through my teenage years, I thought that using certain psychoactive drugs to wake up in the morning, facilitate social interaction and relieve headaches was a sign of moral weakness.  Of course, I am referring to caffeine, alcohol and aspirin, all legal but all having some or great potential for abuse.

Our only legal drug for relaxation and relief of stress is alcohol, but alcohol is likely to be addictive for about ten percent of the population.  In addition, alcohol is known to cause many of its drinkers to become verbally loud and physically violent (in addition to impairing their driving).  We need something safer, and that drug is marijuana.  Marijuana is a calming drug and has not been observed to result in violent or other dangerous behavior.  It is an excellent choice for relaxing; if you use too much, you just go to sleep.  In addition, its psychoactive effects wear off in a few hours (although its metabolites remain for over one week).

On the subject of driving, the State of Washington years ago tested many people on a driving simulator on the effects of intoxicating amounts of marijuana.  They discovered only one impairment: driving somewhat BELOW the speed limit!

In these times when many people are stressed out from having to work at two jobs (or more) to support their families, they may fail at both tasks if their only choice is alcohol.  Since they probably face having to work on five or six (or even seven) consecutive days, they need “immediate” relief from their continuing stress.  Getting relaxed through will power is NOT an option for these people.

I, and perhaps you the reader, have been fortunate enough to obtain a good education and enjoy employment that provides sufficient income from just one job.  Nearly all of my jobs (except for delivering newspapers as a teenager) have been enjoyable and I have with rare exception looked forward to going to work.  But both of us know that most people have not been so fortunate.  They are suffering from the continuing consequences of the Great Recession, despite a decrease in statistical unemployment.

Of course, no mind-altering drug should ever be used by children or anyone else under (say) 21, and the proposed legalization of marijuana would not alter any laws that currently protect children and teenagers from unsuitable drugs.

 

No-Fly, No-Buy (Guns), No Due Process – UN-AMERICAN!

No-Fly, No-Buy (Guns), No Due Process – UN-AMERICAN!

Many years ago, the United States government instituted a “No-Fly List” in an attempt to prevent terrorists from boarding airplanes. This is a secret list, so secret that you cannot find out if you are on it before it is too late.  There is no stated procedure to ask about your status on the list, and no way to ask the government to remove your name from it.  You get the bad news only when you try to obtain a boarding pass for your flight.  Since there is no “due process” as required by the Fourteenth Amendment for deprivations of liberty, the list is unconstitutional and very Un-American.

Today, the government wants to prevent people on that list from buying a firearm, again without any due process.  Note carefully that placement on the No-Buy (Guns) list results automatically from being on the No-Fly list, without any other consideration.  Nothing that shows that you would be a responsible gun owner or are already the responsible owner of another gun will be considered.  Yes, this is the United States of America!

First, there may be no connection between the reason for No-Fly and a reason for No-Buy.  The person may have disrupted a flight and forced the airplane to land immediately for his or her removal as a passenger.  That has nothing to do with that person’s owning a gun for self-protection at home.  Second, the government may have made a mistake by confusing that person with another with a similar name and age.  Third, the government may have practiced racial or religious profiling by assuming that all or most Muslims or Mormons are potential terrorists.  Fourth, the government may have acted in response to a demand or bribe from a powerful or otherwise influential person or corporation.  I could continue …

In general, when a government wants to deprive you of a privilege, you get prior notice of that and a chance to respond in writing and/or at a hearing of some kind.  For example, if the Motor Vehicles administration wants to suspend your driver’s license, it sends you a written notice of its reasons for doing so (e.g., drunk driving) with instructions on how to object and present your position.  If the your license is then suspended, you are usually given an administrative procedure for appealing that decision, and often an optional review by a state court.

In the No-Fly situation, you get nothing but sudden death when you try to board an airplane.  If you are on the No-Fly list, then you will get the same sudden death when you try to buy a gun.  You will not be advised of any reason for your punishment, and the gun store will also be in the dark.  This compound due process violation also violates your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  You might say “you gotta be kidding”, that is Un-American, but the government will just stonewall you.  Of course, you can obtain a gun privately and legally, so the No-Fly, No-Buy rule is likely be largely ineffective and cause people to avoid gun stores when buying a firearm.  Only the 100% law abiding citizen will be punished!

As you might guess, there is at least one lawsuit and it is progressing through the *** Circuit in the Federal system.

**********[to be continued]***********