Smart freeways

Science and progress march on. Soon the freeways in southern California will be smarter than half the drivers on them.

A little bit of the future is coming to Los Angeles freeways later this year in the form of “smart” road studs that gauge road conditions and traffic flow and open and close a freeway lane accordingly.

Caltrans has contracted with a New Zealand company to pilot the “dynamic-lane” system on the 110 Freeway where traffic backs up in a tunnel at the single-lane connector to northbound Interstate 5. At peak hours, the “smart studs” would illuminate to automatically open a second connector lane on the 110, easing the long lines.

Despite a couple of delays — the $3.2-million project had been set to roll out this month — a Caltrans engineer said it’s on target to launch in November and, if successful, could be installed at other L.A. County junctions.

The birther conspiracy: a short play

From Daily Kos:

Conservative: I don’t believe you were born in the United States. I demand you show me your birth certificate.

Liberal: OK, here it is.

Conservative: I’m not going away, damn it. I demand to see your real birth certificate.

Liberal: I told you, it’s right here.

Conservative: I demand you put it on the web, so everyone can see it.

Liberal: I already did. You can see it right here. Just look at it.

Conservative: Some guy in Mississippi says it looks fake. I demand you show me your secret birth certificate.

Liberal: I don’t have a secret birth certificate. This is it. I put it on the web.

Conservative: Conspiracy! Conspiracy! I can see now you’re hiding something! I demand to see your birth certificate!

Liberal: It’s Right. F—ing. Here. Ten thousand people across the planet have printed it out.

Conservative: Those are copies. I want to see the original.

Liberal: Lots of reporters have seen the original. I can’t bloody send it around to every conservative nutcase in America, one at a time, like a birth certificate chain letter.

(long pause)

Conservative: I don’t believe you have a checking account. I demand to know your account number, routing number, pin number, and that you give me a blank check made out to “cash”.

Liberal: Go to hell.

and, SCENE.

Birther beatdown

If you can’t see the video, go here.

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And that’s the way it was


One of the all time great Americans passed away Friday. Walter Cronkite died at the age of 92.

I remember his final newscast in 1981, but forever etched in my mind is the night my grandparents let me stay up to watch the moon landing coverage. I’ll never forget the moment when Mr. Cronkite told this little wide-eyed spacenerd kid that men had just landed on the moon.

I don’t mean to take anything away from those who loved the music and dancing and charity work of Michael Jackson, but Walter Cronkite had a far greater and deeper influence on the American psyche, and it seems a shame that Cronkite’s passing won’t merit the same attention span of Jackson’s death. But perhaps that’s a good thing – Uncle Walter would have loathed the circus.

And that’s the way it is.