Thursday, July 19, 2018

Love

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is simply "love."

Love is weird. It's something I don't think science can readily explain. Is it only imprinting like a duck for its mother? That can explain the love among families. But what about meeting a stranger, "falling in love," and deciding to spend the rest of your life with them (although that's getting rarer these days).

A lot of people I think make the mistake of confusing desire with love. "You give me great orgasms, so I must love you." They don't consciously think that. But that's what their brain is doing. So they get married and then when the sex gets boring (as it will) they "fall out of love" and divorces happen. You can only hope that happens before any kids come along because divorce is bad for kids. Very bad.

This is why I'm an advocate for no premarital sex. If you love someone without mind-blowing orgasms, then chances are you actually love them. I know that makes me old-fashioned and out of step with the times, but I don't really care.

But I still don't understand love between two strangers. What causes it? Hormones? Pheromones? You spend enough time with someone and they are a decent person, you'll fall in love? I don't know. I don't know if anyone knows.

What do you think love is? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On the Inside

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is once again "A favorite book/music/movie." Which I have pretty much covered before.

So we'll go to the next one which is "On the inside." There's no further information about what that means.

On the inside, I'm all red and squishy.

On the inside, I'm shy and full of anxiety.

On the inside, I'm creative and funny.

On the inside, I'm a procrastinator.

On the inside, I'm me.

What are you on the inside? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Speed Limits Can be Dangerous

Ask any budget director for any government jurisdiction (except the federal government) and they will likely tell you that fines and penalties are a major part of their revenue stream. And most of those fines and penalties come from traffic tickets. And a lot of those, perhaps a majority, are speeding tickets.

I am convinced that most speed limits are set not for safety, but for maximizing revenue.

But, you might be saying, if you post a speed limit of 35, people will go 40 mph or even 50 mph. That's true, to a point. But the reason is likely the road is safe at 50 mph and the speed limit was set to maximize revenue. Most people drive at a speed they feel comfortable at, and pay scant attention to the actual speed limit. People aren't suicidal. They drive what they think is safe yet comfortable.

I remember when I drove in Idaho with its 80 mph speed limit on rural interstates. And while I was doing 85 (as I tend to go 5 mph over any speed limit as long as conditions permit) a lot of people weren't even going the speed limit. They weren't comfortable at 80.

Washington State was considering raising the speed limit on part of I-90 from 70 to 75. I went to a public hearing to speak in favor of it. One older woman got up and said she was against it because 70 mph is too fast for her. And I was in a Facebook discussion of speed limits and one person said (and I paraphrase from memory) "A mile per minute is fast enough." That's 60 mph.

I am old enough to remember (and have driven) back when the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) was 55 mph. The problem with that was that governments learned they could make money off of low speed limits. And so did insurance companies so they still lobby for lower speed limits. Why do they make money? Because they raise your rates if you get a speeding ticket. Think about that. Say a road had a speed limit of 70 mph. Then the NMSL went into effect dropping the speed limit to 55 mph. Someone going 65 mph might get a ticket for going 5 mph slower than the old speed limit.

Now if the speed limit were raise to, say 100 mph, there would be very few tickets handed out because most people wouldn't drive that fast. Even I may not drive that fast (or 105 mph). Or I might. I was driving in Poland years ago and I was doing 100 mph on the mostly empty road and I got passed by a white BMW with German plates.

Some people think the faster you go, the more you're risking death or injury. If you crash going 100 mph, you're probably dead. But you first have to crash. A study showed that the further you deviate from the average speed (which may not be the speed limit) the more likely the crash. But the interesting thing, shown in the chart below, is it's more dangerous to go slow than to go fast.


Cars travelling faster or slower than average is what's dangerous. So let's say the speed limit on a road is 35 mph but the average speed is 50 mph. People going the speed limit are actually being more dangerous than people going 55 mph. The 35 mph speed limit is a dangerous speed limit. This is why speed limits should be set via engineering methods and not pulled out of the ear of some bureaucrat or politician to maximize revenue. And a person who thinks they're going safe by going the speed limit (or less) is actually one of the more dangerous drivers on the road.

So what's my point? If speed limits weren't a major revenue stream for governments, we might have speed limits based on reality. Roads would be safer and speed limits would likely be higher.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Learning

Back to the 52 week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Learning."

The following is my philosophy on learning (should be read in Morgan Freeman's voice): "When you stop learning, you start dying."

And I really believe that. I loved college (primary education, not so much, I was bored). I love learning. So I read, research my books, watch Jeopardy (yes, you can learn doing that), and watch documentaries. If I read non-fiction, I often do learn. If I read well-written fiction, I learn to do my craft (writing) better.

One thing that killed me when I graduated high school (so very long ago) was the kids who thought their days of learning were over. And they were happy about that. And I thought "Aren't they going to get jobs where they will have to learn how to do the job?" I couldn't imagine not learning. And I can't imagine being happy about it. If you want to drive me nuts, don't let me learn anything new.

How do you feel about learning. Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!


No, it's not "The Fourth of July." It's Independence Day. Just happens to be celebrated on the fourth of July.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Celebration

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is simply: "Celebration."

What do I celebrate? My birthday (which is coming up soon and I'll be a ghastly 58 years old). Christmas. Book sales.

I also celebrate my wedding anniversary (37 years in December). And book sales.

This weekend I'll be at a celebration for my son's April wedding as DisneyLand. The wedding was small. The celebration won't be.

Next week I'll be celebrating Independence Day (on the fourth of July).

My writing goal is not to make a lot of money (although that would be nice). It's to be read by strangers. To entertain and perhaps influence strangers. My most pedantic book is probably Rock Killer. Which was my first novel written (and third published). But all my books will have some of my philosophy in it, which, if you haven't figured out yet, is rather libertarian. If, through my books I can make the world a bit more libertarian, I'd be happy.

So I celebrate book sales.

What do you celebrate. Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Rich Girl

Saturday when I was driving I heard the song "Rich Girl" by Hall & Oats. This song came out in 1977 when I was in high school. And there was one girl who immediately got labeled "Rich Girl." Her name was Shelly and her family was well off. They always had a new Cadillac and lived in a big house. I had no idea what her father did to earn his wealth.

One day in English class, the teacher was trying to instruct us not to use vague terms in our writing. So she asked the class what was a "comfortable" yearly salary. She wanted to show the range that people thought that term meant.

I think the low was $15,000. I rather shocked the room when I said $25,000. Then Shelly pipes up with $30,000.

What struck me as I was remembering this is how low those numbers were. Now days $25,000 is about poverty level for a family of four (it's actually $25,100).

So we need to adjust those numbers for inflation. One thousand dollars in January 1977 is equivalent to $4,300 today. So...

$15,000 = $64,500
$25,000 = $107,500
$30,000 = $129,000

Of course, 1977 was at the beginning of the double-digit inflation of the end of Jimmy Carter's presidential term. And we've had forty-one years of varying inflation to degrade the dollar.

Or maybe this is just an indication of how old I am.