Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tire Tread Depth

Last week I talked about why you shouldn't buy studded snow tires. This week I'm going to talk about why you might need new snow tires.

Tread depth is very important to tire performance. In racing, you want as little tread depth as possible. Which is why most race car tires don't have tread as all. In Europe, they drive in the rain and have tires with tread for that purpose. In the U.S., we don't race in the rain. Tread makes a tire wobble in corners, which means you have to go slower in corners. Thus, the effort to avoid tread in racing.

But we aren't racing. We're driving on the street. Legally, you have to have at least 2/32nds of an inch of tread depth. Anything less than that is illegal.

You can test this with a penny (hey, they are useful for something).  Put the penny in the tread with Lincoln's head down, touching the bottom of the groove. If all of Lincoln's head is visible, you need to replace those tires because you have less than 2/32nds of an inch of tread.

But, to be practical, if you're planning on driving in rain and/or snow, I personally recommend at least 6/32nds of an inch for a snow tire or a regular tire in the winter. I base that on advice from Tire Rack. Yes, Tire Rack wants to sell tires. But they have always been very honest with me.

So, before winter hits, measure your tread depth. If you don't have a tread depth measuring tool, any tire store will likely measure your tread depth for you for free. Yes, they want to sell you tires.

I measured mine and they are at 9/32nds. So they will last one more winter.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Huskies are 5-2

Going into last nights University of Washington Huskies game, I was a bit wary. The Dawgs hadn't won a night game this year and have always had trouble beating University of Arizona at home. I guess I didn't need to worry.

The first quarter was very defensive and only field goals were kicked. The only Husky touchdown in the second quarter was by the Huskies' defense when the Wildcat's vaunted quarterback, Khalil Tate, tried to throw the ball away as he was being sacked. He ended up throwing a lateral pass, which, even after it hits the ground, is a live ball. And a Husky defensive play picked it up and ran it in for a TD.

But Arizona managed to score 17 points in the second quarter and halftime came with the Wildcats up 17-13. The announcers, who spend the whole game bashing the Huskies, pointed out that Washington hadn't won a game that they were behind at the half since 2015.

After halftime, a different Husky team emerged. They quickly started running up the points and held Arizona to no points in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Arizona did manage to get ten points, but the Huskies scored 24. The Wildcats tried an on-side kick after a touchdown but the Huskies recovered it and that ended the game. The final score was 51-27.

It was an all-around team effort, which seems to be what the Huskies need to do to win. Sean McGrew ran for 106 yards while Salvon Ahmed ran for 95. The top receiver for the game was Puka Nacua with 97 yards. "Who?" you're saying. This was apparently the first time the freshman played.

This makes the Huskies 5-2 overall, 2-2 in conference. That puts them tied for second place (with Stanford) in the Pac-12 North Division. The Oregon Ducks are in first place.

Next Week

The Huskies return home next week to take on the Oregon Ducks. The game is at 12:30 PM and on ABC, so not a night game. Oregon is 5-1, their loss being to Auburn. They are 3-0 in conference. This week they destroyed Colorado 3-45 in Eugene.

That it's a home came will help the Huskies. The stadium is sold out so there should be a lot of crowd noise. But Phil Knight's money buy a good team and it will be a challenge for the Huskies to prevail. Although I'm feeling better about it after this win over Arizona.

Elsewhere in the Pac 12

As I predicted WSU didn't do very well, losing to Arizona State 34-38. This puts WSU 0-3 in
conference and in last place in the Pac-12 North. I watched part of the game and WSU played well, just not well enough to beat ASU. The close score reflects that it was a good, exciting game.

Also, as I predicted, USC lost to Notre Dame. But it was a close game with the score 27-30. I didn't watch that game. I watched Serenity instead on Blu-Ray.

Utah destroyed Oregon State, 52-7. Utah is still on top of the Pac-12 South, tied with USC.

The Polls

(I don't know why I say "polls" because I'm only talking about the AP poll at this point in the season. Later the CFP rankings will come out. Which, technically, isn't a poll, either.)

Last week the Huskies were technically #29 (in the top 25 poll). This week (week 8) we're ranked again but at a lowly #25.

Arizona State is at #17 after beating WSU. Utah is at #13 and Oregon is at #12.

So we'll see who wins, loses, and is ranked next week.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pac-12 This Weekend

This weekend there are five games slated for the Pac-12

Tonight at 7:00 PM PDT, Colorado plays Oregon. Oregon will likely win.

Then tomorrow at 12:30 PM PDT on Pac-12 Networks, Washington State plays Arizona State. I'm thinking ASU will win with the problems the Cougars are having on defense.

At 4:30 PM PDT, USC plays Notre Dame in a non-conference game. I'm sure Notre Dame will win.

At 5:00 PM PDT, Utah plays Oregon State on Pac-12 Networks. I'm sure Utah will win.

Then at the ungodly hour of 8:00 PM PDT, University of Washington plays University of Arizona in Tuscon. The Dawgs haven't won a night game yet this year, including last week's loss to Stanford. If we lose this game, I'm worried about winning the six games needed to be bowl eligible. And we're 50% for away games, having beat BYU on the road but, again, lost to Stanford. And we've always had trouble int he desert playing either Arizona or Arizona State. If the Huskies can overcome their lost to Stanford and beat Arizona, that would be great. But if not, this season will be over with still five games to play.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Don't Buy Studded Snow Tires, Please

Studded Snow Tire
Winter is coming.

I was talking to my tire guy the other day and asked if he had Nokian snow tires. I'd read those were the best snow tires available. He said they only have studded Nokian tires. So I said I'd stick with the Blizzaks or try the Michelin snow tires (if I need new snow tires; I've yet to determine that by measuring the tread depth on the ones I have).

A lot of people where I live swear by studded snow tires. These tires have steel studs in the tread to, supposedly, increase traction in snow and ice.

Unfortunately, they don't work. Studded snow tires are less safe than a good winter (snow) tire in dry and wet conditions. They are also less safe on snow and ice, what they are supposed to be best for. That is because the studs lower the size of the contact patch of each tire down to the size of a postage stamp. (The contact patch is the area that your tire touches the road.) This reduces traction, not increases it.

In addition, Washington State estimates (PDF file) that studded tires cause
Ruts repaired in a road
between $12 million and $18 million in damage every year in the state alone. You can see this on interstate, or other busy, highways where there are ruts worn in the pavement. Ruts that fill with water that can cause hydroplaning or, if the water freezes, slides. The roads then have to be expensively  repaired.

I, frankly, wish the state would just ban them. Buy a good set of stud-less snow tires. I personally recommend Blizzaks.

But don't buy studded tires. Please.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Huskies are 4-2

What is it about night games?

What is it about Palo Alto?

Well, maybe we can go to a nice bowl this year.

All those thoughts went through my head last night as the University of Washington Huskies lost to the Stanford University Cardinal (it's a color). The game started at 7:30 PM PDT. Our only other loss was also a game that started at 7:30 (the California game) The Huskies haven't beaten Stanford at Palo Alto since 2007. And losing this game means we have nearly zero hope of being Pac-12 North Champions. Unless someone beats Oregon (not likely) and we beat Oregon (looking less likely).

From the beginning, the Huskies played as if they were wading in molasses. Quarterback Jacob Eason couldn't hit his receivers and, when they did, the receivers couldn't hang on to the ball. Of course, I have to give credit to Stanford's secondary who did a great job keeping our receivers from catching passes. Even Salvon Ahmed, who didn't play much for some reason, couldn't move the ball.

Meanwhile Stanford had almost no problem with their third-string quarterback and beat up offensive line moving the ball up the field. The Husky defense did stop them, holding them to a field goal, more than once. But it didn't help. The final score was 13-23.

We'll be lucky to still be ranked in the AP Poll after this (see below)

More bad news: we play Arizona in Tuscon next week. That game starts at 8:00 PM PDT. And we've always had trouble playing in the desert, for some reason. That game is on FS1 which, right now, I don't get because Dish and Fox are fighting. I might have to go to my father's house to watch it.

Arizona is on top of the Pac-12 South Division right now.

Do I sound discouraged? You bet I am.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

California was up on Oregon for the entire first half of the game, 7-0. Thought maybe California
might beat Oregon, but the Ducks came back in the second half to win it 17-7.

The two worst teams in the Pac-12, Oregon State and UCLA, played each other. And Oregon State won 48-31. (Too bad we don't play UCLA this year.)

And Arizona beat Colorado in Boulder 35-30. I guess everyone else had a bye this week.

The Polls:

And...we're not ranked. Washington dropped off the AP Top 25 College Football poll.

Oregon stayed at 13. Utah moved up to 15 (and they had a bye, I'm pretty sure), and Arizona State moved up to 18. And that's it for the Pac-12.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Manspreading Mansplained

New Chair
Some say that "manspreading" (the fact that men tend to sit with their legs apart) is an aggressive posture to take up more space and assert dominance.

I think it's just to be comfortable.

Let me explain. I go to Starbucks nearly every day. The Starbucks I go to recently remodeled and changed their "comfy chairs." The old chairs were plush and the seat was farther from the floor.  The new chairs (see picture) have their seats lower to the floor. While sitting in the new chairs, I find myself "manspreading." Why? Because my legs are too long to sit with my feet flat on the floor and my legs together. This isn't comfortable. So I either spread my legs or put my feet out with just the heels of my feet on the floor. Either way, it's not to assert dominance, it's to be comfortable. And a lot of chairs, such as in subways, buses, etc. have low chairs that are comfortable for most women and shorter people, but too low for most men.
Old Chair

Woman tend to have shorter legs. My wife says she likes these new chairs because her feet touch the floor. So women don't need to spread their legs to be comfortable, generally. And yes, there are cultural taboos against women having their legs spread in public for any reason.

But I think it's mostly chair design, not some cultural plot for male dominance.

So there ya go: manspreading mansplained.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm nuts? Let me know in the comments below.