Compartment3 - January 2004

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

HOV and Other Peeves

Another crummy day in the neighborhood.  The second day of ice and snow, snow and ice.  Yesterday I stayed home, but today I made the mistake of going into work.  Actually it wasn't too bad, but traffic really sucked on the way home.  I left early, but I guess everyone else did too.  Hope all of my Faithful Readers made their way safely today.

A couple of peeves.

1. HOV.  It doesn't work.  Though I usually take the back roads, the bad weather forced me onto the more well-traveled and well-salted highways.  The Dulles Toll Road has its far left lane designated as an HOV-2 lane.  Did I mention that it doesn't work?  Fully 75% of all the cars that I saw in that lane were single-occupancy, and there were no police in sight to stop it.  There isn't anyplace to pull people over even if there were cops around.  I think the enviro-weenies feel marginally better about roads being built if one lane is wasted on HOV, but it doesn't work.  It just slows down all of the traffic—which causes more pollution.  Sigh.

2. Clean the snow off your car, idiot!  I saw many people with snow piled on their hood, roof and trunk, with just little patches of their windshields cleaned off.  When they spped up, the snow comes sheeting off onto everybody else, reducing visibility to zero.  And if you can't reach the roof of your SUV, get a smaller car, dope!

3. Turn your lights on.  If you have to use the wipers, turn your lights on.  Simple rule.

Then of course, there's the snow-covered, one person SUV with its lights off, speeding down the HOV lane.  That person should be shot.  Seriously.

All right, I'm done.  I feel better now.  Have a good night!

Saturday, January 25, 2004

Really Fun Star Trek Fan Site

New Voyages is a fan-produced Star Trek series that distributes its episodes over the internet.  The first episode is complete and ready for download.  It is really a lot of fun.  Check it out at  They're doing it for charity, so don't forget to donate.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

An Interesting Article

Feeling better, guess I'm finally over this cold.

I read an interesting article today about our special operations forces and fighting terrorists—and why the troops best trained to fight them aren't always used correctly.

One president after another has invested resources to hone lethal "special mission units" for offensive—that is, preemptive—counterterrorism strikes, with the result that these units are the best of their kind in the world.

Prior to 9/11, these units were never used even once to hunt down terrorists who had taken American lives. Putting the units to their intended use proved impossible--even after al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, bombed two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, and nearly sank the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

Read it all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Second Cold!

I'm stuck fighting off my second cold of the season.  A new record for me—but not a good one.  Usually I only get stuck with one cold a year.  Guess it's 'cause I'm getting older....

Some Neat Links

Movie fans should check out The American WideScreen Museum, an exhaustive site dealing with 20th century movie technology.

Photography fans might get a kick out of The Empire That Was Russia, a Library of Congress website containing a number of rare color photographs taken in Imperial Russia from 1907 through 1915.  I did.


Thursday, January 8, 2004

Interesting Article.

Here's an interesting article about why earthquakes like the recent one in Iran seem to hurt poor people so much more than rich people.  A quote:

Opponents of globalization say they want to allow "traditional"— i.e. dirt poor — societies of the Third World to protect their way of life from the "ravages" of globalization. In reality, they want to keep these societies frozen in amber for the eco-tourists and sociologists. That’s a fine position to take if you are willing to accept the fact that such societies "traditionally" lose millions of lives to calamities that are, for advanced nations, either preventable or inconsequential.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 3, 2004

A Darn Shame.

Early in 2001, even before our current house was built, I attended a meeting of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to find out what was going to happen to the nice wooded field behind our house.  At the time, they approved a new townhouse development.  For a long time after that, nothing happened.

Until now.

Finally they've started to build back there.  I guess the economy has improved enough.  Even though I have been expecting it since that meeting, it's still a little depressing to see them chop down all those trees.  I wish they could've waited another six months—I'm sure we'll be moved into our new house by then, right?