The Irrelevancy of the Day

Published at 13:17 on 24 May 2013

A major bridge collapsed not far to the north, and already some sources are trumpeting how the trucking company responsible for the damage was given a permit by the State.

Said permit is mostly irrelevant. The load being carried was oversize, and it is the responsibility of the carrier of an oversize load to ensure it can clear all obstacles along the route.

The clearance on the damaged bridge was not posted, because it doesn’t have to be posted. The minimum clearance was 14’6″ on the right side of the right lane. By law, clearances only need to be posted if they’re under 14′. The load was thus oversize at least in part because it was over 14 feet in height and signage alone could not be relied upon to ensure the load cleared. Interestingly, the span is high enough in the center that the load could have cleared, had the truck taken the left lane and used it while crossing the bridge.

Pilot vehicles come equipped with poles which are extended to the maximum height of the overheight load they are escorting. At least one witness says he saw the pilot vehicle’s poles hit the right side of the bridge girder before the load made impact. Alas, the load was apparently following the pilot too closely to be able to stop or change lanes in response to the pole hitting the bridge.

In short, it seems pretty damn obvious who’s at fault for this, and it’s not the state DOT for issuing a permit.

Liberals Wetting Pants over a Non-Threat

Published at 09:48 on 10 May 2013

Really, now, if I’d want to make a gun myself why would I spend over $1000 on a 3D printer and spend a week fighting with software configuration to print a flimsy plastic gun that self-destructs after a single shot, when for far less money I could build a good old-fashioned zip gun which is both safer and more effective?

Maybe that subject should really read “Liberals Wetting Pants over a Non-Threat after Libertarians Hype a Non-Development”, since it’s as silly to hyperventilate about this gun being a threat as it is to hyperventilate about it being a radical expansion of the right to keep and bear arms.

The Register nails it on this one.

My “I Think I’m Staying” Moment

Published at 09:54 on 8 May 2013

I think I had my “I think I’m staying” moment on Friday of last week. It was another day of working indoors at the home office as usual, and I neither wanted to waste a sunny evening indoors nor make a big production of things, so I got on my bike to the Hawley Cove trailhead and took this route along the beach to Wing Point.

It was low tide and I saw colonies of sand dollars (living ones, covered in dark fuzz, not bleached skeletons) exposed near the water line. There were also a few tide pools teeming with baby hermit crabs.

I could have had such a walk along the beach in Seattle had I gone to Golden Gardens Park, but that’s a good 30 to 40 minute drive along congested arterials from where I lived. Forget mass transit; the buses get stuck in even worse traffic because of the routing they take, and there is no established, comprehensive rapid transit system in Seattle. Forget riding a bike, that would take even longer; not worth it for a quick hike. And I haven’t added in the time I’d have to spend circulating looking for parking (because everyone else would have had the same idea on a warm, sunny Friday evening) yet. I would have known all that ahead of time, of course. So I wouldn’t have bothered going; the time and frustration cost wouldn’t have been worth it.

Instead, I was at the Hawley Cove trailhead inside of ten minutes on my bicycle. No fighting traffic, no competing for scarce parking, just decide to go on the spur of the moment and get there with no fuss.

I think I’m staying.