Saturday, November 19, 2005

Random Thoughts & Musings

This is a random thoughts entry (idea stolen from Jack) about things I have pondered over the past week that I have gathered either from personal observation or through reading various newspapers. I do have a long time to read newspapers as I take mass transit in Toronto (which can be quite painful sometimes as you will soon see). Now on with the random thoughts:

1. Why do drivers slow down in the rain? It took me an hour and half to take the bus from Downsview Subway station to York University and then onto Richmond Hill Centre. I ended up missing another bus and was forced to wait a half hour in northern Richmond Hill before I got home to my birthday dinner. ARGH!

2. Gary Dunford on his blog brings up a very big problem of a friend of his. Apparently, his friend was laid off a year ago due to downsizing at his former company. However, apparently the reason the company downsized was not for financial reasons as Dunf's friend is still receiving his regular pay cheque! Even better is the cheque is not electronically generated as there are two executives sign the cheque. Apparently even the executives don't knmow what is going on!

3. All is not well in the New York City Department of Education. (For regular readers of my blog, you already know that considering my recent past). There are actually two horrifying stories of the Department of Education screwing up that have been in the media (I am sure there are probably thousands more not seeing the light of day because there isn't a newspaper big enough or enough reporters to tell all the horror stories of mispent money and mistreatment of people at the Department of Education). However, this story caught my attention while I was wandering the internet this past week. The city pours a lot of money into the education system in the belief that things will improve, yet maintenance seems to be the bottom of the list. I have been in many New York City schools to see air conditioners not working, dust galore around the door frames, spit balls on the ceiling and much more.

Then a true "New York Irony." In other words, cruel irony, when this story appeared. Apparently, the New York City Department of Education didn't have the money to properly outfit their teachers up to health department standards and one teacher has possibly gotten infected on top of it. On top of that the Department of Education is now paying fines on a monthly basis because it is in contradiction of a health code. But, in true NYC Department of Education fashion, there is complete denial on the Department of Ed's fault in this case. In my experience, the Department of Education barely knows how to co-operate with its teachers (2 years without a contract between the Department and the teachers union would prove that), so how would it know what the health code is in this case? An even more in depth look at the problems of the New York City Department of Education teacher can also be found here. Perhaps an investigation by the State of New York Department of Education needs to be done on the City's Department of Education, because for too long has the City's education system smelled so badly from cronyism and corruption. And we Canadians thought the federal Liberals were bad enough!

4. On a lighter note, Antonia "I hope you spelled my last name right" Zerbisias provides us with an example of what Canadians are truly thinking during this time of ponderance over who we might vote for in a possible upcoming election. I believe this post can stand on its own with out any comment to be effective? Non?

5. From York University's newspaper, The Excalibur, the univerisities are complaining again about the MacLean's magazine yearly survey of univerisities. It seems that any time any university does well in the MacLean's rankings, the university administrations pat themsleves on their backs. However, when the university does poorly, the administrations and student unions blame the methodology of the survey. What the universities should be doing in response to each publication's survey is to look at the area of deficiencies noted and work to fix them. Each media outlet, just like the university's student body, looks at the insititution from various angles. It is the succesful universities that look good from various angles of analysis. Universities in Ontario seem to have forgotten that. Perhaps it is the "ivory tower" concept that some university administrations have fallen prey too.

6. To finish with a laugh....

3 comments:

  1. Drivers slow down in the rain because the road conditions make necessary. Its simple science, on a dry surface the rubber of the tire and the ashphalt of the road combine to create friction and traction. This keeps the car safely on the road. On a dry surface a driver can travel at a considerably higher speed than that same driver can on a wet surface. Perhaps you have noticed this same phenomenom on your bicycle when driving in the rain the back tire is much more likely to slip from under you. The same is true in automobiles -- its a thing called hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when a car travels too fast on a wet surface. Speed is just one variable, others includ tire pressure, condition of tires, weight of car (relative to tires) and the depth of the grooves in ones tires. With the car travelling too fast, the tires do not have time to move the water out of the way, so the tires are lifted by the water, and in essence are floating on the water. This causes all traction to be lost and the car to spin out of control. Hence smart drivers slowing down and driving at a safe speed while in rainy conditions.

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  2. I know the science behind it (thanks for providing a more thorough explanation in clear terms though). However, I was dissapointed that it took so long to get home on, of all days, my birthday. Also, that same trip today, like most days, took only about 45 minutes or less. So what did it take double that? Idiot drivers that insist on going half the speed limit posted. In this area on Keele Street and Highway 7 (also an arterial road, not a highway like the 401 or an Interstate), therefore I am not expecting speeds over 55 miles an hour (100 KM an hour). The speed limit along these routes is between 50 KM/H to 80 KM/H which is between normal city driving to slightly above that in sections without traffic lights (i.e. Highway 7 East of Dufferin). This is not rocket science, cars should not have to hydro plain in light rain with well drained streets, should they? I could understand steady heavy rain, but the speed was not that great on these streets at the best of times. So why the even more slowness?

    Can't wait till the snow flies! Then I will be sure to bunk out on the bus!

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