Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reducing Train Collision Fatalities

After the recent collision of a Metrolink train in California which cost the lives of 25 people I thought about some possible improvements.
The first that comes to mind is a sacrificial car that is simply a crumble zone. This car could be placed between the engine and the rest of the train. Upon tripping a collision sensor in the front of the train all cars behind the "crumple car" would immediately activate their brakes. The sensor could be borrowed from that found in automobiles which trigger airbags.
Another possible solution is active collision avoidance that relies on radar or sonar to detect upcoming obstructions. This system would be slower to activate but would first start to reduce power and then activate braking systems if obstructions remain. Sounding the horn and flashing warnings for the engineer would also be helpful. Systems like this have recently become available in luxury cars.
These ideas may help to prevent derailment during collisions. Once a train derails, much more damage is done. Just like in car crashes, rollovers are more dangerous.
Saving lives and preventing spills of toxic or hazardous substances is a big deal. Hopefully something will be done to prevent or limit the problem of train collisions and the damage that results

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Simple Fix for Social Security

Here's my simple fix for Social Security:
Raise the age of eligibility 1 year every 2 years until either the age becomes the average life expectancy (my preferred option) or the budget balances.
I'd like Social Security to return to what it was designed for: Providing financial security to those who live longer than expected and those who are disabled and unable to work.
It's really simple just do it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Positive Tracfone Experience

I had to add some activation time to my Tracfone (a Kyocera 126C) so I logged in to Tracfone's website and added a 60 minute card with code 53322 (60 bonus minutes). On the next page I chose to add an additional 60 days of activation time for $10.
Once all was complete I ended up with 60 + 80 = 140 minutes. Great, 20 extra minutes. Thanks Tracfone!
The final page had me dial *228 to update. Now I know my Tracfone is on Verizon's network.
Option 1 is a full update
Option 2 is PRL (Preferred Roaming List)
I chose 2 and then restarted the phone when complete.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fluorinated Water and the Elderly

Fluoride is may be good for your teeth but that is about it.
What does it do to your bones? It makes them hard.
Is that bad you say? Well, the bones of children aren't that hard. It fact they are much more flexible that adult bones. Which is good for them or they'd have many more fractures.
So on to my main point. Fluoride in the water is unsafe for the elderly. Is it just me or are more seniors suffering from broken hips and falls from fractures during daily activities? We hear all the time about getting enough calcium to prevent fractures. What if that isn't really the problem?
Call me crazy but I'd rather have the possibility of bad teeth than broken bones. Your toothpaste probably has fluoride so why put it in your water? You do brush right?
Don't drink it and save yourself a trip to the hospital.
I have chosen to use toothpaste that contains no fluoride. Oh, and don't get silver amalgam fillings if you do have cavities. If you have them already you would be well off getting them safely removed as they continuously release mercury into your body.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Insignia NS-DXA1 (aka Zenith DTT900) review

I finally got my digital tv converter box. I ended up getting the Insignia NS-DXA1 at Best Buy. It is just a rebranded Zenith DTT900. I used a 10% off coupon (search for Best Buy 10% coupon) and one of my $40 government coupons (more like a debit card actually) so I ended up paying less than $18.
After installation and initial setup I now receive 9 channels verses the 5 I received over analog. The extra channels are all subchannels (2 PBS, The CW, and 1 local) of existing stations.
Picture and audio quality are very good on my aging 19" TV. The remote works great and can turn the TV on/off. Volume is controlled by altering the audio stream (like changing volume on your computer when your speakers also have a volume knob). You set the TV's volume to mid range and leave it. The only downside is if you pop in a DVD you might get an earful at that volume setting.
I get good reception with a cheap indoor antenna though I'm only 15 miles from the transmitters.
I'm glad I spent a few extra dollars instead of getting my other option (the RCA DTA 800B at Walmart).

Freenet 0.7 Release Candidate 1 now available

After over 2 years of development the first release candidate for Freenet 0.7 is now available for download. Freenet is free decentralized peer-to-peer software designed to allow information to be published and consumed anonymously, without fear of censorship.
Freenet 0.7 supports both darknet (where you only connect to people you trust which is very useful if you live under a repressive government) and opennet (where you connect to others you don't know). If you run both darknet and opennet your node will be considered a hybrid.

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