They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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What A Difference A Week Makes

Taking Out The Garbage

Last week the temps were in the 30s and 40s. This week the temps are in the 40s and 50s. Indeed, one road thermometer in K-zoo this afternoon was saying 58°F, though I consider it an anomaly. Still, a Grand Rapids billboard at US-131 and 84th Street read 51°F at 5:45pm.

Dragging the garbage can out to the road behind the Blazer's trailer hitch was so different. Last week the driveway was still a thick sheet of ice. This week? It's 85% clear and the last ice sheet, which hides in the shade of the big pine trees, is rotted with deep tire tracks and will melt up fast now that it's broken. I have to tell you, getting the gravel driveway redone with slag was such a great move. It drains really, really well and we don't have any worn low spots or standing water.

That Last Snow

The last serious snow we had began as freezing rain, so the bottom of the snow everywhere has this thick hard base. The interesting result is that vast expanses of snow away from the roadway has remained blazingly white all the way down to the hard base. Looks like thick frosting, rather than the usual sad end-of-the-snow. We had sun nearly all last week and the fields of white made it all even brighter, even with the lower sun angles of early March.

And After A Week Of Nice Weather...

Construction season has erupted in Michigan. Lane closures, road closures... with a major closure of I-196 east of downtown Grand Rapids happening in early April. Lovely. (grin)

And Yet...

M-43 West Main in Kalamazoo had a sea of vehicles and lane closures getting from US-131 to campus. They're stringing up new traffic lights. I'm assuming that they're putting up lightweight plastic housings with LED lamps. Saves a bundle on the energy costs. Unfortunately, they're discovering that since LEDs don't generate heat like incandescent bulbs, snow and ice don't melt off of these new traffic lights. So the brighter LED lights get obscured. And the weight of ice buildups either causes the traffic lights to come crashing down or for big ice chunks to come crashing down. Either way, cars are getting damaged because of the obsession with energy savings over any other criteria. Really? Thanks. Good engineering. Trying to get a job at Toyota?

Reminds me of the obsession with getting rid of those nasty incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with those lousy compact fluorescents. All without spending any more than lip service about the question of mercury. Come on guys! You break one of these CFL bulbs in a work place and it's considered a hazmat operation! Let's outlaw light bulbs BEFORE we address this issue! Good call! (not)

Am I the only person who is rational on this planet? (sigh) Oh wait -- this was supposed to be a nice piece on the nice weather and not a rant.

I really am in a pleasant mood. Really.

Dr. Phil
Tags: complaints, construction, detours, driving, energy, grand rapids, michigan, rants, snow, technology, weather, west michigan
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