New Year’s Eve thoughts

This NYE, I’m not out and about. So instead, amidst the chaos and heat of today, here are some random thoughts (including some attempted ideas for blog posts during the year that never got past embryo stage).

I’ve seen two Dymocks bags disintegrate after being kept for a few months. It’s great that they biodegrade rapidly, but don’t try and reuse them for long-term storage.

Why do some people turn on their indicators way too early before making their turn; in some cases before the street before the one they’re going to turn into?

Likewise, how do some people leave their hazard lights flashing as they drive down the road? Do they not hear the click… click… click?

Why do a few people run along the platform after the train’s stopped, to choose the optimum door, even when it’s not crowded? Even when it’s a newer model train where you can easily switch carriages? Just get on board, we’re late already!

That some people sit in their car, parked, with the engine running and the aircon on, on a 20-25 degree day, is a sign that petrol is still too cheap.

Why do some people pay over the odds to live in areas with good public transport, then never use it? (Because no matter how they travel, they know such properties are better investments, that’s why.)

What gives? “Safe” brand recycled tissues have returned to the supermarkets… just as the “Naturale” recycled brand of napkins has vanished! Why do we get the choice of either/or, not both?

Ian Henderson is very straight-faced on the ABC TV news. But his appearances on ABC radio 774 at about 5:45pm each weeknight are a stark contrast… there’s humour, comment, opinion… everything you don’t get from him at 7pm.

Someone told me this at dinner the other night, and Wikipedia confirms it: The countries that have not adopted the Metric system are: Liberia, Myanmar and the United States.

That’s all for now. Happy New Year.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “New Year’s Eve thoughts”

Geez Daniel, talk about about venting the spleen, but yes I agree with all of the above. Every time I see you on the telly I say to the wife “there’s Daniel” and even though she knows who you are she never shows any interest. Oh well, I appreciate your thoughts anyway. – Peter from M’beena

Why is it that I can buy icy poles with no added sugar for my children, or icy poles with no artificial flavours or colours, but I cannot buy icy poles with no added sugar *and* no artificial colours and flavours?

Just wondering…

Happy New Year to you, hope 2008 is everything you want it to be!

Errm… I thought it was correct procedure to turn on your indicator before you turn into a street? Or are you one of those people suddenly slow down to a dead stop and the put your indicator on at the last minute before turning, ie, someone I could happily throttle? Standard indicating time was 30 metres before turning (at least it was when I was getting my license). And the hazard lights thing… you cannot hear them in new cars! My mum bought a new car a few months back and I always get mad at her for not indicating – she is, I just can’t hear the click.

30 metres, for sure. But I keep seeing people indicating 200+ metres beforehand, in some cases before the previous street. (Typo in this point amended so it makes more sense!)

Your obvservations about the metric system are true. We briefly tried to convert to metric in the mid seventies but it didn’t work. I can remember being introduced to metric in school 1976 or 1977 when I was in 3rd grade. A few of our gas (petrol) pumps were changed from gallons to liters and changed back to gallons again. Today it would not be possible to convert to metric without much public outrage and complaning about the government wasting taxpayer money and interfering with people’s lives. Some small minded people would really be mad when they found out the French invented it! It would be very expensive for both the government and the population (300 million) to convert to a new system. My toolkit has two sets of sockets. Metric sockets for Japanese and European cars and standard scokets for American cars. Only the sparkplugs are in metric sizes in an American car. We do use a few metric measurements here in the USA (liters for bottled wine and soda and kilos for cocaine in a drug bust). Most Americans know very little about the metric system as we are just not exposed to it very often.

I agree Daniel, very frustrating driving behind somehow who throws on their indicator and then drives past SEVERAL side streets before turning down the one they intended.

By the way the Star Trek universe accepts that metric is “mostly” the universal standard by the 23rd century, albeit inconsistently. The Next Generation/Voyager/etc (24th century) onward, however, metric is THE exclusive system.

Funnily enough, the Star Trek universe also came up in the same dinner conversation!

Jed, the phrase “Just do it” comes to mind here. Like many big changes, it’s the sort of thing that just needs to be rammed home. People stop complaining once they’re used to it and can see the benefits.

I agree with you that some things such as this should “just be done”. Converting to metric is a good idea. However I and most other Americans would be more pleased if the government would “just do” universal healthcare coverage first. This is a much more serious problem that affects everybody living here. Many people cannot afford health insurance and others are refused coverage do to a pre existing health condition. If an uninsured person gets seriously ill or has a bad accident they can be ruined financially. Just imagine being responsible medical bills that would be the same as buying a house or a car. Australians and Canadians are very lucky to have their healthcare systems. I know that these health systems are not perfect but they are far better than ours and everyone is covered. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tried and failed to get a universal healthcare system approved in 1993 as first lady. Too many special intrests and politicians fought against it. I hope she tries again if she gets elected president.

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