26 December 2007

Ideas for a World-Class City, no.3

In the UK they have roundabouts. In Swindon, they have a MAGIC ROUNDABOUT. As the city's website explains:

All they did was combine two roundabouts in one - the first the conventional, clockwise variety and the second, which revolved inside the first, sending traffic anti-clockwise.


You'll have to peruse the photos for a while to discern how it works. These additional photos will also help. Keep in mind two things: they drive on the left side, and "peruse" means to read or study carefully.

Brilliant, eh? (And yet it wasn't enough to win the 'best roundabout' award from the Roundabout Appreciation Society which is a real thing).

But is there a place for roundabouts in America? Arizona thinks so. Here's what ADOT says:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research indicates a Modern Roundabout approach to traffic management can reduce injury accidents by 75 percent and fatal accidents by as much as 90 percent. Intersections with a high volume of left turns are better handled by a Modern Roundabout than a traffic signal because more vehicles can pass safely through the intersection in a shorter time period.

Are roundabouts a sensible option for Cincinnati? For the burbs? For future OKI regional development?

For the city and burbs perhaps a 'smart' traffic light system makes the most sense. It would accomplish almost the same thing as the roundabout and Americans would not have to learn a new skill, which is a big plus. I have no idea why this hasn't been invented yet. Any engineers who want to make a gazillion dollars please contact me.

Perhaps the regional option makes the most sense. Think about it in terms of adding an extra street to a planned 4-way intersection: It would allow 25% more vehicles without congesting the other streets and it would offer 25% more street frontage for development. The increased land value can be offset by tax incentives for businesses and property taxes for residents. Businesses will move in. Residents will move in. Cincinnati, forced to compete with its neighbors, will either start becoming a world-class city or collapse and change its name to East St. Detroit.

And that is how people driving in circles will determine the Queen City's fate.

25 December 2007

History of Modern Dance

In science there are many complex and abstruse concepts which are difficult to explain and convey in ordinary language. In these circumstances scientists often use the language of dance. This is why scientists are typically the best dancers.

Judson Laipply, performing his comedic routine on the evolution of dance, is surely one of our top scientists.

18 December 2007

Gustatory Recommendations

Izzy's Tongue Sandwich. I've seen it on the menu for years but like everyone else I end up with a corned beef or reuben, sometimes a Spicy Delight. But a few months ago I got the tongue. I liked it. I got it again and then a third time. It is similar to roast beef in texture and taste (after all, it is meat, not organ) so it will not freak out your taste buds. It is not "bizarre foods." It's a good sandwich, try it sometime.

Additional notes: First, Izzy's potato pancakes are greasier than they used to be (try blotting them with napkins). Second, you can buy a whole tongue from Mackie Quality Meats at Findlay Market for $4.

Wensleydale cheese. Delicious; good with beer, chardonnay, and gala apples. Recommended by Wallace & Gromit. I found it at Party Source.

Pecorino Romano cheese. I top my pasta with this instead of parmesan. It is like a stronger, more pungent parmesan. It is also about half the cost.

Burrito Pollo Picante at Javier's Mexican Restaurant. I never went to Javier's when it was on Court St. But I've been to their new location on the corner of Walnut & 8th (across the library) a few times. I've had the burrito pollo picante (spicy chicken burrito) and the fish burrito ("breaded cod burrito"), both of which I liked.

There are 3 sauces at the tables: chipotle, picante, and habanero. I don't recommend the chipotle sauce. It has that smokiness but I didn't care for the flavor. I am 99% sure that it's just Open Pit BBQ sauce. I liked the picante and habanero sauce. Yes, the habanero is hot but as long as you go easy and don't drench your burrito it's fine. I did notice that my habanero sauce was red whereas some of the tables had a green one. Don't know if there's a difference.

Stuart Taylor on Extremists in Academia

Stuart Taylor, one of the best legal commenters, gave a recent speech about the "cancer" of liberal extremists in academia. It's an issue that came to the front of his mind as he followed the Duke lacrosse joke case.

This is not a "The liberals are coming! The liberals are coming!" talk radio moment. The issue is whether ideological diversity is actually achieved and what is the effect on academic quality and integrity.

A quote (lifted from Al Fin):

...Over the decades, academic extremists have taken over more and more departments, like cancers metastasizing from organ to organ. For example, the 88 Duke professors who signed a disgraceful April 2006 ad in the school paper spearheading the mob rush to judgment against falsely accused lacrosse players included 80 percent of the African-American studies faculty; 72 percent of the women's studies professors; 60 percent of the cultural anthropology department; and lots of professors in romance studies, literature, English, art, and history.

Taylor talks more about the Duke case and the rush-to-judgment bandwagon that so many were quick to jump on.

It's not a video clip; it's the entire speech which is about 1.5 hrs.

All You Need to Know About EIPBN

Here come the holidays again. That means food, fun, friends, and family. In my family we also like to look at the winning entries from the Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam and Nanofabrication Conference micrograph contest.

These are amazing (and often comical) pics and vids of the nanoscale world that all the kids are talking about. If you have any geek in you at all, you need to check this out. Right click to play the vids.

10 December 2007

Ideas for a World-Class City, no.2

Cellphones that can read hi-tech bar codes.

The most promising way to link cellphones with physical objects is a new generation of bar codes: square-shaped mosaics of black and white boxes that can hold much more information than traditional bar codes. The cameras on cellphones scan the codes, and then the codes are translated into videos, music or text on the phone screens.

In Japan... millions of people have the capability built into their phones, and businesses, in turn, are using them all over — on billboards, street signs, published materials and even food packaging.

Read the article for more impressive examples of information that users can access instantly.

A city could use this technology to provide directions, event information, schedules, traffic updates, menus, restaurant reviews, etc. Seems like a great way to market a city and make it attractive to YPs.

(h/t Fat Knowledge)

Previous Idea for a World-Class City: Greener Parking Lots.

09 December 2007

As Close as I'll Come to a Meme

The weather outside is frightful but inside it's delightful because I've rearranged my blog links in glorious alphabetical format. Previously they were totally random.

I also discovered another local blog from where I got this meme. I won't tag anybody because that's not the way I roll, but feel free to post your own answers.

What was your first "real" job?
I was a summer day camp counselor. I had the 5th & 6th graders. My group had the two worst kids, Drew and Lucky. Lucky was one of four siblings, all of whom were named after gambling terms: Shake, Seven, Silver, and Lucky.

Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
Howcome nobody asks where people go to spark their logic? Anyway, the only creative thing I can legitimately claim is photography. So if I'm feeling creative I pick up a camera. Haven't been creative in a while, though.

Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when...
I'm with a girl and I have to go potty.

What values did your parents instill in you?
Good: Education is important.
Bad: Judge people by their money, status, and job.

Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
The 'turned-up' collar.
Leg warmers.
The redoubtable 'Members Only' jacket.

06 December 2007

SW Ohio Good Place for International Students

The Flyer News reports that UD was just ranked no.1 in a survey of international student satisfaction in universities. The survey, called the International Student Barometer, surveys students at several dozen universities. Most are in the UK but a few US institutions are included.

The ISB, which is the world’s largest survey of international student satisfaction, placed UD ahead of more than 55 other universities with international programs. The ISB relied on feedback from more than 150,000 international participants in the survey, who ranked schools based on learning services, living services and support services.

Last year, UC came in first in the survey. The current ISB results for UC can be found on this page.

05 December 2007

Nuking Tumors

You won't find this in a cookbook...

Heating breast-cancer cells with focused beams of microwave energy after chemotherapy can significantly shrink and kill tumors, according to results from a new clinical trial. The treatment increases blood flow into tumors, allowing chemotherapy drugs to more easily invade cancer cells.

...researchers aimed to use the microwave treatment in combination with chemotherapy to shrink tumors enough to allow patients to undergo lumpectomy--breast-conserving surgery--rather than radical mastectomy, or removal of the breast.

Fifteen of 28 patients received two cycles of chemotherapy, followed a few hours later by thermotherapy... After the combined treatments, 14 of the patients' tumors decreased enough for lumpectomy: the volume of the tumor shrank by about 88 percent, compared with 59 percent in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

The researchers estimate their method to get FDA approval around 2010. The obvious question: will it be effective for other types of tumors?

04 December 2007

Ohio Has an Oil & Gas Lobby?

Sure does. The Post has a piece titled "Energy Drilling Surges in Ohio" that had this little surprise:

The General Assembly passed a bill in 2004 (HB 278) that removed the legal authority of municipalities to regulate drilling in their towns. According to the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, the bill

...provided that the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management was the sole permitting authority for wells drilled in Ohio, and eliminated the need to obtain separate drilling permits from cities and townships.

...to assure consistent regulation based on sound regulatory principles and the orderly development of the state’s oil and gas resources, H.B. 278 in effect repeals the statutory authority local governments asserted over oil and gas wells.

The result is the effective elimination of township and municipal regulation that has disrupted orderly oil and gas development.

A cynic might think the industry just wants to maximize its profit margin, local democracy be damned. But that would be wrong, possibly even liberal. This wasn't about profits, it was about preserving corporate individual freedom:

H.B. 278 was needed because too often local regulations, when combined with the NIBY [I assume they meant NIMBY] effect, were intended not to regulate oil and gas drilling but rather were designed to prohibit it. Legislators, sympathetic to landowners who consented to drilling only to have local regulators deny them the opportunity, soon came to view the legislation as not only much-needed energy policy but a critical property rights issue as well.

Fortunately for Ohioans the industry is still championing property rights. Specifically, rights to drill on state property. That's what it wants in another bill,SB 193, which removes state agencies' authority for leasing state lands and puts the authority in a new entity called the Oil, Gas, and Timber Leasing Board.

SB 193 is currently in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee which is chaired by Tom Niehaus... the same Tom Niehaus who sponsored HB 278. The Ohio Oil & Gas Association has given him $5500 this year, part of the $39,150 total he has received from energy interests.

01 December 2007

Clermont County GOP Sets Historical World Record


Worst Insult Ever.

Clermont County’s Republican leaders snubbed Heimlich Wednesday night in his bid to replace U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt as the GOP’s candidate for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District seat. After hearing speeches from both Schmidt and Heimlich at its meeting Wednesday, the Clermont County Republican Party Central Committee voted to give Schmidt the party’s endorsement. She received a whooping 82 percent of the vote among party members.

Sweet Jesus, people. What we have here is a new reference standard for having a life not worth living. There is someone out there that people consider WORSE than Jean Schmidt.

Sucks to be him, as the kids say.

UPDATE: A gem from The Daily Bellwether: Heimlich found Jesus while inside a Michigan Big Boy.

Obligatory snark: He's not the first Republican to find Jesus or to be in a big boy.

Listen to the audio of his speech. His friend says Heimlich is LESS arrogant and pompous than he used to be. Wow. This guy must have been the habanero of assholes.