Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy


Irkonomics is something I remember reading about years ago. And now that we have a new municipal government I’m hoping that some of the stuff that irks me will get addressed.

For example, the way the traffic lights are never synchronized correctly so that traffic flows herky-jerky, or not at all; the way in which certain computer programs are designed so as to make it difficult to do ordinary things; the way some TV channels opt to make shows run past their 1/2 hour or hour slot so taping them via the DVR is made more aggravating; the increasing number of pedestrians who don’t look both ways but just cross the street, usually because they’re too busy texting or bopping to their iPods; or how some bicyclists seem to have a death wish when riding about town, thinking the big metal objects hurtling down the road will stop in time (I think some of these folks have a death wish). In other words, How people are taking something that should be fairly straightforward and generally screwing it up.

I have to believe that everyone is truly trying to make things better but at times I think we’ve all fallen so in love with the latest, coolest gadget or doohickey that we’ve totally abandoned the reason all this wonderful technology is here — to make our lives easier.

Case in point, today I was driving towards downtown after exiting the 417. Taking the Metcalfe exit towards downtown you’d think that the geniuses at City Hall would ensure that the lights are synchronized so as to ensure that those driving at a reasonable rate and not exceeding the speed limit would be able to make each light. But, no. That would make sense. Instead the geniuses are attempting to do what they call “traffic calming”, which is a synonym for driver aggravation. In order to make some of the lights you either have to drive as though you’ve either just gotten your license or are so close to the end of your life that it is about to be taken away. Otherwise, if you want to make each subsequent light requires you drive faster and faster, jack rabbit starting from each light in order to barely make the next light. Sigh. And this is supposed to “calm” traffic and reduce polution? Ha!

And I am so happy about the ban in cell phone use by drivers in cars while they’re in motion. A good friend of mine said that use of a cell phone in a car while it’s in motion results in a 20 point drop in the driver’s IQ. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford such a hit to our IQs. I still see idiots with their phones glued to their faces. What can possibly be so important? And why do so many people walk to their cars, get in, start their car, whip out their phone just as they start driving? They couldn’t have called while making it to the car? Unbelievable.

Anyway, irkonomics has gotten to me. A little sanity would help. We have a new municipal government with 11 new faces out of 25. Maybe we’ll see some reasoned thought. I’m eternal optimist and thus I always hope.

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October 2010
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