Monthly Archives: June 2011

Worse Than Drunk Driving

I’m having so much fun in my speech class. Not to say that my knees don’t shake nor my stomach get butterflies before I have to give one, but I’m learning all kinds of new information because of the subjects we have to research, and that makes me happy. Here is my latest topic – my hope is to persuade you to change your habits if you find this speaking to you (the speech was persuasive after all). And since it was gleaned through research, I will post my citations at the end.

According to the US Department of Transportation, in the space of one second, a car moving at 35 mph travels 52 feet; at 70 mph, that jumps to 103 feet. That’s per second. What if no one was at the wheel? And in that second a mom with a baby carriage walks out in front of the car. Or a little boy chases his ball out in front of it? Or a bicyclist minding their own business tooling down the bike lane had said car veer into that lane?

47% of adults do this compared to 34% of teens.1

It has 3 components –

  1. Eyes off the road
  2. Hands off the wheel
  3. Mind off what you’re doing

It is…

Texting while driving.

Car and Driver Magazine did an experiment which was highlighted in the June, 2009, issue. They compared the response times of a 22-year-old and a 37-year-old male driver during a real life test – no simulations here. They drove the course to get a base score at 35 and again at 70 mph, and then compared that to how they did while reading a text, creating a text and driving while intoxicated. (They rented an air strip so they didn’t even have to deal with traffic conditions, roads curving nor pedestrians getting in the way).

The results were horrendous. I’ve put the distances of reaction respectful to their ages.

At 35 mph, the time it took the men to hit the brakes was:

READING A TEXT

  • 21 feet and 188 feet (the 37 year old kept his eyes off the road 4 whole seconds)

TEXTING A MESSAGE

  • 16 feet and 90 feet

At 70 mph, the time it took the men to hit the brakes was:

 READING A TEXT

  • 30 feet and 129 feet

 TEXTING A MESSAGE

  • 31 feet 319 feet (the 37-year-old kept his eyes off the road for 3.5 seconds)

Remember, those figures are when they started to apply the brakes! When comparing those figures to their intoxicated reaction times,

  • The 27-year-old only went 15 feet before hitting the brakes.
  • The 37-year-old reacted at 17 feet when hitting the brakes.

Texting while driving equates more to falling asleep behind the wheel than drunk driving because there is usually some kind of reaction when a driver has had too much alcohol to drink and sees a problem, but there is none when the driver is either asleep or not looking.

We have a family acquaintance that I interviewed for this speech that is in sales and travels extensively in his car. In February of this year when coming home to Largo, traffic on I-275 had come to a halt because of a vehicular fire on the side of the road. A female driver coming around a curve never saw the fire – and never hit her brakes, totaling both cars. The only reason our friend is alive is because he was in a Cadillac and she was driving a Ford Focus – and the metal barrier kept his Caddy from crossing over into oncoming traffic. After asking him how it has changed his life, he responded, “I never drive and talk on the phone anymore, it is just not safe. Your life can end in a heartbeat”. The girl was seriously injured and will deal with those issues the rest of her life.

This is getting long, so I shall end. If, however, you’d like to see how it has affected many more people, check out the documentary special AT&T did in March, 2010, and posted on YouTube. It’s not gory, but very profound; view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DebhWD6ljZs.

I encourage you to be the role model in your family:

  • Don’t use the phone while driving, especially not to text
  • Make sure your family knows “On the Road, Off the Phone”
  • Get involved with your state representatives and encourage them to present tougher laws against distracted drivers. We must have these laws to protect our citizens! The only law on Florida’s books regarding this issue prohibits any municipality from passing any law regarding cell phones.2 Amazing, when one considers that 5,800 people are killed and over half a million wounded by distracted driving every year.3

As Michael Austin, of Car and Driver, said, “The next time you’re tempted to text, tweet, e-mail or otherwise type while driving, either ignore the urge or pull over. We don’t want you rear-ending us.”4

1 Flores, Marc, IntoMobile, Mobile Technology News Site [Cited June 18, 2010]

2 Governors Highway Safety Association, 444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722, Washington DC 20001-1534, 2011 Report

3 Federal Communications Commission, 2011

4 Austin, Michael, Car and Driver, June, 2009 issue

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What? You can’t abstain 75 minutes?

I know when I was younger and a student, I didn’t always take my classes seriously. But that was when I was in high school and if we were caught not paying attention, it was a lecture and a talk with our parents. Respect for the teacher was stressed at all times, and, perhaps because my own momma was a teacher, lack of said respect was grounds for all manner of unpleasantries.

So why am I seeing so many college classmates using their computers – but not for taking notes! Today in class, a young man in front of me was watching movies and checking his Facebook account … while the teacher was lecturing! In my ethics class last semester, the girl next to me never, ever wrote a note, but I’m sure the Prof thought she was being very studious as she forthrightly pranced into class and set up her laptop – even though all she did was send and receive emails throughout his lectures.

I guess it’s because someone else is paying for their classes; or they’re young; or the sun is shining and they’re (heavens!) b-o-r-e-d. Whatever, I’m really trying not to get into my ‘mom-mode’ and start with the lectures. One, because they wouldn’t pay any attention anyway, and two, I’m really not their mom.

Such a fine line we moms have to walk! I must admit, however, to lecturing my own children on their class etiquette; hopefully, they’ll listen.

Blessings.

And I did this why?

I remember being in high school and feeling so sorry for those kids who had to go to summer school. What a bummer! They had to miss out on the beach, lazing around, reading books to one’s heart’s desire, and that wonderful feeling of nothing-to-do…heaven!

 

So, why in the world did I sign up for summer classes this semester? I really need to work on our house, helping my honey to get it ready to sell, enjoy my children through perhaps our last summer all together, and do a little bit of traveling. For some reason, I decided that taking 3 classes during the summer was a good idea. But those books and that beach – mmm, not going to happen right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my classes this semester – Speech with Dr. Suess (yep, that’s how she spells it, but she pronounces it “Seez”, and she actually has her doctorate, too); Computer Applications with Dr. Beck is opening up Microsoft Office in a way that is totally exciting because of all of the possible applications; and although the topic of Macroeconomics isn’t all that wonderful, learning more about the countries each of the students have to research has been fun and enriching.

However, it’s mid-term time. So, what am I doing? Writing this! And doing anything else rather than studying. Now is the time that all students wonder what in the world they had been drinking that made them volunteer to put themselves into this situation. Argh. Procrastination is my bane (and a topic for its own separate post); one I was raised up with and have perfected into a fine art. Well, this is the year that I will break that yoke, set myself free, and in general, lower my blood pressure and cease taking it out on my family. Have I told you I’m also an optimist?

Now back to the books and my Macro review. I’ll let you know how it goes afterward. Oh, and you can hold me to my new goal…I will NOT wait until the last minute any more (although technically, I have more than 12 hours before the test – plenty of time!)

There is Always a Cost

I love shoes. Lots of shoes. In fact, I’d rather buy shoes than most anything else. Probably because I don’t have to worry about what my hips look like in them.

Anyway, I was thinking about what I’m learning in school and realized that my Macroeconomics class does, indeed, have an application in my life. Now, most of you probably already know that when you spend money on one thing you don’t have money for another item. I did, too, I just didn’t know that it had a name. Did you?  It’s called “Opportunity Cost” and it means the price one pays for choosing one something over another. Of course, it doesn’t have to be regarding shoes, it really applies to any area of our lives, but I’m talking shoes here, so I’m sticking with my analogy.

The above shoes are wonderful, in my opinion. Of course, I have to temper that opinion with the knowledge that I have absolutely no where to go wearing them (my circles don’t run to that style….hmm, speaking of running, you wouldn’t get any of that done in these either, would you?) I also have a gene-level aversion to purchasing anything for $600 a foot that’s going to walk through mud and water and possibly gum (yep, they’re $1200). And if I did find them on my size 9.5 ‘ers, I’d probably trip over my feet while watching the pretty bows, slice a major blood vessel and bleed to death because of the spiky heel. Other than those reasons, they’d be a good fit.

Because, however, I’m much more pragmatic than that, I’d go with these little slippers. Aren’t they cute? They would also keep me closer to the floor which is a very good thing (I like to think of myself as being grounded even while following my sparkle brain tendencies).  This little number is only $20 per foot through http://www.shoedazzle.com (they don’t know me, just thought I’d let you know of a site with good deals and where I got these pictures).

I can say that my “Opportunity Cost” for these little blue shoes was $1160 and feel like I really got a deal, especially since it didn’t come out of my pocket and I wouldn’t have been able to drive my car in the other pair.

I hope you feel like you’ve been enlightened. Or at least, that you can now say that you’ve seen a pair of shoes selling for what you could have bought a refrigerator for with the “Opportunity Cost”.

Blessings.

The Money Trail

After coming into power in 1936, Adolf Hitler initiated price controls in order for his government to purchase war materials at artificially lowered prices as well as imposing rationing on consumer goods (something that many countries do during times of conflict). The difference between Hitler’s controls and those of, say, the US or Great England, was that persons found violating those controls were subject to death.

He called his money units Reichsmarks. After the war, this money was converted into Deutsche Marks at a much higher exchange rate causing many people to see a major reduction in their net worth. As the money supply suffered a ninety-three per cent (93%) contraction in availability, bartering became a way of life for day to day necessities. However, an economist named Ludwig Erhard believed that if given the chance, the people would work for the new money if it could be shown to be valuable.  Under Allied control, he all but abolished rationing on foods and manufactured goods … and was proven correct. “Decontrol of prices allowed buyers to transmit their demands to sellers, without a rationing system getting in the way, and the higher prices gave sellers an incentive to supply more” (Henderson). Because of this, when shops opened on the date of de-rationing, June 21, 1948,  people flocked to stores which were selling items that now made economic sense for the shop owners to carry. The economy came back with a flourish, much sooner than anyone had predicted for a defeated nation.

The German’s labeled their new economy a ‘social market economy’, denoting the material as well as the social (human) dimension of their new system. They stressed the word market because, after the tyranny of the Nazi regime, they wanted to stay away from any possible taint of government control.  The only state control in West Germany was to protect the economy from monopolies. They stressed the word social because they wanted to develop an economy that would help all of their citizens, but again didn’t want the idea of the government coming in and ‘directing’ any programs to be part of the new plan. (www.germanculture.com.ua).

In 1950, $1 in US dollars was equal to 4.20M (marks). By 1998, one US dollar was the equivalent of 1.78M. In 2002, the Euro was made the legal monetary unit in Germany and it is currently the equivalent of $1.46337, which is good for Germans purchasing American goods, not so much the other way around (XE.com).

The smallest unit of German money is called a Pfenning (pf) and there are 100 pf in one mark; Germans call Deutsch Marks simply marks or D-Marks or DM. A listing of the coins frequently used:

1 pf, 2 pf, 5 pf, 10 pf, 50 pf, 1 DM, 2 DM, 5 DM

Their paper money (bank notes) breakdown is:

Banknotes frequently used: 10 DM, 20 DM, 50 DM, 100 DM; larger amounts are available but rurely used 5 DM, 200 DM, 500 DM, 1000 DM.

SOURCES:

David R. Henderson, “German Economic Miracle.” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. 2008. Library of Economics and Liberty. 3 June 2011. <http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GermanEconomicMiracle.html&gt;.

http://www.germanculture.com.ua/library/facts/bl_economy.htm

http://www.xe.com/ucc/

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/projects/currency.htm

It Paid for My Class Today!

I love learning. Did I say that before? Well, it is just so much fun to learn something new and exciting, or new and illuminating. or new and ….. well, most anything as long as it’s NEW!

Today I learned two tricks to use with the Word 2010 program that pretty much paid me for taking the class. This is a class they wouldn’t let me CLEP (take a test instead of the class and just get the credit) and I am so glad they wouldn’t. If you don’t like to write much, it may not be that special to you, but for me, it is gonna save me so much time! And for free, I’m going to share it with you! (Aren’t you glad you visited my site now?)

Ok, here it is:

When in Word 2010, after typing your sentences or paragraphs, if you want to change ANYTHING (here’s the first hint):

1. Click on the word or line you want to change, but, in the case of a whole line or paragraph, TRIPLE click (really fast) and the whole line or paragraph will be highlighted. You can then do whatever format change you want to do (change size, color, italicize it, etc.) all at once, without that annoying ‘click and drag’ thing that I always lose in the middle of the paragraph anyway.

And

2.  If you’ve written your text all out before formatting (a trick we learned today) but part of it needs to be in all CAPITALS, highlight the word, line or paragraph as per the above, and then go to the ribbon at the top of the page and in the second section (labeled Font), find the double Aa’s and click on the drop down arrow. There are a number of choices from which to choose – all lower case, all CAPS (what really got me excited), capitalize the first letter of each word (think research paper or book report titles here) and a few more.

Now, class that is your freebie for today. Go forth and edit something!!

Blessings.