Zipper Merge

JEFFREY GREENBERG/UIG/GETTY IMAGES

I was raised in New York where people have zero tolerance for almost anything they find objectionable.  If you have been in traffic and do not move within a fraction of a second after the car in front of you moves, you will hear honking from behind you to get going.  Time delays are in fact called a New York minute which means instantly.

Driving in the South, especially on the major roads, shows how courteous people are in general.  If the sign ahead says a lane will disappear, people merge way ahead of the merge point.  As a result, they tend to jam up and stop leaving a lane next to them empty.

People like me use that empty lane and then merge at the last point.  This is wired into me because I am from New York where drivers almost instinctively wait for the last minute.  In fact, they may ride the shoulder even beyond the merge to eke out another few feet of “lead” compared to the imaginary competitor they are driven to beat to the next exit or traffic light.

So, feeling my driving roots from New York and being in the South for so long I was a bit stunned to see an article justifying my New York driving habits.  It was from a few years ago but was recently posted to Facebook so it was news to me.  The November 4th, 2016 article from “HowStuffWorks” describes the right way to merge and it indeed is the Northern method.  It is called zipper merging because the cars take turns (in a perfect world).  Of course, in New York, the merge becomes more of a game of guts about how assertive you are going to be in the merge.

Here is a link to the article on How Stuff Works.

It is nice to be right, but in the South, you will probably get a hand gesture and worse for being so efficient.

When does an animal become a mineral?

I have always loved fossils.  The ones I have seen most often, of course, are the ancient seashells and small organisms you find in ancient seabed rocks. It never crossed my mind that the changes in these animals over time which we call petrification could redefine them and create all kinds of a ruckus.

But it has read about it here in Science Magazine.

I have no concerns about what anyone will ever find on my property in Atlanta, but this does really point out questions we never thought to answer when property right laws were written.

Of course, it really makes me upset when I ask my lawyer friends about whether any laws are really “binding” if they were contested.

To a person, they almost always tell me the same thing: it depends on who has the best lawyer and that often depends upon who has the most money.

This, in turn, makes me crazy because almost everyone I know who has been robbed, embezzled, or been abused in life and sought restitution tells me that the criminal justice system is mostly about being sure that criminals get just treatment … it is not about us who have been wronged at all.

Perhaps that old joke suggesting we should stop using rats for biological testing and use lawyers instead.  We are running out of rats, you don’t nearly become as attached to them, and there are some things you just can’t get a rat to do.