Speeding point proven at 2 AM

I’d spent many evenings last week going door to door along State Street, methodically collecting signatures on a city petition to reduce the State Street speed limit to 25 MPH from its current 35 MPH. The first two days garnered the lion’s share of signatures; before I knew it I was up to ten. The last four, however, have been a challenge. Some neighbors tell me they agree 100% with reducing the speed and yet they’re very reluctant to put their name on the list. Some of these neighbors are older and some are renters who are perhaps worried any more neighborhood improvements might price them right out of the home they are renting. It’s hard to know what their real reasons are but it’s frustrating that they want it done and yet don’t want to do anything to make it happen.

Sunday afternoon I was particularly bummed when some friends I thought I could count on to sign decided against it, citing the mess that the water main replacement/traffic calming on Glascock has been. Even though I stressed it was only a new set of speed limit signs I could not convince them. I felt like chucking my clipboard into the street and giving up on the whole damn process. It would be just like five years ago, when I spent hours walking up and down State only to collect just enough signatures to barely miss the threshold.
Contine reading

N&O quoted my letter to City Council in 2013

I was doing a vanity search on the N&O website, looking for a story I linked to once but apparently no longer exists (the N&O has never fixed its linkrot problem), when I found a 2013 story in which Colin Campbell quoted me and I didn’t even know it. In 2013, after musing about two-way streets here, I had written City Council and urged them to consider getting rid of the one-way streets in East Raleigh:

From: Mark Turner
Date: 06/25/2013 07:57 PM
Subject: Please consider making New Bern and Edenton two-way

Dear Madame Mayor and City Councilors,

I would like to respectfully request that you consider devoting a portion of transportation funds towards converting New Bern Avenue and Edenton Streets from one-way streets into two-way streets east of the Capitol. I strongly feel nothing would provide an economic boost to the east side of town as much as making these streets friendlier to local traffic and pedestrians and making them less like miniature freeways.

Thank you for all that you do for our city!

Respectfully yours,

Mark Turner

Contine reading

Google to Google routing could be better

fiber_houseLike many Triangle residents, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Google Fiber service, ready to ditch my indentured servitude to Time Warner Cable. I’m a fairly advanced geek, too, hosting this site and others on Amazon Web Services. I want my website to be as speedy as possible to me and my web visitors, so low network latency is very important. For those who aren’t advanced geeks, network latency is how long it takes for a packet to travel between two points on a network, usually measured in milliseconds. Networking often hits upon the limitation of the speed of light (or radio propagation, depending on the medium), meaning a server located far away (like Singapore) will have a noticeable delay for visitors in America.

My Amazon virtual server is physically located in Ashburn, Virginia but due to some favorable network routing it responds very quickly in the Triangle area, almost as if it were right across town. I have found it very hard to find a server that’s any closer, network-wise.
Contine reading

Boost of civic energy

No sooner had I written my previous post that I got a boost of civic energy, this one from attending Monday night’s East CAC meeting. It had been a long while since I had been to a meeting, with my involvement in the Ligon PTA taking up much of my free time as well as other things like Friends of Dorothea Dix Park.

Monday’s meeting featured information on the purchase of Gateway Plaza, right outside of my neighborhood, so it provided a compelling reason to be there. There wasn’t much information provided but seeing many of my friends and neighbors there after such a long time was really fun. The same boost of energy I always got when conducting East CAC meetings was still there. My neighborhood inspires me! It’s good to know I can always come back.
Contine reading

Looking California, feeling Minnesota?

In a departmental meeting last week a look around the room brought on a revelation: I was the only one present who was propping his head up with his hand. I realized that I do this all the time and yet I rarely see anyone else doing it. Why is this? Isn’t anyone as tired all the time as I am?

When I was younger I always knew that age would bring with it its own aches and pains. I just didn’t realize they would hit me all at once! The past two years have seen my energy drain more rapidly than I expected or, frankly, consider normal. It’s astonishing and frightening at the same time.

I am in need of naps far more frequently than I used to be. I have challenges putting faces to names out of context. I often wake up tired from the get-go. I’ve found myself more reluctant to join in conversation. I frequently pay an unexpected price for physical efforts. Everything seems so much goddamn harder now.

I am concerned that the things that my declining health is jeopardizing my life goals.
Contine reading

VA Pregnenolone study

For 12 weeks beginning in February, I participated in a VA-funded research study on using pregnenolone to address the effects of Gulf War Illness. Every week I would check in with a research associate, either in person or by phone, and answer a series of questions regarding my health and mental faculties. It involved driving to the Durham VA Medical Center about every other week for bloodwork and cognitive testing. I would also often return with a dose of pregnenolone for that week.

The cognitive tests were challenging and the worst part of the study. Bloodwork by comparison was a breeze, but when asked to study images of shapes and mentally rearrange them or to recall a varying, long list of fruits and vegetables I would begin to sweat. I hated those tests especially.
Contine reading

Corroded wire led to Rachel Rosoff’s death

rachel_rosoff-facebook-profile

Wake County Inspectors released their report on what caused the pool at Heritage Point to become electrically charged, killing lifeguard and Enloe High senior Rachel Rosoff on Saturday, 3 September. I’ve perused the report [PDF] and it appears that the pool pump shorted out for some reason (age? damage? No one knows). This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem but the grounded conductor which normally protects from such faults had become so corroded over time that it no longer completed the circuit.

There’s no telling how long ago the corroded ground wire had stopped protecting the pool equipment. Once the motor failed there was no other place for the electricity to flow but into the pool.

Was there negligence? It appears not. The pool’s electrical system was up to the 1978 NEC Electrical code it was built under. So what else might be done? Perhaps pool owners (or county inspectors) could test the grounds on other pools on a regular basis to ensure everything is working properly. I’m sure many are already considering this.