A recent ride on the Queen K Highway on the Big Island got me thinking about some of the stupid decisions made by bureaucrats and coin-operated politicians. Granted, many private company executives make stupid decisions, but they often get fired for them. And, as a taxpayer, I feel like I can gripe about how my dollars are spent.
Here is Exhibit A. Road Shoulder Indicators
These gouges in a perfectly good road surface are there to let motorists know that they are deviating from the road. The reflector on the left performs the same role. Both are annoying to cyclists, and in the case of the gouges, actually are so bumpy that they bounced my water bottle out of its cage.
Now, if you are so drunk, stoned or stupid that you don't notice the thumping from the reflectors, you probably won't notice the gouges either. And, in any case, as a society don't we want you to run off the road and perhaps remove yourself from the gene pool, instead of recovering so that you can wander into oncoming traffic and take someone else with you?
In many states, including California, there are now laws in place that require you to use a headset when you are driving whilst on the phone. This seems like a good idea at first examination. If you are a politician, it certainly seems like a good idea when the lobbyist for the headset manufacturers (which pushed the bill in CA) takes you to nice lunches.
The problem is that with real science, this turns out to be exactly a bad idea. You see, the problem is not that holding a phone causes distracted driving and leads to accidents. The problem is that talking on the phone causes distracted driving. A University of Utah study showed no difference in the cognitive distraction between talking on the handset or handsfree. A Nordic study show the same result. But here is the rub. Using a headset is more comfortable, and therefore you spend more time talking on the phone. So........using a headset is more dangerous. Apparently the lobbyist failed to mention that.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Our esteemed politicians continue to use my tax dollars to provide generous subsidies to corn farmers. This makes corn super cheap, and an end result is that High Fructose Corn Syrup is cheaper to use than sugar. Well, our bodies evolved to process sugar efficiently and with minimal disruption, but HFCS is like sugar on meth. Many pediatricians believe it is a leading cause of child obesity. Your body just does not deal with it well, and it creates a blood sugar spike, followed by an insulin reaction, followed by feeling hungry.
We talk about reforming health care costs, while our government promotes a childhood obesity epidemic with subsidies for poison. Nice.