Maybe you should be a welder, the lip synced debate, Livingston meets DeGeneres, stop-and-frisk caught on video, and the day in the marriage-ban debate.
The unsung heroes of any news operation, any editor will tell you, are editors. They're the ones who are supposed to catch mistakes or look at content through a different prism to make sure what their news organization "publishes" can't be taken the wrong way.
The Associated Press apologized today for the caption that went with the picture, which apparently wasn't particularly clear. So it reworded it... after the fact:
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va. A student, right, reacts as she realizes Romney will crouch down directly in front of her and her classmates for the group photo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In a news release today, AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained:
"The original caption on the photo of Gov. Romney taken Monday at a Virginia school was literally correct -- it said the governor was posing for photos with schoolchildren. But it was too generic and missed the boat by not explaining exactly what was happening. The student with the surprised expression had just realized that the governor was going to crouch down in front of her for the group photo.
"We amended the caption on Tuesday with that explanation, but by then many people had seen the photo and were confused by or angry about it. Those generic captions help us process a large number of photos on a busy campaign day, but some photos demand more explanation and we fell short of our own standards by not providing it in this case."
Not unexpectedly, people saw a conspiracy...
Sam Newberg, at the most-excellent Streets.mn blog today, has a fascinating take on the problems with being a pedestrian on Hiawatha Avenue.
He has several recommendations for improving things, including changing the curb radius, making crosswalks a straight line from a path and giving pedestrians the same joyful "the light changes immediately" that cars approaching from side streets have -- or will have once the phasing of lights is complete...
The unfortunate result is a vehicle rolling up to a red light automatically trips the actuator simply by reaching the intersection - the driver need not do anything extra. A pedestrian, however, must "apply" to cross the street (a bicycle must also apply because they aren't heavy enough to set off the actuator) by pushing the button. I don't know about you, but this doesn't sit well with me. Technology does exist called proximity detectors that can "see" the presence of a pedestrian.
Many of his ideas could -- and as a driver, should -- be applied to any highway.
In my neighborhood -- now known, thanks to a political ad, as "my little suburban world" -- I make a 90-degree right turn at a four-way stop, and have to crane my neck around to make sure a bicyclist isn't approaching the intersection on a bike path/sidewalk from 20 or more feet away, intending on declaring him/herself a pedestrian and blasting through.
Here's the intersection (courtesy of Google Maps)
Mr. Newerg's solution is to reconfigure right turn lanes to allow cars to approach at an angle.
... reconfiguring the right turn lane and related island could help pedestrian safety. As the image shows, a minor shift of the angle at which vehicles approach the turn and make the turn places the pedestrian crosswalk closer to the center of the driver's peripheral vision. Doing so improves pedestrian safety. Nearly all of the intersections in question along Hiawatha have these turn lanes and islands, so the change could apply to multiple locations. Certainly eliminating right turn lanes and islands entirely would be the best solution for pedestrian safety, but the reconfiguration would be very beneficial.
That solution also highlights another problem, one for which no solution is provided: the left turn lane.
A terrible accident in April in Woodbury provides a perfect example:
At noon, the mother and her 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old boy were struck by a vehicle at Radio Drive and Central Park Place.
"The light had just turned green, and the pedestrians were crossing and the other car was making a (left) turn...," Police Commander Jay Alberio said.
My reaction might have been typical of many people familiar with the crosswalk, "What kind of idiot doesn't see someone crossing the highway in a crosswalk there?"
A couple of weeks ago, I found out at the same intersection: my kind of idiot.
In making a left turn, the people on the island (it's a divided highway) waiting to make it across the street, are in a car's blind spot -- the left frame post of the windshield. There's no way to see them.
Newberg points out -- appropriately, I think -- that the pedestrian crossings on Hiawatha (and hence, elsewhere) are built to highway standards
You see, the proposed crosswalk improvements don't do enough to improve pedestrian safety, largely because they are still beholden to highway regulations. I'm not speaking for just my own safety here, or even my kids. Hundreds of people cross each day at all of these streets, and if we are to spend public dollars to improve the safety of these crossings, we must insist they are done in a way that actually maximizes public safety. Continuing to bow to state highway regulations in an urban setting is not acceptable.
And that leads to my suggestion to ad to Newberg's. When someone has a "walk" light, nobody moves. Period. There isn't a green light for drivers, with the assumption that they will see -- let alone, yield to the pedestrian, crossing where they want to take a lefthand turn. They get a red light -- everyone gets a red light -- until the pedestrian is safely across the street.
Is that too simple?(6 Comments)
Watching the retirement of the space shuttle program is a bitter pill for many in the science community who saw it as a symbol for mankind's thirst for knowledge and pushing the envelope of exploration.
So today's announcement that singer Sarah Brightman is buying her way to the International Space Station probably won't assuage the sense that it's a worthy indicator of the seriousness of space science.
Still, you've got to give Brightman credit for trying to have her appointment as an astronaut -- or cosmonaut, whatever -- make sense.
"My music has always been inspired by space," Brightman said. "It was because of seeing the first man on the moon back in the '60s that actually inspired me and gave me the courage to go into the career that I had. At moments when I'm feeling nervous onstage or I'm feeling unsure I actually look to the stars and the planets and space and it gives me courage and inspiration."
We're standing by and monitoring Twitter closely for Neil deGrasse Tyson's reaction.(11 Comments)