atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2221: Worst people in history?

Oh, in American history, which is why the following didn't make the list:
Karl Marx
Vladimir Lenin
Josef Stalin
Mao Tse-tung
Fidel Castro
Pol Pot
Che Guevara
Adolf Hitler
None of those guys were Americans. Thank God.

Via, and Vox names Abraham Lincoln as one of his worst. Okay, I can see that; Lincoln had his own warts.

The inclusion of Richard Nixon does not surprise me in the slightest; and the comments at Vox Day's page echo my own sentiments: he's the man who saddled us with OSHA and EPA.

* * *

They're ripping out the pavement on Exchange street. Today they managed to strip just about all of it from East St. to Route 1.

They use a machine, operated by 2-3 men, which has a rotating drum that grinds up the pavement--an 8 foot width--and spits it out via a conveyor belt. It's surprisingly quiet, considering what it does, and it takes a continuous stream of dump trucks to remove the tailings.

A truck parks in front of the machine, under the stream of debris from the conveyor. The operator of the machine honks a horn when he wants the truck to move up, and honks it again when the truck's moved far enough. A long toot informs the truck driver that his truck is full. The truck moves out and another takes its place.

The thing must also periodically be supplied with water; I assume this is to keep dust to a minimum.

Anyway the whole operation emits a chemical stink redolent of hot rubber; that's because asphalt is made with tar, which is what's left after you've cracked out all the lighter hydrocarbon fractions from crude oil. (Jerry Pournelle has said that if we ran out of oil tomorrow, organic chemists would start mining asphalt for its petroleum. You can reduce tar into usable petrochemicals, but at the moment it's not economically viable. Which is, of course, a way of saying it's not economically necessary....)

The last time Exchange Street was fixed, they used jackhammers and scoop loaders and I can't recall what else to get rid of the old pavement. (That was 30 years ago.) This way is a hell of a lot more efficient; certainly it requires fewer workers, and the worst physical strain comes from standing in the sun next to (or on) a loud machine for ten or twelve hours.

I didn't see one shovel.

The thing takes a neat slice right out of the pavement, and they have it set to grind down about eight inches or so. I have no idea what's left; the scoured surface felt like concrete but it could easily have been well-packed gravel or even dirt, for all I know. I didn't try poking holes in it; I just stomped on it with my shoe-clad foot, and it felt pretty solid.

I don't know how thorough they plan for this effort to be, whether they plan to replace the entire road (including the sub-roadbed) or just the paving, or what. Nor do I really care all that much.

What I do care about is how inconvenient the entire mess is. In order to do anything in town I now have to make a series of left turns, often into/across traffic which does not stop; that's not normally the case when Exchange St. is open.

The worst part is going to the store: I have to drive around three sides of a square to get there now.

...well, it's temporary, anyway, so it's fine.
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