What The Polar Vortex And A Gas Explosion Taught Me About Human Nature

Last week, Michigan and much of the Midwest went through the coldest spell in 25 years when the polar vortex blew arctic air upon us.  It was a brutal stretch.  We saw high temperatures barely above zero.  Low temperatures were in the minus-teens.  Factor in the wind chill, and it felt like 40 or 50 below-zero.  It sucked.  Luckily, it was only for a few days, and temperatures like this aren’t regular occurrences.  But, as much as the cold weather seemed to be ‘the event’, it turned into something more.  And I learned a lot.  I learned about human nature. About good people and unfortunately about selfishness.

frozen pipes

Our Polar Vortex

It got cold last week.  Really cold.  The last time it was this cold was 25 years ago.  I remember that because I was a student at college doing an internship where I had to drive 50 miles one-way, five days per week.  So, walking to my car and starting it each morning was a nightmare.  I didn’t have an app to start my car back then.  Remote start was still a dream.  It was walk to the car, put the key in, hope it started, and wait for it to warm up.  So, yeah, I remember the last one.

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You Should Pay More To Shop At A Small Hardware Store

Lately, I’ve been going to a small hardware store on the way home from work when need arises.  It’s convenient and the service is great.  Still, they’re a bit higher priced.  The other morning I was going to meet my dad for breakfast.  Across from the restaurant is a Lowe’s.  I figured I’d stop in and get a few things to save some money.  What a big mistake.

I had a pretty small list:

  • Screws to mount a small TV
  • Pesticide for our rose bushes
  • Globe light bulbs for the bathrooms
  • Rubber gloves

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Why Are Michigan Roads So Bad? 10 Things To Know

The past month has seen roads in Michigan deteriorate to never before seen conditions.  Potholes and cracks are everywhere.  The freeze and thaw cycle has been especially bad this year, turning many roads to near gravel. But, Michigan isn’t the only state with this weather.  So, why are the roads so bad?  The answer isn’t as simple as any one thing.  Here are ten things to know about why Michigan roads are so bad.

Taxes and Spending

  1. Michigan drivers pay a lot in fuel taxes.  Michigan is one of the top five states in terms of taxes collected at the pump.  This infuriates a lot of drivers.  Common sense tells you that higher taxes should mean better roads.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way.  So why?
  2. Michigan doesn’t allocate sales tax at the pump to roads. Most states assign all taxes collected at the pump toward roads.  Michigan only allocates the fuel taxes specifically toward roads.  The sales tax portion goes to the general fund.  This means our spending levels are among the lowest in the nation per capita.
  3. Voters said no when given a chance to correct this.  A few years, it was put before voters to allocate the sales tax on gas toward roads.  This would have infused a ton more money into the roads.  But, it required an increase in the sales tax rate, which required it be put before voters.  They said no.  I wonder how many regret this decision now.

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Smartphones Are Really Kind Of Dumb

Aren’t smartphones great?  They take care of everything, right?  Well, maybe not everything.  But they’re totally smart and intuitive, aren’t they?  After all, smart IS part of the name.  Personally, I don’t think we’re there yet.  Smartphones have made our lives easier in many ways. But they still have a lot of things that could be improved.  In fact, I have come up with five reasons that smartphones aren’t all that smart.  Yet.

Battery Life And Charging

Apple recently caught a lot of heat because they were purposefully slowing down older phones.  Why?  Because the batteries were wearing out, and would last longer if the phone did less.  So, Apple sent an update to make the phone work slower.  Oh, and the age of some of these phones was less than two years.

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Why Block Ad Blockers?

I browse with Google Chrome.  On my laptop and desktop computers, I always install ad blocking software.  I’d install it on my mobile version if I could do so without having to root the device.  It always amuses me when I come across a site that will block ad blockers.  The site refuses entry when it detects that you are running ad blocking software.  Instead of loading the requested content, you get a page refusing you entry until you disable to ad blocking software.  Or disable it for their site, anyway.

The Case For Blocking Ad Blockers

Many sites exist only by selling advertising.  I get that.  Without placing ads that generate revenues, the site couldn’t exist.  So the case for ad blockers is easy: More revenue.  Without revenue, the site wouldn’t exist, so it makes sense to maximize ad value, right?

It’s not that simple.

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Airline Nightmare: You Can Be Right But Still Be Completely Wrong

The airline industry has really been under fire.  My 7-year old commented that the recent misstep has been the “fifth bad story” that he’s seen recently.  This latest airline nightmare had Delta kick a family off their flight because they wouldn’t give up the seat their infant was using.

Here’s the thing: They were actually right.  But then they turned into being completely wrong.

Where Delta Was Right

Delta had overbooked a flight, which seems to be the source of so many problems.  In looking things over, they found that one ticketed passenger wasn’t on the plane.  As it turns out, they had booked another ticket on another flight and already left.

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