“US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.” (Toronto Star Sunday, September 13, 2009)
This struck me as an amazingly low figure (39%) for a nation that is arguably in the forefront of genetic engineering through breeding.
The entire process is fraught with danger; my understanding is that the focus on a bland and standard cob of corn – easier to mass process through sowing, nurture, harvesting, processing and supermarket-shelf-stocking has resulted in a loss of genetic variety that might help corn stocks survive the next blight.
I think of the USA as the place where steers are larger, sheep are woollier, and chickens are, well, bred for a short life and a lot of white meat.
With so much focus on the business of evolving livestock and vegetable stock to economic fruition, how can you NOT believe in evolution?
- Jane Raham admits she panicked when she pushed on the accelerator to overtake the tractor-trailer.
Panic is not good. In driving, conservatism is good. Holding back allows us more time to evaluate the facts and make a better decision.
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” comes to mind.
- The 62-year-old grandmother of four was in a steady column of traffic along a desolate stretch of Highway 7 near Kaladar, doing 90 km/h where the posted speed limit was 80 km/h. An OPP officer in an unmarked car was gliding along behind her when she pulled out to pass and hit the gas.
Let me see now.
The posted, legal, condition-of-holding-a-driving-license speed is 80, she’s doing 90 – so she’s ahead of the game already – and now wants to go faster – not through the act of overtaking itself, but to get AHEAD of the truck which she is behind.
The traffic flow is steady (see “conservative” above), so we are all getting to where we want to go, and at a speed greater than we ought to be able, and yet I want more!
Where I come from, we call that GREED.
- The officer registered her speed: 131 km/h, more than 50 km/h over the speed limit – just enough to merit the grandmother, who volunteer teaches adult literacy courses, an automatic conviction for stunt driving under provincial law.
“Just enough”? Sure. But it’s not the 1 km/hour that causes problems, is the other 50 km/hr above what the experts deem safe IN GOOD DRIVING WEATHER for that stretch of road.
- “I didn’t even know what (stunt driving) meant in terms of what the repercussions would be,” Raham said in an interview.
Whatever happened to “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”?. Also, for someone who teaches literacy, she must, surely, be capable of reading the newspapers these last two years? There has been a public and published furore over this law, with frequent statistical updates in the press. How can anyone resident in the province not know about it?
- Raham was on her way home on April 29, 2008 to Oakville from Kanata, where her daughter had just given birth to twins. She said she had chosen Hwy. 7 because it has fewer trucks than Hwy. 401 and she is petrified of being caught in a truck’s blind spot.
If you are petrified (literally “turned to a non-thinking chunk of stone”) about being in the blind spot of a truck, a BETTER ploy (?) is to almost double the legal speed (four times the energy to be dissipated in a collision) while driving alongside a truck in what must be assumed to be a two-lane stretch of highway.
(It doesn’t sound like a regular two-lanes-each-way stretch to me, where one can glide past a vehicle using a speed differential of 10 km/hour).
- Raham moved into the eastbound lane to overtake a truck in front of her and sped up, then noticed it was speeding up as well. That’s when she roared ahead.
Yup. Literate Granny is now doing almost double the posted speed into oncoming traffic.
Remember that the oncoming traffic is doing at least the posted limit, so we have a combined impact speed of about 240 km/hr.
Three times the velocity.
NINE times the impact energy of hitting a tree or concrete bridge abutment.
Yes. NINE times.
Please see also Kindergarten Energy – part 1
- “I did, out of a sort of fear reaction, pick up speed to get past him and back into the westbound driving lane,” she later testified in court.
All decisions based on fear are suspect.
What is needed in driving a vehicle is confidence.
Once fear creeps in our animal, irrational parts of the brain kick in. Irrational because we have stopped thinking, and if we have stopped thinking then, by definition, we have stopped thinking of the consequences of our action or reaction. (see “conservative” above)
- Her guilty verdict was overturned last Friday. “If one were asked to describe a stunt driver, the appellant would not immediately spring to mind,” Justice G. J. Griffin wrote in his ruling.
Of course she wouldn’t. She probably looks like a perfectly normal, rational (sane) elderly lady.
But appearances can be deceptive.
She thinks it is rational, sane, to overtake a big truck at nearly twice the posted speed limit on a single-lane highway.
Never judge a book by its cover, Judge!
- There are various ways to be charged under Ontario’s stunt-driving laws designed to target street racers. One of those is to drive 50 km/h over the speed limit; another is engaging in a contest with another vehicle.
And frankly, if racing a big truck at nearly twice the posted limit is not engaging in a contest, I really can’t think what is. By her own admission, she “then noticed it was speeding up as well” and made a decision to increase her speed.
Where I come from we call that “competing”.
- As for Raham, she recalls being shocked when the officer said she was charged with stunt driving.
She said she feels stunt driving means someone is driving recklessly on the highway and causing danger to other people. “I believe the police should take those people off the road, impound their car and give them a stiff penalty,” she said.
Clearly she feels, but equally clearly she does not think. I fail to see how driving at almost twice the posted speed limit into the oncoming lane can be considered any thing but reckless (“disregarding the consequences”, for those of us who need a bit of help in an adult literacy course.)
I know these car drivers; impatient and following too closely behind a big truck (that’s how you get into a truck’s blind spot in the first place!) they speed up and overtake the truck only to find that the reason the truck is going so slow is that IT is behind a slow-moving vehicle. They slide in between the two vehicles causing the truck to brake sharply, jackknife etc. And is that isn’t causing danger to other people again, I don’t know what is.
Adult Literacy again: we have had several published stories on truck drivers dying after swerving to avoid reckless 4-wheelers.
- Still, even with the case seemingly behind her, there is one lasting effect: Her grandchildren continue to tease her by calling her “stunt driver.”
It’s a joke, right?
My grandkids are teasing me. “… her daughter had just given birth to twins”.
So besides the vocal grandchildren, she has two more.
Grandmother of at least four.
Again, I would have thought that one would want to stay around long enough to care for grandkids.
(Rhetorical Question alert) That’s what loving grandparents do, isn’t it?