Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just when I think people can't get any worse...

I hate loud noise, it interrupts my thought process and I find that incredibly irritating. Loud trucks, sirens, ringing cell phones, car alarms, squealing cheerleaders, and most especially that dammed shrill penetrating beep! beep! beep! from backing heavy construction equipment (don't they ever drive those things forward?). I love the peace and stillness of the Alaskan bush, without a single sound of humanity, just the wind and water. I am usually opposed to anything that increases the ambient man-made noise level.

So it never occurred to me that there could be such a thing as too quiet, especially when it comes to cars. Turns out I'm wrong. Again.

Try to imagine my surprise.

"Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot."

Well hell, that never occurred to me. I can see where these people are coming from (no pun intended, or at least not maliciously intended). The National Federation for the Blind and other groups are advocating that quiet technology cars such as hybrids and electrics be equipped with some type of noise generator so that that the vision impaired can hear them coming. Now, they're not talking about some kind of wailing siren or some such; a number of folks have suggested something that sounds similar to a conventional internal combustion engine. Sounds reasonable to me, in fact, I think this idea benefits everybody, vision impaired or not. Kids. People not paying attention. Cyclists. Road construction workers. Hell, even animals. Most of us have been conditioned from birth to associate the sound of an approaching internal combustion engine with "Danger! Brain to feet - get out of the way." It doesn't seem like the device should increase the cost of new hybrids by much if at all, or be at all that difficult to retro-fit onto existing ultra quiet cars. Also, it just seems like the right thing to do. And it sure doesn't seem like it's any skin off my ass to make the lives of blind people a little easier. I mean, I can be a callus jerk upon occasion, but I'm not that big of callus jerk - being blind sucks enough as it is without silent cars sneaking up on you.

So, I was more than a bit appalled to read some of the comments attached to this article. Here's a few of the more idiotic examples:

"Keep the car quiet, it’s not being marketed to the blind" Exactly, blind people drive loud cars.

"...create a law banning blind people from crossing the street..." Or we could just ban this commenter from driving again, ever.

"...make it mandatory for the blind to wear inflatable pads all over their bodies." I think this commenter should have a mandatory pad over his mouth.

"and I’m sure zebra don’t want to be eaten by a quiet tiger either, but it happens. It’s natural selection. deal with it." Ah, eugenics. Because if you're going to be an asshole, you might as well pervert Darwin to support you ideas.

"The idea of reducing noise pollution seems more important." Well, it is true that dead blind people make less noise than the live ones. Of course that applies to jerkoff commenters too, just saying.

"They should be walking on sidewalks. If they get hit here, it’s due to the reckless driver, and they likely would not be able to do anything about it anyway." Yeah, wouldn't want to give them a sporting chance or anything.

And my personal favorite: "Put baseball cards in the wheel spokes." Though to be fair, I think this last was actually meant to be funny.

There's more. A lot more.

What. A. Bunch. Of. Utter. Assholes!

Attention Assholes: Can you hear this noise? That would be the sound of my blood beginning to fizz and boil. I wouldn't wish blindness on anybody, but if there is such a thing as karma, you jerks are overdue for a good smack upside the head with the Detached Retina stick.


  1. Ahh... I love it when other people are courageous enough to venture out into the wilds of Teh Internetz and bring back such tales as yours, so that I don't have to. I'm quite cozy sticking with my few well-chosen tiny islands of intelligence. :)

  2. I've been working on a new phrase for ijiots like these. "They tell me you're intelligent, start proving it."

  3. how about:

    "They tell me you're intelligent, citation needed please."

  4. Heh. That's what degrees and certifications are for. ;)

  5. I dunno (he says dubiously) I've met a lot of certified idiots.

  6. But but ... if they have their necessary certs (citations), they must be experts (it must be true)!


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