Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

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Why you’re safer driving with your doors unlocked

flipped car

Wouldn’t want to be inside this car, would you?

This particular issue has been on my mind for years. Given my overall irritation, I’m categorizing this as a rant.

It’s bugged me for years that cars in recent years have doors that automatically lock when you put the car in drive. I have a vehicle that was made in 2012, and it does this, though once I unlock the doors they stay that way. What’s more irritating is a 2015 vehicle that I have (a Honda) that will automatically lock the doors every time you start moving from a stop. No matter how many times I unlock it it locks them all back up, and there is no way to disable this feature, I’ve looked. This actually makes the people in the car less safe, and I’m going to explain why.

If you are involved in a car accident and for any reason are unable to open your door, you will have to rely on emergency personnel or a good samaritan passerby to extricate you. Having your door locked is one more barrier that they will have to overcome in order to do this, and it may end up costing you or your family their lives. This is an especially important issue if your car is burning, you are bleeding excessively, the car is in water, etc. If you are unconscious you won’t be able to help. If you have a broken arm, you won’t be able to help. If you are upside down in addition to any of these, you are very unlikely to be able to help. If the automatic door locks are broken as part of the accident, they won’t unlock. EMT’s are going to have a tough time pulling you out of the window if the roof of the car has been crushed, especially if you have a potential spinal injury. As someone put it, “As an ex-ambulance driver, it felt terrible to watch a patient dying inside a locked car where CPR could not be administered.” EMT’s and other safety personnel won’t have a problem getting you out through your seat belt; that’s one reason they have knives and shears, to cut through them. In the unlikely event you are in a serious car accident, the difference between getting out of the car when you need to, and not being able to can make all the difference. Please unlock your doors.

Do yourself a favor and unlock your doors whenever you get in your vehicle. The main reason people lock their car doors? It’s because it makes them feel safer. Please note the wording of that last sentence. It does not make you any safer, but people feel safer. It’s an illusion, and in fact will usually make you less safe in your vehicle. Don’t be at the mercy of your emotions, use your brain! The purpose of door locks is to protect your vehicle when you are away from it, not when you are in it. For those reading this that can’t help but think of scenarios whereby locking the doors could be a good idea, let me see if I can address them.

“But what if I’m driving in an unsafe neighborhood?” I will limit my response to scenarios in the US, which is where I live. I don’t know what it’s like driving down the road in Pakistan, and I don’t know how driving works in Mongolia (do they even have cars? Anyone living in Ulaanbaatar feel free to get back to me). Having your doors unlocked is not really a liability. People walking up to cars and yanking them out doesn’t happen that often, largely because of the invention of seat belts. If someone is going to carjack you, they will use a gun. Having your doors locked does you no good when a pistol is aimed at your head at a stop light or in a parking lot–you unlock the door yourself and give them what they want. Here’s a link to a good article on how to avoid carjacking, and having your doors locked has nothing to do with it. I’m not going to quibble about people who doggedly decide to lock their doors in rough neighborhoods or a major metropolis, this is the situation that I can most understand–but it’s still not protecting you as much as you think. Please unlock your doors.

“But what if I have young kids in the car?” If you have toddlers, they should be in the infant car seat where they can’t get out anyway. If you have older kids that’s what child safety locks for, they’ve been around since the early 80’s. Use them! If you don’t, depending on the model of your car someone in the back seat can open their door from the inside even if the car doors are locked anyway, so there really is no excuse. Please unlock your doors.

“Doesn’t having your car doors locked prevent you being thrown clear in an accident?” No. That’s what seat belts prevent. Wear your seat belt! It’s difficult to think of a scenario where a person is thrown sideways into their car door and having it locked magically saves their life. Locked or unlocked, that car door is staying shut; anything with enough force to crack open the door will either kill you anyway, or be unaffected by whether it’s locked or not. The federal government has set safety standards for door latches that are very strict; doors almost never open anymore due to the force of the crash itself. Even if they did, your seat belt will keep you in the car. People being ‘thrown clear’ in the event of an accident has nothing to do with car doors, it’s to do with whether or not they were wearing their seat belt. Please unlock your doors.

“There must be a reason it’s standard to automatically lock the car doors on almost all modern cars!” There is, but not a good one. Remember that “almost never” part? As I researched I found what the deal was on the cartalk website: “The one weak link is the door handle and the rods that it connects to. If your car is moving very fast at the time of a crash, the inertia can [potentially] move that handle or the rods it attaches to in the door, and that can unlatch the door — as if you’d pulled the handle. If a door is locked, the handle becomes inoperative. You can pull on it or push on it, but it’s detached from the rods that activate the latch, and the door won’t open.” For those of you waiting and hoping to see if there’s a reason not to change your minds or your behavior, this is all there is. I looked and could not find a single example where this has occurred. Even in that scenario however, you will be kept in the car by your seat belt. Please unlock your doors.

*Takes a big exhale* Okay, got that out of my system. Thanks for reading my extended rant. As with all of my blog posts, keep in mind what Dennis Miller says: this is just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

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The oft-underestimated importance of family

I haven’t blogged about anything in too long a time, I suppose. I was reading a story today that I thought I would share; it’s about the importance of family, and how powerful an effect reminding others of it can have. I’ll be quoting the story here. The setting is that several years ago, Craig Cardon and his wife Debbie attended a dinner for members of the Dean’s Alumni Leadership Council at the Harvard Kennedy School:

After the dinner the president of the council invited the council members and their companions to stand and introduce themselves. He suggested that each person share educational and professional background information, along with what each considered to be his or her most significant accomplishment. Because of the way the room was organized, our table would be the last to participate.

[My wife] later explained to me that as she saw all in attendance standing and listing their many academic degrees and professional accomplishments, she thought, ‘What can I possibly say to these people who have been ambassadors, high government officials, educators, professionals, and leaders of gigantic enterprises? I don’t even have my bachelor’s degree yet.

Her mind continued racing: ‘I’ve got to think of something to say. No, I’ve got to find an excuse to leave.’ Then, in an instant, she thought, ‘I’m going to pray.’

She said a silent, earnest prayer, pleading with the Lord for His help and direction. In that moment, a voice came into her mind with perfect clarity. It said, ‘Debbie, who in this room has achieved more important things in this life or has had more amazing experiences than you? You are a mother in Zion. You have brought eight children into this world. Those who are of age are happily married and are having children of their own. What is more important than that? Debbie, get up and tell these people with power what you have done.’

At that moment, the microphone was passed to our table. I had seen her shifting in her chair and looking a bit uneasy, so I extended my hand to take the microphone, thinking to give her additional time to prepare herself. Imagine my surprise when her hand stretched out in front of mine and literally grabbed the microphone.

She confidently stood, and with an elegance difficult to describe, she said ‘A few years ago I accompanied my husband here to the Harvard Kennedy School. And my most important achievement is that I am the mother of 8 children and the grandmother of 18 grandchildren.’

With that statement, spontaneous applause erupted in the room. It was the only applause of the entire evening. She shared a few additional thoughts relating to the central, societal role of the family and the happiness found therein. Then she handed me the microphone and sat down. I stood and added simply, ‘I’m her husband.’

The significant of what the Lord did through [my wife] was evidenced by the fact that for the remainder of the evening we were inundated with questions about families, children, and marital harmony–subjects eminently more important than anything else that had been addressed. Because she had earnestly sought direction from the Spirit and had exercised the faith and courage to respond to what she was told, the Lord had magnified her in a powerful way in furthering His purposes.

I really enjoyed this, because it helped remind me of what is really important, and also how this message seemed opposed to the message that the world is currently giving. The greatest accomplishments are not to be found in a lab or a meeting or a presentation or a discovery, but rather in the home. I hope to someday have a family of my own, and when that happens I hope I never lose sight that (next to the Lord himself) they are the most important things in this world to me.

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My first alignment chart!

And now for something completely different! I’m an old-time fan of D&D (Dungeons and Dragons for you savages out there) and thought I would make a meme based off of the classic D&D alignments. Here is my first attempt, using only comic book characters. I put some thought into it, and there are lots of options given how many characters there are out there to use. I went with some classics as well as maybe one or two choices that maybe not everyone has thought of. Captain America is an easy substitution for Superman, it was a toss-up there. I almost put Silver Surfer as neutral good, since he is my favorite super-hero, but Spidey is more iconic, and I generally tried to find the most iconic example of each of the alignments. I was really tempted to use Dr. Doom for lawful evil, and in fact that may have been the best choice, you decide. As you’ll notice this one is all male. The next one will be all female characters (if I can do it, it’ll be tough), but for now, here it is:

Alignment Chart

Click for the full-size image


My harrowing day

Well, seems like it’s been forever since I actually wrote a post about my life on here. I don’t think I’ll do it today either, but I will say it’s been a hellish day, particularly the morning, and had me reconsidering if this is the field that I want to be in. It was a fricking nightmare. I came home still distraught about it, still pissed, until I worked out a bit and watched some Family Guy. Thank goodness I did!

I watched an episode that made fun of Christian Bale’s rant back in 2009 on the set of what turned out to be a completely crap Terminator movie, and I was smiling and laughing again. Listening to that jackass completely lose it made me laugh, no doubt. Here’s a guy who gets paid millions of dollars to essentially play dress up, and he forgot that his job doesn’t really matter. *sighs with pleasure* It made me realize that my job does, and I have a helluva lot more self-control than he does; even if I did lose it at work, it would be for something that matters, like a client of mine killing himself. For those that want a laugh, here’s the link to watch what was great, brief therapy for me:


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Halfway through Season 2!

elementary dear data


A matter of honor


These are just some of the pics from my exciting episode reviews of season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation! I’m halfway through and have done my best to write some pretty thorough, entertaining and informative reviews of my favorite television show of all time. Even when I’m pointing out the flaws, it’s all done with love! I’ve looked through a lot of webpages and couldn’t find any out there that have the same kind of content and analysis that I do, and let’s face it, there is lots of Star Trek content on the web. My most recent review is of Contagion, take a look and see if you agree or disagree. If you have Hulu or Netflix you can access the entire seven year run and immediately watch it if you like. Or you can do the opposite, watch the episode then read and comment on my review when it’s fresh in your mind! What has surprised me is how much I enjoy writing them, it’s been a lot of fun and there’s still so many more to go…