How do those center-pivot irrigation systems move around? I never
see one actually moving!
The water pressure or driveshafts move the wheels, with each wheel moving at a different
rate so the rig pivots. Here is a
on these systems.
Why is it that you cannot pump your own gas in Oregon?
Apparently this is a law that was in effect through much of the country
early in the 20th century but Oregon and New Jersey have not revoked it yet.
Voters apparently do not trust oil companies to give back the savings
"self service" would bring, and others possibly see it as a way Oregon
can be distinct from other states. For more info see this
editorial and this
New Jersey Monthly
What are jake brakes?
It's a form of engine brake, a trademark owned by Jacobs Vehicle Systems, where either
the intake or exhaust is blocked, amplifying reverse torque through air
compression. Apparently truckers like to use jake brakes to save
wear and tear on brake drums, but the staccato noise it produces prompts
some towns to put up "JAKE BRAKE USE PROHIBITED" signs.
(and close that annoying ad that pops up!)
What are those white strobes I see on some traffic lights such as
in Childress, Texas?
It is a safety device that enhances visibility of the traffic signal.
A resource of the Virginia Department of Transportation states that
strobe lights in the red lens of a traffic light is used for
(1) areas with a high truck volume and high speed; (2) areas with a high accident
rate; (3) areas with road geometries, especially grades
(downgrade), horizontal curves, and other features, that result in
limited sight distance; and (4) isolated intersections where a
signal is unexpected.
National Transportation Library
article for more details.
Can you walk out and leave your keys to check out of a motel?
Don't know. Am still checking on that one!
Why do people speed up, usually unintentionally, when you pass them? The
psychology of this effect is fascinating!
The jury is out to lunch on that one. But there's also evidence
that people even behave that way as pedestrians.
See this interesting
thread for more discussion.
Why does the word "dinč" appear in graffiti in northwest New Mexico?
Dinč means "Navajo" according to sites such as