Hopeless Idiots!


It’s that time again.

Driving to work today, I had the sun in my eyes. Heading home, I’ll have the sun in my eyes.

Human beings have been building cities for at least 10,000 years. We claim to be the pre-eminent intelligence on this planet … masters of our environment … able to shape and mold nature at will, to suit our every whim …

You would think that, after maybe five or six thousand years, at least one guy on the city planning board would have said “You know, fellas, maybe this time we shouldn’t orient the thing north-south, and east-west! But Noooooo … after 10,000 years of staring into the sun twice a day, we’re STILL building cities on a north-south East-West grid, thereby guaranteeing that twice a day we’ll probably be blinded.

Look, it’s not just having sun in my eyes, ok? I can deal with that! It’s the powerful implications that a) humanity is too fucking stupid to live, or b) humanity simply is too lazy! I’ve asked this question of archeologists and the typical reply I get is a puzzled look, followed by a flush of embarrassment, followed by a mumbled explanation that using star alignments it’s far easier to lay out streets North-South, East/West – to which I have often replied “Bullshit!”!

Here are the top answers to my question – and, remember, these are PhDs talking!

* Argument 1: it’s way easier to set up a grid N/S & E/W.  Again, I must say bullshit! There are approximately 6000 stars visible to the human eye, at any given place on earth, in any given season – you’re claiming that there isn’t even ONE of these which can be used to establish a fix for a non East-West grid?  Even if that were true, there’s no real trick to taking the measurements we can make, and off-setting them 45 degrees off East and West! When I press this argument they say something about how complex the math is – and I answer Bullshit!!! Euclid could do it with both hands tied behind his back, without resorting to any math more complex than arithmetic! it’s freaking EASY! Well, they mumble, Euclid can’t be everywhere …

At this point I usually stop them:  basic Geometry was formalized by Euclid – not invented by him! It’s abundantly obvious that any society advanced enough to build cities, should also have a basic grasp of fundamental Geometry!

At this point, they generally mumble something about having a class to teach, papers to grade, etc. Then they hurry away.

*Argument 2: Ancient people rode horses, not cars, and could look away with few ill affects.  Ok, look, yes, it IS possible to let the horse go it’s way – and a wreck is unlikely … all it takes is the ability to not give a shit what damage you might be inflicting on the horse’s eyes!  They generally avoid meeting my eyes at this point, and mutter about classes to teach, and papers to grade  …

*Argument 3:  This is the way it’s always been done! Alright, let me get this straight: because the royal architect of Nineveh turned out to be an idiot, no one since can do anything else???  They generally blush furiously, at this point avoid meeting my eyes, and mutter about classes to teach, and papers to grade  …



~ by dourscot on May 23, 2013.

2 Responses to “Hopeless Idiots!”

  1. Maybe you could have gotten a house on the other side of the city, so that you could drive west in the morning and east at night? Or take public transportation? Or live loser to work? or wear sunglasses?

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