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-   -   Boy, do I feel like an idiot (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=844867)

BigT 12-27-2017 09:53 PM

Been having problems with some websites not loading. Could not figure out the issue. I could sometimes fix it by restarting my router.

It just dawned on me that I'd been trying to block a certain site using the parental controls. I don't know why it blocked so many other sites, or why I could sometimes fix it, but I should have thought to check it.

Johnny L.A. 12-28-2017 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jennshark (Post 20687883)
My new BMW has a heads-up display (holographic speed, navigation, etc projected on windshield). This is our first winter together and I was delighted when a cute little snowflake started appearing

Here is a list of dashboard annunciators.

robardin 12-28-2017 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. (Post 20688248)
I have one of those on the (2005) Prius. I knew what it was though, because I read the owners manual. ;)

I have an annunciator in the Prius I call the 'slippy light'. It's actually the Traction Control Warning Light. It comes on about half a second after my butt tells me I've lost traction. Big help, Slippy Light!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cartooniverse (Post 20688637)
We have the 2010 model. Does the same thing. WTF??!!!!

That's not a "warning light" that you have to do something, but an indicator that the Traction Control system has engaged. It is there to (try to) save your butt from bad driving practices by Doing the Right Thing that most people aren't trained to do reflexively. It's kind of like the counterpart to ABS (antilock braking systems).

An ABS system automatically pumps, or pulses, the brakes when you stand on them without letting go, when it senses the brakes are locking up. It used to be you had to be a good enough driver to realize "hey, my brakes are locking up, I'd better release them and reapply them to actually brake at all" - and on a slippery surface like gravel or snow, to realize that you should be pumping them as rapidly as possible to keep from locking up. The ABS system will do it for any driver who just slams on the brakes and doesn't let go, plus it can detect actual lockup (versus possible) and pulse much faster than a person could pump. So it is not just "something for people who can't drive" (an unfair judgment in any case of someone who doesn't regularly practice emergency driving situations), it's actually going to do it better than a human, every time.

As for Traction Control, that's for when you're accelerating on a slippery surface. If you're just stepping on the accelerator thinking "cmon car go faster!", and the tires have no traction, you're just spinning the tires faster and faster for no gain. Then, if/when any of your tires DO get better traction (encounters clear road, for example), you'll have a massive jerk of power, which can be jolting - and if only one of your drive wheels gets that patch of contact, you could get a lopsided jerk of power, and lose control as the car suddenly veers off to one side.

So the TCS (traction control system) will short circuit your stomping on the gas pedal and act like you released it completely, or are engaging it very lightly and smoothly, when it senses you have no traction.

This is another area where drivers who are "experts" (in their minds, at least) at driving in gravel or snow, are driving in those conditions intentionally rather than panicking at encoutering it, and are actively looking to lose traction in order to drift into a different angle, and then snap out of the drift with a burst of torque... They want to be able to disable TCS to do it.

But for your everyday driver who is looking to avoid these conditions and are only encountering them rarely and under stressful conditions, these things are very useful.

Note that TCS cannot actually GIVE you traction. Nothing can do that except the road and the contact your tires make with the road (translation: if you live in an area with significant snow, strongly consider getting good snow tires). It's improving your odds of retaining steering control in a scenario where you suddenly lose it.

Johnny L.A. 12-28-2017 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robardin (Post 20689387)
That's not a "warning light" that you have to do something, but an indicator that the Traction Control system has engaged. It is there to (try to) save your butt from bad driving practices by Doing the Right Thing that most people aren't trained to do reflexively.

My point was that I already know I've lost traction before the light comes on. I don't need a light to tell me. (And there are times when I want to accelerate quickly, knowing that there might be six or seven pieces of gravel in the road that will cause a momentary loss of traction. In these cases, I know that the loss of traction would be resolved in less time than the time it takes for the TCS to disengage and re-engage.)

wolfman 12-28-2017 11:58 AM

Well the first thing I thought when the slippy light popped on for the first time was, "Oh Shit Swerve now, someone is about to hit you". My second was "Which way? How the hell does that light help me?" My third was "I'm pretty sure this car didn't come with any accident detection/avoidance crap."

Johnny L.A. 12-28-2017 02:25 PM

Well, I've managed to pull another boner.

I've mentioned before that this old house is a funky old house. The bathroom is no different. It's tiny. The toilet seat has been loose for a while. Mrs. L.A.'s arms and hands are small enough to reach between the bathtub and the toilet bowl, but mine aren't. It's basically impossible for me to tighten the seat bolt on that side. And I have to lay on the floor to get to the other one. Since Mrs. L.A. hasn't tightened the seat, I decided I would take whatever steps necessary to do it.

I went out to the hardware store to find a deep socket that would fit the four-eared nylon nut. My socket sets are not handy, so I got another ratchet drive and an extension. The problem I knew was coming was that the only socket that fit the nut was too short for the bolt. I'll have to remove the seat and cut the nylon bolt. Almost $40 later I'm ready to start the job.

I could reach between the tub and the toilet enough to unscrew the nut. (There's just no room for me to get in there with a wrench. Fortunately, the nut was finger-tight.) I blind-marked where the nut was with a Sharpie so that I'd know where to cut the bolt. I'm unscrewing and unscrewing and unscrewing... Man those are fine threads! Then I realised the bolt was turning. :dubious: I look at the top of the hinges. Hm. There seem to be covers that open. They're like the ones on the old seat (on the old toilet) that allow you to easily snap the seat off for cleaning. I know the new seat doesn't have a quick-removal feature. I open the caps... They cover the bolts. The bolts that have a slot on top. A slot that a screwdriver will fit into. :smack:

I remove the seat and give it a nice cleaning (Why not?), and then put it back onto the toilet. I hold the tight-side nut with my fingers while I screw the bolt in from its head. I repeat on the other side. And then simply use a screwdriver to make them nice and tight. No need to get into a tight space with a crescent wrench, and no need to do any cutting and using my new socket, extension, and driver. :rolleyes:

robardin 12-28-2017 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. (Post 20689460)
My point was that I already know I've lost traction before the light comes on. I don't need a light to tell me. (And there are times when I want to accelerate quickly, knowing that there might be six or seven pieces of gravel in the road that will cause a momentary loss of traction. In these cases, I know that the loss of traction would be resolved in less time than the time it takes for the TCS to disengage and re-engage.)

The idea of those lights is that if you lose traction, and the light DOESN'T come on, that there is something wrong with the system that maybe you should get looked at.

On the other hand, if the car itself detects a problem with the TCS or ABS, the way it usually works is that they light up briefly during starting the car as they self-diagnose, and then stay lit if there is a malfunction.

So yeah. "If it comes on and stays on when you're still in your garage, that's a problem; if it wasn't on but then comes on when there's a problem as it occurs, that's a good thing; but wasn't on and then doesn't come on if you lose traction, that's a problem" is not the most elegant way to communicate to the driver.

robardin 12-28-2017 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. (Post 20689924)
The toilet seat has been loose for a while. ... It's basically impossible for me to tighten the seat bolt on that side. ...

I went out to the hardware store to find a deep socket that would fit the four-eared nylon nut. My socket sets are not handy, so I got another ratchet drive and an extension.

... I look at the top of the hinges. Hm. There seem to be covers that open.

... I open the caps... They cover the bolts. The bolts that have a slot on top. A slot that a screwdriver will fit into. :smack:

You are not alone in this, my friend. Not. Alone.

Dropo 12-28-2017 08:44 PM

We - mom, brother and I - were going to see Last Jedi today. I drove us in mom's Volvo. I was looking for a parking place near the theater, saw one on the other side of the street and unwisely turned into a tiny driveway to turn around. On backing up, the car went off the curb, smashing the radiator. Result? No movie, a 20 or so minute wait for a tow truck, a 15 mile or so drive to the mechanic and the first-ever Uber ride home for mom and I.

Everyone makes mistakes, but what hurts the most is that it was all avoidable with just a little more care. Instead, I feel like shit.

snfaulkner 12-28-2017 08:46 PM

Wait, how do you smash the radiator by backing up?

Dropo 12-28-2017 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snfaulkner (Post 20690544)
Wait, how do you smash the radiator by backing up?

"On backing up, the car went off the curb, smashing the radiator."

Radiator fluid all over the street. At least I didn't have to clean it up.

snfaulkner 12-28-2017 09:06 PM

The drop off the curb smashed the radiator? How big was the curb?

Dropo 12-28-2017 09:11 PM

Big enough, apparently.

I did not look to see how big a hole was made. Fluid was still draining when the car was being put on the flatbed tow truck. Perhaps I should have written the radiator received a thumping, as opposed to implying the whole unit was smashed.

snfaulkner 12-28-2017 09:18 PM

I've clipped enough curbs and popped many a tire, so I know curbs can be dicks. But radiator thumping is a new one I never would have thought to attribute to them.

Cartooniverse 12-29-2017 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robardin (Post 20690137)
You are not alone in this, my friend. Not. Alone.

No kidding. Count me in this small club as well. I'm six foot two and a fairly big guy and I tortured myself trying to do exactly what you did. When I found out there was a screwdriver slot on the top I about wept.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

JKellyMap 12-29-2017 12:09 PM

20 years ago, while volunteering for a conservation and rural development organization in Mexico, I was in charge of surveying property lines in the tropical rain forest for some villagers. My assistant (a local teenager) and I had to make stakes (to mark the boundary) by cutting small trees with our machetes. We whittled a sharp point at one end of each stake, to easily pound it into the ground.

One day, the kid was standing about 30 feet away from me. To save the few seconds it would take to walk over to him, I tossed him a stake I'd just made. Instant javelin! Man, that thing flew. It struck him in the mouth, just above his upper lip. Poked through, bounced off his teeth.

We walked out of the jungle and drove to the clinic in the one town, nearly an hour away. A few stitches, and he was okay (probably still has a little scar). But man, was that stupid of me. I could easily have blinded him, even killed him.

Sigmagirl 12-29-2017 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 20670126)
I've posted this one before.

I once craved some homemade pasta, and spent a long time making the dough, kneading it, rolling it out, and cutting it into narrow tagliatelle. It cooked up beautifully, and I poured it out carefully into a colander in the sink. When I lifted up the colander to give it a toss or two to help drain it, I lost my grip and the colander flipped neatly over and the whole mass of hot pasta slithered down into the dirty garbage disposal.

Since I had some good sauce ready, I had to cook up some dry pasta out of the cupboard for dinner that night. It just wasn't the same.

Not me but my mother-in-law: She was making chicken soup, and went to strain out all the chicken bones and vegetables. She put a colander in the sink, and poured in the broth. Right down the drain.

If it had been me, I wouldn’t have told anybody.

Noel Prosequi 12-31-2017 05:00 PM

I love this thread. It serves as a corrective to the tendency to prematurely self-diagnose senility.

My chicken stock story is teeth-grindingly infuriating. I was with some mates on our annual fishing trip, which tends to get a little gourmet. So I went to hours of trouble to make a stock, and left it in a pot in the sink to cool so that I could more easily skim fat later.

Mate comes along and pours the lot out thinking it was just soaking water from cleaning the pot. I was a tiny bit furious. But apparently it was my fault, because (insert bullshit here). Still shitty.

To another dopey moment (this time my fault). The institution for which I work has a number of campuses, and once a week I have to travel to one in another town about an hour away. The organisation provides a work car for such occasions that are accessed by a phone app that remotely locks the car, as an added process in addition to the keys.

So I finish up at the distant campus (by which time it is dark) and return to the car park, where I spot my car from the others nearby still parked there. I proceed to unlock it by pressing the appropriate button on the keys. The locks go thunk, and out of the corner of my eye I see the parking lights flash. But the car doesn't open when I pull on the door handle. Odd. I try again, several times. Same result.

So I figure it must be something to do with the fancy phone app. I use it. Hear the appropriate thunk, still no action with the handle. I try using the key and the app in various combinations in case one is overriding the other. I finally give up in disgust, drafting a Sharply Worded Letter in my head to vehicle admin, and trying to work out just how fancy a hotel I can get away with staying in and still get reimbursed for, to quell my techno-rage.

Eventually, I call security in order to be able to prove I am not an idiot in order to justify reimbursement. I can't be an idiot. I have two fancy titles that are socially accepted heuristic indicators for Smart Guy.

So security arrives. I show him what I am doing, and how the car won't open.

He watches, then immediately spots the problem. I am trying to open the wrong car. My actual car is immediately next to the one I am trying to open, and the thunks and light flashes are coming from it, but in my righteous certainty that I have the correct car, I did not notice this. Turns out the registration numbers (which I thought I had checked when I first approached the wrong car) are very similar because whole batches of these commuter cars are bought in bulk, so they commonly have sequential numbers.

The security guard did not quite have a good enough poker face to conceal his glee. He was polite and professional, but I caught a glimpse of that primordial joy that comes to those who, notwithstanding having a workaday job, manage to out-clever the Smart Guy.

The humiliation still burns.


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