Potty Page

July 20, 2007

Observations of Downunder

OK, so in my last post I said I'd talk about a sound that can kill. Well... I've thought of a few more thoughts on other things... so I'll post them here too...!

So... what is this sound that can kill?

Right... all the pedestrian crossings we came across in Australia all make noises to say what 'mode' the crossing is in... there's a different noises for a 'red' man and 'green' man, and also a noise that's made when the lights change between red and green. The transitional noise is designed to increase the speed of you starting to cross to road - it makes it easier to notice that the 'green' man is on if you're not paying that much attention.

This is however flawed. Most of the junctions we came across were crossroads. Taking the simple case of how it worked at most of the junctions in Cairns... the lights (for cars) worked by being either green in one direction or green in the other (ie no fliters). Kinda like a crossroads here (where there is not a pelican crossing). In the UK, if there was a pelican crossing on the junction, it'd be so designed that if you called for the traffic to stop, it'd stop all the directions of traffic (or there'd be some filterage, to allow cars to go in a direction that wouldn't run you over...). This is not the case in Cairns. When the entry to the junction is 'red', the crossing across this road is at 'green' - and cars on the perpendicular road (who will have a green light) basically have to give way to you crossing if they are turning.... I've not explained that terribly well... and I can't be arsed drawing a diagram, because it's not that important - nor is it really linked to the killer noise.

In big cities the lights are more safely behaved and the lights might have filters and all sorts going on... unless you watch for ages is seems quite random as to when you're going to get the green man or not. So... each corner has two options of roads to cross... so two things making noises. In some cases both men will be red - and this is where the killer noise comes in. You become conditioned that the "pchow" noise means "Cross" so when you hear the "pchow" you start to cross.... and then realised the was the "pchow" for the other road... and you're still on a red man and you've just nearly been flattened.

Now, you might think it's just me who'd got Pavloved... but if you watch, about 50% of people do it... and what's worse when you see one person move everyone assumes is changed and starts to move. It's as dangerous as a dangerous thing - you might as well not have the tranistional noise - because you've still got to see if it's your man that's green and the chance of accidents in increased!

In case your wondering about the wonderful sounds the lights make, here's a webpage with them on for you to listen to your heart's content... Accessible Pedestrian Systems.


OK, another one observation for you...

What happens to the good lucking Australian females?

A very large percentage of the females under 30 in Aus are attractive - at least in the places I went. However, something seems to happen when they get older - there are hardly any attractive women! So... what happens, do the attractive folk die? (if so there'd be a lot less older females about) or do they all emigrate? or do the all suddenly become munting? Interesting. If you're a 30+ woman living in Aus and think you're attractive, let me know :-)

And the last thing, which isn't really Australia releated but can go here anyway... for anyone who's flied Emirates... who finds the Arabic "Fasten your seatbelt" message to be hilarous?

"Ar'raja' rabt al ah'zimate makay", apparantly. Someone's even recorded it - but it doesn't really give it justice. I'd planned as having it as my message noise on my phone, but couldn't clean up the sound enough.

That could be all for now :-)

Posted by Ed at July 20, 2007 2:35 PM | Trips |