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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Traffic Lanes, Car Indicator Lights, and the Black Hole Theory

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Related posts: The Malaysian Highway Gravity Field Theory

As regular readers probably already know, Walski drives a lot. And with a lot of driving comes a lot of sheer pain, particularly in dealing with the other drivers Walski has to share the roads with. Many colorful terms come to mind when trying to describe the majority of Malaysian drivers. Suffice it to say, most Malaysian drivers are total morons.

Image hosting by PhotobucketBlack Holes
Let's get the Black Hole discussion out of the way first, because these astrophysical anomalies will help explain some of the behaviors exhibited by Malaysian drivers.

Black Hole - a concentration of mass whose gravitational field is so strong that nothing can escape (source: Wikipedia)

In other words, Black Holes are extremely dense, with a gravitational field so strong, not even light can escape.

This marvelous phenomenon lead Walski to do some more thinking. And after pondering about Black Holes for a period of time, the crucial realization came to Walski, which explains some of the on-the-road behavior frequently observed - Black Holes! And how are these Black Holes created, and why? And where?

Let's face it - most Malaysian drivers are dense.

Many of them are so dense, in fact, that Black Holes spontaneously appear. And the location of these Black Holes? In a region somewhere between the ears of a typical Malaysian driver.

And how does this spectacular revelation of Black Holes explain Traffic Lane and Indicator Light (mis)use? Read on - if you dare. (more in the full post)

Traffic Lanes and the Malaysian Driver
Contrary to popular belief, the white lines you see on the roads are not the excess whitewash left over by the mainstream media, painted just for fun, but are actually used to equally divide the width of a given stretch of road or highway. The total area of driveable road is usually demarcated by a pair of solid lines, and within this boundary would be two or more parallel broken lines. These are called lanes.

The Unwritten Laws of Civilized Driving (Walski couldn't find the book anywhere, so it's probably banned in Malaysia) states that vehicles use these lanes as a guide to safely traverse along the given stretches of roads, such that a vehicle should be squarely within the broken lines. Not with one tyre on the line. Not with the whole damn vehicle straddling the line. But squarely within the lines.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThose white lines DO serve a purpose

This unwritten rule is, of course, usually ignored by the average Malaysian driver.

Why? Black Holes. You see, the intense gravitational field emanated from these matter sucking holes is so great, that all traces of common sense, courtesy and general goodwill gets sucked in while the typical Malaysian driver is on the road. Malaysians are, by nature, usually very congenial, friendly and polite people (and damn Reader's Digest and all those other propaganda rags for claiming otherwise). This also explains why the typical Malaysian driver becomes a totally different animal behind the wheel.

The Black Hole Effect on Signal Indicator Lights
One of the most commonly heard complaints about the typical Malaysian driver is the misuse, or more frequently dis-use, of the vehicle signal indicator lights. These are the yellow ones that go blink-blink, and are used to indicate a lane change, or to indicate an intention of a left or right turn. Some years back, Walski observed the lack of signal light use to be most prominent with Mercedes drivers.

These days, however, Audis, Alfas, Protons, Peroduas - you name it - have joined the dubious ranks of indictor light dis-use. Particularly those vehicles with Johor number plates (but that is another totally different story, for a different space-time continuum - so we'll leave it at that).

Walski has postulated three possibilities that could account for this:

A - In the more expensive cars, the indicator lights are optional, and therefore adds to the already ridiculously exhorbitant car price. But after some investigation, the indicator lights actually come standard with all makes, surprise, surprise. OR could it be

B - The typical Malaysian driver knows exactly what he/she wants to do or where he/she wants to turn. So why bother broadcasting it to the world? But being the conscientious, caring and totally unselfish creature that a Malaysian is, this, too, is not likely. Which leaves only one other possibility:

C - Black Holes. In the head.

And just like FlyFM's The Big Bang Breakfast Show's Who-Dis-Who-Dat segment - the answer, of course, is C.

Image hosting by PhotobucketTo understand why Black Holes are to blame, we first have to understand the nature of how light travels. And to cut a long story short - light travels in a straight line, unless there is some strong gravitational force causing light to bend. This is shown in the diagram on the right, showing how the indicator lights travel, on a vehicle driven by a NORMAL driver (i.e. one without a Black Hole nicely embedded in the head).

Under normal circumstances, the blink-blink yellow indicator light will be easily visible to surrounding road users, provided that there is a clear line-of-sight (unless, of course, you happen to be Superman).

This has the added, almost pleasant, effect of informing other road users that you intend to change lanes, or are about to make a turn. The other road users (assuming they're the normal ones), will give a sigh of relief, and proceed to steer his or her vehicle accordiingly, mainly to avoid a higher insurance premium the next time the Road Tax disc has to be renewed.

Image hosting by PhotobucketBut as soon as a Black Hole (in the head) spontaneously appears, the intense gravitational pull will cause the blink-blink yellow lights to bend towards the driver's head, and gets totally sucked in. This has the net effect of not having any blink-blink yellow lights visible at all. This is illustrated in the diagram on the left.

Under some circumstances, however, some of the light does manage to escape from the Black Hole (in the head), primarily through a sling-shot effect, bouncing of in a totally unexpected direction. To the other road users, the observed effect will be those times when the blink-blink yellow light of the left can be seen, and the driver turns right instead.

Another observed effect would be having the blinkers come on and stay on past the next five junctions before the vehicle actually turns. This, however, is caused by the blink-blink yellow light travelling through the Black Hole all the way, and coming back out through its corresponding Worm Hole, 30 - 40 seconds before the driver put on his or her blink-blink yellow lights. Walski will not insinuate where the Worm Hole is located on the Typical Malaysian Driver's persona, and this will be the only time during this entire post that the use of your God-given imagination would come in handy.

The smart-ass reader might ask: But what about the headlights and tail lights? (and if you didn't, your ass may not be as smart as you thought).

But it is a very valid question. It just so happens, that the Black Hole-in-the-head only has a gravitational pull effect on light that has a wavelength of between 565-590 nanometers - which, by some strange miracle of editing, just so happens to be the wavelength of yellow light. Amazing, isn't it?

And so, we can now safely conclude that the seemingly idiotic practices seen on the Malaysian roads and highways are not the result of intrinsic stupidity of the typical Malaysian driver, as was previously thought. Particularly when it comes to lane discipline and the use of those blink-blink yellow lights.

And neither is it the fault of the allegedly fly-by-night (and sometimes by day) driving schools, that seem to be everywhere, ever-ready to cater for the eager-beaver driver-wannabees, to boldly assist them in obtaining the much sought-after Excalibur, so deeply embedded in the rock that is the JPJ.

No, no - instead, blame physics. For without physics, mankind would never have known about the dreaded Black Hole-in-the-head. In this, Walski takes no credit. He merely observes, puts two and two together, and presents the resulting five to myAsylum's readers.

Oh well, at the very least, now you have a novel excuse to give should you ever screw up royally in the future - "don't blame me... blame the Black Hole... in my head".