Oregon fines man $500 because he used math to criticize red light cameras without having an engineering license

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/oregon-man-claims-state-muzzles-red-light-camera-critique-n751371

Oregon Man Claims State Muzzles Red Light Camera Critique

April 26, 2017

An Oregon man’s public criticism of the mathematical formula used by red light cameras got him in trouble — not with the police but with the state engineering board.

So he’s suing, claiming a violation of free speech.

After his wife got a ticket based on a red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon, Mats Järlström, a Swedish-born electronics engineer, studied the calculations used to determine the length of the yellow light cycle. He concluded it was too short, because it failed to account for the longer time a driver needed to turn a corner, rather than go straight through the intersection.

Convinced the cameras were using an out-of-date formula, he took his message to practically anyone who would listen — local TV stations, a conference of traffic engineers, and even the state board of engineer examiners.

That’s what got him in trouble.

The board fined him $500 and said he was violating a state law by speaking about engineering issues without a license.

“By providing the public with his traffic engineering calculations,” the board said, “Järlström engaged in the practice of engineering.” And since he didn’t have a license issued by the state, he was violating the law, it said.

Now he’s suing in federal court, accusing the state of violating his First Amendment right to speak about a public issue.

“Criticizing the government’s engineering isn’t a crime. It’s a constitutional right,” said Samuel Gedge of the Institute for Justice, a conservative public interest law firm representing Järlström. “You don’t need to be a licensed engineer to talk about traffic lights.”

As many states do, Oregon prohibits a person from practicing engineering without a license. But the state’s board of engineering examiners equates publicly talking about engineering issues with practicing engineering.

“I was fined simply for speaking out and was told that I can’t truthfully call myself an engineer. People should be free to debate any topic, including technical topics like math and traffic lights,” Järlström said.

A spokesman for the state engineering board had no comment on the lawsuit, and the state has not yet responded in court.

Järlström paid the $500 fine. But he isn’t suing to get his money back.

Another Institute for Justice lawyer on his legal team, Wesley Hottot, said the state is essentially requiring a permission slip to debate government policy. “This board and licensing boards across the country think the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them. They couldn’t be more wrong.”

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April 28, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Math, Police state. 1 comment.

The world needs more black women studying STEM subjects like Jasmine Burton!

With so many college students, and especially so many blacks and women, majoring in fake, useless, worthless subjects that will leave them with nothing but huge amounts of debt that they will never be able to pay back from the low wages they will get from working at coffee shops and fast food restaurants after they graduate from college, here’s a wonderful story about someone who chose to study something that is actually useful in the real world. More people should follow Jasmine Burton’s lead and study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/22/smallbusiness/safichoo-toilet-jasmine-burton/

This plastic toilet could save lives

Jasmine Burton


Jasmine Burton helped design an inexpensive, portable plastic toilet to address the lack of basic sanitation around the world.

January 22, 2016

Everybody poops. But not everyone has access to a toilet.

“It’s shocking that this basic necessity is unavailable to nearly half of the world,” said Jasmine Burton, founder and president of Atlanta-based Wish for WASH.

Burton, 23, was a freshman at Georgia Institute of Technology when she learned that as many as 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.

It bothered her even more that this sanitation problem disproportionately affects women and young girls.

“Young girls in the developing world frequently drop out of school because there isn’t a toilet,” she said. “It angered me as a woman in higher education and as a product designer.”

Just 18 at the time, Burton channeled her feelings into a mission: She would design a toilet.

While at Georgia Tech, she collaborated with three other students to invent an inexpensive, eco-friendly mobile toilet that could convert waste into renewable energy. They called their sanitation system SafiChoo Toilet.

Made of plastic, the toilet is designed for sitting or squatting, which is a common practice in some countries. It can be placed directly on the ground, or it can be elevated by adding an attachable base. It can also function with or without water.

The system features a waste collection unit (that can go above or below ground), which separates the waste into liquids and solids. There’s also a manually-operated bidet that can be attached.

Burton said these features are intended to help curb contamination and the spread of diseases.

The SafiChoo toilet costs about $50. “That’s the highest price point we want it to be,” she said.

In 2014, Burton and her team won first place and $25,000 at the Georgia Tech InVention competition, the nation’s largest undergraduate invention competition.

“We didn’t think we’d win because products at the contest were always high-tech with super sexy designs,” she said. “Ours was a simple toilet.”

The win enabled Burton to pilot SafiChoo (which means clean toilet in Kiswahili) at a Kenyan refugee camp. She also launched Wish for WASH, the parent company of SafiChoo.

John Zegers, director at Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing, contacted Burton after her InVention competition win. “We thought it was a great product that needed a little bit more development,” he said.

The Center gave a grant to Georgia Tech to develop a SafiChoo prototype and helped Burton’s team find an Atlanta-based manufacturer.

Zegers said he hopes that Wish for WASH is able to keep the toilet a Made in America product.

Burton is currently living in Lusaka, Zambia, as she tests the toilet there. The company is also running an Indiegogo campaign to support the Zambia pilot.

She hopes to begin selling the toilet to U.S.-based customers and to NGOs in 2017.

“It’s amazing when you see how many people have never used a toilet before and what [the SafiChoo Toilet] could mean for them,” she said.

May 16, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Education, Environmentalism, Health care, Science, Technology. 2 comments.