Speed humps as traffic may first seem like a vast consipiracy of suspension
repair shops paying off traffic engineers
and urban planners to install insidious devices made to break strut
arms, jar your kidneys, spill your coffee
and to try
to get you to slow down. This thinly veiled excuse has perpetuated many communities and neighborhoods to litter speed hump
s on residential side roads. These insidious devices resemble shallow-sloped plateau
s destined to bury the front end of your vehicle upon dismount at any decent speed, sparking and taking divit
s of asphalt out as your double wishbone
d or MacPherson strutted ass
bottoms out and wraps your exhaust system neatly around the rear differential
or strut arms.
yes, i know the difference between shocks and struts. you'll notice i said it would bottom out shock absorbers and bend strut arms. i also know that they should be called hydraulic dampeners instead of shock absorbers because i kicked fucking ass in system dynamics. this is really a semantic arguement, but i defer to the more well-known albeit technically incorrect term so everyone will know what i'm talking about.
i also realize that speed humps are a shotgun solution to the problem of people driving too fast in residential neighborhoods but better solutions are better discussed elsewhere and are way beyond the scope of this node.
So after taking said speed hump
at forty five miles per hour, you're now very fuckingly stranded on the side of the road after the undercarraige of your vehicle bottomed out, littering the road with many freshly bent and expensive suspension and power transmission components ALL BECAUSE OF THESE GOD-DAMNED ASPHALT PLATEAUS AND YOUR INABILITY TO DRIVE AT LESS THAN FORTY-FIVE MILES PER HOUR OVER ONE IN YOUR BIG STUPID VEHICLE, YOU IMPATIENT ASSHOLE.
Guess what, fucko - that speed hump was in fact part of a conspiracy to damage, kill and maim millions
. Kinda. i suggest you get off your over-sat ass
and set the wayback machine for Washington University
in the year 1953.
There you will find a mild-mannered physicist by the name of Arthur H. Compton
. Arthur liked to spend his spare time playing the banjo
, gazing at the stars
, a game or two of tennis
and watching traffic streak past Brookings Hall on what is now Hoyt Drive on the campus of WU
in St. Louis, Missouri
. Ol' Compton, in between flatpicking
and blistering backhand serves, came up with a new strategy for traffic control. This device was intended to make fast moving vehicles slow down without affecting slow moving ones. Arthur's design called for a 7" high platform that was 4' long. Ramps leading up to and away from this platform were 11' in length, for an overall length of 26 feet
, far milder than many speed humps today. Assuming an "ideal" suspesion, Doc C sketched a single and
double speed humps with the following table of accelerations (in units relative to the acceleration due to gravity, 9.811 m/s^2)
5 mph 0.02g
10 mph 0.1 g
20 mph 0.4 g
30 mph 1.1 g
40 mph 2.7 g
50 mph 4.0 g
That is, the wheels will leave the ground and
the driver will leave his seat at about 30 m.p.h.,
while at 10 m.p.h., the effect is negligible
So according to Arthur Compton's very own notes
, at 10 miles per, we're Kool and the Gang
. Yond vehicle starts becoming airborne at about 30 mph and anything above that should be reserved for the General Lee
. The wrath of math
has struck again.Those of you that said things very like "I can't wait to get out in the real world so I never have to use math again" at some point in college or high school, this is your reward. My reward for enjoying math is sitting beside the speed hump drinking Mai Tais and watching you destroy your car in a loud shower of sparks and red-hot metal.
Ain't life a bitch?
If you actually gave a damn, you'd be asking "So where's the conspiracy, jackass?
" Good question. It seems that when he
wasn't taking time off for pickin' & grinnin', he was busy with studying X-ray
s and how to use them to study electrons & atoms. In 1927, he recieved a Nobel Prize
in physics for what is now known as the Compton effect
which clearly shows the particle concept of electromagnetic radiation.
The real shit started in 1941 when Compton was appointed Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences
Committee to Evaluate Use of Atomic Energy in War. In a nutshell, he was the boss of heavy hitters like Enrico Fermi
, Leo Szilard
and Eugene Wigner
, among others. Arthur was the HMFIC
overseeing the first controlled uranium
reactors and the plutonium
breeder reactor in Hanford, Washington. Some of this plutonium found its way into the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
in August 1945. Arthur personally had a role in deciding to use the atomic bomb in the first place.
So the next time you wonder why speed hump
s are so efficent at tearing up your vehicle, keep in mind the man
who first came up with the design was deeply involved with making many things go boom real big. Two of Compton's original single-hump design were constructed on Hoyt drive in 1992 to commemorate his 100th birthday.
admiralh says Wow, I've driven over those bumps on Hoyt many times (went to CS grad school at WU from 94-97) I always wondered why they were so much bigger than normal ones. Thanks.
big fuckin shoutouts to my homies and sources: