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 Government Insanity Continues: Illegal Math? A cretinous state board in Oregon is punishing people for talking about traffic lights and any other "engineering" topics

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PostSubject: Government Insanity Continues: Illegal Math? A cretinous state board in Oregon is punishing people for talking about traffic lights and any other "engineering" topics   Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:21 am

Running red lights can get you a ticket. But in Oregon, you can be fined just for talking about it.
Mats Järlström learned this first-hand last year when the state of Oregon fined him $500 for publicly suggesting that yellow lights should last for slightly longer to accommodate cars making right turns.
Mats is a tinkerer. In the great tradition of American inventors and scientists who got their start working in their garage or basement, Mats saw a problem and set out to fix it—that is, until the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying brought everything to a screeching halt.



It all started when Mats’s wife received a red-light camera ticket, which sparked Mats’s interest in how exactly yellow lights are timed.
He did a little Googling and found the formula used to set traffic-light times. The length of time a traffic light stays yellow is based on a relatively straightforward mathematical formula, originally drafted in 1959. Mats realized that the formula is incomplete, because it fails to capture the behavior of drivers making right turns. After developing a modified formula and even corresponding with one of the formula’s original creators, Mats started to reach out to others in the scientific community, government officials, and the media.
Mats’s work was generally met with interest and praise, but when Mats e-mailed the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying, things took an abrupt illegal U-turn. The Board told Mats they had no interest in hearing about his ideas. Fair enough. But the Board didn’t stop there. They launched a full-blown investigation, alleging that he’d engaged in the unlicensed “practice of engineering.”
After a two-year-long investigation, the Board fined him $500. According to the Board, “critiquing” the length of yellow lights and talking about his ideas with “members of the public” made Mats a lawbreaker because he’s not an Oregon-licensed professional engineer.
The Board also told Mats that he couldn’t refer to himself using the word “engineer” either. Most people would probably agree that “engineer” is a sensible way to describe Mats, given his education, experience, and skills. (He has a degree in electrical engineering from Sweden, and he’s worked in a range of technical fields for decades).  But in Oregon, none of that matters; the word “engineer” is off-limits to everyone who is not a state-licensed professional engineer.
But now, Mats is fighting back. No matter how technical the topic, the government cannot give state-licensed experts a monopoly on exchanging ideas. Mats isn’t claiming the right to single-handedly change traffic lights himself; he just wants to talk about them.
The government has also stopped people like Mats from truthfully calling themselves “engineers.” Just as the State of Oregon has no monopoly on engineering concepts, it has no monopoly on words. That is why Mats has teamed up with the Institute for Justice to ask the federal courts to protect the First Amendment rights of all Oregonians to speak freely about whatever they want. It’s time for Oregon to give free speech the green light.
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Government Insanity Continues: Illegal Math? A cretinous state board in Oregon is punishing people for talking about traffic lights and any other "engineering" topics

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