Beginning this week, Washington hopes that infrastructure, which is a product of civil engineering, will be much discussed. But if you find yourself in Oregon, keep your opinions to yourself, lest you get fined $500 for practicing engineering without a license. This happened to Mats Jarlstrom as a result of events that would be comic if they were not symptoms of something sinister.
Jarlstrom’s troubles began when his wife got a $150 red-light-camera ticket. He became interested in the timing of traffic lights and decided there was something wrong with the formula used in Oregon and elsewhere to time how long traffic lights stay yellow as they transition from green to red. He began thinking, Googling, corresponding, and — here he made his big mistake — talking about this subject. He has ignored repeated demands by the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying that he pipe down. So the board considers him to be, like Jesse James, Al Capone, and John Dillinger, a dangerous recidivist.