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Fun With Road Signs

Anyone who has ever programmed a computer after learning about programming computers at any American university (and many of those who didn’t learn it that way) knows who Donald Knuth is. His life’s work in programming and in particular his careful, methodical and deeply beautiful understanding of algorithms is something that almost anyone basically acquainted with the field has read about, at one time or another.

This thread is devoted to vicariously enjoying one of his leisure pursuits, undertaken with his wife. It’s a very modest pursuit but the level they’ve taken it to is pretty astounding (which fits): to photograph (mostly without comment) and record the locations of road signs in the many places they’ve visited, and reproduce them with a lot of fidelity on his website. They have to be diamond signs, of the roadside-warning variety. Orange, mostly. They’re not much interested in the others (at least on the website) which is just fine with me.

To Doctor Knuth: “This isn’t a political thread, although it’s being written on a political blog. It’s for my friends and all the visitors here, because I enjoy these observations, and the pictures make me smile. I want other people to smile a little more, if they can. Thank your wife and you.”

To everyone else: Have fun. We see these diamond signs along the roadside every day and a lot of the time we barely notice them. They’re put there by people who obviously have some reason to believe the messages are both important and beneficial to everyone who sees them, even if they’re also unintentionally hilarious. Regardless of your politics, there’s something you can start, or end, or continue a conversation with. The symbols we use to warn ourselves of hazards are really pretty funny when you step back from them a little and see them in a different context.

If I had to choose one today as a favorite (which is really very difficult) it would be this one. My honorable mention is this one. And this one is very hard to rank, but I like it.

Enjoy, and laugh a little.

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