The Toronto Star reports (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/688426) on a drop in recorded figures on a stretch of highway.
The truth is foggy.
It may well be that “Construction in the area has likely had an effect on [the drop in] those numbers.”
The numeric quantifiers quoted are of “552 collisions with injuries” over a ten-year period between 1996 and 2006.
Could air-bags have had anything to do with it?
I mean, of course, aside from the politicians.
The BBC reports (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8181233.stm) about clever rooks.
A feel-warm-and-cozy story.
Until the last paragraph:
“The birds were extremely accurate, using the exact number of stones needed to raise the worm to a height where they could reach it.”
Or, it being Friday and I’m in a good mood, Misleading.
The paragraph suggests that the rooks were clever enough to “work out” the number of stones required to float the worm to the top, and I feel certain that the scientists did not make that mistake.
The rooks continued to add stones, one stone at a time, until the work was within reach.
One could build a robot that did that from parts obtainable at the local electronics store.
No counting required at all.
Just keep on mindlessly dropping stones in until the worm was within reach, then grab the worm.
I’m not saying that there is intelligence (defined as “Devising a solution to achieve a goal”), but I’d argue against and counting method, beyond recognizing a single stone!
a.k.a. You can’t have it both ways.
- “(The Idaho Stop) is not just blowing a stop sign,” said Bambrick. “It’s slowing down enough so that you could come to a stop if you needed to. You slow down, you look right, you look left, you look right again, you look ahead … “
First up, it seems to me that if it makes sense for a wheeled vehicle (“vehicle” includes a motor vehicle, trailer, traction engine, farm tractor, road-building machine, bicycle and any vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power, but does not include a motorized snow vehicle or a street car; (“véhicule”) [http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/rso-1990-c-h8/latest/rso-1990-c-h8.html]) to slow down enough that it could come to a stop, then a wheeled vehicle need only to slow down enough that it could come to a stop.
And if that is true for a bicycle, then it is also true for a car (truck, bus, …)
The experiment in Europe (http://www.eukn.org/netherlands/news/2006/11/away-with-traffic-signs_1035.html) which places responsibility on users to care for each other rather than to obey posted signs would seem to fall in with this rolling-stop approach.
On the other hand, there is a great deal of difference between a car and a bicycle, at least in stopping power.
In Kindergarten Energy – part 1 and again in Kindergarten Energy – part 1 I make the point that a bicyclist cannot stop as efficiently as a pedestrian. I’ll say here that at, say, 15 Kilometers per hour, a bicyclist cannot stop as efficiently as a car.
Try this on a quiet street or parking lot. You will need a cyclist and a car with a driver; you are the passenger in the car.
The car and cyclist travel at 15 KM/h, side by side, with the front part of the bicycle’s front wheel in line with the front of the car.
At some random moment you call out “STOP”; both the driver and the cyclist execute an emergency stop.
I’ll bet you lunch at The Montreal Deli that the car stops well before the cyclist (assuming both drivers have reflexes etc)
Cars can stop on a dime at 15 KM/hr; bicycles can not.
Whereas a car might roll through a stop sign at 15 KM/h with safety and impunity, a cyclist ought not to do so.
Both drivers have the same opportunity to check for conflicting traffic.
I checked out my feelings on my morning bike-ride up Mill Road, along the Bloordale trail to Centennial Park, and back down Mill Road.
At the intersection of Mill Road and Rathburn at 6:30 a.m. I have a bus-loop on my right. I know the #48 service doesn’t start until 8 a.m. on Sundays. Why stop? It’s a dead end, wholly visible to me. No traffic is visible traveling westbound, towards me from Rathburn. I should shed precious kinetic energy/momentum through my brakes, then build up my kinetic energy again? What a waste!
At the intersection of Mill Road and Burnhamthorpe we have stop lights, and again at Mill Road and Bloor. At the intersection of Mill Road and Markland Drive we have a four-way stop. At all three intersections – surprise! – we have a curb. Apart from the energy loss, it is easy to come to a stop and rest my right foot on the curb to prop up myself and bike, before starting off again.
At Stop Signs and Stop Lights, there is usually a curb to assist my stop. I’m no worse off than a 4-wheeled vehicle in that sense.
I am inclined to agree with Jim Baross:
- “… on a public roadway, everybody gets along more safely and more efficiently if we all follow the same rules.”
A team effort is required here, where we communicate our intentions clearly, and the starting point is to play by the same rules of the game, violating those rules ONLY when both/all parties have signaled their assent to a change in rules.
In each isolated case.
Someone at The Toronto Star has been reading John Allen Paulos’s book “Innumeracy” – an excellent read.
The Star’s article discusses the number of reported events where attendance is said to be “A Million”.
Always a million.
Toronto’s population is reported as 2.5 million (The Greater Toronto Area as 5.5 million). We get visitors from out of town.
No matter, a million people at a downtown parade means roughly half the population of Toronto is downtown in a few city blocks.
Hard to imagine.
Even harder to believe.
But at least “An incredible number of people attended” can now be believed!