2017-09-22 Fri

Clear Thinking

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I have respect for Chantal Herbert. I used to listen to her commentary on CBC radio podcasts until they got shuffled off into space somewhere.

A good and courageous thinker.

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But she went a little bit of the rails here.

(1) Any time you are reading something and your brain says “Wait up! Back up a bit there!”, you can be 100% certain that you are reading Bad Writing. Good thoughts, maybe, but poorly expressed.

(2) When I taught programming logic (as distinct from “programming in FORTRAN” or “programming in Basic”) in Singapore I used to stress that we should at all times avoid double negatives.

To illustrate the point I would ask the class “Is it not true that I am not a woman?” and then ask for a show of hands. Half the class would agree. The other half would disagree.

Point made!

Clear Thinking

A good general rule is “Ignore any opinions that are not based on observable facts”.

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Here is an observable fact: If you look up GO Transits train timetables you will find that each stop at a station consumes precisely two minutes and thirty seconds. Look, for example, at the difference in timing of the Lakeshore West service and compare the non-stop to Clarkson with the milk run. Ten minutes time difference. Four stations. Four into ten goes two and a half.

Now suppose you polled riders and asked them “Would you like a two and a half minute delay every trip going to and from work?”. Most of them would respond quite logically “No way! Are you crazy?” Now suppose you phrased the question “Would you go back to using your car to get to and from work?”, a smaller percentage would say something like “You bet!”, but all of this is based on suppositions.

I believe (but I don’t know for a fact) that once people start taking the train to work, it becomes a daily norm, a habit, and they make friends on the train, or get a lot of knitting done, or read library books, or whatever, and realise that even if the train does take a little longer, the time spent on the train is productive (and you are less stressed out when you reach the office and ...)

Basic a public transit decision on suppositions and assumptions is a bad idea.

That’s why Toronto and Ontario use it!