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Comment: I don't know what goes here, and it wouldn't tell (Score 1) 445

by JoeDuncan (#46221729) Attached to: FBI: $10,000 Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At an Aircraft
Unless we're somehow going to regulate laser pointers like guns, it would be far more effective
LOL - yeah, because "gun regulation" in the US has proven *SO* effective at reducing gun crimes! Training an army of ninja squirrels to steal laser pointers from kids would be cheaper and more effective...

Comment: Re:So now we're all skeptics... (Score 1) 197

by JoeDuncan (#45264051) Attached to: How To Better Verify Scientific Research

It's all THREE???

Wow. Just... wow. I had no idea.

ALL climatologists are idiots who don't know about the scientific method, the whole thing is being covered up by some pseudo-religious apocalyptic cult AND "Big Green" has more money than "Big Oil"?

Jesus H. Christ! We have to do something! We have to tell someone! This is scary HUGE!!!

Why hasn't this gotten out yet? Who's got a stranglehold on this? We need to stop them ASAP.

Wait, what was that click, are they listening to this?

Nevermind, I have NO idea what you're talking about, this AGW thing is *totes* real! (*wink* *wink*)

Comment: Re:So now we're all skeptics... (Score 1) 197

by JoeDuncan (#45263733) Attached to: How To Better Verify Scientific Research

Ok, I give. You've clearly got this all figured out, climatology is obviously pseudoscience.

I'm curious though, since you've got better reasoning skills and insight than all the climatologists, how did they do it?

How did they get all the climatologists to think they're doing science when they're not, and to come to the consensus that AGW is real? I mean manipulating an entire field of academia is some pretty scary, nex level shit.

Are all climatologists just idiots? Is it some kind of conspiracy? Is it because "Big Green" is simply out-spending "Big Oil" to buy scientists' favour?

You have to help me out here, without your brilliant insights and superior reasoning, I don't think I'll be able to figure it out on my own - and I need to know! The uncertainty is frightening.

Comment: Re:So now we're all skeptics... (Score 1) 197

by JoeDuncan (#45262847) Attached to: How To Better Verify Scientific Research

Oh man, shit shit shit. They got to you! How did they get to you? This is bad, very bad...

Think man! THINK! Shake it off. Gravity was already falsified by Einstein, those predictions fail on relativistic scale! Of course, instead of admitting that gravity was wrong, the left-wing "Gravitationist" establishment simply came up with a bunch of excuses as to why their predictions failed, and then changed their theory to match the data!

It's the same thing they're doing with AGW and astrology. Don't buy it man, snap out of it! They don't give a crap about truth, just pushing the "Gravitationist" agenda.

Hold tight man, you've opened my eyes, so I owe you one, I won't sit by and see you brainwashed by "them". I'll find you, I don't know how - but I will, and we'll get you the help you need, I just hope it's not too late.

Oh, crap! There's someone at the door! I think they've found me too! How did they get here so quick? Just hang on, don't give up, we're coming for you brother, we'll get you out of there! Gotta disappear now...

Comment: Re:So now we're all skeptics... (Score 1) 197

by JoeDuncan (#45260193) Attached to: How To Better Verify Scientific Research

...gravity [has] necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement[s]...

Oh, yeah? Prove it.

Now that you have opened my eyes about this global "science" conspiracy, I cannot live in darkness anymore. The path you have laid for me is clear. Everything must be equally called in to question until I get personally satisfying answers.

Comment: Re:I'm a cyclist too, and you're victim-blaming (Score 1) 947

by JoeDuncan (#45237749) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

It's an example of how 95% of cyclists in my city and many others ride.

No. This statement is an example of how biased your perceptions and recollections are. As other people have already pointed out, in any study ever done on the subject, the results have been the same: the vast majority of bike-car collisions are caused by motorists, not cyclists.

The problem is that the way the human perceptual and attentional systems work is that we only notice, perceive and remember things which stand out or generate an emotional reaction. Just about everything else gets filtered out. We literally don't notice, attend to, or remember the instances which don't stand out or don't piss us off. So, either:

1) all studies done on the subject are wrong and you have some kind of superhuman cognitive abilities
OR
2) you are wrong and making stuff up

It's likely not intentional on your part - it very well could be that 95% of the cyclists you observe do behave in this manner, but this is only because you are literally failing to notice the vast majority of cyclists who don't behave recklessly or piss you off somehow.

Our perceptions and recollections are horribly biased, and even more so concerning "the Others" that are not part of our in-group. Correcting for this bias is the primary reason we have science. And the science on this says you are wrong. Unless you are a superhero, in which case you should probably be out fighting crime instead of wasting time on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:It would be safer if cyclists followed traffic (Score 1) 947

by JoeDuncan (#45232301) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

We're reading the study quite differently. I think it's quite clear that the researchers were interested in neither legal culpability nor determining which party made the "worse" error in judgement. They quite clearly state that listing an accident as caused by one party or another is for classification purposes only.

I agree that we are reading it differently, and I admit your interpretation of the researchers' interests is a possible one - but it is far from clear. It certainly isn't clearly stated that the labels are for "classification purposes only" anywhere. Do you mean this quote?:

The categories are defined by the driver- or cyclist-actions that describe each event most succinctly. Categories named "Ride Out..." refer to the actions of a cyclist, while "Drive Out..." refers to the actions of a motorist. Although they may refer to the actions of only one party, these labels are not intended to assign fault.

Again the "assign fault" in the above quote means legal culpability. Possibly it means physical "cause" as well, but this is doubtful, as they are quite clear about making a specific distinction between "cause" and legal "fault" later on (when discussing cyclists riding on the sidewalk):

...While cyclists in such cases may therefore be deemed at fault in law, it is probably not correct to suggest that sidewalk cycling was the sole "cause" of these collisions. In many collisions of this type, it is quite likely that the motorist did not come to a complete stop before crossing the stop bar....

As you can see here, they are saying that while a cyclist riding on a sidewalk who gets struck by a car at an intersection might be found legally culpable they attribute the actual cause of the accident to the motorist's behaviour

Nowhere do they say the bins are arbitrary classifications. The bit about "...that describe each event most succinctly" indicates that the bins ARE related to the behaviours which precipitated the collision. Furthermore, their bin types are derived from (and meant to be comparable to) those of the Federal Highway Administration's (which you can find here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/96104/). The FHA's crash types are specifically defined as:

These crashes can be classified or "typed" by their precipitating actions, predisposing factors, and characteristic populations and/or location that can be targeted for intervention.

So, the type classifications they're using are very much meant to indicate which behaviour precipitated the collision (and who's behaviour needs to be corrected)

In the quotes I included above the researchers disclaim both fault and absolute cause.

I believe I have already adequately addressed your first quote, but your second quote: "Thus it cannot be said, for instance, that more cyclists than motorists caused collisions by disobeying traffic control." is taken entirely out of context. It's from a section dealing with other secondary contributing factors that may have played a role in addition to the main cause. The sentence you quoted is referring to their inability to make an accurate comparison of cyclist caused collisions due to disobeying traffic control vs motorist caused collisions due to disobeying traffic control - because secondary contributing factors were not recorded in all cases. Here's the same quote with the relevant preceding context:

...Note that, while some of these factors (weather conditions, etc.) are known in almost all cases, others (such as disobeying traffic control) appear to have been reported less consistently. Thus it cannot be said, for instance, that more cyclists than motorists caused collisions by disobeying traffic control.

It's quite clear from that section that what they're saying is that of the collisions caused by motorists and those caused by cyclists, they cannot compare the proportion of each that were due to disobeying traffic control (e.g. running a red). So they can't say something like "Of the collisions caused by cyclists 60% were due to disobeying traffic signals, while of the collisions caused by motorists only 40% were due to disobeying traffic signals.". This necessarily implies that the crash types assigned do indicate an attribution of cause to either the cyclist or the motorist in the first place.

As for the rest of your last comment, you do realize that it is simply your opinion and perspective right? I could tell you a whole slew of similar stories about the poor behaviour of motorists as well, but it would only be my opinion and perspective. The point is that we are BOTH biased in our perceptions and observations, we BOTH only notice and remember the behaviours of "the Other" that piss us off, and we BOTH empathize more with the side that is most similar to us. So again, while I could go on with stories that are basically the same as yours but where its motorists driving recklessly, I realize that I am likely highly biased in my perceptions and memories. They are likely not representative of actuality. There's simply no way to tell from anecdotes who's correct, my opinion isn't any more valid than yours, and yours isn't any more valid than mine. The only way to really grasp what's happening is with empirical data.

While there is some small ambiguity in the interpretation of the study I linked, I also mentioned earlier that the same basic findings had been replicated in other studies. Someone else was nice enough to post links to articles summarizing some of those other studies elsewhere in the comments. I'll reproduce them here:

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/study-blames-drivers-for-bike-crashes-20101122-18330.html
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/drivers-to-blame-for-twothirds-of-bicycle-collisions-in-westminster-8602166.html
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-accidents-study

While it may seem to you like cyclists behave in a more reckless and dangerous manner, the data simply doesn't support that view. In the end though, it's up to you whether to ignore the data or re-evaluate your preconceptions.

Comment: Re:You prove the point (Score 1) 947

by JoeDuncan (#45228015) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

In other words, the bikers that were hurt were stupid enough to assume that the motorist was in any way paying attention. You can hugely reduce the risk by making that assumption and acting accordingly, including beady ready to swerve out of a bike lane if a car weaves into it.

It may have technically been the motorist at "fault", but from my biking experience on real roads if you just assume cars have no idea you are there you will save yourself from many a near miss and/or accident. I'd rather be alive than smug.

I agree completely. I do precisely the same thing. I generally assumed that most motorists are criminally incompetent idiots. I know this is incorrect, and that the vast majority of motorists are good, law-abiding citizens and competent drivers who are aware of their surroundings. But when you're sharing the road with someone driving a 5 ton metal box at 3-4x your speed, assuming they're a moron can save your life.

Comment: Re:It would be safer if cyclists followed traffic (Score 1) 947

by JoeDuncan (#45227717) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

I have read the study, and I was aware of that caveat. However, you're misunderstanding the point - it was meant to address issues of legal culpability (e.g. fault vs. cause). Since the data were based on actual police reports, the researchers are basically disclaiming themselves from any claims of legal responsibility.

All you really need to do is look at "Table 3.2" in "Chapter 3: Key Findings" and sum the numbers for incidents caused by cyclists vs. those caused by motorists. The results are quite clear.

On the other hand, why should I be surprised that a cyclist doesn't bother to read the study they referenced, or that they automatically assume they're right regardless of what's actually in front of them? Such behavior matches perfectly with my observed actions of cyclists on the road!

I have nothing against motorists, but you certainly seem to have a bias against cyclists.

I could respond in kind, and assert that it certainly seems like it was you who didn't bother to actually look at the numbers or make a good faith effort to understand what was being said; and simply cherry picked a single comment out of context which appeared on first glance to support your preconceptions. I could also go on to make similar unwarranted assumptions about your behaviour, and claim that they match my observed actions of motorists on the road as well (they do in fact)

But you know what? It's not constructive, my own observations about motorists are likely biased in many ways (e.g. availability heuristic etc...). Making unwarranted assumptions about others based on biased preconceptions serves no one any good. So, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you did read the study and the numbers and simply misunderstood them.

In the future though, I would caution you to read things a bit more carefully before making unwarranted assumptions about another's behaviour or comprehension based solely on your own perceptions and preconceptions. It's always better to take a second look, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Comment: Re:Please (Score 1) 947

by JoeDuncan (#45227219) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

No problem!

To be clear, I wasn't criticizing your comments, just that study. I see it bandied about all the time by anti-helmet zealots, and few of them bother actually assessing it's merits, so it's become kind of a pet peeve for me :P

I've never owned a car and have been commuting by bike for 20+ years myself and I always wear a helmet. I've never done cross-country or long-distance biking, so I can't speak to that, but even just cycling in-city, I wouldn't wear a helmet if I didn't have to. They're hot, constricting and the straps chafe, but as you say, the benefits outweigh the annoyances, my brain is the most expensive thing I own! If there were any reliable empirical data showing that helmets are less safe, I would ditch mine in an instant.

I'm not sure about the overtaking thing though, in this study by the City of Toronto: http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/bicycle_motor-vehicle/ "Motorist Overtaking" was the second most frequent cause of bike-car accidents (accounting for about ~12%), right after "Drive Out At Controlled Intersection" (by motorists - for cyclists it's called "Ride Out At Controlled Intersection"). I've seen stats for other major cities that corroborate the general finding (motorist behaviour causes the vast majority of incidents), but of course the specifics of types of incidents may vary by region.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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