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White Male Penance

This is my penance for being a 30 something white male in America who's never been generalized or discriminated against:

I'm riding to work and a truck buzzes me in my lane by barely sticking a tire on the center line to pass me, because there was oncoming traffic. He does this, because he's in a big hurry to get to the next stop sign, which is half a block away. So I (probably stupidly) get into a shouting match with him when I find myself waiting on him at that stop sign.

Anti-Bike Bias Lunacy

What's wrong with this article?:
http://www.freep.com/article/20101202/NEWS04/101202035/1001/NEWS/Driver-...

“A bicycle can ride on the roadway and they do have all the rights a car would have,” he said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t on the roadway, he was on a gravel shoulder. And even more unfortunate, there was a brand new sidewalk just installed about 15 feet from where he was riding.”

iOS hardware limitations discourage long tail innovation

CSU recently hosted an iOS app development seminar with a couple apple representatives. One was clearly a sales guy, the other was the guy who spoke code.

It was interesting. I learned quite a bit about building a basic 'Hello World' application. In the end, the tech is no different than any other I've learned. (though objective-c syntax is a bit unusual compared to the other c based languages I've met.)

So, all that is fine, but I started to get a crappy feeling in my stomach when I asked this question:

1. Make the content harder to get. 2. ??? 3. Profit!

http://www.engadget.com/2009/12/11/harpercollins-now-also-thumbing-nose-...

Book publishers have started establishing arbitrary delays in book releases to digital formats. Their hope is that maybe someone who doesn't want a hardcover of their stupid book and would prefer a 0 tree, 0 clutter version will run out and pay 60% more for a hardback so they can read Dan Brown's latest crap RIGHT THIS SECOND!

Want to make cycling safer? Start with the brains behind the wheel.

How old are you and where were you when you got your driver's license?

I'm 31 years old and I grew up in a small town on the plains of Colorado. I got my drivers license after taking driver's ed in high school and passing a DMV test.

It was 1993. At the time, I only knew one or two people who had a cellphone. They hardly ever used them because minutes were very expensive. There was no such thing as texting. The town I lived in had no bike lanes, no roundabouts and GPS didn't exist. My first car with Anti-lock brakes was a 2001.

In the 16 years since I've had my license, I've never had another test. I've never had a refresh of the information I was taught in that one high school class. Most of my driver education since then has been handed to me as a carbon copy of a ticket from a cop.

Every year in America, 43,000 people die in automobile crashes. So on average, 118 people will die today. 1 or 2 will be a cyclist, and 11 of them will be pedestrians.

There are freak accidents, but I don't believe 43,000 people per year are dying in 'freak' accidents.

The cycling community is seeing a revolution in utility cycling. People are commuting more and more. Injuries and accidents are also on the rise. The motivation of the cycling community is to increase cyclist education and to encourage more people to ride. Every day my city planners are making more and more efforts to facilitate cycling. The problem is that the people they are educating don't have the ability to kill or injure others with their mistakes.

I have yet to hear a single proposal to continue the education of the people behind the wheel.

In this country you can go from 16 to 72, and take exactly one driving test. America had 48 states when your average 70 year old took his last driver's test.

My healthcare rant. v.0.8

What follows is a small back and forth triggered by an email forward from my family. (which means if you want the timeline read it from bottom to top.)
I reposted it here because I want my friends to fact/sanity check my assertions and provide feedback.

 

 

I attached the resolution for ya all if you want to see it. Not much there, just that he wants congress critters to forgo their benefits program and instead enroll in the public option. To me, as Michelle and Thomas said, it kind of misses the point of the public option.

Flattery will get you google rank

So every couple days or so I get a new comment on the blarg (most of them on this one article) that sounds like this:

You are really great
Submitted by Essay Help (not verified) on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 11:15pm.

You are really great dude.that's a really cool idea. i may use that in my own filing system.

Man v. Corporation

So for the past two months, Celeste and I have incurred massive phone bills with At&t. After the first big one, I accepted that oops, yup, we talk more than our rate plan will allow. I called At&t up, and the nice man there happily sold me a larger rate plan for more money. I asked him, "So, when does this go into effect? this month? (it was january 19th) Like, we'll have more minutes now?" He said "Yes sir."

So, it's February 6th, and I've got another bill from At&t for $360 bucks. I called them up hoping this was a billing mistake, but of course... Corporations never make billing mistakes. When the computer's all you've got, what the computer says is the word of god.

I tried to explain my conversation with At&t call center Monkey1 to At&t Monkey2 and then Monkey2's supervisor. Both of them checked with 'the word of god', and there was no record of Monkey1's words.
(in their defense, they were willing to halve the overage charges.)

Here's the thing.. (sorry it took me so long to get here) Throughout this entire conversation, I felt completely powerless. At&t holds all the cards. I signed their contract, so I can't take my business elsewhere, if they wrong me, I've got more or less no recourse. This power imbalance translated all the way down to Monkey2, who acted like I should feel lucky that she was willing to work with me as much as they have, and that she CAN transfer me to her manager, but then the huge favor she's doing for me could be taken away because I'm making waves.

Yes, it's my own damned fault. I sold my soul to Apple and by extension to At&t. I sold what little power I would have had over their actions for a cheaper iPhone. Really though, how much power are we talking about here? Enough to change the motivations of Monkey2? Probably not.

(batty will hate this but:)

No, a foam hat won't save you.

I've been following the story of Rebecca Allen's death in Fort Collins last Tuesday, and I went to her funeral Friday, (cyclists city wide showed up to show support).

I've been reading the local press about it, and this is as good an example as any:
http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080730/UPDATES01/...

In every article I've seen, this, or some variation of this concept has been uttered:

Allen was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries. Garvey suffered serious injuries, but was released from the hospital the same day. Both were wearing bike helmets.

A helmet? She was hit by a CAR! In the equation of bike v. car, a helmet is little more than a luck bonus. Yeah, there are lots of tales of people getting their heads run over and the helmet miraculously takes the hit and squirts their noggins out onto the street. But seriously, day to day, what do you think that inch of foam is going to do for you?

So, why do they bring it up? Because people assume a cyclist without a foam hat is an irresponsible idiot who somehow deserves to die. Because people don't want to talk about how CARS KILL PEOPLE. Being on the bike didn't kill Rebecca. A car killed Rebecca. (yes, the dumbass kid behind the wheel killed Rebecca, but tell me, would that have happened if he were out riding a bike drunk instead?)

Consider this:

4,749 pedestrians were reported to have been killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2003. These deaths accounted for 11 percent of the 42,643 motor vehicle deaths nationwide that year. An estimated 70,000 pedestrians were injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions, which represents 2 percent of the 2.9 million total persons injured in traffic crashes
(http://www.walkinginfo.org/pedsafe/crashstats.cfm: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2003, Washington, DC, 2004)

We're worried about deaths in Iraq? We lost more people in one year just walking down the street than the entire war so far!

We've built our entire society around the automobile; around the idea that accelerating 2 tons of steel to human killing speeds through the places we live and work is acceptable. It's quite literally killing us.

For a better article about Allen (yup, mentions helmets..) read this one:
http://media.www.collegian.com/media/storage/paper864/news/2008/07/30/Ne...

Get out on your bike this week. Take the lane. Let a car or two know you're there.

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