Assorted links

by on October 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Yogesh October 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Second link needs fixing.

2 Hoover October 13, 2013 at 5:04 pm
3 Yogesh October 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm
4 Dave Barnes October 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

The fifty scariest books of all time?
We can start with the Bible and the Koran.
How many people have died because of these 2 books?

5 dirk October 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

It depends entirely on how many people were born because of those 2 books.

6 mike October 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

To be fair, only one of those books instructs its readers to kill anyone who doesn’t believe it.

7 freethinker October 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

Mike, both books inspire hatred of those who do not agree with what is claimed to be divinely revealed truth. Only, one of the two is more explicit about it

8 GiT October 14, 2013 at 2:29 am

2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant,

3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

9 Ted Craig October 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

You know what are the scariest creatures? Trolls.

10 Dave Barnes October 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm

With the Bible, I can only think of the Hundred Years War between the Papists and the Protestants.

11 Careless October 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Yes, that was commanded somewhere in Acts, right?

12 Nick_L October 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm

As a motorcyclist who commutes, I’ve been looking forward to a future where cars don’t make sudden turns in front of me, or make abrupt and un-signalled lane changes. Now, of course, there’s a different kind of impact to be concerned about.

13 prior_approval October 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Here is the interesting thing to consider – motorcycles are the most likely the thing that will go away in the future of autonomous vehicles. Obviously, walking and bicycles are human scale, but what is the point of riding a motorcycle that doesn’t actually involve riding?

And least, that is my thought, after riding more than 200,000 miles over my life, much of it commuting year round in NoVa.

14 Nick_L October 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Well, there is that certain individual who just wants to go faster. So, even if you couldn’t exercise control over it, a 350 mph bike might be attractive to some. Given that most vehicles on the road appear to be single user, there might well be a future for small, economical two or three wheeled autonomous vehicles. Secondly, one hopes that there would be off-road usage available. Third, there will still be a few areas or countries out there that will not be able to adopt autonomous cars for some time, for various reasons. On the whole though I do tend agree that for motorcyclists the future appears uncertain ( ‘I ride my bike to ride my bike’, said the zen student).

15 Willitts October 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Getting where you want to go is only a biproduct of the reason people own and ride motorcycles.

Other than a handful of luxury car owners, vintage enthusiasts, and rag top road rangers, there aren’t many people who get in a car merely for the sake of driving.

16 somaguy October 14, 2013 at 1:50 am

*Other than a handful of luxury car owners, vintage enthusiasts, and rag top road rangers, there aren’t many people who get in a car merely for the sake of driving.*

I don’t have a stronger anecdote to counter your anecdote, but I believe there are plenty of people who enjoy driving. I have a hard time believing that, f.ex. Mazda Miata buyers, don’t enjoy driving their cars.

17 Marie October 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Gotta love #3, what a schmuck.

18 prior probability October 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Who’s the schmuck? The judge, the “deceased” husband, or the wife?

19 Jeff October 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

An interesting study in how if one looks into the details it actually sorta makes sense. The law apparently forbids overturning the finding that he’s dead. Also, the “widow” gets Social Security benefits so she’s happy he’s “dead”. Everyone wins except the taxpayer, apparently.

20 Dr. D October 13, 2013 at 11:11 pm

#3 It’s too bad Joseph Heller did not live to witness this. It is a modern adaptation of the legally dead Flight Surgeon in Catch 22.

21 jdm October 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm

So what happens if he commits a crime in Ohio and is caught?

22 Jeff October 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Or perhaps more morbidly, if someone guns him down is the killer really guilty of murder?

23 Careless October 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm

[t]he death of such presumed decedent shall for all purposes under the law of this state be regarded as having occurred as of the date of such decree

24 JWatts October 14, 2013 at 12:18 am

If his wife & family are collecting SS death benefits and the judge is not overturning his being ‘legally’ deceased, then I assume there is no chance the Feds will allow him to start drawing Social Security in the next few years. I suspect this guy probably hasn’t managed to save a lot for retirement. So in a few years he’s going to realize how screwed he is.

25 K Webb October 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Unless driverless cars are able to eliminate just about every other cause of delay, cyclists don’t need to worry too much. Cyclists just don’t cause that much delay. An automobile behind a cyclist typically spends less than 30 seconds going 10-15 mph, and once around the cyclist, it will have a more open road to catch up to the next source of delay. Unless the passengers of a driverless car are really paying attention, they likely won’t notice.

26 Willitts October 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

10-15 seconds behind a bicycle until it passes you at the next stop sign. Then it is another 10-15 seconds, then another. And that’s several minutes of missed green lights.

Cars and bicycles belong on the same road the way helicopters and hot air balloons belong in the same sky, only worse.

Bicycles belong in parks, enclosed stadiums, third world countries, museums, and stuck in the wheels of public buses.

27 Pshrnk October 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Stop sign?

28 GiT October 14, 2013 at 2:34 am

And you belong beaten bloody in a ditch.

29 Tummler October 14, 2013 at 9:57 am


30 Kabal October 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm


This is likely because lectures don’t do very much, and having students do homework in class forces them to actually do the homework and concentrate on it for an extended period of time. Being in class also allows immediate feedback on sticking points from a teacher. This has the greatest ROI on worse students who do not have the discipline or resourcefulness of better students.

31 mpowell October 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

This reminds me of a few posts back with the researchers who found, holding teacher/pupil ratios constant, individual tutoring was a big help. How do you get more tutoring with constant teacher/pupil ratios? Flipping.

32 Steve Sailer October 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Chesterton could have used a good diet book.

33 Ray Lopez October 14, 2013 at 12:56 am

As a counterpoint to #4: “G.K. Chesterton against self-help books.”

Textual healing
Book balm, also known as bibliotherapy
Oct 12th 2013 |From the print edition

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness—751 Books to Cure What Ails You. By Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. Penguin Press; 420 pages; $26.95. Canongate; £17.

34 Axa October 14, 2013 at 5:34 am

What for?

Just because nowadays there are books that say that if you’re thin you’ll be happier and live longer?

35 whatsthat October 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

“The flipped class had many students who had already failed the class — some multiple times.”


36 Ted Craig October 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

2. This is probably just me, but I don’t know anybody, including horror fans, who have made it more a third of the way through “Ghost Story.” Maybe it grows scarier.

37 Willitts October 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm
38 Willitts October 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm

3. This is why I left law. Law and truth are mortal enemies.

39 Ed October 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm

#5: Will driverless cars reflect the driving culture of where they are located? For example, in the U.S., drivers expect to maintain a certain distance from cars in front of them. In much of the world, cars travel much closer to other cars, and vehicles may suddenly veer in front of others. Since the driving style is all software — will a car be programmed to drive differently in India that in California?

And for that matter — will some people INTENTIONALLY install “crazy driving” software on their cars — just for kicks, say, to see if their driverless car can run other driverless vehicles off the road, crash into them, etc. ?

And how much is pedestrian and cyclist bad behavior constrained by the knowledge that real people are driving cars? If I know that a speeding car will automatically see me and slow down for me should I run out into a street with speeding traffic, will I start to take greater risks as a pedestrian?

40 ivvenalis October 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

There’s no reason robotic cars would simulate bad behavior by human operators. Drivers tailgate each other and make sudden unsignaled lane changes for the same reason they look for their tic-tacs on the passenger floorboard while moving or don’t wear seatbelts: because they’re idiots. The fact that Indians are generally less aware of the dangers of driving and/or place a lower value on their own lives than Americans probably isn’t going to be a design consideration when these things are actually being built.

I suppose it’s possible that people will intentionally install such software into automated cars, just like I suppose it’s possible someone could hide out next to a road and spend an afternoon trying to shoot out motorists’ tires right now. I don’t imagine it will be much less illegal.

41 mkt October 15, 2013 at 12:25 am

“And how much is pedestrian and cyclist bad behavior constrained by the knowledge that real people are driving cars? If I know that a speeding car will automatically see me and slow down for me should I run out into a street with speeding traffic, will I start to take greater risks as a pedestrian?”

This is a huge point, one that I haven’t seen addressed by inventors yet. Pedestrians and bicyclists will now have huge incentives to disobey traffic laws, because as long as the laws of physics and the software permit the cars to come to a screeching halt, they can blithely walk or bike straight into traffic knowing that the safety software will not let the cars hit them.

We see this on a massive scale in New York, Boston, etc. every day. That is, even at slow speeds — maybe especially at slow speeds — we see jaywalkers dart in front of automobiles. At a certain point the human driver has to start moving menacingly forward, otherwise there will an un-ending stream of pedestrians exploiting the fact that the timid driver is letting the pedestrians go first. How will a computer-driven car handle this?

The only thing that I can think of is a universal crackdown on jaywalking, probably including dashboard cams, similar to what the Russians like to use except automated with face recognition so that the hordes of offending jaywalkers can be sent traffic violation tickets. That would put a stop to the jaywalking, but at a cost of turning the streets and sidewalks into a giant panopticon.

42 freethinker October 14, 2013 at 12:13 am

#2: The Communist Manifesto may get the first prize

43 Brian Donohue October 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

#1 is amazing, but mostly overlooked in the comments. Too bad, great link.

44 Chris Alcantara October 14, 2013 at 8:29 am

I have been experimenting with the flipped classroom model in my undergraduate courses. I started with my first year seminar (enrollment 20), with amazing results, and will be flipping one class in my second year intro to canadian politics course (125 students). Details here:

And here is my experience with the flipped classroom in the first year seminar.

45 Tracy W October 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

The more I read G. K. Chesterton’s essays the less impressed I am.

46 John Schilling October 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

#5: What will bicyclists mean for driverless cars? The behavior of a human on a bicycle is going to be devilishly hard for a computer to anticipate. Not the normal behavior – if bicyclists don’t strictly adhere to the statutory rules of the road, they at least generally adhere to an informal but well-understood ruleset, travelling efficiently along the road while trying very hard to avoid conflict with automobiles. But the three-sigma variation will include the occasional bicyclist who, e.g., cuts in front of a rapidly-approaching car he simply didn’t notice in order to make a left turn he realized too late was this block instead of the next one. And a bicycle, while slower than a car, is more agile – there’s less warning of potentially dangerous maneuvers.

In order to achieve acceptable safety, and to avoid the impressive lawsuits that will inevitably accompany the first “robocar mows down helplesss innocent (idiot) bicyclist” deaths, first-generation driverless cars are going to be absolutely paranoid about Stupid Bicyclists Tricks, probably to the extent of granting every bicyclist a roughly car-sized lane slot no matter how much the bicyclist tries to share the road.

What we are really going to get is a generation of “self-driving” cars that require an attentive, qualified human driver at all time. When that human driver notices that his commute is being delayed because the robot is cruising at 12 mph behind and to the left of a bicyclist, he will disengage the system and pass under manual control. One slight delay, rippling back through traffic, and one slightly annoyed driver. But cascading for each car/bicycle interaction in traffic. Which comes first: robots learning to properly anticipate the full range of potential bicyclist behavior, or automotive commuters learning to really, really hate bicyclists?

47 Anthony Park October 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm

All that being said, self driving vehicles are still likely to be safer for cyclists (and everybody else) than regular cars.

48 John Schilling October 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

A frequent assertion, rarely if ever supported by anything more than handwaving.

49 Mark Betnel October 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Regarding #1 — It would be really great if these studies looking at the effectiveness of flipping the classroom took the care to separate out the effect of the _lectures_ entirely. I (and many other teachers) would predict that the lecture, whether in person or at home, has very little to do with learning outcomes for the majority of students, and that the benefit of flipping is almost entirely from using the in-class time in a better way.

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