Thursday assorted links

by on May 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Do we end up with too many bike lanes?  And does Canada’s tech hub have a chance?

2. MothersAgainstTurbines.com.

3. Ravens remember.

4. Criticisms of cosmic inflation theory.

5. History of the term “priming the pump.”  Back to the 19th century.  And here is Lauchlin Currie (among others), predating Keynes (pdf).

6. Contemporary art show for dogs: “That’s not the only thing about it that caters to canines: dOGUMENTA, Dawson is quick to emphasize, is not about dogs or by dogs, but for dogs, meaning artworks are installed at puppy-eye-level, and considerate of their color perception limitations.”

1 KWebb May 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

1. Yes too many bike lanes if the purpose of bike lanes is to make cycling safe. No if the purpose is to clear the road of bicycles and sell more bikes.

People have been making safety arguments against many bike lane installations for decades, but it still isn’t stopping the League of American Bicyclists for giving out platinum awards to cities that try really hard to kill people.

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2 Dick the Butcher May 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Bingo!

It’s not stopping Citibank from setting up bicycle rentals all over NYC, either.

They’re dangerous for pedestrians, too.

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3 Dave Mabe May 11, 2017 at 1:58 pm

It’s funny you mention the League of American Bicyclists. The photo in the post was taken in a town with a silver award from that org.

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4 MMK May 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Not all bike lanes are created equal. The bike lanes described and pictured in that blog post are very poorly designed.

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5 mulp May 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

He shows a picture of a “walk” lane which cyclists can use. The road has no sidewalks, so walkers and runners must use the road.

Bike lane icons always show a bike, ie, two circles connected by a frame. Bike lanes are dangerous to walkers and runners using them. Walking paths that allow bikes require bike riders to always yield and that requires slow speeds at least when people are on foot.

See, for example https://www.canstockphoto.fr/bleu-couloir-vélo-signe-grand-piéton-poteau-poste-route-6881247.html to show the two icons marking a shared walk, bike lane or path.

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6 Clay May 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm

The bike lane in Fairfax drive by Mason has long appeared to me to be a classic example. Being pushed up against the rows of parked vehicles (often SUVs or delivery vans) leaves the cyclist invisible to traffic turning on from side streets – which is likely more dangerous than simply riding in the main flow of traffic.

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7 prior_test2 May 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm

‘People have been making safety arguments against many bike lane installations for decades’

And probably not a single one of those arguments is made in German. Or Dutch. Or Danish. Though anyone who is a fan of Kunstler’s Eyesore of the Month – http://kunstler.com/featured-eyesore-of-the-month/ – is aware that the American ability to create truly exceptional living/working space transcends pretty much anything that people in Germany, the Netherlands, or Denmark would ever accept (the April 2017 one is perfectly illustrative of this point).

The German sign for a shared bike walk path is similar – http://www.strassenschilder.de/vorschriftszeichen/sonderweg-fuer-fussgaengerradfahrer/

And not very common around the Karlsruhe region (to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it). What you commonly see here is this – http://www.strassenschilder.de/vorschriftszeichen/getrennter-rad-und-fussweg/ Though the German text says this sidewalk often has the bicycle part painted red, I have never really seen that – here, red is used to show absolute right of way for bicycles, for example a bicycle crossing an A5 autobahn exit from/to the B10 near where Walmart used to be, a good decade ago. Of course, the red applies equally to pedestrians. What is normal here is that that a white stripe is painted in the middle, and everybody pretty much figures out how to walk/bike without any problems at all, in part because the path is normally 3 or more meters wide. Also in part because German 3rd graders are taught how to ride a bicycle in a normal traffic setting, and normal traffic in Germany is composed of people who also ride bicycles. Not to mention how the police and legal system react to any car driver who does not pay attention to, much less injure, a bicyclist.

The really funny thing is that Karlsuhe has been more or less ripping up most of its 2 lane feeder roads, reducing them to a lane and a half – with the half lane (unseparated) intended for bicycles.

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8 Anonymous May 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I’m also familiar with the Karlsruhe area, and I agree with prior_test2. There are very few streets where neither the sidewalk has a bike-only lane, nor the road. Aside from the white stripe down the sidewalk, another common way to mark the bicycle section is using darker (asphalt-colored) tiles.

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9 peri May 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Setting a trap for somebody? How about a road with 6 lanes of 65 mph traffic, additionally on the northbound side a fourth lane where the egress from the mall joins the road and becomes a right turn lane for the light a few hundred yards ahead. I have never seen a cyclist trying to navigate this stretch, or the vicinity, which features an often-totaling wreck every day – even though a few miles further on, where there are wide shoulders, the road becomes a fairly popular leg of the route out of town.

Half the drivers exiting the mall driveway have their heads turned left, attempting a quick sweep of death over to the far lefthand turn lane, so they can U at the light. Many or most of the drivers in the righthand lane (previously righthand, that is, now that the mall driveway has become the righthand lane) are looking over their shoulder at the mall exiters, and, if they’re conscientious, looking to see where the solid no-change-lane stripe becomes dashed, in order to regain the right lane to turn right at the light.

After the most recent road work, the city thought to paint a “bike lane” – smack dab between those sweepers of death and moving-righters. Is it better than nothing? Not really. Now it’s on the bike map. Experienced cyclists will know better than to venture there, but newbies and tourists may not.

Now that I think about it, it’s for the map that they did it. They’ve built a lovely dedicated bike path, elevated in places, nearby – and they wanted the map, if only the map, to show connections to it.

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10 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

1. Would you believe that I just got off my old road bike, which I am riding because of a running injury to my knee, and I have just traversed most of these path types?

It’s all true, including that what is the safest path, or design, is very situational. I am happy that the majority of my loop is almost car free. It’s bikes both ways, cars one way only around the bay, if you can believe it, but it works. Anyway, after my skim I’m pretty sure that modern city planners are up on these trade-offs.

Also, bike infrastructure should be paid from the general fund (for the general welfare, because it is), to take away one more complaint from jealous drivers.

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11 mulp May 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Of course, he’s showing a pedestrian lane which is a free lunch to property owners who do not want to pay to build and maintain side walks like are required in cities with jack boot laws dictating private land owners pay to kick people on foot out of the public foot path that was taken over by cars and trucks.

But carving out a walk way in the street, the highway department does all the paving, and plowing in winter for the walkers, runners, kids going to the school or bus stop or the park or to visit friends.

It was bikers in the 18th century who got roadways paved. People on foot didn’t need paved walkways. Horses and oxen don’t like paved roads.

But cars kicks both people on foot and on bikes out of the public way that had been for people and animals on foot for hundreds of thousands of years.

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12 KWebb May 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Any where water can be found, lakes, waterfronts, rivers, streams, is usually good place to install bike paths. Intersections with the road are rare. Intersections are where collisions happen in suburban and urban environments and where visibility is most important.

The more intersections, the worse the location for a bike lane or path.

Sadly, modern city planners are mostly not aware of this. Where they are, they usually have to overcome political pressure from advocacy groups who never saw a bike lane they didn’t like. Dallas ditched it’s long time stubborn bike planner almost a decade ago because he wouldn’t put bike lanes in the dense, low speed, street grid downtown.

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13 EverExtruder May 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

#2 What are they ever for?

#4 In another universe I’m getting younger and wealthier by the minute. Yay me.

#6 Art for dogs. Complacent? Certainly not. “Bat-shit crazy” doesn’t show up in the thesaurus under synonyms for complacency.

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14 rayward May 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

I’m a cyclist and I agree with everything (most everything) Gabe writes in his argument against bike lanes. As a general matter, bike lanes relegate cyclists to inferior status, to put cyclists out of sight and out of mind. What supporters of bike lanes want most is to keep cyclists off the roads and on the bike lanes where they belong. Visibility and acceptance make cycling safe, both of which are undermined by bike lanes. I ride on the road, where I have a legal right to ride and where motorists are most likely to see me (I wear a high visibility jersey to help motorists see me). Three or four times I’ve been run off the road, intentionally, by motorists, not because the motorists are angry or mean but because they are stupid. The most dangerous places for cyclists are intersections and driveways, dangerous because motorists entering the road often don’t see oncoming automobile traffic (because they don’t look!), much less oncoming cyclists. I always attempt to make eye contact with the driver, so I know he sees me and he knows I know that he sees me. If I can’t make eye contact I assume the motorist doesn’t see me and will pull out in front of me. Unfortunately, my state allows tinted car windows, which make it almost impossible to make eye contact with someone inside the car. Anyway, this is a long comment to agree with Gabe’s point that bike lanes make cycling more not less dangerous. [Of course, Cowen posted this to make the larger point of unintended consequences by governments with good intentions. Sometimes doing the least or nothing is best – in this case doing without bike lanes to encourage cycling in the road where cyclists and motorists can learn to live with each other in harmony. It’s a beautiful day, let’s go for a ride]

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15 rayward May 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

1.

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16 Captain Obvious May 12, 2017 at 6:50 am

Go to Netherlands to see how it’s done…

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17 Dave Mabe May 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm

“The most dangerous places for cyclists are intersections and driveways, dangerous because motorists entering the road often don’t see oncoming automobile traffic (because they don’t look!), much less oncoming cyclists.”

Much less oncoming cyclists in a bike lane. I know exactly the feeling – does the driver turning left see me? I often worry about ending up under a turning car but hardly ever worry about getting hit from behind.

I’m not optimistic that this trend will stop. There is an endless supply of cycling “advocates” pushing for more segregation so the mythical 8 and 80 year old cyclists will appear out of the woodwork.

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18 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm

This is starting to sound like a TED Talk. I mean that in a bad way: something obvious, that practitioners know, swelled up with dramatic music and over-simplification.

Study: Protected Bike Lanes Reduce Injury Risk Up to 90 Percent

It definitely is not as “simple” as “bike lanes bad.”

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19 rayward May 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Cyclists feel so strongly about this because the consequence to cyclists is death, or worse, serious bodily injury. I was a daily runner for 30 years and have chronic back pain to show for it. I can’t run, so I ride my bike. For cyclists like Gabe and me, bike paths are the surest path to death or injury. Actually, bike paths weren’t developed for the safety of cyclists, they were developed for the safety of pedestrians who were being hit by cyclists. I seem to recall that TED was hit by a cyclist.

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20 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Are you seriously answering a study showing a 90% reduction in risk with “feel strongly?”

Look, the meta from the Dave Mabe article is true, that not all roads are safer with bike lanes. As he says, some are. I can even go with his description of those as more “highway like.” Good highway design puts them where they help. When they can stop me from putting all my attention on not getting car-doored on my right or clipped at 55 MPH on my left, I’m happy.

21 P Burgos May 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Is it correct to assume that “protected bike lane” means a bike line where a driver would first have to run over a curb or another object before they hit a cyclist? I know that when I drive I pay attention and try not to run up onto the curb or hit stationary objects. However I am not sure how that would work in the context of an intersection.

22 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm
23 mulp May 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm

“On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes in traffic crashes in 2013. In 2013, pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Twenty-six percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6 to 8:59 p.m in 2013.”

“As you might expect, when a crash occurs between motor vehicle and a bike, it is the cyclist who is most likely to be injured. Bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic deaths and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2014. Bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20%) and in urban areas (71%).”

Two quotes from NTHSA website.

What do you think about providing pedestrian lanes in roads where anti-regulation people have blocked requirements to build and maintain year road walkways?

Will people on foot be safer in the traffic lanes with cars and trucks?

The photo is of a pedestrian lane, not a bike lane. There are no sidewalks and the icon is not a bike.

Who is at greatest safety risk: people on foot or on bikes?

24 Dave Mabe May 11, 2017 at 3:25 pm

@mulp – you can’t see from the photo but there is a sidewalk on the other side of this street and this is most definitely a bike lane not a pedestrian lane.

25 P Burgos May 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Meh, thanks for the link. However, it doesn’t say much of anything about intersections. If I felt it were safe to ride a bicycle in the same vicinity as motor vehicles I would.

26 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

I can’t say “it’s safe” because (1) I’m not sure, (2) everyone’s roads and driver communities are different, and (3) we make a hundred little choices on a ride, trying to reduce risk.

I figure that the bicycle injury statistics are inflated by the true idiots I see, rolling off sidewalks into intersections at full speed and in the wrong direction, and that prudent cyclists are safer than stats would indicate. Knock wood, YMMV, of course.

(There is also mountain biking, where in my experience you are less likely to die, but more likely to break bones.)

27 Dave Mabe May 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

You’re right it’s not that simple, hence the title of the article. The study you link to is a perfect example of a flawed study – it included in its examination a separated bike path with no intersections with traffic and (surprise!) found very few vehicle collisions.

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28 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ May 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm

We mostly agree, but I don’t think you can call that a flawed study. It looked where bicyclists rode. It looked where bicyclists were injured. If they were not injured on a separated path that is important news for city managers.

29 Pshrnk May 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm
30 mulp May 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm

But what about people on foot?

Do up you think people should be banned from the foot paths that bike users got paved to the displeasure of many on foot and then taken over by motorized four wheel cycles.

The photo is of a street/road without sidewalks so one has been carved out of the street, returning to people on foot, part of their public way that belonged to them for hundreds of thousands of years.

Sure, it’s bike users who have led the fight to reclaim their rights to use the public ways, but there are more people on foot than on bikes.

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31 Li Zhi May 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Yup, lots of people walk 5-10 miles to work, then home every day.

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32 Dzhaughn May 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

“NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER!” That does not seem a traditional Canadian attitude, to me.

https://mothersagainstturbines.com/2017/05/04/no-one-should-have-to-suffer/

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33 matt May 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm

5/ I don’t know if it’s a function of being an American living in the UK, but reading the interview with the economist felt almost personally embarrassing. Generally when politicians talk about representing their constituents it’s about making policy in their interests, but the thought that Trump is representative of me or my country makes me, as they say, mildly nauseous.

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34 Rich Berger May 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

5. The economy is not like a pump. I see that the FakeNewsMedia is all condescending about Trump asking if anybody has heard the use of the phrase “priming the pump”. Oh ho, what a dolt! But he was using it in a rather different way – get the tax rates down, which would increase the deficit in the short run, but would increase activity and increase tax revenues in the long run run. The usual use is for the government to do the spending directly.

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35 mulp May 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Your mean goods and services and their proxy, money, are not circulated around the economy?

Are you arguing that work can be traded without anyone working first to provide the incentive to trade work for work, usually in the form of some fruit of work, production, a product?

Money is a great invention, a store of work from the past or a promise of work in the future.

Money without work to give it value is worthless.

(Imagine robots replace all workers so no one ever gets paid to work. Everything would need to be free, otherwise a newborn would never be able to buy anything ever. Unless the “pump was primed” by given the infant or adult the property right to rent to have money to pay rent to other robot owners to get stuff. If not, people who own nothing would need to work to produce what they need, and then having produced something in excess to prime the pump, would bargain without without property to create an economy trading work.

Even in a commune, someone needs to prime the pump by working first to enable the “consume according to need” part. )

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36 Ricardo May 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Trump almost certainly encountered the phrase when he took an economics course at Wharton and would have re-encountered it many times after if he ever actually read books or newspapers.

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37 Dzhaughn May 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Shovel-ready projects to jump-start the pump.

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38 mulp May 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm

2. Free lunch energy politics

Hey, ban wind and electricity will be cheaper and your kids will be healthier sleeping through the night,

… except for the asthma from the coal plant pollution and the mercury and lead they ingest because scrubbers make electricity cost more than wind and storage.

No different than Bernie et al opposing fracking and pipelines.

Or even their argument in favor of a carbon tax.

An effective carbon tax will, according to the Laffer curve generate little to no tax revenue so to propose funding welfare with a carbon tax requires maximizing the burning of fossil fuels, which in Vermont might require rebuilding railroad lines to haul in coal from Indiana to burn in new coal power plants. Coal burning has ceased in New England because Appalachia has run out of thick coal seams and railroads have gone bankrupt thanks to “free” highways making coal trains pay all maintenance costs of rail.

On the “view”, issue, that has been a big subject in New Hampshire with Sen Ayotte happy to force American landowners to give up their property for a pipeline to benefit Canadian corporations while opposing a high voltage power line from Canada to New England, or wind farms in New Hampshire, or keeping quiet on gas pipelines across New Hampshire (to bypass Massachusetts property owners). A power line a half mile away will destroy your view, but no one wants to pay to bury the power lines going to each house.

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39 Slocum May 11, 2017 at 7:49 pm

“Hey, ban wind and electricity will be cheaper and your kids will be healthier sleeping through the night,… except for the asthma from the coal plant pollution and the mercury and lead they ingest because scrubbers make electricity cost more than wind and storage.”

Eh, no. In the U.S., natural gas is cheaper (and much cleaner) than coal, which is why coal usage for power generation is dropping so quickly (and why the U.S. is meeting the Kyoto CO2 targets it refused to agree to). I’m with ‘Mothers Against Turbines’ in the sense that I could not imagine living in an area where the horizon was full of the things — I find them very distracting during both day and night (night may be worse with all the red flashing lights on top of all the turbines). I would not live in a house in such an area for free (any more than I’d be willing to live in a free house right next to an expressway).

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40 NatashaRostova May 11, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Canada should make more business/startup friendly tax laws, and invest a massive amount of money into CS departments, and let the rest happen organically.

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41 TallDave May 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm

4. This reminds me why I cancelled SciAm. Bounce models are interesting but have far more problems than inflationary models, the WAP can explain why our inflation has a very particular distribution, and “oh good now we don’t need a quantum/classical transition” is a terrible scientific argument.

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42 Albigensian May 11, 2017 at 3:57 pm

“They segregate cyclists lowering their status and making them “second class” citizens on the road.”

Well I am sorrybut, cyclists almost always ARE second class citizens on the road. And, yes, I’ve done plenty of daily cycle-to-work on city streets and roads (the worst I can remember was a four-laner with bicycle-tire-eating storm sewers, curbs, no shoulder, 40-50mph traffic). I enjoy cycling (usually) and recognize that it can be an effective means of transportation, esp. urban transportation.

BUT it’s just reality to note that streets and highways were and are built for motor vehicles, leaving any provision for bicycles (or pedestrians) as an afterthought. Perhaps in bicycle-utopia it’s not so, yet I’ve never seen such a utopia even in the most bicycle-friendly cities (which, not surprisingly, are often college towns).

What I do see is busy city streets getting makeovers in which lanes of traffic are sacrificed to create bike lanes. The bike lanes don’t seem to do much for cyclists (other than expose them to getting doored, or they would if anyone actually used them) and motorists resent the bike lanes because they see an already congested street get more so yet seldom if ever actually see a bicycle in the bike lane.

There are surely too many motorized hells, places full of motor noise and fumes where no sane person would attempt to walk or cycle, and, anything which improves at least the asthetics of such places is welcome.

Nonetheless, most attempts to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists don’t seem to produce much of value (sometimes negative value?) and, perhaps a place to start would be to move away from utopian visions (such as, “bicyclists shouldn’t be second-class citizens” when attempting to ride on streets jammed with cars) and start by looking for projects that can be expected to actually deliver value relative to cost?

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43 Anon7 May 12, 2017 at 3:32 am

+1

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44 prior_test2 May 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

‘would be to move away from utopian visions (such as, “bicyclists shouldn’t be second-class citizens” when attempting to ride on streets jammed with cars)’

It might be nowhere in America, but that is just daily reality in places like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.

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45 prior_test2 May 11, 2017 at 4:10 pm

And while wondering about the U.S., you do have traffic lights that are for the shared bicycle/traffic lane, timed to give the bicyclists something like a 5 second head start before the car traffic light changes, right? And of course, all traffic lights are obeyed by bicyclists – no bicyclist ever blows though an intersection on a red here. Mainly because it is stupid dangerous, and second because of the penalties – no police officer is going to ignore such a blatant violation of traffic law.

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46 Jay May 11, 2017 at 11:06 pm

About a year ago a cyclist almost took me out while I was afoot, and now I kind of wish he did so I could have sued the mofo and made him pay*. I was in a cross walk where the light to cross traffic just turned red and I got the pedestrian light to cross. I looked left and saw the car stopping before the cross walk. I looked right and the car coming the opposite direction was obeying the lights and stopping. I take a step forward. Out of nowhere some a-hole on a bike goes blowing through a red light and crossing about 12 inches in front of my step.

*You might think an alternatively acceptable ending would be for the first car getting the green light to pull out and teach the cyclist a lesson. But my hunch is that the American justice system would reward the idiot cyclist running a red light.

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47 prior_test2 May 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

‘You might think an alternatively acceptable ending would be for the first car getting the green light to pull out and teach the cyclist a lesson.’

I would never think that, it part because I’ve ridden a motorcycle since the mid-80s, and car drivers are already dangerous enough. The other reason is that someone deciding to potentially kill them to teach a lesson is a horrible way to think.

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48 Thomas May 11, 2017 at 4:15 pm

#1. #2. #6: The average vocal progressive. Feelings based morality: Birds > People, Dog Art > People. Favorite quote: “If the business can’t pay a living wage, it ought not exist”. Hobby: activism. Income: tax-derived, family-derived. Education: Master’s in humanities (like Nathan).

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49 Bob from Ohio May 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

#1 the first lane was “too many”

Bikes are toys/recreational vehicles. Ok for quiet residential streets. Not for driving on busy arterial city streets.

[PS. we don’t care what Germany does so no 500 words about it!]

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50 Anonymous May 11, 2017 at 5:14 pm

In my state bicycles are legally vehicles. Know that if you drive here.

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51 Li Zhi May 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

They are in Ohio, as well. However they are legally 2nd Class in that they are to keep to the right edge of the lane/road and allow cars to pass when possible. (iirc). I think that Ohio just passed a law reducing the distance beside the bike which had to be avoided by passing motorized traffic – it used to be a passing vehicle was to be in a separate lane (which is ridiculous).

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52 Blaise May 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I live in NY and, most of the time, using my bike is by far the fastest way to go from point A to B. In a 5 mile radius, it’s rare that I could be quicker in a car or public transport. Stats say that it’s not much dangerous than driving and I got plenty of exercise on a daily basis.

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53 Captain Obvious May 12, 2017 at 6:47 am

Americans go to Netherlands, to see how its properly done…

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54 Bob from Ohio May 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Look, my name is Bob. I’m a dangerously overweight cuckold from Ohio, I do NOT need to be told by some Eurotrash how to lose enough weight to see my own dick – my wife bangs black dudes anyway.

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55 Blaise May 11, 2017 at 5:36 pm

1 Compare Amsterdan to any US cities and it’s hard to make the point there are too many bike lanes. What you see is bad design, and I agree that a bad designed bike lane can be worst, but there is not an issue of too muck bike lane.

What is certain is that there are too many cars, way too many compared to what would be socially optimal. There are too many implicit subsidies keeping the rate of car use too high, especially in cities. Make cars pay a fair price for congestion, pollution, use of roads and parking and there will suddenly be more advocates for bike lanes.

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56 prior_test2 May 12, 2017 at 3:28 am

Please, using Amsterdam or Copenhagen as example of how bike lanes can be designed is just unfair to the U.S. As in so many other subjects, the U.S. demonstrates that some societies are simply incapable of mastering problems, instead preferring to moan about how those problems are unsolvable, while other parts of the world prove that such problems are easily solved, if one applies the necessary intelligence and resources.

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57 Paavo O May 11, 2017 at 5:36 pm

When most of the traffic is cars, a bike in a “car lane” takes more room and causes more congestion than a car, because they accelerate slower but break quicker and any collision is more dangerous so you should keep more safety distance to cyclists than to other cars.

Bike lanes keep bikes from congesting the roads. They are also safe if cyclist assume they are like sidewalks: speeds above 10km/h are unsafe. But they are unsafe if there is a meter wide lane for bikes that go up to 40km/h just next to cars.

Cycling in itself is dangerous. It can be done only with slow speeds in congested city centers, but a lot of people tend to assume that cyclists should be able to ride at any speed that they can achieve.

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58 Blaise May 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm

From my point a view (my primary mode of transport is a bike) cars create congestion, not bikes. The interaction between the two can be frustrating but the big picture is that cars are held up by other cars.

Cycling is not dangerous and i ride at much more than 10km/h. At this speed, I’d rather walk. With decent infrastructure, cycling is just the most efficient way to move people around in busy city centres.

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59 Paavo O May 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I mean that if you leave safe distance to a bike, the bike uses more road than a car. A bike lane can change that. But bike lane causes a stream of cyclists at variable speeds going by cars at close distance. A driver can usually see and predict where other drivers are going. It’s more difficult with cyclists. Turning to right of left at an intersection is a easy if you just take into account cars, but cyclists can make it a lot more difficult. Only way to make it as safe for cyclists as it is for cars is to make cyclists take as much space as cars.

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60 prior_test2 May 12, 2017 at 1:24 am

‘I mean that if you leave safe distance to a bike, the bike uses more road than a car.’

No it does not, at least in Germany. A bicycle takes up little space, and it is easy to pass them – the idea of a bicycle claiming a full lane is pretty silly, at least if your roads are normally sized.

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61 y81 May 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm

1b. Anyone who wants to start a tech sector with Muslim immigrants is welcome to try, but I won’t be investing. And the H1B crackdown seems to have resulted in more workers for U.S. companies, and fewer for Indian outsourcing companies. So that leaves with Canada with a weak currency and a lackadaisical workforce as its main attractions for employers. I’m not seeing it.

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62 BC May 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm

1b) The article mentions lifestyle and work-life balance as attractive qualities for Canada without even contemplating whether Silicon Valley
work-life culture is a major reason for startups’ success. Startup ventures, at least the kind that attract venture capital, are about loving winning more than hating losing. Also absent from the discussion are the signals that a society sends about how much it values entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and meritocracy — the core values of a successful startup culture — through its tax laws, regulatory environment, and general attitude towards the inherent tension between success and equality of outcomes.

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63 NeedleFactory May 11, 2017 at 9:02 pm

4. Regard recent “Criticisms of cosmic inflation theory” in Scientific American and elsewhere, Luboš Motl strongly disagrees: http://motls.blogspot.com/2017/05/why-testability-criticisms-of-inflation.html

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64 Li Zhi May 12, 2017 at 7:59 pm

There’s a letter by some (33) of the most preeminent physicists in the world disputing the “facts” as presented in the SciAm article.→ https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/a-cosmic-controversy/ ← I read the article, and while some of it is a bit over-the-top, I found it a pretty reasonable discussion of some of the problems with inflation. And there ARE problems with it. SciAm uses (recruits/accepts) both scientists and science journalists to write articles, BUT it’s not peer reviewed. Its content should be viewed as educated opinion. Historically, Inflation is a “fudge factor” for Big Bang cosmology. The reality is what we know about the origins of the Universe are NOT consistent with a Big Bang without hyper-inflation, but that no other origin model does nearly as well as it does – at least, back to 10E-40 seconds (from time = 0 to 1E-44 seconds is the undiscovered country (not only undiscovered, but inexplicable)) perhaps better characterized as “there, be dragons”.

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65 zztop May 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm

1.5: Nobody, not even Canadian hubs, have even a remote chance to play against the SF Bay Area. They can participate, but can only become jr partners to the folks running the tech biz and doing the foundational innovation in the Valley, or broader, the Bay Area. And this is fine. This works the best for everybody. in spite of what the Steve Case’s of the world might be saying and wasting their time on.

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66 MWinMD May 12, 2017 at 1:49 am

1) Automobile drivers intending to turn right at a stop sign or right on Red light don’t look to their right before proceeding because there would never be a danger or threat form that direction, until the advent of two way bike lanes on both sides of the road.
2) Anyone with real world mechanical experience understands that pumps for liquid often must be “primed”. If the system has run totally dry and is full of air, the pump mechanism can’t achieve anything and simply compresses the air. Priming fills the chamber so the pump has something to push against. Economic parallels?

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67 spencer May 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

I find the explanations of prime the pump being quoted now inadequate.

A pump works on a vacuum usually created because the end of the pipe is in the water so the water stands in the first part of the pipe, creating a vacuum.

Sometimes the water seeps out of the end of the pipe so the vacuum is broken. So you pour water into the pump to get water back into the end of the pipe, recreating the vacuum.

Keynes used this as an example of doing something that seemed counter-intuitive, but would work and would not have to be continued.

Back in the day, most people had experience with this. I grew up in the rural south in the 1940s-50 and saw it in action. But now few have ever seen it.

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68 EB May 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm

So true. Trump is a city boy so he probably never even saw a pump, much less used one.

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69 Li Zhi May 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Hmm. The need to prime the pump is because air is very compressible. Water is nearly incompressible (at pressures common to “us average people”), as are most liquids. Air in the pump is like putting a (very stretchy) rubber band in a rope. Without the rubber-band, the (taut) rope stretches very little and allows you to pull (move) something with it. With the rubber-band, pulling on the rope just stretches the rubber, with little or no movement of the weight tied to it. Force is created in both cases, it’s not the force that is different, its the way the materials react to that force. Same with air/water and vacuum. It’s not the vacuum that is causative, its the incompressibility. (This is all arguable, effectively air allows a (partial) vacuum to form, and water (unless cavitation/turbulence is involved) does not. From my perspective vacuum is the unwanted outcome – like the stretching of the rubber band, it’s an effect not a cause.)

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