Sunday assorted links


2.. SLATE has a good analysis in response . The comments on Slate's article are also interesting based on personal experiences. I am not surprised that CA drivers rate well ( except when it rains).

This is not a useful response. Slate considers drunk driving arrests, which are immaterial considering that *actual accidents* caused by drunk driving are already captured in claims statistics. Slate also considers miles driven, which is endogenous to the cities themselves. Last Slate considers neighborhoods where cars aren't necessary, as if this has anything to do with anything. In short, Slate goes out of their way to cover some of their favorite (and most politically agreeable) cities.

The author of the Slate report is asking the wrong question. Instead of asking which States have the worst drivers, we should be asking, Which States have the worst traffic systems. See, e.g.,

My own standard, after more than 30 years of business travel, is the question, "Where did the drivers do the least things that came as a total surprise to me?" By that standard, California is the best. Texas and New Jersey are among the worst. Specific cities can be terrible: Boston is truly nasty, although farther outstate Massachusetts isn't bad. I have a 30-year-old memory of a driver in Boston careening through a five-way intersection, waving a fistful of papers high. When I asked my local passenger what that was a signal for, his response was, "This is a rental car and I signed the damage waiver, so I don't care what I hit."

#2 checks out.

On #5:

Overcompensation is a classic tell of someone trying to hide something.

But once it is know that this us a tell for scientific fraud writers will learn to avoid it. One may gave a hard time avoiding give-away phrases in casual conversation, but in something as heavily edited as a scientific paper it should be much less difficult modify so as not to appear deceptive. These sorts of tells might be more useful at identifying authors who are subtly inflating the strength of their claims (and not really being deliberate about doing so) rather than psychopaths inventing research from whole cloth.

They will literally run the program on the first draft

3. He longs for Pax Romana but abhors government regulation. I suppose consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Pax Romana was extant through the lightly regulated and lightly taxed period of the Roman Empire.

When long-time star Red Sox right-fielder Dwight Evans retired he was asked what aspect of his major league he was most proud. He replied, "Living in Boston for 13 years without getting in a car accident."

From someone who spends half the year out of state, he was only slightly overdue for an accident in 13 years.

We kind of like how people who lose their license can ride mopeds.

Maybe the first driverless cars should be made of Styrofoam and a punishment.

It would be interesting to see rental car wreck rates to see how people from various cities do on common ground. For example, for Chicago car rentals, do Boston drivers wreck more than Kansas City drivers, etc. That would go a decent ways toward eliminating the road infrastructure and congestion issues that are beyond the control of each driver.

I like this idea, but some things are gnawing at me. When I drive a rental, it always feels weird. But Im not sure if that makes me a safer or less safe driver. I feel less safe.

Now, your suggestion appears at first blush to put everyone in the same boat. I drive a rental in Boston, and a Beanpot drives here in Chicago, we get a better comparison. My trouble is that someone accustomed to, say, Boston driving might do very well in a more safe city. It is a combination of Massholes and Massholes that might raise crash statistics. Put a Masshole in Peoria, and he might cause someone there to have an accident.

So while I am intrigued by your idea, I wonder if we can improve our inference thereby. I suppose with a sufficient sample, it should sort out. My only caveat is that the person in the accident isnt always at fault or objectively driving worse.

Yes, good defensive drivers help out the poor ones. And poor drivers may cause accidents to those not in rentals. But if Kansas City drivers are better drivers (measured by accidents in Kansas City) than Boston drivers (measured by accidents in Boston), then they would be more objectively better if they had fewer accidents with Chicago car rentals than Boston drivers renting cars in Chicago. No? If the reverse, then maybe the Boston drivers are in fact better but have a more perilous system to drive in. Not perfect, but surely better than the Allstate numbers.

Stapel, who worked at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, used more "amplifiers" – words like "profoundly" and "extreme" – in his fraudulent papers, and fewer "diminishers" – like "merely" and "somewhat".

"He tried to overvalue the fraudulent research," suggests Markowitz...

Isn't the likely explanation much more fundamental than "lying big"?

If you don't know the truth, you don't even know the qualifiers, provisos, exceptions, and concerns -- i.e., the "diminishers". Trying to handle those means inventing another complete of facts, significantly more complicated than the core fabrication.

Very astute.

The roads suck in Greater Boston. Pretty much any non major road ia filled with ptholes and cracks, with faint center and shoulder lines. I blamed this for some of the terrible driving, but maybe a Masshole sucks at driving wherever you put them.

This is the standard, tired refrain whenever anyone brings up how bad the drivers are around here. It's not the bad drivers, it's the bad roads. And by the way, the bad roads in no way reflect on the awesome wisdom of our one-party Government. It's, like, the weather, or something.

Others will point to the winding 1700s-era cowpaths that form so many Boston roads as the culprit, which conveniently ignores all the psychopaths on the Mass Pike, 495, 128, Route 2, and the streets of Worcester and Springfield.

The fact is, Massachusetts is filled with a lot of very angry, unfriendly people.

Combine that with the massive alcohol consumption, and they let it all out on the roads. Combine THAT with very poor governmental planning that gets you stuck in traffic wherever you go, and the road rage is off the charts. Aggressive driving is the norm, statewide.

Not surprised to see so many CA cities on the bottom of that list.

Good analysis - looking at insurance data.

My observation that the real reason Mass drivers are so poor is that they are unpredictable.

New York drivers may be very aggressive, but at least you can predict that they will be aggressive and act accordingly.

A former east coast resident commented that drivers in NY drive in ways that are convenient to them, without thinking of others. Drivers in Boston will think of others -- meaning, they will make a maneuver that even a New Yorker wouldn't make, because it's dependent on the other driver being alert enough and desirous of avoiding a collision. I.e. a game of chicken: the Boston driver is counting on you stomping on your brake to avoid the collision.

And then there's what happens when you're not even driving your car. I bought my very first car in Boston, and it took less than two weeks for it to get a huge dent in the door from someone who ran into it while it was parked in a parking lot. (And this was in Coolidge Corner in Brookline, a very pleasant, desireable location, not some crime-infested lowlife part of town.)

The AllState study is also flawed because they are mostly looking at car damage. True safety is much more important than car damage.

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