Friday assorted links

1. How Cuba manipulates infant mortality and life expectancy statistics.

2. “Drivers of higher cost cars were less likely to yield to pedestrians at a midblock crosswalk.”  And: “Of 461 cars, 27.98% yielded to pedestrians. Cars yielded more frequently for females (31.33%) and whites (31.17%) compared to males (24.06%) and non-whites (24.78%). Cost of car was a significant predictor of driver yielding (OR = 0.97; p = 0.0307); odds of yielding decreased 3% per $1000 increase.”

3. New biosciences stuff you can buy on-line.

4. Path-dependence in 18th century jury decisions?

5. Why are women running more and running faster? (NYT)  “He also cited the Shalane Flanagan Effect, noting how women, in particular, are pulling one another up to new levels of sub-elite running through communities found both online and in real life.”  Quite an interesting thesis.

6. How Chinese bookstores are surviving the coronavirus (awesome photos too).


2: "Women and minorities hardest hit."

Great use of a classic reference.

Except in this case drivers yield to women more than men. Where are the intersectionalists to hyperventilate about this egregious social injustice of female privilege?!?

10 ans d’action à ⁦@CentraleMars⁩ se résument еn qques mots poսr ⁦@ffotiadu⁩
- par ⅼes

Just looking at summary stats, the mean value of the cars in the sample is around $7000. The mean for non-yielding cars was about $7800 (standard deviation was $6500). I want to see the distribution on these values. 95% of the cars are less expensive than a 3-year-old Subaru outback? I'm betting most of the more expensive cars were rentals, too. They had approximately 0 "expensive" cars in the sample, but you all know how this research is being spun.

2. Interesting. I've mentioned that I watch out for Cadillac SUVs. Perhaps I should generalize .. or these folks should focus in.

A guy in a bland 4 door import came really close to me last week. I'll put him down as clueless. One of those guys who won't cross over the yellow lines even when there is no oncoming traffic, and has to squeeze by the pedestrian. That gave me six or eight inches, and I didn't feel any need to jump out of the way, but obviously if I had stumbled at that moment I would have been history.

I think a lot of drivers just don't have their head in the game. I came home with a sheet of plywood on my car last week, and some guy in a nice Mercedes came right up and tailgated me. Seriously?

I have similar issues, from personal observations, with Lexus drivers. My conclusion: in general the Lexus driver is a loser with a lot of money.

OTOH re": Cadillacs last Sunday driving east on I-90 in NY, I stayed with a man driving a Cadillac CTS (I think) who was moving at (my opinion) right speed (five to seven mph above the limit) and moving intelligently with regard to traffic. I stayed about 100 yards back. It kept me sharp and interested in the otherwise dull process. Never speed (too much) or tailgate.

I think a lot of people who tailgate now are not aggressive drivers in the traditional sense. They are distracted drivers who drive forward until there is something in front of them (in their field of vision). Similarly, if you watch someone texting and driving, they will often drift right when they come upon a road/opening on the right hand side - they've lost there reference in their peripheral vision.

Sorry, "their" not "there" reference. (sheesh)

2. I'm a road cyclist, so I am keenly aware of bad/dangerous drivers, especially those in expensive cars. For a long time I thought they were angry, angry at me for using their road: the sense of entitlement among these folks knows no bounds. But eventually I came to the conclusion they are stupid. It's a common affliction. Unfortunately, there's no cure for it. One might assume that folks driving expensive cars are intelligent, but they're not. They are no different from wealthy politicians: stupid. Americans equate wealth with intelligence. This reminds me of the Smothers Brothers routine, the one in which Tommy goes on and on about the less ons, the poor people he sees in the city on cold days hovering over makeshift fires because they have less on to ward off the cold. In time Dickie asks Tommy what he calls the wealthy people who ignore the less ons. Tommy responds: more ons.

Given the extent to which an expensive car is a bad investment, and depreciates quickly, it seems natural to assume those that waste money on expensive cars are in fact stupid.

They might actually be mad at you.

I've had very negative experiences with bicyclists, as both a driver and pedestrian. I stereotype bicyclists as the single worst group, worse than BMWs, hoverboards, jacked-up pickup trucks, luxury SUVs, motorcycles. Worse than all of them by far.

And I know I'm not the only one with such experiences and stereotypes.

I'm sure, of course, that rayward is the exception and is always considerate and reasonable and drivers are either being stupid or responding to their negative stereotype and not rayward's behavior.

#5 Because men in dresses are raising the bar. Olympic gold just got tougher. Chop chop ladies.

Screws were meant to be secured with screwdrivers, but sometimes you can get them in with a penny or the end of a crow bar. Roads are designed to be driven by cars, but sometimes theyre safe to cycle.

Historically inaccurate. Dirt roads were fine for horses, but roads were paved for bicycles. Then automobiles piggybacked on that.

As a driver, cyclist, pedestrian I see misbehavior by all groups, but in a minority of all groups.

It is a very silly thing to get tribal about.

That reminds me. I was hiking with a guy recently. We were on a big wide fire road, but as a cyclist passed he turned to give my friend grief. "Choose one side of the other" he started to say, at which point he slipped off his pedals and nailed his balls on the top tube. And slunk off.

I said to my friend "instant karma."

As an old mountain biker I know there are things to complain about, but sharing a wide fire road for a slow uphill sure isn't one of them.

Every day I have to deal with people who take up the entire walking/cycling path. Sometimes it's one person with three dogs. Sometimes it's three overweight women. Sometimes it's a young couple with a litter of children.

It's always annoying, but... It's honestly never occurred to me to tell them off, buzz them, throw them menacing glances, or anything like that. What a waste of mental energy.

#6: eyecatching, I suppose, but I'm not sure that's the best way to display inventory you would actually like to sell.

Let's address the only question worth asking today:

What are the chances the global supply chain fails in the next 8 months or so?

I think you mean: in what ways will the global supply chain fail over the next eight or so months?

Some failure is already baked in.

What worries me is we get into some feedback loop where consumption is impacted and ultimately hurts the ability of the chain to reboot.

Since China is already starting to come back online.

I haven't seen a lot of data to support that, but I'm open to hearing otherwise.

Or wherever, recent comments by Apple and Starbucks among others.

My understanding is the Apple stuff is just a statement, not data.

The Chinese SMI number that's coming appears to be downright nightmarish. There's a lot of damage that can't easily be undone once orders drop, shipping shuts down and consumption dries up.

Also, this doesn't exactly look like a rebound in Chinese production.

5. Women are less concerned about being viewed as feminine, so they are more willing to engage in the same training regimen as men, including weight lifting and diets that increase both bulk and strength. Which brings me to the enigma that is women's professional golf. If you follow the game you know what I mean. Take a look at the photos that are posted on the golf channel web site. The same woman golfer will be shown in one photo at the gym lifting weights and showing off her muscles, and then shown in another photo in a pose better posted in a men's magazine. I am disgusted every few weeks when I go to that web site to look at the new photos that are posted. Douthat is concerned that the loss of femininity will be the end of the human race. I trust someone will preserve those photos.

..." I am disgusted...." But not disgusted enough to stop going to the website to look at the photos?

I am disgusted when I click to the "Namaste Yoga" series on one of the cable channels and watch the emaciated, young women in yoga pants/shorts and sports bras.

They strike poses I couldn't have done 50 years ago, much less today.

Disgusted watching athletic women displaying their bodies for you in yoga pants? Does your wife know you're gay?

I'm pretty sure that Dick is being sarcastic and making a joke at rayward's expense.

You are too kind.

Our pal, rayward, persists in asking for it.

She'd laugh. The Warden is the foremost expert on my massive heterosexuality. And, if she caught me watching young women . . .

Someone is overcompensating

That's ... not what path dependence is. Like at all.

That is a psychological phenomena known as recency bias. If the researches in question can't use the proper terminology, I would have to question the accuracy of their research.

Here is the difference:

Path dependency, over time, the cost to make a different decision, or to leave a given "path," goes up over time. An example is, let's say I live in a a certain city. The more entrenched I become into the city, I might get married, have kids who go to city schools, etc ... the more a competing employer must raise my pay for me to change cities, the cost has gone way up.

Note, the cost increase is not perceived or irrational. It is very real.

In the jury scenario, the cost of convicting or acquitting a defendant does not increase with time. Consistency in decision making is a result of purely psychological effects, in that the first thing that comes to mind is the previous outcome, in other words, recency bias.

Now if the judge said, ok, you have 10 cases, sequentially, you must acquit only 5, THAT would be path dependance, as a prior decision constrains future decisions.

Pandatic, I know, but it is an important distinction. The paper discusses psychology, not a rational phenomena. Path dependance, it doesn't have to, but it usually is rational.

Thanks for the comment, I'm glad to have the clarification.

#2- As they noted on Car Talk many years ago, BMW drivers are the worst.


2. I live near a very wealthy city and everyone there drives like a jerk, so I’m not surprised. But what I do find interesting about this behavior is that the cost to repair just the paint on many high-end vehicles is very high. You would think this should act as a deterrent,

2. I live in a big city and cross streets all the time, and the most aggressive offenders are pickup trucks and white work vans. I looked into if this could be included as a predictor variable, and possibly explain some of the effect (because pickup trucks and vans are more expensive than cars), but the authors don't include their data set.

The work vans may be because of time pressure and number of work assignments for the day.

5. I had surgery a few years ago in Vancouver, and when I woke up in the recovery room there were half a dozen nurses looking after me and a couple others. They were all talking about the marathon they were preparing to run that weekend. Worth remembering
men women
2:11:30 Marathon 2:29:30

olympic qualifying times.

6. Am I the only one who wanted to pull a book out of the arch to see what happened?

2. There may be other explanations than 'rich dudes don't care about pedestrians'. Among them:

Drivers of expensive cars are likely to be older as a group than people who drive less expensive cars, and so perhaps what's being measured is either age-related decrease in attentiveness or reflexes.

A related possibility is that people who have expensive cars have likely been driving longer, and therefore may not be paying attention as much as they used to. Complacency has set in.

A third is that expensive cars tend to be more isolating - more comfortable, quieter, less ambient noise. This may be lulling drivers and separating them from the environment around them, and preventing them from hearing important cues.

A fourth: Expensive cars have all kinds of electronic nannies that cause drivers to be less attentive to the road because of a heightened sense of security, and therefore they do 't pay as much attention to pedestrians.

in my experience, the most considerate drivers at crosswalks are middle aged hispanic males. they literally slow way down and stop feet before they need to.

the worst are twenty or thirty something white women in zippy cars. the’ll usually not stop until they've entered the painted area

1. We know for a fact Cuba has at least one world class institution—its baseball program. They could have others. Still, Cuban baseball players seem to prefer America to Cuba.

They consistently produce excellent boxers also. Check out the list of Olympic medalists.

#2 One might consider the obverse: what makes one safest as a pedestrian?

What's worked for me is: never give the driver eye contact (they won't yield if you do), but use your peripheral vision so you'll know when you'd best jump out of harm's way.

And, car vs. bicycle is probably different than car vs. pedestrian; in general, both bicyclists and drivers confronting cyclists seem far more aggressive and emotionally involved than car vs. pedestrian conflicts.


New? Maybe to economists, but the items and services listed on that page have been around for quite some time.


The N is pretty small here. 461 cars, TOTAL.

But they're reporting results to 2 places past the decimal point ("27.98% yielded to pedestrians") Silly.

The total number of cars that yielded to a pedestrian was only 129.

The # of people doing the walking, for their test, was 4 (one each of black male, black female, white male, white female). So, about 32 "successful" results (a car yielded), on average, per person/category (alas, unequally distributed.)

While those 4 supposedly crossed the intersection in the same manner, even MINOR differences in things like their gait/pace, eye contact with drivers, physical size, and non-racial general appearance (i.e. dress, grooming, etc.) may account for the small variations they found.

Also of note, it appears that the value of the cars was estimated as the used car value, not the original price. So, a 2012 BMW might be rated much cheaper (by this methodology) than a 2019 Toyota. I think most casual readers are making surmises based on a car's original value (BMW drivers are jerks), not its current value (Late model car drivers are jerks).

Overall, while the study SEEMS to fit what many of us would guess, the underlying methodology is underwhelming, to me...

Seriously, "In the past 10 years, the number of pedestrian fatalities on our nation's roadways has increased by more than 50 percent," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. And, that was what they studied.

Yeah. I'm not so sure mid-block crosswalks are a good indicator either. Expensive vehicles tend to be trucks and SUVs - and many of the newer models have tank-like driver visibility.

Yes, BMW drivers have declined with the brand's focus. The Ultimate Driving Machine manta is a joke for a firm that doesn't offer a manual transmission in the US market.

That said, when it comes to cut-off driving behavior, motorcyclists have a special hatred for Volvo drivers. It seems Volvo's saaaaaaaaaaaafty marketing attracts those who deep down know they are sh!t drivers.

(To be clear, I'm not saying that these claims are untrue, only that this study, as conducted, should be construed as relatively weak evidence - don't update your priors TOO much...)

Are you not required to stop at a crossing in America?

Not really. It might cost you a ticket if you kill someone, California likely excepted.

Check into the Harry Dunn case, where an American driving on the wrong side of the road in the UK killed a motorcyclist. She stopped, informed the police - then left the UK under a (tenuous) claim of diplomatic immunity. One reason that Americans feel she should not be extradited to the UK is that she faces the incomprehensibly harsh penalty of 3 to 8 years in a British jail for being responsible for the death of someone on the road, even though she called the police and was not intoxicated.

USA: Country of Mild Prison Sentences and Low Imprisonment Levels?

For car drivers that kill other people? Excluding intoxication, hit and run, and racing, any prison sentence at all is extraordinary.

In America, killing someone with a car is normally not even worth a ticket, as long as you stop and call the police.

Oddly framed question given that most records are broken over time in male sports too.

@#4 - path dependence in jury decisions...seems a bit Draconian?

#5 - Unfortunately, the Times failed to note that women actually have a strong comparative advantage in feats of endurance. Men are generally larger and generally have more powerful muscles, but these are not advantages in distance-running. Women actually appear physiologically better-suited to distance-running than men. I think it's probably only a matter of time before the gap between male and female endurance athletes is small enough to be meaningless. Although, great middle-distance runners who go on to become good marathoners, such as Bernard Lagat, certainly call that notion into question.

2. Are drivers of high-end cars in Vegas representative of those in other parts of the county (a real question, as I'm not a person who drives expensive cars (or drives much at all for that matter))?

#2. Did the experiment control for the speed of the car or for the age of the driver? Both of those probably correlate positively with the cost of a car and negatively with the likelihood of stopping? (Older drivers tend to have worse vision and slower reflexes.)

6. Bookstores designed by airport architects. Spectacular. Even more interesting, however, than book store business is the number of people going in and out of Chinese public libraries. Who wants to touch a book that's possibly been handled by an infected reader?

5. They have been developing smaller hips.

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