Everybody knows the popular anti-gun-control slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." What's the difference between cars and guns?
Motor vehicle-related injuries kill more children and young adults than any other single cause in the United States. More than 41,000 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes each year, and crash injuries result in about 500,000 hospitalizations and four million emergency department visits annually. Increased use of safety belts and reductions in driving while impaired are two of the most effective means to reduce the risk of death and serious injury of occupants in motor vehicle crashes. (link)
The bit about "the most effective means ..." is really thinking inside the box. Many, many more lives would be saved if we all rode bicycles. If 25% of the current drivers stopped driving, I believe we would see a greater than 50% reduction in those death and injury rates.
Since it's not written into our constitution that everybody has a right to a car, perhaps we could legislate some more rational controls of car ownership? Or do something to lower the death toll?
Seriously, cars don't kill people, except when they are being operated by people. People are killing people. If nobody is driving the car, it sits there, doing nothing, not killing anybody.
Tomorrow at 2pm at my house in Makakilo, we're having the our first meeting. We're going to be figuring out what we can do to advocate for more access and bicycling paths. Anyone is welcome to join! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on location.
Via twitter, I learned of a new bicycle shop in Kunia. It's Angry Sprockets Bicycles.
I don't remember who followed who first, but when @AngrySprocket tweeted
I realized that the tweeter might be somewhere in Hawaii. A couple clicks later and I learned that they're a shop in Kunia, just a few miles down the freeway from me.
I've been wanting a more local local bike shop, and it's finally here! I stopped by to check it out today after lunch. I'm a big supporter of supporting your local bike shop, so I hunted around for something to get, and grabbed this:
So I meant to cycle into town to have lunch with Kaimana. I rode down the hill and then realized that I had forgotten my d-lock. Cannot ride a bicycle to town without a lock. Since I was hoping to not get too sweaty before lunch, I took a bus back up the hill, rather than ride. Got back home, got my lock, and for good measure a small bag to go on my rack, so I could put the lock and maybe some other stuff there, and not carry everything in my backpack.
I close the garage door, cycle to the end of the street and remember that I should also take the rain cover for my saddle. (Leather saddle doesn't like to get rained on.) Back to the garage, open, get saddle cover, close garage, cycle away.
Note that to go "down the hill" (about 750ft) from my house, I have to first climb 100ft to get to the main road. So I climb the 100ft a second time, trying to not get sweaty, again.
Since I wasted all that time going back up the hill, etc., I no longer have enough time to ride into town and make the agreed time. I catch the C bus, and take it all the way to Ala Moana. Get off the bus, find the nearest subway, purchase lunch, and head over to Kaimana's place of work to have lunch.
When I arrive a helpful co-worker of his (didn't catch her name) points out to me the bicycle rack, where I can put my bike. It turns out that the rack looks to be the cheapest possible bicycle rack purchasable and is not even attached to anything. I picked it up with one hand. It weighed about the same as my bicycle. I was just reading yesterday about bicycle thieves cutting thru iron fences in order to haul away attached bicycles. Locking to this pitiful bike rack would provide no security at all.
Since I have locking skewers on my bike, I locked one wheel to the nearby fence, and left the other wheel touching the rack, so that it wouldn't feel to bad about being ignored.
After lunch, on the way home, I stopped for a minute to call my wife and talk to her about dinner plans for the evening. When I resumed cycling, the ride was really rough. It took me a bit to realize that my rear tire was flat, and I was feeling all the little bumps in the pavement, cuz no air.
I stopped, flipped over the bike, took out my tools and got to work to repair the flat. When I'm starting to get one side of the tire off the wheel, so as to extract the tube, another cyclist comes by. His bike is equipped with a surfboard sideboard rack. He stops to ask if I need anything, tools, whatever. I tell him I'm fine, got everything I need.
It turns out he's from Portland, and wants some directions. I explain how you continue down the path (this is on the Pearl Harbor bicycle path) until you get to the closed gate, go up to the road, follow that until you hit Radford, go left, up the hill, get on the other path, down Nimitz and then into Dillingham. I call out the bits where stuff gets nasty for a cyclist, etc. He comments on how it's much harder to get around on a bicycle on Oahu, than in Portland. There's no bike lanes and the drivers don't want you in the road. Yup. Welcome to Paradise. (I didn't actually say that, but I did agree with him.)
So, away he goes, and I resume work on my tire. The thing is that I've got a thin-walled Specialized tire in front, and an expedition-worthy Schwalbe in the back. It's the Shwalbe that's flat. I was reticent to put that Specialized on the bike at all because I was thinking I'd spend all my time repairing flats.
I get the tube out, pump it up, run it around a couple times looking for the leak and can't find it. Pump it up some more, and go around again. This time I find it. I can't feel it, but I hear it. It turns out that the leak is underneath a patch that I put on at some other time. I decide to just take the old patch off and replace it, and do a better job this time. I rip off the patch, let out enough air so that the tube is not oversized, and open the patch kit box.
It turns out that I still didn't remember everything I need. I have no glue. I have plenty of patches, and sandpaper, but no glue. Neither do I have any of the glueless patches.
Fortunately, even after having removed the bad patch, the leak in the tube is still slow. I reassemble my wheel, pump it up and away I go. I figured that even if I need to pump it back up a couple times, that's better than walking. I managed to get all the way to Don Quixote to meet my wife without needing to pump it up again. I wait a little while and then my wife and daughter arrive. While I'm putting the bike in the back of the van, my daughter points out that my back tire is flat.
When the Berlin Wall came down, and communism was "defeated", I was thinking, "Ok, now all the capitalists are going to take this as some kind of unmitigated endorsement of capitalism. How long will it take for us to demonstrate that unbridled capitalism alone is just as bankrupt as extreme socialism?"
David Simon, the creator of The Wire, and a much better communicator than me, has laid it out pretty well, IMHO.
One irony about the american success story is that it took place mostly during a very socialist period for America. During the cold war era, directly after world war II, and while holding itself up in contrast to the Red Threat, we had more socialist government than we have today, and a more successful labor movement. It as if there was still some doubt about the assertion that capitalism is the right and true method to manage wealth distribution, even as we railed against communism. But when the USSR fell, the accepted conclusion (in no way supported by actual logic) was "Communism has failed. Communism does not work. Capitalism works. Extreme capitalism is the one right and true way. Any and all socialism is bad."
To my mind, one of the funny things of anti-Obama furor has been the label "socialist". As if having a publicly supported school system were evil. Or perhaps having publicly funded roads, or having government oversight for our food and water supplies are counter productive. There is a huge spectrum of "socialism" and there has always been (and always will be) a degree of socialism in the United States. The only question is: how much is too much and how little is too little?
One thing not mentioned by David Simon, and omitted from almost every popular discussion of America's economic success, is the role of oil. The generally accepted belief is that America is what it is purely based on it's philosophy, form of government, and/or the character of it's people. I believe these things played a part, but that without oil in the ground, these things would not have "created" the wealth that American experienced. The wealth that American "created" was really just the stored up wealth of millions of years. Imagine a bank account that sat and collected interest for a million years. Then the heir of that accumulated wealth comes along and spends it all in 100 years. That's what we did. We spent our inheritance 10,000 times faster than it took to build it.
Oil in America was the genie in the bottle that granted all our wishes. It was a wellspring of "unlimited" energy. All we had to do was apply a bit of intelligence to direct that energy so as to grant our every wish. Everybody wants an automobile? Done. Everybody wants a television? Done. Everybody wants there own house full of shiny appliances? Done.
To my mind the trade deficit that we've seen over the past decades represents a syphoning off of the American wealth "created" during our oil wealth period. We no longer produce our own oil (at least not enough to support the lifestyle we're accustomed to) and we simply borrow, borrow, borrow to maintain our standard of living. We continue to live our lives as we have, without any hesitation, as if there will be another period of wealth creation, a time when the trade imbalance will flip around the other direction, and we'll be able to pay off those debts.
Sorry, I got a little off track there. The point is that the "success of capitalism" that we've seen, may not even have been attributable directly to capitalism itself, but perhaps it's just an accident that capitalism almost worked well, given a huge supply of energy as input. Perhaps we'll find that when the music stops in our current game of musical chairs, that the only way we'll survive is thru a form of economic management much, much closer to communism than ever was thought since the failure of the USSR. China seems to be chugging along pretty well, these days.
The button hole blew out on my year old boracade pants from exofficio so I contacted them about it. Basically it was "send them in and we'll send you a replacement pair." I did and they did.
This morning, a few hours after I'd gotten out of bed, I picked up my phone to find that it was *hot*. I had charged it overnight, and it had only been unplugged about 3 hours, but the battery was down to 20-something percent. And it was *hot*.
This phone is an HTC One S that I've had for about 1 1/2 years. It's never been great in the battery department, but never that bad.
Of course, I knew (from previous experience) that there was some process gone wild in there chewing up CPU as fast as it could, draining the battery and burning up the phone. I checked the battery eater report and there were a couple "services" responsible for eating all the power.
"Oh well, whatever," I think and restart it, and plug it back in.
About an hour later I pick it up, and it's just as hot as before, and the battery level has not really made any progress. Check the battery usage report again and the same things are still there, going crazy, eating my electricity.
I took it down to the local t-mobile store (yes, I'm on t-mobile - I've got 5 people on my plan) and asked the nice lady there. She pointed out that this model never was great with batteries. (She'd had one herself.) I've got the $8/month support plan, so I had the option to send it in for "repair".
I'd been thinking about switching back to iphone, so after a bit of chatting, I decided to take the $85 trade in value on the HTC One S and put that towards a 16g iphone 5c.
I had an iphone way back, and switched to android "to check it out". I'm thinking this HTC thing was my third android phone. Anyway, even though theoretically you can do just about anything on an android that you can do on an iphone, it was always annoying to me that I couldn't really get my music on there reasonably. Yes, I rely on iTunes to manage my music. So I've always ended up having an ipod for music.
I've never had an android smart phone that I didn't charge every night, and expect the battery to get scary low before end of day, if I actually used the phone. I'm in the habit of charging my phone whenever I get in the car, and typically charge it off my computer if I'm out of the house. (Doing wifi hotspot eats battery.)
Well, I guess I didn't really have as many reasons as I thought. In any case, the HTC is gone, and I've got a new iphone here.
I miss the swipe keyboard already.
Er, OK, not the first time. Maybe the second time? Third times the charm?
Here is Clay Shirky's keynote for the recent Code for America Summit.
Just to editorialize here...
Whenever somebody mentions the word "science" or "scientific" in order to add weight to their argument, or especially when trying to sell something, I'm always bothered. The most important thing about science is not the "facts" produced, but the process of learning. That is to say, science is not what we learn, but how we learn it.
Science is a process of continually tossing out previous assumptions (including "facts" produced by the scientific process itself), generating new assumptions and trying a new approach.
What I was thinking while I watched this video was that he is simply talking about the truth that in order to find truth (aka "solutions"), you must be able to back up and start over. Also, by trying and failing, we get closer to a solution, not further. There is no backwards in progress. Either you're moving forward or your not moving. That's all there really is.
Thanks to Burt for posting the link.