Monthly Archives: December 2014

I am going to be boring on NYE, and the Feed

Yep, I’m doing an “old folks” NYE tonight. Not even any carbonated apple cider tonight to toast in the New Year. Just watching the TV and kissing Mrs. the Poet at midnight. Yep, that’s real exciting…<yawn> Not many links today but I’m going to get through this as fast as possible so I am not at the computer when 2014 ends and 2015 begins.

Opening up with Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Fat tire biking the Iditarod trail, Aussie ped safety video and best wishes for a happy New Year

An infrastructure related wreck shows why people at the front of a group ride it’s better to alert trailing riders. This one was sent to me on Facebook. Expect the Unexpected on a group ride! It takes a quarter of a second for your average human to see and identify a potential threat and begin to react to it, and you can see that was about the same amount of time the second rider had to see the debris after it came into view around the lead cyclist.

Once again the “justice system” fails to ensure justice in the Great White North. Day parole continues for drunk driver who killed cyclist The driver was sentenced to 6 years and a lifetime driving ban, now I wonder how “lifetime” that ban will be in light of how little time he actually spent in prison. It’s looking like he will be driving about the time he was supposed to be walking out of prison.

To solve a problem you first must define the problem. This is a major step towards defining the problem in DC. Map: Here’s Where Pedestrians and Cyclists Were Struck This Year The standard technique is to look for “clusters” of wrecks and see what the infrastructure looks like, then identifying potential sources of conflict that might lead to wrecks, then systematically removing those sources of conflict. It doesn’t always work that way, because many times there are certain parameters that can’t be violated, usually causing any disturbance in vehicle speed is verboten.

Some fun news from the UK. Worthing chosen to host cycling series Yep putting steeply banked turns facing each other on opposite sides of the street looks like more fun then the law allows.

And another link to the story that bikes make more jobs than cars in Europe. Cycling Is Creating More Jobs in Europe Than Automakers Are in the U.S.

And that’s it, I’m outta links.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

Not many links today, and the Feed

I got done pre-filtering the Feed early today because there were so few links to stories that were not about bike wrecks, and I even included a few of those where infrastructure was mentioned. It’s looking like Mrs. the Poet and I are going to be spending NYE at home with the cat rather than going out to party. The nice T-gurl that rents a room from us is going to a party, but I’m not sure what the crazy lady directly across the hall is doing, so we may end up having to stay up with her as well… The cat prefers to sleep in a lap on NYE and he’s not particularly picky about whose lap he sleeps on so long as the lap doesn’t move.

On the Good News Everybody front there have been several new Yehuda Moon cartoons published. The storyline that was being followed when the comic was last posted has been abandoned long ago, and the new ones are stand-alone jokes rather than fleshing out a story, but any Yehuda is better than no Yehuda.

The headline explains this one adequately. The best bicycle infrastructure cartoon I’ve ever seen

More infrastructure news from America’s Amsterdam. PBOT’s whimsical bike lane characters make a comeback I like the superhero <Edna Mode>”no capes”</Edna Mode>

And ANT is shutting down as the man who did most of the bike-building decides to take a better-paying job working for someone else. About I seriously worry when a bike builder closes shop but continues to work in the business. That represents another voice silenced from the choir.

Our Daily Ted, pt. 1. 36-year old bike rider killed in Fountain Valley collision; third Southern California bike fatality in three days

Our Daily Ted, pt. 2. The holiday bloodbath continues — teenage bike rider killed in Rialto OK I really feel bad for Ted right now as these were all mostly local to him.

And more good news on the carnage wrought by motor vehicles. Roadway Fatalities Down in 2013, But Bicycle Deaths Rise As I keep saying about UK drivers, the roads and cars are getting better along with the medical care after a wreck, but drivers seem to be getting worse and worse. Having said that I see this as just “noise” in the data that gets amplified because there are so few cyclists getting killed in relation to drivers and passengers getting killed. And by “noise” I mean that there were only 11 more people killed riding bicycles in 2013 than in 2012, which is bad, but not as bad as it seems. Seriously that’s less than one person more a month.

And those are all the links I could find today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

I find links in the craziest places, on Wreck-Free Sunday

I was reading my web comics today and the guy that does The Oatmeal comic was invited to the preview the Google Car. For those blessed with the ability to ignore anything outside your particular area of interest, Google has been spending the last several years working on the driverless car to eliminate the human factor from car wrecks, specifically the human factor of aggression behind the wheel. I’ll let you read the link for yourself and see what you think. 6 things I learned from riding in a Google Self-driving Car

On the health front I’m still dealing with allergies from something airborne in the last week of December. Whatever might be growing this late in the year I have no idea (the Pollen.com report says there were 9.8 grains of allergen per cubic meter, but not grains of what allergen). Currently I am dosed with what the dosage chart says is the maximum amount of diphenhydramine (generic Benadryl) and stay functional and I’m still dealing with a stuffed head. And the fact that I’m dealing with pollen allergies at the end of December is another reason I call this place the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell…

The service at church tonight was on impermanence. The congregation did a little artsy crafty thing and created a mandala out of sand that after a few minutes for pictures was then dumped into a jar to be used for an incense burner. We had about 10 minutes to make it, all improvised.
Mandala

Wasn’t it pretty?

We had a meeting of the RPG group yesterday and we played Nightbane again, with lots of role playing and no combat. Well a little bit of combat to try to capture a “bug” from the Nightside that was kidnapping people and making golems that looked like the kidnapped people and taking over that person’s life with a “bug” inside the golem to run that golem. They created the golem with a small amount of the blood of the person being copied, and to maintain the spell and the shape of the golem the bug had to get a tiny amount of blood from the victim every other day. What we were trying to learn was where they were keeping the victims of the copy spell or if they had a supply of blood to keep the spell going while away from the victim and only go back at infrequent times. However the bug was about as fragile as you would imagine a giant insect to be and unable to take a single punch once the golem was broken. Seriously, one swat and the bug was splattered like runny scrambled eggs. Hard to get information from a bug in that condition…

And it’s time to put this one to bed before I take a good-night dose of diphenhydramine and go to bed. The chart says for a person of my weight the bedtime dose is 6 of the pills I have, so after I finish the post I’m going to shake out 6 pills and head to bed.

PSA, Opus

A Pagan talks about Christmas

Howdy. I should have mentioned that I’m also an ex-Christian in addition to being a Pagan, I was 30 when I stopped being a Christian and I’m 56 now, so you can do the math.

I’m going to start off by saying Jesus was born on March 25th, not December. You can figure this out by looking at the Gospels and the story of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds were out in the fields with their sheep and it was cold, this puts the date somewhere in early Spring with the ewes out of the village for lambing, getting all the blood and smells away from town so that you don’t get predators prowling the streets. It was considered prefered to lose a few lambs than a few townspeople, sheep being somewhat less important than people.

Why, then, do we celebrate the birth of Jesus so far away from the actual date of His birth? Politics. December 25th was the birth date of Mithras, the deity of the Roman Legion, and Sol Invictus, the deity of the Roman bureaucracy. Celebrating Jesus’ birth on this day allowed Christians to infiltrate both groups and suborn them to no longer persecuting Christians. Since this took several generations the actual date was lost to the “official” date. This took a life of its own, to the effect that a 19th Century cleric “calculated” that Jesus was born on December 25th. 😉

Why the tree? There are several legends about the origin of the Christmas tree. One was that germanic tribes executed prisoners on the solstice so they were not a drag on the local economy during the time of living on stored food, leaving the bodies hanging in the trees until the ground thawed in Spring to bury them. That led to hanging things in trees during the winters when there were no prisoners to kill, according to the legend. Another legend was that Martin Luther saw the light of the full moon glistening on ice crystals in a pine tree and wanted to share what he saw by placing candles in a pine tree he brought indoors. After rebuilding the house he burned down (j/k) the fashion spread to other households and across the country in a flash. Which I find implausible considering the speed this supposedly crossed the many Germanic states with limited interaction because of borders and a total lack of mass media. Well, at this point all we really know is the Christmas tree has Pagan origins, but not exactly what those origins are.

What about Santa Claus? Turns out the one thing that most people think is totally Pagan is Christian in origin. There was a St. Nicholas from the 3rd Century in what is now Turkey who gave gifts to poor children. How closely related this saint is to the Dutch Sinter Klaus is a matter of conjecture, but the connection between Sinter Klaus and the modern Santa is nearly direct. The connection runs through upstate NY and the famous poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”…

Gifts at Winter Solstice are a tradition that goes back into the far mists of time, so that is definitely Pagan in origin. That means we Pagans are indirectly responsible for Black Friday. Sorry. 😦

As far as food and Christmas Dinner is concerned there are long histories of feasting at the Winter Solstice, but that bloated feeling is not something else you can blame on us Pagans. I’m not apologizing for anyone’s inability to stop before they get full. That’s all on you.

Everything else that gets blamed on Pagans is either a modern invention or not easily identifiable as to origin. Wreaths and other greenery may have been connected to Solstice or maybe later attempts to make a house more festive by putting a bit of green in it during the Winter. And the huge collections of lights decorating the outside of structures are strictly a modern invention, late 20th Century to be precise.

So for all the hooraw about a “War on Christmas”, some of us are just trying to take back what is ours. And as I posted to a Facebook status update, there are a bunch of other religions with holidays in December that have zero to do with Christians. In fact, this year there are a total of 5 days in December that are not celebrated as a holiday by someone, with several days having more than one group claiming that day. The days with the most are the 23rd, 24th, and 25th with 2 modern each, or the 25th with 2 modern and 2 ancient, and the 21st with more than a dozen modern and ancient religions all claiming a piece of the date.

My neck is starting to complain about the amount of time I’m spending on this computer. So I’m going to call this one finished at this point, mainly because I think I have made mine.

PSA, Opus

Waiting for Santa, and the Feed

One of my guilty pleasures every Christmas Eve is keeping an open tab at the Official NORAD Santa Tracker and watching the lower limb of the solar meridian cross the globe. This is where Santa operates every Christmas Eve, just ahead of this meridian. The “video evidence” is just cutesy, but the cities mentioned are like a rapid-fire geography quiz. And I like geography quizzes.

Up first another reminder of why I describe the locale for WoaB as the “Beautiful Suburbs of Hell”. Cyclists Say an Angry French Defense Contractor Punched Them; Cops Write Tickets and Along Turtle Creek early Saturday, cyclists say a driver attacked first with car, then with fist Yeah, like a guy on a bike is a threat to a driver inside a light armored vehicle…

A little Lifestyle from AL. Killed cyclist remembered As per the previous paragraph, the legal infrastructure was not sufficient when the driver got a ticket for driving on a suspended license and having MJ in the car but nothing for killing with his light armored vehicle. But the cyclist was buried today.

I keep telling people that bike helmets have never prevented a single wreck. Want to ride a bike more safely? Permanent running lights may be better than helmets. I’m a big believer in lights on bicycles, to the point of giving lights to unlighted cyclists.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: US traffic deaths are down, while bike fatalities go up; more groups spread holiday bike cheer I keep saying that cars are getting safer but drivers are not, this data supports that contention.

Video from Oz shows a tree attacking a cyclist 🙂 Sydney cyclist hit by falling branch Three cyclists were hit by the branch, one injured.

Is a cross between an e-assist bicycle and a motorcycle the future of urban personal transportation? A Bare-Bones Electric Motorcycle for Green Urban Riding

And those were all the links I could find today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

I may be off-air later this week, and the Feed

My daughter and son-in-law bought a house this week and have to be out of their old house by midnight Saturday, so I will be off-air Friday and Saturday to help them get settled in to their new place. In addition, there will be a wreck- and link-free post on Christmas Day. That means 4 days in a row without a post with links, Thursday through next Sunday.

I don’t think it is any secret that this witch is somewhat to the left politically. Well in the real world I’m a Centrist, but in the whackadoodle politics of the United States of Dyslexia where history is considered to be a Communist conspiracy I’m a flaming Socialist. I don’t mention politics too much in this blog except for as it intersects with bicycles, but there may be some politics either Thursday or Sunday. Just warning you.

I keep harping about the lack of will to build bicycle infrastructure, but the lack of will extends to just about every aspect of infrastructure. Infrastructure advances in the rest-of-the-world will blow your mind. Yeah, when Poland gets better Internet than we do, there is something seriously wrong somewhere and I’m betting that it isn’t in Poland.

From Oz comes another leak about the bike ride for the victims of the Siege of Sydney. Australian cyclists embark on touching “I’ll ride with you” tribute ride This is great, a wonderful thing for all the victims of the confrontation, those inside the building and those outside the building who were victimized because of the perceived ethnicity or religion.

After discovering that cyclists were not the problem (in spite of the statistical blip this year of two pedestrian deaths caused by bicycles after 5 years of no cyclist-caused pedestrian deaths) NYPD goes after the other victims in NYC. Cops put brakes on ticketing cyclists, target jaywalkers Still not targeting the cause of the problem, but the victims. Get it right NYPD, lives are at stake.

Dealing with bad infrastructure that is some of the best in the US. Collision on Springwater a reminder to ride cautiously on shared paths Sidewalks are not bicycle infrastructure, and bicycle infrastructure should not be treated like a sidewalk.

Our Daily Ted. Guest post: Detailed analysis of 2013 bike collisions in the City of Angels

Using the legal infrastructure as it was “designed” to be used, in CA. Driver in Fiesta Island Cycling Crash Found Competent to Stand Trial

And those were all the links I could find today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

What a party, and the Feed

Actually that should be “what parties”, because there were two of them this weekend. OK so “party” is less accurate than “extremely exuberant religious service”, but what is the difference between “strictly enforced theme party” and “religious service”? And the Sumerians know how to party with their deities, masculine and feminine. They have a service that celebrates the divine gift of making beer by consuming lots of beer in service, fer cryin’ out loud. The White Elephant exchange was a bit of a madhouse, and the present I thought was going to be fought over didn’t go until the last round and hardly anyone got to see it. The gift I got was a deck of meditations to shuffle through for relaxation purposes, and the other person that went with me from the house got a trio of wrought iron candlestands.

The next service/party was the Veritan service with good food and no booze, but still lots of fun. And yes, we have two groups that do services at SJF for us. The “bread” for the Veritan Yule service was made with cranberries and nuts, and there was mulled cider for the cup. Add in a bunch of seasonal songs sung by the congregation and you have another religious service that feels like a party. And it was a party in a manner of speaking, we were celebrating the return of the sun from its descent into darkness. We moderns understand that the change in the seasons is caused by the 23½° tilt of the Earth’s axis and the sun will return regardless of what we humans do or don’t do. But our ancestors thought the seasons were caused by the interference of gods with the travels of the sun since they made the sun move across the skies anyway, why not make the sun go higher or lower at a whim? So those whims must be appeased to bring the sun back from wherever the gods took it. That’s what makes Winter Solstice services so vital to most European peoples, from their perspective lives were on the line if they didn’t get it right. Nowadays we just see it as a reason to party because, “Hey Party!” but back then they were celebrating continued survival of the planet, so more like “Thank the Gods, Let’s Party!”

Up first is a story I got through several links. Remember that Volvo story I had yesterday about the phone app? There is more to the story. Volvo To Introduce A Cyclist Anti-Collision Warning System and ‘World’s first’ smart bike helmet alerts drivers and cyclists, aims to reduce accidents And again I’ll say, what if you don’t have a compatible mobile phone? You’re basically screwed.

Second big story is from Oz. From mosque to memorial: Sydney cyclists’ tribute ride and Sydney cyclists hold commemorative bike ride for Martin Place siege victims Yes, cyclists can have human sympathy with people that are not cyclists. But you guys knew that already.

Trying to make a difference in the infrastructure in Houston. Pedal forward Seriously they need to get the laws and the attitudes changed to make cycling in TX safe without spending about a billion dollars on infrastructure. And then they need to go ahead and spend that billion dollars because even those laws and attitudes are not going to make people feel safe riding a bike on the roads with multi-ton killing machines inches away from fragile bodies. You can ask Dave Hembrow about “subjective safety” .

NYC still refuses to see the elephant in the room. NYPD: 1,295 Pedestrians and Cyclists Injured, 14 Killed in Traffic in November How many of those were killed or injured by bicycles? Zero killed and an unknown (but low) number injured that are not included in this report. But in spite of this information they are still dedicating way too much time and manpower to writing tickets to cyclists. And they still don’t investigate all the wrecks. NYPD Still Doesn’t Investigate All Fatal Traffic Crashes

And not far from NYC (just across the river) car people take away the only safe bike infrastructure in the entire city of Newark. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to Rip Out City’s First Protected Bike Lane Right, they tore out the bike lane because people couldn’t park illegally. Who does a guy have to kill to get and keep bicycle infrastructure?

The SF cyclist killed by a truck turning right across her lane had earbuds in her possession at the time of the wreck. Cyclist Killed In 2013 SoMa Collision With Truck Being Blamed For Wearing Earbuds No evidence she was wearing the earbuds when the truck turned across her lane and into her, but there was a lot of video evidence the truck turned and ran the vehicle in the next lane over killing the operator.

Still in the SF area of CA, it is hard to ride a bike you no longer have. BART + Bike East Bay Theft Prevention Program This is a lesson I have learned first hand.

Still in CA, the woman who deliberately rammed a LEO on duty as a bicycle cop was out of jail less than 4 hours after she was sentenced. Woman who rammed sheriff’s officer released after serving half of jail sentence She somehow managed to get credit for time served after she violated her probation and was put back in jail. As I pointed out in the BikingInLA post that mentioned this story assaulting an officer goes right out the window when the officer is riding a bicycle.

Speaking of BikingInLA, here’s today’s Daily Ted. Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Infrastructure! news from America’s Amsterdam. The Life and Times of Clinton Street’s Guerrilla Diverters Nothing like a little DIY documentation of DIY infrastructure.

Still in Portland, the only city with a full-time unicycling bagpiper with flaming bagpipes. Unicyling Darth Vader Santa Claus Plays Flaming Bagpipes at Night There should be a program that pays people to ride unicycles playing flaming bagpipes in every major city…

And my daughter’s new home town alerts cyclists that it’s dark out and drivers can’t be expected to actively watch out for them. Five things you need to know today Edinburgh!

And those were all the links I could find that didn’t give me flashbacks to wrecks.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

I just had a big fight, on Wreck-Free Sunday

Just to get things out in the open, Mrs. the Poet and I had a big fight, over the way my brain processes things now that I have brain damage.

The fight was over the way newspapers are placed on the table. I should mention that we subscribe to the paper on Wednesdays and Sundays, with additional papers at the discretion of advertisers. Mrs. the Poet was complaining she hadn’t finished reading Saturday’s paper when it was put in recycling. I told Mrs. the Poet that I didn’t even know we got a paper Saturday because every time I looked all I saw was Wednesday’s front page on the top of the pile. Mrs. the Poet said that I should just look through the pile if I wanted to see the current paper. My reply was if I don’t know there was a paper delivered that day how am I supposed to know to look through the pile for the new one? I mean for me this just makes common sense, put the newest paper on the top of the pile. There is even names for this, in computer terms it’s a LIFO stack, in physical terms it’s archeological filing. That way everyone knows when something new comes in because the top of the stack changes.

And this is stuff that would give problems to people who don’t have brain damage, and I have problems processing that I should deal with new data. I do the blog by following a set pattern of reading new messages in the Feed folder in my e-mail and filtering the links, then do the opening paragraph or sometimes two, then present the links with comments, then sometimes I have a closing paragraph. I have been using this format at least 5 days a week, down from 7, since shortly before this blog moved here in 2008. I had to change this format slightly when I was double-posting the blog to MySpace but after saying good-bye to them in January of 2009 the format and preparation has stayed pretty much the same since then. The only changes made has been dropping Sunday wrecks, then dropping Saturday posts completely after the RPG group moved start time up from 8PM (2000 hours) to gathering and setup at 1 (1300) and game at 2 (1400) which left no time to filter and post. But really I’m not dealing with anything “new” except the links, which aren’t “new” except for the information they contain. I do the same thing to the links every day, use the HTML for creating a link, copy and paste the URL in the proper place in the code, create the middle part of the link, then copy/paste the headline as the “title” of the link and close out the link tag. Add some cogent commentary and move to the next paragraph where I make a new link. If a bot could be taught to parse the headline from the code and text, and then make the cogent commentary I could be replaced with a few thousand lines of code, but the current State of the Art for AI hasn’t reached that point yet. When it does expect to see a new author for this blog, because I will pack it up and go on a long bike camping trip after I get my neck fixed.

And I almost forgot to mention for everyone to have a Happy Yule today.
Tree!

May your days (and tree) be bright!
More tree!

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

On a Friday dark and dreary as I pondered weak and weary, and the Feed

Don’t worry, there are no talking ravens or any other birds speaking to me here at Casa de El Poeta in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. It’s just a chill and grey day here. I’m actually wearing a shirt with my usual shorts and socks to fend off the chill, and I had to turn on the lights in the office/bedroom where I work. That’s how chill and grey the day is. The “weak and weary” part is up for speculation, but I submit for your consideration the lump on the back of my neck and the Rice Krispies noises coming from the muscles in the close vicinity of that lump. I’m getting tired of having my neck sounding like someone punching out a bowl of potato chips nearly every time I move it, does that fit the “weak and weary” part of the rhyme?

Up first, Y’all can stop sending me the links to this video now. Cyclist’s Camera Catches The Moment He Was Hit by a Deer and WATCH: Cyclist collides with deer during ride in California Also CHRISTMAS CONFLICT I have seen the links and the video. You know because I have posted them here. Stop sending me links to this video. PLEASE!

From the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike, why that is so in two articles. Collier County staffer suspended after threat to plow cyclist off road and Punishment issued for staffer who threatened cyclists The “staffer” basically threatened a cyclist with murder, so she got a paid vacation (leave with pay) before getting a few days off without pay and no jail time… And that’s another reason why FL is the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bicycle.

To go along with the threatened violence in FL, a teen convicted of attempting to assault a cyclist in OR is arrested in conjunction with shooting up a school in the same state. Teen involved in throwing bricks at bike riders implicated in high school shooting Violence against cyclists is not just “road rage”, it is violence, assault or attempted murder. And violence against cyclists that goes lightly punished or completely unpunished leads to violence elsewhere.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Arrest made in Anaheim hit-and-run; saddle up for Selle’s Christmas party in San Diego

One of the links mentioned in Ted’s post also showed up in the Feed. Opinion L.A.’s cyclists should need a special ‘info’ license in order to ride How about drivers should need a special license to drive in LA? Incidentally Gigi would love the comments section, the Stupid is strong with this bunch, except for Bill from SD…

Speaking of Stoopid… EFR tells riders to strive for helmet hair How about drivers should strive to not hit other road users? That would save about 30K people a year if 100% effective.

A driver right hooks a cyclist and complains about the traffic ticket? Halifax councillor fights traffic ticket The driver right hooks the cyclist she just passed and then leaves the scene and she’s fighting the ticket? I could give her 3 tickets and a felony charge if I was on the scene. She got off lucky.

Infrastructure! news from America’s Amsterdam. With or without Vision Zero, a safer Barbur might be an economic win What is the $value of a human life? Because they kill an average of 2 people a year on this stretch of road, reducing that by half would save the $value of that life in addition to the economic benefits.

It happened again. Cyclist left waiting over two hours for an ambulance after crash in central London Last time was about an hour and a half, so things are deteriorating for cyclists. Eventually they are going to be so late that a cyclist that would have lived dies from something that could have been caught had they gotten medical attention sooner.

FB page to a cargo HPV. Johanson3 SA

Another “safety” innovation that depends on you having the right kind of cell phone to work. Volvo to Demonstrate In-Car Cyclist Alert System at CES I’m sorry, but I can’t get behind or otherwise in favor of “safety” developments that are dependent on my having the right kind of ceel phone to protect me from a light armored vehicle.

E-assist fat bike for when you want to ride in snow or across loose sand. iGO Electric FatBike I never rode a fat bike, but they tell me they’re fun in the conditions I mentioned at the start of the paragraph.

And I seem to have run out of links again.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet