Forum Replies Created
November 8, 2012 at 2:33 am in reply to: In the wake of the election .. we have some work to do #776809
Okay–I know it’s hard to keep focused on the long-term future, but climate change is going to create a lot of very expensive misery. I know it’s hard to envision. I think it gets pushed aside because it’s such a huge problem and so long-term. It’s easier to work on the stuff that is evident to us immediately. But we need to look past immediate issues, and work to prevent and mitigate the destruction of species, ecosystems, and communities.
maplesyrup, the reasons for which I might end up deciding in favor very much reflect TanDL’s point, that legalization and regulation could make control actually easier, and end up reducing the use of this drug. I’m also interested in this argument: by legalizing the production of marijuana in the NW, we might be able to supplant the flow of illegal marijuana from Mexico to the US, even to states where it remains illegal–and cut the profits of the Mexican cartels, which I think would be an overall plus.
Also, I find it frustrating that it’s difficult to get good research information on marijuana as a medical drug, because it’s difficult to do the research legally. This makes it difficult to evaluate the claims of medical use for the drug. I think people who have conditions for which marijuana is popularly suggested would benefit from having this thoroughly and independently researched.
Which brings me to DBP’s point. Most of the research I’m finding (but see my point about limited validated research) actually indicates that marijuana is less addicting than alcohol (and far less addicting than tobacco, another legal recreational drug). Another approach to this problem might be to keep all of them legal but control them as drugs–that is, require prescriptions to buy wine or cigarettes. I don’t think that one is very likely. I’m not even sure how well it would work. And it’s not just the addictiveness that makes these drugs problematic. Plenty of drunk drivers are not alcoholics.
Lastly, as an aside, I take issue with maplesyrup’s “bit of smoke that dissipates in a few seconds”. That’s what people say about tobacco smoke in parks, but it really doesn’t dissipate as quickly as you might think. It hangs around. And if there’s a person smoking walking ahead of you on the sidewalk (happens all the time at Lincoln Park and the Junction), well… it’s just a constant stream back into your face. So you speed up to get past them, and there’s another one ahead of them. If I could stop people smoking tobacco in outdoor public places in exchange for people smoking pot in outdoor public places, I’d take it as a step forward–but having to put up with both–ugh!
My primary concern is the same as anonyme’s, for selfish reasons: I just don’t want to have to walk through clouds of the stuff at the park. While maplesyrup is correct that public consumption is illegal under the initiative, it is defined as a class 3 civil infraction, for which the maximum penalty is $50–perhaps not enough to discourage it, particularly when you consider how difficult it is to get enforcement for violations of the smoking law, leash laws, etc. No provision in the law dedicates any of the proceeds to law enforcement, which already doesn’t have the funds to focus on these violations, and must prioritize.
I still may end up deciding to vote for this initiative; I haven’t yet made up my mind. But this selfish concern is the main thing holding me back.
anonyme and Mike, it seems to me maybe there’s also an analogy with energy efficiency: when we get more efficient light bulbs, we are less careful to turn them off, so the energy saved by using the more-efficient bulbs is less than the difference in efficiency would predict. The bridge was widened to address safety problems on the old bridge, so now people feel it’s safe to go faster. It remains to be seen how the rate of accidents on the new bridge will change, but it seems very likely to me that it will not decline as much as it would have had drivers used the same speeds they had on the old bridge (which always seemed to me to be over the speed limit).
From the same report I quoted: “For the most part, the change in the mean speed of traffic created by a change in speed limit is around 25 percent of the change in the speed limit.(7) In other words, a speed limit increase or reduction of 6 mph (10 km/h) yields about a 1.5 mph (2.5 km/h) raising or lowering of the mean speed, respectively. When this statistic is combined with the power formula equating change in mean speed to crash risk, it is evident that lowering the speed limit will reduce crash risk, and raising the speed limit will increase crash risk.”
So, if the average speeds are currently 50 mph, increasing the speed limit from 35 to 45 would raise the average speed to about 52.5.
Also note that, although, as you say, “You can still have shunts and bangs at 20mph”, the same report notes: “severity increases geometrically as speed increases”. Not linearly–geometrically. So there will be an increased cost in damage and injury from raising the speed limit.
The report does go on to note:
“…the relationship between travel speed and speed limits indicates that the percentage of violators increases when speed limits are lowered and decreases when speed limits are increased.”
It is possible you are correct, and that increasing the speed limit might be worth the tradeoff. Certainly it’s reasonable to provide your feedback to SDOT. But there’s a reason speed limits shouldn’t be set by popular vote.
I just think you shouldn’t assume that just because you find the current limit annoying necessarily means it’s wrong, nor that it’s there as revenue generation for the city.
So, I calculate increasing the speed from the I-5 exit to 99 from 35 to 45 mph would save each car a whopping 14 seconds:
Increasing the speed from 99 to the Fauntleroy exit from 45 to 55 would save each car 31 seconds (assuming each car instantaneously increases to 45 mph and maintains 45 right up to Fauntleroy–yikes!)
So, following alan004’s proposal, each car saves 45 seconds.
Now, alan004 dismisses increasing accidents as a non-issue, but I don’t think the research backs him up. “…the most recent and statistically robust research on speed and crash occurrence fairly definitively indicates that, all other factors being equal, increased speeds increase crash occurrence.(7) The magnitude of the increase is dependent on the specifics of each case, with urban areas having the most pronounced relationship…” (from Methods and Practices for Setting Speed Limits: An Informational Report from the FHWA.) If I correctly understand the formula given, increasing speed from 35 to 45 mph increases the rate of crashes by 1.28. (The rates are different for property-damage-only, injury, and fatality crashes.)
We accept some level of risk at any speed. I don’t think it’s obvious what the correct trade-off is. But we should make that an informed trade-off, not merely an opinionated one.
I like not cringing in embarrassment for the writing and proofreading. (It’s a small thing, but the big ones have been mentioned. It matters to me!)
DBP, that’s pretty much the response I’ve received when I’ve made the suggestion/request/comment that there was such a law, and I’d appreciate it if people followed it. Polite requests are just shrugged off. With this attitude, I’m skeptical that education is going to help.
I think part of the reason is that the dog owners who don’t follow the law probably get plenty of support for their flouting of the law from each other. “Us against them” mentality. Can we think of a way to turn that around? Otherwise, I think it’s just going to get worse. I see a peculiar attitude of entitlement increasing each year in dog owners.
I think there’s a confusion about the term “limit”. Perhaps some people never got to the level of math where that is defined. A “limit” is the value approached arbitrarily closely, but never reached or passed. Or perhaps the confusion is over whether “speed limit” refers to an upper or a lower bound…. but note, some signs say “maximum speed”, which I have taken to mean that all speed limits are an upper limit. Please enlighten me if I am misinformed.
EdSane: people who don’t follow posted speed limit signs, and ride my bumper when I do so.
I would recommend people evaluating schools take most seriously rnmetty’s point: “The most important thing is that the school has similar values to your [family’s.]”
You need to be able to support what is happening in your child’s school. You don’t necessarily need to agree 100% with every lesson, every teacher, and every policy–children benefit from watching adults disagree but respect each other’s point of view–but if you disagree enough that you undermine the message your child is getting at school, you are putting him or her in a terrible position.
Bake cookies, or make a meal together.
Find some cardboard boxes, lids, and other junk. Use zip ties, duct tape, etc. to assemble a robot, car, house, cartoon character, nuclear reactor, or whatever your nephew is fascinated by.
Involve him in your ordinary tasks (just don’t expect them to be as efficient as usual!)
Make couch forts.
Visit the pet store to say hello to the animals.
And remember, boredom is a great fertilizer of imagination; children can be entertained into dependent mindlessness.
“If there is a hands free device attached, the talking function is activated”
Research indicates that hands-free doesn’t actually help; just having the phone conversation takes your brain’s focus away from the driving task. It’s the way your brain works:
“Experiment 1 used a car-following paradigm and found that participants’ reaction to a vehicle braking in front of them was impaired when they were conversing on a cell phone. Experiments 2–4 assessed an inattention-blindness interpretation of this impairment. Experiment 2 found that recognition memory for billboards
presented in the driving environment was impaired when participants were conversing on a hands-free cell phone. Experiment 3 observed this impairment even for billboards on which participants directly fixated. Experiment 4 extended these findings by showing that implicit perceptual memory for words presented at fixation was impaired when participants were using a hands-free cell phone.”March 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm in reply to: Gentleman on the red? motorcycle who witnessed minor hit & run #751759March 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm in reply to: Gentleman on the red? motorcycle who witnessed minor hit & run #751758March 17, 2012 at 4:19 am in reply to: Gentleman on the red? motorcycle who witnessed minor hit & run #751756
I think HMCRich’s original question is whether our $10 million bought $10 million worth of innovation–and neither article directly addresses that question.
The point of the prize was “to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb”. When George Bush, Jr. signed the legislation that created this prize in 2007, did it spur the industry to put more resources toward bringing an affordable consumer LED 60-watt replacement bulb to market?
Prizes like the L-Prize and the X-Prize are offered in the expectation that they will have spin-off effects from driving innovation well beyond the narrow stated goal of the prize. Just getting people energized (so to speak) to do more research and engineering, just getting more people thinking more about technical solutions to problems–well, I suspect the investment pays off overall. I’m also willing for some of our collective investments to fail–that risk allows for greater reward overall.
HMCRich, before you get too lathered up, you might want to read this article critiquing the WP article:
“Nowhere in the article did the Post make clear that people would save money overall by purchasing the LED instead of incandescent bulbs. This same inability to look beyond the up-front price tag and consider the actual operating costs is precisely why we waste so much money and energy through lighting.”
Hmm. I’m not sure any of that was very helpful. I hope some of my fellow “Founding Mothers” will chime in with their suggestions.
I called the initial meeting of parents that eventually led to the project that became AE4 (later renamed Pathfinder) probably 5 years later–that meeting following on efforts begun several years earlier.
The STEM program has some similarities to the Pathfinder project, but will face different challenges. Pathfinder was begun by parents, and was not a district project. The STEM program apparently has early district buy-in, with the advantage of a building already designated, and won’t have co-location obstacles.
Pathfinder was designed by parents, who had to adapt their vision to fit within the district’s policies. The STEM program is, as I understand it, to be designed by the district, with input from parents and the community.
I suspect the biggest challenge will be to keep the STEM program from just being a label slapped on a standard school, with a couple of decorative math/science/engineering frills about the edges. It will need an organized parent/community with a clear vision of what they want, and the energy and determination to achieve as much of that vision as they can within the limitations of SPS. That group will have to compromise, but warily; it’s easy to compromise away the heart of the program.
The district is extremely difficult to work with, despite very good intentions and many competent people. That’s just the nature of bureaucracies.
Don’t expect the program to just happen; it will take energy and commitment. And plan to spend way more time in meetings than you expect!