Morning Links

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

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24 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    OMG, Rogue taxidermy!!! Dead animals might be harmed.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    I wear a bike helmet and it has saved my noggin a few times (or so I say. Others may still see lingering effects, like a distrust of government and the police). I believe that others should do so, but there should not be any nanny state coercion. Such coercion has been shown to decrease biking, not to mention the whole “nanny” thing.
    The big problem is that the evidence for bike helmets protecting your head is pretty thin.
    (1) bike helmets work for minor injuries. However, these are not reported.
    (2) bike helmets are not going to protect you from major injuries (e.g. hit by a speeding SUV).
    (3) When people are hit and seriously hurt, the analysis is either to blame the lack of helmet for the death or, if a helmet was being worn, to say that the impact was so great that the helmet wouldnt have helped. There is so much bias in the analysis that we are bound to get bad data. (Then there are those cases where the impact, or the first responders, removed the helmet).

  3. #3 |  John Jenkins | 

    The Best in Class picture gallery accompanying the Onion piece is awesome.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    RE: Correction of the week.

    ‘n’ is such a modest little letter, right in the middle of the alphabet, so easy to overlook, but when you miss it, it can make a big difference:

    For example, if you type:
    “One in three black men who have sex with me is HIV positive.”
    It has an entirely different meaning than:
    “One in three black men who have sex with men is HIV positive.”

  5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

    The correction of the week made my day.

  6. #6 |  the innominate one | 

    Call me for the girl show.

  7. #7 |  freedomfan | 

    What I found best about the Postrel article on bike helmet laws, though she isn’t explicit in pointing it out, is that the market place has come up with better alternatives in places like Europe where bike riding is popular and helmet coercers are told to go f*** themselves. If the state forces people to wear helmets, as many states do in the U.S., the helmet makers have less incentive to fight for business by coming up with designs that appeal to non-wearers.

    If Obama were wearing one of the Yakkay helmets, designed to appeal to people who want safety with something approximating style, then he might not be thought of as such a dork for wearing his helmet. That won’t ameliorate the million other reasons he is a dork, but maybe baby steps are the right approach here. ;-)

  8. #8 |  Charlie O | 

    I don’t need no stinking helmets. Somehow I managed to get through childhood and my teen years without once ever wearing a bicycle helmet. (I don’t even know even they existed, I’m that old.). And I rode a bicycle up until the time I joined the Navy. My parents wouldn’t sign off on a DL for me. We are nation of pussies. I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 25 years. Ridden all over the US, up to Alaska, etc. No helmet whenever the law allows. Somehow what’s in my head has done more to save my ass than what’s on it. Fuck all helmet laws! Bicycle, motorcycle or otherwise.

  9. #9 |  not a viking | 


    Actually bike helmets protect against some major injuries and are rubbish against other minor ones. The deciding factor tends to be what kind of accident you are having and the speed/force of impact. I.e. somersaulting off your bike and into a sharp hard edge head first could totally ruin your day if not wearing a helmet (pic: ), even if cycling slowly.

    Also based on the news and public service announcements from back when I was living/biking/crashing in Copenhagen, Denmark, isn’t failing to respect the blind spot of trucks a way bigger killer than lack of helmets? Was always amazed at peoples lack of respect for heavy vehicles there.


    “[..]Europe where bike riding is popular and helmet coercers are told to go f*** themselves.”

    If only, you only have to look at Denmark’s neighbor Sweden for helmet laws there. And trust me, bike riding is usually not universally popular, especially amongst people who drive a lot, closer to a low level war between bicyclists and drivers I’d say…

  10. #10 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    The California laws for under-18’s bugged bike helmets me.
    Armed gov’t goons cruising around in
    ozone-depleting race cars, targeting innocent kids on their
    way to school, with the prospect of arrest if the kid
    provided the wrong info or copped a little attitude.
    Also, there’s the whole “Do as I say, not as I do!” hypocrisy.
    While I’m at it, sprout some freakin bike lanes if you’re really serious about bike safety, and not just ticket-happy.

  11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    helmets bugged me. Damned aixelsyd.

  12. #12 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Radley, the link for the false confession article goes to the 6th page. Try this instead:

  13. #13 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    1. At least they didn’t use the word “maverick”.
    2. Police manipulation? Slyly coerced confessions? Brainwashing PD? Hell, I knew that. I’ve watched enough Hill Street Blues to figure that one out a long time ago.
    3. Find a need and fill it.
    4. Sponsored by NAMBLA
    5. Screw helmets for bikes. A piddly helmet is not going to protect that face plant you’re gonna get when you fall off the bike. What’s next, a ban on baseball cards in the spokes?
    6. I wonder how flooded her inbox became?
    7. Officer, it is called a funny bone. Shake it off.

  14. #14 |  Samsam von Virginia | 

    When I bought a helmet for my daughter (probably a Bell helmet from WalMart), I actually read the literature that came with the helmet. The most memorable line went something like:

    “This helmet cannot protect you from all injuries. Just as an egg can be scrambled without breaking the shell…”

  15. #15 |  Persona Non Gratia | 

    Not ordinarily a big fan of The Onion, but this was eerily prescient. From January, 2001.,464/

  16. #16 |  Andrew S. | 

    Off topic (can you be off topic in the links post?): Had jury duty yesterday. Was hoping to get on a drug trial, but wasn’t to be (didn’t get picked at all, had gone through jury selection for a trial involving “unlicensed contracting”, which could’ve been an interesting discussion in and of itself). Two things I noticed in jury selection:

    1. I winced at how the other potential jurors, upon questioning, seemed to equate licensing from the government as proof of competence, and, conversely, not being licensed as proof of incompetence.

    2. If it weren’t for the fear of a contempt citation (or losing my law license), I might’ve had something to say when the judge exclaimed that jurors are only supposed to look at the facts, and that they are never (his words) to judge the law itself.

  17. #17 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The false confession article is a good example of a murder that would have been averted had the police charged the actual perpetrator. He committed another murder 4 years later.

  18. #18 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    @15 “the judge exclaimed that jurors are only supposed to look at the facts, and that they are never (his words) to judge the law itself.”

    As if the two are mutually exclusive. What if “the facts” indicate
    that the law itself is stupid or tyrannical? And on what legal precedent or document is he basing this directive? Or his he just improvising? Or talkin’ shit?

  19. #19 |  Aresen | 

    On the helmet laws: I use and wear a helmet while riding a bike or a horse. There is no law that says I have to wear a helmet while riding a horse, but I do because it is safer that way. (I’ve taken a few hits from low branches over the years.)*

    However, I know that I feel freer when I don’t have a helmet, so I can understand why people don’t want to. It should be up to each individual to evaluate the risks and benefits.

    *(One 97 degree day, I showed up for a lesson without a helmet. My instructor asked why I didn’t have one. I told her I preferred my brains scrambled to fried.)

  20. #20 |  Samsam von Virginia | 

    14 years ago, my wife and I built our house. We did much of the work ourselves, but also hired “professionals” to do some of the work. Quality of work was uncorrelated with licensing. To this day a running joke (or rather cry of exasperation) is “I don’t want a professional carpenter, I want a good carpenter!”

  21. #21 |  DarkEFang | 

    “New York magazine looks at false confessions.”:

    Yet another unintended consequence of the War on Drugs and the various other vice crimes. If police forces weren’t wasting the bulk of their manpower trying to prevent victimless crimes, they might have the time to properly investigate murders, rapes and other actual crimes.

  22. #22 |  World’s Strangest | Latvia’s Hospital-Themed Restaurant | 

    […] via The Agitator | Photo: Spot Cool […]

  23. #23 |  Juice | 


    I’m really trying to give a shit about the bike helmet thing.

    I just can’t bring myself to do it.

  24. #24 |  SJE | 

    not a viking: I disagree, although it may depend on your definition of “serious.”