Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Future: It's Not Looking Good

On Tuesday I told the story of how I was assaulted with self-righteous gesticulation by a so-called "Helmet Mime."   Well, just to put the situation in its proper context, here's the exact spot where the Helmet Mime struck:


(Flatbush Avenue it ain't.)

I took the photo this morning, and as usual I was piloting the Smugness Flotilla Mark II laden with two (2) human children.  If you enlarge the photo you will notice that up ahead on the right there is a gentleman running (not particularly urgently, it was more of a trot) up the hill.  He doesn't appear to be dressed for exercise, and I'm not sure why anybody would choose to run in a pair of khakis when we are currently beneath a "heat dome."   (Maybe he was late for a train.  What do I know?)  The point is that even on a bicycle I could not catch this man.

And that is how slowly I ride up this hill.

So yeah, call me crazy, but I don't think this ride warrants safety gear--though obviously once I crested the hill I totally bombed down the other side, one hand off the bars and tweeting bon mots all the while.

(And yes, of course as I passed the runner I pointed to my bare legs and mouthed the words "heat dome!" over and over again.)

Speaking of my daredevil exploits, yesterday I said if you needed me I'd probably be mountain biking.  Well, if you went looking for me you wouldn't have found me, because I changed my mind and instead I've been bouncing around on the Milwaukee the last few days:


I haven't encountered any Helmet Mimes since Tuesday, but there sure are a fuckload of deer out there.

Still, helmet mania is reaching epidemic proportions, as this tweet illustrates:
I mean come on now.  It's gotta stop.  Seriously.  Though of course I do support mandatory helmets for people driving SUVs:


The man fled as the authorities put out a call with the vehicle description. Around 2:10 a.m. on Thursday, the police found a vehicle matching the description near Columbus Circle.

The man inside refused to leave his vehicle and was seen putting a “red plastic helmet on his head,” Chief O’Neill said. It was unclear whether he was armed.

Unclear whether he was armed?  Seems to me he was armed with an SUV.  Guess we're still not ready to wrap our heads around the concept of weaponizing motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, from the Traffic Accident Coalition in Victoria Australia comes Graham, the "interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability:"



In a shift from its traditional road safety campaigns, the TAC has collaborated with a leading trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and a world-renowned Melbourne artist to produce ‘Graham’, an interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability.

Graham has been designed with bodily features that might be present in humans if they had evolved to withstand the forces involved in crashes. Studies have shown that the human body can only cope with impacts at speeds people can reach on their own, unassisted by vehicles.

“People can survive running at full pace into a wall but when you’re talking about collisions involving vehicles, the speeds are faster, the forces are greater and the chances of survival are much slimmer,” TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said.

“Cars have evolved a lot faster than humans and Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes.”

This campaign raises a number of questions for me, including but not limited to:

--Has nobody told the Traffic Accident Coalition we're not saying "accident" anymore?
--Where's Graham's cupholder?
--Has nobody at the Traffic Accident Coalition ever been to America?  Because Graham looks like any given wholesale price club shopper:


Also, I assume this is supposed to make Australians more careful, but I fear it will backfire, because I'm sure they all dream of a future in which human beings are born with helmets:


Of course, some people hold out hope that car use will decline, thus sparing us this next phase of human (d)evolution.  For example, there are those who hope "car-sharing" will save us:

(Via @naparstek's twitter.)

For the vast majority of respondents, car2go did not have any causal effect on their vehicle holdings. Just two to five percent of active members said that they’d sold a car as a result of car2go’s operations. Between 7 and 10 percent said they’d avoided buying a car. But those relatively small percentages translated to sizable impacts. For every car2go vehicle on the street, the researchers found, members sold somewhere between one and three personal vehicles and avoided buying between four and nine vehicles. Overall, each shared car2go vehicle removed as many as 11 personal cars from the road. (City-specific detail on this can be found in the table below.) Across the five study cities, that added up to 28,000 fewer cars.

Yeah, I dunno.  People may say they didn't buy a car because of this service, but then again people say a lot of shit because it sounds good.  More cars were sold in America in 2015 then, well, ever.  Plus, apparently General Motors is kicking ass:
Yeah, that's General Motors.  The General Motors.  You know, the ones who can't make an ignition switch.  (Not to be confused with Chrysler, who can't make an automatic transmission shifter.)

If people are still buying cars from those assholes than what hope is there for a car-free future?

Sure, I suppose car-sharing and technology could "disrupt" the traditional car dependence, but I remain skeptical.  Based on what I see living in New York City the kinds of people who use car-share wouldn't buy a car anyway, and the only thing keeping everybody else from owning one is lack of access to free or cheap parking--and once they have that they're getting a fucking car.  Indeed, as a co-op board veteran I can assure you that pretty much every interview goes like this:

--"Is there parking here?"
--"Do you own a car?"
--"No, but we plan to buy one if we can park it."

Or eventually people just leave the city altogether and move to one of those "walkable suburbs:"


One of several municipalities in the town of Mount Pleasant in Westchester, Pleasantville is 1.9 square miles, which means that, unlike in some suburbs, people walk.

They walk to the cinema and to restaurants and shops, including the independent Village Bookstore. They walk to the library and to the year-round Saturday farmers market. They walk to the train to commute into the city. And they walk to school.

The truth about "walkable suburbs" is it's mostly just an aesthetic distinction, because while they're technically walkable it's not like anybody really does--at least not in a meaningful way.  That's why even in a village of 1.9 square miles people say stuff like this at community meetings:

Last month, Mr. McGaffey attended the village’s first public meeting focusing on revisions to the business district master plan. So did Donna Edlund, an associate broker with the Pleasantville branch of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, who said, “We need more places for people to park.”

Do they really need more places for people to park?   It's a 1.9 square-mile village!  You can't get more than walking distance from your own car without leaving town!

And far more frightening than humans evolving into Graham is the fact that laws have already evolved to make it impossible for anybody to get in trouble for hurting anybody else with a car:


The actor allegedly swung open his car door and struck a bicyclist on Tuesday in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.

The 35-year-old rider was "badly hurt" and taken to the hospital where he received stitches on his chest, according to the gossip site.

Piven did not receive a ticket since cops didn't witness the incident, but police sources told TMZ that Piven was at fault for the accident.

You've gotta love the magical cloaking powers of a motor vehicle.  Your car is like international waters--nobody has jurisdiction over anything that happens in it.

Cars won't cause humanity to evolve into Graham.  Instead they'll turn us all into giant douchebags like Jeremy Piven

Lastly, unrelated to cars, Silca has launched a Kickstarter:



Traditional multi-tools may be good for making some adjustments, but when it comes to properly applying torque, the small size, difficult ergonomics, and often poor fitting or flexible tools make it impossible for even the most experienced user to 'feel' the torque they are applying.  

Well okay then.

#whattorqueyourunning


61 comments:

N/A said...

My penny farthing is gravel ready. I've recently upgraded to pneumatic tireways.

Brian Hattenbach said...

Podium?

dnk said...

2nd tier podium?

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix.

Anonymous said...

Pipped at the line!

Ted K. said...

153. Thus control over human behavior will be introduced not by a calculated decision of the authorities but through a process of social evolution (RAPID evolution, however). The process will be impossible to resist, because each advance, considered by itself, will appear to be beneficial, or at least the evil involved in making the advance will appear to be beneficial, or at least the evil involved in making the advance will seem to be less than that which would result from not making it (see paragraph 127). Propaganda for example is used for many good purposes, such as discouraging child abuse or race hatred. [14] Sex education is obviously useful, yet the effect of sex education (to the extent that it is successful) is to take the shaping of sexual attitudes away from the family and put it into the hands of the state as represented by the public school system.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, missed out on a podium chance because I actually read the entire blog today.

Is Pleasantville a real place, or am I living in the Truman Show?

N/A said...

It's great to see The Milwaukee back in the mix (Recumbabe, too).



I just tried running into a wall as fast as I could, and I guess them Aussie peeps are right. Perhaps related: My boss is saying something about drug testing to the HR person, now.

dem_bieks! said...

The former biek crabon engineer buys Silca, builds expensive new products. Now he needs money for another, cheaper, product.

The curse of a well-designed, well-built product that is more than 20 years old.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top Tetanus on this pm posting?

nobody_walks_in_l.a. said...


You've gotta love the magical cloaking powers of a motor vehicle. Your car is like international waters--nobody has jurisdiction over anything that happens in it.


In L.A. "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!?!" triples the magical powers. A beat cop is messing with big money. Not the actor, BTW, the Distributors. (Sony, etc.)

Also, while it reads like NYPD makes a nuisance of themselves with tickets, when it comes to getting hit by a car the only way you get a prosecution in L.A. is if the driver is drunk. Magical powers indeed.

Grump said...

Strange. In Illinois, if you hit a biker with your door, you are liable for a beatdown.

schaughvn said...

so, if cops don't SEE the "accident", nobody gets a ticket?

JLRB said...

CAR2GO drivers are generally dangerous - they get behind the wheel of those clown cars and forget the rules of the road "I am saving the planet by sharing a car so get the fuck out of my way"

Like garbage trucks, Ubers and taxis, I give them a wide berth

McFly said...

Khaki Man was just Chris Froomin' up that incline. It's new.

dop said...

Pleasantville borders Sleepy Hollow. Fortunately, there is no movie named, "Briarcliff Manor"

Chazu said...

Didn't read it yet. Top 20 and proud of it.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Silca artisanal ratchet and torquemada. $500.oo

Goes with the artisAnal floor pump. Accurate to within 2/10 of who gives a fuck.

I'm sure these are all awesome goodies.

vsk

BamaPhred said...

Recumbabe!

crosspalms said...

vsk,
No kidding. Improperly applying torque is cheap AND effective. And how often have I broken stuff? Hardly ever...

Sax Huret said...

My arms always torque at the same newton meters.

Anonymous said...

"Walkable suburb" should be an oxymoron like "jumbo shrimp or "Swiss cheese." How would you get to the place? Or better yet, how would you leave?

Anonymous said...

Well, Graham is going to prove a real hit with the ladies...

bad boy of the north said...

dop@205p....briarcliff did have a movie.it was "dirge of the charlatans".oh,wait!it was a t.v.series.never mind.

bad boy of the north said...

torque this.

bieks said...

Those deer are unpredictable as hell and you're no Australia-pithicus dude. Helment's not gonna do it. Better don the Michelin Man costume (the chicken suit will just incite "deer rage").

High Plains Shifter said...

Graham is creepy. After checking that out I'm "one less lunch."

BamaPhred said...

A "fuckload" of deer. Is that the term now? Like a gaggle of geese, murder of crows, pod of whales? I like it. I saw an article where they were thinking of trying to reduce the population of the hoofed rats by administering vasectomies. Well, good luck with that. The one they don't catch will be having a field day with all the lady deer.

Chazu said...

The prospect of very expensive gasoline was encouraging back in '08. I was practically counting on it to reduce the ever-growing volume of suburban speedster motorists through my neighborhood and hometown. Then I started hearing "Drill Baby, Drill" from the suburban car commuters I worked with (I walked or rode a bike to the office). One colleague drove to the office (in midtown DC) everyday from her home near GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA. Round trip, every day, from downtown DC to Gettysburg PA. Her mantra: "It's worth it."

The price of gas isn't a significant change agent.

Anonymous said...

The car share study should have counted the number of single trips taken. The number of cars doesn't mean anything in regards to traffic or traffic collisions. It's the number of single trips that makes a difference

bad boy of the north said...

dop,i think our illustrious leader would've found clay an interesting fellow....

N/A said...

Oh dear!
*emphatically points to elbow*

The Candid Cyclist said...

My biggest question is "Why does Graham have so many breasts?" Looks like a bitch that just had puppies.

old wanker with a box spanner said...

fuckin torque wrenches. It will only encourage designers to use tolerances that will mean that you can no longer fix *without* one or warranties that are conditional on their use. Either learn to assess torque by feel yourself or pay someone else who could be bothered to do so.

Winky said...

Chazu,

I hear you....

Your colleague thought that 4 or 5 hours a day in a car was "worth it". Worth what, FFS? Some people have very different values and make very different life choices. I've heard people claim the daily drive helps them unwind. Ain't no drive I've ever done that helps me unwind. A beer on the sofa, well that helps.

Me, I have, for quite a while made decisions about work and home that enable me to live close enough to work to commute by bicycle. I've mostly succeeded with just a few years of car-commuting in the last 20.

CommieCanuck said...

Every fucking time the price of gas dips, people run out and buy the biggest fucking thing on two wheels, to buy more shitty fast food, which then requires a bigger SUV, ...and the cycle of lame continues.
Then, the inevitable crying woman on the 6:00 news when gas prices spike in front of her Canyonero XXL telling us her kids have to eat window caulking this month, because of the damned gubmint and her diabetes medication costs.

Mind you...they have a smooth ride and lots of clearance for running over crabon, and the cabin insulation muffles out most of the painful screaming. Sure, they are so huge they don't fit on roads and you can't see around them, but that just leads to "accidents".
Graham..back of the bus, buddy.

Why does Graham have so many breasts?

Fucking SCIENCE, that's how many breast we would have to evolve for male drivers to notice us.

bieks said...

After nine years, my IT department has decided your blog is just too damned sexy. Flattered?

And I had only just figured out how to bypass the robot test.

MorethumbtypingorImanotgonnacomment

Manifesto of Blah Blah Blah said...

Ted K 7th today, stage must have involved a lot of climbing.

Gone Girl Gone said...

No check in from Babble today??? Maybe her clip in stiletto's got caught in the pedals and she's in the garage yelling help, help.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Torque is cheap, just sayin'

Peter Torque said...

Torque, or as we say in Brooklyn, Fuckin' tawque.'

MrLobstermash said...

@Candidcyclist, if you think Graham has too many breasts, you should check out the artist's previous work: Behold the sky whale: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberras-controversial-skywhale-balloon-up-for-sale-20150314-14485m.html

Snob, I was disappointed that you didn't make your own rendering of an evolved cyclist equivalent of Graham.

Jeb said...

Sheeeeit! I sure don"t know squat about no torque wrench. I never done needed one. I jus' clamp the vice-grips on real tight an' twist 'till it ain't loose no more or it jus' snaps off an' then if that happens, I just goes an' throws what's broke on the trash heap in the front yard, an' then I pour me a beer an' then I goes an' watch the Donald Trump on the ol' tv 'cause he is goin' to make 'merica great again!

bad boy of the north said...

Looks like wifey and are headed to SC...stepsonny gets out of mbc next week.any nice bikey rides near beaufort?

Anonymous said...

Vernon Felton over at Pinkbike has commandeered the use of nonplussed bib shorts guy.

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/long-live-the-kooks-opinion.html

Peter W. Polack said...

Notice in the Silca Kickstarter video they're using the torque wrench to tighten the baseplate of a floor pump. Really; the bolt torque on that pump is so critical you need a torque wrench for it?! No thanks.

bad boy of the north said...

Oops....wifey and i.jeez leweeze

Old timer said...

Huh? What?

Bogusboy said...

Robert Atkins died from complications of a skull fracture incurred from a slip-and-fall on an icy sidewalk. Wonder how fast he was going.

Your head is a very fragile thing.

N/A said...

Bad Boy, I was just in Hilton Head a few weeks ago, and Leroy had the name of a good shop that did Saturday rides (thanks, Leroy). I don't recall right now.

N/A said...

It was a shop in Savannah, I should say.

JLRB said...

New Tour De France rule - during time trials all cyclists must place at least two baseball cards on their front fork to make a vrooooom noice

JLRB said...

noise

leroy said...

Out of town, visiting in-laws, missing heat dome.

Did however go for a warmish ride.

Woke up with dog jumping on my chest asking "hot enough for you?"

leroy said...

Bad boy: Perry Rubber Bicycle Shop in Savannah. Next shop rides go out Saturday at 8 am I think. Call them. Several rides, speeds, distances. All but one no drop.

Probably will join them this Saturday. Had fun on two rides with them last year.

Although last year, my dog got in a little misunderstanding while I was out.

In meantime, Beaufort is beautiful. Sure there will be good riding there.

Anonymous said...

Graham looks like an extraterrestrial featured in Barlowes Guide of Extraterrestrials.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/15/f8/fc/15f8fc3e8944294898cef3764db70bfb.jpg

bad boy of the north said...

N/A and Leroy,thanks for the tips.I don't know if i'll get a chance to go for a spin,not with all the boot camp events transpiring.
perhaps,the best I might be able to do is visit those lbs's.
both beaufort and savannah are really beautiful places.

Anonymous said...

I have one of the old Silca floor pumps (and a couple of frame pumps). The pump head has no thumb lock, just a gasket. Rebuildable. Should last forever. A joy to use. Nearly un-obtainium. Do the new ones (with the Jobst Brandt pressure release on the pump head) work better? Buy the old one if you see one at a garage sale.

Vegas said...

California late lunch. Plus, I can't comment on the mobile version? Lanterne Rouge? Wouldn't be the first time.

Wow, robot disproving has gone high-tech.

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