Assorted Links

1. Gary Taubes speaks at Stevens Institute of Technology. This page curiously links to itself.

2. Ticket cameras increase crashes. The opposite of what was promised. They have just been installed in downtown Berkeley.

3. Humor and the boss-employee relationship. Not exactly self-experimentation, but close.

4. Sherwin Nuland on being treated for severe depression. His doctors recommended that Nuland receive a prefrontal lobotomy. A resident said: Let’s try ECT.

Thanks to Dave Lull.

4 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Ticket cameras increase crashes.

    Of course they do — why?

    Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes, not often, it is better/safer to run a red light than to stop for it. When you are driving in that uncertain netherzone, you don’t know long it has been the yellow, and but you know that you cannot safely stop for the red w/u surprising the people behind you. Better to punch it. I am not advocating running reds by any means, but we all know that there are situations where it is very literally safer.

    But here is the irony and second reason that traffic cameras increase crashes: if a cop sees you run a red, your chance that you get a ticket is almost indistinguishable from 100% (unless you are a highly attractive female). If you stop for every red, even in the unsafe situation described above, you will not get a ticket, almost no matter what happens, provided you weren’t speeding. After all, you obeyed the law and stopped for the red.

    Sort of like the unseen hero that NNT describes in the Black Swan, you don’t get credit for preventing an accident, b/c no one saw the accident.

  2. Hi Seth,

    I guess my second reason isn’t really separate from my first. The point is that, while it may be safer in some instances to run a red light, the law doesn’t recognize such an instance i.e. you will always get a ticket for running a red. Therefore, you are incented to stop for every red, even if you know it might cause an accident. You are not rewarded for preventing an accident — because no one will reward you for avoiding an accident that didn’t occur b/c you prevented it. It is invisible (and probably) incomprehensible to 99.99% of people.

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