The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recently funded a Virginia Tech study on why motorcyclists crash. Hundreds of cameras were placed on bikes, recording a wide variety of riders every move.
We drop our bikes more than we'd like to admit.
The folks at Revzilla read the 20 page report and summed it up nicely.
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We complain all the time about other people on the road trying to kill us, especially cars pulling into our paths. The VTTI study partially backs that up. Of the 99 crashes and near-crashes involving another vehicle, the three categories of other vehicles crossing the rider’s path add up to 19.
Here’s the surprise, however. What’s the most common scenario? Riders hitting (or nearly hitting) another vehicle from behind. There were 35 of those incidents. Are we really almost twice as likely to plow into a stopped car in front of us as to have someone pull into our path? Or should we write this off as the result of a small sample size?
Maybe there are clues in the risk section. Researchers tried to break down rider behavior in crashes and near-crash incidents into two categories: aggressive riding or rider inattention or lack of skills. The cameras and other data helped determine, for example, if the rider ran the red light because of inattention or aggressive riding.
The study found that aggressive riding increased risk by a factor of 18 while inattention or lack of skill increased it by a factor of nine. Combine the two, and odds of an incident increased by 30.
Netflix brings us a prequel series to the Jim Henson Company's epic The Dark Crystal.
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Strategically placed to survive any natural disaster, this winter's rains flooded the arctic seed bank. The bank wasn't destroyed, but it shows how fast things are a changing.
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It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.
The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.
But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.
Via Myoshka. This is a lovely collection. Read the rest
The Twisty Glass Blunt is powerful. If you are anything like me, you'll likely need some replacement glass tubes for when you've gotten too twisty, but want to keep on twisting.
I broke my TGB on day one. I was so "overwhelmed,' I dropped it 2-3 hours into Twisty Glass Blunt ownership. I was heartbroken. The TGB and I had just been introduced, but luckily Amazon was there to deliver two replacement tubes lickety split! These tubes fit, come with extra o-ring, cleaning tools, and rubber end caps! Huzzah!
The Twisty Glass Blunt is an amazing smoking device. A fully loaded TGB should more than last all day at a rock festival, or company off-site. You pack an awful lot of weed into the glass tube, and use the corkscrew to remove the ash and advance good weed to the fore. Not only does it eliminate the need to constantly pack bowls, or roll joints, the TGB makes sure every hit is fresh, green weed.
The Twisty Glass Blunt also fits most bong bowls perfectly.
Twisty Glass Blunt via the Boing Boing Store
Twisty Glass Replacement 2 pack via Amazon Read the rest
The best part of waking up... Read the rest
National Security Sharer H.R. McMaster's overnight flip from denying the Washington Post story about Comrade President sharing classified data with the Russians during his job interview last week, to calling this blunder critical for national security is par for course.
It is now far easier to trust just about anyone other than the White House.
Slate tears into the logic of trusting the White House:
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The Post’s sources have made factual allegations that can be checked. The administration hasn’t.
Contrast this record with the administration’s response. The White House has released three statements. McMaster says the Post story, “as reported, is false,” but he doesn’t debunk any specific claim in the story. He says “it didn’t happen,” but he doesn’t say what “it” is. The empirical claims he makes—for example, that “at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed”—are compatible with the Post report, which alleges not that sources and methods were explicitly discussed, but that they were inadvertently exposed by Trump’s disclosures.
The other two statements released by the White House are equally hollow. Dina Powell, the White House deputy national security adviser, says: “This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.” Again, the factual claim fits the Post story, and the denial is too vague to check. A third statement, issued by Tillerson, doesn’t even say the Post story is false. It just says the people in the meeting “did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”
To be fair, that last claim by Tillerson is falsifiable.
Much to the delight of sick and twisted people everywhere the Amazing Johnathan is touring again! Next weekend he'll be in Riverside, California at Beyond Brookledge!
Magician Johnathan Szeles is one of the most talented, brilliantly funny, brutally ascerbic, fantastically creative people alive -- and boy are we glad he still is! In 2014 Johnathan retired from magic and gave up performing. Poor circulation led doctors to give him 18 months to live. Here we are 36 months later, and every time I've seen Johnathan over the last few years he looks better and better.
Johnathan and his absolute rockstar wife Anastasia both love performing at Beyond Brookledge, which is perhaps the greatest 3 days of magic and variety planned in any calendar year. You'll be wowed by both their performances next weekend!
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Visual, recording and generally some-kinda artist Tim Barrett has just released a titular new track entitled They Call Me Hobo. I call him Tim.
The Hobo also shares a wonderful series of images juxaposing historic figures and pussy hats, created in the name of resistance. Just look at Melania glower!
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There are few possessions I've held on to like my Remington Rand De Luxe Porta 5. I've been trying to fix it, it mostly works kind of/sort of. OK, I give up. Read the rest
These beautiful Day of the Dead playing cards could be none more black.
Poker sized and made of PVC plastic to allow for the throwing, these cards are absolutely beautiful.
Black Playing Cards - Day of the Dead Edition by Gent Supply Co via Amazon Read the rest
This is why I'll never be able to cast a powerful magic spell by concentrating hard. Read the rest
Scientists have found fossils of an ankylosaur they've named Zuul. Perhaps this dinosaur slept above the sheets.
Via the LA Times:
Someone call the Ghostbusters: Scientists have discovered a new species of horned, club-tailed dinosaur with a spooky resemblance to the monstrous demigod Zuul, one of the villains of the 1984 movie.
The ankylosaur, described in Royal Society Open Science, could shed light on the surprising diversity of these creatures near the end of the age of dinosaurs.
Zuul crurivastator’s scaly body stretched some 20 feet long, with an impressive tail that took up half that length. Its tail was lined with forbidding spikes and ended in a sledgehammer-like club. Two horns sat on its skull right behind the eyes, giving it a very Zuul-like look that inspired the genus name.
Similarly, I call my Cavalier King Charles by "Zuul" as well. Read the rest
A Somali-American community has been struck with an outbreak of the measles in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Dr. Mahab Ururshe struggles to convince recent emigres that austism is not a result of the vaccine.
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Dr. Mahab Ururshe, a pediatrician at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, is originally from Somalia and says he still sees many parents afraid of vaccines, even though numerous studies have shown no link between autism and vaccines.
The parents say, "I know measles, I have had it and my mom had it -- better to have measles than autism," Ururshe told ABC News.
In order to convince some parents that vaccines are safe, Ururshe has spent long periods of time explaining that studies have found no link between vaccines and autism. He also has to point out that the disease can be deadly and that, in Somalia, there was no accurate data compiled about measles complications.
Severe complications from measles include pneumonia and inflammation of the brain and a condition called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) that is fatal and more common in infants, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates one to two of every 1,000 infected children dies from the disease.
Ururshe also tells parents that despite dramatically lowered rates of vaccination in the Somali community in recent years, rates of autism have continued to rise. While parents often believe him, Ururshe said some remain too frightened to act.