Saturday, December 09, 2006

U of Michigan Students Campaign for .. Butt Cleavage?

I hope this story is a hoax. Otherwise, I get to play grumpy alumnus and wonder what's going on at the old school.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A bicycle hearse is inevitable.

"there is something a bit sad about bikers being carried off in the back of an estate car."

With that attitude, "
the Faster Pastor. Motorcycle-mad minister Paul Sinclair has built what he has hailed to be the world's fully enclosed sidecar hearse."

Holy Rollers: the many sides of bicycling in New York

Ben McGrath in the New Yorker profiles Critical Mass a bit, some people who
are sick of bicyclists on the sidewalk, and more:

There's this interesting choice point, albeit a bit dramatic:

"Bernardin used to ride a bike,... Then, about ten years ago, he was riding
north on Sixth Avenue, "doing everything legal," he says, when another biker
came tearing around the corner, "illegally," at Twenty-second Street and
clipped him; he spilled, and barely missed having his head crushed by a
passing car.

The incident could be a Rorschach for civic activists. To a cycling
advocate, what's salient is the fact that Bernardin was nearly killed by an
automobile. Bernardin, however, saw two agents obeying the traffic
laws-himself and the car driver-and a third who, by flouting them,
introduced the element of danger."

I'm not sure this is much of a Rorschach: can this be seen as anything other than an asshole cyclist almost getting another cyclist seriously injured?

The article is a worthwhile look at the attitudes of those we might not encounter on a day to day basis.

I've often thought of curb cuts as a generally bad thing, and spent some cycling time trying to think of other alternatives that would be useful for wheelchairs, baby strollers and the like but prevent 15 mph cyclists from acting like idiots with the right of way. (A good rule: little old ladies over 80 get the right of way no matter WHERE they are!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bicycle Logistics

There are some great pictures of bicycles being used to carry things at this link:

When my daughter and I were in Cambodia, we rented bikes for two days around Angor Wat, and saw similar creative uses of bicycles, although none quite some impressive as some of these.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

WSJ: Urinalysis Test Faulty

The first statement of an athlete accused of doping is to claim innocence, which is often a lie. But the first impulse of the testers is to claim infallibility, and that’s often a lie as well. Here’s the saga of a urinalysis test for alcohol from the Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2006. This isn’t the test involved in the Floyd Landis case, but it’s instructive about the politics of drug testing.

The EtG test is widely used to screen for alcohol use, particularly among people with past histories of alcohol abuse who need to demonstrate that they haven’t been backsliding. But alcohol metabolizes quickly. The EtG test looks for ethyl glucuronide, “a unique metabolite of alcohol that stays in urine for up to 80 hours – four times as long as does alcohol itself. ... The wider window of detection made EtG an instant hit with drug courts, professional licensing boards and other agencies ...and an instant star of the urine-testing industry, which is performing tens of thousands of EtG tests per month in the U.S.”

However, the test can be set off by the use of hand sanitizers or alcohol-containing foods or medicines, or even “a carton of apple juice left too long in the refrigerator”, persuading “even the scientist who pioneered EtG screening in America that the test is prone to so-called false positives.”

Did the testing companies care? “Even after the evidence emerged that the EtG test could detect incidental exposure ... many urine-testing firms continued marketing the screen as definitive proof... Some continue to do so. ‘EtG is not detectable... unless an alcoholic beverage has been consumed,’ says the Web site of ...AccuDiagnostics... [which] attributes that claim to toxicologists at laboratories to which it outsources its samples.”

The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has issued a warning saying that the EtG test isn’t perfect.

For a variety of information about the Floyd Landis case, try

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So, just how drunk is this bicyclist?

I'm guessing he's riding a bike in the first place because his drivers' license was removed for drunk driving.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Floyd Landis Does Rap Video

Not, of course, the real Floyd Landis.
It has a few good moments.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Choosing to take this as a compliment

"... theoretical physics is the cheapest of endeavors. Its practitioners require no expensive equipment. All they need is legal pads and pencils and blackboards and chalk to ply their trade, plus room and board and health insurance and a place to park their bikes. "

(via Jim Holt in the New Yorker, this is a direct quote from Lee Smolin's book, “The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next” (Houghton Mifflin; $26)

This is perhaps a homage to the famous picture of Einstein on a bicycle.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Accident Victim Back At NU - City

Accident Victim Back At NU - City: "The yellow Hummer knocked her down but didn't take her out. Weinberg senior Archana Sriram, the victim of a hit-and-run accident last February, is back on campus. "

So, the motorist who didn't stop and ran her down DID get away with assault with a deadly weapon. The article reports police have basically given up finding him.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Previous blog entries

This blog was moved from my earlier blog on AOL journals.

I'm moving it here because AOL seems to have created this capability in response to competition, but then just let it sit there. Images aren't handled very well, and no new features have been added since the initial roll.

I'm also separating this into two blogs: bicycling (this blog) and everything else, which is mostly comments on news, statistics, politics and the occasional joke. That's "Truncated Thoughts" at