Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Bob's Top Five

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  • Dylan Mordaunt,

    Great post. That video, where things fall over, is impressively elaborate, I can see the appeal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Imma let you finish Bob, but Beyonce has the greatest video of ALL TIME!

    Is the donkey really a unicorn? I've watched it a few times and keep seeing the unicorn.

    I'm glad he likes OK Go! If any band deserves our admiration in their music video making, it's them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yeah, that OK Go Rube Goldberg video is the shit.

    (Also: Bob likes Kim Deal? Bob continues to be awesome.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    I was wondering if Bob had moved on to Woody Guthrie's children's albums, but obviously his tastes are a lot more contemporary these days.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Rube Goldberg

    Heath Robinson!


    This one's for you, Danielle:

    Average Homeboy, Denny "Blazin' Hazen" Haze, 198?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Haven't listened to the piece yet, but cycle helmets really do arouse emotions, don't they?

    Our kids haven't discovered YouTube yet, although I discovered that attendance at primary school these days seems to come with a familiarisation with Abba's greatest hits. Though this is still my children's favourite song:

    Video is a) a static image and b) of the wrong band (the picture's actually of Gogol Bordello, not Leningrad). But the kids love the song; I have it on good authority from a Russian-speaking friend of mine that the song is actually about sniffing glue and contracting gonorrhoea, but it's a top tune.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Hadyn Green wrote:

    Is the donkey really a unicorn? I've watched it a few times and keep seeing the unicorn.

    That is an excellent point! And, apart from his habit of dismantling everything in sight, this may be further indication that Bob will grow up to be an engineer (or a physicist or something else non-unicorny).

    Jake Pollock wrote:

    I was wondering if Bob had moved on to Woody Guthrie's children's albums, but obviously his tastes are a lot more contemporary these days.

    Oh, Bob still likes old-timey music as well. But it tends to have a soporific effect on him, meaning a daytime nap, meaning he won't fall asleep at night until 1 am or some similarly ungodly hour.

    I've updated the original post with a P.S.

    P.S. For those of you requesting more science stuff, I'm now the science correspondent for Nine-to-Noon on Radio New Zealand. You can listen to my first piece here (it's about the science behind the cycle helmet laws and a bit of science history on Project Orion):

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/ntn/2010/06/16/science_-_david_haywood

    Or as an MP3:

    http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20100616-1148-Science_-_David_Haywood-048.mp3

    Feel free to discuss that here, too. FYI I've already had email from a NatRad listener saying that they hope I fall off my bike and die, so there's no need for anyone else to mention this point again (even if you feel that way)!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 988 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    Knowing the often hotly political nature of PA blog topics, I was bracing myself for a scorching essay on Bob Parker, but it's The Return of Bob-the-Boy! Hurrah!!

    Totally with him on the OK GO videos, they are very rewatchable. Does he like their one with the treadmills?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I salute Bob's taste in musical women.

    The Pixies 'Gigantic'

    Oh yes. I read somewhere that it was going to be the album title but was felt not to combine acceptably with the cover art.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm a bit gutted that he put that awful Feist video and song above the Pixies. For a moment there I thought he had taste, Gigantic is a great song from a great band.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    Interesting piece on cycle helmets.

    Regarding force and velocity, isn't the velocity (and mass) of the cars, trucks and buses that might hit you more relevant than your own velocity as you cycle?

    Do you have local figures on cycling? I remember when the cycle-helmet law came in, and my purely-anecdotal feeling is that there are a lot more cyclists on the roads here in Chch now than there were in the late 80s and early 90s.

    I read somewhere that the more safety features a car has, the more recklessly people are prepared to drive it.

    However, I will sure as hell be always wearing my helmet, law or no law. I well remember the time I lent my bike to a friend and couldn't immediately find my helmet, and she said, "don't worry I'll be fine", and I said "no, no, I'll find it"; I did find it and she put it on, and five minutes down the road she was hit by a car pulling out, and hit the road with her head. She was badly concussed, but without the helmet it would have been a lot worse.

    Helmet-hair is a problem, paticularly for those of us with long hair who like to put it up, but I'd rather have that than, uh, a hole in the head. :-)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Philip Challinor,

    I've already had email from a NatRad listener saying that they hope I fall off my bike and die, so there's no need for anyone else to mention this point again

    I am less disturbed by the cycling business than by the fact that (a) this is a toddler post with multiple YouTube clips, and more emphatically (b) this is a toddler post with multiple YouTube clips and it's the one you didn't get cold feet about. So as far as my hopes go, falling off your bike is optional.

    London, England • Since Sep 2009 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Feel free to discuss that here, too. FYI I've already had email from a NatRad listener saying that they hope I fall off my bike and die, so there's no need for anyone else to mention this point again (even if you feel that way)

    There is definitely something about helmet discussions that bring out very strong emotions in people. I'm always fascinated by the fact that helmet-discussions on BoingBoing nearly always turn into the most vicious ones.

    Personally I never wore I cycle helmet till I came to NZ and if it wasn't the law I wouldn't bother.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    That Average Homeboy video is seriously disturbing, how far can you take "Just doesn't get it"?

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4896 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    WRT the cycle helmet thing, are there examples of countries revoking a helmet law and the number of cyclists increasing?

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    this is a toddler post with multiple YouTube clips and it's the one you didn't get cold feet about. So as far as my hopes go, falling off your bike is optional.

    I'd have thought you'd be most upset about the cunning and villainous way you were forced to read it against your will.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Congrats on the radio gig!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Philip Challinor,

    I'd have thought you'd be most upset about the cunning and villainous way you were forced to read it against your will.

    I wasn't forced. Like all censorious persons, I subjected myself to the ordeal in a voluntary spirit of principled self-sacrifice.

    London, England • Since Sep 2009 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    Hooray for Bob.

    re: helmets and your new science gig on teh wireless... I disagree with the conclusion (some discussion here;
    http://www.vorb.org.nz/concrete-evidence-that-helmet-laws-more-harm-than-good-t107279.html )

    ...but very glad to see more science discussed in more places more often!

    Hooray for David!

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    "Oh, that was easy, said Man, and for an encore proved that black was white, and got killed on the next zebra crossing."
    -HHGTTG.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Grace Dalley wrote:

    Regarding force and velocity, isn't the velocity (and mass) of the cars, trucks and buses that might hit you more relevant than your own velocity as you cycle?

    Yes, you're right, it is. But cycle helmets aren't designed to protect you under such circumstances.

    Here's an article about cycle helmet testing by Brian Walker, whose company 'Head Protection Evaluations' is the principal UK test laboratory for helmets and head protection systems.

    He notes that:

    Cycle helmets are primarily designed for falls without any other vehicle involved. In many legal cases I have studied where a cyclist was in collision with a motorised vehicle, the impact energy potentials were of a level that outstripped those that we use to certify Grand Prix motor racing helmets.

    The full article is here.

    It's fascinating reading, although I chose to focus the radio discussion on the very solid evidence about the negative health consequences of our compulsory cycle helmet laws -- rather than the much more contentious arguments about whether cycle helmets themselves actually work.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 988 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Heather Gaye wrote:

    WRT the cycle helmet thing, are there examples of countries revoking a helmet law and the number of cyclists increasing?

    As far as I can ascertain, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel are the only countries with compulsory cycle helmet laws.

    Israel is currently in the throes of revoking their compulsory cycle helmet law (the repeal bill passed its first reading in February). If this goes through then I guess we'll have some data to answer your question.

    In Israel, as elsewhere, the debate is basically between the A&E people who claim that helmets reduce individual injuries, and the statisticians who appear to be able to prove that the law has had a detrimental effect on the overall health of society. The A&E argument is very easy to follow and intuitive; the statistical argument difficult to follow and anti-intuitive.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 988 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The A&E argument is very easy to follow and intuitive; the statistical argument difficult to follow and anti-intuitive.

    Does the statistical argument look at severity of injuries, or just number?

    The latter obviously says something about our society and how people behave on bikes and in cars, the former says something about what happens when people fall off bikes with or without a helmet, they're curiously related but different bits of data.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Does the statistical argument look at severity of injuries, or just number?

    I think the best paper that I've looked at (de Jong, 2009) was a cost benefit analysis. It concluded that: "... only under extreme, theoretical circumstances do mandatory helmet laws not end up costing the healthcare system."

    As you suggest, the two sides of the argument are about entirely different things, which could be summarized:

    1. If you've just had a bicycle accident and you're flying through the air, is it better to be wearing a helmet?

    2. Do compulsory helmet laws have a net beneficial effect on the overall health of society?

    The answers according to the science appear (to me) to be:

    1. YES (probably -- or, at any rate, I wear a helmet myself)

    2. NO, QUITE THE OPPOSITE (almost certainly)

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 988 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Good to know that the science, at first glance, contradicts :)

    So the best of both worlds is to have everyone wearing a helmet, but have that helmet not affect their behaviour, or the behaviour of motorists? (just their hair).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

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