Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to BenWilson,

    They would simply put into the terms and conditions of the service that it was the responsibility of the cyclist to obey the laws

    Yeah I agree, but the reasoning is the inconvenience of carrying a helmet is enough to make folks not use the service at all. So not the liability issue - but just the expectation that the uptake would be so low as to make the business not viable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run, in reply to BenWilson,

    Do warriors really need to have a culture dedicated to glorification of killing?

    No they don't and really we'd hope they don't.

    But most humans are really shit at killing humans. So one of the most difficult things about making a soldier is training humans to be willing and able to kill. Modern tech helps distance soldiers from the people they kill but it isn't enough. Essentially, if you want a group of soldiers to be effective then you need to select and then train them to kill. And even then a huge proportion of them suffer major mental health problems as a result.

    Because soldiers are really not representative of society we need to make sure they don't make the decisions about when they should be applied to a given problem. That decision must be in the hands of people who can make that decision balancing the values and needs of our society.

    Sadly our government seems to have failed us in that latter step.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    Heh wouldn't it be funny if the helmet law got repealed to allow a bike sharing company to start up

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run, in reply to Neil,

    We can choose to become involved or not but it's a choice we have to make. Not becoming involved doesn't necessarily absolve us of moral responsibility. And determining just who is "other" might not be straight foward.

    For me the issue is not that we become involved but rather that we use our military to become involved.

    By it's nature the military will kill people. History tells us that every time we send the military anywhere incidents will occur that we all will be ashamed of. Sometimes the need is so great that we accept that cost.

    But at no point should anyone ever say
    "gosh I didn't expect soldiers to commit atrocities"
    because that's what happens when you people with that training and that mindset into situations like that.

    It's not something specific to New Zealand or Afghanistan. It is true of every military everywhere and every conflict ever.

    That is why the decision to send military forces should be the action of absolute last resort and considered with the utmost caution and in full knowledge that bad things will happen and for some of those our forces will be to blame.

    Sadly our MPs did not really understand that.

    Note this isn't a criticism of the NZSAS or the soldiers involved. There is simply no way I can at my computer fully empathise with the situation they were in. The problem is at a much higher level.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run,

    Quoting from Danyl Mclauchlan's review of the book

    ...when the inevitable moral compromises, blunders, pointless atrocities and general horrors of warfare unfold

    My father fought in WW2, I know almost nothing of what he experienced because I don't think he was ever capable of really describing it. But I got the very real sense that things happened that were horrific and perhaps that some of those things were his actions, as a soldier and in the resistance.

    None of this is new. When you train men (and women) to set aside their natural morality and humanity and teach them how to kill and maim other humans and then you send them to places that are at war - then atrocities are inevitable. It's happened in every war or conflict.

    I'm not saying we should yawn and move on. There is no question that if a war crime has been committed we need to know.

    But much more important is learning that we should resist at all costs the temptation to send soldiers to fight wars or peacekeep or whatever it is they call it. Sometimes there will be no alternative, and then you have to expect terrible things to happen. Fathers will come home with nightmares and unable to speak about what they experienced, or worse, did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    The probability that the de Jong model represents reality is about zero according to my back of the envelope calculation.

    How the hell would you know - you didn't read the paper

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Correct me if I'm wrong

    You are wrong. Utterly wrong. So wrong you should slap yourself in embarrassment.

    You cannot just read an abstract of such a paper and expect to understand what is being said.

    The authors build a comprehensive model including all the variables discussed here (and more) and then run the model for a range of assumptions for those variables including estimates of those variables based on data from a bunch of countries.

    If you'd actually read the paper you'd know the authors discuss and account for substitution of exercise so your little rant about the paper shouldn't have been published because you thought of something - is just silly especially because you couldn't be bothered reading the paper.

    The short conclusion is
    Unless you assume helmets completely eliminate head injuries
    the law causes a 100% uptake of helmets (from 0 to 100%)
    there is no effect on cycling numbers from the law

    then in all cases the model shows a negative health outcome from the helmet law

    For all reasonable assessments of the variables in the model (based on data from a range of countries) a helmet law is a massive negative health outcome.

    Frankly at this point Kevin you sound like a climate change denier "ooo a mathematical model that can't be any good" as if maths and risk analysis wasn't a real science.

    If you can't be bothered reading the literature before you criticise it, you really are just a troll.

    Sorry folks this kind of stuff pisses me off and I'm already tired and grumpy so sorry if this come across too strong for the one or two still reading - but I spend way too much time defending science against drivel like Kevin's to have much patience any more. FFS "I didn't read the paper but the authors are still wrong" grrrr.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    So I searched the Cochrane reviews for a complete unbiased meta-analysis, and found two that seem relevant.

    Which is fine except that their only assessment is from 2008.

    I'm not sure why you are unwilling to accept recent risk analysis work as evidence. The maths is straightforward, unless you make extraordinary assumptions then then cycle helmet laws have a negative public health outcome.

    It essentially means this discussion can go no further. Which is fine, I think every opinion and reckon has been shared by now and there are plenty of links to data in this thread now for people to read.

    It does seem odd that no one else had hit the Cochrane button :-)

    It's not a very useful source outside medical research and definitely not useful for someone used to reading scientific literature directly (providing you have access to that literature) - also my opinion of it is coloured by knowing some of the people who've ended up working there. It does a good job in fields where publications are often ... er ... less well peer-reviewed and it is targeted at a lay audience which is helpful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Which study do you think I should read?

    Read de jong 2012

    It's Australian so very similar to NZ and relatively straightforward analysis. If you want to go further you can dig through papers that it cites and papers that cite it but you'd probably need some academic access.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to linger,

    I'm not convinced that repealing the law now would undo the damage anywhere near as quickly. There's causation as well as correlation -- but there's also path-dependence.

    Actually I agree.

    But, if you view the law as an experiment designed to reduce harm, then it didn't work. Quite spectacularly.

    If you view all such laws as experiments, then it really is time to try something different that might work better.

    Ideally you'd state what you were aiming to achieve with your new experiment and you'd set in place objective measures that could be used to assess the success or otherwise of any such experiment ...

    But that would be like, evidence based policy.

    To circle back to the OP one thing you could try would be a campaign to try and encourage more people to cycle and emphasize just how safe and good cycling really is. With the aim of increasing the percentage of cyclists and reducing the rate of accidents (by increasing the number of cyclists). Those are two fairly easy things to measure to test the value of the campaign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

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