Yellow high-vis vests for all pedestrians everywhere?

From a thread I stated on the commuting and transport section of boards.ie: The stats could be seen as to suggest pedestrians in urban areas could benefit far, far, far more from high vis than cyclists… so, why isn’t there a push in that direction?

All quotes from the RSA’s Road Collisions Facts 2007 (PDF).

First, the majority of pedestrians were killed in the hours of darkness:

Seven out of 10 pedestrians were killed in the hours of darkness.

And majority were killed inside built up areas:

Fifty-eight per cent of pedestrians were killed inside a built up area.

In actual numbers, pedestrians are massively more at risk than cyclists, and motorcyclists are also notably more at risk than cyclists:

2 in 5 of those who died on our roads in 2007 were vulnerable road users
1 in 5 were pedestrians
3 in 30 were motorcyclists
1 in 30 were pedalcyclists

Also note that 3 in 5 of those who died were not “vulnerable road users” (sic).

So, why are pedestrians not being hounded to wear high vis while walking around town?

Browsers reacting to human error… IE wins!

In Firefox (with the Google tool bar activated), if you enter an address with ” http://” missing the colon mark, you’re redirected to the Wikipidia page which explains Hypertext Transfer Protocol. I was going to put this down to a programmer being smart, but on second thought the browser is likely not seeing past the forward slash, thus just see “http” and searches such.

In Chrome, the browser is programmed as to react to the lack of a http:// so you mistaking end up with, for example, http://http//google.com/

Internet Explore is the nearist to making up for the error of leaving out the colon, it inorges the “http//” and just serches the rest of the address. So, you end up with a google result of the site your were looking for. Althought it should be noted that I reacted with an automatic palm to my face (aka facepalm) when there was a typical slow down using IE compared to the experance of using the other browsers.

discussion streams

face-to-face, phone calls, text messages, discussion boards (boards.ie mainly), private messages on discussion boards, email (gmail for me), gmail chat, notes on Google docs, twitter, blog comments (and blog posts in reply to blog post), facebook/bebo privite and public messages, facebook group pages, facebook item comments, flickr photo comments, flickr photo notes, photo group comments, letters, newspaper letter sections

thinking aloud

Iceland to out do Ireland’s status as the island at the edge of the EU

Or, in other words, Iceland is to join the EU, it’s membership is to be fast tracked in record time, the Guardian had an exclusive* on the story this morning

Iceland will be put on a fast track to joining the European Union to rescue the small Arctic state from financial collapse amid rising expectations that it will apply for membership within months, senior policy-makers in Brussels and Reykjavik have told the Guardian.

I wonder how other countries who are looking to join will view this fast tracking?

* = The Guardian Style Guide says an exclusive is “term used by tabloid newspapers to denote a story that is in all of them.”

Glass journalism

UPDATE: A quick note on this just to be clear: When writing the below, I was thinking about two events I’ve had to deal when others did wrong,  and, I suppose, I was also thinking about events I’ve written about, here. In some of the cases, I’m still unsure if there was wrong doing or not. With both, I’m not recapping here.

Glass journalism. In other words fiction writing posing as journalism. Or, just as bad, adding fiction to otherwise sound journalism.

As I was watching the film on Stephen Glass, Shattered Glass (2003), I think my blood was boiling. Good film. But it brings memories to mind of events I wish I never had to deal with, and can only hope I never have to again.

Outside of serious crime, if there’s one thing I can’t stand is hacks who can’t tell the truth. Or, generally, people who can’t put up their hand and admit guilt, admit they were wrong, or admit they did wrong. Those who dig deeper.

Err.

George W Bush leaving

“We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” says Obama. So, is the Bush admistration scot-free?

George W Bush leaving

Pictured above, President Barack Obama waving good bye to George W Bush who oversaw war crimes and corruption on a massive scale. Money and blood.

John Naughton writes about Obama’s possible first mistake, ‘Coming soon: Obama’s first mistake?‘. Is the new President thinking of letting the Bush administration away with just a bit of a telling off ? And does he have the right to do such?

Naughton points to Paul Krugmanin the NY Times, ‘Forgive and Forget?‘, and Mark Anderson at SNS, ‘The Bush Team: Time for Jail?‘.

So, what has Obama said so-far? Krugmanin writes:

Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

The point is made that the oath Obama made yeasterday is not a conditional one. But further to that, as Krugmain and Anderson point at — is the decision to let the Bush admin away with crimes within Obama’s right to make?

Change in White House foreign policy?

I’m filling the following, a direct copy of the text on whitehouse.gov/agenda/foreign_policy, for future referencing.

I could comment on some points, but — besides it being unfair to do so at this early stage — I’m thinking (maybe even hoping) that these sections are clouded in diplomacy and Obama’s bringing everybody along strategy (for lack of a better phrase before 8am).

Continue reading “Change in White House foreign policy?”

Barack Obama and George W Bush

Calling Bush the worst president adds to collective amnesia

Barack Obama and George W Bush

In the Irish Times ‘Head to Head’  segment yesterday,  Is George W Bush the worst president in US history?, Fintan O’Toole describes why the labelling Bush as the worst president ever has its problems:

The problem is that, in this respect, WPE [worst president ever] misrepresents both the nature of US power and the scale of Obama’s task if he is to bring about real change. Bush was not just a village idiot who captured the most powerful office in the world by some weird fluke. A two-term president, he got elected and re-elected because he spoke to values and attitudes that have deep roots in US culture. He tapped in to a strain of US nationalism that is deeply wedded to violence, power and an urge to dominate at all costs.

US history is shaped in part by idealism, by notions of public virtue and civic engagement, and by magnificent resistance to injustice. It is also shaped by slavery, genocide and a relentlessly expansionist will to power. Bush and his neoconservative ideologues didn’t invent the barbarism long intertwined with US civilisation. There is far more continuity between his and previous presidencies than WPE syndrome imagines.

Even the indisputably great George Washington was known to the Iroquois, as the Seneca chief Cornplanter told him in 1790, as “Town Destroyer”, and, he added, “our children cling to the necks of their mothers” when they heard the name. The equally great Thomas Jefferson created a “civilisation programme” for the Indians which amounted to a choice between adopting European ways or, in effect, being exterminated. The towering Abraham Lincoln, probably the greatest of US presidents, ordered the largest mass execution in US history – of Dakota Indian prisoners – and presided over a concentration camp for the Navajos at Bosque Redondo that made Guantánamo look like Butlins. None of this is to suggest that figures like Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln deserve the same historical obloquy as Bush. But it is important to recognise that every president of the 18th and 19th centuries oversaw the operation of slavery or the Indian genocide or both. Beside these crimes against humanity, even the folly and viciousness of Bush’s invasion of Iraq and sanctioning of torture become less egregious.

Even within the last 40 years, the violations of international law, the US constitution and common decency overseen by other presidents rival, and in some cases outstrip, Bush’s misdeeds. Is the Iraq invasion really worse than the Vietnam War, for which presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon bear responsibility, and in which perhaps a million civilians died? Is it worse than the repression and terror in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile and Argentina, supported, directly and indirectly, by Nixon and Reagan? Is the mendacity that accompanied the Iraq war – which was supported by Congress – a worse abuse of the constitution than Nixon’s secret invasion of Cambodia, without congressional knowledge, in 1970? Is it worse than Reagan’s explicit defiance of Congress in carrying out a secret, parallel foreign policy in the Iran-Contra scandals? Hardly.

Read it all here.