One teenager kills 4 people while driving drunk, and the judge concludes that “the programs available in the Texas juvenile justice system may not provide the kind of intensive therapy the teen could receive at a rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif., that was suggested by his defense attorneys. The parents would pick up the tab for the center, at a cost of more than $450,000 a year for treatment.”
The other teenager writes something stupid on Facebook and goes to jail for five months. His parents can’t post the $500,000 bond (who could?) I don’t think there has been a trial yet (which shouldn’t even be held)
The way copyrights have been set up is that the rights that are granted are good for a number of years past the author’s death. Creative works are generally thought to be created by real people. It wouldn’t make sense in a macabre way to have these rights terminate when the author dies, since they can be quite valuable.
On the other hand, another motivation for such a rule is also presented: this way artists can provide for their family and children after their death; the heirs inherit the copyrights and can enjoy some income from the license fees for some definite time after. Many careers, types of work, and businesses are like that: an “asset” is built up over time, which can be passed on independently of who started it, with much effort, presumably.
So a taxi driver might pass on their business when they cannot work anymore, or a plumber. For the taxi driver, the asset would be the business licenses and the car, for the plumber mostly the list of clients, possibly the store. It’s not completely fair, in a way, since a bus driver wouldn’t have much to pass on, or a teacher.
Now, one of the annoying things in the world of copyrights is that governments keep extending the terms (US, Europe).
I find this interferes with the heir-motivation. Here’s my thinking:
When I buy let’s say a book or music CD, it comes with copyrights, and these rights are set to expire. At the time they expire, my heirs will have rights with regards to the book or music CD. Be it to publicly perform the work, to reproduce it, distribute it, or create derivative works. All those rights are taken away by these extensions.
Let me start with mentioning that I’m writing this post on March 24, 2013. This kind of stuff is sure to change over time.
One of the things about the Internet is that it doesn’t have location built in. You don’t get to know where someone was when they wrote you an email, website operators don’t get to know where their visitors are when they visit the site. People don’t get to know where the craigslist servers are which put all those bytes together that make up a listing, and so on, and so on.
So people try to approximate. Because it is deemed to be useful information: country, region, city, latitude, longitude, ZIP code, time zone data and more. Even if it is not absolutely reliable, you can still derive some information, some picture. Different services are available, some free, some quite inexpensive, and some quite expensive. Most come in a form of a database file that you download, after paying for a license to use the data. Periodic updates to the database are made available. Web services are also available; this is where an IP address is submitted, over the Internet itself, to the service provider, and they immediately respond with their location data for this address. You can read more about IP Address Location at wikipedia.
Of course, these services don’t work when people use so called proxies and VPN‘s. In fact, proxies are set up precisely for the purpose of fooling services which are ordinarily restricted by location (e.g. for accessing Netflix or Spotify from non-US locations) into handing over the goods. Such proxies are not particularly costly to use.
Now, when you look at determining location for mobile devices, these models become quite questionable. Surely the network is not aligned with city boundaries, and surely a mobile device’s Internet address does not change smoothly as you move about. Of course, you can move faster than a database update.
So I thought I’d try out different IP Address location services – with my mobile device, using the “Data Plan,” not our home’s router or Wifi. I was in Vancouver, British Columbia, most definitely, the whole time.
Vancouver, BC (this is said to be based on the free version of MaxMind, the paid version of which placed me in Toronto)
“Location: … actually we haven’t a clue.”
So, you see, some got it right, and some did not. (I didn’t even bother to read or record the latitude/longitude that were given in some cases.)
I walk my daughters to school, once or twice a week (my partner takes them on the other days). It’s ten blocks. They wake up early, so it’s mostly a stroll, no rush; about ten blocks through the quiet side streets.
On the way back I take a different route, along the busy Hastings Street in East Vancouver.
Three times in the last few months, an accident happened at the intersection with Kamloops Street. Car crashes. The first one was while I was at the intersection, talking to a friend at the traffic light.
The third one was the most severe. It happened yesterday, January 11, 2012; this time I had a camera with me:
Hastings Street goes from left to right in this picture, and Kamloops from the top to bottom-left; top is South, right is East. The “other car” had already been moved out of the intersection. Here’s a Streetview link.
I don’t know if anyone was hurt. There was an ambulance, but no movement around it.
All three accidents happened when the 3-lane traffic along Hastings is stopped through a traffic light, so that pedestrians can cross, and cars can cross that are going along Kamloops Street. The cars coming from Kamloops/South collide with cars going East on Hastings. Either the Kamloops cars cross too early or too late, or the Hastings cars ignore/fail to notice the traffic light. I don’t really know.
Now with passing this intersection twice a week over ca. 12 weeks (school started in September), and coming across 3 accidents, it seemed to me the other 3 days of a week should generate the same number of accidents, so it would come to 3 (accidents) * 3 (other days) / 2 (“my” days) = 4.5 “other accidents”, for a total of 7.5 accidents in ca. 3 months. Statisticians will probably point out that this is not a good estimate. But let’s make it 7 accidents in 3 months, or 7 *4 = 28 accidents in a year.
Statistics / Mapped
That seemed like a lot to me. So I asked another friend if he knows where to get more definite statistics from the city. He pointed me to one of his contacts, who in turn remembered a recent map put together by Eric Promislow:
It displays accident counts by intersection for the City of Vancouver, for the years 2006 to 2010. He obtained the numbers from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) – who get the reports from the police.
Nicely done, Eric.
So, for the intersection of Hastings Street and Kamloops Street, there were 117 collisions reported between 2006 and 2010. By year, the counts break down like this:
So, a more or less regular pattern. One collision roughly every two weeks, for the last 4 years. Predictable. Regular. If you take a look at Eric’s map, you’ll see there are quite a lot of intersections with even more collisions. (In fact, just one block west on Hastings Street, the intersection with Nanaimo Street has many more accidents: 300 for the period, but I never saw anything of those.)
It almost looks like the only ones to be surprised about any of those collisions would be the participants, bystanders and witnesses. When I mentioned the first two accidents to some friends from the area, they said, yes, there are crashes there “all the time.”
Now my calculation from above looks spot-on: I estimated 28 accidents for 2011, and there were 27 recorded for 2010. But all accidents that I counted occurred around 9 o’clock in the morning, since I was walking home from the school.
Do the accidents at the intersection of Hastings and Kamloops Street occur mostly around 9 o’clock?
Do the morning accidents at the intersection of Hastings and Kamloops Street occur mostly when a car crosses from the South along Kamloops, and the other car is going East on Hastings?
Do intersections with a similar number of collisions have anything in common? What kinds of commonalities?
Does it make sense to blame the accidents only on the individuals involved?
Does the City of Vancouver track this data and analyze for prevention?
Does the City of Vancouver carry any responsibility?
What aspects of an intersection can be improved?
How many hours of additional driver training reduce the number of accidents by how much (regular training, one-time training)?
How many km/h of speed limit reduction result in which reduction in the number of accidents?
About point 3: due to the large numbers of existing collision-prone intersections, and the predictability of collisions occuring, if indeed commonalities exist then one can try out different strategies to lower the numbers, and compare what works and what doesn’t, for example with A/B Testing. Better than doing nothing (my impression). Especially if you think across several cities. I’m not aware of this happening.
Another friend of mine pointed out that causing an accident is not (even) considered a crime. I think that would go a bit far, mainly because establishing who is at cause is quite difficult. But I think it’s worth noting: causing damage, and potentially traumatizing, if not physically hurting, innocent bystanders is actually legally sanctioned to that degree. The proven (proven by statistics such as these) risks are accepted or better, ignored by car drivers.
On the other hand, if 6. was legally accepted, and the City of Vancouver would have to pay for their share of responsibility in a lot of the accidents, I think it would not be able to afford keeping the streets open.
Also, thinking further about this I noticed that car insurance companies are compromised in the sense that for them, the more accidents, the better: more business, more revenue, more stability, more profits. As far as I know, in British Columbia, ICBC is not privately owned and controlled, so that should help working these problems out.
You know what? I just realized, there were two other accidents on the other side of the intersection in the last few days. But I came across these when picking up my daughters from school, on the way home, so shortly after 3 o’clock. This is getting a bit much. And 2011 looks even worse for this intersection, because my estimate should be based on higher observation counts.
Two or three summers ago, we had problems with mice in our house. We have a live trap, sometimes it works. When there are not too many mice, it is quite all right.
I usually get the task to empty it, which is not much of a big deal. I take it to a sports field that is half a block away. After opening the trap, the mouse jumps out. The first two times, crows snatched up the mouse pretty quickly. So now I usually stay around for a while, and the mouse manages to disappear in the gras.
This time, while I was waiting, a man came by, walking his dog. He asked, so I explained, yes, it’s a mouse trap.
He became really angry. i was shocked, because to me it was all really harmless. He asked whether I knew that dogs use the field. He asked if he should call the police. I said yes, since he was pretty intimidating in his anger. Of course, he didn’t. I didn’t know what he was so angry about, I was just glad when he finally left.
Funny thing, and I did notice something odd during this confrontation, when I returned home with the trap, I thought to check it, and actually, yes, the mouse had returned to the trap.
I took it back right away (Mr. Angry wasn’t around anymore).
Later, thinking this over, the only explanation I came up with was that I never mentioned to him that it was a live trap; he may have thought it is a glue trap, or some kind of poison trap. I guess, in his mind, he would not like his dog to sniffle into one of those. So, at the time, using one of those was quite outside of my horizon. At the same time I think a live trap was completely outside of his horizon. Hence the dispute.
The live trap didn’t work well enough. After a few months we got an exterminator to help.
He was a nice man, and we had a friendly conversation about mice and this and that, so at the end I thought I’d ask him a question that I had been wondering about, especially with the saying in mind, “building a better mouse trap”: What would he think a mouse trap designed by Steve Jobs would look like?
He said, “Oh, the guy who does Microsoft?”
Well, no, that’s not who I meant. I think that would be quite a horrible trap. Spreading virusses comes to mind.
Quite a while later, I told an acquaintance about the exterminator and the Steve Jobs disconnect. She was super excited about the idea of a mouse trap designed by Steve Jobs himself. She said, it would be so nice and elegant, youwould want to put one in every room of your home.
A few years ago, returning from a bar (quite a while after midnight) and smoking a last cigarette on the porch of our home, I noticed a man walking in the middle of the street. Wearing a reflective west, and carrying a hockey stick, he kept saying “One, two, three, four, five, six , seven, eight, nine, ten, Push!” One word per step. This is in the dark, nothing else really going on in the neighbourhood.
I call him the One-Two-Three man. No-one else I asked knew about him, and I never saw him anywhere else.
But one day we were selling something through craigslist. I forgot what it was; it wasn’t anything special. The One-Two-Three man came to buy it!
I asked him about his “walks”. I think he said he couldn’t sleep, or wanted to lose weight.
Saw him yesterday again. (Except, this time there was no bar involved)