did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Guest Post - Jetpack!

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I agree that the essay is slightly disjointed, but I thought the two closing quotations did a good job of tying the threads together and capturing the tension he is interested in.

In high school, I got to take a class in military history and strategy taught by a military vet. This was during the opening days of the Iraq War; combat was on most everyone's mind. While debating the merits of the conflict, a classmate brought up the all volunteer status of America's military that these men and women had signed up for combat. I'll never forget how Mr. Mills, a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, answered: "I can personally guarantee that no 18-year old private has the vaguest understanding of what they agreed to."

And

In late July, two boxers died within the same week from injuries sustained while fighting. When I asked Earl Harris, an aspiring professional boxer in New York City, if any trainer had ever made it explicitly clear that he could die from injuries sustained in the ring, he thought for a second before answering, "No, and it's kinda fucked up that they don't!"

I read those as pointing out that (a) informed consent is necessary but always incomplete and (b) that there are a significant number of activities which prompt these questions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:36 AM
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Scorsese was not--and still is not--a fan of sports or boxing, which he describes as boring. When he saw the blood-soaked sponges being dipped in a bucket, he recalls thinking to himself, 'And they call this sport.'


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:52 AM
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Says the guy who directed The Big Shave


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:58 AM
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They probably had to call it Medium because the more apt Tedium was already taken.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:06 AM
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My grandma had a joke which was just the following: "Tedium, tedium, tedium. Tediumtediumtedium."

I think the joke is that the last three sound like giddy-up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:09 AM
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And yet! I love a good fight movie. I'm fascinated by surfing and climbing. The few moments of real danger I've had in my life were also exhilarating.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:23 AM
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I am so very far from the type of person who finds physical risks exhilarating.

I think there's a big difference between the adrenaline you get from physical activity, and that you get from physical risk. I mean, tennis and fencing (to pick two) involve minimal risk of physical harm, but there's still definitely a rush from the competitive, combative aspect.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:45 AM
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I like sports and exercising adrenaline. Just not risk of injury adrenaline.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:53 AM
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Either I don't like that writer's style or my attention span has suffered horribly over the last few years, because I thought it was really rambling and took way too long to get to the point, and also seemed to take too much background for granted. (I think I've made a similar complaint before. I have to admit the strong possibility that the problem is on my end.) It took me way too long to figure out that there were two dead paramotorists being discussed, one who died in/around 2016 and one who died 3 weeks ago. It seems to rely on a YouTube video about Jeff Toll, and this too may be a matter of taste but I just skip right past those. I gather that Ernie is the editor but I don't know anything else about him, nor why I should care. And when publishing a long article about an extreme sport, if the first third of the article is about how the writer of the article met the editor, the editor is bad at his job.

To their credit, I appreciated the line, "Paramotoring is not an activity anyone just falls into," and the byline, "Your time was just wasted by Andrew Egan". I can't say the name of the Web site wasn't a warning.

At this point I've gone from disliking the writer to questioning my attention span back to disliking the writer. The rambling seems more and more like a deliberate choice. Fuck them.

Me and physical activity and danger... eh. I bike because it's good for me and an efficient way to get around, and occasionally I'm a tiny bit proud of it, but in the end it's just a tool. Other than biking, the last time I deliberately did anything physical and dangerous was probably snowboarding, over 10 years ago. I like my recreation low-impact.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:20 AM
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A pretty good fraction of my moments of real danger were closely succeeded by injury.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:37 AM
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10: If they weren't, it wouldn't be real danger.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:38 AM
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An article about the author writing a previous article. I read the previous article also and it was a bit better but rather sparse considering the subject matter, which could easily have been expanded into at least a couple thousand words.

The original article compares paramotoring to motorcycling and from that perspective I can relate to the notion of risk-taking as recreation. The payoff comes, not from recklessly exposing oneself to danger but rather taking on and managing risk through practice, skill and knowledge. The heightened sense of awareness required is a kind of existential experience.


Posted by: lumpkin | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 11:17 AM
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Operation Without Injury


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 11:35 AM
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12.2: This. Those exhilarating terror moments I was in control of the danger, or at least thought so at time.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 11:53 AM
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And then there are people that enjoy the thrill of letting go -- roller coaster enthusiasts. When I was a child I enjoyed that sensation.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 11:59 AM
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For me, nothing brings that heightened sense of awareness adrenalin like day long depositions. You have to be so intent on everything. Leaves me pretty hung over after.

I downhill ski, but avoid situations where risk of injury is going to outweigh the thrill of controlled speed, especially on a softer surface. I haven't been doing much mountain biking at all since I landed on my head earlier this summer, but that's really more about having my bike get stolen, then having a series of work and social obligations that cut into my biking time. Which is really annoying, because [knocks wood] we've been pretty much smoke free so far . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 12:35 PM
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16: There's a Polson shout-out if you didn't click through, btw.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 1:26 PM
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I occasionally flirt with the idea of taking up hang-gliding - it's the most minimal form of flight I can think of - but I'm afraid I am by now completely unable to consider anything that involves capital outlay of more than about £200.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 1:30 PM
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9 is right in every detail about the flaws of that article (I also didn't watch the videos). WTF, author?! What is that essay even about? I love getting thrashed in a kayak in whitewater, and there is an adrenaline rush when you feel you're a bit over your head that's part of the thrill, and that's very different (to me) from competing at tennis or basketball. So I get that part of the appeal of flying with a fan strapped to you, I guess? There's a mixture of skill and serendipity getting you through a really difficult rapid, and the river isn't a human opponent, it's something very much bigger and more powerful than you. It's not just danger - I rockclimbed for a bit in college and quit entirely because being 300 feet up a vertical wall is just unpleasantly terrifying (for me). Objectively the risks are probably roughly comparable and both kayaking and rockclimbing require skill, but my faulty genetic programming makes the watery dangers seem fun. I recall from an article on people who jump off cliffs in those flight suits that for the regulars, there was a 91% chance they'd be alive one year later...


Posted by: chill | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:16 PM
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I recall from an article on people who jump off cliffs in those flight suits that for the regulars, there was a 91% chance they'd be alive one year later...

It's easy for me to imagine a cliff jumper citing this stat to prove that it isn't dangerous.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 6:21 AM
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The article made the writer seem very charming (but geez, almost a different species - so much money! So little worry about money! Who are these people?) but it was pretty darn incoherent and chatty. I've always liked fanzines and enjoy incoherent, chatty things more than most people, though, so that's okay.

On another note: Ridiculously risky sports make me really angry and if I were dictator I would outlaw them. The people who practice them virtually never seem to grasp either the risks they run or the damage that their deaths will do to their families and communities, or even how horrible their deaths are likely to be. (I've read a couple of stories over the years about crash deaths that just...like, I can barely stand to think about them, they're so horrifying. Let's just say that you don't want to land hard in a remote area with a video/audio hook-up but no access to actual help.)

It's just willfully doing something so farcically stupid, and now with the internet willfully doing something so farcically stupid for the clicks...Ugh, when I'm in charge I'll try to be gentle and benevolent and devolve power to others, but extreme sports have got to go.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 6:44 AM
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FROM MY COLD DEAD H [thud]


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 6:48 AM
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I am pretty solidly opposed to 21.2, not least because I don't think you understand how risky a lot of "extreme sports" actually are. Here's an article that puts some numbers on it in micromort terms: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120302-extreme-sports-a-risky-business

And here are some comparisons with other life events such as "spending a weekend in New York" or "giving birth". https://plus.maths.org/content/os/issue55/features/risk/index


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 6:57 AM
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My wife thinks me hiking by myself is dangerous. I'm not sure why, but I have life insurance, so I don't see what the deal is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 6:58 AM
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23: But it's the frivolity of the risk. Having a child is risky, commuting to work whether by bike or by car is risky, climbing the slippery old stairs in my old house is risky - but those things are both more necessary and more useful than, eg, wingsuiting until you hit a mountain and leave a wife and young children behind.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:07 AM
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Free Solo has a bit on this. Another free climber falls to his death, someone says something about his widow. The subject says basically, "She knew who she was marrying." Unfair to the kids, but then having kids is also unfair to the kids. I think it's fine if you live in a social democracy or are stupidly rich.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:14 AM
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We normally don't measure the value of human life, at a policy level, by the number of female dependents the dead man leaves behind.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:20 AM
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And it's pretty obvious here that we are specifically talking about risky things that men do.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:21 AM
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We normally don't measure the value of human life, at a policy level, by the number of female dependents the dead man leaves behind.

Good point. A man-child under six should count too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:25 AM
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Frowner's not making a claim about the value of his life. It's about how others are depending on the adult, and losing a parent/spouse is the kind of thing that tips families into poverty and stress spirals.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:27 AM
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"The latest discovery this morning at the remote farmhouse brings the number of victims to eighteen. Fortunately, police said, all were unmarried and childless and thus of negligible value to society, though we must still regret the loss of so many fertile potential breeders."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:28 AM
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30: that does sound like a claim about the value of his life, though.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:29 AM
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27: Well, we will when I'm in charge. Doing dumb shit when you're going to harm no one but yourself is one thing; doing dumb shit when you're going to hurt your family and particularly helpless dependents will be especially unacceptable under the new regime.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:32 AM
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What's the maximum number of children to have, in that case? Given that every time a woman gives birth, she's running a small but real risk of death (equating to about 17 skydives), leaving any already-born children, and her spouse, at risk of poverty, stress, etc, and the impact will be greater for each successive child (as more children are already born and thus at risk of abandonment). If you already have four, is the fifth one just frivolously risky and thus not permissible, because of the five people who already depend on you?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:33 AM
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32: In a utilitarian sense, the same way a house and car may also be essential for the family. Not about his worth as a person.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:33 AM
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34: Oh shit, my entire life compass is being upended. I shall retreat into a cave and ponder these deep essential nonfrivolous questions that cause such existential threats.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:38 AM
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35: but that is a terrible way to make policy decisions about human life. It's a fundamental of ethics that human life is an end, not a means. Hence 31: that is a grotesque thing to imagine the police saying because we don't (or shouldn't) value people less depending on how big their families are.
I am being a bit combative about this, in case it isn't obvious, because I object to someone saying "the things you voluntarily do for fun are stupid and you are stupid for doing them and you shouldn't be allowed to do them".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:38 AM
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Anyone would think that policy is currently constructed on some kind of abstract utilitarian basis and that it's super weird to distinguish between, eg, having a kid and shooting heroin since both involve risks.

But in any case, when I'm in charge, we will use various policy strategies ranging from, like, making things literally illegal to gently discouraging common but risky behavior.

As far as the pregnancy thing goes: Women have often been socialized, pressured or forced to keep having babies long after it's safe for them and/or in situations where it's very substantially unsafe. This is not very good. It's a lot more complicated to say, "we're going to forbid risky baby-having" than "we're going to forbid wingsuiting" and it has a lot worse social effects, so because I am going to be a ruler with many tools in the old ruler-box, I'm going to choose other strategies to reduce risky/unwanted pregnancy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:39 AM
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37: But, first, why forbid anything at all if there's no scale of risk or social harm taken into consideration? And second, how exactly does one run an "all fun is cool, man" society even in the absence of law, given that strong social conventions tend to arise where there aren't laws?

It seems like you're imagining an ideal society where there's somehow no ideology about risk or social harm and that saying "don't do dumb shit if you're responsible for other people" is sort of a fall from grace.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:44 AM
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it's super weird to distinguish between, eg, having a kid and shooting heroin since both involve risks

So in the new regime you'll support my "Needles not natality" exchange initiative?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:44 AM
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The good news is that my wingsuit landing will be entirely safe as long as I dive straight into that massive pile of strawmen.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 7:45 AM
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Well, I guess it will be a race to see which of us is absolute dictator first, then. Or perhaps we could each have a small island to rule according to our wills and compare outcomes.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:00 AM
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I already live on a small island where things like skydiving etc are legal, even for married men, and it seems to be working out OK thanks,


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:02 AM
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So we'll have to defer until I end up with an island. Perhaps mine will be paradise.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:06 AM
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That's kind of close to the plot of Angry Birds 2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:14 AM
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I'm assuming Frownerstan will be a social democracy with free education and generous support for widows and orphans in general, so the survivors would be well-cared for. In which case, I don't see any strong reason to stop adults from voluntarily doing things for fun.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:25 AM
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You don't live on a small island. I live on a small island.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:28 AM
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Assuming social democracy, Frownembashi is presumably weighting the emotional harm of premature death; but if this negative emotional utility is to be included in the considerations affecting policy, by what logic is the positive emotional utility generated by the risky activity to be excluded? Positive utility not just for the participants, but also for very large numbers of people observing them one way or another. Not to mention the economic utility of associated industries. Etc.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:33 AM
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47: Fuck you all! I am an island!


Posted by: Opinionated Paul Simon | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:43 AM
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I am a Roc!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:45 AM
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I guess my gut feeling about wingsuit/BASE-jumping and other really risky endeavors* is that they're so risky and so useless and so substitutable (why not surf? Why not do circus arts?) that they're sort of low-hanging fruit, policy-wise.

It's a bit like leaving a full glass right on the very edge of the table while you work at the table - why do it in the first place? Sure, you may not knock the glass down, but it's very easy to put it somewhere else and there are lots of other convenient locations. You do a sweep of your common actions and the ones that are easy to stop and really stupid are the first ones to go.

Consider bike helmets. Such research as there is about bike helmet use suggests that riding at a moderate pace in average conditions is actually quite low risk - it doesn't make much more sense to wear a helmet on a bike in those circumstances than it does to wear one while climbing stairs. But most good bourgeois people agree that all cyclists should wear helmets all the time, and the people who don't support actual helmet laws tend not to support them because in actually existing society helmet laws would be used against poor people and people of color, not because everyone wearing a helmet all the time is bad. If we're in favor of laws or strong social norms enforcing bike helmet wearing, I'm not sure why we're against laws or strong social norms against wingsuits. If anything, it's far more expensive and difficult to get everyone who rides a bike to wear a helmet than to get people who do the riskier kind of base jumping to stop.

Also, why can't we substitute the lucrative industries associated with high-skill moderately risky sports (circus arts, etc) for the wingsuit industry? There's a lot of money in all those circus classes and the costumes are prettier.

And also, I feel that Frownertown is being held to a higher standard than we hold really-existing societies - why isn't Frownertown entitled to the same types of idiosyncrasy and local values that other societies have?

*Not necessarily every moderately risky sport, but wingsuits seem especially bad.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:47 AM
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Where I live there is a pretty strong safety culture in general, bikes are in ubiquitous use (without separate lanes), at I'm confident a far higher rate than anywhere in North America, and no-one wears bike helmets, ever*. These are by any standard decent and reasonable people who take good care of public health in many ways. Yet, no bike helmets.
*Though they do for motor scooters.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:59 AM
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I guess my gut feeling about wingsuit/BASE-jumping and other really risky endeavors* is that they're so risky and so useless

This thread is reminding me of the the documentary McConkey that I watched on netflix a few years ago. It's about a guy who was a bit of a celebrity in the "extreme" skiing and base jumping world. Until he got killed doing it, of course.

The guy's life story could be summarized: "He really liked to jump off of things."


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 8:59 AM
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so substitutable (why not surf? Why not do circus arts?)

This seems so intuitively wrong to me that I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter purely to bridge the massive gaps in our intuitions. People like what they like for weird idiosyncratic reasons. But this seems easy to explain: how many people dream of flying? Surfing is not flying. Trapeze arts are closer--at least you're in the air--but much more restricted.

a small island where things like skydiving etc are legal, even for married men

Really, the people who are most negatively effected are the skydiving wives of married British men who are cheating and maybe also murderous.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:02 AM
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Second 54.1.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:15 AM
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I think the real trick is to make your family feel indifferent to whether you live or not without going to far so they actively want you dead.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:18 AM
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I am a bit puzzled by the specific animus against wingsuits. Wingsuit skydiving doesn't actually have a higher fatality rate than normal skydiving, though it is of course generally done only by very experienced skydivers. BASE jumping is much, much riskier, wingsuit or no wingsuit.

Cycle helmets don't do much good when you get hit by a car, but they are still helpful if you come off the bike at low speed, for example if you're trying to avoid a pedestrian who has leaped out in front of you* or have just gone into an enormous pothole**. However, strong social norms about wearing helmets do discourage people from cycling because
a) it makes cycling seem so dangerous that you need to wear armour on your head to do it, and
b) a lot of women don't like wearing helmets because it messes up their hair, so if you tell them they have/ought to wear helmets, they just won't cycle.
There's also good evidence that motorists will try less hard not to kill you if you're cycling while wearing a helmet.
For these reasons I'm not terrifically in favour of laws or social norms enforcing helmet wearing, though I do wear one myself. I certainly don't believe that everyone should wear helmets while cycling if they don't want to.

*British pedestrians do this a lot because they live lives of quiet desperation and long for the sweet release of death.
**There are some on my route to work which look like something off Vimy Ridge.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:22 AM
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54: If anything, people are terrifyingly changeable unless we get very into reiterating that [whatever] is a huge forever part of our identities.

I used to bike in a very dangerous way and now I don't; it was exciting but now I look back with horror at how nearly I died a bunch of times and what a thing it would have been to do to my parents. I don't miss it. Biking sedately down the greenway at a reasonable speed isn't nearly the same thing as unwisely careening between two city buses in the middle of a busy four lane road, but I don't feel like a shell of a person.

The point about the bike helmets is that how we assess risk is always cultural and has a lot to do with class and norms and stuff. Risks that are acceptable in one society aren't acceptable in another. In Frownertown, wingsuits are not an acceptable risk. I don't think this is less rational than the US insistence on bike helmets.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:24 AM
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58: It may not be less rational* but it would remove from the world a lot of real joy, and aesthetic splendor. In FrownerWorld, there is no Free Solo; there is no Jokke Sommer. I think that would be a poorer world.
*Though I think actually it is, considering how few people are involved, and that it's purely recreational.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:42 AM
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People are certainly changeable. But that doesn't mean that substitutability of desires works that way. The specific attributes that people desire are complex and idiosyncratic and what person A thinks is important to person B might not be what person B thinks. It might not even be what person B can explain.

Your second paragraph argues against substitutability: not even biking (dangerously) is substitutable for biking (sedately). Do you think you would start to enjoy biking dangerously it if the government forced you to careen between city buses on busy roads every time you biked? You might say that there are obvious experiential differences between these activities, but to me there are obvious experiential differences between surfing and flying.

I think much more likely is that, while some people will do their state-sanctioned surfing, most wingsuiters will just be less happy. Much like how if all fiction were banned except, say, John Ringo books, I would probably quit reading and be bummed out over it.

I realize this is getting a bit into the weeds relative to your original point. I probably agree with you about the relative rationality of bike-helmet laws and wingsuit banning.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:44 AM
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But there'd be lots of other stuff. Think of all the non-mute, glorious Miltons, for example. Unless this is going to be an Iain Banksian space communist orbital (I'm in if that's an option) we're going to miss out on some stuff. If it's Banksian, we'll have drones to rescue wingsuit people and base jumpers, etc, so all will be permitted. Also we will be the pets of benevolent AI and I won't have to bother to run everything, so I would prefer the Banks scenario.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:45 AM
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61: I don't follow. For one nothing, aesthetically, is the same as a free solo; for two, how exactly does Frownerstan produce more glory, in virtue of its banning extreme sports?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:48 AM
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The specific attributes that people desire are complex and idiosyncratic

This was something that struck me watching the McConkey documentary. Jumping off of things seems to have been his ruling passion from early childhood. Basically if it was there, he wanted to jump off of it.

Some people are just weird.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 9:51 AM
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If I recall correctly, in some of the Banks novels, thrillseekers would do stuff that there might be no hope of recovery from (I vaguely recall rafting on molten rivers on incomplete orbital sections?), and would disable auto-resurrection. Sometimes, what people crave is precisely a brush with mortality.

Still: luxury space communism with benevolent machine gods for all!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:00 AM
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64: Look to Windward. Rafting on rivers of molten rock, tbc. Which, ( attn DaveLHI) I think is totally a viable business model.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:10 AM
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Practically risk free.


Posted by: Opinionated Skywalker | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:17 AM
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He had the high ground. Just stay on the goddamn raft.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:19 AM
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60.2. What worries me is that I might very well start to enjoy careening between buses if it were part of my duties as, like, new communist man or something. What if it were a highly regarded and popular part of life? What if it were praised by the government? What if you got a tax break? What if fashion models did it? I am malleable! I like things because other people like them or because I see them a lot! And while I can believe that other Unfoggers are people of steely resolve and Roman virtue, I can't believe that there aren't lots of other Frowner-esque schmoes out there being influenced.

62: I guess I could say that absent Banksian space communism, the society that sustains the wingsuit economy is going to have lots of mute inglorious Miltons because the wingsuit economy is only possible when things are pretty unequal. But really, I tend to think that no society - with the possible exception of Banksian space communism - has all glories, so whatever.

You can have your own island and all the wingsuit dissidents can render it glorious in its own way.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:46 AM
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60.2. What worries me is that I might very well start to enjoy careening between buses if it were part of my duties as, like, new communist man or something. What if it were a highly regarded and popular part of life? What if it were praised by the government? What if you got a tax break? What if fashion models did it? I am malleable! I like things because other people like them or because I see them a lot! And while I can believe that other Unfoggers are people of steely resolve and Roman virtue, I can't believe that there aren't lots of other Frowner-esque schmoes out there being influenced.

62: I guess I could say that absent Banksian space communism, the society that sustains the wingsuit economy is going to have lots of mute inglorious Miltons because the wingsuit economy is only possible when things are pretty unequal. But really, I tend to think that no society - with the possible exception of Banksian space communism - has all glories, so whatever.

You can have your own island and all the wingsuit dissidents can render it glorious in its own way.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:46 AM
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In Frownertown, double posts are popular and highly regarded. Fashion models do them.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 10:46 AM
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the society that sustains the wingsuit economy is going to have lots of mute inglorious Miltons because the wingsuit economy is only possible when things are pretty unequal.
I don't see this is necessarily true.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:14 AM
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I have a friend from high school whose husband is/was really into one of those jumping-off-things extreme sports and recently died doing it. They didn't have kids, and I'm pretty sure she wasn't economically dependent on him (but not 100% sure; we're FB friends but not particularly close). So it's sad but in a kind of complicated way, I guess. My intuitions on this stuff are close to Frowner's but I don't know if I could mount a coherent case for them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:30 AM
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Think of all the non-mute, glorious Miltons, for example

Oy! How many epic poems, that nobody reads, do we need anyway?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:41 AM
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One per generation per country.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:46 AM
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74: That sounds right. I wonder who the Milton of the U.S. baby boomer generation is.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:50 AM
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If you outlaw wingsuits than people who use wingsuits will be driven underground. Better to have wingsuit use out in the open, where it can be monitored and taxed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:50 AM
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Also if you outlaw wingsuits then only outlaws will have wingsuits.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:53 AM
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Sloppy work, bro.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 11:58 AM
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people who use wingsuits will be driven underground

Where their wingsuits won't be of much use.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 12:05 PM
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If you outlaw sloppy work, bro, only bros will work sloppy.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 12:06 PM
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On the gender angle, I remember reading a story in a book about K2, of a woman who got to the summit (I'm pretty sure) and then got blown to her death by a gale-force gust of wind, leaving her several children motherless. My sense is that people would generally judge her more harshly than a man in her position, especially along the lines of "who cares if she summitted K2? Lots of people do that every year." I don't know how often mothers in particular get the same "craving for adventure is a fundamental human right" courtesy. I could very well be wrong about this.

Fortunately for my family, I think I am personally not wired for extreme skirting-death endeavors. I've definitely biked too fast in traffic and got a serious injury once that a helmet would have mitigated. Who knows what I would do if I felt I was equal to a particular challenge like climbing, idk, Mount Hood? On the one hand, that "oh shit, this is going to go badly" feeling that pushes you to back down is the worst, and I don't know how many rounds of training it would take to overcome it. (Massive avoidable injury is the real thing I (rationally) fear. If I'm dead, I'm dead.) On the other hand, I seem to jump from nervous to overconfident pretty quickly.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 12:24 PM
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I'm undoubtedly going to get fact-checked on 81.1, so I believe it was Alison Hargreaves, and judging from the article she was more than accomplished enough to get an exception from general prejudice. Her son ended up being an accomplished climber too but just died this spring on Nanga Parbat. Let me see if I can find more cheerful stories for you.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 12:29 PM
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82: Reading up on her led me on a brief wiki crawl of mountaineering topics. World-class climbers do really, really stupid things.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 12:47 PM
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Obviously, I never wore a bike helmet growing up. Or a ski helmet until I was older than 50. Got the ski helmet after a pretty good crash that included hitting my head: no injury, but I kind of thought I'd used up my good luck. Also skied about as many days in my first year here than in the 25 years before that combined, so a pretty big shift in odds.

Biking, I was a little slower for less risky spots. I don't know, maybe 5 or six years ago I was stopped at a junction of trails, waiting for the wife, when from the other direction the chief judge of our federal court, a well known law professor, and their respective spouses pulled up. Exchange of pleasantries, then law professor's spouse says to me in a shockingly direct bordering on aggressive fashion: 'where's your fucking helmet!?' That's one way to enforce norms.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 2:26 PM
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I'm with Frowner on this issue.

My nephew is crazy athletic and I'm fairly sure he's going to want to do real crazy shit. My sister said going with him to Free Solo was agonizing, of itself and knowing that she was sitting next to her baby boy who was loving what he was seeing.

There is likely no stopping my nephew, but I will push for him to be a wildfire fighter instead. Because if he is going to do insanely dangerous physical stuff, there might as well be some ounce of benefit to someone else involved.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 2:56 PM
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There is likely no stopping my nephew, but I will push for him to be a wildfire fighter instead. Because if he is going to do insanely dangerous physical stuff, there might as well be some ounce of benefit to someone else involved.

Definitely a growth industry, too. Our fires have flared back up in recent days, and the smoke is incredible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 3:07 PM
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He could be a smokejumper, and you could come up to visit him.

[Frantically knocking wood] We've had almost no smoke so far.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 3:22 PM
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For those of you not following this sort of thing:

The U.S. Forest Service has about 320 smokejumpers that work from seven bases located in McCall and Grangeville, Idaho; Redding, California; West Yellowstone and Missoula, Montana; Winthrop, Washington; and Redmond, Oregon. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also has smokejumpers at two bases, one in Boise, Idaho and the other in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Aircraft that are currently used in U.S. Forest Service smokejumper operations include Short Brothers C-23As; DHC-6 Twin Otters, and; Dornier D0228s. The U.S. Forest Service is in the process of bringing into service C23B+/SD3-60s that are being transferred to the agency from the Department of Defense. For safety, there is always a spotter on board communicating essential information about wind, fire activity, and terrain to the pilot and the jumpers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 3:26 PM
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Yep. That's what the smoke was like last year. I expect it will be like that this fall as well.

Yeah. Smokejumper is what I was thinking of. Might as well be some purpose to fucking stupid risk-taking that terrifies his family. I support Frowner's ban!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 3:32 PM
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I hate anything that raises my stress/anxiety: risky stuff, roller coasters, scary movies, sitcoms...


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-20-19 3:47 PM
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83: If I'm reading that correctly, in 1986 he climbed four mountains in one day and then hang-glided back down, landing after midnight. In 1987 he climbed five mountains in a day and this time he skiied down them. How much crossover is there normally between different kinds of death-defying? How many people try all the extreme sports they can, versus people who pick mountain-climbing or hang-gliding or extreme skiing or doing any of the above in the dark and enjoy that and have a normal level of disinterest in the rest?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 7:56 AM
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91: I think in that case the real thrill-seeking is for increasingly absurd records. Most of the natural firsts have already been done. But nobody's climbed N individually-murderous mountains in the same day. The hang-gliding is just in service of that record.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of overlap, though. Especially for extreme sports that have well-defined seasons. Although many of the people at this level has the financial means to travel the world, so that's probably less of a restriction for them.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 8:44 AM
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Climbing as many munros as you can in a day is definitely a thing in Scotland.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 8:52 AM
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Part of a general British tendency to tick off lists? And most munros aren't particularly murderous.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 8:58 AM
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Mountaineering kills about 20 people a year in Scotland, though, mostly in the winter. And IT HAS NO VALUE TO SOCIETY. Can't they just go to the gym and do Stairmaster instead? Surely that's a good substitute.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 9:03 AM
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Except for this guy, whose job is to climb mountains and count snow. And they're all out of snow.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 9:04 AM
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You have to compare that twenty deaths to how many would have died from staying home and eating fried pizza.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-19 9:05 AM
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88.2. If America wants to be great again it'll have to stop importing its smokejumping planes from Europe.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 2:30 AM
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95. Stairmasters are the most boring thing one can do, with the possible exception of stationary bicycles. Hiking and mountaineering are fun, promote environmental awareness, are visually inspiring, and if you do them in a group, encourage camaraderie.* Are you defending the ticking off of lists? I'm in favor of that. NH has forty-eight 4000 footers and I've climbed three-fourths of them (and many other mountains that are not on the list).

* I can never tell if ajay is joking these days. Too subtle or not subtle enough sometimes.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 5:18 AM
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NH has forty-eight 4000 footers and I've climbed three-fourths of them

You have to go all the way up or it doesn't count.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 6:45 AM
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Okay but let's all ban this in our republics. (Tweet text: "I literally can't get over the fact that [guy] raised thousands of dollars to climb 7 mountains--including demanding people give him airline credits so his family could fly to Seattle with him--and then quit after 4 days. FOUR DAYS.")


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 10:02 AM
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Obviously, he should have frozen to death so we could have a nice discussion about the downside of GoFundMe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 10:07 AM
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Legitimately surprised that 101 is not about a white guy.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 10:16 AM
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Huh, I didn't know that Shaun King was a scam artist. I assumed that he was maybe prone to being sensationalist but that his heart was in the right place.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 10:24 AM
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His heart is in the mountains.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 10:49 AM
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103
Legitimately surprised that 101 is not about a white guy.

From Wikipedia:

In August 2015, Milo Yiannopoulos questioned King's biracial identity in an article for Breitbart News. Yiannopoulos reported that King's birth certificate lists Naomi Fleming and Jeffrey Wayne King (both of whom are white) as King's parents and that a police report cited King's race as "white."

Yiannopoulos is a shithead, of course, and it seems like everyone genuinely thought of King as biracial in his childhood, but let's just say that you're at least half-right.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 11:11 AM
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I will not stand by while Plumpy'nut is maligned, though. Plumpy'nut is legit. (Withholding it from recipients, not so much.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 11:27 AM
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100. I bet myself that either you or Moby would pounce on that phrasing.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 12:50 PM
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I'm busy today.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-19 12:58 PM
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