Re: Off the Road

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OMG! Has he been to the Tehachapi Loop?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:10 AM
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1: Well, I don't know. He's left. See, that's the thing with hobos: they leave.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:11 AM
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You're asking how railroads can do hobo outreach?

Stanley that's adorable!

I'm thinking of companies hiring hackers and ex-hackers to do computer security for them, but that's just different. This is like, excuse me dear sir who steals our product and creates enormous potential liability for us, how can we serve you better?

I mean, I love it, but no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:15 AM
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Hobos don't disrupt rail lines or take away profits (in a significant enough sense to bother mentioning; railroads end up hauling an additional 180 pounds here and there, so, yeah, there's that). Your analogy don't work, bub.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:22 AM
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Well, but clearly railroads don't want them there, and have every interest in figuring out how to stop them being there. Anything the railroads could do to make rail-jumper's lives less pleasant, they would presumably be interested in. The converse, not so much.

I think you're probably underestimating the liability issues, first of all, and second of all if you don't do all you can to keep people off your freight trains, then you could end up with a situation like you see in Mexico, where the roofs of trains are covered with stowaways, people are always getting beheaded and so on. I mean, I don't think they would, and I totally agree that theres untapped expertise there, but I just think there's absolutely zero way ever that any railroad would be interested in that expertise for any reason other than trying to keep the expert away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:26 AM
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Also, I didn't intend to make an analogy; the computer security example is totally different. That's what I meant to express.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:27 AM
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I think you're probably underestimating the liability issues

That's fair. My suggestion that the railroads themselves might reach out or whatever is overly idealistic.

But I also gather that the on-the-ground railroad dude doesn't much care one way or the other, and in reality, no one's gonna sue 'cause they tried to jump a train and got hurt.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:32 AM
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7: oh I feel that. But I just think you're dealing with two sets of people (i.e. people with decision making authority at railroads vs. people who ride the rails) with every reason to avoid trusting each other as much as possible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:34 AM
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I would love to engage you in this spirited debate, but I'm off to swim bed.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:45 AM
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Railroad Executive: It has come to our attention that you and your colleagues are adept at exploiting something we'd like to prevent, namely, free access to our rolling stock. We'd like to tap your expertise, for security and liability purposes.

Hobo Consultant: Uh, sure. You could, uh, spray coyote urine on the wheels. Yeah, that's it. And have an open boxcar with, like, a bunch of food and clean bedding, and some liquor, and maybe a big bag of pot. Because they'd think that was a trap, and we would totally stay away.

RE: Thanks so much. I'm glad we did this outreach. Can I get you a sandwich?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:52 AM
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Is Stanley suggesting that the hobo subculture has useful information to make the railroads run better, and that industry would be well advised to tap into that? If so, he is wrong.

Even if--and I doubt this--useful information were extant, the signal-to-noise ratio would be inpractically low. There are thousands of train fans out there (with their own magazines and everything) who fancy they could do a better job running the railroad than management, but it ain't as simple as it looks.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:15 AM
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Perhaps there are simple things that can be done at a small scale that would bring improvements? I don't think upper management would ever listen to hobos, but the guys on the ground might. The question is, is there anything they can do on such a small scale? All the bits of a train system seem pretty big, and not the kind of thing one person could alter in a few hours.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:53 AM
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Hobos need to pitch it as a matter of national security: either I provide you with this information, or I provide it to the terrorists . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:09 AM
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Our houseguest certainly had ideas.

If he had ideas and they were good ones, but he didn't have access, then channel them for him. A man of your calibre ought to be able to find out where the rail users websites are, etc. and do a bit of campaigning - nothing too strenuous, just enough to get any fresh ideas out there in the mainstream.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:10 AM
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I am imagining a big map of all the rail lines, with "GO REAL SLOW HERE!" marked at appropriate places.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:44 AM
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11: There are thousands of train fans out there (with their own magazines and everything) who fancy they could do a better job running the railroad than management

I got introduced to this when I helped a serious modeler build a big layout in his basement. The energy and seriousness of the subculture of folks who were interested in simulating realistic* model railroad operations was mind-boggling. And yes, they all felt they could do it better than the real guys.

*Or at least an idealized nostalgic vision of operations from some time between 1920 and the mid 1950s depending on their mix of steam and diesel.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 5:07 AM
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I'm actually very unclear on what sort of information you're talking about, Stanley. How to move more freight more efficiently? Where the bottlenecks in the system are because that's where it's easiest to find a slow or stopped train to jump onto? Something else?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:09 AM
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I am imagining a big map of all the rail lines, with "GO REAL SLOW HERE!" marked at appropriate places.

I realize this comment is meant in jest, but in all seriousness, a question as simple as "how fast should this train operate on this stretch of track" is enormously difficult to optimize. There are at least a dozen major, and any number of minor factors that can have an impact.

For example, you have: pure safety factors (e.g. braking distances, signal intervals, minimum headway); modal competitiveness (how much does higher velocity contribute to higher market share or support a higher price?); fuel consumption; line capacity (do I need to vacate this stretch of track so another train can use it?); capital cost of the rolling stock (the more times I can turn the equipment, the more paying loads I can carry); and wear on the infrastructure (depending on the axle load, the track curvature, and the rated speed of the track, a couple of mph of excessive speed can shorten the useful life of the rails and ties dramatically).

And those are just some of the major variables. And then there are smaller things like wheel wear and crew overtime. In short, it takes more than the accumulated life-experience of a hobo to run a railroad.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:16 AM
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Hobos need to pitch it as a matter of national security: either I provide you with this information, or I provide it to the terrorists . . . .

And the next thing you know, we have Hobo Guantanamo. It'll be nice, though. Oh the buzzin' of the bees in the cigarette trees near the soda water fountain...


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:17 AM
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19. Wrong tune. "Hobo Guantanamo" goes to the tune of Tarara-boom-de-ay, and it's already infected me as an ear worm.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:30 AM
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19: And we'll waterboard the jerk that invented work.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:30 AM
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The railway companies could provide a website, giving tips such as "Third boxcar, midnight train, destination: Bangor, Maine" and letting the hobos know all the locks that aren't locked when no one's around.

18 - my dad had a friend, known for years to us only as 'the train man', who is into trains. They spent many evenings for months and months doing sums about this sort of stuff for fun.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:38 AM
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re: 22

How is it near you? Thick snow here.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:42 AM
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All I want to know is whether modern-day hobos still use chalk codes to communicate.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:55 AM
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"Yo soy un hombre sincero . . ."

That's the start of the hobo/consultant song.

It turns out, though, that you, Stanley, know some people with some connections. (No, I'm not going to violate OBC by naming names. And anyway, while I'm probably the only member of the Unfogged Bar to have appeared before the ICC, there's folks way closer in than I). Give some hints about subject matter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:16 AM
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How to move more freight more efficiently? Where the bottlenecks in the system

17: Basically, yeah, that sort of thing. And many of the differences among the practices of the different RR lines/cities, nothing major. On further reflection, it's just odd to think, this person is a relative expert in a certain sub-field (how trains move about, across a large area) and he's best off not getting into it with anyone of import.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:16 AM
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Such a fascinating question! I've always had a fantasy of some kind of open-source-ish data dump, where thousands of individual rail users could text messages and updates about train status. It would be like having thousands of little GPSs, and it would give real data rather than the selected snippets that train companies like to release.

(Years ago -- maybe 15 years -- the NYT did big article on Union Pacific boxcars getting more or less misplaced on the tracks in the South, sometimes for days or weeks. It was presented as an infrastructure problem, but to me it seemed at least as much sociological.

On hobo culture specifically, someone like Ted Conover (Rolling Nowhere) could be a nice intermediary. Because, yeah, liability, and also competition and trade secrets and general Chinese-government-esque beliefs in hindering the flow of information and all sorts of other incentives that CSX et al. have for keeping this information from getting out there.

Darn! Now I'm all excited about this, and have to go write a funding proposal. Have fun without me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:23 AM
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The railway companies could provide a website, giving tips such as "Third boxcar, midnight train, destination: Bangor, Maine" and letting the hobos know all the locks that aren't locked when no one's around.

Box cars are pretty rare these days: only about 10% of the active car fleet. Your best bet is intermodal trains: you get better velocity and you avoid the long terminal dwell where box cars are switched and coupled.

All I want to know is whether modern-day hobos still use chalk codes to communicate.

The mean dogs and soft-hearted widows who are generous with fried chicken and apple pie are now marked on a google maps widget.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:26 AM
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nothing major.

Au contraire! There have to be people at NHTSA or whoever is nominally or actually in charge of regulating the industry that would love to know that, say, NJ Transit is always creating bottlenecks in Wilmington in foggy weather because _______, or what have you.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:26 AM
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Kidding aside, I'm not sure the knowledge he has is knowledge that would generalize well to the running of a large bit of infrastructure. (Frequent fliers don't know how to run an airport.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:27 AM
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I'm still having a hard time understanding what super valuable information the hobo is supposed to be privy to that the railroad operator doesn't already know. Pace Witt, the car location problem was solved years ago.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:31 AM
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I hope all these years he's been working on a book-length treatment --- Hobonomics, say.


Posted by: gonerill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:32 AM
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Or just Hobonomics, I guess. Sigh.

I imagine a chapter on hobonomic signs and codes. "This symbol means '5th order estimate.' This one stands for 'Friendly science reporter's beat.' This one means 'Possible instrument for the outcome of your choice.' And this one means 'Beware of the Dog.'"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:39 AM
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32/33: Not to be confused with a book-length blog post, a.k.a. "Holbonomics".


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:43 AM
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Last Best Trips.

I'm sure that Stanley is impressed by the ideas because they seem small and easy-to-implement and sensible, and now I'm curious. But since I now have the entire soundrack from O Brother Where Art Thou stuck in my head (great, but not all at once!), I hate him and the hobo.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:45 AM
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Pace Witt, the car location problem was solved years ago.

And how many years did it persist before it was solved? Long enough that a newspaper based 3000 miles away got wind of it and made a big deal out of it.

No offense, pp, but your take in this thread has smelt an awful lot like Free Market Fundamentalism with a dash of Efficient Markets Hypothesis. "By definition, the managers of an enormous, sprawling enterprise (with quasi-monopolistic status) couldn't possibly be operating with anything but optimal practices."

I knew a guy once who thought that his mortgage was poorly constructed, but I just told him, "Boy, are you stupid to think that you might know something about mortgages that large banks don't already know."

Again, I'm not trying to be rude. But c'mon.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:49 AM
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34 is great.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:49 AM
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Oh hey, semi-relevant anecdote:

One of my freshman architecture classmates decided he would spend Spring Break riding the rails. Broke his arm on Day 2, IIRC. Guy was a self-consciously artsy NYC type. Building chipboard models with a cast was a challenge, to say the least. Did not get his degree.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:51 AM
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I fully endorse the idea of the new administration employing homeless people and hobos as advisors.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:52 AM
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I wonder if there might be a niche for consultants who serve as a liability cutout between companies and the illegal users of the companies products. There are numerous subcultures that have unique insight into the workings of products and markets but whose knowledge cannot be effectively used by the companies involved because of liability and legality issues. People hopping trains and creators of malware are two obvious ones, but there are more, no doubt including ones I've never heard of.

It would be a farging awesome job, too.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:55 AM
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pp seems to rejecting the idea that the hobo might have any useful knowledge, not that only industry experts can be trusted.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:58 AM
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40. Stoners are presumably now the main consumers of cigarette papers. Companies which make them would likely want to be responsive to market demands in the present climate.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:59 AM
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I have to assume that pain works or worked in the rail industry, given the strength of eir reaction to Stanley's commentary on a conversation with a random hobo.

I like to imagine railroad management sitting there nodding and smiling while a hobo points out where it's unsafe to get on the trains, or something, and then management trying to figure out the exact opposite path: "So, they said there's a dangerous curve here; can we possibly locate a big cat preserve at that curve to create a further obstacle? Hmmmmmmm." Then they draw endless doodles on their notepads, little stick figure lions eating stick figure hobos, until the meeting is over.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:01 AM
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26: this person is a relative expert in a certain sub-field (how trains move about, across a large area) and he's best off not getting into it with anyone of import.

And whose knowledge butts up against/overlaps with a group in a similar position, graffitti artists who do "freight".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:03 AM
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I'm sure that Stanley is impressed by the ideas because they seem small and easy-to-implement and sensible

Again, I would be surprised if the hobo's ideas amounted to a hill of beans--even assuming they meet the "easy-to-implement" and "sensible" criteria, which, I want to emphasize, is VERY hard for an outsider to judge. This isn't to say that every railroad is run with optimal efficiency, because clearly that's not the case. But most casual observers have no reliable heuristics for distinguishing between an apparently sensible idea and one that only looks good if you don't know the details. For example, does anyone here have the vaguest notion about the maximum number of out-of-route miles a freight car should be routed to avoid an additional yard visit? Or how distant a rapid-loading grain elevator should be from the nearest yard before it makes sense to leave locomotives sitting idle with a the empty cars while they are loaded? Unless the hobo has that kind of detailed knowledge of the cost tradeoffs involved in various actions, his ideas cannot be presumed to be feasible.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:04 AM
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For example, does anyone here have the vaguest notion about the maximum number of out-of-route miles a freight car should be routed to avoid an additional yard visit?

Is anyone here about to hire a hobo to tell them?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:07 AM
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Is anyone here about to hire a hobo to tell them?

No, but a lot of trainspotter types (not just hobos) get the idea that the railroads are doing something stupid because they, for example, send a load of freight on a circuitous routing. I'm just saying it's often the case that the apparent no-brainer idea is actually uneconomical for reasons that might not be immediately obvious.

Now, it is undeniably true that there can be improvement opportunities--sometimes small ones, sometimes larger ones--that get overlooked by management. Many front line employees, who benefit from years of practical experience, have experienced the frustration of having their suggestions ignored or de-prioritized by their superiors. But even with the educated suggestions of experienced employees, there is a fair amount of noise in the signal. And I assert, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the signal-to-noise ratio of a non-expert, non-employee--even one who rides the rails every day--is likely to be so weak as to be useless in any practical sense.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:20 AM
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I have to say that pain perdu (have you commented before? If not, hi, and I like your name) seems obviously right to me -- while hobos would know an awful lot about train operations in some sense, I can't see how that would be likely at all to translate into useful knowledge.

(Well, I can imagine a situation where chatting with hobos would produce useful information. But not that the hobos would know what the useful bits were, if you see what I mean.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:25 AM
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Simply dismissing it out of hand seems wrong, though. Consumers of a product/service necessarily see things through a different lens than producers, and each is likely to have some blind spots.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:28 AM
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That is to say, a hobo isn't going to be a successful COO of a rail shipping company, but it's not insane to believe a COO has *nothing* to learn about rail operations from the hobo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:30 AM
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nothing s/b something


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:30 AM
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Consumers of a product/service necessarily see things through a different lens than producers, and each is likely to have some blind spots.

No doubt. But other commenters have already made adequate fun of the idea that a railroad should care about the consumer preferences of freeloading freight car riders.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:31 AM
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48: Well, right, but hobos aren't even consumers -- they're parasitic observers. They're not going to have any particular insight into how well the railroad is satisfying its actual customers. All they've got is a lot of observational data from a different angle.

I can imagine being able to make use of that ("Smithers, we need to figure out why the 3:47 out of Duluth is consistently 8 minutes late getting in." "Hmm. All my official sources are baffled -- let me ask a hobo!" And then the hobo would have seen something explanatory.) but not consistently, and the story I can come up with is pretty strained.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:32 AM
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it's not insane to believe a COO has *nothing* to learn about rail operations from the hobo

I think we're all in agreement that the COO (or one of his subordinates, at least) might be interested in the hobo's accumulated knowledge of perimeter security, but that doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that Stanley was talking about.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:34 AM
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hobos aren't even consumers -- they're parasitic observers

No, trainwatchers would be parasitic observers. Hobos *are* consumers; they just aren't paying customers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:35 AM
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"I dip my cup of soup back from the gurglin' cracklin' caldron in some train yard
My beard a roughening coal pile and a dirty hat pulled low across my face
Though cupped hands 'round a tin can I pretend hold you to my breast and find
That you're waving from the back roads, by the rivers of my mem'ry, ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind"

John Hartford/Glenn Campbell as hobos.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:37 AM
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But they're not consumers of anything the railroad wants to provide; they're parasites. (Don't get me wrong, as a romantic, I'm all for hobos. I loved that Jack London memoir.) Their knowledge of how the railroads could better serve them isn't useful, because the railroads actively don't want to serve them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:37 AM
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And trainwatchers aren't parasites -- they don't use or affect railroad resources. Hobos are parasites.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:38 AM
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This:
rejecting the idea that the hobo might have any useful knowledge, not that only industry experts can be trusted.

is almost certainly wrong. But this:

I would be surprised if the hobo's ideas amounted to a hill of beans

Is also fairly likely to be correct.

There are nearly orthogonal things going on here. On the one hand, having a very localized picture (the hobo, the commuter, the frequent flier above, etc.) is unlikely to give you a good systemic view of what is going on. Something that looks stupid to you may have very good reasons behind it (or not, but you don't know).

However, on the other hand one of the best ways to learn new things about complex designed systems is to approach/use them from an unexpected direction.

So it really is quite likely that the hobos have some useful information about the system that the systems management does not. Whether either of them realize what it is in particular is a different story. It's also quite likely that the hobos own ideas about systemic improvements suffer from lack of knowledge.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:41 AM
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59 is precisely what I was trying to say in 53.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:42 AM
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Given that they probably prevent infestation by other parasites, there's probably an argument to be made that they're symbionts.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:44 AM
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I would like to see a Hobo as Secretary of Transportation.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:51 AM
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Maybe the train companies needs to put together an iPhone application so Hobo's can report problems with the system in real time. Also, the train companies could have it report the iPhone's location, so the hobos could be tracked down and arrested.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:54 AM
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47: Many front line employees, who benefit from years of practical experience, have experienced the frustration of having their suggestions ignored or de-prioritized by their superiors.

In fact when I had visibility into the model railroad/railroad fan scene (late '70s), former RR employees played a significant part. Most were quite crotchety and a bit bitter (but it was right after all the wrenching changes of Penn Central -> Conrail & Chessie etc. being formed), people who still remembered and had been part of "America Railroads Classic".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:58 AM
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IANAH but I've spoken with quite a few of them, and I think the little lost bread (shades of Prince de la Bun?) is probably more correct in this case. Consider all the factors that are going into a hobo's decision about whether to ride a particular train: frequency, destination, weather, work availability, social opportunities -- if you always go 900 miles out of your way to avoid the bulls in the Phoenix yard because a couple of extra days of travel is worth it to avoid a beatdown and a trespassing charge, your opinions on operations in the southwest are going to decrease significantly in value.

I have met a few trainhoppers who were preparing to go straight and actually get a railroad job, partly cos they just like trains that much and partly cos those are often pretty decent jobs intrinsically. So some of that information probably does make it back into the system, via a circuitous route. It should also be noted that a great deal of hobo information is accumulated in just the opposite way that Stanley suggests -- friendly railyard employees inform hobos who pass along their knowledge to other hobos.

In conclusion, you should be nice to travelling kids, because most of them are really quite sincere, upstanding folx, but I wouldn't necessarily take everything they say as gospel.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 8:59 AM
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Stanley, how did the hobo get to/from Alaska to the lower 48 or wherever? Not by hoppin' a freight unless it was loaded onto a barge.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:01 AM
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59: What's almost certainly wrong?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:04 AM
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67: I read that as "It's wrong to assume that a hobo couldn't have any useful knowledge", although I admit that to get there involved a bit of a grammatical leap.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:06 AM
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Oh, I was saying that, in response to JRoth, that there wasn't any reason to think pain perdu was rejecting all external non-expert knowledge, just thinking that the hobo in particular might not actually have any to offer. Emphasis on "useful."

To extend the analogy, if I think Joe the Plumber knows jackshit about the mortgage crisis, that doesn't mean the alternative is to assume that only the lenders are in the position to judge what's a good mortgage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:09 AM
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And then there were those MIT Model Railroad folks who thought they knew better how computers should work!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:11 AM
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Somewhat related: A recent fatal train collision in Los Angeles occurred while the engineer was IM'ing with a train groupie. The groupie came forward immediately, and provided useful advice about avoiding similar accidents in the future: don't let engineers IM while operating.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:11 AM
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69: Ah, but Joe the Plumber is Everyman, he spans the excluded middle.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:13 AM
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how did the hobo get to/from Alaska to the lower 48 or wherever?

Hitchhiking? He mentioned doing that, at least. Not sure where.

Also! I'm just now realizing I probably won't be around much today.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:14 AM
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Which is to say, sorry for the post-and-run. But I think you're all doing marvelously so far.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:15 AM
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. . . Joe the Plumber . . . he spans . . . .

I'm thinking you need some ruthless deprecating right about now.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:16 AM
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This is Unfogged. Unclosed tags are de rigeur.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:17 AM
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66.---Canada has trains.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:18 AM
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77: But trains, like healthcare, are free in Canada. So, there's no such thing as trainhoppers there.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:19 AM
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don't let engineers IM while operating.

People who text while driving often have the exact same driving errors as a drunk. I'll approach the car expecting a wave of booze fumes and instead there's some jackass with a cell phone in their lap.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:20 AM
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What's almost certainly wrong?

Yes, LB's got it. What's wrong is the idea that the hobos don't have any useful information (whether or not they can isolate/identify it).

Using the quote that way made it grammatically iffy, sorry.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:21 AM
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79: Do you administer a filed sobriety test to them anyway? That'd show 'em.

Or maybe you could ask them to walk a straight line or stand on one foot and touch their finger to their nose while texting.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:23 AM
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73: Yeah, from what I can tell, there are very few "pure" hobos left nowadays. It's just not that easy to get everywhere you might want to go via freight train. The vast majority of the travellers I've read about travel by Greyhound, bicycle, hitchhiking, drive-away, private car (of friends) and occasionally boat and plane, to supplement riding the rails. Here in Mpls we even have "boat punks" who build rafts and boats to drift down the Mississippi.

You know what would be good? If Greyhound and the other interstate bus companies offered a migrant worker discount, and special migrant worker runs, so people could easily get from Mpls to the sugar beet harvest or from Boston to the blueberry picking. That would significantly improve a lot of peoples' lives, and would probably be fairly profitable. And it would keep a lot of people off the rails, which would be cool if you thought that was a social good and all.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:23 AM
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However, on the other hand one of the best ways to learn new things about complex designed systems is to approach/use them from an unexpected direction.

Look, it's pretty obvious that the solution here is for the COO to spend a few months riding the rails.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:24 AM
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IANAH

More like this, please.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:25 AM
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If Greyhound and the other interstate bus companies offered a migrant worker discount, and special migrant worker runs, so people could easily get from Mpls to the sugar beet harvest or from Boston to the blueberry picking. That would significantly improve a lot of peoples' lives, and would probably be fairly profitable. And it would keep a lot of people off the rails, which would be cool if you thought that was a social good and all.

This actually sounds like a job for some kind of union or other migrant farm-worker advocacy group, and charter buses. Figure out where and when transport is needed, charter a bus, and sell tickets at enough to cover costs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:28 AM
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84: IANAM but I read The Final Call
Because within its pages there is something for us all

Like that? And like this? And like that?

(Went to a hip-hop battle last night. 'S hard to stop thinking in rhymes.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:29 AM
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Well, I can imagine a situation where chatting with hobos would produce useful information.

Directions to the Big Rock Candy Mountain, for instance.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:29 AM
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Most were quite crotchety and a bit bitter

Crotchediness and bitterness have been occupational hazards of railroading for a couple of decades: the collapse of passenger rail 1955-1970, the bankruptcies and consolidations of the 1960s and 70's, and deregulation after 1981. Despite 20 years of robust growth, US railroads still originate fewer carloads than in 1929 (though, measured in ton-miles, production volume is vastly higher). Although the jobs pay well (average wage is over $65,000) and the benefits are excellent, there are lifestyle sacrifices. Add to that a legacy of fairly bitter labor relations exacerbated by memories of the enormous loss of jobs (about 400K between deregulation and 2006, when aggregate headcount started to climb again).

The industry looks a lot different now, though, and the old generation is fading.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:29 AM
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79: Boy, wouldn't you like to see the same, or harsher, penalties for driving while texting as for drunk driving. At least the drunk has an explanation for their poor judgment, if not an excuse -- the texter is doing something that stupid sober.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:30 AM
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85: Alternately, maybe someone could get a Class C license, fix up an old school bus, and just put the word out at coffee shops and record stores. (A friend's father sort of did this, except more for going to big demonstrations than specifically to get people to where the work was.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:32 AM
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harsher would be good.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:32 AM
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89,91: They should have their index fingers cut off! (Thumbs for blackberry users.)


Posted by: OPINIONATED MULLAH | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:35 AM
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wouldn't you like to see the same, or harsher, penalties for driving while texting as for drunk driving

I'd like to see it applied to phone use in general, not just texting. Any time I have to swerve to keep from being sideswiped or find myself sitting behind a car idling at a green light, there's about a 90% chance that the driver has a phone pressed to his/her head.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:35 AM
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Why the rush for more laws???

We have laws that handle these issues very nicely.

Reckless driving, improper driving, etc.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:36 AM
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I agree with will. There are already laws that cover this.

I also agree with Apo. As an "urban" cyclist if I see anyone on a cellphone while driving I assume they are going to actively try and kill me.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:38 AM
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Akin to those things they attach to the cars of DWIers, where they won't start unless the driver passes a breathalyzer test (or his child or other sober passenger does), they could develop a little cradle that had to have the cellphone of the offender docked unusable in it or the car wouldn't run.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:39 AM
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Canada has trains.

Indubitably.

"So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St. Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swingin our hammers and drawin our pay
Drivin em in and tyin em down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the livin and a toast to the dead."


G. Lightfoot, "Canadian Railroad Trilogy."

No direct rail connections from Alaska to the rest of the States through Canada, though.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:39 AM
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This actually sounds like a job for some kind of union or other migrant farm-worker advocacy group

Or, you know, some kind of private business interested in engaging in profitable free enterprise. Maybe the Chinatown bus people....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:41 AM
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We have laws that handle these issues very nicely.

Reckless driving, improper driving, etc.

Because it'd be nice to prevent the accidents from happening.

You text while driving, don't you will.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:41 AM
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Akin to those things they attach to the cars of DWIers, where they won't start unless the driver passes a breathalyzer test

Or like the signal suppressors that the CBP employs in the customs area of airport arrival terminals.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:43 AM
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I agree with will. There are already laws that cover this.

How do they compare with DUI?

I wasn't suggesting new laws per se, but agreeing with LB that all else being equal driving dangerously because you're assing about with a phone is a worse offense than driving dangerously because you are impaired.

What would make the most sense is to explicitly allow cel phone disablement as grounds for charging under existing law with sufficient effect (loss of license for a period, massive fine, jail time on repeats, whatever), if plausible.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:44 AM
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100: Ah, but that wouldn't prevent miscreants from composing messages (to be sent later) while driving.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:44 AM
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I'd be happy with an evidentiary presumption that talking on the phone/texting constituted reckless driving. Doesn't have to be a whole separate crime.

And of course all 50 states have different laws, so exactly what this means would be different in all of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:45 AM
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You text while driving, don't you will.

There is nothing wrong with texting while stuck in traffic. Texting at 40mph is another issue entirely. The bar should not be the specific activity, but whether one's behavior is actually a danger to others on the road.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:45 AM
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As an "urban" cyclist if I see anyone on a cellphone while driving I assume they are going to actively try and kill me.

It's not a bad first approximation.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:46 AM
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Why the rush for more laws?

Because I hate cell phones.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:46 AM
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apo should get one of those (illegal in US) portable blockers. A 10m (or whatever your back & wallet can afford) radius of bliss, as it were.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:47 AM
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On this note, we should also prevent people from having passengers or being sleepy while driving or thinking about what they will be cooking for dinner. Those are distractions.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:48 AM
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Has gswift ever found a motorist engaged in self-abuse while driving? Twice I have seen this from the window of a bus: one time a man, one time a woman, both driving large SUV's.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:48 AM
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Has gswift ever found a motorist engaged in self-abuse while driving? Twice I have seen this from the window of a bus: one time a man, one time a woman, both driving large SUV's.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:49 AM
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109/110: Because it can't be repeated often enough that SUV drivers are wankers.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:50 AM
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107: Believe you me, I have wished it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:51 AM
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It's not a bad first approximation.

I assume regular drivers are going to passively try and kill me. People on cell phones seem to somehow go out of their way to hit me.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:51 AM
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I'd be happy with an evidentiary presumption that talking on the phone/texting constituted reckless driving. Doesn't have to be a whole separate crime.

Presumptions are interesting things. In Virginia, you are presumed to be driving under the influence if you blow .08 or more and you are presumed to NOT be driving under the influence at .05 or below.

In court, the .08 is an iron-clad presumption, never to be rebutted, yet the .05 tends to be viewed as just some minimal evidence that is easily rebutted bu just about anything.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:51 AM
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US railroads still originate fewer carloads than in 1929 (though, measured in ton-miles, production volume is vastly higher)

I'm trying to reconcile this. Does "originate carload" exclude container/trailer shipping? Or is the change all about the near-elimination of shortline railroads? (Although I understand that the shortlines that have survived are doing quite well, actually)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:53 AM
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being sleepy while driving or thinking about what they will be cooking for dinner.

But, you know, not observable by the police. And not resulting in the same sort of bad driving.

Seriously, if you think that thinking about dinner has the same effect on your driving as texting -- texting's no worse -- then you'd be right to oppose any special treatment of texting in the law. But that's the sort of thing that's empirically determinable, isn't it? I don't have solid data, and I wouldn't suggest that anyone pass a law without it, but assuming the data can be found, what's the problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:53 AM
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On this note, we should also prevent people from having passengers or being sleepy while driving or thinking about what they will be cooking for dinner. Those are distractions.

Yep, will definitely texts while driving.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:54 AM
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We should also ban drive-through windows at fast-food places. Bad for the environment, children's health, and promotes reckless driving.

Also, no driving after getting dumped by your significant other, laid for the first time, finding out that you are pregnant, fired, or any other exciting or distracting event.

Of course, spike pwned me by saying it better and more concisely.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:55 AM
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m/tch:

I am driving as I write this post!


LB:
what is observable is reckless driving. That is what you want to ban.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:57 AM
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118: Ah, the righteous and indignant fury of the guilty.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:57 AM
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so spike props up a straw man, runs over it, and will picks it back up to run over it again?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:58 AM
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Because it can't be repeated often enough that SUV drivers are wankers.

Masturbating while driving an SUV is fine, but no more masturbating to Lux Interior.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:58 AM
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121: Well, technically, will just didn't see it because he was too busy texting.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:59 AM
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Has gswift ever found a motorist engaged in self-abuse while driving?

I have lustedmasturbated in my heartcar. Couple times. Subcompacts.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:59 AM
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We're not going for the Platonic form of safe driving here, so pointing to "but what about distracted drivers with children!!!" is not really a good counterexample. Text messaging is an easily definable, distracting activity in a way that carrying-distracting-passengers isn't.

(Plus, some states have laws that new drivers aren't permitted to have passengers.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:59 AM
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Maybe texters who want to go somewhere should ride the rails.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:00 AM
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Has gswift ever found a motorist engaged in self-abuse while driving?

Not in the act, no. But there's certain parks where I try and drive through when calls are slow because they're known spots where the Larry Craig types try and meet in the bathrooms and/or park next to each other and watch each wank. Get a room, damnit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:00 AM
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122: Damn, that sucks.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:01 AM
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119: will, your argument would work against driving while intoxicated. I'm sure there are plenty of people who are just fine for driving at 0.09BAC. But we don't just think that drunken driving can be taken care of under reckless driving statutes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:01 AM
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129: and texting is an identifiable activity that is never appropriate to engage in while operating a moving vehicle.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:02 AM
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They should make cars with wheels for rail and built-in hobo racks AND built-in voice-to-text translation for texting purposes.

max
['And they should make private jets without engines but WITH rail bogies! Woo!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:03 AM
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with perhaps a little wiggle room for being actually stuck in traffic.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:03 AM
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97: No direct rail connections from Alaska to the rest of the States through Canada, though.

Although you can come damn close to it at Prince Rupert (not that you could connect from that part of Alaska to any other part by rail).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:03 AM
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what is observable is reckless driving. That is what you want to ban.

Driving while texting is also observable. And if it can be empirically shown to lead to accidents, than it's what I want to ban.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:04 AM
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128: RTFA (from yesterday), noob.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:04 AM
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In court, the .08 is an iron-clad presumption, never to be rebutted

I wouldn't mind seeing harsher penalties the higher the BAC. There's the guys who are just over the limit. Then there's the calls that come in as an abandoned vehicle at an intersection at 3am. You walk up to the car to find that it's not abandoned, it's just some dude who's so damn loaded that he reclined his seat and went to sleep at the intersection and has no recollection of how he got there.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:04 AM
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will hasn't responded because he just got into a fender bender.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:05 AM
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I'm trying to reconcile this.

The average ton-miles per carload originated is almost five times higher. This is a function of more tons per car (up by about 75%, because the less dense stuff has migrated to truck, leaving mostly bulk freight to the rails) and much longer average length of haul (up by about 270%, as the modal competitiveness of rail starts to kick in at longer distances, all other things being equal)

Does "originate carload" exclude container/trailer shipping?

No

Or is the change all about the near-elimination of shortline railroads?

No. An origination is only counted once, whether it originates on a shortline or a major railroad. The vast majority of shortline traffic interchanges with a Class 1 railroad in one direciton or another.

(Although I understand that the shortlines that have survived are doing quite well, actually)

Once you make allowance for survivor bias, this is in fact true.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:09 AM
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136: So anyway, how're you liking the job?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:09 AM
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I suppose where things get more interesting with texting and cell phone usage is the implications of what is technologically possible.

I'm assuming that it's not controversial to believe that texting while driving is roughly equivalent to a number of other distracting things that people might do. However, I can imagine a targeted law allowing police officers to query phone records in a very specific yes/no way, with evidence from this handled much like a breathalizer test. I'm imagining the existence of such a law, not suggesting it.

In which case someone playing solitaire on their phone or reading while driving was at less risk of prosecution, I suppose.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:11 AM
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For the record, while I am in favor of texting while driving, I am ruthlessly opposed to reckless driving. Specifically, tailgaters need to be shot. But I don't think I've ever seen anyone pulled over for tailgating. And the worst tailgaters, naturally, are cops.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:13 AM
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re: 140

In the UK this has been done. A woman was convicted this week of dangerous driving [someone died] due to texting. The police used cell-phone records in court.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:13 AM
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The data show that talking on the phone, even a handsfree device, impairs driving as much as sloshed. Sorry, will, you can't convince me that texting (eyes off the road, hands off the wheel) is less distracting than talking over a bluetooth headset.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:15 AM
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I have been known to play Tetris while driving (


Posted by: Chester Arthur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:15 AM
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As much as being sloshed. I am sober and stationary as I write this.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:16 AM
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Part of the point, I'd think, of giving texting a legal status is informational, same as drunk driving laws. No one cares if you drive drunk, they care if you kill people. But we pass the laws about drunk driving, partially because they inform drivers, who might otherwise innocently drive drunk, that doing so involves an unacceptable risk of killing people. Same for texting -- I'm sure people who text don't think it affects their driving, or they wouldn't do it. I also think they're very likely to be wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:16 AM
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tailgaters

Proximity sensors exist already, now tuned for parking assistance, but could easily become black boxes that record driving particulars for insurance + police. More prosaically, insurance companies could offer a discount to anyone willing to have a webcam record their driving.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:18 AM
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The data show that talking on the phone, even a handsfree device, impairs driving as much as sloshed.

What the data doesn't take into account is that its possible to turn off a cell phone as soon as driving get the least bit hairy, while its impossible to turn off being sloshed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:19 AM
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The job is loads of fun. Beats the hell out of an office. I would recommend it to anyone with the right personality type. Obviously if you don't like confrontation, talking to strangers, going into a dark building looking for a burglar, etc. the job would be pretty hellish.

Also, working a downtown area with a lot of calls is great. A small town with no calls would get boring.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:19 AM
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For the record, while I am in favor of texting while driving,

This is insane. If you mean strictly only when stuck in
If you mean generally while driving though, you are a menace.

I also think they're very likely to be wrong.

I'll take your "very likely" and raise you an "absolutely certainly"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:21 AM
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oops, I got bit by the html embedded thing. Should have been

If you mean strictly only when stuck in less than 5 mph stop and go traffic.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:22 AM
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Proximity sensors exist already, now tuned for parking assistance, but could easily become black boxes that record driving particulars for insurance + police.

insurance/police, fooey. What I want to do is hook the proximity sensors up to some friggin' laser beams that will blind whatever driver gets within two feet of my bumper.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:22 AM
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A small town with no calls would get boring.

Clearly you've never talked to the cops in my hometown. They hardly had enough hours in the day to fit in all the extramarital fucking, harassment of teenagers, and state-assisted snooping they had to accomplish.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:23 AM
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148: Wait, but the data would show that, wouldn't it? Depending on the test design, it would show that even with the 'i can put it down anytime i want' mentality, people are still just as dangerous (presumably because 'can put down the phone when it gets really hairy' doesn't include 'am paying enough attention to avoid hairy situations.' I think it's the mental distraction that's the big worry.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:23 AM
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149: I'm glad it's working out. Any good stories, presidential or not, will be appreciated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:23 AM
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I've only been on the road for a few months, and I've already had the run ins with the texters who are making the exact same driving errors as the drunks. Don't know anyone who's pulled over a guy who was weaving all over the place only to get told "sorry, I was thinking about dinner."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:24 AM
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I might be able to drive safer while changing my clothes, eating a burrito, and talking on the phone than m/tch can on his best day.

The issue should be whether my driving is safe.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:24 AM
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that its possible to turn off a cell phone as soon as driving get the least bit hairy

This is true, but mostly irrelevant. The main problem with doing anything distracting while you drive is that when something unexpected happens, you don't react as well as you should. By definition you can't be ready for this.

Driving impaired by device use does differ from driving impaired by alcohol in that it may only impair you for a fraction of your trip. That's really about it though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:25 AM
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148: Okay? The point here is that when you talk on the phone while driving, you are as dangerous as a drunk driver for the duration, not that talking while driving makes you drunk.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:26 AM
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157: So you're saying we should get rid of DUI laws? After all I might be able to drive better legally impaired by alcohol than you can on your best day.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:27 AM
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159 was me.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:27 AM
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I might be able to drive drunk better than the NYC commenters sober, simply because I drive so much more often. That doesn't mean that driving drunk isn't inherently dangerous.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:28 AM
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So you're saying we should get rid of DUI laws?

I would be OK with this if we made reckless driving as big an offense as DUI is now.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:28 AM
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I might be able to drive safer while changing my clothes, eating a burrito, and talking on the phone than with m/tch

He has a calming influence.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:28 AM
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If you mean generally while driving though, you are a menace.

Actually, I was trolling.

But yeah, under 5mph or so should be legal. And, like will, I think reckless driving should be the crime, rather than the texting itself. But texting could certainly be cited as contributory evidence in a reckless driving case.

I think you run into trouble when you try to pick out specific technolgies and define their use as illegal.... you end up with laws that say texting is illegal, but fucking with the playlists on your mp3 player is fine. And then, in 5 years, the next technology comes out and you have to go through an entire new round of finding evidence that its bad and making that illegal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:29 AM
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148: The data do take that into account. Talking on the phone makes it harder to realize you are getting into a hairy situation in the first place.

My ex was one of those people who was absolutely convinced that she could text while driving without impairment. Drove into a fence post while fucking with her phone. Minimal damage, and all it did was convince her not to text while actually parking the truck.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:29 AM
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Sorry, will, you can't convince me that texting (eyes off the road, hands off the wheel) is less distracting than talking over a bluetooth headset.

I am not trying to convince you of that point.

Cala:

DUI laws keep getting tougher and tougher because politicians have to have something to say that they have accomplished while in office.
Very fews politicians say "I fought against enacting ANY additional laws." Certain things are really easy targets. Dui is one of them.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:29 AM
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Don't know anyone who's pulled over a guy who was weaving all over the place only to get told "sorry, I was thinking about dinner."

How many accidents have been caused by people dropping their drinks, or something related to smoking, or someone changing the radio station?

Let's outlaw those GPA devices too!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:31 AM
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And then, in 5 years, the next technology comes out and you have to go through an entire new round of finding evidence that its bad and making that illegal.

For example, passing a joint around while driving is significantly less distracting than using a water bong, yet the law, in its crudity, makes them both equally illegal.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:31 AM
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162: right.

so what this boils down to is the following. There are certain otherwise legal behaviors (drinking before hand, texting, whatever) that are both practically identifiable in some way and typically result in impaired function while driving.

Given the existence of such, should we have laws specifically targeting them. In other words, is the deterrent effect of such laws worth the unfairness of targeting only certain behaviors even if they have not resulted in actual damage.

Follow up: as/if pervasive surveillance increases, should such targeted laws be left behind? After all, one of the arguments for DUI legislation is that it's impossible for the police to be everywhere.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:33 AM
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Will --

Have you got a thought about my informational argument; that laws relating to texting/cell phone use convey information to drivers about the likely effect of texting on their driving, just like DUI laws inform drivers that driving drunk is in fact an unacceptable risk?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:34 AM
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168: come on, you can argue better than that.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:35 AM
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But texting could certainly be cited as contributory evidence in a reckless driving case.

I think I basically agree with this, but it does make it different than DUI.

This all ties into what is technologically possible also, as 170 suggested.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:35 AM
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How many accidents have been caused by people dropping their drinks, or something related to smoking, or someone changing the radio station?

And if I find that out, they get a cite.

Seriously, you want to have the same penalty for the guy changing his radio station as the guy who gets behind the wheel with 8 martinis in his bloodstream?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:36 AM
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Texting while driving is pretty obviously a bad idea. I confess to having done it. Nothing bad ever happened, but it is a bit reckless because it distracts both your eyes and attention from the road. Whether there should be special laws is another question. I see the informational point LizardBreath makes above, but that could be said of lots of things. Maybe just stick to the reckless driving laws, which certainly should cover it, and also likely distinguish between texting while driving 45 mph on a city street and texting while stuck at a standstill in traffic.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:37 AM
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171: Its a novel argument, but I don't think laws should exist to be informational. Sending someone to jail because they endanger other is fine, but sending someone to jail as an FYI is not good. Stuff like that is why marijuana is illegal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:37 AM
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171: Here we get into the relative effect of information channels, I think. Is it more effective to spend public money on an information campaign?



Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:38 AM
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I might be able to drive drunk better than the NYC commenters sober

Very likely, in my case. I've done a ludicrously small amount of driving lifetime -- I figure my only redeeming feature is the fact that I have no interest in anything but getting from point to point as sedately as possible. But I really don't like even messing with the radio while I'm in motion if there's anything other than a dead-straight, fairly empty road around me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:39 AM
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Nothing bad ever happened,

True of most trips made under the influence of alcohol.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:39 AM
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come on, you can argue better than that.

Not for free, he doesn't.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:39 AM
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Pregnancy while driving is often distracting, yet if the Department of Transportation proposed that reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies would also reduce car crashes, you'd say they were fascists.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:41 AM
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Further to the technological side.

It's quite plausible technologically that in a short while we could plausible enact a system where new phones and new cars would collude to disallow usage in the drivers seat while the car was in motion.

Regardless of the myriad ways to work around this, what would people thing of legislative efforts in that sort of direction?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:41 AM
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The issue should be whether my driving is safe.

IOW driving with a 0.2 BAC while getting a blowjob is only problematic when I cross the centerline at 65 mph into oncoming traffic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:41 AM
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Folks who text while they drive?: Is it quick stuff for which your fingers already know how to do ("On my way. Love you.") or is it just chatting? ("LOL. Am driving OMG this traffic sux")


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:42 AM
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182: I'm imagining a case where a doctor on call misses his page because its blocked by the car he's driving. Sounds not good.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:44 AM
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Although you can come damn close to it at Prince Rupert (not that you could connect from that part of Alaska to any other part by rail).

Some would consider fabled Wasilla (far from Prince Rupert BC) to be the epicenter of Alaskan railroading. Maybe Stanley's hobo rode into Wasilla and met up with Sarah Palin at a soup kitchen, like David Carradine's Woody Guthrie and, errr, some actress in Bound for Glory.

Oops, wrong exit. I'll just back up while I'mjhcjbubxu6e


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:44 AM
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176: What's the marijuana connection?

Seriously, though, that's a big part of how DUI enforcement works, isn't it? When my parents were decent, respectable, sensible teenagers/young adults, they drove drunk like crazy; they talk about coming home from parties with their infants (hi!) in the car, and deciding which of them was less drunk, and so better able to drive. They weren't monsters or idiots, they honestly didn't believe that the risk of getting into an accident from driving drunk was unacceptably high.

Thirty/forty years later, we mostly believe that driving drunk is unacceptably risky. I think it's clear that the difference between what we believe now and what my parents believed, is largely due to the fact that we live in a world where we'll get arrested for driving drunk, and they didn't. The change in laws and enforcement led to a change in beliefs about the riskiness of the activity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:44 AM
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How do you distinguish between texting while driving and looking at google maps while driving? I'll grant that looking at a map on the phone is more dangerous than looking at the road, but I'll bet it's less dangerous than flipping through an atlas, or worse yet, one of those gigantic foldy maps.


Posted by: amb | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:46 AM
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The second I discovered what a hobo was, as a child, I wanted to be one.

I aspired to be a hobo for years. I think I first heard of the idea at 'Hobo Joe's'--a kind of Denny's type restaurant. But I'd also heard adults talking about bums. Being a bum sounded great, but being a hobo much better, for obvious reasons--the subculture, the skills involved, the secret language, etc.

I can't believe I failed even at this. This post makes me realize I'm a failed hobo.


Posted by: ozma | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:48 AM
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I'm imagining a case where a doctor on call misses his page because its blocked by the car he's driving. Sounds not good.

That's an obvious direction to argue against it, but I really think it's a distraction. It's both a very marginal case, and easily worked around technologically as well.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:49 AM
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188 describes many things you should typically not be doing while actually driving though.

I agree people actually do this, but now we are back into territory of what is identifiable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:50 AM
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I just want to be clear on existing mechanisms:

2 basic situations: in A, the driver is weaving at or near the speed limit, but doesn't hit/endanger anything (while the cop is looking anyway); in B, the driver hits a pedestrian.

In A1, the driver blows a 1.0. He's arrested, and at risk of jail, with a likelihood of a significant fine. In A2, the driver is sober, maybe sleepy or fiddling with radio. I think he's sent home with a warning, 99.9% of the time. In A3, the driver has been texting. What should happen?

In B1, driver is drunk. Arrested, jail. In B2, sober driver is cited, but as long as the ped lives, I don't think he sees jail. B3, texting. What should happen?

I'm asking because I'm not certain this is correct. But if it is, it seems to me that B3 should look more like B1. And if that's the case, then, logically, A3 should look more like A1. But I bet it's not.

Point being, texting while driving creates the kind of predictable danger that DUI does. It's the definition of reckless. Some (but not all) of the things Will cites are clearly far more in the careless category than the reckless one. To me, defining aggravating activities - ones that turn carelessness into recklessness - makes some sort of sense. You don't need a separate law for each technology, but you establish the basic concept that, while accidents happen, if you cause an accident while doing any of a number of predictably distracting things, you will face DUI-esque punishments.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:52 AM
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come on, you can argue better than that.

He's arguing as well and as fast as his thumbs and traffic conditions allow, Cala.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:53 AM
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if you cause an accident while doing any of a number of predictably distracting things, you will face DUI-esque punishments.

right, and I guess you can argue they should all be folded into some sort of reckless driving law with suitable punishments, with the availability of evidence of distracting behavior being weighed in the choice to prosecute under that law.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:54 AM
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BTW, on the don't-drive-after-a-breakup thing, my HS GF dumped me for good while I was visiting her in Baltimore for Spring Break (WHOOOO!). I had to drive back to NJ before returning to Pgh. I was pretty devastated, and on I-95 in Philly, I passed a state trooper - on the right. Now, I was desperately low on gas (not a lot of exit ramp gas stations in the city), so that was part of my distraction, but I felt pretty stupid when they pulled me over. They were kind of incredulous - "So you didn't notice passing a marked police car?" - but let me go. I think I looked very pathetic (I didn't tell them of my woes - well, the gas one I did).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:56 AM
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191: Maybe I'm just rationalizing my own behavior, but I don't think google maps is that dangerous. If you set up directions beforehand, all you have to do is hit 'space' every time you make a turn, and it will tell you how far it is 'till the next turn, and which way you should turn.


Posted by: amb | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:56 AM
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192: That sounds solid to me. What actually happens now, state by state, I don't know, but in general 192 makes sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:56 AM
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In A1, the driver blows a 1.0.

Since LD_50 is 0.4%, you probably want to call a national news agency at this point --- you've probably got a record on your hands.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:56 AM
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IOW driving with a 0.2 BAC while getting a blowjob is only problematic when I cross the centerline at 65 mph into oncoming trafficit's happening to someone else.

Haters.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:57 AM
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198. Shit, Kobe can't believe I fucked that up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:57 AM
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I don't like technological fixes for behavioral problems. Treat people like responsible adults unless they give you specific reasons not to.

The change in laws and enforcement led to a change in beliefs about the riskiness of the activity.

I think the change was first in perception, then in law. The perception changed because people were better informed of the risks. Also, I think the risks increased because people were driving more.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:57 AM
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In my ideal world, cell phone use would be like masturbation. Nothing wrong with it, might even be necessary, but have the decency to go somewhere private before you whip it out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 10:59 AM
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Is it quick stuff for which your fingers already know how to do ("On my way. Love you.") or is it just chatting? ("LOL. Am driving OMG this traffic sux")

And can it in any way be construed as necessary? (Like, you know, commenting on Unfogged.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:00 AM
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201: I think the change was first in perception, then in law. The perception changed because people were better informed of the risks. Also, I think the risks increased because people were driving more.

Not my impression, but I don't know the history for sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:02 AM
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right, and I guess you can argue they should all be folded into some sort of reckless driving law with suitable punishments, with the availability of evidence of distracting behavior being weighed in the choice to prosecute under that law.

OK, problem solved. Next?

For the record, I'd certainly be fine with keeping DUI a separate category, partly because it needs to be a big, looming threat in order to affect someone's decision-making all night.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:02 AM
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196: well that's clearly better than messing about with a folding map, and also clearly worse than a proper GPS.

But seriously, how often is there a need to emulate turn by turn like this? I don't think I've ever in my life consulted a map at every turn. I look at it before going, have the general idea of what's next, and if the route is new and complicated I'll check a few times on the way if I'm alone. If you're city driving, you can always have a look at a red light, otherwise you're looking for an exit or merge, which you should be ready for....

If you lose track, you can always pull off and stop and figure it out, right?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:03 AM
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||
Holy crap. Justice Ginsberg has pancreatic cancer.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:05 AM
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201, 204: My impression/recollection was that MADD came first, and moved simultaneously with PSAs and laws. The information campaign helped create support for the laws, but I think they were pretty much working in concert.

I say this largely because I'm pretty sure I recall news stories about the laws occurring after I was already aware of the PSAs. But again, not by much.

Could be wrong, of course.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:05 AM
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Oh, poor thing, and bless her for holding on this long.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:05 AM
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207: Whoa.

That's one of the rarely-survived ones, right?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:06 AM
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bless her for holding on this long.

Thank you for saying this in a non-ghoulish way. But Amen.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:07 AM
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I'm not seeing this on any news feeds. Where did you see it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:08 AM
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207's not on the NYT site yet. Has anyone confirmed it with Insty?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:09 AM
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210: Yep. I think there are different kinds, but generally pancreatic cancer is about as bad as anything could be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:09 AM
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She'd already had colon cancer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:10 AM
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210: Yup, one of the worst. They're reporting it was caught early, but the 5-year survival rate with early detection is still pretty low.

212: Just heard it on NPR.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:10 AM
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I endorse 202.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:10 AM
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176: What's the marijuana connection?

The connection is that, even though marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, we can't legalize it because it would "send the wrong message" to our children. Its an FYI law to keep kids away from the gateway drug, or else they will end up using heroin and sleeping with jazz musicians.

The laws are more about what marijuana represents than they are about preventing marijuana-related harm. I think its an example of bad law, and hence I am very wary of other laws that take their purpose as being informative, rather than simply operational.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:10 AM
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Had or having surgery, even.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:11 AM
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CNN.com's got it.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:11 AM
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The laws are more about what marijuana represents than they are about preventing marijuana-related harm.

But the informational virtue of a law like this would be directly related to preventing texting-related harm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:13 AM
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207: Oh, that's awful.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:14 AM
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A number of phrases and words with "habit" in them become much more delightful if you replace "habit" with "hobo."


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:14 AM
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Seriously, you want to have the same penalty for the guy changing his radio station as the guy who gets behind the wheel with 8 martinis in his bloodstream?

Every crime has a range of punishments. Thank goodness.

LB:

With regard to your informational issue, the increased punishments and almost certain conviction has lead to a change of behavior. That may be a good thing.


Has anyone studied the effects of eating food while driving? Is eating food while driving much different from talking on the phone? I'd rather drop my phone than drop my super sized diet coke and big mac. Why dont we ban that?

Of smoking while driving? I am fairly confident that they have studied newly licensed drivers driving with passengers (and found it to be dangerous), but have they studied adults?

Our criminal justice system works fairly well right now. We do not need new laws every legislative session attacking the newest thing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:17 AM
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206: Yeah, GPS with audible directions would be better; this won't be a problem in 2-3 years, when even low end phones will come with GPS.

I don't keep track at every turn, but I'll hit space a bunch of times to catch up when I've got 'spare' time. I should probably always wait until I'm stopped to check, but it seems like such a small risk! Then again, a lot of people say that about drinking, and I think that's crazy. I might be similarly full of shit here.


Posted by: amb | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:17 AM
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In a gesture toward post-partisanship, Obama is going to let Sen McCain choose Ginsberg's replacement.

Wait! It's too early for morbid jokes, isn't it?

God bless and protect you, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:17 AM
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223: Especially anything involving nuns.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:17 AM
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Yeah, now it's hitting the news wires.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:18 AM
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Every crime has a range of punishments. Thank goodness.

But it seems to me that you'd classify changing the radio station and DUI as the same crime, which seems a tad nuts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:20 AM
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What were once vices are now hobos.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:21 AM
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Our criminal justice system works fairly well right now.

Opinions differ.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:22 AM
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221: My concern is that I don't think being informational is the proper purpose of the law, and I'm citing marijuana laws as a case where informational law is bad. I imagine informational texting laws would be less draconian, but I'm saying that being informational is not what I consider a proper MO for a law.

If you want to make texting illegal because it contributes to reckless driving, I think that's a ok law, although I probably wouldn't vote for it. But if you want to make texting illegal because you want to publicize that texting is bad, I think you are stepping outside the bounds of what law should be doing. Instead, you should public information campaign - that way, nobody gets arrested.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:23 AM
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Pain perdu, I LOVE that you showed up with deep subject matter knowledge.

I'll quibble a little with your contention that there's not much to be learned from a hobo (or really, any user, because the use is only a small piece of what's going on). Let me know what you think of this:

My irrigation professor does in fact interview migrants and illicit canal users when he designs water projects. He says that people will use the water, no matter what the canal is intended to do, so the humane thing to do is design for them. That's how he knows to space ladders on the sides of canals and it goes into the slope of the sides of the canals. He says that if you're doing a canal design in the third world, you must give people platforms to wash clothes. The alternative is fishing out their bodies. He is not willing to submit designs that will kill people, even for improved water conveyance function.

The other thought I had was that even if the signal to noise on hobo/trainspotting information is really low, do you have better sources of thought on what trains are for? How good are those, and how much do they just repeat the conventions of the field? I go to seminars and conventions and keep up with research on what will happen to water here, but while there's progress on some known stuff, there isn't much original there. I'm looking for sources of new thoughts and desperate enough to wade into newspaper comments for them. I'd convene hobos (or in water, probably field laborers) if they'd tell me how they thought about water and what they've noticed recently. I can do the sifting myself, after.

(Actually, one idea for a dissertation I never did was on how field workers changed irrigation efficiencies from the one the system was designed for. I found that they had their own ideas about watering, and they're the ones in position to actually do them.)

(Also, pp, my sister is in a field related to yours.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:26 AM
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Also works if you use "hobo" to replace "heebie".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:26 AM
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned that California added text messaging to their overall "no cell phone while driving" ban.

Unfortunately, I've seen plenty of people still talking on their handsets.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:28 AM
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Has anyone studied the effects of eating food while driving? Is eating food while driving much different from talking on the phone?

Of course they've done studies. Looking at the first couple of sites that come up, effects are roughly comparable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:29 AM
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But it seems to me that you'd classify changing the radio station and DUI as the same crime, which seems a tad nuts.

So, you are less bothered by someone who is not looking at the road in front of them while they are driving than you are by someone who is driving at .o8, even though the .08 person is paying greater attention to the road?

Lots of crimes capture a wide range of actions.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:31 AM
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Our criminal justice system works fairly well right now.

Unless, of course, you are black.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:32 AM
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235: It's been illegal in NJ for more than a year. Didn't know about CA.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:32 AM
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236:

So we should ban driving and eating and having passengers in the car.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:33 AM
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The Seven Hobos of Highly Effective People


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:33 AM
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237: Changing a radio station isn't terribly significant, because it's only distracting for a couple of seconds. Over any 5 minute period, the radio listener is probably paying much better attention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:33 AM
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240: If we (as embodied in the legislature) think that the social benefits of those activities are less than the harms, sure. For having passengers in a car, I doubt that's going to happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:35 AM
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because it's only distracting for a couple of seconds.

It only takes a couple seconds to run me over. I am perfectly fine with changing the radio station being covered under the same basic law as DUI. Obviously intent enters into it, but it does in a lot of other laws as well. You are driving a metal death machine. Pay attention.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:36 AM
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geeez people. posting here while trying to eat and talk on the phone is very distracting.

Our criminal justice system is horrible in many areas.

I should have said that our criminal justice system has more than enough tools already to put people in jail. The last thing it needs is more.

In my area, a judge was recently chastised by several legislators in his re-appointment process because he sentenced someone to the mid-point of the sentencing guidelines. They were using that as an excuse not to re-appoint him. Fortunately, it failed.

MADD used to have people sit in courtrooms to make sure that judges were appropriately tough on people. Finding someone guilty and giving them lots of time rarely hurts a judge. Finding someone not guilty or giving them a lighter sentence? Might cause trouble at re-appointment time.

Is that fair? Just? I do not think so.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:39 AM
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244: It only takes a couple seconds to run me over.

At this point, we're getting into crazy-talk. There is no such thing a total focus on a task for hours at a time; it's not humanly possible. Drivers will look away from the road for a second or two here and there.

What we've been talking about is whether there are identifiable activities that are likely enough to be distracting to a great enough degree that they make driving unacceptably unsafe. I doubt that changing radio stations is such an activity; I'm pretty sure that texting is. But I'm not a fact-finding legislative committee, and I wouldn't start passing laws unless I'd done a solid look at the research.

(E.g., I'm surprised that eating looked as bad as talking on the phone from the first couple of google hits. If it really is, maybe it should be prohibited while driving as well. But I'd want to do more than look at the first couple of google hits before I passed a law.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:41 AM
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245: I should have said that our criminal justice system has more than enough tools already to put people in jail. The last thing it needs is more.

I'd like to totally agree with you about the generally insane harshness of our criminal justice system; I've been thinking about the texting thing in terms of severity relative to other sorts of bad behavior, not so much in terms of absolutely how each should be treated, if you see the distinction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:44 AM
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189 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:50 AM
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lot of people say that about drinking, and I think that's crazy. I might be similarly full of shit here.

Yeah, I don't know how to realistically evaluate that risk either. But that gets back to all the issues discussed in this thread. There are a bunch of things people do while they are driving that they shouldn't. They aren't all equivalently riskt, but they all impair our ability to drive well, even if only by distracting us for a second --- after all, there is a tiny chance that second could be crucial.

So nobody has illusions that people won't do this (though you can hope through education to reduce it) and nobody thinks it's all the same thing. On the other hand, though, if you have an bad behavior that it is actually possible to identify (blood alcohol, cel phone records, whatever) at what point (if any) does it become worth
targeting it.

I have some sympathy for the view of avoiding specialized legislation. On the other hand, the variouse efforts against DUI have definitely had a beneficial effect. Trouble is, it's hard to know what exactly is responsible for it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:50 AM
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I have been, on three separate occasions, guilty of Driving While Being Blown. The impairment suffered thereby was comparable to driving while high, i.e. much less impaired than DWI, except for the 5-10 seconds around the orgasm, at which point you might as well be composing a text message while eating a bowl of minestrone at 0.8%BAC.


Posted by: Chester Arthur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:54 AM
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the 5-10 seconds around the orgasm, at which point you might as well be composing a text message while eating a bowl of minestrone at 0.8%BAC.

My expectations were always a little higher than that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:01 PM
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233: Pain perdu, I LOVE that you showed up with deep subject matter knowledge.

Yes, so while you are here, let me ask you something I think I remember, but cannot find any evidence of after a bit of searching. Was there not, some years back, a small "railroad" that was basically stealing (or repainting as their own) freight cars? (Now that I type this it seems implausible, but I seem to have a pretty strong, if non-specific, memory of it.) I want to say that it was somewhere in the upper Midwest (Wisconsin?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:02 PM
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Once, I gave my girlfriend an orgasm while I was driving down the interstate. (I'm not that skilled, she was just pretty sensitive. It was great.) No driving problems, as I recall, but it was relatively late at night.

Is it me, or does road sexplay only happen on the freeway?


Posted by: Franklin Pierce | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:02 PM
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Other than the annoyance to lawyers of having to keep up with the statute books, I've never seen what the problem is with new laws or regulations per se. Obviously, bad laws or bad regulations shouldn't be enacted, but that's different.

The no cell phone, no text messaging law in California has already had a big effect on at least one driver -- me. I used to be a constant Blackberry-while-driving perpetrator; I can't say I'm currently in 100% compliance with the law, but having a clear legal rule has definitely made me think three or four times before busting out the Blackberry on the road. Of course, I was vaguely aware that if I was using the Blackberry, and got into an accident or caused harm, I was increasing the odds of a reckless or improper driving charge, but having a clear legal prohibition has helped with deterrence.

Also, I agree with Megan -- I love it that Unfogged has industry specific knowledge about the railroad industry. More on this please!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:03 PM
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My ex was a volunteer paramedic. One call she went on was for a woman who had been distracted by putting on makeup and rear ended the car in front of her. The airbag had shoved the mascara brush in between her eye and socket. Every time ex relates the story she is sure to mention "she just wouldn't stop screaming."

I mention this because I have heard tales of people like Chester Arthur having similar accidents, though the issue in that case is head trauma to both the blower and the blowee, though in the latter case it's the little head that's damaged. By teeth.

In neither case do I have any sympathy for anyone except the poor sap who got rear ended.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:03 PM
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Thanks togolosh, now I'm going to have nightmares.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:06 PM
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All I want to know is whether modern-day hobos still use chalk codes to communicate.

Yep. A guy I used to know found out that his house was marked as being a good place to get free food.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:07 PM
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250: Chester Arthur, have you read The World According to Garp? I read it as a teenager, and it taught me to never never allow someone to blow me while I'm driving.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:11 PM
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256 - paramedics have *the* *best* stories.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:15 PM
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Once, while on a double-date for dinner, we were driving behind a big red pick-up truck driven by an appropriately meth-addledl-looking young fellow which sported a "Support Road Head" bumper sticker. Being unfamiliar with the idiom, I innocently asked the other gentleman in the car with me what it referred to. He gritted his teeth and explained it to me and the others. We all agreed that, as both vehicles were pulling into the same parking lot, it would be a capital idea to walk up to him after we parked and aver that we would love to take him up on his kind offer, and which one of us did he want to blow first? For some reason, we did not in fact carry out this excellent plan.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:18 PM
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Chester Arthur, have you read The World According to Garp?

Yes, and don't think that thought never crossed my mind. IIRC, the blowee was only pretending to drive at the moment of the collision.

I also know someone who was caught in flagrante by one of those radar speed camera things. Would have been OK, except he was driving a company car, and the ticket (with photo) got sent to the responsible staff person.


Posted by: Chester Arthur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:23 PM
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Was there not, some years back, a small "railroad" that was basically stealing (or repainting as their own) freight cars?

I'm not familiar with that story, but it doesn't mean that it didn't happen.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:25 PM
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Thanks togolosh, now I'm going to have nightmares.

It's OK, jackmormon. Just stop giving your honey blowjobs while he's driving, and you'll have nothing to worry about.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:27 PM
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Would have been OK, except he was driving a company car, and the ticket (with photo) got sent to the responsible staff person.

"As the responsible staff person, I am deeply disappointed by this employee's blatantly irresponsible deployment of his staff."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:27 PM
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the blowee was only pretending to drive at the moment of the collision

Parked in the driveway, I think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:28 PM
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Just stop giving your honey blowjobs while he's you're driving, and you'll have nothing to worry about.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:29 PM
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A number of phrases and words with "habit" in them become much more delightful if you replace "habit" with "hobo."

Who could forget the heartwarming charitable work done by that organization that helps peripatetic vagrants get body art: Hobo Tat for Humanity?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:33 PM
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Maybe instead I'l never put anything near my eyes while driving.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:34 PM
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Bad hobos die hard.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:40 PM
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I tried cold turkey, I tried patches, but I just couldn't kick the hobo.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:41 PM
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Cold Turkey and Patches were the only hobos I knew at the time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:42 PM
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Ned has a nasty coke hobo.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:45 PM
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Sister Mary Frances placed the hobo on Agnes' shoulders...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:46 PM
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Praise for Hobo

"HOBO grabs you by the throat ... resonates with urban angst"

"Literate, Funny, and creepier than anything you'll find at the multiplex, HOBO leaves you exhilarated"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:47 PM
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I'l never put anything near my eyes

That's going to make blowjobs difficult, depending on your definition of "near".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:48 PM
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Other than the annoyance to lawyers of having to keep up with the statute books, I've never seen what the problem is with new laws or regulations per se

Annoyance?

New laws are great for lawyers. Bring on the harsher DUI laws! We can charge a lot more now that you get mandatory jail time if you blow a .15.

The only annoyance is when someone comes to me whining complaining that it is their first offense and they "arent a criminal."

uhhhh, now you are.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:50 PM
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I'm not comfortable changing "habit" to "hobo", so I'm going to split the difference and go with "hobbit".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:51 PM
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I'm not comfortable changing "habit" to "hobo", so I'm going to split the difference and go with "hobbit".

That's what Emerson meant when he said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:54 PM
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I would like to note that one of the short films included in a local horror film festival coming up in a couple of weeks is titled Hobo With a Shotgun. Apparently it's a faux trailer for a film that doesn't exist. I would gladly watch the film. I'm excited about the trailer.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 12:59 PM
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I love that old Hank Williams, Jr. ballad, "Old Hobos Like You Are Hard to Break".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:00 PM
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Caution: May be hobo forming


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:00 PM
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Also, Penny Arcade in the fairly recent past featured a mention of the "hoblo," a concept which nicely ties together two thread topics, but I can't dig up a link because I'm at work.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:01 PM
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278: Emerson would make a first-rate hobo, if he set his mind to it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:03 PM
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Anyone remember The Old Hobo's Infected Foot? (Scroll down to December 21.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:07 PM
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Hobo With a Shotgun

It is one of the trailers that was made up for Grindhouse


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:09 PM
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Hoblo. I live to serve.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 1:14 PM
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People keep mentioning distraction as the issue, so I wanted to point out that one big difference between talking on a cell phone versus eating while driving is that while both are sources of distraction, taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, etc., the cell phone conversation actually imposes a significant cognitive load on the brain, whereas it's quite possible to stuff food into one's face with minimal thought and attention.

Brain studies have indicated that while talking on the phone, people's visual cortex is activated and forms a mental picture of the person being talked to, which interferes significantly with the ability to process and react appropriately to visual information in front of the person's eyes. That's a big part of the reason that hands-free devices don't actually mitigate the dangers of driving while phoning.

Conversations with people in the car also impose a cognitive load, of course, but they're much easier to put on hold or otherwise adjust to allow the driver to refocus on driving.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:04 PM
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Maybe so m/tch, but isnt that offset by the possibility of dropping your chopsticks while you try to eat rice in the car?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:05 PM
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287 is true. On the other hand, probably nobody ever scalded themselves by dropping a hot cell phone in their lap.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:08 PM
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289: Yeah, cellphones are too modern to have developed reliable instant karma mechanisms.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:11 PM
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It's also possible to have PIV sex on a motorcycle while traveling on the highway. Possible, which isn't to say recommended.


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:12 PM
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Conversations with people in the car also impose a cognitive load, of course, but they're much easier to put on hold or otherwise adjust to allow the driver to refocus on driving.

I think this is probably right, but even if it's not, we're still talking, with cell phones, an identifiable source of distraction with a well-documented cognitive effect that isn't the result of a tradeoff (like carpooling, or the fact that one's kids can't drive themselves.) To me it seems to be clearly in the same category (if not as serious) as driving while intoxicated, in that it's a well-documented, serious unnecessary risk. (If we had similar data on coffee, it'd be in the same category. We don't, so it isn't.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:34 PM
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292: But it's a slope!! It must be slippery!!!
<\will>


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 2:42 PM
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an identifiable source of distraction with a well-documented cognitive effect that isn't the result of a tradeoff

Except it is a tradeoff. The ability to communicate while on the move is a huge advantage over not having that capbilty. That's why people do it.

You may not think the tradeoff is worthy, but don 't deny its existence.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:22 PM
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294: It is a tradeoff in the sense that giving up the right to multitask in any fashion is (you mustn't juggle and drive, or have sex (pace 291) and drive), but it doesn't make the car less useful as a means of transportation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:27 PM
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295 -- The costs are real. At least in California, cell phone usage in cars is so common that I think there would be a general uprising (or at least mass noncompliance) if it were banned.

The current law is that if you're going to talk on the phone, you need a hands-free device, and that texting while driving is banned. According to what I've read, this rule doesn't solve the biggest danger from cell phone use in cars -- the cognitive dissonance between driving and having a conversation with someone not in the car -- but there was (and is, I think) almost no chance that a straight out cell phone ban from cars could be passed. At this point, you'd radically change the work and social lives of a very large number of people.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:33 PM
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At this point, you'd radically change the work and social lives of a very large number of people.

For the better! Maybe what we need to change is the expectations of the bosses!!!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:35 PM
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297 -- It could also have useful pro-denisity effects. If you can't have useful conversations while stuck on the 405 for an hour and a half, maybe you'd move closer to work. Still, a political total non-starter, at least for now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:38 PM
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Maybe what we need to change is the expectations of the bosses!!!

My office actually has as a written policy in the employee handbook about no talking on the cell phone while driving. Of course, the policy is routinely flouted by all and sundry, but the company has a positive defense against being named as a co-defendant.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:40 PM
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You may not think the tradeoff is worthy, but don 't deny its existence.

It's not a tradeoff in terms of getting people from one place to another. Banning passengers in cars or children in cars on the grounds that they are distracting would be.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:42 PM
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but there was (and is, I think) almost no chance that a straight out cell phone ban from cars could be passed. At this point, you'd radically change the work and social lives of a very large number of people.

Back to how they were four years ago!!!!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:44 PM
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In fairness, 2004 did suck.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:45 PM
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Back to how they were four years ago!!!!

I think that is what the stimulus package is supposed to do.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:49 PM
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2004 seems way late to me for the absolutely ubiquitous cell phone in the car. I'd put it at about 2000-2001. And I'm serious about what's happened at this point, for better or for worse -- a lot of people now make up the huge productivity losses of traffic with time on the cell phone, and there would be a non-trivial productivity loss as a result of a ban.

Policies like those TLL mentions are an extremely good idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:51 PM
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Lots of people making up the productivity loss doesn't mean they're representative of a majority of drivers. I can't see a practical way to ban the use of cell phones in cars, but I'd really like it if it became frowned upon to do so.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:53 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:54 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 3:57 PM
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I bet policies like the ones TLL mentions don't give you much cover if your boss calls you while you're driving.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:07 PM
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305 -- I don't disagree with that at all -- I'd love to see all cell phone use from a car become socially discouraged. It seems pretty unlikely to happen, though, at least around here.

A good feature of the California texting-while-driving ban is that it was enacted just at the point where texting (and emailing from a phone) from a car was starting to become common, but before people starting arranging their lives around sending texts or emails from the car.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:09 PM
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I often think it would be helpful if people had something like Mail Goggles or Leechblock for their phones. Mail Goggles works by having you solve math equations, and to disable Leechblock you have to type in a password. Neither of them are scientifically calibrated to ensure (respectively) that one is sober enough to use e-mail or that one will never procrastinate; they're intended to curb impulsive or stupid behavior by giving you a chance to think.

So, my phone is set up so that if it's been idle for a while, one has to press a button twice to get it to work. Some people's phones have locks. An application that would change the "PLEASE ENTER CODE TO UNLOCK PHONE" banner to "YOU'RE NOT DRIVING, ARE YOU, DUMBASS?" might work in a way comparable to Leechblock. I wonder if it would cut down on stupid conversations and text messages if people had to think "yes, this call is worth the increased risk of accident."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:17 PM
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310: Is there anyone who can't undo the lock on their phone without looking? Or even half-asleep and hung over?

(I suppose you could make it a different random series of keys if the phone detected the car driving or something...)


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 5:23 PM
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I think having to do math problems before using a phone would be much more problematic when I'm tired than when I'm drunk.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 5:25 PM
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Right, I'm back. 31 tells me that the car location problem was solved years ago.

I have no particular expertise in this area, but I note that the article you linked says that there *is* a technological fix, not that it has solved the problem.

I'm more or less willing to believe that it has, but based on that link alone (ANALOGY BAN VIOLATION ALERT) it's about as persuasive to me as being told the U.S. has food stamps. Yeah, and we still have a pretty dire hunger problem. (/ALERT)

Megan's 233 is great. And to clarify, I appreciate having pp here to give industry (?) perspective. I also was not arguing that Stanley's hobo (goodness, that sounds rude) would have some magical amazing policy insight, so much as I was saying that hobos as a class are highly likely to have specific bits of knowledge that if aggregated could tell interesting, unpredictable, and potentially useful stories.

Re: driving; I'm an absolutist on the topic and hang up on on anyone except my boss who calls me when they are driving. (I know, it's part of what makes me such a fun daughter/sister/friend/girlfriend.) I have the same opinion of texting and other generally distracting activities. The law seems like a clumsy and imperfect way to solve the problem, so I lean towards a public information campaign and STRONG social disapproval. Which I am doing my part to provide, natch.

The one thing I wonder about legislating is the number of teenagers in the car. There's precedent -- many states already have graduated licensing, recogizing that younger teens are in more danger from specific activities. And there's fairly good research, as I understand it, on the increase in mortality risk as the number of passengers in a car driven by a teenager goes up.

Even that, though, I'm not certain the problem would be well addressed with a law.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 5:53 PM
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Whoops, 313 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 5:55 PM
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Not having read this thread since this morning, I don't know how much it needs words like "2.0" and "crowdsource" (but maybe not "mashup" in this context). But it seems like everything needs those words nowadays and they don't show up in a word search. Get with the trends!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:05 PM
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hob2.0 has not yet hit the ground running.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:07 PM
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"Is eating food while driving much different from talking on the phone? I'd rather drop my phone than drop my super sized diet coke and big mac. Why dont we ban that?"

Good question. Seriously. If you're in a car and you really have to eat, or you really have to text, is it that much of an imposition to pull over?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:17 PM
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Many of these things are horribly bad to do while driving.

I am absolutely in favor of doing things to discourage texting, eating, having sex, being sleepy, being drunk, etc while driving.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 6:35 PM
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I'm a Hobo logger, I'm okay,

I sit and count for the livelong day...

Twenty years ago I crossed a Union Pacific switchyard to get home, often at night, and the thing that really surprised me about the hobos slung under the boxcars is that they were drinking out of stoneware gallon jugs. Those are heavy, and in SWPL-land have long since become junque shoppe lamps. Where does one get them? What liquor is actually in them?



Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:27 PM
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PBS had a good documentary on runaway youth during the Great Depression about 10 years ago. Of course they haven't put it up online, but you can get some hobo songs here. I assume they're on RealPlayer to give that added touch of authenticity.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 7:40 PM
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262: [JPS]Was there not, some years back, a small "railroad" that was basically stealing (or repainting as their own) freight cars?

[pp]I'm not familiar with that story, but it doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

So I can have my personal nerd closure, I did find the details of the incident I was referring to*. It involved the LaSalle and Bureau County RR in north central Illinois, and Penn Central in the early '70s and apparently got some press at the time. The story ranges from the LS&BC (A Lot of Stolen Boxcars) illegally repainting the Penn Central cars to the dying PC simply losing track of what cars they owned. What appears to be the real story (about three-quarters of the way down this thread) is more complicated and less compelling.

*Somewhat humiliatingly, I found the clue that led me to the answer on a quiz titled, "So you think you're boomer?".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:33 PM
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I also note that my nerdful comment where I raised the stolen boxcar question, was surrounded by Presidential reports of car sex. Without further elaboration I'll just say: I-70 near Catoctin Mountain in Maryland, US-22 just outside Steubenville, Ohio and from I-45 in SW Arkansas (right near Hope!) intermittently to US-59 near Carthage, Texas. A well-ordered life involves keeping an accurate accounting of one's location at all times.

Parenthood has a fellatio-induced car wreck, but with much less severe consequences than in Garp.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 9:46 PM
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Catching up late and bedward, I'll say that Witt and Megan seemed to get at I was after. The rest of you talked about other stuff that was also interesting. So! That.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:15 PM
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Stanley is such an agreeable fellow.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 11:32 PM
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Fuck you, clown!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 6-09 5:32 AM
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Parenthood has a fellatio-induced car wreck

Which reminds me that, probably 20 years ago this week, I went to see Parents with the girl I first-kissed. What a date movie.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 6-09 8:05 AM
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Huh, looking at the Wiki page, I wonder if we actually saw it on Opening Night. Weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 6-09 8:06 AM
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