How safe is our bike infrastructure?

A major study in Vancouver, BC has looked at the relative safety of biking on various types of infrastructure, by looking at several hundred actual accidents resulting in hospital visits by cyclists over an 18 month period.  Vancouver has a lot of different types of bike infrastructure, some of it extremely safe, so it’s a good test bed.  Unsurprisingly, busy roads with parked cars and no on-street bike facilities were the most dangerous.  Cycletracks (physically separated dedicated on-street bikeways) were an astonishing 90% safer.  Interestingly, multi-use paths weren’t all that much safer, despite being preferred by many cyclists.

On the Economics of Mass Transit and the Value of Common Sense

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight thinks about what we ought to measure when comparing public transportation options.  Does Modesto, CA really have better public transit than New York City?  There are a lot of measurable quantities, but only some of them are interesting.  In particular, it’s not the absolute convenience of public transit that matters — rather, it’s transit’s relative convenience compared to driving alone that determines how people get around.

Anki: intelligent digital flashcards

Aaron recently pointed me at Anki, an open-source flashcard system.  I’m using it to refresh my Spanish language skills, but it’s a very generalized system that one can use to remember just about anything.  You create linked “facts” (n-sided flash cards) and study them on your desktop, the web, or even a phone.  It reduces the overhead in studying a lot, and there are thousands of “shared” decks of flashcards you can use or build on.