Category Archives: cars

Carseat/nobility quiz

Which are actual Britax carseats and which did I make up?

  • Diplomat
  • Monarch
  • Overlord
  • Emperor
  • Royal
  • Regent
  • Viceroy
  • Tyrant
  • Viscount
  • Chancellor
  • Sultan
  • Husky
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Is the Washington Post congenitally incapable of doing math?

From today’s WaPo opinion page, Charlotte Allen tells her fellow women they stink at stuff:

Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men’s 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.

Note that the figure given is accidents per miles driven. Which means that “men drive more miles a year than women” has nothing to do with the point the author is attempting to make. It would make as much sense to write “even though dark-horse Juno failed to win the Best Picture Oscar.”

But the version as published contains a percentage! A deftly inserted percentage never fails to give a soothing impression that somebody, just off-stage, is industriously doing some science.

Allen goes on to observe that

The only good news was that women tended to take fewer driving risks than men, so their crashes were only a third as likely to be fatal.

“Don’t drive with her, drive with me — I’m a much better driver, because I’m 10% less likely to get into a fender-bender, though I suppose I ought to mention that I am three times more likely to kill us both.

The article also remarks that “[n]o man contracts nebulous diseases whose existence is disputed by many if not all doctors” (Gulf War Syndrome, call your agent!) and that men don’t miss work because they’re depressed (you too, William Styron and Pete Harnisch!) Oh, and that women are congenital failures at analytic thinking in general, and math in particular. Is it possible the article is some kind of bizarre performance piece meant to illustrate this latter point?

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On the plus side, you rarely have to wait in line to get ice cream

For those reading this from outside Madison, here’s some data from the Isthmus about our recent streak of bad weather. Yesterday’s 13 inches of snow was the second-highest snowfall from a single storm ever recorded here. Classes were cancelled at UW for only the third time in the last twenty years. With six weeks of winter left to go, 2007-08 is two and a half inches away from being the snowiest winter on record. (78-79 holds the current mark.) On I-90 a little south of here, just past Stoughton, somewhere between a thousand and two thousand people were stopped behind trucks that couldn’t make it up a long, low hill; the backup started in the middle of the afternoon and some people were still there at 4am. Governor Doyle called out the National Guard to patrol the edge of the highway in snowmobiles, passing out blankets and army rations.

Some good snow pictures from the always-on-the-scene Letter from Here.

As for me, I spent an hour this morning digging out Mrs. Q’s plowed-in car. But after I finished digging — or at least dug until I thought I was finished — her car was still stuck in the snow, wheels spinning helplessly. Fortunately, we soon saw another plow, whose driver hitched his towline to the car and dragged it out of the snowbank. This was accomplished in a manner suggesting a much-repeated task.

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See, for me this would have been a tough call

I got caught in a rare traffic jam today on University Avenue. Similarly trapped, over on my right, was a Subaru Legacy with a couple of anti-war bumper stickers and one that said “I’D RATHER BE READING BUKOWSKI.”

Update: Aha — a little research reveals that the bumper sticker comes from the excellent Avol’s Books.

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It’s like indie rock, only it’s a car

Via Jessie, yet another take on “Wheels on the Bus,” this time by Cambridge’s favorite mopey genius Stephin Merritt, for Volvo:

Previously: “Wheels on the Bus,” the White Stripes.

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How to drive, by David

David has a great post today featuring suggestions for fellow California drivers, written with the attention and rigor he usually applies to software engineering.

Suggestion 1: You do not have a god-given right to stay in one lane in perpetuity.

Traffic conditions change: just because you were behaving reasonably by driving at a given speed in the third lane two minutes ago does not mean that you are behaving reasonably by driving at that speed in that lane now.

In my role as a slow and undoubtedly sometimes annoying driver, let me add my own suggestion to David’s five:

Suggestion 6: If you would like to be driving 5 mph faster than you are, but someone is preventing you, stop and think about how much difference the extra 5 mph makes to your overall life goals. If the answer is “not very much,” then try to keep from getting angry. Angry people are bad drivers.

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