Christmas Cheer

Wonderful morning! My browser tells me it is 26 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab and the weather beavers proclaim it will be less hot tonight. Ah, the joy of dripping faucets on holiday eve! At least the gym was blissfully vacant this morning and the vagaries of family mealtaking has evolved to let me attend my Tuesday nerding. And drink decent distillate of coffee!

On a more amusing note, I ran across an article [Link] yesterday that announced that the worst motorcar drivers in the Yankee republic were in Louisiana and that Alibam was rated fifth. That latter is off-hand pleasant since under modal circumstances Alaibam and Mississippi alternate on worst and next-worst. I was a bit taken aback by the claim that overall, the worst drivers were concentrated in the old Confederacy and briefly entertained the conjecture that this was some form of civil disobedience to occupation. But I rejected that upon delving into matters more and discovering how the rankings were assessed.

Seems the ranking are based on five variables:

  • Fatality rate (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled);
  • Failure to obey citations issued (traffic signals and seat belts);
  • Drunk driving citations;
  • Number of tickets issued; and
  • Careless driving citations.

A bit of cognition indicated that only the first is a (reasonably) independant variable. The other four are conditional on the laws of the states and how they are inforced and cited by the local constabulary. And I know from experience that such vary widely from state to state and within state. So the rankings are at best highly specious and at worst absolutely inaccurate and worthless. I also suspect the first variable is also flawed since some states have vehicle inspection/repair laws and others don’t. So the comparison is definitely apples and cow flops and we all know that you can’t grill a burger over a dried apple.

On a happy note, I also found [Link] that a college in the Floridas has established a program of instruction for mature humans (not 18-25 years of age) that involves actual human presence in lecture halls. No internet stercus here. BooYah! I get email ever day trying to get me to sign up for MOOCs on subjects and disciplines that I have no interest in. And yes, I realize that courses in STEM stuff don’t translate to MOOCishness well, if at all, and the audience isn’t very great for real work. But I also don’t find trying to learn on the computer/tablet to be anything but a headache and attention repelling. Now I happily find out that this is a common trait of not-young people. Or at least, not-GEN Y people?

Not that I expect any such progressive activity here in Alibam. After all, we are working very hard on making ourselves number four on the list of worst drivers. Or some such. Just ask the state dermatologist.

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