Varia

Effect Measure

Category archives for Varia

What causes traffic jams

One of the enduring mysteries is what causes traffic jams. Sometimes it’s obvious — sort of. I remember having to make a daily trip from New York to Bellevue Hospitals in New York down FDR Drive. At one spot the three southbound lanes suddenly widened into five lanes because of some construction and then, after…

Emergency evacuation

This Reveres lives in a major northeastern city. That’s not a secret. The northeast gets snowstorms. Not a secret. Living in a major northeastern city when it has a snowstorm is an experience, and not a good one. No secret. I’m not telling you anything new. So it’s no big surprise that I left the…

Nigeria comes to Baghdad

Is Nigeria a member of the Coalition of the Willing? It appears to be, on the basis of this evidence. For background, let’s go back to a BBC story on April 30, 2003:

When you use as part of your daily work a unit of measure that Wired magazine lists as among the Best Obscure Units, you know you are in trouble. Thus I found pack-year, one of an epidemiologist’s favorite smoking exposure measures listed there along with a couple of other units I knew about. Pack-years is…

This may be the most hilarious headline I have ever seen: Insane donor ‘rational to give to Tories’

Birth of the Barclay Beast

Many years ago a strange organism appeared outside a branch of Barclays Bank north of London. The first member of the public to encounter it in the wild was an actor from a TV series. We know how old it is from documentary evidence, but if we didn’t we could still carbon date it. Carbon…

Some jobs I just won’t do

You might wonder what this video (hat tip Boingboing) has to do with bird flu. Nothing. Except this. If this guy and another 40% of his buddies are out sick, who’s going to do his job if the high voltage lines go down in an ice or wind storm. I’d like to think I’d help…

Sometimes it can be hard to read the scientific literature without peering through the lens of one’s own prejudices. That said, I must agree with this:

It’s a common observation that kids don’t have a good sense of their own mortality. Whether it’s from a deficit of wisdom, a surfeit of impulsiveness or adventurousness or even evolutionary reasons has been debated. I have my own ideas. I thought about them again in the wake of the melancholy events at Virginia Tech…

Too hilarious: Engineers in the past week have huddled over blueprints in an underground complex that also can serve as a safe haven for visiting presidents in the event of an emergency and as a lookout point for government agents monitoring terrorist activity. (Denver Post) The underground complex is in wing off the Glenwood Canyon…