links for 2010-09-30

  • An audit released Wednesday by City Controller Wendy Greuel turned up little evidence that cameras influence driver behavior. Accidents fell at 16 intersections in the six months after cameras were installed, but rose at 12 and stayed the same at four. That makes it pretty hard to make definitive conclusions either way. OK, but at least the cameras are generating revenue for the city, aren't they? Actually, no. Greuel's audit showed that the cameras not only didn't bring in a dime for the city in 2008 and 2009, but cost it a combined $2.5 million in those years. That's pretty surprising given that red-light violators busted by the cameras have to pay a $446 citation, but only a third of that goes to the city, with the rest going to the state and county.
  • A lot of people ask me everyday whether or not I believe they can harness the power of classic subliminal advertising used in television, then use it in plain text. My reply is always a resounding, "Of course attractive man's large penis but just for a split second you can!"
  • Murder is not antisocial. If you want a demonstration that we are governed by society even when breaking its rules, homicide is one of the best and grimmest examples. Studies show that victim and offender tend to resemble each other to a striking degree – the young murder the young and the old murder the old, rich and poor rarely kill each other, gang bangers prey on other gang members, and you are likely to be personally acquainted with the person who later ends your life. Socially conservative it may be, but homicide remains a deeply social act.
  • ‘Mom does the Indian guy not speak English?’ [my 10 year old child] asks. “Kai, he is the foremost English prose writer of the western world … he speaks English alright.’
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