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» Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

yes, it is kinda necessary to keep repeating the anti-helmet stance, due to heavy societal pressure to wear helmets.

Sharing (or wrestling) road space from a never-ending stream of one-tonne metal vehicles can be very intimidating. Cars and trucks are constantly zipping around you and there is no metal cage around you to protect yourself. So a helmet provides a level of protection from this danger. It makes you feel safer.

But a broader look at the statistics show that cyclists’ fear of head trauma is irrational if we compare it to some other risks. Head injuries aren’t just dangerous when you’re biking—head injuries are dangerous when you’re doing pretty much anything else.

Let’s be clear. I am NOT trying to say that studies definitively show that cycling is safer than driving or walking. The studies that are out there give us mixed messages about the relative safety of the different modes of transport. What I am saying is that these statistics raise an interesting question: If we’re so concerned about head injuries, why don’t we wear helmets all the time? Why do places that have mandatory helmet laws for cyclists not have them for drivers or pedestrians? A 1996 Australian study suggests that a mandatory helmet law for motor vehicle occupants could save seventeen times more people from death and serious head injury than a similar law for cyclists.

…we insist that children wear bike helmets (in fact, in some places, it’s the law) despite data that shows kids are more likely to die of head injuries riding in a car than riding on a bike. 

read more: howiechong, 24.02.14.

» US's Cheap Chinese Crap Creating Whole Extra LA Smog Day

la.curbed, 21.01.14.

Super smog hits north China city; flights canceled. ap/sfgate, 21.10.13.

If we didn’t have EPA Regulations in the US, it would look like China here…

It DID look like China. I grew up in the LA Basin (W Covina, in the E end of the San Gabriel Valley) in the ’50s & ’60s. The only time you could see the even the outline of the mountains about 6mi away was after a winter storm. On a fairly bad day, you couldn’t see a hint of the hills a mile away. On the worst days, you could see the smog in the cones of light under streetlights. I went on a longish bike ride exactly once, & came back with lung cramps. 
Many Eastern industrial cities, like now-beautiful Pittsburgh, were almost as bad. Then that socialist Richard Nixon signed the bill creating the EPA. 
I watched four (4) documentaries on food these past two weeks.


in order of most recommended:

  1. Forks Over Knives (2011).
    [wtf why can’t i insert image by url anymore? new tumblr ui..]

    "examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called ‘diseases of affluence’ that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.”
  2. The Edible City (2012?). full film here.
    about the local food revolution, mainly covering Oakland, CA. urban farming/gardening, food/environmental/social injustice, education.
  3. Soul Food Junkies (2013). trailer.
    Byron Hurt’s journey to back his roots in the South to answer the question, “Is soul food bad for you?” after his father died of pancreatic cancer.
  4. Ingredients (2009).
    the local food movement in america.

and since this is a list already, I’ll just add 

  • Food Inc. (2008).
    if you don’t have time to watch any of the top four and have yet to watch any food documentaries, make time to watch this one first. Factory farming and the state of the food industry in america. 

I’ve already shifted to a mostly vegetarian diet since watching Food Inc. a couple years ago, so not many changes for me after watching these four films. But I did learn a lot. and there’s always more to do: help plant more community gardens, lead by example so friends and family can start eating plant-based whole foods and increasing health, fighting disease..

so.. what sort of documentaries should I watch next? nature/adventure  ones? yeah!

» Bananas! A documentary about Bananas! & Corporate Responsibility


Back in 2009 a Swedish filmmaker made a film documenting a lawsuit in which Dole (yes, the fruit company) was accused of using chemicals to spray on their banana crops which they knew were harmful to human/workers health. These chemicals, manufactured by Dow Chemical, were pulled off the market by Dow when research showed that they were unsafe for banana workers/humans and had serious health implications, including sterility. Dole apparently knew this, but continued to use these chemicals that they had already purchased from Dow on their crops. Here is a link to the full Documentary called Bananas!

But, the story doesn’t end there. Just before the filmmakers were about to premiere Bananas! at a film festival in Los Angeles, they were sued by Dole for attempting to show a fraudulent documentary.  Lucky for us, they are filmmakers, so they continued to document their whole experience and legal battle against the corporate giant. It is absolutely amazing what these filmmakers go through! Here is the trailer for the second film they made called Big Boy’s Gone Bananas!

“We have a media that is corrupted by power. You have corporate ownership from the top, you have corporate advertising coming in from the side… we have a media where money and corporate influence is really the mother’s milk.”

When watching these films, I just can’t stop thinking about responsibility — personal and corporate — and how every thing we do, or don’t do makes a difference. Spread the word, learn and think about what you are buying and what companies and practices you are supporting. 

» National Planning Achievement Awards | APA

Seattle, New Jersey, Brisbane…

Los Angeles, California

imageThe Model Design Manual for Living Streets is a development plan for Los Angeles that will provide guidance for replacing existing road standard manuals with updated techniques and concepts. This is one of the first street models that will focus on streets in a general way including landscaping, mobility, design, and the public involvement process.

San Pablo, California

The San Pablo City Council added a new Health Element to the city’s 2030 General Plan Update, the first of its kind throughout the entire state. The role of the plan, which is to realistically and achievably put people and their health first, focuses on factors such as behaviors and lifestyles, income, education, employment and working conditions, access to health services, nutrition, and the quality of physical environment.


owning a gun

  • is a right

having healthcare

  • is a privilege


(Source: dannybriereisaliferuiner, via 122782)

good: A Stronger Bike Helmet, Made of Cardboard and Inspired by a Woodpecker

When Anirudha Surabhi was a grad student at the Royal College of Art in London, he was in a bike accident. Even though it was a minor crash, and Surabhi was wearing an expensive helmet, the next day he learned that he had a concussion. He spent three days in the hospital. He wondered why the helmet hadn’t worked—and decided to explore the problem for his thesis project.

It turns out that bike helmets are not as safe as they’re portrayed to be. Over the last few decades, Surabhi says, some helmets have gotten more aerodynamic and better-looking, but they haven’t gotten any better at protecting us from injuries&#8230;
For the full design story, watch the video. The helmet’s in production now, and Core77 reports that the first U.S. version of the helmet will be out next year through ABUS.

Images courtesy of Anirudha Surabhi
» Study: Bicycling Restores Brain Connectivity in Parkinson's

No cure exists, which is why back in 2003, the best Dr. Jay Alberts of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute rode a tandem bicycle across Iowa with a Parkinson’s patient (to raise awareness). Unexpectedly, the patient showed improvements in her condition after the trip…

RESULTS: What the researchers referred to as “forced rate activity,” others might feel is more accurately labeled “torture.” But when they calculated the brain activation of the patients forced to pedal past their comfort level, they found lasting increases in connectivity between two areas of the brain responsible for motor ability: the primary motor cortex and the posterior region of the thalamus.

theatlantic, 26.11.12.

noticed new signage in downtown berkeley last week.
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