Tuesday, January 26, 2010


1000 Palmtrees on Molokai , originally uploaded by steffenbinke.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Distracted Walking

The New York Times has an interesting piece documenting the public health risks of walking while texting or talking on one's phone.

Pedestrians, like drivers, have long been distracted by myriad tasks, like snacking or reading on the go. But the constant interaction with electronic devices has made single-tasking seem boring or even unproductive.

Cognitive psychologists, neurologists and other researchers are beginning to study the impact of constant multitasking, whether behind a desk or the wheel or on foot. It might stand to reason that someone looking at a phone to read a message would misstep, but the researchers are finding that just talking on a phone takes its own considerable toll on cognition and awareness. |Driven to Distraction: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky - NYT|

The article is fascinating but doesn't discuss my concern about use of phones or Ipods while walking, which is that it makes you easy prey for anyone wishing to do you harm.

According to this article, most people didn't even notice a clown riding a unicycle while talking on their phones and walking... this suggests to me they are likely to miss a suspicious man with a knife as well!

I try to keep my head on a swivel while out in public and be aware of my surroundings, I guess that's what makes me hyper-vigilant in the eyes of some...

Friday, January 08, 2010

New Taser Precedent May Change All the Rules

The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that may change all the rules when it comes to the use of Tasers in Bryan v. McPherson. |PDF|

Orin Kerr makes some excellent points at the Volokh Conspiracy
about the odd narrative quality of the decision as well as its overreaching based on a summary judgment motion.

We'll have to wait and see if this opinion heralds things to come or is just a case of a sympathetic plaintiff getting a break from the court.

It does make me cringe to read about the plaintiff breaking his teeth when he slammed into the concrete after being tasered.

I think the total lack of any warning from the officer is a rather unusual fact that may have impacted the court's decision.