Dangerous bicycles

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Colin Blackburn, May 7, 2003.

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  1. From:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3007439.stm

    "A conference being held this week in London aimed at exploring that issue is facing a venerable
    line-up of scientific opinion which says we wouldn't be where we are today if humans had always been
    as cautious as they are now. "

    "We wouldn't have trains, says University of Pittsburgh professor Stuart Derbyshire, since early
    observers said passengers travelling at 30mph were sick. And we certainly wouldn't have tried to
    go any faster than sound, since opinion at the time said it would be like hitting a brick wall in
    the sky. "

    "We might not even have bicycles, says Dr Ilya Eigenbrot of London's Imperial College, and certainly
    we would have no medicines which have side effects - which he says is "practically all drugs from
    Aspirin to Zovirax". "

    And from:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006DD7A.htm

    "In the run-up to spiked's conference Panic Attack: Interrogating our obsession with risk, taking
    place at London's Royal Institution on Friday 9 May, we asked 40 members of the international
    scientific community to list what significant discoveries and achievements would have been limited
    or prevented, if science at the time had been governed by the precautionary principle that dominates
    science today."

    "Between them, respondents came up with an A-Z of historic achievements that would have been
    thwarted by the precautionary principle: [...] The Bicycle; Biotechnology; Blood transfusion; [...]"

    From the same page the only further explanation is:

    "Dr Ilya Eigenbrot (science communicator and Faraday lecturer at Imperial College, London) [chooses
    the following as examples of things that wouldn't be around if we had not accepted the risks]"

    "'All drugs with side effects (practically all drugs from aspirin to zovirax); all flight; all space
    travel and space exploration; the Otto and Diesel internal combustion engines; nuclear power; the
    bicycle.'"

    So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    danger when it first appeared?

    Colin
     
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  2. Colin Blackburn pondered:

    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?

    Having only two wheels, these so-called "bicycles" are clearly unstable. As soon as the hapless
    rider removes his foot from the ground, they must inevitably topple gracelessly sideways into the
    mud, resulting at the very least in dirty breeches and a sprained dignity. The notion that anyone
    might *balance* such a device so clearly contravenes the Laws of SCIENCE that it is simply not
    worthy of any further consideration. Tch!

    Dave Larrington - http://legslarry.crosswinds.net/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - Curmudgeon Monthly
    ===========================================================
     
  3. "Dave Larrington" <[email protected]> wrote: ( Colin Blackburn pondered: ) > So, what about the
    bicycle would have meant it ( > not being around today had we heeded the signs ) > of danger when it
    first appeared? ( ) Having only two wheels, these so-called "bicycles" are clearly unstable. As (
    soon as the hapless rider removes his foot from the ground, they must ) inevitably topple
    gracelessly sideways into the mud, resulting at the very ( least in dirty breeches and a sprained
    dignity. The notion that anyone ) might *balance* such a device so clearly contravenes the Laws of
    SCIENCE ( that it is simply not worthy of any further consideration. Tch!

    ...besides which, if the Good Lord had intended us to hurtle through cities at the sorts of speeds
    normally only achievable on a horse, he would undoubtedly have given us Urban Horses. Or a second
    pair of legs.
     
  4. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Colin Blackburn wrote:

    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?

    People will fall off them... And don't forget that the original bicycle was certainly not equipped
    with either the quality of construction, ease of use or stopping power easily available today.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  5. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Colin Blackburn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > From:
    >
    <snip>

    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?
    >
    > Colin

    ...and I don't think they were on the original bicycles, but front brakes would've definitely been a
    no-no! The potential loss of control caused by these devices blatantly breaches any guidelines that
    could be created by the H&S executive following extensive risk assessment...

    Dave.

    'over the top goes one cyclist..etc,etc....' sung to the tune of whatever tune it is that starts off
    similarly ;-P
     
  6. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    On Wed, 7 May 2003 15:12:10 +0000 (UTC), Geraint Jones scrawled: ) would undoubtedly have given us
    Urban Horses. Or a second pair of legs.

    Hence tandems. Or do you mean a second pair /each/?

    J-P
    --
    "Every time you feel 'is it worth the trouble that will be caused by printing this piece?' and every
    time the editor says, 'Well, perhaps we should wait for a more opportune time', you can suddenly
    feel Orwell reproaching you, and then you remember why you came into the journalism business in the
    first place."
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> typed:
    >>
    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?
    >

    We'd have to be riding round on the rims. Tyres would never be invented because the laboratory
    practices of Mr Goodyear would have been shut down by HSE in a jiffy.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  8. Daniel Auger

    Daniel Auger Guest

    On Wed, 7 May 2003, Geraint Jones wrote:

    > "Dave Larrington" <[email protected]> wrote: ( Colin Blackburn pondered: ) > So, what about the
    > bicycle would have meant it ( > not being around today had we heeded the signs ) > of danger when
    > it first appeared? ( ) Having only two wheels, these so-called "bicycles" are clearly unstable. As
    > ( soon as the hapless rider removes his foot from the ground, they must ) inevitably topple
    > gracelessly sideways into the mud, resulting at the very ( least in dirty breeches and a sprained
    > dignity. The notion that anyone ) might *balance* such a device so clearly contravenes the Laws of
    > SCIENCE ( that it is simply not worthy of any further consideration. Tch!
    >
    > ...besides which, if the Good Lord had intended us to hurtle through cities at the sorts of speeds
    > normally only achievable on a horse, he would undoubtedly have given us Urban Horses. Or a second
    > pair of legs.

    Or wheels? ;-)

    --
    Daniel Auger - [email protected] (Please remove Granta to get a valid address.)
     
  9. >"Between them, respondents came up with an A-Z of historic achievements that would have been
    >thwarted by the precautionary principle: [...] The Bicycle; Biotechnology; Blood
    >transfusion; [...]"

    Hmm.... they haven't looked at the precautionary principle too much then.The precautionary principle
    does *not* mean things can't be done, it simply means that before decisions are made, that risks are
    thoroughly researched and a decision is made on that basis. It does not mean that if there are
    risks, something is prohibited. Any scientist who says otherwise really doesn't know their
    precautionary principle very well at all. A very good (and long) read is online at
    <http://reports.eea.eu.int/environmental_issue_report_2001_22/en/tab_conte nt_RLR>

    Cheers, helen s

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Clean up the waste & get rid of the trapped wind to send a reply

    Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the keyboaRRRDdd
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  10. Guy Chapman

    Guy Chapman Guest

    Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    Mr Henry Crun: "Hold tight, Min, we're doing nearly thtree miles an hour!"

    Miss Minerva Bannister (for it is she): "Aaah! It is insane, Hennery - man cannot live at
    such speeds!"
     
  11. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?

    They frighten horses, dazzle decent folk with their lamps, and threaten the social order by giving
    mobility to the working classes.

    --
    Dave...
     
  12. Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > *snip*

    > So, what about the bicycle would have meant it not being around today had we heeded the signs of
    > danger when it first appeared?
    >
    > Colin

    Don't forget the early bicycles were "Oridnaries" (aka penny-farthing). A common accident was to
    "take a header" over the handlebars. Apparently quite frequently serious, since you tend to land on
    your head, from quite a height!

    Robert
     
  13. [email protected] (Robert Saunders) wrote: ( Colin Blackburn <[email protected]>
    wrote in message news:<[email protected]>... ) > So, what about the bicycle
    would have meant it not being around today ( > had we heeded the signs of danger when it first
    appeared? ) > ( > Colin ) ( Don't forget the early bicycles were "Oridnaries" (aka )
    penny-farthing). A common accident was to "take a header" over the ( handlebars. Apparently
    quite frequently serious, since you tend to ) land on your head, from quite a height! ( ) Robert

    The bicycle was almost a century old before anyone had the daft idea of getting the rider to perch
    on top of an ordinary. There were hobby-horses and boneshakers and the like in the eighteenth
    century, but the Starley Ariel is late nineteenth. Mind you, it was such a good idea that it did
    kill off all the competition.
     
  14. Keith

    Keith Guest

    Colin Blackburn .....
    > From:
    >
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3007439.stm
    >
    > "A conference being held this week in London aimed at exploring that issue is facing a venerable
    > line-up of scientific opinion which says we wouldn't be where we are today if humans had always
    > been as cautious as they are now. "
    >
    I don't get the point. There is always someone who is resistant to change or so rigid in their ways
    that they refuse to acknowledge the need to change or the wisdom of changing.

    The conference will - as described - do no more than demonstrate that some people in some contexts
    are cautious, rigid or prefer the comfort of their present situation. The fact that the developments
    listed in the original post have all come to pass, surely indicates the opposite
    - that is, that some people will adapt and move on and the stick-in-the-muds just die out.

    Keith (www.evfit.com)
     
  15. Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > "We wouldn't have trains, says University of Pittsburgh professor Stuart Derbyshire, since early
    > observers said passengers travelling at 30mph were sick.

    Some of the detractors of that time took that opinion to the extreme, stating that any movement over
    30 mph was sure to crush the human body! Then along came George Stephenson, who quickly disproved
    that idea....

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
  16. Tim Woodall

    Tim Woodall Guest

    On 8 May 2003 01:25:51 -0700, Keith <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Colin Blackburn .....
    >> From:
    >>
    >> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3007439.stm
    >>
    >> "A conference being held this week in London aimed at exploring that issue is facing a venerable
    >> line-up of scientific opinion which says we wouldn't be where we are today if humans had always
    >> been as cautious as they are now. "
    >>
    > I don't get the point. There is always someone who is resistant to change or so rigid in their
    > ways that they refuse to acknowledge the need to change or the wisdom of changing.
    >
    > The conference will - as described - do no more than demonstrate that some people in some contexts
    > are cautious, rigid or prefer the comfort of their present situation. The fact that the
    > developments listed in the original post have all come to pass, surely indicates the opposite
    > - that is, that some people will adapt and move on and the stick-in-the-muds just die out.
    >
    It's not that simple.

    IIRC it was compound 606 that eventually provided a cure for syphilis. Under current
    leglislation with regards to drug testing it takes several years before you can even try a
    compound on a human being.

    In 1909 Ehrlich (sp?) and Hara went back to compound 606 (of >900 that had been tried to find a cure
    for sleeping sickness) which had done no use for sleeping sickness but did work on the (recently
    discovered) microbe syphilis. By 1910 the drug (can't remember it's name) was freely available.

    I remember being told that today it would take over 300 years to repeat their work from scratch and
    eliminate all those useless chemicals they had tried.

    Furthermore this discovery (and the fact that the drug was most effective when taken intravenously
    which was a difficult technique in those days) inspired people like Flemming to search for cures for
    other bacterial diseases rather than just hunt for vaccines (which was the method almost all
    researchers were using)

    So we could have been looking at the discovery of penicillin sometime in the 25th century.

    Insulin was another discovery that, partially at least, benefited from more risk taking by doctors
    and patients.

    Today we have incurable diseases like AIDS. There are plenty of victims who are willing to take the
    chance with a new drug. However, only the people who will die tomorrow anyway get to take the risks.
    Maybe, if recently infected but not yet "ill" people had been allowed to volunteer, a way of
    stopping the virus might already have been found.

    Regards,

    Tim.

    --
    God said, "div D = rho, div B = 0, curl E = - @B/@t, curl H = J + @D/@t," and there was light.

    http://tjw.hn.org/ http://www.locofungus.btinternet.co.uk/
     
  17. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    [email protected] (Robert Saunders) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Don't forget the early bicycles were "Oridnaries" (aka penny-farthing). A common accident was to
    > "take a header" over the handlebars. Apparently quite frequently serious, since you tend to land
    > on your head, from quite a height!

    A nasty variation on that happened when less experienced riders tried to save themselves by throwing
    their feet forward. This often resulted in serious leg and pelvis fractures.

    --
    Dave...
     
  18. David E. Belcher wrote:
    > Colin Blackburn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >>"We wouldn't have trains, says University of Pittsburgh professor Stuart Derbyshire, since early
    >>observers said passengers travelling at 30mph were sick.
    >
    >
    > Some of the detractors of that time took that opinion to the extreme, stating that any movement
    > over 30 mph was sure to crush the human body! Then along came George Stephenson, who quickly
    > disproved that idea....

    By crushing a human body, or was that someone else's engine?

    Colin
     
  19. Daniel Auger

    Daniel Auger Guest

    On Thu, 8 May 2003, Colin Blackburn wrote:

    > > Some of the detractors of that time took that opinion to the extreme, stating that any movement
    > > over 30 mph was sure to crush the human body! Then along came George Stephenson, who quickly
    > > disproved that idea....
    >
    > By crushing a human body, or was that someone else's engine?

    Yes, it was Stephenson's. The "Rocket" ran over William Huskisson, who I think was an MP.
     
  20. You been at the brass polish again, Guy?

    Dave Larrington - http://legslarry.crosswinds.net/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
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