Helmet report response

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Just Zis Guy, May 17, 2003.

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  1. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    As you would probably expect I am writing to the DfT to question their invalid use of the flawed
    Research Report 30, 2002 (they are introducing a policy of not allowing any cyclist to be pictured
    on any official document unless wearing a polystyrene foam deflector beanie).

    The result is here: <http://www.chapmancentral.com/Web/public.nsf/Documents/rr30>

    Any constructive criticism welcome either here or via the feedback link, the letter will be leaving
    some time next week.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
    Tags:


  2. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    The text for anyone who doesn't want to increase the hit count on my site (bastards):

    As a cyclist with a keen interest in safety issues I read the Department for Transport's Road Safety
    Research Report No 30, 2002
    (http://www.roads.dft.gov.uk/roadsafety/roadresearch/bicyclehelmets/index.htm) with some dismay.

    My unhappiness stems not from the accuracy or otherwise of the report itself, although its
    acceptance without comment of figures which have since been publicly corrected is not a good sign,
    but from the fact that its stated limitations have clearly not been taken into account in the use of
    its conclusions.

    This report focuses quite deliberately on the effect of cycle helmets once a crash has happened. It
    excludes, equally deliberately, time-series and whole-population studies which indicate the overall
    effect of helmet promotion and compulsion. The report is therefore quite clearly of no value at all
    in setting public policy which, by definition, affects whole populations. It excludes the
    considerations which might make it useful in that context, so it may at best be viewed as an
    interesting sideline to the real debate: how to reduce casualty levels among cyclists.

    One could take a cynical view and conclude that the report was commissioned deliberately to include
    only that data which is supportive of helmet promotion, and exclude that which casts doubt on such a
    policy. Certainly that would appear at face value to be the underlying agenda of the authors of the
    report, who are declared helmet advocates. Having read that there are those in the DfT who have it
    in mind to bring forward helmet compulsion legislation as soon as wearing levels are high enough to
    justify it, the cynical view looks even more attractive. John Franklin's thorough and credible
    rebuttal of the report is available here: http://www.cyclenetwork.org.uk/papers/broader.pdf

    There are three factors which affect, above all other considerations, the safety of cyclists on the
    roads. They are, in no particular order, driver behaviour, rider skills and the number of cyclists
    using the roads.

    The new policy, allowing only helmeted cyclists to be shown in official publications, will
    inevitably reinforce the inaccurate public perception of road cycling as a dangerous activity.
    Interestingly it will also make it impossible to show cycle supremo Steve Norris on his bike, since
    he is an avowed non helmet wearer.

    Helmet promotion of any kind, however well-meaning, has two direct effects: it deters people from
    cycling on the roads, and it by extension it encourages the use of more dangerous alternative
    provision such as shared-use cycle paths. It should be unnecessary to point out that the safety of
    cyclists on the road improves as the number of cyclists on the road increases, but this kind of data
    (widely available in credible peer-reviewed research) has clearly been excluded from consideration
    while drafting this policy. It should equally be unnecessary to remind you that shared-use provision
    is associated with greater risk of injury for the cyclists, greater risk of conflict with
    pedestrians, and undermines the legal position with respect to cycling on footways - a practice
    which is undesirable for many reasons.

    Helmet promotion has an insidious effect on motorist behaviour. It portrays the cyclist as one who
    is knowingly engaging in a dangerous activity, rather than one who is engaging in a safe and legal
    activity which the behaviour of drivers may make dangerous. It is well known that the largest cause
    of car vs. bicycle crashes is error by the driver of the car, and the most likely outcome is injury
    or worse to the cyclist. It should therefore be a matter of pressing concern to redress this balance
    by a mix of stronger penalties and better public information aimed at careless drivers. Instead we
    have the recent Think! campaign proposing defensive riding by users of powered two wheelers as a
    solution for inattentive car drivers. Helmet promotion comes out of the same bag: an unwillingness
    to deal with the problem at source, so shift the focus onto the victim. It is not hard to see why
    Governments are unwilling to deal with the issue of careless drivers; the way that motoring
    organisations throw their collective toys out of the pram when speed enforcement is increased is
    sufficient proof that they believe motorists' "right" to drive badly overrides the rights of other
    road users - after all, the motorist is nice and safe in his steel cage, so anybody venturing onto
    the roads without such protection is asking for trouble.

    Nor is it surprising that drivers fail to make the connection between everyday acts of aggression
    and discourtesy, and the risks these present to users of benign modes. There have been numerous
    incidents where drivers have caused the death of cyclists through bad driving and have attracted
    penalties so light as to amount to an endorsement of such behaviour. A driver who kills a cyclist
    and is allowed to retain their driving licence, despite a history of driving offences, can hardly
    fail to conclude that cyclists rate alongside dogs, badgers and foxes as road-kill: regrettable but
    not something over which one should lose sleep.

    Cyclist behaviour, too, is subtly influenced by helmet wearing. One of the reasons why time-series
    and whole-population data are so important in assessing the effects of helmet promotion is that data
    based solely on injury rates after crashes fails to take into account the question of whether the
    wearing of helmets makes the crash more likely. There is no doubt that the most survivable crash is
    the one which doesn't happen in the first place. The mechanisms for increased accident rates among
    populations with high helmet-wearing rates are imperfectly understood, although there is strong
    evidence to support risk compensation. The majority of helmet promotion material focuses on the
    danger from cars, but cycle helmets are of very limited benefit in car v bike crashes, which almost
    invariably exceed their design parameters. Helmets give protection primarily in single vehicle
    accidents at speeds up to 12mph. This covers many of the situations where bikes are in use, but
    absolutely not the one which is purported to be the greatest concern. A cyclist hit by a car at
    speed is likely to suffer injuries to many parts of the body, and the impact speed is unlikely to be
    within the ability of the helmet to give meaningful protection. The solution to this kind of injury
    is to stop the car hitting the cyclist in the first place.

    The most compelling data, that from Australia pre- and post-compulsion, demonstrates quite clearly
    that not only has cycling declined significantly since compulsion was introduced, but accident and
    injury rates have increased. This may well be due to reduced numbers of cyclists on the roads, but
    until the reasons are fully understood any form of aggressive helmet promotion remains risky.

    Government attitude to cycling appears almost schizophrenic at present. The talk is about promoting
    cycle use, migrating journeys to benign modes and making the roads safe for all users. The practice
    shows reasonable understanding of the bicycle as a leisure item, includes some promotion of cycling
    as an alternative to the school run, and leaves the bulk of the dangers and inconveniences suffered
    by transportational cyclists either untouched or worsened. It is as though the objectives are set by
    cyclists and the policies by drivers frustrated by school traffic and having to wait a few seconds
    before overtaking the occasional bike.

    In short, then, the DfT appears to have taken a research report whose conclusions are readily
    identified as flawed, extended it into an area which is beyond the scope of the report, and as a
    result introduced a policy which is likely to increase cycle crashes in order to promote something
    which is not proven to reduce injury when such crashes occur.

    If the DfT is serious about cyclist safety and promoting cycle use they should do as Steven Norris
    suggests and show ordinary cyclists going about their ordinary lives wearing ordinary clothes. A
    publication which shows in the background a City gent on his Brompton, suited, with his briefcase on
    the carrier and his hair unperturbed by his stately progress, will have more positive effects than
    any unrealistic photo shoot with smiling happy helmeted families riding mountain bikes on
    well-graded paths.

    In the mean time I suggest that whenever any member of the Department's staff is considering the
    issue of cycle helmets, they adopt instead a term which is gaining in currency among those who have
    a more realistic impression of the science which underlies their design and use. The term is
    "polystyrene foam deflector beanie."

    As a year-round transportational cyclist (who wears a helmet, by the way) I also offer below some of
    the things which would make my life safer - and which would address the concerns of those cyclists I
    know who are hovering on the brink of using their bikes for daily transportation:

    - An effective campaign against competitive and aggressive driving. The thing which is most
    likely to lead to my death on the road is not the wearing or otherwise of a helmet but the
    driver whose journey is so urgent that they cannot bring themselves to wait for a safe place
    to overtake. For the most part, of course, their destination is the back of the traffic queue
    ahead, but this does not deter them from taking my life in their hands and overtaking
    dangerously. I encourage you to observe the behaviour of drivers towards cyclists at a
    typical traffic calming pinch point. These pinch points are almost invariably not narrow
    enough to actually reduce speed (this requires them to be too narrow for LGVs and buses), so
    drivers are accustomed to negotiating them without slowing. When they see a cyclist on
    approach to such an obstruction their reaction is quite often to try to pass before the
    obstacle. Since very few drivers realise that cyclists can easily be travelling at speeds of
    25mph and more on a flat road this judgement is often flawed. The result is that the car gets
    halfway past and cuts in to avoid the bollards. Perversely, those who have actually given the
    cycle sufficient space when passing cause more danger as they must cut in more sharply, and
    usually overshoot often into the path of the bike. All of this, and the classic "left hook"
    where the driver overtakes the cyclist and immediately turns left, would be reduced if people
    drove more calmly -if the driver's first thought were not "how can I pass this slow-moving
    object" (bikes are rarely seen as vehicles) but "what is the safe way of negotiating this
    situation." Perversely, the focus on speeding as pretty much the only aspect of driver
    behaviour challenged by Government campaigns has resulted on an even greater determination to
    maintain the illusion of progress, at whatever cost to other road users. Campaigners against
    speed enforcement have validated the view that the driver's transient personal convenience is
    the overriding priority, and the driver may safely be left to judge the extent of his impact
    on other road users. Since few drivers even consider cyclists when making these judgements,
    the danger of this viewpoint is evident.

    - A proper public information campaign on overtaking techniques, and including overtaking in the
    Driving Test. Overtaking is a most dangerous manoeuvre and is routinely handled extremely
    badly. The principle is simple: drop back, wait until there is a clear space ahead, check
    mirrors, accelerate and pass, and when well past pull in. The reality is that drivers
    overtaking cyclists will do one or more of the following: sit within a few inches of the
    cyclist's back wheel, look at the cyclist not the road ahead, pull out without signalling or
    checking mirrors, start to pass and only then look ahead to see that there's a car coming the
    other way, move left to avoid the oncoming vehicle (squeezing the cyclist) and pull in when
    the cyclist is out of their peripheral vision (typically when the car is about 1/3 of the way
    past). And of course the four drivers are following on the bumper of the overtaking vehicle
    will follow through despite the fact that by now they are on a blind bend with more traffic
    coming the other way, each one moving out a few inches less than the one in front. Rules
    138-143 and 188 of the Highway Code appear on the face of it to be Terra Incognita to the
    average motorist. This must be remedied if transportational cycling is to become a more
    pleasant activity.

    - Widely available expert training for adult cyclists. I know the CTC are working to promote
    adult cycle training, but we have been trying for over a year now to find any group locally
    who will run an open cycle training course which my wife, a relatively new cyclist, can
    attend. She rides to school with the children several times per week and would value some
    expert tuition. One would imagine that this is precisely the kind of thing which the
    Government would wish to support, but there is a near-complete absence of training. I would be
    prepared to run a course myself if there were a nationally accredited instructors' training
    system. There isn't. From this year I will be running National Cycling Proficiency training at
    the school where I am a governor - there is not training available for me in advance; it's a
    matter of "sitting with Nellie" and hoping that "Nellie," in this case fortunately a well
    respected local cyclist, is suitably expert.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  3. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > As you would probably expect I am writing to the DfT to question their invalid use of the flawed
    > Research Report 30, 2002 (they are introducing a policy of not allowing any cyclist to be pictured
    > on any official document unless wearing a polystyrene foam deflector beanie).
    >
    > The result is here: <http://www.chapmancentral.com/Web/public.nsf/Documents/rr30>

    Fantastic. It's rather long for a letter, but all that's said in it needs to be said. It's no longer
    than it needs to be.

    Personally I hate seeing "data" used as a singular noun. But I know that it's now accepted as a mass
    noun, so use of "this data" is not incorrect, it just irks me. It's like "a bacteria", which irks me
    even more. Most people baulk at "these data".

    For a laugh I've forwarded it to my wife's cousin, who is in favour of mandatory helmet legislation
    (like most people who favour mandatory helmet legislation, he's a non-cyclist).

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  4. Nc

    Nc Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:eek:[email protected]...
    > As you would probably expect I am writing to the DfT to question their invalid use of the flawed
    > Research Report 30, 2002 (they are introducing a policy of not allowing any cyclist to be pictured
    > on any official document unless wearing a polystyrene foam deflector beanie).
    >
    > The result is here: <http://www.chapmancentral.com/Web/public.nsf/Documents/rr30>
    >
    > Any constructive criticism welcome either here or via the feedback link, the letter will be
    > leaving some time next week.

    Its well written and contains sensible well argued points. But as a letter it will get nowhere - its
    too long and it takes a lot of reading to understand the points your are making and the changes you
    want to the policy. I particularly like the idea of pictures of Steve Norris (etc.) in his suit with
    briefcase promoting cycling as sensible urban transport; much better than someone wearing
    lycra/helmet/smogmask/wrap-around shades on a MTB in the park.

    I suggest you take a leaf from the writers of the Helmet research summary paper and produce a
    summary of the key points you are making, use that for the main letter, then back it up with the
    details on subsequent pages.

    For the useless proof through personal experience file, I recently had crashed my road bike through
    inattention, ended up in the only wet ditch in the area. I didn't bang my head, though came very
    close to the ground. Had I been wearing a helmet, it would have hit the ground in the ditch (and I
    might have broken my neck, thus proving helmets are dangerous and not wearing one saved my life*).
    No injuries, no damage to the bike, just a very muddy and wet cyclist and a lot of laughs for the
    local CTC Sunday ride.

    (* using proof by uncontrolled experiment and strong assertion of untestable hypothesis).

    NC.
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 18:45:44 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Personally I hate seeing "data" used as a singular noun.

    Um. Now I'm in anal-retentive mode; I know that data is plural and I wasn't aware that I'd used it
    in any other sense. I suppose I should say "such data as is" rather than "that data which is" - or
    was there somewhere else?

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  6. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], Just zis Guy, you know?
    <[email protected]> typed:
    > On Sat, 17 May 2003 18:45:44 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Personally I hate seeing "data" used as a singular noun.
    >
    > Um. Now I'm in anal-retentive mode; I know that data is plural and I wasn't aware that I'd used it
    > in any other sense. I suppose I should say "such data as is" rather than "that data which is" - or
    > was there somewhere else?
    >

    I think you mean "such data as are" or "those data which are" - plural remember

    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
     
  7. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of
    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > The text for anyone who doesn't want to increase the hit count on my site (bastards):

    Hey, I just did visit it. But replying to this is better, as I can quote you appropriately.

    > (much snippage of good article)

    > The most compelling data, that from Australia pre- and post-compulsion, demonstrates quite clearly
    > that not only has cycling declined significantly since compulsion was introduced, but accident and
    > injury rates have increased.

    This perhaps could be given more prominence.

    > transportational cyclists either untouched or worsened. It is as though the objectives are set by
    > cyclists and the policies by drivers frustrated by school traffic and having to wait a few seconds
    > before overtaking the occasional bike.

    There is a possible analogy here to 1960s town planning - based on the assumption that cars for
    everyone was the future. More recently we've seen the folly of that, and seen the success of
    pedestrianised zones (always strenuously opposed) and congestion charges. There is still the 1960s
    car mentality at the heart of policy, and commonsense only at the fringes.

    > If the DfT is serious about cyclist safety and promoting cycle use they should do as Steven Norris
    > suggests and show ordinary cyclists going about their ordinary lives wearing ordinary clothes. A
    > publication which shows in the background a City gent on his Brompton, suited, with his briefcase
    > on the carrier and his hair unperturbed by his stately progress, will have more positive effects
    > than any unrealistic photo shoot with smiling happy helmeted families riding mountain bikes on
    > well-graded paths.

    This is your most important point (isn't it)? Don't hide it so far down the article! A piccie of
    someone like me[1][2] packing shopping onto the bike outside Tescos, etc, etc.

    > As a year-round transportational cyclist (who wears a helmet, by the way) I also offer below some
    > of the things which would make my life safer - and which would address the concerns of those
    > cyclists I know who are hovering on the brink of using their bikes for daily transportation:

    Maybe worth restructuring the personal angle. Your helmet wearing could be more prominent. How many
    miles do you do by bike and car per year, and aren't you the owner of an above-average car?

    > Since few drivers even consider cyclists when making these judgements, the danger of this
    > viewpoint is evident.

    Hmmmm, "few drivers" is exaggerting, and won't help your credibility with anyone who isn't already
    well-disposed. Think "few cyclists stop at red lights", and consider how you'd reword that.

    A couple more safety points:

    - improved education of road planners, to fix things like the more ill-considered traffic calming
    measures and risible cycle lanes.
    - The implications of parking on vulnerable users, especially cyclists on the road, and wheelchair
    users on pavements.

    Some others have suggested an executive summary; I guess what I've done is identified some of the
    points that need to be featured in it.

    [1] middle-aged and overweight; never wear lycra or helmet.
    [2] on second thoughts, maybe someone with less beard and hair

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  8. "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:

    | Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    | > As you would probably expect I am writing to the DfT to question their invalid use of the flawed
    | > Research Report 30, 2002 (they are introducing a policy of not allowing any cyclist to be
    | > pictured on any official document unless wearing a polystyrene foam deflector beanie).
    | >
    | > The result is here: <http://www.chapmancentral.com/Web/public.nsf/Documents/rr30>
    |
    | Fantastic. It's rather long for a letter, but all that's said in it needs to be said. It's no
    | longer than it needs to be.

    I too think it's too long; if it was the DfT's document I probably wouldn't get to the end. I
    agree very much with the "keypoint summary" idea. But I applaud the effort. Are you collecting
    signatures for it?

    --
    Patrick Herring, Sheffield, UK http://www.anweald.co.uk
     
  9. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    NC wrote:
    > Had I been wearing a helmet, it would have hit the ground in the ditch (and I might have broken my
    > neck, thus proving helmets are dangerous and not wearing one saved my life*).
    <snip>
    > (* using proof by uncontrolled experiment and strong assertion of untestable hypothesis).

    Last year, someone posted to rec.sport.unicycling with the heading "Broke my neck last night". He'd
    actually done it falling off a bike, not a unicycle. The video is here:
    http://northporttrails.org/ouch.wmv (1.73MB)

    It looks as though, had he been wearing a helmet, he would probably have been killed. His doctor
    agreed. That doesn't mean to say that helmets aren't useful in some circumstance, just that there
    are circumstances when they won't help.

    Thankfully, he made a full recovery. He is now unicycling again, but AFAIK he has yet to get back
    on a bike.

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  10. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > Um. Now I'm in anal-retentive mode; I know that data is plural and I wasn't aware that I'd used it
    > in any other sense. I suppose I should say "such data as is" rather than "that data which is" - or
    > was there somewhere else?

    I would have written "those data which are".

    Elsewhere: "but this kind of data", I would have written "but these kind of data"

    "The most compelling data, that from Australia", I would have written "The most compelling data,
    those from Australia".

    But that's just me being anal. I recently had a development job fail because of a rebuild I wrote
    which started by explaining to the user what it would do if he chose to continue. I made mention of
    "these data". The tester wanted me to change it to "this data", and management agreed with him. I
    changed it to "these values" and it passed.

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  11. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 21:32:06 GMT, [email protected] (Patrick Herring) wrote:

    >Are you collecting signatures for it?

    Interesting idea. As a rule I write as I would speak, for the audience as I perceive it. In this
    case I am paying through my extortionate taxes for those buggers to read whatever I, as a subject
    and a taxpayer, choose to send them :) The idea of writing a "we the undersigned" has never really
    occurred to me. Do you think I should? Or rather, as a newsgroup, would it be smart for /us/ to
    write such a letter? It is common enough in newspapers for the Great and the Good to do such things;
    maybe we're missing a trick here.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  12. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of
    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>Are you collecting signatures for it?
    >
    > Interesting idea.

    "This response was written by Guy Chapman, and reviewed by participants in uk.rec.cycling, the
    internet[1] discussion forum for cyclists in the UK. We, the undersigned, support Chapman's
    arguments and conclusions."

    Possibly with some personal details to demonstrate a range of ages,

    > letter? It is common enough in newspapers for the Great and the Good to do such things; maybe
    > we're missing a trick here.

    Go for it!

    [1] The pedant in me hates misusing that word and wants to say Usenet, but I fear that's asking for
    a "duh" reaction from its intended readership.

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  13. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], Nick Kew <[email protected]> typed:
    >
    > "This response was written by Guy Chapman, and reviewed by participants in uk.rec.cycling, the
    > internet[1] discussion forum for cyclists in the UK. We, the undersigned, support Chapman's
    > arguments and conclusions."
    >

    Please do not abuse urc in that way. It has been discussed by a small subset of urc, not reviewed by
    urc. The views of urc on this topic, as on most, are diverse and there is no concensus.

    Otherwise we will see PS making equally valid statements on his web site that his theories have been
    reviewed by urc ;-)

    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
     
  14. M Series

    M Series Guest

    No, no, no,

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=data

    it says

    The word data is the plural of Latin datum, "something given," but it is not always treated as a
    plural noun in English. The plural usage is still common, as this headline from the New York Times
    attests: "Data Are Elusive on the Homeless." Sometimes scientists think of data as plural, as in
    These data do not support the conclusions. But more often scientists and researchers think of data
    as a singular mass entity like information, and most people now follow this in general usage. Sixty
    percent of the Usage Panel accepts the use of data with a singular verb and pronoun in the sentence
    Once the data is in, we can begin to analyse it. A still larger number, 77 percent, accepts the
    sentence We have very little data on the efficacy of such programs, where the quantifier very
    little, which is not used with similar plural nouns such as facts and results, implies that data
    here is indeed singular.

    Language evolves through its usage

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sat, 17 May 2003 18:45:44 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >Personally I hate seeing "data" used as a singular noun.
    >
    > Um. Now I'm in anal-retentive mode; I know that data is plural and I wasn't aware that I'd used it
    > in any other sense. I suppose I should say "such data as is" rather than "that data which is" - or
    > was there somewhere else?
    >
    > Guy
    > ===
    > ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    > dynamic DNS permitting)
    > NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    > work. Apologies.
     
  15. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 21:23:38 +0100, [email protected] (Nick Kew) wrote:

    >> The text for anyone who doesn't want to increase the hit count on my site (bastards):

    >Hey, I just did visit it.

    OK, OK :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  16. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 18 May 2003 07:53:03 +0100, "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Otherwise we will see PS making equally valid statements on his web site that his theories have
    >been reviewed by urc ;-)

    Mohammed Saeed Al-Smith needs no such validation. He predicts, he analyses, his predictions prove
    true. There are no speeding related fatalities in the UK. Never!

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  17. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    M Series wrote:
    > No, no, no,
    >
    > http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=data

    I notice that the dictionaries referred to are American, and as such refer to the use of words in
    the American language rather than the English language.

    > Language evolves through its usage

    Yes, and I'm well aware that the OED now accepts the use of "data" as a mass noun rather than as a
    plural noun. This has happened since I was at university, where the plurality of "data" was drummed
    into any biochemists who weren't already aware of it.

    (ISTR that the OED also now accepts "sulfur" as a spelling of "sulphur" and that at least one exam
    board insists on the American spelling, but let's not go there.)

    I just find it frustrating when the evolution of language is the result of blatantly incorrect usage
    through ignorance. Wouldn't it be great if schools actually taught the English language? I'm often
    frustrated by my own ignorance through lack of education. Having been educated in the 1980's, I was
    taught absolutely nothing about grammar at school. I've had to work it out for myself.

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  18. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 13:59:52 +0100 someone who may be "Just zis Guy, you know?"
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    >Any constructive criticism welcome either here or via the feedback link, the letter will be leaving
    >some time next week.

    I think it's good enough as it is. Not perfect, but nothing is.

    I would turn it into a small report, with a covering letter that has a summary repeated in it. I
    would also bind John Franklin's report into the back of it. I would also send a copy of it to my
    "representative", who does bugger all to represent me but should have his office bombarded with
    things to read.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  19. W K

    W K Guest

    "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > NC wrote:
    > > Had I been wearing a helmet, it would have hit the ground in the ditch (and I might have broken
    > > my neck, thus proving helmets are dangerous and not wearing one saved my life*).
    > <snip>
    > > (* using proof by uncontrolled experiment and strong assertion of untestable hypothesis).
    >
    > Last year, someone posted to rec.sport.unicycling with the heading "Broke my neck last night".
    > He'd actually done it falling off a bike, not a unicycle. The video is here:
    > http://northporttrails.org/ouch.wmv (1.73MB)

    For anyone on a modem: bloke rides bike over see saw, comes off, lands on his head. Interestingly
    his hands didn't come of the bars earlier enough to come out to protect him. BMX boys used to have a
    lot of broken collar bones!

    > It looks as though, had he been wearing a helmet, he would probably have been killed. His
    > doctor agreed.

    Just shows that Doctors should never be trusted for their accident investigation skills.

    What are you claiming that the helmet would have done?
     
  20. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > I made mention of "these data". The tester wanted me to change it to "this data", and management
    > agreed with him. I changed it to "these values" and it passed.

    I would have been tempted to change it to "this values". :)

    --
    Dave...
     
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