Category: Learn

Does Motorcycle Mesh Gear Melt in a Crash?

If you ride a motorcycle you know you take more chances on the road than if encased in a steel and glass condom. An obvious question is how to reduce a rider’s risk? The answer is multifold, but starts between the rider’s ears: Develop that innate “spidey sense” to predict that a dumb cager will do an idiot move, move out of the way, and then watch as life unfolds, with the rider safely out of harm’s way. Another tactic is to increase your conspicuity: Wear a bright pink bikini bunny suit with a reflective vest. That might work. Or not. Yet another tactic is to wear personal protective equipment, or what bikers call “gear”. Of course thick leather is best, but in the heat of the summer you could pass out from heat exhaustion. Mesh is very popular and affordable, but does it protect you in a crash? A common impression is that mesh will melt against your skin during a crash, causing you more pain and suffering. One needs to ask “Does mesh really melt in a crash”? In short, mesh does protect you in a crash, and in general mesh does not melt in a crash. Last Update: July 08 2013.

The Dangerous “Right Turner”: Inattentional Blindness

Without a doubt the “right turner” is the most dangerous situation a motorcyclist faces while riding. Statistics show that more motorcyclists get hurt and killed at intersections by a right turning driver than any other cause. Why do car drivers exclaim “I did not see him/her” when the weather was clear and there were no other cars in the intersection? It is not just motorcyclists in danger, as bicyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles also bear the pain of inattentive drivers. Is it true that these drivers are so lacking in skill, so blatant in their disregard for their fellow humans that they are grasping for any plausible explanation, or is it something else? There is a theory that humans filters out objects that are deemed not dangerous, which leads to the subject of “inattentional blindness”. Maybe these lame explanations from drivers point to a visual impairment that is innate with all human beings.

The Walk to School

The ritual of Walk to School is an important one, long unappreciated.

The ritual of Walk to School is an important one, long unappreciated.

Neither difficult nor excessively long, the walk to school has always been an excellent way to start learning for the day. In a way I am thankful I am able to participate and guide. We neither rush nor dally, allocating sufficient time to allow for the mind to wander at will. The environment, grass, trees, the weather and sky are our teaching aids. There is the important skill of safely crossing the street to learn, one which needs to be learned well. Handling vehicular traffic is also covered. There is the final wave. I then return, thinking of how to plan my day.

The Brain is a Marvel of Technology We Don’t Understand

Could a SenseCam help keep Alzheimer's at bay?

Could a SenseCam help keep Alzheimer's at bay?

The more I learn about the brain the more I realize we have not much of a clue how it works. As we improve our scientific knowledge, there is so much further to go. Understanding how to treat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is a case in point. The truth is, we don’t know much. How about putting a camera on a patient’s chest, have it take random pictures, and use those photos to trigger memory recall and therefore retard Alzheimer’s? They’re doing it at the University of Toronto’s Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) using a SenseCam from Microsoft Research.

Adding Firefox Function Without the Fat

Firefox helps you be strict with wayward plug-ins

Firefox helps you be strict with wayward plug-ins

Weary am I when I have to set up another browser in my house. The browser of choice, Firefox, is very easy to install and I have little complaint. It’s the extra add-ons and plug-ins that take work. The score: Sun’s Java gets an A, Adobe’s Acrobat gets a C, Shockwave and Flash gets a D. Yes, they now function, but what a hassle. Most come with extra stuff you not only do not want but do not need. Simpler software leads to a simpler, more reliable computer, a bonus for anyone.

Witnessed Car Crash at Birchmount Road and Sheppard Avenue

As a memory exercise I will attempt to capture as much detail as I can remember of a car crash I witnessed at 09:40 at Birchmount Road and Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario on May 7 2009 (today). I will refrain from doing any analysis or draw any conclusions because the thought process might cloud the observations.

Talk like a Native English Speaker

Dean, of Jiaozuo, China, has the ability to become a fluent English speaker. He can learn English like a sponge and will put any adult learner to shame.

Very often I am asked to help a Chinese person improve their English. They have the goal to talk just like a native English speaker. It is a noble goal but very difficult to attain. Even more frustrating is to be able to listen to a 4 year old who can yammer on in both English and Chinese in perfect fluency. The kid can’t even tie his shoes, but can speak much better than his supposedly much wiser and better educated parents. Here’s an excerpt of his blog:

Life Lessons from…Tobogganing

As usual the little one was bored. The boring list includes: full internet and computer games, more Lego than you can shake a stick at, robots, Hotwheels, books, the list goes on and on.

I suggest tobogganing. What could be more Canadian than tobogganing? At -10C the weather is not too cold nor too windy. ‘Bogganing is healthy and relatively safe. We head off to the local large and medium hills, side by side. The sun is shining and we climb and make one on the medium and four on the large, all great runs.

Learn until you’re Dead

?????? Huo dao lao, xue dao lao.

I continue to learn everyday. The internet makes this continual search for knowledge convenient. All from the comfort of my kitchen. It’s a far cry from just a few years ago. While I’m a strong supporter of the internet, note that there are dangers that lurk, and there’s a great portion of life outside of the internet and computers. Are we destined to be stuck indoors in front of our collective computer monitors? I say not. Use the internet for research, but live life outside.