Vision Zero after zero progress?

Washington, D.C., like other cities around the world, is trying to eliminate traffic deaths through a program called Vision Zero. Inspired by Sweden, this has been a model project in many ways, but the lack of positive results is testing its proponents.

Effecting change per se is my topic here, rather than the specific alterations that D.C. et al. have wrought as part of Vision Zero. Continue reading

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Notes on lobbying Congress for ME/CFS funding

Hart-Senate-LobbyOn March 6, I accompanied the irrepressible Emily Taylor of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative to lobby members of Congress. Specifically, we urged them to add ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome) to a list of diseases eligible for research funding from the Department of Defense. This post contains some reflections on the experience. Continue reading

ME/CFS: Thiamine is key; coffee & tea inhibit it

As I’ve noted elsewhere, thiamine forms part of a suite of supplements that might counteract energy problems in ME/CFS. In any case, thiamine (or thiamin) is vital to energy production and other biological processes.

A lot of people think that coffee or tea is vital to getting enough energy, too. For years I was one of those people, and I looked for the instant tea with the highest tea and caffeine content. Yet I noticed over many hiatuses from tea – but not caffeine – that I actually felt moderately better without it. How could this be?

It turns out that tea, coffee, raw shellfish, raw freshwater fish, and other foods contain “anti-thiamine factors.” Continue reading

Who’s ‘Our Inner Ape’? Or, I got your hippie chimp right here, and it’s not a bonobo

Here’s a YouTube rendition of the slideshow I presented at Nerd Nite DC in 2016. The script follows the video. A shorter version is here.

A woman recently came up to tell me that bonobos were her favorite primates. “Not humans?” I asked, but I knew better. Thanks to primatological popularizers, bonoboism has become widespread. But people looking for a “hippie chimp” are lionizing the wrong species. Continue reading

Jakartans can’t be turned into pedestrians, so why try?

A few months ago, the New York Times published a pretty good article on why people in Jakarta walk so little. Since I studied this and related questions in-depth from 2010 to 2012, I have some quibbles and additions, but all in all I recommend it.

The article includes quotes from a pro-pedestrian activist. However, in a presentation of my research, I labeled the promotion of pedestrianism in Jakarta a “lost cause.” Continue reading

Human roadblocks should prompt a detour

In a recent op-ed article in the Guardian, Andrew Gilligan draws a political lesson from his tenure as cycling commissioner in London. It’s worth a full read. Gilligan points out that proposals to expand bicycling infrastructure – lanes and paths – have great popular support in Britain but often aren’t put into action. He blames politicians for succumbing to opposition by a vocal minority or for simply lacking initiative.

How might cycling advocates overcome roadblocks to democratically supported improvements? Continue reading

ME/CFS: My medications and supplements

Finding and affording a specialist for myalgic encephalomyelitis (aka chronic fatigue syndrome) is difficult, and the two I’ve consulted have different approaches. So I thought I’d share some of my experience.

Hopefully, the following list will help other people with the disease. Each item is on it due to either a doctor’s recommendation or a research finding.

Continue reading