Time to Stand Up…

To The Washington Post:

Good morning,

I could not agree more with your piece in today’s paper asking that reasonable people stand up to the far-right publicity machine. It is time to go further than stand up, we should be fighting back with some of the same. Like asking when, exactly, the Ku Klux Klan renamed itself The Tea Party? Their policies seem virtually identical, as do the intelligence and attitudes of their membership. Like asking why so many vigorously anti-gay right-wing commentators are caught with their trousers around their ankles while in the presence of other men? Surely there are limits to research?

Yes, standing up is fine, but far better to fight back.

Paul Harper

A Truly British Farce

To the Independent:


I think the Rothbury Tourist Board should be very proud of the Summer Fete they put on this year. It had everything. A circus (of the media variety), a Keystone Cops show, paint balling in the woods, celebrity guest appearances from WPC Wendoline from Wallace & Grommit and Chief Inspector Tim Nice But Dim, and best of all, the BBC changed its news channel theme tune to include the “Doof Doofs” from their soap opera “The NorthEastEnders”…

To quote some lyrics from “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” :

Running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it too

Paul Harper

Drunkenness Risks – Walking vs Driving: Oops?

To Stephen J Dubner, the Author of “Superfreakonomics”

Dear sir,

Please forgive me writing to you unannounced, but I have just started reading Superfreakonomics and read the early section which analyses the differing risks between drunks walking and driving. You concluded that on a per-mile basis, walkers were eight times more likely to die than drivers.

This seems to me to be an incorrect conclusion because the likelihood of death is a function of time, not distance travelled – the longer you are exposed to a danger the more you are likely to be a victim of it. Walkers travel at around 3 miles per hour, drunken walkers perhaps manage 2. Drunken drivers average (let say) around 40 miles per hour.

So on a per-mile basis, drunken walkers are “out there” and at risk for twenty times longer than drunken drivers.

Combining the two, we have to conclude that on a per-minute basis, drunken drivers are around two and a half times more likely to die than drunken walkers.

Hope this makes sense!

Thanks for an entertaining read, I shall resume my nit-picking now <grin>

Best regards,

Paul Harper

To which I got the reply:

From: “Stephen J. Dubner” <xxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx>
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2010 07:20:36 -0400