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Cars are rewiring our brains to ignore all the bad stuff about driving

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Unsurprisingly, most Americans frown upon antisocial behavior. Stealing people’s stuff, bending food safety rules, or smoking in large crowds tend to generate a lot of stern reactions.

But get behind the wheel of a car, and all that disapproval tends to melt away.

That’s because a lot of us suffer from a malady called “car brain” — though Ian Walker, a professor of environmental psychology at Swansea University in Wales, prefers to call it “motonormativity.” This is the term coined by Walker and his team to describe the “cultural inability to think objectively and dispassionately” about how we use cars.

A lot of us suffer from a malady called “car brain”

Think of it like “heteronormativity,” the idea that heterosexual couples “automatically, but inappropriately, assume all other people fit their own categories,” but for cars.

Walker noticed that people tend to have a giant blindspot when it comes to certain behaviors associated with driving, whether it’s speeding, carbon emissions, traffic crashes, or any other of the vast litany of negative external effects that result from a culture that caters to automobile drivers.

“One of the things you notice if you spend your career trying to get people to drive less is people don’t like driving less,” Walker said in an interview. “We said, well, let’s try and measure this. Let’s just demonstrate the extent to which the population as a whole will make excuses, will give special freedom to the context of driving.”

To accomplish this, he devised a series of statements aimed at rooting out these unconscious biases. The statements were separated into two categories: one about cars and driving and another with key words and phrases replaced to make it about some other activity. An independent polling firm was contracted to find a sampling of 2,157 adults in the UK, who were then asked to either agree or disagree. Half were given the car-related statements, while the other half presented with the non-car ones.

“One of the things you notice if you spend your career trying to get people to drive less is people don’t like driving less.”

For example, people were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement: “People shouldn’t smoke in highly populated areas where other people have to breathe in the cigarette fumes.” Then they were asked to respond to a parallel statement about driving: “People shouldn’t drive in highly populated areas where other people have to breathe in the car fumes.”

While three-fourths of respondents agreed with the first statement (“People shouldn’t smoke...”), only 17 percent agreed with the second (“People shouldn’t drive...”).

Another statement addressed values around theft of personal property. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “If somebody leaves their belongings in the street and they get stolen, it’s their own fault for leaving them there and the police shouldn’t be expected to act,” as well as the parallel statement, “If somebody leaves their car in the street and it gets stolen, it’s their own fault for leaving it there and the police shouldn’t be expected to act.”

While three-fourths of respondents agreed with the first statement (“People shouldn’t smoke...”), only 17 percent agreed with the second (“People shouldn’t drive...”)

Only 8 percent of people disagreed with the first statement, while 55 percent of people disagreed with the second one.

Similar outcomes were discovered in questions about food and health safety, alcohol consumption, and workplace injuries. People were less tolerant of bad behavior that didn’t involve a car and vastly more tolerant of similar-sounding behaviors that involved driving.

For Walker, this disconnect is where motonormativity comes into play. “We wanted to demonstrate that when you talk about driving, people are not applying their normal values,” he said.

The smoking question in particular fascinated Walker for several reasons. For decades, society tolerated — even encouraged — public smoking. But then a growing awareness around public health risks associated with secondhand smoke, combined with harsher government regulations, led to a shift in public perception. The same could eventually hold true for driving, he said.

For Walker, this disconnect is where motornormativity comes into play

“The fact that smoking has shifted so much, to where almost everybody we spoke to said no, that’s not acceptable — those same people wouldn’t have said that 20 years ago,” Walker said. “And so the smoking and driving comparison interests me because it shows us where we could get to in the future if people’s minds start to change.”

Given how entrenched car culture is in countries around the world, it may take a lot longer to change people’s minds about driving than it did with cigarettes. For one, we don’t tend to view driving through the lens of public health, which shields most of us from thinking about the societal harms and inequities associated with car use.

That’s because, for most people, driving is a convenience. And because it’s easy, we tend to assume it’s part of the natural order to drive. That’s why there’s so much hostility around cycling and alternate forms of transportation: because, for many people, it challenges the natural order of driving.

“Not only do people do what the world makes easy, but because it feels easy, people conclude that it’s right,” Walker said.

Updated February 1st, 10:17AM ET: The phrase coined by Ian Walker and his team is “motonormativity.” A previous version of this story spelled it incorrectly.

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Bursa of Fabricius

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If an anatomical structure is named for a person, it means they were the only person to have it. Pierre Paul Broca had a special area of his brain that created powerful magnetic fields, enabling him to do 19th century fMRI research.
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DexX
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Ooooh, so Ludwig Jacobson could smell the scent of his prey in stereo by flicking his tongue in the air!
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If an anatomical structure is named for a person, it means they were the only person to have it. Pierre Paul Broca had a special area of his brain that created powerful magnetic fields, enabling him to do 19th century fMRI research.

Pluralistic: Johnson and Johnson's bankruptcy gambit fails (01 Feb 2023)

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Today's links



A picture of a white-out dust storm at Burning Man. A giant tulip rises out of the dust. Its petals are suggestive of a vulva. A giant bottle of Johnson and Johnson baby powder enters the frame from the top right corner.

Johnson and Johnson's bankruptcy gambit fails (permalink)

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has foiled Johnson & Johnson's plan to use a bankruptcy scam called the Texas Two-Step to escape paying 40,000 women who were injured when the pharma giant sold them asbestos-tainted talcum powder to dust over their vulvas, leading to gruesome cancers:

https://www.wxxinews.org/2023-01-30/appeals-court-clears-the-way-for-more-lawsuits-over-johnsons-baby-powder

If you'd like an essay-formatted version of this thread to read or share, here's a link to it on pluralistic.net, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog:

https://pluralistic.net/2023/02/01/j-and-j-jk/#risible-gambit

Back in 2018, a jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women whose ovarian cancer was caused by J&J's toxic product, $4.14b of which was punitive, awarded because J&J ignored the link between applying talcum powder to one's genitals and cancer, and continued to market its products as a "Shower to Shower" genital deodorant:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/13/health/4-69-billion-verdict-johnson–johnson-talcum-powder/index.html

With thousands more lawsuits in the pipeline, the company sprung into action, restructuring in Texas using a quirk of the state's merger laws that allows a single company to "merge" into two separate entities.

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/BO/htm/BO.10.htm

The Texas Two-Step is a corrupt gambit that uses this quirk to allow large companies to escape liability for their misdeeds, by creating one company that holds the assets and profitable businesses of the firm, and another company that holds the firm's toxic products and the liabilities they produced. The "bad" company then declares bankruptcy, leaving the "good" company to walk away with the billions it made by harming people, and leaving the victims to squabble over the meager assets from the bankruptcy.

To maintain the pretense that this maneuver isn't just a ruse to escape liability, companies undertaking the Texas Two-Step have the "good" company guarantee some of the liabilities of the "bad" company. That's what J&J did, and the women it injured sued over it:

https://www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/222003p.pdf

The appeals court didn't find J&J's bankruptcy persuasive. They found that any bankruptcy for the "bad" company should come after it had exhausted all guarantees the "good" company had made. Summarizing the court opinion Bloomberg's Matt Levine writes, "You want to file for bankruptcy while you still have plenty of money to pay claims, but not too much money."

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-01-31/matt-levine-johnson-johnson-s-jnj-bankruptcy-didn-t-work

J&J has vowed to appeal. If their appeal succeeds, it will be another blow against corporate accountability and against the bankruptcy system, both of which have are at their lowest ebb in living memory. Just the fact that J&J is still in business is remarkable. Poison talcum powder is only the latest salvo in J&J's war on women's reproductive organs – just a year ago, the company was ordered to pay hundreds of millions for selling women vaginal meshes, aggressively marketed for incontinence and prolapse, long after it learned that these meshes could permanently fuse with patient's pelvic floors, leading to "severe pain, bleeding, infections, discomfort during intercourse."

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/13/johnson-johnson-pelvic-mesh-implant-ads-case

J&J was also neck-deep in the opioid crisis, going so far as to commission a report from McKinsey entitled "Maximizing Value of the Narcotics Franchise," on how to use its dominance of poppy-extract to corner the market on opioids:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/06/30/mckinsey-mafia/#everybody-must-get-stoned

It was the opioid sector that brought popular attention – and well-earned disgust – to the US bankruptcy. The criminal Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma and proprietors of OxyContin, used a nakedly corrupt move to shift their bankruptcy proceeding to Judge Robert Drain of the Southern District of New York:

https://pluralistic.net/2021/08/07/hr-4193/#shoppers-choice

Drain is notoriously tolerant of corporate crime and is an enthusiastic booster for the principle of using bankruptcies to escape consequences for corporate mass-murder. Which is exactly what the Sacklers did, cramming through a bankruptcy deal that let them walk away with billions, stiffing the survivors of their opioid business:

https://pluralistic.net/2021/07/29/impunity-corrodes/#morally-bankrupt

J&J told women to put carcinogens down their underwear. For decades. It gave tens of thousands of women ovarian cancer. Then it tried to use Texas's courts to walk away with billions. But this time, a court stopped them. This time there's no separate system of justice, like the one that gave the Sacklers billions in dirty money. This time, the company might just have to pay for its crimes.

Image:
James Wagstaff (modified)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jesse/2256760407/

Mike Mozart (modified)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/26191532093

CC BY 2.0
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

(via Jesse Wagstaff, Mike Mozart; CC BY 2.0, modified)


Hey look at this (permalink)



A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago DVDs rot over time https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-bad-case-of-dvd-rot-eats-into-movie-collections-20030201-gdg75r.html

#20yrsago Record exec argues for file-sharing https://www.salon.com/2003/02/01/file_trading_manifesto/

#15yrsago Sony kills DRM stores — your DRM music will only last until your next upgrade https://memex.craphound.com/2008/02/01/sony-kills-drm-stores-your-drm-music-will-only-last-until-your-next-upgrade/

#15yrsago Amazon’s anti-DRM tee https://memex.craphound.com/2008/02/01/amazons-anti-drm-tee/

#15yrsago Chinese dissident’s “Rear Window” video of the cops keeping him under house arrest https://www.theguardian.com/news/video/2008/feb/01/hu.jia

#10yrsago Dial-up handshaking illustrated https://www.windytan.com/2012/11/the-sound-of-dialup-pictured.html

#10yrsago RIAA bigwig who architected anti-technology lawsuits is now #2 at the Copyright Office https://www.techdirt.com/2013/01/31/former-riaa-vp-named-2nd-command-copyright-office/

#10yrsago Magic, copyright, and internal enforcement mechanisms https://web.archive.org/web/20130207082939/http://www.law.villanova.edu/Academics/Journals/Jeffrey S Moorad Sports Law Journal/~/media/academics/journals/sportsandentertainmentlawjournal/docs/191/VLS_191_103.ashx

#10yrsago Why can’t Americans look up their own case-law for free? https://sunlightfoundation.com/2013/02/01/open-public-access-to-court-records-for-aaron-freepacer/

#5yrsago LA’s soaring homelessness is distorting the national statistics https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-homeless-how-we-got-here-20180201-story.html

#5yrsago Teen Bo$$: a magazine advising tweens on how to get rich by being “social media brands” https://fashionista.com/2017/06/teen-boss-entrepreneurs-magazine

#5yrsago America’s school systems serve unencrypted web resources that are riddled with ad-tech trackers https://www.edtechstrategies.com/tracking-edu/

#5yrsago The latest IoT botnet displays evidence of a halfway clever botmaster https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/01/31/145919/a-fast-evolving-new-botnet-could-take-gadgets-in-your-home-to-the-dark-side/

#5yrsago The Germans have a word for all your hard-to-process Trump emotions https://web.archive.org/web/20180131091447/https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/7-german-words-perfectly-capture-feeling-living-trumps-america

#5yrsago An incredibly important paper on whether data can ever be “anonymized” and how we should handle release of large data-sets https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~arvindn/publications/precautionary.pdf

#5yrsago GOP candidate Rick Saccone hates government waste, bills the public purse indiscriminately for his own personal expenses, which totalled $435,172 https://theintercept.com/2018/02/01/rick-saccone-congress-pennsylvania/

#5yrsago Australia put an algorithm in charge of its benefits fraud detection and plunged the nation into chaos https://logicmag.io/justice/austerity-is-an-algorithm/

#1yrago The Mafia hires good accountants https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/01/collaborators-not-fools/#triple-entry-bookkeeping



Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Super Punch (https://www.superpunch.net/).

Currently writing:

  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. Yesterday's progress: 526 words (100704 words total)

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EDITORIAL REVIEW

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. ON SUBMISSION

  • Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. ON SUBMISSION

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Social Quitting https://craphound.com/news/2023/01/22/social-quitting/

Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest books:

Upcoming books:

  • Red Team Blues: "A grabby, compulsive thriller that will leave you knowing more about how the world works than you did before." Tor Books, April 2023

  • The Internet Con: A nonfiction book about interoperability and Big Tech, Verso, September 2023

  • The Lost Cause: a post-Green New Deal eco-topian novel about truth and reconciliation with white nationalist militias, Tor Books, October 2023


This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.


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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

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5 Prince George Mounties charged in death of Indigenous man | CBC News

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British Columbia·Updated

Two RCMP officers in Prince George, B.C., have been charged with manslaughter in connection with the 2017 death of an Indigenous man, Crown prosecutors announced Wednesday. Another three have been charged with attempting to obstruct justice.

2 RCMP officers face manslaughter charges in Dale Culver's death; 3 charged with attempted obstruction

Two RCMP officers in Prince George, B.C., have been charged with manslaughter in connection with the 2017 death of an Indigenous man, Crown prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Another three have been charged with attempting to obstruct justice related to the events immediately after Dale Culver's death in police custody on July 18, 2017, according to a news release from the B.C. Prosecution Service.

Manslaughter charges have been sworn against  Const. Paul Ste-Marie and Const. Jean Francois Monette, while Const. Arthur Dalman, Const. Clarence (Alex) Alexander MacDonald and Sgt. Bayani (Jon) Eusebio Cruz face attempted obstruction charges.

Culver, 35, was a father of three and a member of the Wet'suwet'en and Gitxsan First Nations, according to family members.

His death led to allegations of anti-Indigenous racism in policing and was a focus during a number of protests in northern B.C. following the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

The charges come after an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which forwarded a report to Crown in May 2020, asking prosecutors to consider charges against the five officers.

In a written statement on Wednesday, B.C. RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said the force fully co-operated with the IIO investigation and supports independent reviews of police incidents but also questioned the length of the process to date.

"We do have concerns regarding the nearly six-year timeline in this instance though as it put undue stress on the man's family, our members and their families, and the community which has been looking for clarity and answers on what occurred," Roberts said.

She declined to comment further while the case is before the courts.

Allegations of racial bias by officers

The IIO has said RCMP were called to the 1000 block of Central Street West after reports of a man "casing vehicles."

Culver reportedly attempted to flee on a bicycle, and a struggle ensued between him and the officers. An IIO report says pepper spray was used against Culver during the arrest, and he was placed in the back of a police cruiser.

Culver started having trouble breathing shortly afterward, and paramedics were called. He collapsed when taken out of the police car and was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after midnight.

In 2018, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed a formal complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, alleging Mounties had told witnesses to delete video footage of Culver's arrest.

The association also questioned whether "explicit or implicit racial bias" had played a role in what happened. The complaint said the BCCLA was told there were "several hours" between the initial call to police and the arrival of RCMP on the scene, raising questions about whether Culvert was approached because he was Indigenous.

A first court appearance for all of the charged officers has been scheduled for March 14.

According to the RCMP, Ste-Marie, Monette, Dalman and Cruz remain on duty while Macdonald is on administrative leave for reasons unrelated to Culver's death.

With files from Andrew Kurjata and Eva Uguen-Csenge

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B.C. launches new payment model for family doctors | CBC News

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British Columbia

B.C.'s new payment model for family physicians came into effect on Wednesday, giving doctors the option to do away with the old fee system reported to have driven new recruits and veterans alike away from the job.

Officials tout change as 'transformational' to struggling health-care system

B.C.'s new payment model for family physicians came into effect on Wednesday, giving doctors the option to do away with the old fee system reported to have driven new recruits and veterans alike away from the job.

The new framework allows physicians to scrap the current fee-for-service system that saw them paid a flat rate per patient visit and be paid instead for a range of duties that come with the job.

"I believe it's the most significant reform to primary care in my lifetime in the history of the public health-care system," Health Minister Adrian Dix said at a news conference outlining the changes.

"It addresses inequities in compensation, helping to attract and retain family physicians and therefore increase the number of physicians able to provide care to people in B.C."

Through the fee-for-service system, doctors are paid around $30 per patient visit — no matter whether they're treating a simple common cold or a complex chronic health condition. 

B.C.'s new model, called the longitudinal family physician (LFP) payment model, sees doctors compensated the number of patients they see daily and the complexity of their needs. 

The province said it means family physicians will be paid for extra time with patients, especially those who need more support — like seniors or patients with mental health conditions.

They'll also be paid for time spent on other necessary tasks like reviewing lab results, consulting with other medical professionals, updating patient lists and clinical administrative work. 

"Today is a new day for family physicians to have choice to provide the care that they have always wanted to do and have not been able to," said Doctors of B.C. president Dr. Joshua Greggain, calling the model "transformational."

Dix said 1,043 of roughly 4,000 eligible doctors from all five health authorities signed up for the new model on the first day. He expected the number to grow "significantly" in coming days and weeks.

Most family doctors in B.C. are independent contractors and run their practices as businesses, paying for overhead costs such as office space and staff and medical equipment. The price of operating a practice has driven many prospective physicians to choose other areas of medicine.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada called in 2020 for alternative funding models to replace the fee-for-service method to better support continuity of care and stop family doctors from leaving their jobs.

Under the new framework, the average family physician in B.C. will see a raise from roughly $250,000 to around $385,000.

The number of people without a family doctor in B.C. more than doubled from 2003 to 2017. The shortage of family doctors in the province has left a burden on other areas of health care, like urgent care centres and emergency rooms.

One in five residents didn't have a general practitioner in the latter year, though Dix expected the number would rise.

WATCH | Adrian Dix speaks about the details of the new agreement in October:

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RT @bgardnerfanclub: I need the angry cotton ball immediately

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I need the angry cotton ball immediately twitter.com/dog_rates/stat…

We only rate dogs. This is an angry cotton ball. Please only send dogs… 12/10 pic.twitter.com/Wpw0IgCALN






32072 likes, 2132 retweets

Retweeted by WeRateDogs® (dog_rates) on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 5:28pm


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