I was interviewed by BBC World Service!

I was interviewed by BBC World Service last night. Reporter Jeff Baird, an American BBC employee from Oregon, saw that Fark.com linked to a news article about my Texas speed trap report. Lawrence Pollard did the actual interview.

We did it over Skype. I didn’t have good equipment, so I had to put my face about 4″ from the microphone on my son’s Asus netbook. If you listen to the interview, you’ll hear disturbances in the audio. I guess I leaned too closely or breathed into it?

The Russian subway bombing prevented them from playing it in the London breakfast show, but it played a few times before their dawn.

The interview.

The full 27 minute segment I was on. (I think I am towards the end.)

This plain text belies my excitement, but this was a major high for me. I cannot believe I’ve been broadcasted on wordwide media.

Media attention on speed traps

I am amazed at how much media attention my speed trap article is getting (original article, follow up article).

First WFAA, Dallas, TX’s ABC affiliate interviews me.

Then a major Texas city newspaper interviews me (but as of yet hasn’t published anything).

Then I hear the Houston, TX CBS affiliate played the WFAA piece.

Then I get a call from a well-known national-scope newspaper asking for an interview. I discussed with the reporter, and we agree not to do an article for now. The reason is that my prospective doctorate research is on related subjects, and this speed trap piece is hardly serious research. I don’t want to discuss my doctorate research with anyone in the news until I have publishable data, so because of that we agreed to wait to review anything until then.

Then just now I got a call from an international radio network and am scheduled to do an interview tonight. (I’ll reveal the name if they air it.) [EDIT: It was the BBC World Service. More info and a the interview.]


Gift bags, cards, tissue paper–why?

Just found this transaction on a Target receipt:

  • $20 – gift for a 6 year old girl
  • Crap that doesn’t matter:
    • $1.50 – gift bag that will be thrown away
    • $2.50 – card written by someone who knows neither the giver nor the recipient
    • $2.50 – tissue paper for the gift bag that will be thrown away

So in this case:

The total gift’s price was inflated by a third.

Why do we buy cards we didn’t author, tissue paper, and gift bags? Do the recipients ever care?

Follow up to WFAA speed trap piece

Above is my interview with Dallas’s WFAA channel 8, broadcast on March 23, 2010, which was about my Texas’s Worst Speed Traps article.

WFAA also talked to Keller Police Chief Mark Hafner. He disputed that Westlake is a speed trap. (Westlake contracts policing to Keller PD.) He says, “When we took over policing in 2002, Highway 114 had 3-4 fatals a year. In the last 2 years, we have not had a fatal accident on highway 114.”

I pulled all Westlake auto fatalities from 1996-2008 on a graph. Remember that Keller took over policing in 2002. Here’s the graph:
Westlake traffic tickets and fatalities
(Important note:1996-1998 really did have 0 fatalities, but no ticket data was available from the state.)

Sorry, I see no correlation. Do you? Except maybe a lack of a correlation between fatal wrecks and tickets–although I admit that you can’t draw much of a conclusion from this limited data. Plus TX-114 was recently rebuilt in the area, but I can’t find answers yet on how this affected Westlake’s portion. (EDIT 3/26/10: According to State disputes Westlake speed limit (Fort Worth Star-Telegram),TX-114 reconstruction through Westlake was completed in late 2002.)

But wait, there’s more!

Let’s narrow down Westlake fatalities just to TX 114:
Westlake traffic tickets and TX-114 fatalities

1 fatality on occasional years on Westlake’s TX-114, a far cry from “3-4 fatals a year.”

Alec’s art

We went to Alec’s school and saw his class’s drawings and stories. They were all about kindergarten-appropriate topics. Flowers, car rides with mom, bright colors, rainbows, etc.

…except, of course, for my son, who drew death, volcanoes, fire, and hellish colors:

I was way  impressed.