February 28, 2011

Bike Helmets... A How-Not-To Guide

So I've noticed a decline in bicycle safety standards. It's not that the manufacture quality is lacking. It has more to do with the over-casual use of the riders. In this country it is a law to wear a helmet while cycling. I don't think that it is very enforced, but still, a law is a law. If you would be the type to decide not to wear a helmet for whatever reason, fine. It's your head and it's you that may be one of the first to get a ticket for risking it. Go for it. Have the wind blow through your gorgeous locks!
But then there's people who, in my opinion, don't get it:

  • the people who ride around with a helmet dangling from the handlebars by its straps. In their defence, this group is mostly kids who probably wore their helmet leaving the house and took it off just around the first corner that they were out of parent sight range.
  • the people who are wearing a helmet, properly I might add, but don't buckle it up. To generalize, this group could be mostly male and possible afraid of looking dorky. Apparently this helps to alleviate this.
  • the people I really feel sorry for. These cyclists want to be safe but really have no idea how to wear a helmet. Usually this involves wearing the helmet too far to the back of the head offering no protection to the front half of the head, including the face. In extreme cases, and I've seen this more that once, the helmet is worn backwards. This always results in the helmet being positioned to the rear of the head. The strap, that is designed to fit in the nape of the neck, is plastered across the forehead like a plastic headband and pushes the whole thing behind the head. This produces a system of little protection but mild hilarity.
  • and then one guy who's a one-man-group. He regularly commutes with a construction hardhat. (No strap, of course.) I wonder if that is a statement that he is making or if he really does not know how that won't help.

I think that if I was one of these above, I would just choose to not bother with a helmet at all instead of looking stupid. If I wasn't wearing one and got messed up, well that's the way it goes. But... if I was wearing a helmet, but it came off at the only time I really ever needed it, I suppose that would make me look even stupider.

February 06, 2011

electronic cigarettes?

So I was reading the newspaper. While I am usually pretty good at getting through a whole one avoiding the ads, I got mentally weak and studied the content of one. It was an ad for a pharmacy advertising electronic cigarettes.
Regardless of how popular this product is able to be in the future, as I write this (in 2011), I have never even tried smoking the real thing so know pretty much nothing about electronic ones. As to how popular this product is today and what the general population's knowledge about it is, I have no idea. To all the clued-up people I'm sorry for wasting your time. To anyone else like me, obvious questions popped into my mind. Do they need batteries? Are they addictive? What do they look like? Is there smoke? How exactly do they work?
Deciding to read on, the ad exclaimed inside a fact-packed starburst that there was, "No Smoke - Only Vapour!" Isn't that sort of the same thing? I know that the word vapour usually refers to liquid particles suspended in a gas (like steam in air) while smoke is commonly ash from something burning floating mixed inside the air. This was still pretty vague and that didn't really tell me much at all. Being a newspaper, the picture wasn't very good. It kind of looked like an arrangement of some small little cigarette butts. Actually they looked more like bullets. It was getting pretty weird.
After looking it up on the internet, it turns out that they come in different sizes. Some look somewhat like cigarettes or pipes while others look more like ball-point pens. They need batteries and I wonder if they are rechargeable. (This sort of seems like an obvious and practical use for a car's cigarette lighter.) They require cartridges of a liquid that is heated. What a user would do is breathe in this steam which may or may not contain nicotine. (Would it still smell as bad a normal cigarette?)
I decided to ask my panel of experts. Expert. Okay, I asked a guy who smokes quite a bit and loves smoking. He hadn't tried them and had barely heard of them himself. I asked, "they certainly aren't the same but what do you think that the biggest difference would be?"
He replied, "the only difference I can see is that one is stupid and the other one is actually real cigarettes! The thing about people that smoke is that they like smoking!"
I would have to agree. If I needed to be addicted to nicotine, there's no way I'd try this. The newspaper ad didn't have any prices which I took to be, 'these are probably way more than real ones'. On the other hand though, I wouldn't be smoking real tobacco either. I'd probably start wearing a patch regularly. Or several.