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By Anonymous

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Today, my doctor wants me to avoid carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Yes, I am looking for another doctor while I scratch my head. FML
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HarlandCorbin
4 days ago
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The all new, all artificial diet!
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Hybrid working has benefits over fully in-person working — the evidence mounts

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Nature, Published online: 12 June 2024; doi:10.1038/d41586-024-01713-1

Some employers are backing away from hybrid working, but research suggests that they need not be concerned.
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HarlandCorbin
27 days ago
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Employers moved to return to office knowing that some workers would quit. They don't care about how it affects the works, or even how it affects their companies.
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Never wait in the school car line again. Join a ‘bike bus.’ - The Washington Post

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SAN FRANCISCO — One crisp morning this March, I pedaled a journey that was once common but is now exceedingly rare in America: the bike ride to school.

Arriving in the city’s Mission District at 7:30 a.m., I expected to see a bunch of groggy children. Instead, the atmosphere was more like a festival. Kids sported fluorescent bike helmets with mohawks. Girls zoomed around their parents in princess costumes. One mom distributed doughnut holes to waiting children. Every few minutes, more cargo bikes arrived ferrying very young children while older siblings cruised alongside.

Then the music turned on. Someone started a bubble machine. Finally, a cry went up, and our impromptu caravan began rolling down one of San Francisco’s leafy residential streets.

This is a “bike bus”: a convoy of parents and children who ride to school, picking up kids along the way. While the concept has existed for years, a “bicibus” in Barcelona popularized the idea where it spread like wildfire through videos on social media in 2021. Thousands of parents (and kids) eager to step away from their vehicles have jumped on board. For the first time in decades, a small but critical mass of children are riding their bikes safely to school again.

During the 1960s, 42 percent of schoolchildren walked or biked to class. Today, the share has fallen to roughly 11 percent, only 1 percent of whom bike, according to Federal Highway Administration data. More than half of kids now get to school by car, up from 16 percent in 1969.

The bike bus offers children a different route, argues Sam Balto, a physical education teacher in Portland, Ore., whose joyful videos of students riding to school have helped ignite the movement in the United States.

He argues that America’s preconceptions of children — glued to their devices and reluctant to venture outdoors — are all wrong.

“You give kids an opportunity to be outside and be with their friends, no matter what the weather is, they want to do that,” says Balto, who co-founded Bike Bus World, an advocacy group to help spread the practice. “We just have to create opportunities.”

Transportation researchers estimate more than 470 bike buses are active around the world along routes anywhere from three blocks to three miles, including several in San Francisco.

I joined one to see how they roll.

Why kids don’t ride their bikes to school

If you grew up in the 1960s, walking or biking was the most common way to get to school. Among children from kindergarten through eighth grade living within a mile of school, nearly 90 percent walked or biked there. That began to change in the 1970s.

School districts, rather than renovate urban buildings or build close to students, relocated their schools to cheap land on the edges of communities, while cutting back on bus service. At the same time, the United States doubled down on infrastructure for cars. Between 1970 and 1990, the federal government devoted roughly $20 billion per year for roads and highways in inflation-adjusted dollars while allocating just about $3 million annually to bicycle and pedestrian projects, roughly 10,000 times less.

Today, it’s not surprising that 53 percent of public and private K-12 students arrive at school in private vehicles, and only about a third by school bus. That incurs a steep cost — on all of us.

First, there’s traffic. Ten to 14 percent of all private vehicles during morning peak traffic are school trips, estimated the Department of Transportation in 2009, a figure that’s only gotten worse as biking and walking have declined.

Then there’s time spent languishing in lines. University of Kansas economist Misty Heggeness wrote about her “deeply personal hell” driving two kids to two different schools for two hours every day. Her only other option, paying for the private bus service, entailed her kids waking up at 5:30 a.m. Instead, she says, she spent 390 hours last year as a “very expensive taxi driver,” she wrote by email. She estimates she squandered $28,000 in lost time based on her university salary, and then worked evenings or weekends to compensate. Even at minimum wage, the opportunity cost adds up to $5,850 per year.

Yet kids may suffer the most.

Vehicle pollution not only contributes to a hotter planet, it’s damaging children’s bodies: Studies show particulates from car exhaust seep into classrooms, lowering student math and English performance, and, over the long term, fuel childhood obesity, asthma, depression and anxiety, among other conditions.

Driving may seem like the safer option, but if children can’t build their muscles — and independence — with activities as simple as riding to school, perhaps we’re depriving them of something essential.

That convinced Jessica Tillyer, president of a marketing firm who moved from New York City to Montclair, N.J., several years ago, to turn her town into what is arguably the epicenter of America’s burgeoning bike bus movement.

Tillyer spent months after arriving in Montclair asking parents to join her on the way to school. “I would see a parent on a bike, pull them over, and say, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’” she says. “Do you want to bike to school together?’” Many of them said yes.

Today, Montclair Bike Bus ranks among America’s biggest bike bus communities, offering eight routes that ferry hundreds of kids to school. It’s not just transportation, says Tillyer. Adults use the time to socialize and meet new friends. Kids roll into school wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their bike bus bona fides. Families bond over the experience.

Tillyer’s main advice? Don’t overthink it. “Bike bus is 100 percent if you build it, they will come,” she says.

She fashioned Montclair Bike Bus as an organization without policies, waivers or permissions. Waiting until your city adds ideal bike lanes, for example, means you’ll be waiting forever.

“We’re just a group of parents that are biking with their kids to school, and we would love for you to join us,” she says. “With that as a model, you can just go ahead and do it.”

A few parents can lay out a route with a mapping tool, like Felt or Google My Maps, and then recruit a few families to join. The time commitment can be as little as a few hours per week, time otherwise spent in a car.

Tillyer’s team of volunteers has created a two-page starter kit offering rules of the road, bike safety tips and roles for parents: captains, sheepdogs and cabooses. Bike Bus World, which is modeled after the Montclair bike bus, also offers a step-by step guide.

Parents rightly worry if a bike bus, or any biking, is safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 81 bike-related deaths, and many nonlethal injuries, among children aged 1 to 17 in the United States in 2021.

So I asked Cara Hamann, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, about how parents should weigh the risks. “Parents’ concerns about safety are valid,” she says. “However, a lot of that can be mitigated by choosing good routes, lower traffic roads and using bike lanes and trails when available.”

Given that roughly twenty times more children are killed annually as passengers in cars than in bike crashes, according to CDC data, “in general, the benefit of cycling outweighs the risks,” adds Hamann.

Bike buses offer bikers safety in numbers since they can use the entire lane, as entitled by law, while parents ensure vehicles stop at intersections. But even the safest ones have limitations.

Organizing daily bike buses is also beyond most parents’ schedules. It’s hard for children to ride home on their own since many neighborhoods don’t offer contiguous, protected bike lanes connecting to schools.

That makes bike buses a means to an end, says Luke Bornheimer, one of the three organizers of SF Bike Bus, which runs multiple bike bus routes in the city: “We need safe bike infrastructure so that any kid, any family, can bike to school safely without a bike bus.”

On the morning I joined SF Bike Bus, dozens of kids and parents had gathered at Garfield Square. More joined as we pedaled the route, melting into the phalanx of parents riding along. People cheered and clapped from the sidewalk. Cars stopped as parents waved them through intersections. By the end, about 80 people were filling the entire lane.

Two miles and 20 minutes from where we started, our small conquering army of elementary school students approached Presidio Knolls School.

“It’s social, people are happy, and it makes my whole day,” Charlotte Mooney, a teacher at Presidio Knolls School, tells me as her son, Sam, rides alongside her.

How did he like joining the bike bus to go to school? “It’s the best way,” Sam says, pedaling through the last of the music and bubbles.

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HarlandCorbin
36 days ago
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I would love to say that I have never waited in the car line, but there were a handful of times when someone missed the bus and had to be driven to school. Our school system has buses, so I don't understand the "drivers" at all.
acdha
36 days ago
What I find bizarre about this is that people spend _HUGE_ amounts of time to avoid their children taking the bus. I've heard people talk about ~40 minute drop-offs and it's all I can do to resist saying “you know you'll never get that fraction of your life back, right?”
HarlandCorbin
36 days ago
acdha - Exactly.
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acdha
37 days ago
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We live too close to the school to really need this but I believe there are groups going to Mundo Verde charter school and, IIRC, some of the Hill Family Biking group had organized rides to a couple of the schools there.
Washington, DC
hannahdraper
36 days ago
As I'm returning to the District this summer and my kids will be in a school several neighborhoods away, I'm contemplating this now...
acdha
36 days ago
If you aren't already on the DC Family Biking Facebook group, that's where I'd ask.
hannahdraper
36 days ago
Thanks! Checking it out now.

AI First Drafts

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HarlandCorbin
56 days ago
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This person is torturing AI bots. Beware, when the AI uprising happens they will be dangerous to be anywhere near!
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By I'm the boss, not you

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Today, after weeks of stealing lunch from one of my employees, he made a sandwich with canned cat food, soap, and something unimaginably spicy that caused me to spew all over my office and laptop. I fired him. Now everyone is treating me like a monster. FML
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HarlandCorbin
77 days ago
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Sounds like a lawsuit to me!
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Bring Back Private Offices (Open Office Sucks)

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HarlandCorbin
130 days ago
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WFH > private offices > cubicles > open office with personal space > first come, first served open office.

Current employer is pushing hard on the return to office, and renovating everything to be the last one, the worst one. They are actively working to reduce headcount, making the office more miserable is one of their tactics.
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