Classic WTF: SuperRand

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  • anon 2012-12-26 08:16
    I wouldn't want to be officer #24...

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/UniformSumDistribution.html
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-26 08:21
    That's a lot of work to just return 4.

    http://xkcd.com/221/
  • Dotan Cohen 2012-12-26 08:39
    That is a feature, not a bug. Officer #1 wrote the script.
  • WC 2012-12-26 09:22
    anon:
    I wouldn't want to be officer #24...

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/UniformSumDistribution.html


    On the other hand, Officer #1 gets off scott free, if I'm reading that code correctly. (And I'm not at all sure of that. lol)
  • Gary 2012-12-26 09:56
    Don't you know? It's not a random number unless it has a bell curve distribution.
  • RFmich 2012-12-26 10:53
    I am not a number I am a free man..
  • Ralph 2012-12-26 11:52
    It is delightful the way he explains "adding them together will improve the randomness by" and then stops without his justification. I'd love to know what he was thinking, but perhaps his brain itself went blank at this same point.
  • Tim 2012-12-26 11:57
    Instead of hard coding the total number of officers, it should have been read from an XML file.

    Might as well have another XML file for the total divided by two, while we're at it.
  • Henry 2012-12-26 11:58
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
  • Loren Pechtel 2012-12-26 12:26
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?


    Because politicians like them.
  • Hacky 2012-12-26 12:27
    To get people to slow down and to generate revenue for the department.
  • Rick 2012-12-26 12:27
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    I am quite happy when police park in front of my home with a radar gun and ticket speeders. I have offered coffee, but I don't think they are allowed to accept.
  • Brendan Kidwell 2012-12-26 12:28
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?

    Gotta have some form of deterrence. Also, practically free revenue for the town or local police force.
  • GNU Pepper 2012-12-26 13:09
    Brian ... commented-out the superrand() function.

    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.
  • atk 2012-12-26 13:20
    GNU Pepper:
    Brian ... commented-out the superrand() function.

    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.


    It is good to.comment out and retain incorrect code in seceral cases. When the code is subtly wrong, keeping it (and adding explanation why it is wrong) shows subsequent maintainers that this path has been tried before, and that it was incorrect, thus avoiding reintroduction of the subtle error. It is also useful when a serious error is introduced, for similar reason. I remeber there being a third good reason, but I fail to recall at the moment.
  • Henry 2012-12-26 13:23
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.
    Brendan Kidwell:
    practically free revenue for the town or local police force.
    Aaah, now you've got it. Legalized highway robbery, plain and simple.
  • foxyshadis 2012-12-26 13:46
    atk:
    GNU Pepper:
    Brian ... commented-out the superrand() function.

    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.


    It is good to.comment out and retain incorrect code in seceral cases. When the code is subtly wrong, keeping it (and adding explanation why it is wrong) shows subsequent maintainers that this path has been tried before, and that it was incorrect, thus avoiding reintroduction of the subtle error. It is also useful when a serious error is introduced, for similar reason. I remeber there being a third good reason, but I fail to recall at the moment.

    Shame.
  • TheLazyHase 2012-12-26 13:48
    Henry:

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk.


    ... and, of course, the fact that part of this risk is imposed not upon you but upon other people is meaningless.

    And that come in top of the fact that human being fail utterly at understanding exactly what risk they tolerate.

    As have said someone, "if speed ticket were punished with electric chair and drunken driving with public beheading, they would be less death on the road". Which, indeed, tie with the fact that the cop would be more dangerous than the original offence :p
  • the beholder 2012-12-26 13:58
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.
    Even supposing you have a very good grasp on reality about being a good driver, there's no way I'd believe every other Joe out there thinks himself as good a driver as he actually is. The same holds true about the difference of your car being under adequate conditions, and you thinking it is.
  • the beholder 2012-12-26 14:00
    atk:
    GNU Pepper:
    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.


    It is good to comment out and retain incorrect code in seceral cases. When the code is subtly wrong, keeping it (and adding explanation why it is wrong) shows subsequent maintainers that this path has been tried before, and that it was incorrect, thus avoiding reintroduction of the subtle error. It is also useful when a serious error is introduced, for similar reason. I remember there being a third good reason, but I fail to recall at the moment.
    To prove its existence when people on TDWTF claim it must be fabricated because "nobody would be so stupid"
  • jrw 2012-12-26 14:39
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.


    Can't decide: is Henry a narcissist, delusional, or troll? Hmmm....
  • Decius 2012-12-26 15:04
    Why is something like this randomly determined? There should be a deterministic aspect, because the person who did the speed trap yesterday shouldn't have the same independent chance of doing it today and tomorrow.
  • Ken B 2012-12-26 15:31
    I love the test to make sure that, if the "good" random number equals the "bad" random number, another "good" random number is generated.
  • Ken B 2012-12-26 15:33
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.
    Unfortunately, too many people never consider the fact that speeding increases the risk of harming others.
  • Blakeyrat 2012-12-26 16:09
    Speedin isn't a crime if those other people are tôo scared they should piss off its survival of the fittest either slam with the best or jam with the rest and if you can't step it up on the road the you're a Slomo dead weight and you might as well go kill yourself cuz or only gonna get juiced and jammed
  • BillTheGeek 2012-12-26 16:19
    Blakeyrat:
    Speedin isn't a crime if those other people are tôo scared they should piss off its survival of the fittest either slam with the best or jam with the rest and if you can't step it up on the road the you're a Slomo dead weight and you might as well go kill yourself cuz or only gonna get juiced and jammed

    I don't know about your driving, but your fingers definitely went too fast here and got too far ahead of your brain.
  • Seminymous Coward 2012-12-26 16:24
    Ken B:
    Unfortunately, too many people never consider the fact that speeding increases the risk of harming others.

    Speed limits are not motivated by rational safety concerns. Don't trust your intuition or even my claims; check up on the research in the field for yourself.
  • Meep 2012-12-26 16:33
    atk:
    GNU Pepper:
    Brian ... commented-out the superrand() function.

    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.


    It is good to.comment out and retain incorrect code in seceral cases. When the code is subtly wrong, keeping it (and adding explanation why it is wrong) shows subsequent maintainers that this path has been tried before, and that it was incorrect, thus avoiding reintroduction of the subtle error. It is also useful when a serious error is introduced, for similar reason. I remeber there being a third good reason, but I fail to recall at the moment.


    No one who would try to write their own random function is going to read some commented code. You have to understand the mind of a stupid motherfucker: it is a place utterly devoid of intellectual curiosity.
  • BillTheGeek 2012-12-26 18:07
    Meep:
    atk:
    It is good to.comment out and retain incorrect code in seceral cases. When the code is subtly wrong, keeping it (and adding explanation why it is wrong) shows subsequent maintainers that this path has been tried before, and that it was incorrect, thus avoiding reintroduction of the subtle error. It is also useful when a serious error is introduced, for similar reason. I remeber there being a third good reason, but I fail to recall at the moment.


    No one who would try to write their own random function is going to read some commented code. You have to understand the mind of a stupid motherfucker: it is a place utterly devoid of intellectual curiosity.


    That is an unfair and inaccurate characterization. The worst random number generator I have personally encountered had a period of six (!) unique numbers, and it was written by a friend of mine who is otherwise a good programmer. Writing a good (pseudo)random number generator requires some specialized knowledge and experience, and I'm sure that many talented programmers (as well as many not-so-talented ones) have screwed up in this area (RANDU, anyone?).
  • spamcourt 2012-12-26 18:17
    Blakeyrat:
    Speedin isn't a crime if those other people are tôo scared they should piss off its survival of the fittest either slam with the best or jam with the rest and if you can't step it up on the road the you're a Slomo dead weight and you might as well go kill yourself cuz or only gonna get juiced and jammed

    "Blakeyrat"? You're not that good at trolling son.
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-26 18:30
    GNU Pepper:
    Brian ... commented-out the superrand() function.
    Commenting out dead code instead of deleting it is TRWTF here.
    Regardless of whether commenting out or deleting, TRWTF is removing the speed up loop when the business user is operating a speed trap.
  • Dan 2012-12-26 18:33
    BillTheGeek:
    Meep:


    No one who would try to write their own random function is going to read some commented code. You have to understand the mind of a stupid motherfucker: it is a place utterly devoid of intellectual curiosity.


    That is an unfair and inaccurate characterization. The worst random number generator I have personally encountered had a period of six (!) unique numbers, and it was written by a friend of mine who is otherwise a good programmer. Writing a good (pseudo)random number generator requires some specialized knowledge and experience, and I'm sure that many talented programmers (as well as many not-so-talented ones) have screwed up in this area (RANDU, anyone?).


    Writing a good random number generator from scratch is very tricky. However using the one built into your language is not. Knowing these 2 facts is not particularly tricky. A little Googling before you even attempt to build your own would be warranted.

    captcha: transverbero: commenting on a comment of a comment
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-26 18:37
    BillTheGeek:
    The worst random number generator I have personally encountered had a period of six (!) unique numbers, and it was written by a friend of mine who is otherwise a good programmer.
    You can name your friend. After all, he humbly published his mistake in the second volume of The Art of Computer Programming, and decently labelled it "Algorithm K".

    (And yes I know that if I wrote an "Algorithm D" it would be worse.)
  • Daniel 2012-12-26 18:56
    Henry:
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?


    For anybody with any sense, yes, it would. For the sort of morons who actually speed clearly it does not as is demonstrated by the fact that they do speed and that a lot of them crash, quite a lot of them into other people. In many cases they are driving a car they just stole and/or they are too drunk to care.

    Deterrence is fine for dealing with people who have enough sense to be deterred, either from the outset or maybe after a few tickets if they are a bit slow on the uptake. For the real morons traffic cops are there to get them arrested, off the roads and banned from driving and to get any stolen cars returned to their rightful owners before they get too badly damaged.
  • decet 2012-12-26 19:20
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
    I'm sure this guy makes a totally rational risk-benefit evaluation of the maximum speed he's gonna go at every time he gets in the car.

    Because, you know, humans brains are a collection of parts that work together to pick the most rational choice every time and maximize a single utility function, and not an amalgam of parts so unrelated and poorly glued together that would make any 500-MLOC enterprise software written in MUMPS look like a modular, perfectly structured system. This is why nobody has ever taken a decision that was detrimental in the long term, not even when they're angry, drunk or tired.

    And it's not like the parts that actually reason are plagued with cognitive biases of various sorts either. I mean, surely 80% of the people won't think they are in the top 50% of drivers.

    You can tell humans are very rational because, when given the choice between object A (cheaper) and object B (better but more expensive), their preferences won't seem to magically switch to B when you put both options next to C (more expensive than B but worse), because they will definitely pay 100 times more to save 200000 birds than to save 2000, because they won't answer different things when you ask them to estimate "8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1" vs "1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8", and because prisoners are not 7 times more likely to get paroled if they appear before the judges in the early morning instead of late in the afternoon.

    That's why Wikipedia does not have a long-ass list of cognitive biases showing that people get basically everything wrong unless they sit down and scribble numbers on papers very carefully (and slowly).
  • BillTheGeek 2012-12-26 19:53
    Dan:
    Writing a good random number generator from scratch is very tricky. However using the one built into your language is not. Knowing these 2 facts is not particularly tricky. A little Googling before you even attempt to build your own would be warranted.


    I mostly agree with that. Properly using a random number generator (RNG) can be tricky in some instances. One easy way to fail is to improperly seed the RNG (which includes not seeding it at all and reseeding several times during use, as SuperRand() does). Another is to share the same seed for multiple "streams" of numbers. Yet another is to use a built-in RNG for a cryptographic hash function.

    Most of the time, improper use of an RNG is not noticed because many applications do not need "full-strength" randomness and because few developers know how to test for randomness in a set of output data.
  • BillTheGeek 2012-12-26 20:02
    Norman Diamond:
    BillTheGeek:
    The worst random number generator I have personally encountered had a period of six (!) unique numbers, and it was written by a friend of mine who is otherwise a good programmer.
    You can name your friend. After all, he humbly published his mistake in the second volume of The Art of Computer Programming, and decently labelled it "Algorithm K".

    (And yes I know that if I wrote an "Algorithm D" it would be worse.)


    My friend is not named Donald Knuth, and he has never published any of his work-related code. When I wrote "personally encountered," I meant actual source files in the actual development environment, not something I read in a book.
  • Worf 2012-12-26 20:50
    Daniel:
    Henry:
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?


    For anybody with any sense, yes, it would. For the sort of morons who actually speed clearly it does not as is demonstrated by the fact that they do speed and that a lot of them crash, quite a lot of them into other people. In many cases they are driving a car they just stole and/or they are too drunk to care.

    Deterrence is fine for dealing with people who have enough sense to be deterred, either from the outset or maybe after a few tickets if they are a bit slow on the uptake. For the real morons traffic cops are there to get them arrested, off the roads and banned from driving and to get any stolen cars returned to their rightful owners before they get too badly damaged.


    An interesting thing about traffic accidents - those who cause them usually get away with them, while the victims are the one who suffer.

    Take speeding - unless you crash into a tree, most of the accidents involve other vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists. Well, if it's a pedestrian or cyclist, you can bet they'll have serious injuries that are probably lifelong, if not death. The speeder? A dented car and can walk away from it.

    If you T-Bone someone, well, the guy getting T-boned gets injured (sometimes fatally), their passenger gets seriously hurt, and the guy running the light or speeding through? Superficial injuries.

    Ditto drunken driving or texting/using a cellphone - more than likely the person who suffers in an accident is not the person who undertook the activity. (It's gotten so far that there are jurisdictions consider manslaughter charges now - previously killing someone with a car is generally a minor offense).

    In most other activities, the risk is almost entirely borne by the risk-taker. Except when driving, where the risk is borne by everyone else - very little to the actual risk-taker themselves.

    Think about that the next time you speed - it ain't you that's gonna get hurt, but if your family's not in the car with you while you speed, they could get run over or hit by a speeder and injured.
  • Bill C. 2012-12-26 21:19
    I'm not big on law enforcement, but I could do the SuperRandy stuff.
  • Simon 2012-12-27 00:00
    Henry:
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?


    Oddly enough, no. There are a lot of motorists out there who don't seem to give a thought to their own safety (never mind that of anyone else on the road), but *do* respond to being fined for it. It doesn't make sense, but that's the way the world works...
  • Soviut 2012-12-27 03:54
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?


    I'm a pedestrian. I love them.
  • tim 2012-12-27 04:43
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?

    Thanks but I love speed traps. It's a voluntary tax and I choose not to pay it by driving within the limit. If you pay it, thanks for keeping my tax bill down.
  • John Hensley 2012-12-27 05:04
    BillTheGeek:

    My friend is not named Donald Knuth, and he has never published any of his work-related code. When I wrote "personally encountered," I meant actual source files in the actual development environment, not something I read in a book.

    "Development environment"? Pssh, I encountered a random number generator on the way home.
  • alvatrus 2012-12-27 05:12
    And then the original developer comes around, sees his commented-out code and in a fit of rage puts in his original code, screaming that those incompetents ruined his perfect algorithm.
    I've seen it all before: *never* leave in bad code. Someone is bound to reuse it, or use the pattern because it's much simpler than the example of working code.
  • toshir0 2012-12-27 05:42
    tim:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?

    Thanks but I love speed traps. It's a voluntary tax and I choose not to pay it by driving within the limit. If you pay it, thanks for keeping my tax bill down.
    +1 ^^

    Thx Henry, You're too kind !
  • Matt Westwood 2012-12-27 06:11
    Ralph:
    It is delightful the way he explains "adding them together will improve the randomness by" and then stops without his justification. I'd love to know what he was thinking, but perhaps his brain itself went blank at this same point.


    He was asked by his boss: "Adding them together will improve the randomness by ...? Don't forget to add that to the comment above the code, like I reminded you yesterday."
  • Matt Westwood 2012-12-27 06:13
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.
    Brendan Kidwell:
    practically free revenue for the town or local police force.
    Aaah, now you've got it. Legalized highway robbery, plain and simple.

    If you don't want to pay speeding fines, don't fucking speed, you cunt.
  • Matt Westwood 2012-12-27 06:17
    Blakeyrat:
    Speedin isn't a crime if those other people are tôo scared they should piss off its survival of the fittest either slam with the best or jam with the rest and if you can't step it up on the road the you're a Slomo dead weight and you might as well go kill yourself cuz or only gonna get juiced and jammed


    I've encountered this shithead in the fora and he's an obnoxious cunt there as well. Someone give him a gun, he might shoot his head off.
  • Frank Lee 2012-12-27 07:36
    In 30 years of driving I've never caused an accident, much less hurt someone. But I break the speed limit almost every day.

    And I'm willing to bet you do too.
  • Blakeyrat 2012-12-27 08:04
    Your mum's spam
  • Mark 2012-12-27 10:30
    Henry:

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk.


    Considering that "harm" actually means crashing into someone else and harming them as well, do you not think that perhaps they'd take issue with your personal evaluation of the probabilities on their behalf?

    Henry:

    Aaah, now you've got it. Legalized highway robbery, plain and simple.


    What you have done is set a new unofficial speed limit based on what you feel is safe. If it were up to you to officially make that the new speed limit, how do YOU enforce people from going over it?
  • operagost 2012-12-27 10:38
    Hacky:
    To get people to slow down and to generate revenue for the department.
    It's impossible to do both of those, just like it's impossible to fund a health program (CHIP) with a tobacco tax while claiming that you want to get people to quit smoking at the same time. Of course, the end result is taxes being increased somewhere else (on people richer than you, or doing something you detest, of course).
  • operagost 2012-12-27 10:44
    decet:
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
    I'm sure this guy makes a totally rational risk-benefit evaluation of the maximum speed he's gonna go at every time he gets in the car.

    Because, you know, humans brains are a collection of parts that work together to pick the most rational choice every time and maximize a single utility function, and not an amalgam of parts so unrelated and poorly glued together that would make any 500-MLOC enterprise software written in MUMPS look like a modular, perfectly structured system. This is why nobody has ever taken a decision that was detrimental in the long term, not even when they're angry, drunk or tired.

    And it's not like the parts that actually reason are plagued with cognitive biases of various sorts either. I mean, surely 80% of the people won't think they are in the top 50% of drivers.

    You can tell humans are very rational because, when given the choice between object A (cheaper) and object B (better but more expensive), their preferences won't seem to magically switch to B when you put both options next to C (more expensive than B but worse), because they will definitely pay 100 times more to save 200000 birds than to save 2000, because they won't answer different things when you ask them to estimate "8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1" vs "1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8", and because prisoners are not 7 times more likely to get paroled if they appear before the judges in the early morning instead of late in the afternoon.

    That's why Wikipedia does not have a long-ass list of cognitive biases showing that people get basically everything wrong unless they sit down and scribble numbers on papers very carefully (and slowly).

    TL;DR version: I'm going to claim that everyone is incapable of rational thought except, apparently, politicians who set speed limits.
  • Nagesh 2012-12-27 11:49
    I am usually seeing many coworkers confusion when using random numbers. Cause probably being that maths aren't usually teken at schools here in Hyderabad.
  • Valued Service 2012-12-27 12:22
    Ken B:
    Unfortunately, too many people never consider the fact that speeding increases the risk of harming others.


    I've watched cops ignore more careless drivers to get to that speeder because it's more money. Plus the cop ends up endangering traffic because it has to turn around, drive twice as fast as the speeder, and weave through traffic to get to speeder.

    So now we have two careless drivers on the road and one controlled speeder off the road.

    Yet, if there's a chase scenario they take extra precaution.

    So, yes, I do believe there's an incredible money bias going on with cops deterring unsafe driving.
  • Dan 2012-12-27 13:17
    Valued Service:
    I've watched cops ignore more careless drivers to get to that speeder because it's more money.


    I don't think it's about the money. Proving speeding in court is really simple, you have a machine that gives you a number. And because it's so easy to prove the cases almost never go to court. Careless driving is much more subjective, and the cop probably has to show up to court.
  • NotHere 2012-12-27 17:25
    tim:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?

    Thanks but I love speed traps. It's a voluntary tax and I choose not to pay it by driving within the limit. If you pay it, thanks for keeping my tax bill down.


    You seem to be under the delusion that your taxes are in any way impacted by the amount taken in by other revenue streams.

    Let me help you with that. If there wasn't a speed limit law, then you could be assured that the state/city would not have to pay for:
    1. Speed limit signs
    2. Cops whose sole job is to pull you over for speeding
    3. Courts (and associated paper pushers) to handle fine collection; and yes, there are courts just for this in a lot of areas.
    4. etc, etc.

    Fact is, yes towns receive revenue from speeders; however, the amount of revenue is generally not more than a minor percentage of the overall revenue a town has to work with. In a few cases it was and at least in the state I live in that was outlawed.

    For those that think that a speed limit increases safety, the fact is they don't. The real problems only occur due to a difference in speeds between two objects. For example, if one person is driving 30 miles an hour faster than someone they are passing. The slower person is likely to not have seen the first one in time and could potentially collide due to a lane change.

    However, if the difference in speed is reasonable, like 5 to 10 mph, then both drivers have ample opportunity to see each other and act accordingly. It doesn't matter if the overall speed is 120+, as long as the difference between the two is minor.

    If we wanted to be real about the whole thing we'd have a speed limit for driving in a suburban area (like 20mph) another for "city" driving with multiple lanes (40 to 50) and leave the highways open with a minimum limit of 70.

    Then post the cops where it matters. ie: suburban areas where walkers (or children) routinely are. Finally, instead of a fine simply take their license away. If driving without one, throw them in jail. That would solve the problem.

    Next, bring back "at fault" with regards to accidents. If it can be proven you caused it you lose your license for 6 months.
  • Matt Westwood 2012-12-27 18:08
    Valued Service:
    Ken B:
    Unfortunately, too many people never consider the fact that speeding increases the risk of harming others.


    I've watched cops ignore more careless drivers to get to that speeder because it's more money. Plus the cop ends up endangering traffic because it has to turn around, drive twice as fast as the speeder, and weave through traffic to get to speeder.

    So now we have two careless drivers on the road and one controlled speeder off the road.

    Yet, if there's a chase scenario they take extra precaution.

    So, yes, I do believe there's an incredible money bias going on with cops deterring unsafe driving.


    Silly approach to speeding regulation. What we do in the UK is put up automatic cameras which gather information on all the speeders driving past and send that data to the enforcement agencies which then mail the speeder with the fine and/or court summons. Saves the cops having to wear out their cars. The only overhead is maintenance of the cameras.
  • decet 2012-12-28 09:15
    operagost:
    [...]TL;DR version: I'm going to claim that everyone is incapable of rational thought except, apparently, politicians who set speed limits.


    I don't really like politicians, it was just a rant triggered by the "if we get rid of all rules then everyone will pick the most optimal choice" argument.

    Still, consider, for example, anchoring: if we took two identical copies of you, and we told the first one "did you know that a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport can run at 268 mph?" and the second one "did you know that the fastest human footspeed on record is just 28 mph?", and then asked both copies what speed they consider "safe" on a highway, I'm willing to bet the first one would say a higher number than the second one.
  • David 2012-12-30 05:31
    [quote=NotHere]The real problems only occur due to a difference in speeds between two objects.[/quote]

    Ahem. Velocity. Considering as historically I have traveled perpendicular to the flow of traffic on I-35 (I walked away without injury, though my car was not so lucky; no one else was involved), that's a major distinction. Even if most of you are better drivers than I, that doesn't mean nothing can happen to cause you lose control of your car. It's also a large distinction if the other object is a large animal, or a car going the wrong way (e.g. passing on a two-lane highway), or if there's a house or wall on the side of the highway where you lose control.

    Which is not to mention that as speed goes up, the range of speeds among the cars go up, too; if the speed limit is 100 MPH, you'll still have the people who can go 55.
  • AN AMAZING CODER 2013-01-02 17:42
    Decius:
    Why is something like this randomly determined? There should be a deterministic aspect, because the person who did the speed trap yesterday shouldn't have the same independent chance of doing it today and tomorrow.


    Not necessarily. For any given position, each officer would have a weighted score based on some variable calculations (including the last time they took the post). If two officers are tied, you need some method of breaking the tie. Random works well here.

    If officer A took the post yesterday but prefers the post more than officer B who had it the day before that, they could very well be equally weighted.

    But, any random number is good enough here. IMO the programmer did some quick research on randomness and discovered that "computers aren't truely random because they use temporal algorithms" and didn't have enough experience to recognize that it doesn't matter if it's truly random or not.
  • AN AMAZING CODER 2013-01-02 17:56
    NotHere:
    tim:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?

    Thanks but I love speed traps. It's a voluntary tax and I choose not to pay it by driving within the limit. If you pay it, thanks for keeping my tax bill down.


    You seem to be under the delusion that your taxes are in any way impacted by the amount taken in by other revenue streams.

    Let me help you with that. If there wasn't a speed limit law, then you could be assured that the state/city would not have to pay for:
    1. Speed limit signs
    2. Cops whose sole job is to pull you over for speeding
    3. Courts (and associated paper pushers) to handle fine collection; and yes, there are courts just for this in a lot of areas.
    4. etc, etc.

    Fact is, yes towns receive revenue from speeders; however, the amount of revenue is generally not more than a minor percentage of the overall revenue a town has to work with. In a few cases it was and at least in the state I live in that was outlawed.

    For those that think that a speed limit increases safety, the fact is they don't. The real problems only occur due to a difference in speeds between two objects. For example, if one person is driving 30 miles an hour faster than someone they are passing. The slower person is likely to not have seen the first one in time and could potentially collide due to a lane change.

    However, if the difference in speed is reasonable, like 5 to 10 mph, then both drivers have ample opportunity to see each other and act accordingly. It doesn't matter if the overall speed is 120+, as long as the difference between the two is minor.

    If we wanted to be real about the whole thing we'd have a speed limit for driving in a suburban area (like 20mph) another for "city" driving with multiple lanes (40 to 50) and leave the highways open with a minimum limit of 70.

    Then post the cops where it matters. ie: suburban areas where walkers (or children) routinely are. Finally, instead of a fine simply take their license away. If driving without one, throw them in jail. That would solve the problem.

    Next, bring back "at fault" with regards to accidents. If it can be proven you caused it you lose your license for 6 months.



    So your solution to having to pay for "useless cops" clocking speeders is to put people in jail, and have excessive punishment for it?

    trolling? I don't really like speedtraps either, but this is ridiculous.

    1.) A cop sitting in a speed trap is still a patroling officer. He's going to respond to calls in his area, he's going to arrest the drug dealer down the corner from the speed trap, and he's still going to pull over the

    2.) The danger of speeding that I'm concerned with isn't you getting in a fender bender with another car, it's not fearing for my children's life whenever they're anywhere near a roadway. There are plenty of areas in my neighborhood where I could "safely" do 75 mph instead of 35 and be just fine...if it was in the middle of a desert and not a neighborhood.

    3.) You fail to recognize that the fear of getting a speeding ticket is enough to deter most people from speeding. I'm prime example of this -- I sped all the time untill I got tired of getting speeding tickets (even to the point where I was on probation for it). Even if they were speeding, they would likely brake when they saw the cop... inherently making them safer.

    4.) Most accidents don't occur when people were fully aware of the capabilities of their vehicle under given conditions, it's when they DON'T. Therefore saying we should be left completely to our judgment is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, go 75 mph down that road because it's safe right now... good luck braking safely before that 20mph sharp turn ahead that you didn't know about though. Not to mention, how would you know it's a 20mph turn without the speed sign?
  • AN AMAZING CODER 2013-01-02 18:04
    operagost:

    TL;DR version: I'm going to claim that everyone is incapable of rational thought except, apparently, politicians who set speed limits.


    You're aware the civil engineers are involved in setting the guidelines for determing the speeds right? In fact, the speed limit laws in my state explicity state "Unless otherwise posted". Meaning, for example, The state decides that 45 mph is the speed limit for a rural route, unless an engineer decides that 50mph is OK or 35mph is the safest limit.

    The reason some highways are 70mph and others are 55mph isn't completely related to state laws.


    TL:DR; I'm going to make a blanket statement that all politicians are dumb, and that all laws are created without expert opinion.
  • Seminymous Coward 2013-01-04 09:46
    AN AMAZING CODER:
    2.) The danger of speeding that I'm concerned with isn't you getting in a fender bender with another car, it's not fearing for my children's life whenever they're anywhere near a roadway.

    Parents are responsible for keeping their children out of the street. (I'm not being flippant, just putting the cost of externalities on those who create them.)

    AN AMAZING CODER:
    3.) You fail to recognize that the fear of getting a speeding ticket is enough to deter most people from speeding.

    Estimate the average percentage of drivers around you speeding. Realize your statement is absurd.

    AN AMAZING CODER:
    I'm prime example of this -- I sped all the time untill I got tired of getting speeding tickets (even to the point where I was on probation for it).

    Your example of speed limits being effective is someone who, while speed limits were abundant, sped anyway.

    AN AMAZING CODER:
    Even if they were speeding, they would likely brake when they saw the cop... inherently making them safer.

    The first car in a line a dozen long braking from 85 to 65 as fast as they can is not safe; it's something I've seen quite often, though.

    AN AMAZING CODER:
    Not to mention, how would you know it's a 20mph turn without the speed sign?

    In most states, the yellow speed limit signs by curves are advisory only.

    If you want to ignore what I said as a mere difference of opinion, that's fine by me. Please, though, don't ignore the real evidence available; read about speed limits and safety from respectable academic sources. You will likely be surprised.
  • toth 2013-01-04 19:09
    jrw:
    Henry:
    Brendan Kidwell:
    Henry:
    Cops don't like speed traps? Neither do we. So why do they exist?
    Gotta have some form of deterrence.
    So the possibility of wrecking my car and myself by going an unsafe speed doesn't count as "deterrence"?

    I've evaluated the probability of harm that will come to me as a result of going ___ miles per hour and concluded that it is an acceptable risk. But, the possibility of encountering the cop must be a higher risk, otherwise it would not deter me. This means the cop himself, and the various threats that he represents, are more dangerous than the original "offense" of speeding.


    Can't decide: is Henry a narcissist, delusional, or troll? Hmmm....


    All three. Also known as a "libertarian".
  • instigator 2013-01-07 14:16
    'd love to know what he was thinking,


    Officers Brain: I love being officer #69! Suckers!!!
  • instigator 2013-01-07 14:26
    In most states the cop has to show up for a speeding ticket, unless you plead guilty and just pay the ticket(which allot of people do).

    The reason I do think speeding tickets are more about revenue then deterrent is how easy they make it to just pay. You usually can pay online. You can often pay extra and get the points waived. A stronger deterrent would be to make you go to court. Time being more valuable than money to allot speeders (why their speeding in the first place).
  • "Brian J" 2013-01-16 15:06
    Yea, I'm the original submitter on this one. Since this first posted, to accommodate some pretty radical changes in scheduling, I was given a much freer hand. I jotted down some rough algorithms by hand (rather than re-use code there was no way I could trust, or even follow in some cases), and started from scratch. The downside is, because it had been around long enough to gather momentum, it had to be done entirely in Excel with VBA still. And it had to look the same.

    There's, maybe, a little less WTF in there now. Higher-level coding was never my strong suit, and VBA is....interesting when it comes to more complex stuff.
  • Isikyus 2013-03-01 06:00
    It's not your speeding I'm worried about, it's mine. I've only been driving for about five years, and I've already been in one (minor) accident. Why? Because I wasn't paying attention.

    People deliberately deciding to speed are one thing; people who just don't make the effort to be aware of their vehicle are another thing entirely. And someone who isn't paying attention to their speed probably isn't paying attention to the road ahead either.