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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-27-06, 12:06 AM   #1
quintessence22
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Thought it would be fun to come up with a mathematical formula for much of what I'm reading in this forum.

Part of the reason I want to come up with this is to analyze why I'm having a hard time going more car-light or car-free.

This may be useless and completely bias to me or maybe it can be tweaked to be more applicable to a wider audience but here goes:

These are the variables I've gleaned from threads and thought up: (range for all is >=0, except weather)
A = Money saved in cutting automobile expenses (gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, traffic tickets, parking)
t = Traffic (stress reduced by not driving)
D = Distance or Time spent commuting to primary daily location by bicycle
d = Distance or Time spent commuting to secondary locations (groceries, gym, friends', lessons)
I = Monthly Income
N = Number of children or dependents
g = INABILITY for indepedent mobility of children and dependents eg. too young/old or infirm.
H = Health/Fitness
S = Previous cycling experience/skill
F = Fun derived from biking
P = Pride or endorphins released (good feeling) from being a carfree advocate/different lifestyle
B = Fear/traffic dangers/safety of neighborhood
W = Weather at given season (range is -infinite to +infinite and subjective to you, maybe u like rain)
r = Risk of bicycle theft
e = Existing clothing and equipment for cycling suitable for given weather
L = Laziness (and poor time management)
T = Quality of public transit and taxi service
M = Weight of backpack, stuff you have to lug around
C = Additional time spent (over car) cycling, locking up, getting dressed

Code:
Carfree living = A + t - D - 2d - r + T + H/0.4M + (2F*S*e)^W + 1.5P + B/S
                 ----------------------------------------------------------
                               L*C + I + N^g
I don't konw whether or not I should include, X = Bicycle friendliness of city (urban planning, bike racks and bike routes), into the function. Also, Y = Support network (this forum and other like-minded people), dunno if I would include this as a variable either.

I'd say some of the constants depends on yourself.

Edit: Ooops. the relationship with weather is messed up. Let me see if i can fix that

Last edited by quintessence22; 01-27-06 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 01-27-06, 01:17 AM   #2
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I think what you're getting at is that there are specific quantitative factors that facilitate or inhibit the ability to be carfree?
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Old 01-27-06, 06:13 AM   #3
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I think it is really interesting to see one persons deciding factors, pro and con, all layed out like that. To me it is interesting to see what motivates another person. Many of the factors in your calculus were not apart of my reasoning and the biggest factors in my logic are nowhere to be found in your formula. fascinating.
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Old 01-27-06, 11:53 AM   #4
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(As) car free (as possible) = fun + challenge + the right thing to do.

That's pretty much my equation.
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Old 01-27-06, 11:58 AM   #5
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some of those things you can't quantify though. for example, how would you assign a value to "quality of public transit" or "laziness". assign it a number based on what? interesting idea though...
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Old 01-27-06, 02:41 PM   #6
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I think you left out stubborness, bragging rights(although I guess that sorta falls under pride), the determination to remain "true", public-transit induced depression, the desire to make just getting to work an adventure, a growing adrenaline addiction, etc etc

I think those are important reasons to me
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Old 01-27-06, 03:16 PM   #7
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If my high school algebra teacher would have made equations like this i would have payed more attention in class.
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Old 01-27-06, 06:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
some of those things you can't quantify though. for example, how would you assign a value to "quality of public transit" or "laziness". assign it a number based on what? interesting idea though...
Yes, I'd agree most of the variables are impossible to quantify; but it's fun for me to assign weights to each. Laziness is a real problem and a bad excuse for me, I know I can't quantify that one and sometimes it changes day by day.
What I really wanted to see was some discussion about what are your most important factors or less important ones. Chipko, I'm intrigued as to what was in your logic and/or emotional reasons for carfree lifestyle.

I still have to fix the relationship for weather, because as it currently stands, negative weather isn't properly adjusting my equation and throws it completely off when appropriate clothing for highly negative weather exists. For me, weather makes a difference in how much fun I have, and fun has a large weighting.

Anyway, in February there's a bridge closing up for 9 months that I take by car when I drive to school. I hope that's enough incentive for me cancel my insurance. Of course you can see in my equation just how much such an event will affect my decision.
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Old 01-27-06, 08:05 PM   #9
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what
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Old 01-27-06, 11:45 PM   #10
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Op...what answer(number) did you come up with for yourself?
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Old 01-28-06, 12:54 AM   #11
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i must admit i'm not auto-free, i keep my truck, it's a necessity out here when the next 'town' is over 50 miles away over very rugged terrain...i've been riding my bike solely for 6 months...whenever i use the truck (groceries, large items, supermarket..) i make certain i do at least three errands...so on friday night, i do the laundry, get groceries, get something from a store and then get home and done...i've been in this pattern for a couple months now...it's really great, i know how much of anything to buy in terms of food...i'm better at planning and organizing and having patience to do something when the time is right....now that i think more like this, i can see that the majority of people don't think like this...

i guess i kind of rambled here but i feel a little better knowing that i'm not contributing much to the over congestion of traffic or greenhouse gases

and don't you just hate getting looked at like animals by people passing by in cars...it's funny, i feel like an animal at the zoo
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Old 01-28-06, 01:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_savvy
I think you left out stubborness, bragging rights(although I guess that sorta falls under pride), the determination to remain "true", public-transit induced depression, the desire to make just getting to work an adventure, a growing adrenaline addiction, etc etc
The thing is, a lot of those things would probably fade over time. In my case, my ride to work is hardly anything to brag over -- a flat 14km round trip pales into insignificance when I've been known to do day rides of 250km+ with over 3,000 metres of climbing in my spare time. The sense of pride over not polluting fades away when you realise that one person is not going to save the world. Stubborness and any determination to remain "true" tend to fall away as we become older and more cynical. The sense of adventure of riding to work dissipates as we become used to conditions -- even riding through gridlock doesn't seem that exciting to me anymore.

What keeps me going is a combination of money and convenience. I can ride to work in 15 minutes while people in cars often take closer to an hour to drive it. I'm not paying for fuel -- in fact, my only awareness of fuel prices is through the whining in the media. I can lock my bike right next to the door at the local supermarket, which saves having to trudge all the way across a carpark. Oh yeah, and my Monday ride to work can sometimes act as a nice "recovery ride" from the weekend. Pretty much all the other things are really side benefits by comparison.
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Old 01-28-06, 12:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quintessence22
Thought it would be fun to come up with a mathematical formula for much of what I'm reading in this forum.

Part of the reason I want to come up with this is to analyze why I'm having a hard time going more car-light or car-free.

This may be useless and completely bias to me or maybe it can be tweaked to be more applicable to a wider audience but here goes:

These are the variables I've gleaned from threads and thought up: (range for all is >=0, except weather)
A = Money saved in cutting automobile expenses (gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, traffic tickets, parking)
t = Traffic (stress reduced by not driving)
D = Distance or Time spent commuting to primary daily location by bicycle
d = Distance or Time spent commuting to secondary locations (groceries, gym, friends', lessons)
I = Monthly Income
N = Number of children or dependents
g = INABILITY for indepedent mobility of children and dependents eg. too young/old or infirm.
H = Health/Fitness
S = Previous cycling experience/skill
F = Fun derived from biking
P = Pride or endorphins released (good feeling) from being a carfree advocate/different lifestyle
B = Fear/traffic dangers/safety of neighborhood
W = Weather at given season (range is -infinite to +infinite and subjective to you, maybe u like rain)
r = Risk of bicycle theft
e = Existing clothing and equipment for cycling suitable for given weather
L = Laziness (and poor time management)
T = Quality of public transit and taxi service
M = Weight of backpack, stuff you have to lug around
C = Additional time spent (over car) cycling, locking up, getting dressed

Code:
Carfree living = A + t - D - 2d - r + T + H/0.4M + (2F*S*e)^W + 1.5P + B/S
                 ----------------------------------------------------------
                               L*C + I + N^g
I don't konw whether or not I should include, X = Bicycle friendliness of city (urban planning, bike racks and bike routes), into the function. Also, Y = Support network (this forum and other like-minded people), dunno if I would include this as a variable either.

I'd say some of the constants depends on yourself.

Edit: Ooops. the relationship with weather is messed up. Let me see if i can fix that
Living car-free and living free from certain items of modern technology in general has absolutely nothing to do with mathematics or science to me. Economics plays a part, but it's mostly about qualitative freedom, the freedom to live according to how you choose. More importantly, the kind of freedom that you cannot measure according to scientific or mathematical methods. The kind of freedom that one does not receive according to instructions from experts or technicians. Anyone can come up with trivial formulas utilizing a bunch of numbers and symbols to attempt to explain fundamental human needs/impulses and in doing so woo and impress a certain segment of society in much the same way a magician woos and impresses their audience but it nonetheless remains an illusion, a feeble attempt to explain the unknown with numbers and symbols, flash and glitter, nothing more.

I am sure the previous will anger some, but you know, I see it for what it is. The cult of science and mathematics has certainly swallowed many in it's wake. So many true believers have died for the cult, so many martyrs line the history books to bring us the wonderful labor-saving inventions and devices, all for the illusion of progress, and many more will continue to do so. I used to engage in writing with computer programming languages, solving physics problems and the like, but in the end it all remains fluff and trivial games. Before someone rails at me to exhalt the virtues of modern science and mathematics, the human being is better off being in control of their own lives utilizing their own small-scale technology that they can manufacture and maintain on their own or through participation in a self-sufficient community, rather than having to rely on mediation from an external third party who controls the means of resource extraction and manufacturing their technology. Trying to speak or understand why some live car-free in terms of science and mathematics seems to me just another way to attempt to categorize and introduce order into something that is inherently outside the realm of that way of thinking.
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Old 01-28-06, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madnomad
I am sure the previous will anger some, but you know, I see it for what it is. The cult of science and mathematics has certainly swallowed many in it's wake. So many true believers have died for the cult, so many martyrs line the history books to bring us the wonderful labor-saving inventions and devices, all for the illusion of progress, and many more will continue to do so. I used to engage in writing with computer programming languages, solving physics problems and the like, but in the end it all remains fluff and trivial games.
When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.
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Old 01-28-06, 01:50 PM   #15
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When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.
I don't think madnomad is the Unabomber.
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Old 01-28-06, 05:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Platy
I don't think madnomad is the Unabomber.
Probably not and let's hope not. Madnomad probably is a noble fellow who just happens to share the same philosophy as that fruitcake Unabomber.
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Old 01-29-06, 12:50 PM   #17
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When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.
LOL, madnomad has a point though in regards to cycling....btw, I think Zerzan's manuscripts were a little better.
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Old 01-29-06, 02:06 PM   #18
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LOL, madnomad has a point though in regards to cycling....btw, I think Zerzan's manuscripts were a little better.
I don't know, their writings indicate to me as if they shared the same bong. The Unabomber was a born again simple-life bicycling mad nomad himself; while sending his letters-bombs.

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Old 01-29-06, 02:11 PM   #19
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Old 01-29-06, 02:35 PM   #20
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I am with madnomad!!

I agree the dominant culture tries to quantify, rationalize and weigh everything and that can be a real evil thing and should not be extended to everything. Making references and comparisons to insanity, bongs and convicted felons is pretty funny but if anybody means it, it is also pretty weak. Especially when you consider the stark contrast between those silly statements and Nomads eloquently written opinion. His opinion has merit i think. Disagree vehemently if you like but i don't know about namecalling and such.

In this case though the formula seems to have been made in good fun and for good reasons (unless OP happens to be some sort of evil Marketeer working for Trek trying to expand sales further) so i don't mind one bit. I think it is a pretty fun and funny mental excercise for anyone so inclined.
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Old 01-29-06, 03:29 PM   #21
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Madnomad sounds like a cool and crazy zen rider and I agree there's an irrational side to living carfree in America. But I think quint's OP was tongue-in-cheek so he's probably a wildman too. Besides, the unabomber was a mathematician, so what does that tell you?
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Old 01-29-06, 04:50 PM   #22
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I'm not very good at math. I'd see it more like this:
if(
enjoying_the_scenery > watching_tail_lights_on_the_freeway &&
cool_morning_air > tail_pipe_emissions &&
exercise > sloth &&
sloth + food == fatter &&
fatter == depressing &&
biking == fun &&
driving == frustrating &&
stress + biking == stress/2 &&
stress + driving == stress*2 &&
health > sickness &&
environmental_health > environmental_degredataion &&
savings_account > 0 && gasoline_bill <= 0)
{
ride_bike();
**
else
{
drive_car();
**
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Old 01-29-06, 04:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I'm not very good at math. I'd see it more like this:
if(
enjoying_the_scenery > watching_tail_lights_on_the_freeway &&
cool_morning_air > tail_pipe_emissions &&
exercise > sloth &&
sloth + food == fatter &&
fatter == depressing &&
biking == fun &&
driving == frustrating &&
stress + biking == stress/2 &&
stress + driving == stress*2 &&
health > sickness &&
environmental_health > environmental_degredataion &&
savings_account > 0 && gasoline_bill <= 0)
{
ride_bike();
**
else
{
drive_car();
**
Yah - but is it J2SE 5.0 compliant ?
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Old 01-29-06, 06:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
I am with madnomad!!
...Nomads eloquently written opinion. His opinion has merit i think. Disagree vehemently if you like but i don't know about namecalling and such.
For more "eloquently written" opinions that may be to your liking read:

http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/uni/uni.txt

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 01-29-06 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 01-29-06, 07:16 PM   #25
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Yah - but is it J2SE 5.0 compliant ?
Nah. It's just JavaScript.
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