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  1. Nice.

    Repealing the 55 MPH Speed Limit By Gail Morrison

    Around 1990 the U.S. government sponsored a study on the effect of changing speed limits. When the study confirmed the well known result that numbers on signs do not do much of anything, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refused to publish the report. Fortunately, NMA lobbyist Gail Morrison got her hands on a copy and passed it around Congress. The national speed limit was repealed soon after – See more at:

    Who is Gail Morrison? Part II

    • The treatment of that study and others like it is a model I’ve seen throughout government sponsored engineering and science. If it doesn’t support the politics it goes down the memory hole usually with the careers of the people that wrote it. After the don’t publish it years there were the years of conclusions not supported by the rest of the paper. The data and analysis would show government policy to be wrong but the conclusions would agree with policy. Those got published but were nonsensical to the reader. We now live in the age of data being adjusted/analyzed to fit policy.

      Doesn’t matter what it is. Driving, climate, whatever. The data is tortured until it confesses that government’s desired policy is the correct one.

      • Such studies are pure delusion. You can’t reductively model something so complex to make rebuttable assertions about.

        To engage in science, you have to reduce your scope to something you can control. The behavior of individuals driving by a particular sign is too many variables and possibilities.

        Society is far more complex and contingent than people realize.

        The fact that clever intellectuals use labels and words in ways that give the appearance of having reduced this colossal complexity into a relatively few seemingly meaningful, seemingly ‘graspable,’ and seemingly manipulable units (“the steel industry,” “the highway system,” “the nation,” “consumers,” “foreign trade,” “aggregate demand,” “education expenditures,” “the press”) does nothing in fact, to diminish this complexity or otherwise to better enable even the smartest professors or politicians to engineer society according to their (or to anyone else’s) designs.

        To believe otherwise is a conceit that is always futile and often fatal.


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