Deane Berg’s doctor called her in the day after Christmas, 2006, to give her the crushing news. She’d had her ovaries removed, the pathology results were back, and they could not have been much worse. Berg had stage III ovarian cancer, and her prognosis was poor.
Why did the billboard cross the road? It sounds like the opening line of a corny joke, but it’s actually a question raised by a baffling glitch in a Federal Highway Administration study on the safety of electronic billboards. Billboards that seem magically to have moved from one side of the highway to the other are part of a detailed critique by a former FHWA researcher, who says the federal report is so badly flawed that no one should rely on its conclusions.
A Swedish study has found that drivers take long gazes at electronic billboards, possibly raising the risk of highway crashes. The new research has put the U.S. billboard industry into a defensive mode. In an effort to dismiss the findings, the industry’s top trade group quickly cited an unpublished U.S. government study to argue that the electronic displays pose no traffic safety hazard.
Andriy Skipalskyi was feeling proud, even triumphant, when he arrived last March at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore. Ukraine’s parliament had just voted to approve a public smoking ban, and its president had just signed a bill to outlaw tobacco advertising and promotion. These were revolutionary steps in chain-smoking Eastern Europe.