Morning Ed: Transportation {2017.01.03.T}

The RV is updating for the Millennials.

Some western states are getting together to develop an electronic vehicle charging network.

Solar panel roads are finally happening.

Driving Under the Influence… of caffeine?! It doesn’t actually appear that the prosecutors are saying that you can’t drive with caffeine in their system, but it’s not really clear what they are saying.

This seems like a good way to raise some money and confuse the heck out of passengers.

This Slatepitch has gotten a lot of criticism, but… it’s not wrong.

Of the various proposals, the “sleeping rooms” idea is definitely the coolest. Though would have been cooler before the kid.

Bruce Dorminey lays out a 200 year roadmap to Proxima Centauri B.


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23 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Transportation {2017.01.03.T}

  1. There are only about 1,200-1,300 motor vehicle accident victims per year who donate their organs, so it’s still a net improvement by far, even if each donor saves several lives, and even if we ignore non-fatal injuries.

    Data here. Can’t link directly, but if you select “Donors” from the drop-down box and then click on the “Deceased Donors by Circumstance of Death” link, it should give you the table.

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  2. According to the update linked from the second link on the “caffeine DUI” story, it sounds like they thought, based on his erratic driving, that he was under the influence of something else not detected by the tests they ran. Since they had no way of proving this, they’ve dropped the charges.

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  3. Of course it’s expected the shortage will get worse. It’s not a market system. Frankly, it’s one reason why I’m not an organ donor. You want a piece of me, you damn well better PAY me.

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  4. I don’t understand why the plan prioritizes getting on the moon over the orbital and Lagrange platforms. Are there enough elemental resources on the moon to make it worth it going up and down that gravity well, even with it being significantly shallower?

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    • Assorted speculative reasons: (1) One-sixth g is sufficient to avoid the health problems we are discovering that are associated with long-term microgravity environments. (2) Ability to use Heinlein’s various propulsion systems like electromagnetic catapults and nuclear rockets to launch from the moon. (3) Much easier to protect from coronal mass ejections than Lagrange platforms.

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        • When the structures reach that scale — a rotating object big enough to hold thousands of people — the advantages of sourcing the mass on the moon should really come into play: 2.4 kps vs 11.2 kps escape velocity, no pesky atmosphere. I pick that size structure because the article’s goal is to have a facility suitable for building a starship of some sort.

          If I were going to pick out a weakness in the whole chain, I’d pick on the “Thus, two hundred years hence, even with unforeseen catastrophes and more economic and geopolitical setbacks and strife, we can still bet on the tenacity and ingenuity of our human species…” line. In practice, this is a bet on 200 more years of essentially linear progress, plus noise — no global catastrophes allowed. Granted, I’m a pessimist who believes that the big engineering question in 2050 won’t be “How’s that lunar colony doing?”, it will be “How are we going to keep the lights on without baking the planet?” Or to borrow a thought from Kim, if we’re busy resettling 50M Gulf Coast folks, and fighting off hundreds of millions of climate refugees, the space program beyond various earth orbits isn’t in the budget.

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    • I’m not so sure about Ygleasias’ point about weak unions leading to more ineffective building efforts. Unions were extraordinarily strong in the United Kingdom from the Atlee administration to the Thatcher administration and many historians and economists believe that’s a big reason why British industries failed to update the technology they use. The older and more inefficient technology meant more jobs and British unions wanted more people working than less people working. Stronger unions in the United States might end up working like Yglesias thinks they will or they might end up being like British labor unions during the mid-20th century.

      He is right that the United States is really bad at building infrastructure in a cost effective manner, especially transit infrastructure. I think it has a lot more to do with politics than anything else. The American political system gives the opponents of infrastructure any easier way to gum up the works than other countries. When Paris or Berlin wants a new subway line, the local or national government can just vote on an issue. In the United States, their usually needs to be a ballot initiative approved by the electorate rather than a vote in the city council or state legislature. Even if the ballot initiative passes, opponents can go to the courts and try to prevent the project because of environmental impact or some other nonsense. The way public contracts are done also increases costs and delays building.

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    • Matt goes way out of his way to argue that the higher wages charged by unions in public works projects are really the fault of low unionization rates in the private sector. As the article he links too indicates, union wages & benefits are higher in both the public and private sector than their nonunion counterparts. It’s either worth it or not.

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  5. Some New Yorker’s fear that the 2nd Avenue Subway is going to destroy one of the last bastions of relatively affordable rent in NYC.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/nyregion/second-avenue-subway-rent-worries.html?_r=0

    This is fair enough. I used to live at 66 and 1st and it was a long haul to the nearest Subway. This did make the location attractive to some young people or people with relatively modest incomes because rents tended to be cheaper and new development not as crazy.

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      • There are parts of Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn that are relatively affordable too but those areas are also far from public transit. Washington Heights and Inwood have been getting more expensive because more and more people are moving to those areas in search of cheaper rents and gentrification is slowly setting in.

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        • I’m struggling to understand your point then.

          “The 2nd Avenue Subway will drive up rents in the neighborhoods in runs through!”
          “There are other neighborhoods that remain affordable.”
          “They’re all really far from public transportation!”

          It seems like what you want is a really convenient neighborhood with low rents. That simply isn’t reasonable.

          It’s also just annoying to refer to NYC and not include the outer boroughs. They are as much a part of the city as Manhattan is. And many of those areas remain “bastions of relatively affordable rent”.

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  6. Re: Metro Naming

    “The policy also precludes business with firms that have “a history of fraudulent, unethical or prejudicial behavior.””

    So Trump is out…?

    “Sorry, Mr. President… we can’t name the train terminal after you… because, ya know, you’re an unethical fraud with a history of discrimination.” U-S-A! U-S-A!

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  7. Bleg: In the spirit of 2017 and the Trump presidency, we’re making an effort to listen to Smug Liberals and are venturing forth from the fever swamp to better understand how the other zip-codes live by planning a weekend in NYC at the end of January.

    Hey, we’re doing our part to repair the rift in our political fabric; we’re even taking the Acela into Penn Station (but my goal is to not taxi/uber hither and yon, if possible).

    So, here’s your opportunity to help a country mouse do NYC the right way.

    The only thing that we’ve got lined up is the Opera at the Met on Friday night… so that and Penn Station are the vectors we’re working in.

    Any ideas on where to stay, eat, things to do and/or shows to see would be much obliged.

    Not looking for cheapest, looking for best quality for best value… you know, not the tourist traps, but the good stuff that’s actually worth the NYC prices. We’ve steeled ourselves to give our pure, honestly earned rural dollars to city folk… we’re just asking for fair value in return.

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