blunt essays with sharp points
Mar 12, 2008 6:34 PM–The Freakonomics blog was talking here about what causes traffic jams, and this reminded me of something I wanted to write about.
The traveling exhibit Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination came to our science museum not too long ago.
In one video, a senior civil engineer (who I believe was Joseph Sussman at MIT) pointed out that we have designed in to our current transportation system a certain rate of crashes. As long as we use roadways, drivers, and vehicles the way we do, there will be these crashes. Traffic will back up, and worse, people will be injured or killed.
This transportation design is why the current safety model wraps large amounts of metal and safety gear around the motorists.
Significantly for our petroleum consumption, most of the fuel burned by personal vehicles turns out to be moving the vehicle, not the passengers. And, of course, a substantial amount of the cost of the vehicle is the safety system.
He also pointed out that many modern cities were designed in the automobile age. Destinations in such cities are very far apart. It becomes difficult to make public transportation of any kind effective in these cities on existing roads.
He was arguing for intelligent transportation systems. The benefits, he said, are huge in accident prevention, fuel consumption, and trip times. The difficulty is that the project is the size of what we did with rail and with the interstate highways, and probably requires a sea change in attitudes about piloting one's vehicle.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes they fool you by walking upright.
What part of “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” don’t you understand?
Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life. —Terry Pratchett
Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig. —Robert Heinlein
Do not ask why the past was better than the present, for this is not a question prompted by wisdom. —Ecclesiastes 7:10
Power lines abruptly stopped causing cancer in 1997 after the U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted a better study. —Robert Parks
Встретимся под столом! (Vstretimsja pod stolom: To meeting you under the table!)
The more you cry, the less you’ll pee.
Relish the love of a good woman.
It’ll never get better if you keep picking at it. —advice from Judge “Maximum” Bob Gibbs