Tues. Nov. 13, 2019 – busy day

Currently 39F and 83%RH. Feels like – 32F. Weather station says it never got colder than 39F. I guess I’ll leave the trees wrapped a few days anyway.

Wife has early meeting today, and I’ve got my volunteer day at the school, so I gotta get moving….

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

66 thoughts on “Tues. Nov. 13, 2019 – busy day”

  1. 36º and cloudy. No sun, yet, but it’s up there somewhere, just chillin’.

    This is my second day in a row “early” for work, as the wife worked the weekend and has comp days yesterday & today. HelpDesk guy doesn’t know how to take that. He’s used to me wandering in a little after 8. He’ll settle back into it tomorrow.

    Positive things…. An out-of-town company is coming in to put on a 5k, with timing, but without awards, on the same day as the local running club’s annual race. There’s more than a little bit of “what were you thinking” going on, and a lot of finger pointing.

    So long as they get people off their butts on a Saturday morning, I’m all for it. But at twice the price of the local race, a “santa hat & beard” and “performance sweatshirt” are probably not going to cut it. I hear they’re looking at a $x,000 loss this year. Sorry. What works in big cities just doesn’t work here.

  2. Booked the Cruise 6 months in advance and it looks like the coldest weather in New Orleans in a long while. You just can’t win. Grandchild will be disapointed it’s too cold to enjoy the shipboard water park till we get to Mexico.
    NASA now says we may be entering another Maunder Minimum.
    https://www.iceagenow.info/lack-of-sunspots-to-bring-record-cold-warns-nasa-scientist/
    Cold is a lot more dangerous than warmth. Ice Ages are no respector of persons.
    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.
    R. Frost


  3. NASA now says we may be entering another Maunder Minimum.

    I’m skeptical of the article. I can’t find a true source for any of the quotes in the article. Google has found a number of nearly identical articles on climate change skeptic sites. If NASA was really saying this, there would be press releases with the pull quotes in it. It also would be all over the general science press – a Maunder minimum would be a Real Big Deal. There has been speculation of one occurring for a long time and any sort of confirmation would be plastered all over the major journals. The oldest article I can find doesn’t say where or when the scientist quoted said this.

    To be honest, it may be real or it may be fake.

  4. Doing some more digging, I may have found one source for some of the articles, here:
    https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coolingthermosphere.html

    So, yes, the upper atmosphere is cooling off. However:

    “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,” says Mlynczak. “Scientists need to validate that theory. This climate record of the upper atmosphere is our first chance to have the other side of the equation.”

    So the cooling supports AGW. This kind of measurement is exactly what we need to do to figure out if AGW is happening. And if it is, we need to cut emissions. Which means nuclear, wind, whatever.


  5. it may be real or it may be fake.

    Or it may be fake or it may be real.

    Just my opposing view.


  6. what we need to do to figure out if AGW is happening. And if it is, we need to cut emissions.

    Why? If the world gets, say, one degree warmer it will on the whole be good for the US, Canada, and northern Europe. We’re colder than the world average and a slight bump will help. If this also kills crops in Africa and India and their populations, which have already bred above their ability to feed themselves, starve and die, how is that our problem?


  7. Why? If the world gets, say, one degree warmer it will on the whole be good for the US, Canada, and northern Europe. We’re colder than the world average and a slight bump will help. If this also kills crops in Africa and India and their populations, which have already bred above their ability to feed themselves, starve and die, how is that our problem?

    Because making changes to a system without understanding all of the consequences is just stupid. We don’t know enough about the system to know whether warming or cooling will be “better”. Indeed, we don’t know what “better” is.

    Pournelle used to advocate for spending more on study. I agree with this. We should know more about the system before sinking billions (trillions) of dollars into remediation that may not be needed (or even desirable.)

  8. Sure study all you want but you better reach the right conclusion or no more funds.
    An honest study might be good.


  9. If the world gets, say, one degree warmer it will on the whole be good for the US, Canada, and northern Europe.

    Higher temperatures means more energy in the atmosphere, which can mean stronger storms. Stronger hurricanes, more thunderstorms, more rain, and more snow. Not all of those are desirable. Longer term, it can lead to higher sea temperatures which can set up a feedback loop – higher air temp -> higher sea temp -> less CO2 dissolved in sea water -> more CO2 in the air -> higher air temp.

    As JimL mentioned Jerry Pournelle, who said we are doing an uncontrolled experiment on the Earth’s climate. Will it be better or worse? We don’t know.

    BTW, the satellite that gave the data the quoted article mentioned is one that NASA launched to get more hard information on the heat balance of the Earth. And if it is seeing excess cooling in the upper atmosphere due to more IR being trapped in the lower layers, as theory predicts, then we may well have climate change due to AGW – as the quote I pulled above says.


  10. Sure study all you want but you better reach the right conclusion or no more funds.

    Or the published results will be quietly changed, as the US, Australian, and British meteorological services did.
    Or the study will be locked away and not published, but a misleading summary will be published.
    Or…

    I’m not a big fan of further studies in this area. There have been so many lies that further research is a waste of money and outrage.


  11. Because making changes to a system without understanding all of the consequences is just stupid.

    YHBT. YL. HAND.


  12. have already bred above their ability to feed themselves, starve and die, how is that our problem?

    Because you are not allowed to use decomposing bodies in compost heaps.

  13. what we need to do to figure out if AGW is happening. And if it is, we need to cut emissions.

    Why? If the world gets, say, one degree warmer it will on the whole be good for the US, Canada, and northern Europe. We’re colder than the world average and a slight bump will help. If this also kills crops in Africa and India and their populations, which have already bred above their ability to feed themselves, starve and die, how is that our problem?

    SteveF, my hero ! You just stated “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” in one paragraph.
    https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Case-Fossil-Fuels-ebook/dp/B00INIQVJA/?tag=ttgnet-20

  14. I’m not a big fan of further studies in this area. There have been so many lies that further research is a waste of money and outrage.

    Me too.

    I am of the opinion that should we get serious about fighting this supposed global warming, the powers that be will end up executing people to stop their contributions to the global warming.

  15. have already bred above their ability to feed themselves, starve and die, how is that our problem?

    Because you are not allowed to use decomposing bodies in compost heaps.

    Not yet.
    Soylent Green? Why compost? Go direct.

  16. So the Californicators are blaming sparking PG&E power lines for the fires.

    My unsympathetic solution is to first build an impenetrable/unscaleable wall around California. Then remove all power lines in the state and cut all power lines going into the state. Let the eco-weenies fend for themselves. Do not let anyone who has ever voted for a Democrap or RHINO request asylum.

    Climate change is real, it’s called the seasons. The earth as a whole wants to maintain an environment at equilibrium. Extremes in one area cause extremes in another area. It really is not under our control. And don’t consider the Sun, that’s another whole set of variables.

  17. BTW, everything I’ve seen on global climate suggest to me that the feedback mechanisms work. Earth abides. It’s been warmer and colder. NO F’ING way is man’s contribution to greenhouse gas in the atmosphere greater than widespread volcanic activity. The biggest is water vapor, and we do nothing to contribute to that.

    It gets hot, the ice melts, which cools…. it gets cold, ice grows, albedo changes, more heat ends up reflected into the atmosphere.

    We KNOW it changes. It’s monstrous hubris to think we can do anything about it.

    n

  18. The biggest is water vapor, and we do nothing to contribute to that.

    Uh, I will dispute that locally. We have flooded Texas in the last 100+ years. As far as I know, Texas did not have a single lake in the 1800s. Starting about 1900, we have added several hundred lakes to the state, mostly using runoff water from excessive rainfalls. I think that this has made Texas much more humid.

  19. So the Californicators are blaming sparking PG&E power lines for the fires.

    I don’t see the logic in that. I am guessing that they are going to sue PG&E into bankruptcy again. Yeah, that should get them cheaper rates. Not !

  20. Home from volunteer class. Hands On Science. This session was “Simple Machines.” I have a lot fewer issues with this module than previous. No cheerleading for metric, or editorials about diet.

    I can still see some room for improvement in the pedagogical content and the activities. Had an interesting apparatus supplied, that was essentially a balance with eye hooks on both sides, at 5 unit distances. There was also an incline plane. Kids used one gram cubes to balance (over balance) and move a weight. No mention of ratio or proportion, no mention of “leverage” or “mechanical advantage”. Only showed that various setups had more or less effort to move the block. All of the ppt examples are egyptians and pyramids. Meh, the kids got it, mostly.

    n

  21. Regarding the Paradise (CA) fire, and PG&E’s (electric utility in CA) part in that..

    Although the initial ‘spark’ may have come from a PG&E power line, that spark was probably caused by very high winds going (gusts above 50-60mph) through the canyon where the power lines are.

    Once the fire ignited, the winds through the area caused massive amounts of embers that were blown through the air, igniting everything they touched. That’s why you can see images of ‘defensible protection’ areas (areas cleared of ground ‘clutter’) that still were completely burned.

    A great analysis of the winds and effect on the fire is here: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2018/11/why-did-catastrophic-camp-fire-start.html . It explains why the winds spread the fire.

    Even with forest management techniques (clearing around power lines, reducing forest floor ‘litter’, defensible areas), that one spark was destined to cause problems. And the geography in that area, with the wind patterns that happened, just made things worse.

  22. I don’t know if the world is warming up or cooling down. I don’t know if warming or cooling is going to be a good or a bad thing. It makes sense that 7.5 billion people are having some sort of effect but I don’t know exactly what that is. Google searches send me mostly to places where people mistake opinions for facts. Very politicized. The reality of politicized science is that it rarely leads to good science.

    One thing that gets me is reducing the temperature of the whole world down to a single number. That has to have a strongly subjective component to it. I doubt it is just add them all together and divide by the number of stations. There must be all sorts of weighting and normalizing and other manipulations.

    If I gave 2 people in a house 10 (or 100) thermometers each and asked them to each determine the average temperature of that house over a period of time, would they both get the same number? Do you put some near the floor or ceiling? In the attic? Near the AC vent? Would you put one in the freezer and one in the oven? They are part of the house, too.

    The world is way to big and varied to boil down to one number with 1 or 2 decimal point accuracy.


  23. Because you are not allowed to use decomposing bodies in compost heaps.

    Of course not! They get dropped into the intake hopper of the biodiesel factory.

  24. Texas much more humid.

    Same with Arizona. A century ago, people went to Phoenix for the dry heat. Now with decades of lakes, ppols, and watered lawns, not so much dry heat.

  25. keep it classy ladies….

    “Hair-brained! Louisiana woman sets another woman’s WIG on fire after a violent fight with ‘a shovel and a knife’

    Sherita L. Griffin, 34, got into an argument with a woman outside a home near Baton Rouge
    It’s alleged Griffin hit the woman and the other woman allegedly stabbed Griffin with a knife
    The argument escalated when Griffin ‘pulled the other woman’s wig off and set the wig on fire’
    Police intervened when Griffin then ‘attempted to hit the other woman with a shovel’ ”

  26. I’ve got to give Kanye West and his wife a lot more credit than I have in the past. They did not wait for public firefighters to save their home from the California fires. They hired their own private firefighters to save their home. “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Hired Private Firefighters to Save Home from Woolsey Fire: Report”
    https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/kim-kardashian-kanye-west-hired-225818956.html

    Yup, that is showing some initiative. And prepping, they relied on themselves. And their mercenary firefighters saved their neighbors homes too.

  27. I don’t know if the world is warming up or cooling down.

    Ancedotal data will tell us that the northern hemisphere has been warming since the end of th e”Little Ice Age” about 200 years ago. My grandmother recalled that when she was a child in 1903, the Pomme De Terre river would ice over enough for freight wagons to cross avoiding the long trip to a bridge. That river hasn’t iced over for 60 years now.
    But simply because we have been warming doesn’t mean we can’t cool down again. The IPPC climate models all have solar radiance as a constant and we know that it’s a variable, falling when sunspot activity is low. In addition there are two schools of thought about how cosmic ray activity affects the athmospheric heat ballance so the models have left this out completly, along with many other varaiables that are not well understood or understood at all. Simply using CO2 as the single forcing agent has proven to give results that diverge dramaticaly from measured reality.

  28. So I got my camera nvr software installed on the machine I bought specifically for that, some time ago. Last night. I had a box stock win10 install, with dell crapware, and macaffeeee antivirus and malware prepaid trial. Foolishly I let the macaffeee crap install and activate.

    As a result, I couldn’t download any files with exe as an extension. It would fail with a message the the “file couldn’t be downloaded” and a notice box that I could try again. and again. and again. while some b@stard programmer somewhere LAUGHED at his complete lack of contextual error messages. NOT “couldn’t be downloaded because Antimalware, Inc stopped it as a prohibited filetype, but click here if you are sure you want it….” just “couldn’t be downloaded”, using the exact same method that IE has used for browser messages for years. So it looks like a browser error, not a deliberate choice by some nancy boy pantiwaist who decided by default that I CAN NEVER CHANGE THE SOFTWARE THAT THE MANF DEIGNED TO INSTALL. I tried to find a setting that would allow downloads. NO such thing. HORRIBLE gui.

    JEEEZZZUM PETE THESE GUYS SUCK.

    Finally figure out that mcv [since I’m sick of typing their name] is managing the windows built in firewall settings too [and windows UPDATES]… and that was a step too far. NUKE the forkers from orbit. FOUR different installs from Mcfvvvvv. Nuke ’em all.

    After that, ninite installed my faves, and I’m up with FF and the utilities and base load I want. Minimal install of that stuff anyway as this box is intended to be an NVR and not a general purpose box. With the CPU pegged at 90% just by the iSpy software, it really shouldn’t be used for anything else.

    Since the cams saturate my network connection, I decided to check some speeds before installing iSpy… speedof.me gives results far below the 300Mbs symmetrical I’m supposed to have from ATT fiber. Good, but not great at 100/15. OOKA, connecting to ATT’s local server reported…… wait for it…… 300/300. That’s when I noticed the connection to a houston, ATT owned server. Reset to other servers around TX gives various speeds, some 100-200, one at 300 down. Couldn’t find the option to check against servers in Cali and NYC….

    So shenanigans aside, I’m getting much faster service than I was, but quantifying that is next to impossible as all the tools seem to be corrupted or unreliable.

    n

    (getting iSpy set up was a doddle. clean install after d/l, then copy one file over from old machine.)

    Oh, and my old machine runs like new again, with CPU in the 10% range, and almost no memory faults.

  29. Surveillance state update!

    listening to the scanner, local pd working some drug surveillance, mentions that the apartment complex they are interested in has a management company that has installed license plate readers at all their complexes. The PD has access to the APR data and can search it for their target vehicles. Officer asks his LT if the LT already has access, LT responds that if “it’s one of the commercial companies, they are already sharing with PD,” he’ll have to talk to the complex’s management to determine who is providing their APR system and whether they’ll need to get it from the complex or the provider….

    n

  30. ” The biggest is water vapor, and we do nothing to contribute to that.

    Uh, I will dispute that locally.”

    Ok, locally we might be changing our micro climates, and even some small change worldwide due to agriculture and irrigation, but the world is VERY BIG. I believe our inputs are VERY SMALL in comparison.

    Every time I look at it, I find some guys bragging that they [finally] incorporated something I would think was very basic into the model, like sea temps, or cloud cover, or albedo of the ice caps. They simply ignore large chunks of the systems, none of their models can get to today, starting from a known point, and the data they do work from is VERY suspect.

    Add in that they are known liars (viz the email scandal), suppress alternate viewpoints (burn the witch!), and have the religious fervor of zealots instead of the calm open mindedness of scientists, and I’m treating the whole thing as a scam and extortion racket. Anyone who says “the science on this is settled” is automatically disqualified as very little science is ever settled, and history shows that most of it is settled wrongly. The idea is anti-science at its core!

    n

  31. Add in that they are known liars (viz the email scandal), suppress alternate viewpoints (burn the witch!), and have the religious fervor of zealots instead of the calm open mindedness of scientists, and I’m treating the whole thing as a scam and extortion racket. Anyone who says “the science on this is settled” is automatically disqualified as very little science is ever settled, and history shows that most of it is settled wrongly. The idea is anti-science at its core!

    It is an unholy partnership between a bunch of crooked politicians and a group of wannabe scientists. The crooked politicians get a new tax that they can raise in the name of saving the children. The wannabe scientist get their studies funded from here unto eternity. The fact that they will destroy society means naught to them.

  32. Every time I look at it, I find some guys bragging that they [finally] incorporated something I would think was very basic into the model, like sea temps, or cloud cover, or albedo of the ice caps. They simply ignore large chunks of the systems, none of their models can get to today, starting from a known point, and the data they do work from is VERY suspect.

    Every time I call them out on the fact that their models cannot predict if it will rain in four Tuesdays, they scream “that is the weather which has nothing to do with the climate”.


  33. So the Californicators are blaming sparking PG&E power lines for the fires.

    I don’t see the logic in that. I am guessing that they are going to sue PG&E into bankruptcy again

    By blaming PG&E the people that lost their homes can now seek recovery from PG&E. PG&E due to laws in CA can now recover what they pay from the rate payers. This is designed to keep PG&E from going bankrupt. The loss the people suffered will be shared by all the rate payers of PG&E. Thus a tax on everyone regardless of their location if they are served by PG&E.

    Even states that buy power from PG&E and redistribute under their own utility will be socked with higher rates to reimburse PG&E.

    unsympathetic solution is to first build an impenetrable/unscaleable wall around California

    I like that solution. We should also restrict all flights in and out of California, close the I-states at the borders. Better yet is to figure out a way to activate one of the many faults and turn Barstow into beach front property.

  34. By blaming PG&E the people that lost their homes can now seek recovery from PG&E. PG&E due to laws in CA can now recover what they pay from the rate payers. This is designed to keep PG&E from going bankrupt. The loss the people suffered will be shared by all the rate payers of PG&E. Thus a tax on everyone regardless of their location if they are served by PG&E.

    $50 billion in damage (SWAG) and over 40 dead. Maybe 200+ dead.

    The market cap of PG&E is $14 billion. The annual income is $17 billion. No way they can raise the rates that much.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/PCG.F?p=PCG.F

  35. unsympathetic solution is to first build an impenetrable/unscaleable wall around California

    I like that solution. We should also restrict all flights in and out of California, close the I-states at the borders. Better yet is to figure out a way to activate one of the many faults and turn Barstow into beach front property.

    Shoot, just let California go ahead and secede.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/24/calexit-plan-to-divorce-california-from-us-is-getting-a-second-chance.html


  36. The wannabe scientist get their studies funded from here unto eternity.

    Absolutely, look at the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ wasted by the NASA wannabe’s on the space station, shuttle, etc., etc.,……….

    And how many tax dollars did the bicycle mechanics get for Kitty Hawk?

  37. The wannabe scientist get their studies funded from here unto eternity.

    Absolutely, look at the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ wasted by the NASA wannabe’s on the space station, shuttle, etc., etc.,……….

    I think that shuttle and space station were worthwhile projects by NASA. They built an enormous knowledge base of successes and failures for the next generation (SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc). NASA overspent 10X because of political issues and governmental funding but that is always the case. Shoot, I even think that the Apollo program was worthwhile because we learned so much even for one shot rockets.

    The big problem that I have with the so-called climate scientists is that they are spending $6 billion per year on freaking computer models. This is absolutely crazy. They have built huge computer arrays to give more and more definition to their worthless models. If they cannot tell me what the weather is going to be like in six months then the models are worthless.

    BTW, did you see the fuel for SpaceX’s BFR first stage ???????? LNG and LOX ! Wow, talk about a safer fuel until you mix them. And we have a lot of LNG. And we know how to make LOX in any quantity that you need. And I am still freaking on the 31 rocket motors in the first stage, I am wondering if that is a redundancy thing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BFR_(rocket)


  38. The market cap of PG&E is $14 billion. The annual income is $17 billion. No way they can raise the rates that much.

    They don’t have to raise anything. PG&E is allowed to pass the cost on to rate payers.

  39. I think that shuttle and space station were worthwhile projects by NASA. They built an enormous knowledge base of successes and failures for the next generation (SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc).

    At this point, it is time for NASA to get out of the way. Subsidizing the Boeing CST-100 might be prudent to ensure US manned access to low Earth orbit, but SLS has to go bye-bye.

  40. At least now I know the reason that I’ve spent the last three months at our test site in Taylor with an unyielding schedule on a DC-related road project. The customers visit for a final test tomorrow.

    Yeah, VA and NY knew months ago. I don’t have any special insight, but it is obvious.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/amazon-hq2-decision-amazon-splits-hq2-prize-between-crystal-city-and-new-york/2018/11/12/316d2a32-e2c9-11e8-8f5f-a55347f48762_story.html?utm_term=.ff21e849c50f

    Thank God it wasn’t Austin.

  41. Kind of a random comment… I joined the “Pirate Party” a few years ago, because they are (um, supposed to be) a party that is interested in technical issues like copyright, data privacy, and so forth. I’m not particularly active, but in a few countries the Pirate Party has done useful things. In Germany, they pretty much self-destructed, but I digress…

    Now, it’s an unfortunate thing that many of the people actively involved are obviously left-wing idiots. But the party is (um, supposed to be) neither left nor right, because the issues the party cares about are neither of those.

    Which brings me to my random comment: It is apparently normal that – as a member of a political party – you agree to not be a member of any other political party. I discovered this in the course of an online discussion in the Pirate forum. This has never been the case for the Pirate Party, but the high muckety-mucks of the party (big fish in a microscopically small pond) want to introduce it. But targeted – they specifically want to prohibit members from simultaneously belonging to any party on the right.

    The comments in the forum are, so far, 100% against this. Not only from conservative types, but just generally, because this will explicitly put the Pirate Party on the far left. The people proposing the idea seem impervious – they are obviously the types who cannot comprehend that someone else might not share their far-left viewpoint. They are right and if you don’t agree with them, you are not only wrong but evil.

    At present, I expect them to succeed in forcing the change through. In a show of technical prowess, they have made voting on party initiatives incredibly painful, which likely means that few outside the inner circle can actually vote. I did go through the pain (exchanging cryptographic keys in person), but how many people will have done so?

    Anyway, once the initiative is through, they will wonder why most of the (very few) members of the party leave…

    This is kind of like what happened in Germany: The Pirate Party there won some seriously meaningful elections. Then the left/right politics started and the party self-destructed. Looks like the Pirates in Switzerland will pull off the self-destruction part, without the bothersome bit about winning elections :-/

  42. Nick wrote:

    “Foolishly I let the macaffeee crap install and activate.”

    I thought you were old enough to know better.

  43. I recall Bob saying that he hoped AGW was true, as we are well overdue for an ice age.

  44. Ah, but how many political payoff jobs were received??

    I’m in the camp who believe Bezos had particular sites in mind from the beginning but conducted a “search” to see how far other cities would go in prostituting themselves in order to land “HQ2”.

    Austin can’t handle the Californians it has already attracted. 50,000 more in the bacchanalia would require the city to build a bigger drunk tank.

    I had to laugh recently when I saw that the Circuit of the Americas racing facility outside of town has managed to land a spot on the Indy Car schedule. Back in FL growing up, one of our neighbors was high up in the Indy Car fan organization, and I remember the complaint about Disney’s racetrack being insufficient alcohol. “They don’t understand that race fans are thirsty. And we don’t wan’t friggin Coca Cola.”

    Austin was made for Indy Car racing.

  45. When I was doing corporate training for automakers, we spent a lot of time on racetracks. The racetrack makes ALL it’s profit on the Indycar race. The other 50 weeks are expense or gravy, depending on how the track management works.

    BIG money in autoracing.

    n

  46. I lived in Austin through 1992. Even then, it was getting too big for the infrastructure – in particular, the highways. It was always liberal, but 1992 was before the really big influx of Californian refugees.

    I went back a couple of times to visit, and have occasionally looked at news stories. It’s really true: the fruits and nuts of CA flee their over-regulated, high tax state, only to come up with the same dumb initiatives in TX. It’s pretty clear that they do not understand cause-and-effect.

    “Light rail” comes to mind, as a classic example. Rail works beautifully here, in Switzerland, and we get used over and over again as an example of why light rail is a good idea in the US. What people forget, or deliberately overlook, is population density. Our entire country is only about 50% bigger than the DFW area, and Switzerland is mostly countryside. The DFW area has about 800 people/sq.mile. Zurich has 12000. The two situations aren’t even remotely comparable, but that doesn’t stop the Californians from wanting light rail, scented with unicorn farts.

    tl;dr: Austin is damned lucky to have escaped Amazon HQ2

  47. “Light rail” comes to mind, as a classic example. Rail works beautifully here, in Switzerland, and we get used over and over again as an example of why light rail is a good idea in the US. What people forget, or deliberately overlook, is population density. Our entire country is only about 50% bigger than the DFW area, and Switzerland is mostly countryside. The DFW area has about 800 people/sq.mile. Zurich has 12000. The two situations aren’t even remotely comparable, but that doesn’t stop the Californians from wanting light rail, scented with unicorn farts.

    Light rail from the airports to the downtown business districts isn’t a terrible idea, but it gets bogged down in politics. Seattle’s light rail takes so many twists and turns through various neighborhoods running up from the airport that driving ends up being faster.

  48. When I was doing corporate training for automakers, we spent a lot of time on racetracks. The racetrack makes ALL it’s profit on the Indycar race. The other 50 weeks are expense or gravy, depending on how the track management works.

    COTA (common acronym for Austin’s Grand Prix track) has concerts at an ampitheater on property and recently started construction on a minor league soccer stadium. The big problem with the place is that they’re out near the airport and more or less inaccessible unless you get on a toll road.


  49. but SLS has to go bye-bye.

    It won’t as long as Shelby (R-Ala) is in the Senate. It was his baby and he has the seniority to protect it, and the jobs at MSFC. Many inside NASA will say it’s a boondoggle if nobody can hear.


  50. Light rail from the airports to the downtown business districts isn’t a terrible idea, but it gets bogged down in politics.

    Assuming you have one downtown business district. Houston has at least 6.

    Routing is a problem due to NIMBYism and political pull to get stations in the “right” areas. It’s one reason why the high speed rail system in CA is stupid – they have no idea how to get into downtown LA or SF. The lawsuits to stop any proposed route will time them up in court for years.

  51. IIRC no light rail system has ever paid it’s own way, with the possible exception of one connecting HK to Macao gambling… source is Edge City, Joel Garreau, 1992. Which book I still recommend as a fascinating insight into modern development and construction, as well as some absolutely fascinating ‘rules of thumb’ for the same.

    n

  52. “routing is a problem due to NIMBYism”

    There’s that, too. Here, the cities grew up around the rights of way, meaning that the business districts are automatically reachable, because that’s where they were built. When trying to retrofit a city, well…it’s basically not possible.

    “IIRC no light rail system has ever paid it’s own way”

    That’s true, but it’s also fine. Providing a transportation infrastructure is one of governments’ important duties. That said, the costs do need to be reasonable. It’s hard to get comparable figures, but I expect the cost here is less than what the governments pay to maintain roads. That’s definitely not true of any US projects I am familiar with – there, the costs per passenger-mile tends to be enormous.

    For any city that did not organically grow around tram lines, running bus services is likely to be a far more sensible option. See Edinburgh for a stupid example; they already have extensive bus services, but “light rail” is just so sexy. Note that the summary fails to mention that they only built half the planned track for their 50% cost overrun – so it’s more like a 200% cost overrun. Meanwhile, the bus remains both faster and cheaper on the same route, so basically no one takes the stupid tram.

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