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About Datepalm

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    Barbarism and Decadence, Fuck Yeah.
  • Birthday 02/22/1987

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  1. No no, roadwork or trash pickup sound like potentially productive enterprises. People are going to be forced to spend their days sitting in cars and watching them drive themselves, because heaven forbid the robots.
  2. Besides the histrionics, Lockesnow is not entirely wrong on the point that mass transit planning in car-oriented cities still, or at least until recently, has looked at public transport as something they have to do to get cars off the road, so there can be space for the rest of the cars on the road, rather than looking at it as a preferred mdoe in and of itself - at least, there's a few writers making that argument, though it's relatively dense policy and modelling wonkentry, not a binary issue. America (as ever) is the worst (as ever), but the more transit oriented European cities aren't necessarily a historical phenomenon. Urban form has something to with it - smaller homes, less sprawl, historical dense city cores - but its in the last few decades that there's been a push to reduce car use, really starting only in the 70s (Copenhagen's famous Finger Plan.) Even today, a third of more of travel in cities like London and New York is by private car. In Copenhagen, its 40%. No one is going to force anyone onto public transport. It's also unlikely anyone will be paid for it - transit commuters are already heavily subsidized by the city or the state in most places, (and its a mixed bag on the usefullness of completely free public transport - its been experimented with in a few places and there's some down sides.) Naturally, Los Angeles fucked even up even this bit of transit, and the city was famously sued by bus passengers in the late 90's when all its new investments were in expensive suburban rail for well-off suburbs someplace, where, you guessed it, no one used transit but they had the worst traffic problems...while raising prices and reducing services for minority neighbourhoods that actually relied on the bus already. Of course, transit users aren't subsidized nearly as much drivers are. So, no, no one is taking your car away - but why should I - a transit user - keep paying for the massive roads and parking lots drivers destroy, not to mention the opportunity costs I pay in limited housing supply, commercial spaces (and their taxes and subsequent services) taken up by all those parking spots. And, of course, health care, pollution, congestion. Basically, I increasingly favour the position that cars just shouldn't be a public policy issue. Get a tin box on wheels, by all means. I get things all the time. I don't expect entire cities or societies to orient themselves around how to get my trampoline or massive piece of installation art or refregirator around. Why should I pay for your wheel-box, which is blocking the street I pay for and actually need to move my human body to places I need to get to, in ways that don't limit other human bodies ability to do the same?
  3. A rich and complex one, primarily using the robot metaphor to cast light on the exploitation of labour. Let me know when you're Karel Capek.
  4. Yes, seconded - the use of the term slavery here is not just ridiculous, but possibly offensive. Don't have time to start picking apart the vast gaps in labour politics, economics, history or ideology here otherwise. Why more cars is a terrible idea, I can go back to.
  5. Again, I find that alarmist, weird, and a profoundly anti-labour position. Technology has been putting people out of work for centuries. Attemtping to artificially keep jobs that have no real purpose except to make work in the economy as a pro-labour strategy is fucked. It becomes state charity. That's not a sustainable model of labour power, income, rights or job security. Those depend on bargaining power vis a vis owners of capital, and the real question is - whose going to own those thingies, will they turn a profit, and where is that going to go?
  6. One of my collection of part time jobs involves putting together an overview of current research and policy in vehicle automation at the moment. This constitutes a break.
  7. Current summary presentation on the topic from the Berkeley Transport Research Center, might of interest to some. (note point on slide 1: Don't believe what you hear in the media.)
  8. Some (almost all) places there is regulation over what can and can't constitute public transport (like having fixed stops and a schedule, or being not on-demand) and once you're that you run into all sorts of regulation...basically, you were running a form of paratransit. To become formal, probably there's a tender and licensing process by the regulator (local transit the US I think that's usually the county) which, in this instance, it wasn't willing to do. That's also a political choice, of course, but its not in the hands of the operator per se, which seems to be the dedcision-point you're describing. .
  9. I'm fond of this one:
  10. Estonia:
  12. Maybe, but you're sort of describing a park-and-ride train station suburb. Its a way to reduce car traffic into the city, and being done in a lot of places. Whether within the suburb people are driving to the mass transit stop or there's some system of minibuses worked out is not ultimately very important in terms of vehicle-kilometers travelled, which is the important number in terms of sustainability, congestion, making the enviornments people live in not-insufferable, etc (and with those minibuses, it is all about the peak demand times - this system is basically going to be a school bus for commuters with an extra minibus or two tacked on the rest of the day. Which basically exists in plenty of places. Within that suburb, you could arguably right now live exactly this way: Uber (or just plain old taxis) lets you order a car on demand whenever you's not making people massively give up their cars, at least not yet, and more crucially, there's early evidence it's actually putting more small vehicles with low fill rates on more roads for longer. This idea of flexibility of public transport is just not adding much to solutions to the actual problems we have, in my opinion. It will let us add a nice extra layer of public transport efficiency if its a little more demand responsivee, to operate off-peak times and the like that bit better. Great. But going all the way into some kind of, we call that a taxi. Or a car-share system. Or just owning a car. That you won't have to own it 24/7 is not that important in trerms of distances travelled and road space occupied. The backbone of any urban mobility solution is still mass transit at the urban level + walkability at the neighbourhood level. If you live in a big sprawling suburb where its five miles to the nearest place to buy a packet of cigarettes - own a car. You probably genuinely need one. I would if I lived there. Just don't bring it into the city, and vote for people who'll re-zone the place. We can do videos now, right?
  13. Zombie hordes? Nothing is entirely doomed, there's just no single, magic-bullet, transport solution of some new technology. Today's autonomous robot pod electric car thing is just yesterday's, look, ma, no stoplights highway overpass. Build better, think about transport when you do, don't build cul de sacs they're nasty, think about whether anyone wants to live next to a parking lot, make it so people can walk to some or most of the things they need, etc. The 'technical' term here is Transit-Oriented Development ( - just one example, it's a broad concept). It seems like a no-brainer, but the historical evolution of transport and land-use planning, funding, etc, under separate agencies in most places means that they're surprisingly difficult to integrate at the ground-zero level, and something is always playing catch-up. Also the fact that many places, alongside their residents and their cars already, you know, exist. But it is changing (slowly, in some places) and (some) places are seeing real improvements, there's no particular mystery here.
  14. That's how they quietly sneak up on you on their electric wheels and take your job. @Erik of Hazelfield, labour and fuel cost reduction (electricity still comes from somewhere and needs to be paid for, you can reduce the number drivers but someone is still going to be cleaning the bus, etc) is not such a massive part of your average public transport system that it will make all the difference. It's a question of urban structure (and political will.) Reduce transit operating costs as much as you like, you're not going to be able to come up with efficient, useful service for a low-density, sprawling suburb built for cars and rife with disgusting cul de sacs and no sidewalks and the like. MOST cities have buses running every, maybe not five, but ten-twenty minutes until late at night, like right now, drivers and gasoline and all. That's fairly standard for usable service in an normal urban neighbourhood (much below that and it's too long a wait to have enough passengers, meaning demand might be too low to maintain the line.) Where the hell do you live?
  15. Finland is supposed to get a self-driving bus this year, and it's been trundling around - supposedly on its lonesome - at a stately, sedate pace for a few months now, if I understand correctly. The future is here! Or at least in a cute little robot-bus in suburban Helsinki.