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Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48043383) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

So the cars will magically disappear and make room on the highways for buses? I think you made that up.

People riding on buses are not also driving cars at the same time. I am not making that up.

First show us where it says the cost is $500,000 per seat, because I think you made that up.

The lowest projected cost of CHSR is $58 BILLION dollars. No one believes that number, and even the most fervent CHSR advocates have now admitted it was a lowball estimate. But for the sake of argument, lets use it. The plan is to run 100 trains with a capacity of 1000 passengers each. $58B/100,000 = $580,000 per seat.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48042797) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

The bus (or the set of buses to match the capacity of a single train) cost just as much as a train up-front.

You are wrong by a factor of ten. Buses are standard products sold in competitive markets. Passenger trains are custom designed and sold to governments where cost is not an important consideration.

If you want to count the rail line as well - then you also need the price of the highway the buses drive on . . .

No. Because the highways ALREADY EXIST, and the buses displace cars, so no additional capacity is needed.

Even if you accept the lowest of the projected costs for California high speed rail project, the cost is over $500,000 PER SEAT. Show me a bus that costs that much.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 2) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48041945) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

It's not cheaper in the US because the government refuses to subsidize it

The government subsidizes it.

indeed has done almost everything they could do to destroy Amtrak.

Not true at all. It is the government keeping Amtrak afloat. Support for Amtrak is surprising broad. Democrats support it because they like big government, and especially like trains. Republicans support it because service to sparsely populated red states would be the first thing cut if the subsidies were reduced.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48041863) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Would they have been developed sooner or later? Sure... but not at the speed that it happened.

It seems to me that they would have been developed even sooner if we had spent more on scientific research and less on rocket fuel. Instead of spending X dollars on Y to get Z as a side effect, why not spend a lot less than X dollars directly on Z?

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48041809) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

No, it's projected to cost $53.4 billion in 2011 dollars

No. That is the "bullshit" number made up by politicians. No one actually believes that, since that number is from 2012, and even the politicians are no longer sticking by it.

The best way to estimate the cost, is to issue bonds that pay on a sliding scale, with a normal payout if the projected cost is met, more if the cost is under, and less it there is a cost overrun. Then see how much people investing THEIR OWN MONEY would be willing to pay for those bonds. Of course this will not happen for California high speed rail, or any other boondoggle, because the market would expose the real costs.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48041685) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

If it does, then the system is really broken.

Breaking news: The system is really broken. Pouring another few trillion into it won't fix it. It will make it more broken.

Second, you honestly think that a thousand people moving via train on 200-400 mile distances instead of in 500 to 700 cars is "about the same CO2 emissions"? Really?

Yes. That is about right. Moving people by train is about as efficient as moving two people in a car. That is why trains make some sense for local commuting, since most people commute one-person-per-vehicle. But they make less sense for long distance travel, where people mostly don't drive alone. But in either case, a bus is generally even better than the train, with much less up-front cost, and is more flexible when commuting patterns change.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48040759) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

When the US gets high-speed rail service there will be the same bullshit security theater as the airport.

Unlikely. A bomb on a train will kill far fewer people, and also generate far less psychological effect. People have an instinctive fear of heights, and falling from them. Our society has put disproportionate effort into aircraft safety, compared to almost any other area of risk.

After 9/11 many fewer people flew on airplanes. Passenger volume took quite a while to recover. The train bombings in London had almost no effect on ridership.

Also, it is hard to hijack a train.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 106

by ShanghaiBill (#48040645) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Our unwillingness to do great things is really sad...

Spending trillions on nationwide high speed rail (The SF-to LA run alone is projected to cost $300 Billion), that will require hundreds of billions more in subsidies, cater mainly to the relatively wealthy, and do little to reduce pollution or reduce CO2 emissions, is not a "great thing".

Comment: Re:Like SAS etc (Score 1) 231

by ShanghaiBill (#48040325) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

A lot of these vendors are locked into their own technologies.

But nobody is locked in to faxes. To get info from one digital format to another, a read-type-print-fax-print-read-type cycle is never preferable to email. As a last resort, you can scan a document and email the scan. Fax machines need to die. Other than doctors, lawyers, and bureaucrats, they are already dead. They are still used in those three areas because all three can push the cost of the inefficiency onto someone else (patients, clients, and taxpayers).

Comment: Re:More Efficient (Score 1) 514

by ShanghaiBill (#48039469) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

On the other hand, you could simply have a receiver on Mars, a transmitter on Earth and beam over whatever individual genome you want....

That doesn't work if Earth's civilization is exterminated, by a comet, nuclear war, super Ebola, or whatever. A major reason for colonizing Mars is so humanity's eggs (and sperm) are not all in one basket.

Comment: Re:More Efficient (Score 1) 514

by ShanghaiBill (#48038059) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

so we could use 80 females and a diverse sperm bank.

You don't even need that. Even with existing technology, DNA can be spliced and patched. So you just take a flash drive with with the genome of a few million people.

Let's do the math: The human genome has about 3 billion base pairs, each of which has two bits of information. That is six billion bits, or about 750MB. But most humans share 99.9% of their genome, so you would only need 750kB to store the "diffs" for each individual. But even that way overstates the storage required, since most people that differ from the "base" do so in the same sequence "chunks". You should need less than 100kB per individual. So a one TB drive, should, with proper compression, be able to store the genomes of ten million people.

You would, of course, need more drives for the microbiome.

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