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Comment Re:Why not integrate with the locomotive? (Score 1) 122

What has that got to do with the electrical power supplies?

They've literally found it easier to install diesel gensets in the train cars than one big fat inverter (or inverter bank) in the locomotive which has to deal with the varying output voltage of the engine at different speeds, and you're sitting here asking what the simplicity of the rest of the system has to do with the electrical power supplies?

Comment Re:Why not integrate with the locomotive? (Score 2) 122

I'm surprised that this isn't already integrated with the locomotive. The locomotive is almost certainly diesel-electric, so why did they have separate generators on the cars, rather than just drawing from the massive diesel generators in the locomotive?

The trains use air brakes and don't depend on any other connections. If the air brake connection is broken because cars are separated, then the brakes are automatically applied.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 633

We use buses because we need drivers? What?

My first inclination is to simply ask you which word confused you, but I'll go ahead and waste some time explaining this using short words anyway. Vans are more efficient than buses in every way except the amount of manpower required to operate them in the ideal case. If you don't need drivers, then you don't need buses.

Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 633

I grew up in the city and moved out to the suburbs. While local activists in my current town have marked a lot of bike lanes, I don't see them getting much use; if you go out on any particular day you might see one or two cyclists using them. But I took a detour through the old neighborhood recently, and was astonished the degree to which bicycling has caught on there. Driving over the course of about a mile I must have seen at least fifty cyclists using the sharrow lanes.

The point is, to get people in my current neighborhood using bikes instead of cars, you'd have to invest serious money; the pavement and traffic impact alone in my old urban neighborhood probably pays for the lane markings. But where would the money be spent? Probably where there are already a lot of cyclists. It needs to be spent, ironically, where people find cycling inconvenient or dangerous.

Not far from my house is eight miles of bike path that link five communities with about 200,000 population. But the path is fractured into four fragments; getting from one to the other is a tricky and dangerous; the gaps amount to maybe 150 yards in total. At the end of the bike path there's another bike path that leads to the town where I grew up, an industrial suburb where 80,000 people live and quite a few people from the five communities work. It's only 700 feet away as the crow flies, but getting there by bike takes three miles of riding along a major traffic artery. That city has an extensive bike trail network, and you can get anywhere easily on a combination of quiet side streets and rail-converted trails.

If every cyclist in these five communities paid $12, perhaps we could close that roughly 1000 feet of gap, creating a single trail network linking over a quarter million people. Thousands would potentially be able to bike to work across a path where there are currently no good direct mass transit connections. City dwellers would have easy bike access (granted after a ten mile ride) to the beach, and to a 2200 acre forest.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 633

30,000 pounds is on the high side for a modern bus. My local transit authority's buses weigh in at 27500, but then you do have to factor in the weight of passengers.

In fact transportation planners are quite aware of the pavement impact issue; it's one of several factors they have to balance. Increasing the number of passengers on the bus increases the pavement impact but decreases the air pollution impact; reducing the passenger load (e.g., with more frequent service) reduces the pavement impact and improves service, but increases air pollution.

Probably trackless trolleys are the champ here, with no fuel tanks, transmission, and a modest battery to travel short distances.

The local transit authority is introducing electric buses that are articulated, tri-axle affairs, probably because of the mass of battery involved. But possibly smaller, more frequent electric buses would be a better choice, at least from the pavement standpoint. Possibly when autonomous buses become practical.

Comment Re:What he should have done (Score 1) 55

Thanks for the warning, but as someone who doesn't routinely commit robbery or grand theft auto, I'll take my chances. ;-)

Being serious, I have never actually had this happen to me in however many decades I've been using these things now. Maybe it's just that I tend to keep my phone in a jacket pocket or bag rather than somewhere I'm going to sit on it...

Comment Re:Quality doesn't matter when it's disposable any (Score 3, Interesting) 256

For iPhones (and Galaxy / Pixel) quality has more to do with features and capabilities than it does long lasting craftsmanship. Not many people claim high end phones are made of parts which will last longer than cheaper phones, they claim they have better quality cameras / larger screens / better resolution / faster processors / etc.

I would be very surprised if cheaper phones didn't have a much longer shelf life than high end phones. They are not cramming as much processing power into such a small mobile device so they are probably more reliable on average.

Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 633

I'm happy to pay my $30 annual fishing license, which pays for conservation and access programs, as well as a fish stocking program I'm not particularly partial to but serves a purpose for young anglers. It costs less than the sport fishing conservation organizations I belong to, and probably does more.

I'd be happy to pony up $12 on a bike, but I do see some difficulties. Money spent on access or conservation anywhere in the state benefits me as a fisherman, but bicycle infrastructure spending largely benefits local cyclists. So it's quite possible that some people will be paying the tax and seeing no benefit out of it.

One thing that might be useful is driver education. Sharrows are appearing all over the place, but I don't think most drivers understand what they mean. There's also widespread misunderstanding about some basic things like how a motorist is supposed to make a right turn after a stop across a bike lane (you're supposed to move into the bike lane in most jurisdictions; that eliminates the possibility of cutting of the cyclist).

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The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir