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Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 662

the problem is cars. Your average car requires around 10m2 of land just to sit idle. Once that car moves, it needs at least another 30m2+ for safe operation. Multiple that by 10 million people in a large city and it simply does not scale.

No. The problem is people, people living in cities. The more we get rid of the less pollution we have to deal with.

I, for one, think you're both wrong, although you (AC) are more wrong. You could solve most of the problems with cities by removing the cars and replacing them with something that makes more sense in a population-dense area. I often like to talk about PRT, the current poster child for which is Skytran. It might or might not ever make sense to extend PRT lines out of cities, but it absolutely makes sense within them.

However, most of the problems with cars can be mitigated. For example, if you ban large vehicles from city centers, you can use smaller and less durable vehicles to move around within them. If the vehicles are electric then you eliminate a lot of the wasted energy. Even gasoline cars commonly don't idle any more, and if you drive them gently then you may not even notice start-stop. Mild hybrid systems are going to positively proliferate in the next few years, because suppliers have got complete packages worked out that they'd just love to sell to automakers looking for ways to meet emissions standards; not only in the US and the EU, but also in China which is actually instituting some pretty tough rules. And as batteries continue to come down in price, EVs will continue to become more common.

We should impose a 10-20% tax for living or working in cities nationwide as a disincentive.

Cities can be highly efficient, if people both live and work there. If you want them to be efficient, though, you will have to make them even more dense. There has to be enough housing at an affordable price for workers to live in the city. And you have to find some way to make it available to them, and not someone else who just thinks it would be cool to live in the city, or to have an apartment there while they're slumming.

Comment Re:Lefties hate this tax too (Score 1) 662

The $200 limit is obviously an attempt to blunt the worst effects on the poor (you can get a decent used commuter for under that) but it'll still hurt some.

Any bike less than about $400 new is garbage, and nobody who has to ride one should be punished further by being made to pay a fee. Meanwhile, the fee doesn't apply to used bikes, does it?

Comment Re:It makes sense. (Score 1) 662

We actually did that, taking a 3-lane boulevard and turning it into 2 lanes each way, a bicycle path on one side, and turning one center lane into an area where cars can sit before making a left-hand turn rather than blocking traffic.

That actually sounds like it might make some sense, but mostly because it improves the flow of traffic for the cars, and also because boulevards usually have enough space to work with.

Comment Re:It makes sense. (Score 1) 662

Cars aren't airtight, as a rule. However, some do have a carbon filter inside the cockpit, located inside the plenum someplace. In that case, they can filter out your farts. However, most older vehicles don't have this feature at all. I've owned more than a couple of dozen cars in my day, and it's only just now that I've finally got something with a carbon cabin air filter — and it actually only filters intake air.

Comment Re:It's a matter of time... (Score 5, Insightful) 319

Indeed. I don't quite understand how you could classify a laser weapon along side nukes. Nukes are indiscriminate, tend to cause a lot of collateral civilian damage, and as you say, the fallout can have effects far from the point of the nuclear detonation, not to mention long-term effects in the area of the detonation.

A laser weapon, on the other hand, is more like a bullet in that it is aimed at a specific target, so short of the target crashing to the ground and taking people out, the level of collateral damage is going to generally be low. Since this is on a ship, the target is most likely going to fall into the water, so unless we've suddenly decided the death of sea gulls and krill is a crime against humanity, I'd say we'd be better off seeing more laser weapons and less nuclear weapons.

Comment Re:Why not integrate with the locomotive? (Score 1) 128

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) 128

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) 662

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: Good (Score 2) 662

It seems to me that you have no experience living somewhere with a functioning bus network

Those bus networks are heavily subsidized and lose money in every case, because (again) physics. That's written off as a necessary cost, but it's only necessary because we use buses, which we only do because we need drivers.

Comment Re:It makes no sense (Score 1) 662

You only need new paths when there is a significant number of cyclists in which case there is an impact on traffic. If you don't have a huge number then they can safely use the road with cars.

Nope. If you have a large number who obey the laws and ride with consideration for others, they will have little impact. If you have a small number (or any number really) who don't give a shit, they can have wildly disproportionate impact.

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