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Comment Re:TSA should be replaced by inspectors (Score 1) 128

The smaller group already exists. It's the NTSB - the ones who've been testing the TSA.

A large part of the problem is that as federal employees, TSA staff can get away with a lot more than they could as private employees and are a LOT harder to fire.

It'd be interesting if the airports themselves started keeping stats and ,onitoring thei TSA staff, to see the true scale of the problem (rule of thumb: What's detected and reported is usually less than 1% of what's actually happening)

Comment Re:This is Why... (Score 1) 128

"I prefer driving as well, and even though we have a lot of direct flights from MSP"

I suspect that one of the unintended consequences of better automated vehicles will be the airlines losing custom.

"And in your car, with out of state license plates?"

Dashcams, etc, preferably with a concealed recorder holding a backup flash module.

Comment Re:All the worlds's a stage (Score 1) 128

"all these terror morons have to do is come up with a viable scheme and millions of air traveling passengers have to be subjected extra security for the sake of feeling safe"

They don't even have to come up with a viable scheme. The aim is to cause those in authority to remove our freedoms and those in authority are gleefully using it as an excuse to do so.

There have been viable defences against explosives in passenger baggage for years (thicker, porous container sides which can contain and vent the gas at a controlled rate, backed by extra webbing to hold it all together). Not used because it "costs too much" and adds a small amount of weight - and subsequent to 9/11 NO passenger is going to passively sit there when an aircraft is hijacked. (Even before this, there were a number of cases of irate passengers killing would-be hijackers).

One of the biggest problems with all the security theatre is that they're hiring minimum wage monkeys to do the screening, then letting them get away with various larceny including theft form baggage - if stuff can be smuggled OUT then stuff can be smuggled IN and minimum wage monkeys are easily subverted for money (or the terrorists or the narcogangs can simply put their own people in there)

Comment Re:Pull the plug on TSA (Score 1) 128

"My tube of toothpaste isn't the problem."

Nor are any of the supposedly binary liquids.

Yes, you can mix them to make a bomb - under carefully controlled conditions with no vibration.

There aren't a lot of vibration-free spaces on an aircraft. It'd be interesting to create a simulated cabin and lavatory, then challenge the investigators to actually succeed in the quest.

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 504

"It's worth noting that when human life is being sustained by such a system there will need to be some mechanism to limit the human population. War will be right out, but plague is a possibility, as is birth control"

_every_single_time_ there's been a plague which affected population levels, that population has not only recovered but shot past the previous one within 2 generations.

The only documented way of encouraging people to reproduce less is to make them richer and you don't do that by limiting their dreams (if you do that they start having more sex instead)

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 504

What you think of as "communism" bears little-to-no resemblence to the post-capitalist society that Marx envisaged. The russian revolutionaries may have espoused themselves as such but the reality is that society at that point was not ready to take that step(*) and they were not the people to do so.

Likewise what you think of as "capitalism" - given that the USA (and other) governments have repeatedly stepped in to prevent capitalist monopolist oligarchies forming (the railway and oil robber-barons being one example) or break them up when they've managed to establish a toehold(**). There's a new set emerging which have managed to get further than than the last few times, but the reality is that unfettered capitalism leads to abject misery for most and lack of progress for all.

(*) Communism requires a surplus of production and of labour, such that there isn't enough actual work for people to do. This is close to what we now have in western countries - which without adequate backstops in place leads to large amounts of un(der)employment and the political need for "make work" schemes(***)
(In the old days unemployment used to be hidden by hiring people into government service or moving them workseeker to sickness allowances. These options are frequently less available thanks to the breach of the social contract that started with Ronald Reagan's welfare slashing efforts in California in 1970 and gathered pace with California's voting in of proposition 13. That malaise has spread far and wide since then, with the rich getting richer and the poor increasingly being systematically disenfranchised through institutionalised racist and classist policies.)

(**)Standard Oil, AT&T, The Gettys, Railway companies as mentioned above, Boeing (yes really: Look up the history of United Airlines and UATC), various others over the years.

(***) If you start with the notion that a basic allowance will allow creative types to flourish, accept that some people will piss it against the wall and somehow address the raging anti-intellectuallism that's destroying the USA and other countries so that people _want_ to learn, then there's a lot of mileage in it.

The important part is that a just and fair society doesn't let people sleep under bridges or in shelters where there's a high chance of being robbed/beaten/worse. It helps them rather than demonising them.

Interestingly it's pretty clear that violence levels worldwide are at an all-time low, despite what's seen on the news (better media coverage means that stuff that was ignored int he 1970s is big news now) and that tolerance for violence is similarly decreased. Despite rightwing dog whistle calls to the contrary, things _are_ getting better in the long term (as in centuries, not decades) - provided we don't poison ourselves in the next 50 years(****) then there's still hope.

(****) the biggest risk associated with atmospheric CO2 spikes and methane breakouts levels isn't ocean level rises. It's anoxic dieoffs resulting in the extinction of pretty much every land animal larger than 40kg.

Comment Re:Where is the proof-of-concept? (Score 1) 175

"High speed rail in Japan competes directly with domestic air travel. Pricing is very similar and total transit times are roughly the same."

On the east coast of the USA, even Amtrak competes directly with domestic air travel.

The creation of the Boston-Washington rail corridor put a number of shuttle airlines out of business.

In the USA (and canada), your transcontinental railroads are for freight. Everything is geared for freight and that means the lines are unsuitable for passenger use. If you have to build a separate transport system for passenger use the choices between HSR and Hyperloop come with stark cost, energy and speed differences. The problem you have is your mammoth military roading network (the Interstates are first and foremost military transportation corridors) which effectively subsidises trucking operations in a way that entirely-privately-owned USA railroad systems are not (European railway systems are run by governments, not by corporations, with less emphasis on profit and more emphasis on passenger transport. 50-80% subsidies are the norm, which is why rail tickets are so cheap in the EU)

Comment Re:Surely maglev would be better (Score 1) 175

"the Shanghai maglev manages over 300mph"

And spends a huge amount of energy pushing air aside.

As do the newer Japanese HSRs and maglev systems.

Nose shape doesn't actually matter (except to keep the ends on the ground). The vast majority of HSR energy losses come from skin friction along the sides of the train (At 200mph+ it's a very real phenomonenon for HSRs)

If you can partially evacuate a tube and _keep_ it partially evacuated for far less energy than running HSR then the speed is a bonus.

Comment Re:Europeans may not be as stupid as Americans (Score 1) 175

"but in order to do it we are going to build near your homes and then tell you that your property value went up"

Bollocks.

If you build a railway line across open countryside, businesses and homes will be built where they have access to the line and property prices go up from "unimproved" values. Most american railways made more money selling off parcels of land along the lines than from the lines themselves. This method was used in many other countries to incentivise line building (In most cases as soon as they ran out of land to sell, the railways went bust and the lines were nationalised, but the important part of the work had already been done.)

Comment Re:Couple problems (Score 1) 175

"As long as Russia remains a mad dog"

Russia never was. After centuries of being invaded they have a nationalistic tendency to assume the porcupine theory of defense.. It suits Putin and friends very well to play up the western threat to keep the russian population pliable (they myth of the strong man keeping the much richer and more powerful west at bay) and it suits the west to play up the Putin threat to keep us distracted from the hands raiding our pocketbooks.

Comment Re:Couple problems (Score 1) 175

"During that time (after 12 years of construction), we'd probably be hovering above ground with our own vehicles called HoverCraft using autopilot. "

You missed:

Energy consumption. Aircraft and most vehicles have to carry their own energy sources. Hyperloop (and HSR) can have the energy fed in along the length of the line.

Hyperloop is expensive to setup but cheap(ish) to run and FAST. Rail is expensive to setup but expensive to maintain and would be intermediate speed

Air transport is cheap to setup (runways) but expensive to operate (fuel), limited in payload and would be slower than Hyperloop over long distances. Aircraft are inherently fragile due to the need to be lightweight - which hyperloop pods don't need and can therefore be heavy enough to withstand sabotage more easily (armouring aircraft against most bombs is relatively straightforward but the tradeoff is a weight penalty that airlines don't want to pay - and liquid binary explosives are so hard to make that the vibration in an aircraft/train/ship/hyperloop pod is more than sufficient to ensure it will fail.

Energy supply is critical. As the world goes more-electric the amaount of hydrocarbons consumed by aircraft is going to become more and more frowned on. Hyperloop and HSR have the advantage that they can practically be fuelled by renewables or nuclear power (yay LFTRS).

What works (or not) in the USA with its very low population densities outside the coastal areas is entirely different to most of the rest of the world.

I can see a transport structure where HSR feeds into primary hyperloop lines with drayage from there and aircraft only used for transoceanic transport where ships are too slow. The important part becomes the switching systems to get hyperloop pods where they need to go with minimal disruption and transferring between HSR and Drayage with minimal disruption (we all hate airport transfers and even getting on/off HSRs is a pain in the neck as anyone who's had to change trains at Paris or Brussels will attest.)

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