Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2008:February:22 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2008/2/22 [Uncategorized] UID:49212 Activity:nil
2/21    triple flusher this morning
2008/2/22-25 [Politics/Domestic/President/Reagan, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:49213 Activity:high
2/21    Isn't it weird that assassinated or attempted assassinated
        presidents are usually portrayed as good presidents in
        media, books, etc? Do we EVER say bad things to people in their
        obituaries? I mean, if president Nixon was assassinated, would
        we say nicer things today?
        \_ Well thank god no one tried anything funny on George W Bush,
           otherwise he'd be known as a great President.        -Democrat
        \_ Counterexample: Gerald Ford.  -tom
           \_ listen up tom holub, the key word is usually
           \_ I'm not sure Ford is a good example, his obits seem
              And the only real "bad thing" I've ever heard
              about Ford that I've heard (from non-kooks) is that
              he was klutzy.
              And the only really "bad thing" I've ever heard re
              Ford (from non-kooks) is that he was klutzy.
              \_ Ford was ineffectual.  Obits are never negative; even
                 Nixon got transformed into a respected elder statesman.  -tom
                 \- Notes on the Passing of an American Monster:
                    There were plenty of negative comments upon the death
                    of the Indonesian Crook Suharto.
                    There were plenty of negative comments about
                    Benazir Bhutto. By Shashi Tharoor, William Darymple etc.
                    Not a pol but see:
                    YMWTFG(samuel johnson lapidary)
                    YMWTGF(samuel johnson lapidary)
                    You guys dont know what you are talking about.
                 \_ Nixon just looks better relative to the current disaster
                    in chief.  They are both crooks but I don't remember Nixon
                    accused of being incompetent and/or intellectually stunted.
                    \- i have kind of a soft spot for nixon [and musharaf]
                       but it is kinda hard to compare W and RMN because
                       the time have changed. for example W would never make
                       the times have changed. for example W would never make
                       the kinds comments to Condi about being black as Nixon
                       did to SuperK about being jewish. but of course SAGENEW
                       never shot an old man in the face and then got him to
                       apologize to the country.
        \_ I hear "A Legacy of Ashes" isn't kind to JFK, but I haven't read
           it yet.
           \_ key word: usually
              \_ This may be the best motd meme since "obviously you've
                 never served."
        \_ "Richard Nixon, hero of his age, began the long painful draw down
           of troops which later led to the end of the Vietnam conflict, also
           responsible for opening China to the West, ending the long cold war
           with our former foe, he shall always be remembered as the greatest
           American President of his era before he was assassinated by unknown
        \_ Pinochet had some pretty mixed obituaries, but no I have never
           seen a bad one for an assassinated US President. You might be
           able to find one written by a foreign newspaper.
           \_ I was in Santiago the day Pinochet died:
        \_ Reagan was attempted assassination, and supposedly he was a bad
           \_ He defeated an EVIL communist regime and his STAR WARS
              legacy helped us advance our space programs. He is an
              all American HERO and a nice looking actor.
                \_ Thanks to Star Wars we got to shoot down a sattelite.
                   And the fact that the weather cooperated.
                   \_ ... and the fact that the satellite is in a lower
                      altitude than normal orbiting ones.
                      \_ But not lower than an ICBM.
2008/2/22-26 [Politics/Domestic/California, Politics/Domestic/911] UID:49214 Activity:nil
2/22    House GOP plaigarizes new season of 24:
        \_ Dude this is awsome!
           \_ Yeah, they've got the Jerry Bruckheimer vote in the bag.
        \_ key word: usually
2008/2/22-26 [Transportation/PublicTransit] UID:49215 Activity:high
2/22    How much does rail cost per mile as compared to a road both for
        design and acquisition and also ongoing maintenance?
        \_ How many lanes of a road?  What's the price of land?  Land for one
           lane-mile of road is certainly cheaper in rural Nebraska than in
           Bay Area.  Of course the same applies to rail too, but rail
           ususally occupies much less land.
           usually occupies much less land.
           \_ key word!
           \_ Assume the land cost is not an issue. You are going to build
              on land you already own. As for how many lanes, something
              functionally equivalent. 2 lanes for a line going nowhere
              and maybe 12 lanes for a main artery. For sake of argument
              assume a 4 lane road (2 each direction) versus 2 tracks (1
              each direction).
              each direction), but if you can compare each lane of road
              with each line of track that's just as good.
              \_ Why would you assume land cost is not an issue?  A 10-lane
                 freeway takes 3-4 times as much land as a dual-track rail
                 \_ Because it's not one of my assumptions? I don't want
                    the cost of land to complicate things, because then
                    you get into tunnels versus surface and all kinds of
                    other issues. Assume that the land is not part of the
                    cost and we can add it in later if need be.
                    cost and we can add it in later.
                 \_ Until one of those tracks is blocked and the whole rail
                    line stops for most of the day leaving all passengers
                    stuck.  You really need 3 tracks to avoid that problem
                    but you'll never get 3 tracks in the real world.
                    \_ An overturned truck can also block all lanes of one
                       direction of a freeway.  It happened on 101S in Redwood
                       City on Jan 29.  What's worse is that it also
                       significantly slowed down 101N which was not blocked at
                       all because of its spectator value.  A stopped train
                       direction of a freeway.  It happened on 101 in Redwood
                       City on Jan 29.  What's worse is that a freeway accident
                       in one directory also slows down the other direction
                       because of its spectator value.  A stopped train
                       blocking a track doesn't slow down trains on the track
                       in the opposite direction.
                       \_ I'm on a train.  It stops.  I'm fucked.  I'm in my
                          car.  There's a problem on the bridge.  Unless I'm
                          already on the bridge I can turn off and go another
                          way, go home, go to Starbuck's, etc.  If the train
                          was your only means of transportation, then you and
                          everyone else are 100% stuck, even people who have
                          not left home yet.  Car mobility >>> train mobility.
                          \_ How often does this actually happen? I can imagine
                             all kinds of catastrophies that effect cars more
                             often than a grade seperated train, in fact that
                             often than a grade separated train, in fact that
                             is how it actually works in the real world. The
                             variability for driving from Antioch -> SF is
                             much higher than it is for taking BART.
                             train reliability >>>> car reliability
                             train safety >>>>> car safety
                             \_ Anecdote: I took Amtrak in December.  The
                                train was stopped for 5 hours because someone
                                decided to end his life by getting drunk and
                                sitting on the tracks.  I was told this happens
                                a fair bit around Christmas time.  Of course
                                they had to stop the train for the
                                investigation team to get there, and also to
                                change the engineers (who had a right to a
                                'vacation' since they basically ended a human
                                life and couldn't stop it). -- ilyas
                                \_ Obviously, you don't commute to/from
                                   Los Angeles and suburbs on the 405,
                                   the 101, the 10, like most of the
                                   \_ According to this Keanu Reeves movie I
                                      saw once, one is to stay off LA freeways.
                                        -- ilyas
                                \_ Anecdote: I routinely drive from SF to
                                   Sacramento to visit the in-laws. Twice out
                                   of the last five trips, a 70 minute drive
                                   took four hours, for no reason that I could
                                   figure out. I decided that henceforth, I
                                   would rather spend 2 1/2 hrs on the train
                                   than 4 hours stuck in traffic, especially
                                   since I have a toddler that would rather
                                   run around than be stuck in a car seat. Plus,
                                   my chance of getting killed by some bad
                                   driver is much, much lower. And it costs
                                   run around than be stuck in a car seat.
                                   Plus, my chance of getting killed by some
                                   bad driver is much, much lower. And it costs
                                   about the same either way.
                          \_ If you are stuck on a train it's usually a lot
                             nicer than being stuck in a car, or in stop+go.
                             Unless you are in some fancy car with a chauffeur,
                             Then again, thinking of my old BART experience and
                             the weird people that sometimes shared my train
                             car, I might rethink this position.
                       \_ I was stuck on the Bay Bridge for five hours when
                          a truck fire closed it.
                          \- me too. it took 20min to drive through the
                             tunnel. people were running out of gas, falling
                             alseep etc.
        \_ Rail is much cheaper to operate in a per passenger mile kind of way,
           but I don't know about in a mile kind of way. That question doesn't
           but I don't know about in a mile kind of way. You question doesn't
           really make sense, since an unused freeway or railway costs less
           to maintain.
           \_ If it's unused it still costs the same, at least the rail
              does, because it still needs to run regularly whether ridership
              is low or not. Maybe highways cost a lot less to maintain with
              less use. Not sure. You can assume both are used at full
              capacity if it produces some numbers. I know rail is cheaper per
              passenger mile if every train is full, but that's not my
              question. Also, there's still the whole part about the cost to
              build if you can't answer the maintenance question. I
              suspect that roads cost the government less, because a big part
              of the costs (the vehicle, fuel, and even some construction
              via fuel taxes) are paid for by private parties. How does
              this compare with the fares paid versus the rail costs? Two
              numbers fall out, which are overall cost and cost to the
              government. I suspect overall cost is higher for roads, but
              cost to the government is higher for rail.
              \_ That's a matter of the choices we make.  We could make
                 drivers pay the full cost and tax to pay for rail, instead
                 of the other way around, if we wanted to.  One could argue
                 that that is the morally defensible position.  -tom
                 \_ I think the goal should be for the government to pay
                    as little as possible and let the free market decide
                    which makes more sense. These calculations are
                    difficult, but the markets can find the efficiency.
                    End all subsidies to rail and roads and see where you
                    end up. I suspect in most places it will be roads and
                    no rail system.
                    \_ That's an ideological stance; do you have any facts
                       to support it?  It is well known that markets do
                       a poor job of pricing externalities like pollution.
                       And in places where drivers pay a larger portion of
                       the cost of driving than they do in the U.S., they
                       drive less and have better rail systems.  -tom
                       \_ Better question: Do you have any evidence that
                          command economies do a better job than the free
                          market, because there's a lot of evidence to the
                          \_ There is plenty of evidence that countries which
                             fund more infrastructure centrally have better
                             infrastructure.  This should be obvious.  -tom
                             \_ Well, duh. But is that the right choice?
                             \_ That's not what he asked.
                                \_ What he asked is a straw man; I'm not
                                   arguing for a command economy.  -tom
                                   \_ Yes, you are when you are advocating
                                      determining what the market is or
                                      should be instead of letting the
                                      free market handle the problem.
                                      \_ The free market cannot handle the
                                         problem; the free market will choose
                                         the solution with the greatest
                                         cost externality.  At the very least
                                         you need the government to
                                         internalize the costs so a market
                                         is plausible.  -tom
                                         \_ Oh, I think the free market can
                                            handle it just fine. Why do
                                            you think otherwise?
                                            \_ how about, the work of various
                                               mathematicians and economists
                                               which shows that the free
                                               market is inefficient when
                                               dealing with externalized
                                               costs?  -tom
                                               \_ Which externalized costs
                                                  do you think are relevant
                                                  \_ The cost of fuel
                                                     acquisition and the
                                                     effects of pollution,
                                                     for two.  -tom
                                            \_ Maybe you could provide one real
                                               world example of that happening.
                                               \_ Yes, the free market has
                                                  been an unmitigated disaster,
                                                  \_ Just answer the question,
                                                     if you can. We both know
                                                     there are no such examples,
                                                     and it has been a failure
                                                     when tried. Well maybe you
                                                     are so ignorant of history
                                                     you don't know the latter.
                                                     Show me a free market
                                                     example of a working
                                                     transportation system.
                                                     \_ Well, ocean and air
                                                        lines... they don't
                                                        need to build the
                                                        tracks/roads, only use
                                                        When has a free market
                                                        transportation system
                                                        been tried, in a
                                                        country that wasn't
                                                        impoverished or in
                                                        some anarchic state?
                                                        \_ An anarchic state
                                                           would be ideal for
                                                           the free market to
                                                           create solutions,
                                                           right?  -tom
                                                           \_ What a stupid
                                                              comment. -- ilyas
        \_ $1 billion dollar per mile 3-stop train in China town!  trains woot!
           \_ Big Dig: $14.6B for 7 miles of road in Boston! Carz rule!
              \_ Exactly.  Thanks for providing an excellent example of why
                 we don't want government messing with anything it doesn't
                 have to.
                 \_ yeah, because private industry was chomping at the bit to
                    run a project like the Big Dig.  Not to mention the now
                    $6 billion Bay Bridge project.  Oh wait, all those cost
                    overruns were due to private contractors; funny, that. -tom
                    \_ Point is that if private industry didn't want to
                       do it then maybe there's a reason for that and it
                       shouldn't have been done.
                       \_ The reason is that private industry does things
                          which are profitable, not things which are needed.
                          \_ If it's needed then there is profit in it.
                             Otherwise, people don't really want it. Why
                             do you insist on telling people what they want?
                             \_ I want to breathe clean air, where is the
                                market for that?
                                \_ Have you seen ozonizers? Filters?
                                   Companies are working hard to capitalize
                                   on your the demand with alternative
                                   fuel vehicles, fuels, and so on. It's
                                   not an easy problem to solve but the
                                   market will solve it.
                                   \_ Wow... amazing...
                          Private industry would never have replaced the
                          eastern span of the Bay Bridge; it's more profitable
                          to run it the way it is.  Do you think the Bay Area
                          will be better off with a bridge that will survive
                          an earthquake?  What is the value of being able to
                          travel easily from Oakland to San Francisco?  -tom
                          \_ You are talking about building codes now,
                             which is ridiculous. Sure, I agree that the
                             government should safeguard the health of its
                             citizens to some degree. (I oppose mandatory
                             cycle helmets, but applaud meat inspectors.)
                             However, the bridge was just fine for 65
                             years. It might make more sense to just
                             operate it until it eventually collapses in a
                             disaster. I haven't seen any actuarial
                             tables, but hopefully someone did that study
                             and how it made more financial sense to
                             replace it first.
                          travel easily from Oakland to San Francisco?  -tom
        \_ So no one has any numbers? What are you basing your opinions
           on then? Some numbers would be nice and much more convincing
           than this socialist bullshit about how the government knows best
           how to spend our dollars. If I want to build a transit system
           that goes from San Diego to LA over land that I own then how
           much will it cost to do rail vs. road?
           \_ I know wher to get the numbers, but I am not willing to waste my
           \_ I know where to get the numbers, but I am not willing to waste my
              time arguing with a fool. You can use Google as well as I can.
              \_ But Google has a liberal bias!
              \_ Just post them. No need to argue if you don't want. The
                 numbers should drive your point home w/o need for any
                 arguing, hence the original (and unsatisfied) request.
                 If you show me it costs 50% of the cost of a road to install
                 a rail system with similar capacity then I'm on board with it.
           \_ You may wish to see:
              that whole website is chock full of transit info
              A Conservative Critique of 12 Anti-Transit Myths
              \_ No one is disputing rail can be effective. Is it *cost*
                 effective? The "myths" article did a very poor job with
                 that particular "myth" (and some others, too). For
                 instance, can you replace all roads with rail? No? What % can
                 you replace? How does that % compare to the % spent on rail?
                 It's useless to know the total $$$ spent on roads. If everyone
                 decided to commute by rail tomorrow then how much more
                 needs to be spent on enhancing and maintaining the rail
                 system? How much would still need to be spent on roads
                 regardless? This is the kind of analysis I never see done.
                 That is why I am in favor of the free market sorting it
                 out. Every individual's decision will contribute to an
                 efficient collective decision. If you are going to dictate
                 transport then you need to do a real freaking analysis
                 and it won't be easy.
                 \_ Los Angeles is a perfect example of a free-market
                    style of creating a city. City planning is too much work,
                    so why don't we let the developers build wherever they
                    want, whenever they want, and the rest of the solutions
                    will come later. Is this Los Angeles your idea of
                    free market utopia?
                    \_ Forget it, Jake.  It's Chinatown.
                       \_ What about Chinatown?
                 \_ We get it.  You have an ideology.  Thanks for playing. -tom
2008/2/22 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Politics/Domestic/President] UID:49216 Activity:nil
2/22    GOP lobbyist Charlie Black now conducting most of his business from
        on board the Straight Talk Express
2008/2/22-26 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Politics/Domestic/President/Reagan] UID:49217 Activity:nil
2/22    So when will we know who'll be on the ballot for sure?
        \_ After both conventions are over.
           \_ Where the front runners don't have enough delegates in either
              party and they appoint Reagan vs. Gore.
              \_ Stocked up on crack again I see?
                 \_ Just because both men are dead is no reason they can't be
                    their party's candidate.  Dead people vote.  Why can't
                    they run for office?
2008/2/22-26 [Science/Electric] UID:49218 Activity:nil
2/22    Cringley suggests that the switch from lead solder may not have
        been a good idea:
        \_ key word: may
2008/2/22-26 [Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:49219 Activity:nil
2/22    In 2000 and 2004 there were web sites that pointed out a graph
        that showed that States with higher average IQ voted D ("smart
        people voted for Gore and Kerry"), then there were a lot of
        other sites that debunked those charts as urban legend. Where can
        I find a definitive/authoritative source that shows how right/wrong
        those charts were?
        \_ There is no such source.  Causality is hard, and these sorts of
           claims are basically political bullshit. -- ilyas
        \_ "States" don't have an IQ.  People do.  Very few people have ever
           had an IQ test.  IQ tests were originally designed to test children.
           Their application to adults is sketchy at best.  Need to know any
2008/2/22-26 [Politics/Domestic/President/Bush, Reference/Military] UID:49220 Activity:nil
2/22    Bush Pentagon Office Of Public Affairs inserting itself into election
        \_ I'm shocked, shocked
        \_ libural URL alert! Don't believe it unless it's on FoxNews.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2008:February:22 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>