Thursday, January 27, 2011

Transit Woes of Seattle

What's it really COST to build, manage, and use different types of transportation? Rather than opine, simply gaze upon this table of data for a few minutes... [Story at Bottom.]

Link to readable spreadsheet:

Transportation Costs

TYPE Initial Cost Annual Cost* People Cost Origin Trip Cost Typical Distance Cost per Mile Lane USE Cost

Walking 2000000 36000 1 36000.00 120.00 2 60 0.0000277777777777778
Car 2000000 36000 2 18000.00 60.00 26 2.30769230769231 0.0000555555555555556
Bicycle 2000000 36000 1 36000.00 120.00 8 15 0.0000277777777777778
Motorcycle 2000000 36000 1 36000.00 120.00 26 4.61538461538462 0.0000277777777777778
Van 2000000 36000 12 3000.00 10.00 26 0.384615384615385 0.000333333333333333
Bus 2000000 36000 46 782.61 2.61 15 0.173913043478261 0.00127777777777778
Light Rail 180000000 10000000 400 25000.00 83.33 15 5.55555555555556 0.00004
Subway 300000000 20000000 800 25000.00 83.33 31 2.68817204301075 0.00004
Heavy Rail 22000000000 400000000 2000 200000.00 666.67 200 3.33333333333333 0.000005
Charter Air 1200000 800000 120 6666.67 22.22 500 0.0444444444444445 0.00015
Airlines 110000000 60000000 400 150000.00 500.00 1500 0.333333333333333 0.00000666666666666667
Sources for above figures:$.htm

These costs are PER MILE of ROAD or rail, not per car or per train engine. Aircraft costs are thrown in as comparison per AIRLINE, rather than lane. Most airports have multiple airlines. For long distances it is still really the least expensive option. But, walking? That's very expensive when you consider the cost of the pathway, and the fact that the path usually occupies space that could be used for traffic. Recreational paths are not considered, and do not impact traffic.

For example, most of the Burke-Gilman trail occupies easement alongside traffic, and could easily be made into one or two more lanes. Where it goes rural, it's not a commuter route, especially in zones where the "trail" is nothing more than signs and you're just riding in normal streets with traffic or on a sidewalk.

The chart reveals some interesting data, and even though I just cobbled it together from the diverse data I was able to dredge up on various transit pages, it rapidly becomes clear why transportation remains an ongoing problem in the United States.

Facts of the chart:
Walking wastes the most lane space. Many thousands of people would need to use EACH mile to make the cost of NOT using a Bus or Train worthwhile. At best I see a few dozen people per hour on the B&G, and they're mostly cyclists.

Cyclists tend to ride a bus partway and ride the bike partway. That data is nearly impossible to obtain, so I haven't compared it. Cyclists in this chart are assumed to ride the entire commute on a bike. They share a feature with motorcycles - it takes a LOT of them to offset the use of mass transit.

Buses have the 2nd lowest cost per mile based on ridership, but have the highest per lane expense! It's the least efficient form of mass transit. Partly because busing shares lanes with traffic, and even the largest buses only hold a few dozen people, but also because of the fuel and maintenance costs buses are grossly inefficient. This chart ignores that mechanical cost though and simply looks at per use cost or passenger efficiency. Busing is worse than any other mode of transit.

Vans and Airlines are both cost effective, but Vans are 2nd worst at passenger efficiency, while airlines are the best choice possible.

Cars and Motorcycles have a higher per mile cost, but are far more passenger efficient. This should come as no surprise to anyone who would rather drive to work alone than ride a bus or carpool.

Light rail costs the most per mile, but has the 3rd highest passenger efficiency, only after both modes of flight. It's the most efficient ground transportation possible.

These figures are not considering gas prices, ticket costs, or any single-use factor. These are facts concerning the construction and maintenance costs of a SYSTEM, and how well that SYSTEM serves the public. An aircraft carrying 400 people is better than 1 person in a car if the destinations are similar. However, the car is better than any other mode of transit for flexibility and costs [road costs, not car costs!]

Buses and trains are hugely expensive systems, and of the two only a train has the carry capacity to offset that cost. Busing has ALWAYS been subsidized by the state and rarely makes any money. That is why you don't have bus lines going right by your house in a rural area. The density of an area has to be HIGH for a bus to be cost effective.

Still, cities rely on busing primarily because it puts more people to work [repairs, drivers, and maintenance] than any other system except an airport. Many cities rely on the state subsidies given for busing, thus their reluctance to develop better systems.

Trains actually have far fewer maintenance and staffing requirements than any other system, and serve the greatest number of people, but not as rapidly as aircraft can. The greater the distance, the more useful it is to fly. [At least until Mag-Lev is developed and widespread.]

As our nation grows more tightly packed, with an excess of 300 million people in America now, the need for additional infrastructure for both transit and employment are more important than ever before. Obama was right to demand a nation wide rail system.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Iran was never a threat, and the US knows it.

What's a threat to the US isn't Iran, or Iraq, or Afghanistan. It's any nation that doesn't swallow the national "party line" without resistance, and that line is "let our corporations plunder your nation." In Iran's case, firm commitments by Russia and China hinder any attempt by the USA to enter that nation and create more war.[1]

America got Iraq, Russia gets Iran. That's the deal that was cut long before America went after Saddam for a crime he never committed, for weapons that the US never sold him. Funny that the United States never charged Saddam with having the weapons that the US DID sell him. Iraq was nearly 70% funded by the US military industrial complex. His only mistake was seeking full independence from - The United States.

It's hard to read the news today, because every Western paper is shouting hate at China, even the best and most "literary" papers are broadcasting the corporate dogma of "China is evil." Why? Just because they won't let America bleed it dry? China has better human rights than America does at this point. America still executes children, the mentally ill, and people who are known to be innocent. America invades nations that have done nothing, not just not attacking America, but posing no threat to America whatsoever. America still creates, sponsors, and controls terrorist states. America has overthrown Democracies, and admits doing so. China has done none of these things.[2]

Here is what an American military tribunal will get you: Four innocent men sent to prison for life without parole. That's the best justice America has to offer. Professional conviction by high ranking military experts. Review of the case? Oh yeah, they're completely innocent.[3]

America continues to spout increasing record levels of propaganda, far eclipsing both the Nazi war propaganda and the USSR information campaign by a factor of about 40. It's less than 100, but more than 20, and accuracy is very difficult in calculating the extents of this volcano of B.S. The lies are so far-reaching, so constant, that it's like trying to divide by zero.[4]

Hermes is hardly neutral, they read like 'birthers' but raise a lot of valid points when you ignore the anti-Obama and anti-Democrat bias. Most anti-American sites tend to be wingnuts, right? No, actually. Xinhua, the Register, the WSJ, the Guardian, and other newspapers are not at all wingnuts. These are Progressive Liberal Press. Fiscal conservative organs of a commercial media, with a socially liberal bias. One would actually expect them to be pro-America. In general, they are.

The WSJ? Yes, apart from the editorials, the reporting is very excellent and largely liberal, which is to state, most clearly, that they give credit to both sides of an issue - to a fault. Few issues really have ONLY two sides, and rarely are all sides of equal weight. The "liberal press" flaw is that they polarize issues.[5]

If you want to read actual liberal press, and not commercial media, you need to read and sites like it that accurately document history, review ethical processes, and don't parrot the State Dogma. For an idea of how difficult this task is, just finding "real" news, check the wiki article on media ownership[6].

You will be largely limited to small, nonprofit, independent press. But, that's how newspapers started, you say? Well, sort-of. The history of the press in the USA is also mostly B.S. Few were ever neutral, independent, or even at all honest. Many newspapers originating in the West based their entire business on selling lies. It's only since the dawn of the internet that truly free press has arisen.[7]

It is free, liberal, and specialty news websites like groklaw and news lists like reddit that aid the distribution of more factual information in the United States, where turning on the Television is akin to strapping yourself in for a voluntary lobotomy.[8] Unpaid individuals who profit mostly from web banner ads and tee shirt sales are the true investigative reporters of America since the internet began to distribute news.

Dan Rather, the "Last American Journalist" was fired for reporting on the WTC demolition. He was literally thrown out of his job and threatened with arrest. His new site is one of very few liberal media websites still in existence, as the word "Professional" also usually means "Owned." Dan is the last of the un-owned journalists.[9]

Back now to my point about China, and why I love to use Xinhua. The China Daily newspaper, despite being a party-owned Chinese media, is more accurate, more fair, and more often prints actual facts about China than nearly any other press. It certainly does a better job of reporting on China than any Corporate Media in the US does![10]

American politicians and media talk tough, constantly criticize China, and are unforgiving Christians. The facts are that China has a growing robust economy based on a scientifically designed blueprint for government. China has had NO RECESSION. That economy does NOT fluctuate the way America's does. Why not? Because China controls it. The "World Wide Recession?" That's the Western World, not the GLOBE. It's not even close to being a world recession. Only the Western Banking has failed, and cost their governments Trillions.

China has seen nothing but growth for decades now, and is heading into position to become the primary, and possibly ONLY, world power. By 2020, The US will be a sad shadow of its former glory, and is already fading fast. Chinese military spending and economic strength will surpass the United States within five years at the current rate. Some economists say three years. Who says China is already the world's number one power? Americans do.[11]

Also, the facts say it too.[12] The total GDP of the planet Earth is 74 Trillion a year. The US produces 14, China is a close 2nd with 10. Japan has 4. No other nation is even close. So how is China ahead? I've said it before, America has massive debts that are not calculated into the GDP. China holds very little debt. When you add in debt, China has been ahead of the USA for at least three years now. China has one fifth the debt of America proportionately.[13]

When you add in the fact that America is growing at 2%, not counting debt of 12%, and China is growing at 10%, China is winning and quickly. You can do the math in your head. Point 1 times 14 is .14, doubled for 2 percent is .28, and then added back to 14 is only 14.28 for the US in 2011. Now do China. See? How fast they overtake America is largely influenced by debts and the banking industry, and whose banking industry is rock stable right now? China. I'd be investing in Chinese advertising companies, if I were you. You have at best, five years to learn how.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Bill, you "dun goofed."

MSFT is taking a hard right turn, right for a cliff.

ARM processors are very well coded for, by a host of far-reaching, widely experienced software systems, of which MSFT has zero ability to compete with. MSFT typically needs three service packs to stabilize any offering that's ever been released by the company. Most corporations won't touch a MSFT product until at least SP1 is released, as that is generally viewed as the non-beta version.

The 12 year development window of MSFT doesn't bode well for their desire and direction in the ARM market, a fiercely competitive, and quickly changing market that's trounced AT&T, Qwest, and others. Little upstart cell phone companies like Cingular came along and kicked their asses, literally taking control of the market, and buying out AT&T.

The little companies are quick, viciously competitive, capable, and above all: talented. MSFT can't claim any of those titles. MSFT code is burdensome, huge, buggy, and prone to failure. Intel, MSFT's longest and best partner, and taken to publicly outing MSFT for failure to fix problems in all the Windows OS versions.

Intel isn't a nice company, but they know business, and despite anti-trust and even RICO problems with Intel, they know how to make chips. When they tell you to reduce the size of something to get it to run on their chip, you'd be an idiot to ignore the request. MSFT has ignored pleas from Intel for more than a decade now on streamlining the Windows bloated OS.

Even "CE", "7", and other specialized versions of the MSFT fleet of bloatware are huge when compared to the fast, not-crashing, and above all tiny software of competitors. RIM came along and trounced the phone industry, and spurned MSFT products as "useless." They based the Blackberry OS on a proprietary incarnation of Unix, and it still rocks. I use a "BB" and do not own an "iPhone." I love Apple, but the primary reasons for choosing RIM remain SECURITY, and COST. RIM's phone's don't leak data to third parties, don't crash, and above all - they don't delete what I've loaded on them. I don't have to pay RIM a fee to customize my phone "desktop" or play music. I can load my own music on the phone as ringtones without paying fees.

MSFT has about a snowball's chance in hell of catching up to RIM, let alone Android!

I don't applaud this because I hate MSFT, rather I applaud this because MSFT needs to experience a serious failure in revenue before it will ever change. In the PC market they colluded with Intel to prevent competition. Both were charged with crimes and convicted. Both Intel and MSFT are anti-trust violators. They CAN NOT function in a free market.

MSFT lacks the speed, agility, and programming talent required to take on either RIM or Google. The software from Redmond is decades behind Unix based OSes. Most people are completely unaware that practically every piece of software now in use on Earth is derived from a version of UNIX.

Microsoft is the lone holdout, because the truth is, Redmond isn't good at programming. They're good at buying up software and absorbing companies, then repackaging that product as their own. Haven't you wondered why Excel, Access, and Word still DO NOT interoperate after more than 18 years? Is TWO DECADES too much time to get an application to cooperate with another application THAT IS RELEASED IN THE SAME PACKAGE?

The reason MS Office won't, and probably never will work very well, is that each of its components were acquired separately, and never designed to work in the Office Suite they're wrapped in. Rather than FIX IT, MSFT took the typical "rewrap" approach and kludged it. To this day you still can not open a Word or Excel file with Access. I had to use custom software to import and export documents when I worked at the US Census's property management office last year. Even files from the SAME product fail to import into a NEWER version of that product.

MSFT's problems are so systemic, so cultural, and so based upon an ability to AVOID competition with lawsuits and no-bid contracts, that in an environment where they can not hold a monopoly, they are doomed.

Don't take my word for it though, read that guy up above. He knows what he's talking about. Or, you can just look at the sales figures. MSFT didn't enter the phone market until years too late, and they've never gained a foothold. Products like Mobil 5, Zune, and the Surface, were all years behind other products that worked better. The consumer never embraced Microsoft, it was forced on them. In the phone market, consumers chose anything but Microsoft, because they had a choice.

I don't expect this to change. You can polish it for 18 years, but a turd is still going to be a turd. I order new computers as either 'bare bones' or 'custom assembled' because not only do I get better pricing, I don't pay for Microsoft.

Some of the best games entering the market in 2010 were web based, and a web based game doesn't know what operating system you're using. It doesn't matter much, except that a good OS will run faster even with web apps. I've never had linux crash. Not once in 21 years. I've never had a virus. Software that doesn't work simply just doesn't work, and linux continues working fine.

People keep predicting the death of the PC, but that's one thing the market gurus have been wrong about for 10 years now. A phone doesn't have a quad-core 3ghz processor, 8 gigs of RAM, 2 terabytes of storage, DVD drives, 22" 1080p monitors, or any of the other large-format hardware that a PC has always used.

When IBM introduces a quantum processor for a phone with a 30" holographic display, datacube memory in the terabytes, and gigabyte wireless, then maybe the PC will begin to slide in popularity. Until then, I'm sipping Starbucks[tm] in my 450.00 task chair. There's a lot to be said for having a nice office, and a good gaming PC.