Posts Tagged ‘High Speed Rail’

Aphorisms, April 2011.

April 28, 2011

 

No Greenhouse, The Tornadoes Blew It Up…

The USA is the country which contributes the most to the emission of CO2, either directly, or indirectly, through its factories in China, fed by the power of radioactive, mercury laced coal.

The most deleterious consequence of CO2 emissions is the acidification of the oceans, which are turned into carbonic acid, according to the exact same reaction which makes all carbonated drinks interesting.

Another consequence of the CO2 poisoning of the biosphere is the rise of atrociously bad weather, as the energy pumped into the atmosphere goes up. That makes the atmosphere, well, much more energetic.

North America and Eurasia are the only continents which spread appreciably from the polar regions to the tropics. The continents do not have the thermal inertia and conductivity of the oceans, so air masses passing over continents are not rendered mild, as they are above the oceans. However, Eurasia has gigantic mountain ranges enforcing a continuous separation between the glacial north and the hot south. Those ranges spread from the Pyrenées in the West to unknown ranges in Eastern Siberia. The polar and tropical air masses are thus segregated in Eurasia.

In the USA, mountain ranges are absent in the Middle West, so polar air can battle hot humid air from the gulf of Mexico. As the greenhouse gets worse, the death toll in the heartland of the USA keeps on climbing. More than 300 dead on the outbreak of April 27-28, 2011.

An aggravating  factor is that so many American citizens live in so called “mobile homes”, shacks which were once on wheels, and have no basement (to take shelter in). Only Gypsies live in such conditions in Europe. And even then, not really, that would be unlawful. so the Gypsies mobile homes are still mounted on wheels, ready to take off before the local authorities get really irked.

Thus, the socio-economic organization of the USA is directly  at fault in the tornado massacres: too much of a consumer, debt driven economy (bringing the CO2 up, and the infrastructure down), too much dire poverty (hey, we want the rich to boast of their “philanthropy”, with their 17% tax rates, and no taxes on inheritance).

What is the plutocracy going to do about it? Don’t hold your breath. Probably pay some Stanford or Harvard professors to go around the Main Stream Media, to claim that the rise of energy in the atmosphere has nothing to do with tornadoes.

***

At War With China & Pakistan?

The Main Stream Media report that Pakistan has been urging Afghanistan to switch alliances from the USA led NATO to the holy alliance of the Taliban, Pakistan and China.

I have said all along that such was the real threat. But now it’s a problem, and it’s in the open.

What do these three have in common? Dictatorship. In other words forms of plutocracy which Lenin was not aware of when he was still healthy, and became suspicious of only when he was on his death bed, and (ex bank robber and terrorist) Stalin had taken control of the Soviets.

***

Syria, Or Why Tyrants Love Tyrants:

Some have protested that the leading democracies attack the bloody Libyan dictatorship just for its oil, instead of the blood it spilled over the last 42 years.  

But not so. First Libya does not have that much oil. It should be enough to give all 8 million Libyans a good life, for a little while longer, but Libya is not Saudi Arabia. Libyan peak oil is soon, Saudi peak oil not before another 15 years or so, and at considerably higher rate of extraction.

Politically; the French succeeded to persuade China, Russia and Brazil to not stand in the way at the United nations. The French have important high technology transfer programs with them all (nuclear submarine with Brazil, nuclear power plants with China, aircraft carrier/command ship and high speed trains with Russia). Economic ties (gas, cars, steel) are also playing an important role (even with India). But now Britain, France, and the USA “shall not rest” until Gaddafi is out.

So the muscular regimes or dictatorships, or plutocracies who have no love for their own minorities, and want to keep on cracking down in all serenity, have now understood the danger of democracy spreading. They object strongly to threats against Assad and his dictatorial system, because they know they are next. So this time, whatever the French want, they will try to veto them at the UN on intervening in Syria.

But of course, by the time France decided to intervene  in Libya, Gaddafi had killed thousands already, and Assad is not yet there. Once he gets there, and he will, the West, and democrats in general, will be better able to distinguish friend from foe, and the cleverly righteous from the stupid cowards…

***

 

Creeping Irrationality.

As the Roman empire matured, degenerating ever more, irrationality gained. Ever more. The same process can be observed nowadays. Why so?

Our leaders, the plutocrats, and their sycophants, are uncommon. By definition. Anything having to do with the commons is antagonist to them. Common sense is not just their enemy, but thoroughly alien.

There they go, per the grace of their god. What should they fear? Revolution? There will be no revolution as long as the debate is not about the true problems. So, instead of talking about the corruption of the political system by high finance, and the feeding of high finance with common tax money, or the collusion of international plutocracy with the dictatorships, the propaganda makes it so that the Main Stream Media talks of other things: overstretched Medicare in the USA, overstretched peripheral economies in Europe.

***

Is America Tribal? Or Just Rendered Stupid?

So Obama went on his knees, and produced the “long form” of his birth certificate. Trump, the plutocrat, proclaimed victory.

It is interesting how, 150 years after the Secession War, Americans are still basking in the glory of having a two track citizenship. There are real Americans, those, born in the USA, who can become president. And then there are second rate citizens, who can be deported, and are not good enough for the US presidency.

Let me be clear here: the worst problem is not with republicans. Most of these, in polls, did not believe that Obama was born in the USA. This showed, as usual, that most republicans have a diminished sense of reality. The worst problem was with the left wing media, which did not realize that, by being indignant about where Obama was born, they made the point of the racists, and the partisans of the “us versus them” mentality. Why? Because it OUGHT not to matter where Obama was born. And, moreover, on the letter of the law, it did not matter. So the left argued as an extreme right, while thinking of itself as, well, on the left!

So much for human rights, and equality! It is alarming to see that, 150 years after the Secession War, people still do not seem to understand that violating the neighbor’s rights violate their own, and that the tribalism of geographical origins is nothing to defend.

Let’s notice in passing that Sarkozy, the French president, himself the son of an immigrant from Hungary, suggested that naturalized citizens ought to have fewer judicial rights. But the outraged reaction of French public opinion, and of French democratic institutions, such as the Constitutional Court, made Sarkozy gave up completely on the idea. Having entertained it brought down Sarkozy in the polls, as low as a French president ever got. 

What is particularly grotesque is that millions of American parents have lived overseas, giving birth to American Untermenschen… Even if the families of each parent had been American for generations. And still most Americans and the Main Stream Media consider them to be a lower caste.

Oh, and what does the Constitution of the USA say?

The Constitution reads as follows: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States

The US Constitution does not say you have to be born INSIDE the USA to be a natural born Citizen.  Actually John Mc Cain was born in Panama. True, the US Supreme Court messed up the “natural born” common law idea by deciding at some point that Native Americans were not Americans. (That was rescinded in 1924.)

Barack Obama’s mother was a citizen, a child of two natural born citizens who always lived in the USA. She lived in the USA for more than seventeen years before his birth. That made Barack Obama a natural born Citizen no matter where he was born. One would think.

Hence, Obama is a natural born citizen from two independent criteria. So why to talk about this non subject with so much enthusiasm for so long? Either the Main Stream Media is stupid, or wants people to be stupid, or both.

***

How democracy Turns Plutocratic:

A democracy is as wealthy as the many who compose it. It is complicated to keep people individually well provided for. That is a seduction of plutocracy: only the wealth of the few matter matters, and they call that an economy. And how does plutocracy happen? By transferring wealth from the many, to the few. The few (oligoi) manage (nomos) the house (eco), and the many are left to live in the outhouse. There we go.

What we have now is more a politically driven phenomenon than an economic one. The fact that the presidents of the USA, for decades, have been immensely wealthy men, and similarly for most of the American Senate and Congress, has a lot to do with it. The extent of that corruption is different from that occurring in normally functioning democracies.

***

Geological Realism Against Unreal Plutocracy:

The entire Pacific plate seems to be on the move. From archeogeological studies, we know that the 9 Richter Cascadia quake entails a San Andrea quake south.

And look at the geography of California: it sure appears as if the land West Of the San Andrea fault, a part of the Pacific Plate compacted by the American plate, periodically falls into the ocean. How nice a tsunami does that make?

Although the San Andrea is classified as a “transform” fault (sideways motion), clearly the entire West Coast is, overall, a massive subduction zone, a giant pile up (a plate is sinking below another, never to be seen again).

Indeed the American plate heads westward ever more, crushing and… subducting the Pacific plate. As proven by the volcanic range which extends from British Columbia to Mexico, including on the way the massive Long Valley Caldera.

So the fact that the Pacific plate one moves north westward does not make the overall subduction go away. Whatever geologists say. But of course, if the geologists assert that no subduction quakes can happen in California, they ingratiate themselves to the powers that be, and their departments will be well funded. Reciprocally, should their insinuations irritate the powers that be, they will be, at best, ignored. At worst, their departments will get de-funded.

Farfetched? Exaggerated? How many tsunamis do you need to be warned? Japan was hit by three massive tsunamis in 30 years prior to 2011. It was known that the Senai plain had been hit in 860 CE by a tsunami, which went four miles inland. How many miles do you need?

Geologist Shishikura and his colleagues told the government. The powerful Trade Ministry dismissed the evidence. Trading first, tsunamis cannot be traded. Nuclear power plants were left by the sea, defended only by sea walls corresponding to recent wave activity. Fukushima had a 5 meter wave, so they put a 5.5 meter wall. When the tsunami came, it was 15 meters.  

Thus, ultimately, expect a Richter 10 quake along the West North American coast someday (after all, there was a 9.6 Richter quake in Chili, in 1960, same plate, similar situation).

But 10 Richter quakes are not something plutocracy has to worry about (its recent, expensive homes being the most capable of resisting quakes). it has only to worry about geologists, engineers and construction types working hard. If they work so hard, who would pay for them? The plutocracy. And that is insufferable. The plutocracy does not need arrogant geologists and engineers with their science, and , contractors with their big muscles.

The plutocracy needs valet parking, servants, servers, valets, private security, goons, sycophants and paid escorts.

Thus West Coast media and politicians ignore the quake danger, they are paid to ignore the danger, however indirectly, another aspects of neglect and complacency which has its root in the class structures of the USA.

***

Riling Against High Speed Rail Because Is Where The Money Is:

University professors play an important role in fabricating an ideology compatible with the plutocracy in power. Under the USSR, professors were generally in the pocket of power. When Sakharov, or Solzhenitsyn turned against their masters, they  were rare exceptions who proved the rule.

A week or so ago, a Stanford professor blasted High Speed trains in the USA, claiming that, worldwide, only two Very High Speed lines are profitable. One in France, the Paris-Lyon line, one in Japan, the Osaka-Tokyo line. I don’t know about Japan, but the statement is blatantly false about France.

This is subtle ideology transfer. The gross message: “High Speed Rail is bad”, is accompanied by disinformation, if not lies. Indeed  the definition of High Speed Rail is 300 km/h in France, but only 200 km/h in the USA. Most of the French main lines go at 200 km/h. Most are profitable (SNCF, a private company, being overall profitable, although most of its mileage is internally subsidized  small lines in the boondocks).

In truth, France’s very high speed lines are profitable. So much so, most use double deck trains. The Paris-Lyon-Marseilles, Paris-London, Paris-Brussels  lines are very profitable. New lines are established with a mixture of private and local state financing, and would not be engaged in, if not guaranteed profitable (the local city will not sink municipal funds into nothingness).

Electric trains fed by nuclear power have at most 3% of the CO2 production of other means of transportation. Something to keep in mind next time very warm air mixes with cold air in the neighborhood.

***

Patrice Ayme

High Speed Rail Versus High Idiocy

March 1, 2011

NO GOD BUT DEATH, AND REGRESSION IS ITS PROPHET.

Will Is Less Important Than Intelligence.

***

George Will, a very well known salaried propagandist of the established American plutocratic order, condemns trains (“Why Liberals Love Trains, Feb 27, 2011). Never mind that most trade in the USA is carried by profitable trains, and that roads get more than 100 billion dollars of subsidies a year. I must admit that only private jets should get government subsidies, in a well designed plutocracy. Whines Will:

“So why is America’s “win the future” administration so fixated on railroads, a technology that was the future two centuries ago? Because progressivism’s aim is the modification of (other people’s) behavior.
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.”

Will’s editorial is full of idiocies, and outright lies. For example he claims that only one high speed train lines is profitable in France. That is false. The Paris-Lyon-Marseilles, and Paris-London, and Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam lines are highly profitable. So are well less known lines as Paris-Geneva, etc.

The lines are so profitable that air service between some cities, such as between Paris and Brussels has disappeared. The same phenomenon is observed in other European countries. On Madrid–Sevilla, high speed rail has reduced air travel from 40% to 10%. Air service has also disappeared between some German cities, due to high speed trains, and the Deutsche Bundesbahn high speed trains operate on TGV Est with SNCF… because high speed rail is so profitable. Studies have shown it is more competitive than air on train travel times of less than 5 hours (that’s 1,000 miles at 300 km/h).

Willful idiocy has no limits: in France, high speed rail is expanding from self financing, without subsidy. The national railway, SNCF, is profitable (see note). Besides, although officially France has less than 2,000 kilometers of high speed rail, that is defined there as 300 km/h. If one includes lines at or above 200 km/h there are much more.

Trains are a lot more empowering and individualistic than planes, as anybody who has travelled by both will recognize — and planes, not cars, are the main alternative to high-speed rail. Besides, what is empowering at driving a car? One becomes a slave to the art of avoiding accidents and respecting all laws and regulations.

But of course when the American elite travels by plane, it is driven to said plane by private limousine, and does not have to suffer the indignities the commoners are submitted to, from barked orders to pat-downs. Then air traffic control, a government subsidy, gives private jets priority over the commons, and they pay just a fraction of the cost of a jumbo jet, although they are as big a problem. Verily, Pluto is supposed to be invisible, and so are the reasons of the plutocrats.

Will is a clever man, indeed. He goes where the money is, and serves who Adam Smith called “the masters of mankind” (and smith said that generations before Karl Marx, since he died in 1790). Clever Will is, but not moral. Clever like a power hungry monkey, who wants the banana all to itself, even when he is already stuffed, rather than sharing it, like a man of brains and taste. Morality is the highest intelligence, but will does not know that.

Or then it is this morality of the elite, that Smith or Sade had condemned in the 18C. Adam Smith put it pretty well in his essays on the “Moral sentiment”, 250 years ago: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”

American individualism, like American exceptionalism, or Hitler’s celebrated attachment to the right of minorities in the name of human rights (one of Hitler’s main electoral platform points, believe it, or not!) are much exaggerated notions. If the American elite is that individualistic, how come most of them think all the same?
By the way, there is a lot of high tech in very high speed trains, especially on steel wheels. Says Krugman: “And there’s the bit about rail as an antiquated technology; try saying that after riding the Shanghai Maglev.”

Maglev has no advantage over steel wheels, but a lot of disadvantages. Maglev uses a lot of light but flammable materials, such as magnesium, little protection against shocks, and extravagantly high magnetic fields. There have been very deadly or spectacular accidents with the two maglev lines (one of them experimental, in Germany; the technology is German; the Germans prefer to use standard high speed rail, with a highest speed of normal trains in normal operations being 400 km/h = 250 mph).

Whereas steel wheels can go wherever there are rails, not so with maglev.
The maglev speed record is just three miles per hour above the (French) high speed, steel wheels, record of 575 kilometers per hour (= 357 mph). At these speeds non trivial shock waves and resonance problems have to be solved. Pantographs maintain contact through electronic piloting.

High Speed Trains are so fast, normal signaling cannot be read. So the trains are robotized: they brake automatically if signaling is not obeyed.

By the way, (the ancestor of) Al Qaeda attacked the French High speed train, when it was going at 300km/h. The bomb shattered a cab, but the train stopped OK, and the fatalities were only caused by the bomb itself. The train did not crash into the ground, for the good reason that trains are already on the ground, a reason that even will may understand.  In 30 years of operation, the French never had a fatality directly caused by high speed train operations. (The Alstom trains are designed to not go on the side, even if they leave the tracks, but to dissipate energy through benign snaking, while staying upright).

At high speed conventional braking is ineffective, and the trains brake electromagnetically, sending back energy where it came from. Electric trains consume a fraction of the energy of any other transportation system, and emits ridiculously small amounts of CO2, relatively speaking, again. A high speed line such as the Tokaido Shinkansen line in Japan carries about 5 times as many passengers per hour per meter of width relative to a road (even when the traffic is maximized on the road; so the land usage of rail is much greater).

An intermediate technology exists, capable of 250 km/h on conventional railroad lines, where the trains lean in the turns (Russia bought it from the French Alstom, which bought it from Italy). The big advantage is not having to build dedicated very high speed lines.

Some will object that train lines work best between concentrated cities, as in Europe. But the USA, like everybody else, has concentrated cities; most of the world population live in cities. Moreover cities have to be encouraged, as their presence relieve the rest of the planet of the human footprint. High Speed Rail is a big advantage for cities, thus for ecology.

The ecological and efficiency advantage becomes crushing when one considers that plane travel is heavily subsidized. It is not just that the plane makers are subsidized, as the WTO found with Boeing and Airbus. The expensive fuel planes are using is subsidized: namely, jet fuel is not taxed, worldwide and the US Army, often seconded by Britain, France and other NATO heroes, insure that miscreants are terrorized into submission (please notice the double meaning…), and keep on sending their oil over.

Oil from fossil fuels, is the most energy intensive fuel, per mass, short of Plutonium, available today. We do not have a substitute we can industrially produce, yet (fuel from GMO algae is an obvious future candidate). Liquid hydrogen has twice the energy per mass… but a serious hydrogen plane has not flown yet, in part because how to store the hydrogen efficiently enough is unsolved. 

It is entirely possible that we will basically run out of oil before planes can be switched to more advanced ways to lift them. So we are stuck, for long range transportation with making big fires with fossil fuel. Just in that regard, it is a matter of strategic and economic precaution to build up a modern electric train network. Such a network makes transportation much cheaper, so it allows to redirect resources away from wasteful economic activities.

The fossil fuel conspiracy has mesmerized greedy little ones such as Will to hate trains. Precisely because trains lead where the fossils don’t want to go.

Notice the attack of Will against “progress”. This is one of the main point of American plutocratic propaganda: progress itself is the problem. Progress is regressive, say the Neo Conservatives, and they congratulate themselves about how profound they are: nobody can understand how they think. And they chuckle, lost in self satisfaction.

Why is progress regression for the masters? Because progress came with laws against slavery, murder and torture all of which handicap the truly wealthy. What’s the point of being that wealthy, if one cannot enjoy all the fruits Pluto provides with? Could not we return to the Middle Ages, get some relief from all this progress? In the Middle Ages, henchmen such as Will could have more fun with the commoners.

But there is more. Ultimately extreme personal wealth, plutocracy, rests on military force, which rests on lack of progress. Savages need savagery to justify their own existence. Progress contradicts savagery itself. Hence the importance of regressive propagandists such as Will, or O’Reilly, as they attack the “progressives” non stop.

At this point, American technological superiority is pretty much reduced to superior people killing technology. Which is indeed by far the best in the world. No wonder neoconservatives are against progress. More than 50% of the weapons sold, worldwide, are American made. An American president said: “The business of America is business“. How quaint. Nowadays, it sometimes rather seem that the business of America has become death.

The regressives detest High Speed Rail, because it’s all about progress. Shall we instead see how far we can regress? Shall we make the infliction of death, or the preparation of the infliction of death, the only business worth having? Have the masters found a maxim even more vile than the one Adam Smith condemned so long ago?

No God but death, and regression is its prophet?

***
https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

***

More passages from Will, high on delusion: “Generations hence, when the river of time has worn this presidency’s importance to a small, smooth pebble in the stream of history, people will still marvel that its defining trait was a mania for high-speed rail projects. This disorder illuminates the progressive mind…. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”

(Notice Will’s contempt for commoners: he speaks of delusions of adequacy”, even among those who drive!)

*

Note on SNCF profitability: some of SNCF debt was transferred to RFF (which owns the railroad lines, as forced by the EU; thus Deutsche Bundesbahn operates all the way to Paris, on RFF lines).


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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

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Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

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in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

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Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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