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(Salon)   Amtrak, the Prius of long-distance travel   (salon.com) divider line 220
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8057 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Feb 2014 at 11:31 AM (27 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-19 11:30:21 PM
I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...
 
2014-02-19 11:49:11 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...


That sucks.   It's not worth spending $2 Trillion* on, but that sucks.

So planes will exist for as long as it's a better value for most people.  And if this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ever gets any good, that'll be for a VERY long time.  And even then, none of the plans I've ever heard (except the completely unworkable hyperloop) get me across the country in less than a full day. Even the 300 MPH maglev isn't going 300 MPH most of the time because mountains and stops.  So they'll raise the price of flights or figure out a way to do it cheaper than oil (super-dense batteries that don't exist yet?  That's the real awesomeness of fuel.  Energy/volume and quick-charging), and I'll grudgingly figure out a way to pay for it.

*If one LINE for CA is $100 Billion, it'll be at least $2 Trillion.

/Besides, where's THAT power going to come from?  Coal, oil, and gas.  Solar and Wind are ONLY peak load and can't be counted on, hydro's tapped out, and nuclear is political suicide.  (And I haven't heard of anything else that's able to provide significant percentages of the ~Terawatt America needs).
//Hell, Germany's consdering strip-mining because they went green and now they're using more coal.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/europe/germanys-effort-at-cle a n-energy-proves-complex.html http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/world /europe/german-village-resists- plans-to-strip-it-away-for-the-coal-underneath.html?_r=1
 
2014-02-20 12:11:56 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: It only takes 4 days driving from coast to coast in a car, going 70 - 80 MPR average... A maglev goes 3X as fast...


Which would be nice if the USA had maglev.  Instead, we have Amtrak, which takes longer than driving.
 
2014-02-20 01:24:40 AM
I love trains.  Getting a superliner roomette and taking a long trip is a lot of fun.
 
2014-02-20 01:27:24 AM

meyerkev: OOBE Juan Kenobi: I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...

That sucks.   It's not worth spending $2 Trillion* on, but that sucks.

So planes will exist for as long as it's a better value for most people.  And if this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ever gets any good, that'll be for a VERY long time.  And even then, none of the plans I've ever heard (except the completely unworkable hyperloop) get me across the country in less than a full day. Even the 300 MPH maglev isn't going 300 MPH most of the time because mountains and stops.  So they'll raise the price of flights or figure out a way to do it cheaper than oil (super-dense batteries that don't exist yet?  That's the real awesomeness of fuel.  Energy/volume and quick-charging), and I'll grudgingly figure out a way to pay for it.

*If one LINE for CA is $100 Billion, it'll be at least $2 Trillion.

/Besides, where's THAT power going to come from?  Coal, oil, and gas.  Solar and Wind are ONLY peak load and can't be counted on, hydro's tapped out, and nuclear is political suicide.  (And I haven't heard of anything else that's able to provide significant percentages of the ~Terawatt America needs).
//Hell, Germany's consdering strip-mining because they went green and now they're using more coal.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/europe/germanys-effort-at-cle a n-energy-proves-complex.ht ...


The hyperloop is an awesome idea.

I've never suggested that trains replace planes completely. If we upgrade the system, it makes it more viable and attractive to the populace as an alternative to air travel.

As far as mountains go - the only serious range we have in the states are in the West, and some near the East coast. The MidWest is mostly flat.

Algae energy may be a good idea - never heard of it before. Batteries, although good in the short-term, are bad for the environment long-term. Solar is viable if we expand our thinking a bit... It would be best to figure out zero point energy, but then that would put most energy companies in jeopardy... There is nowhere that energy doesn't exist, so there's got to be a way to tap into it. Maybe it involves exploring anti-matter more in depth... I'm sure if human beings can evolve out of greed, we can actually start using our minds more effectively in the future.

The Cali train is a step in the right direction, but they should have went for the maglev, rather than half-assing it...
 
2014-02-20 01:28:49 AM

DarkSoulNoHope: Iszael: You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...

Only hard part is stuff you have to do to "pay" for the ride.

[i1.ytimg.com image 850x478]


Sweet Jesus that movie sucked.
 
2014-02-20 01:47:20 AM
If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.
 
2014-02-20 10:04:32 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.


WOOP WOOP WOOP pseudoscience alert.
 
2014-02-20 11:20:24 AM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.

WOOP WOOP WOOP pseudoscience alert.


Really? Do you know anything about physics?

I'm sure the idea of airplanes, or many of Tesla's inventions, where considered to be impossible by people that thought just as you do now.
 
2014-02-20 11:21:47 AM
When you break apart atoms it releases energy. When you combine matter with anti-matter it releases energy. Please tell me where the 'pseudo' is in this science.
 
2014-02-20 11:48:18 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?


Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.
 
2014-02-20 11:54:19 AM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?

Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.


Idealists have imaginations that are more developed. Imagination is key to human evolution. To evolve we need to train our minds to imagine.

Putting particle accelerators on trains may not be practical, but then again, it's not very wise or practical (long-term) to only think in ways of doing things that are only possible NOW.
 
2014-02-20 12:00:47 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Idealists have imaginations that are more developed.


Understatement of the year.
 
2014-02-20 12:02:30 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Imagination is key to human evolution.


Let's start here, Mr. Ill-informed transhumanist:
Human evolution, like every other species on the planet, is primarily driven by mutation and natural selection.  Evolution doesn't mean entirely positive changes.  Caging your philosophy in scientific terms just misuses the terms, it doesn't add credibility to your philosophy.


OOBE Juan Kenobi: Idealists have imaginations that are more developed.


I'm an idealist, but my ideals aren't quite so dipshiatty, so thanks.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: To evolve we need to train our minds to imagine.


Yeah, no. Per point #1.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Putting particle accelerators on trains may not be practical, but then again,


Putting particle accelerators on trains is stupid.  That's your mistake.   I can "capture" a magnetic field with a small coil of copper wire.  That's how radios work.  The energy density of that field is way way way way way too low to drive a train literally filled with copper coils.  A particle accelerator would take gigawatts of extra energy on top of what it takes to drive the train to achieve... nothing in particular.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: it's not very wise or practical (long-term) to only think in ways of doing things that are only possible NOW.


It is wise and practical in the long term to understand the laws of physics as they actually exist.
 
2014-02-20 12:09:30 PM

Bucky Katt: DarkSoulNoHope: Iszael: You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...

Only hard part is stuff you have to do to "pay" for the ride.

[i1.ytimg.com image 850x478]

Sweet Jesus that movie sucked.


Yeah, probably it's after Dogma that Kevin Smith's movies started going down the hill (though probably started with Dogma, while still a pretty interesting film, went into "Airplane" silliness comedy territory with having G-d running around portrayed by Alanis Morissette) when he started doing "fantasy comedy" (probably why Mallrats didn't do as well either and Chasing Amy did, though it was still enjoyable in some ways).

He went totally over the hill with J&SBSB, but toned it down a little for Clerks 2 though still not enough (Donkey Show in a restaurant would be enough to get the manager and the rest of them fired, as well as prosecuted instead of released) and apparently the moral of that movie is to follow your dream to stay a Clerk... as long as you have two wealthy stoner friends (who got their money by making sure their legal likeness rights fees are paid to them, by traveling cross country with jewel thieves and a monkey) who will lend you money to buy the stores you worked at with the sole stipulation that they can continue to hang out in front of that store with no threat of removal.
 
2014-02-20 02:57:07 PM

redmid17: styckx: redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?

11hr drive..

Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.


I'm not going to DC. If I flew, I'd have to go through DC, thus making the Amtrak trip more attractive in comparison.

I can't drive. It's a one way trip. I continue on to many cities afterward and I'm not leaving my car in Pitt for 2 months until my trip is over.
 
2014-02-20 03:14:06 PM

andersoncouncil42: redmid17: styckx: redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?

11hr drive..

Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.

I'm not going to DC. If I flew, I'd have to go through DC, thus making the Amtrak trip more attractive in comparison.

I can't drive. It's a one way trip. I continue on to many cities afterward and I'm not leaving my car in Pitt for 2 months until my trip is over.


You weren't the one saying it was an 11 hr drive. Styckx was. It's only an 11 hr drive if you double back to DC or drive 25 miles an hour.
 
2014-02-20 03:37:58 PM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?

Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.


I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.
 
2014-02-20 03:41:55 PM

Joe USer: I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.


There's a line between "particle accelerators are actually magic that fix all problems" and "There can be scientific improvements" can be seen from the moon with the naked eye.
 
2014-02-20 03:51:01 PM

ikanreed: Joe USer: I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.

There's a line between "particle accelerators are actually magic that fix all problems" and "There can be scientific improvements" can be seen from the moon with the naked eye.


Well, I didn't say he was doing a good job at it.
 
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