Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Calculation Or Two

Let's accept that the outline for the New Green Deal that disappeared from AOC's website was a stupid mistake on her office's part: someone uploaded a very rough draft.  It would have been much simpler for them to admit to that rather than offer various excuses ranging from the document never having been there (sorry, the internet is forever) to the site being hacked. The guy who wrote it also should not have gone on Tucker Carlson's show and said that he didn't have anything to do with that draft when the metadata shows that he's the author.  Again, the internet is forever.  But, as Jeff Kuhner says, "Let that go."

The actual NGD resolution is less juvenile, more professional.  It's still a unicorn farting because it's so superficial, but that just makes it more frightening.  Couch pablum in highfalutin language and it's still pablum, but a lot more people will swallow that pablum.

There is, for instance, the fascination with high-speed rail.  Get rid of cars, get rid of planes.  Everybody is on rails.  Except a lot of us who don't live in cities and have a bit of a hike to get to things don't quite understand how we are supposed to do that without wheels.  My grocery store is 8 miles away and I live on a mountain.  Are they paying for one of those little electric cars to take me?  Lots of luck getting across my road right now: the potholes would swallow one of those death-trap Smart Cars and we won't even discuss how well a light-weight car would do when there's snow on the roads here.  But, again, let that go.

Also, let go the whole environmental impact of the mining and processing of the products needed to build and maintain that rail system.

First, a map.

These are just the  cities of +10,000 population as of 2016.  It doesn't include all those little towns across the U.S. that have a population under 10,000.  But see how dense it is in some areas?  Apparently we are going to run rail between all these cities PLUS a lot of towns not shown.  But even if we don't run rail between all the cities, here's an example:  the great circle distance from BWI airport in Baltimore to LAX in Los Angeles is 2,329 mi.  You can snag a flight that takes 6 hours point to point.  It won't follow a great circle path entirely, but it's close enough for an example.

On land via the fastest highway route, it's 2,662 mi. between the two.

High speed rail, on the other hand, is considered to be 120 mph on old lines to 160 mph on new lines.  So, non-stop rail would be, at best, 19 hours on the slower end and 14 hours on the faster end if you use the great circle distance.  If you follow a more earthly route, that's 22 hours and 16 hours respectively.  However, the rail lines aren't going to follow a great circle or even the most direct highway route and they aren't going to be non-stop.  They will be city to city, with stops at various cities.  I refer back to the map:  there could be a whole lot of stops in some areas.  So folks can leave Baltimore in the morning and be in San Diego for dinner.  OR they can go back to the "good ol' days" of cross country train travel that will, in reality, take not hours but days.  Yeah, that works for businesses.  And has anyone looked up the cost of a sleeper berth on the train?

We aren't talking about somebody's tour of America train vacation.  We are talking about the need to cross a continent.

And while they are whining about 800,000 government employees getting their pay checks late, it doesn't seem to bother them that more than 540,000 people worked in the U.S. airline industry as of 2016.  That's before you count in things like the retail industry, car rental, etc., attached to airports.  Their checks won't be just late, they'll be completely gone.  Why doesn't that merit the same hysteria?


  1. Those who live in Hawaii are fascinated by the concept of a bullet train that somehow spans thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean to reach their islands. For that matter, those of us in Alaska are quite interested in how AOC and her crew of gullible idiots will convince Canada to let them build such a train across their nation.

    1. Yes, it did fall flat with Hawaii, I know. Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam probably aren't convinced, either.

  2. Yep, they 'floated' this and it sank like the proverbial rock. One wonders what the NEXT iteration is going to be...

    1. And they haven't even to think of the details. Like how much land will have to be taken via emminent domain for rails, solar farms, wind farms. Thousands of acres.

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