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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

87 and the election

So, for those who were opposed to 87, it seems you have won.

I voted for it, although I do agree that it was flawed. I felt that in this case, flawed is better than none, and that if it raised the price of gas, all for the better.

Well, it seems many other Californians did the same analysis, came to the same conclusion, and determined that it was a Bad Thing.

Oh well.

What this tells the rest of America is that even CA, the nominal leader in ecological legislation, is unwilling to bite the bullet.

And so it goes.

At this writing, (closing in on midnight) it seems that the Democrats have taken over the House of Representatives, and the Senate is very closely divided, with two races still too close to call.

What has happened is this: American democracy stopped bleeding profusely. It is still deeply and horribly wounded - the madness of the parasitic neocons thugs of the Bush junta has done an immense amount of damage. The parasites may yet kill the host - the junta has another two years to destroy the country before another election cycle.

The craziness may start very soon - even though the Dems have won, they don't take office immediately. In the meantime, the Bush junta could easily do something completely retarded - like bomb Iran - and throw the entire Middle East into a complete maelstrom, which would only serve to dramatically scuttle any number of points of progressive legislation. Not from any lack of interest, but simply in terms of priority. Such an insane action would completely suck all the air out of the congressional chambers and they would have their hands full just trying to keep Western Civilisation (such as it is) from flying apart and preventing the rest of the planet from ganging up on the USA. Issues of health care, minimum wage, the environoment, energy independence, global warming, all of that would get punted to the back burner.

However, such a knuckleheaded action as bombing Iran could easily set the mainstream Republicans against the Bush Junta and set up not just an impeachment process, but a conviction in the Senate as well. Unfortunately, the delusional freaks who run the Junta are suffiently disconnected from reality that they may very well do something like bombing, or supporting a bombing, in Iran as they are answering not to the calculus of the realpolitik of international relations, but have their ears turned to the creepy voices in their heads that are urging them to kill, Kill, KILL, KILL!!!

If Bush is going to do something insane he will do it soon. Once the new Democratic Congress is sworn in, they will act quickly to stifle his abilities in that and other regards (such as restoring habeus corpus and posse comtatus). So, dramatic, poorly planned, rapid military action (a dunderheaded practice the junta excels at) if it is to happen, will happen soon.

American Democracy has stopped bleeding profusely. The maggots that were draining it have been partly defeated. But the patient is far from healed, and there is a very long way to go before America can say it is a leading republic. America dodged a bullet, but the assassin has cocked his pistol to take another shot. America should feel a little better for having gotten some sense in its head, but judging by the returns, it isn't much, and is certainly nowhere near where it needs to be if the USA has any hope of transitioning to a sustainable future without something resembling utter calamity and disaster as it tumbles willy nilly over the cliff of Hubberts Peak.

Tonight was a small step in a vaguely better direction. There is far to go and much to do.

Professor Dumbledore warns Harry Potter:

“Soon we must face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

Let us hope that we soon find the strength to do what is right.

-Stuart Studebaker

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Interesting mileage data

On an energy list I subscribe to (sf-bay-oil) an fellown named Earl Killian did a bunch of research on the actual mpg of various forms of transportation. The data follows. Basically, trains, as they are presently implemented, are not as efficient as one might think.

From his post:

The good news is that I dug up yet more efficiency data, which shows that some mass transit can be pretty efficient. I found a reference which claims they measured BART energy use and passenger miles for two weeks and computed 136 MPG, which is pretty good (a fair bit better than a Prius, and a lot better than the Amtrak commuter rail numbers). Better numbers were claimed for BART rush hour use, but for the same reason as above, I think you need to look at the global picture. BART is of course electric, like the RAV4-EV (176 MPG at 1.57 load factor). Even better is SBB, the Swiss Rail system: 279 MPG. (It is also electric, and their electricity is primarily hydro, so little greenhouse gas emissions there.)


Transportation MPG, single Load MPG at
passenger Factor Load Electric?

Automobiles (ICE) 22.2 1.57 35
Personal trucks 17.9 1.72 31
Motorcycles 45.1 1.22 55
Transit buses 9.1 30
Airlines 95.8 34
Intercity trains 14.0 26
Commuter trains 33.5 46
Prius HEV (2006) 55 1.57 86 Partial
TGV 128 Yes
BART 136 Yes
Hypercar 90 1.57 141 Yes
RAV4-EV 112 1.57 176 Yes
Tesla 135 1.22 165 Yes
Walking 235 1 235
SBB (Swiss Rail) 279 Yes
Bicycling 653 1 653


I am wondering where an ebike fits into all of this. when I find out I'll post that. What is startling is how lousy the trains fair. It could be that they do poorly because they are so underutilised and have a great deal of embedded energy, but I could be wrong... More soon.

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