Stealth Bananas!!!

This might be the best educational diagram/gif I’ve seen.


This might be the best educational diagram/gif I’ve seen.

This article gave me a happy.

& this quote pretty much sums up *my* feelings about car culture:

"…"I really want to be in an area where I don’t have to drive," Karasek said. "Not only do I find driving a little bit scary - because of all the accidents that can happen - it costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and I really prefer to walk places or bike places."…"

A Lorax-branded combustion engine? I mean, seriously?
Not a hydrogen? Not an electric?
Not even a Thneed-sponsored cross-breed?

Whoever is in charge of branding
For the Lorax’s mula-making machine -
Have you read the book you’re hijacking?
Did you misinterpret what it means?

& not a word about peak oil . .… :/

There were only so many dinosaurs, & only so many of those will end up decanted into our gaping tanks. Finite mineral fuels to be found in our planet’s crust are just that, finite. We’re not riding a magical cornucopia planet here.

Circa 2006 saw the last barrel of the first trillionth barrels pulled out of the planet, & at best there’s maybe only four trillion barrels to ultimately be pulled out (probably closer to two, it depends on what all prices we’re willing to pay to get at that last trillion or two barrels) .. …. .

…More New Yorkers are killed every year by motor vehicles than are murdered by guns…

…* The NYPD issued more summonses to cyclists than truck drivers last year: truckers got 14,962 moving violation summonses and 10,415 Criminal Court summonses, while cyclists got 13,743 moving violation summonses and a whopping 34,813 Criminal Court summonses….

* The NYPD Accident Investigation Squad [AIS]…will only investigate accidents in which the victim dies or seems likely to die. If you get hit by a driver and end up in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, there’s no AIS investigation. The patrol officers will fill out an accident report, and traffic tickets might be issued, but there will never be an in-depth investigation or follow-up.

* 241 pedestrians or cyclists were killed by drivers last year. Only 17 of the drivers responsible faced criminal charges.

* Asked how many criminal charges were filed against drivers in non-fatal accidents, the NYPD reps said they were not aware of any….

…And because traffic court judges have been throwing out “careless driving” tickets, the NYPD says they’ve instructed patrolmen not to issue them….More than 3,000 crashes last year led to serious injury…

…“The menu of policy responses to congestion is not really that long,” Turner said in our interview. “You’ve got building more roads, building more transit, and congestion pricing, and if you’d like you can put smart growth on there. We looked at two of those really carefully and found that they didn’t perform as advertised. So if you’re thinking about these things purely as responses to congestion, it doesn’t look like they work. There is some evidence that congestion taxes work. So if you were going to pick one of these things to go for, that would be it.”

They’re working on research now to investigate the impacts of smart growth on traffic.

A little dated but still relevant. Even at 4-ish USdollars a US (imperial system) gallon, gasoline is a relatively dirt-cheap ‘essential’ fluid of American lives. The question is, at what price point do how many people drop out of the near-mandatory individually-owned-&-operated-car lifestyle? $5 per gallon? $10? $20?

…The production of oil has already been on a plateau since 2005 at around 82 mb/d. [NB: with biofuels and coal-to-liquid, we approximate 88 mb/d for all liquid fuels.] It appears to me impossible to go much higher. Since demand is still on an increasing trajectory (unless, possibly, the economic crisis engulfs the emerging economies), I expect to see the first tensions arising between 2013 and 2015.

And after that?

Afterwards, in my view, we will have to face a decline of the production of all forms of liquid fuels somewhere between 2015 to 2020. This decline will not necessarily be rapid, however, but it will be a decline, that much seems clear….

…If the subsidies are as large as they are claimed to be — $1.5 billion — they should be spread over 60 million cars produced over the next 25 or so years, which means they would be $25 per car — not $250,000 as claimed. At $25 per car, there are bigger fish to fry in terms of turning America around.

The Chevrolet Volt was essentially fully baked before the government got heavily involved in GM, exiting 2008. It was a free-market creation, with government incentives happening basically after the car had already been developed…..

"$9,641 — That’s how much a person driving a medium sedan 15,000 miles a year can expect to pay, excluding loan payments." [2006 data]

My experience is that most car-owners are in denial about how much their car costs them.

To me, that’s a lot of frackin’ money. I can live on that kind of money. I do live on that kinda money.

Increasingly, here in the US, home of the love affair with the car, the car is becoming the province of the top half of the economy. Not that that’s a bad thing, duly noted … … ;)

"We typically associate high automobile use in the U.S. with Americans’ need to drive and love to drive. But ultimately there’s a pricing and policy structure that enforces that," says Lane. "If we fully costed out some of the impacts on driving and had any inhibitions on car use — not to the level of inhibitions on public transit now; I’d never wish that on anybody — but simply had some way to make automobile travel more difficult and more expensive, and gave an alternative in the form of public transit or denser neighborhoods or shorter multimodal trips, then you could really see a pretty large change."

Like peak oil?

Despite this being one of the most driving-oriented societies in the world, despite the fact that we have a lower national priority for transit than just about every developed society in the world, despite the fact driving is essentially free in our minds compared to any other mode, in some cities you still see some pretty large responses to gasoline prices," says Lane. "So despite the game being tilted totally in favor of auto use, gasoline price fluctuation in the past 7 or 8 years actually appears to have a pretty significant, consistent effect on limiting how much people drive.
► Every 10% increase in gasoline prices equals up to 4% per significant lag for bus.
► Every 10% increase in gasoline prices equals up to 8% per significant lag for rail.
► Greater response in areas with less transit service and with recent improvements
Journalism Malaprop-Thought, Car-Culture Version

So, I read a lot of news articles. No duh, huh? lol

& when I read something like this ‘OH NOEZ!’ (a most popular format for news articles, I understand, the ‘OH NOEZ!’ perspective) article about China working to improve their high-speed rail service after a terrible accident: “China slows down high-speed trains amid safety concern”, I typically have some basic reactions. I, um, analyze what I’m reading, it’s my ‘mental digestion’ process. Stuff stands out, or it’s glaring lack.

"…others compare the new measure to "stopping eating after choking on food."…"

"…If they don’t address the real problem, trains are still going to crash even when running below 100 kilometers per hour…."

Blah-blah-blah, worries. Gut triggering fear language. Trains, so dangerous, tut-tut. Very vague despite the article’s attempt at being analytical. It does do that two-sides-to-every-story framing; I hate that, generally, it’s overly reductionist & often grossly inappropriate, even dishonest.

I blame a lot of the problems on math-avoidance, tho’. Let’s stop & think of relative numbers. That terrible collision, which was horrific & I am happy to see them feeding back into their system & reassessing & all that, but let’s put a frame around the at-least 40 dead from that high-speed-rail accident: China’s deaths due to automobiles.

Way back in 2004, as China was just digging into its most recent expansion of automobile usage there’s this, “Road accidents kill 300 a day in China”

 ”…And the figure is accelerating by 10 per cent every year….”

& that curve’s been accelerating, that access to & use of individual automobiles (ie, what I like to call ‘car culture’), in China. “Road Traffic Deaths In China Have Soared Almost 100 Percent In 20 Years”

"…In China, the largest developing country in the world, road traffic injuries are already the leading cause of death in people up to the age of 45…."

"…road traffic deaths are expected to rise a further 92% between 2000 and 2020, especially as half of drivers don’t wear seat belts…."

Hey, libertarian call-out, China’s got a free-for-all going on with regard to seat-belts. Nice results for that, as per usual ….

There’s a lot of disagreement about specific numbers, which is ‘normal’ for data collection — individual data points vary widely. But they all point to a big impact by automobile fatalities for the Chinese population, which is consistent with the experience of every heavily-car-using culture on the planet so far.

We really are infatuated with the damn things, given how high a fatality load we tolerate as an accompaniment to them. I’m not disinclined to even think that that risk of dying in our beloved autos is part of the appeal, at least for a few …… :/

Hmmmm. Anyways, overall, this sounds like a familiar song, the pay-no-attention-to-the-massive-car-carnage-look-instead-at-the-seemingly-big-fatalities-of-mass-transit-yeah-that’s-the-ticket, we Murricans have been trained to that beat. Regular massive panty-twisting over the deaths of a few, or a few dozen, or even a few thousand, but the annual slaughter of 35 to 40 _thousand_ real-Murricans at the altar of car-culture? Eh, the price of doing business . .…. ..

Anyways, eh, if we only had some math in our routine journalism, amongst other things. Actual _liberal_, _socialist_ views would be nice, too, rather than the Regressive-lite crud passing for ‘Democratic thinking’ these days, but that’s me, eternal Pollyanna optimist.

Say, some thoughtful critique of the ubiquitous cars-for-everyone-everywhere memes buried all about our cultural landscape that obscure some big practical questions, like: for how many people can the car thing extend? It only covers a bare billion & a half, maybe two, currently; do we really think that four or five or six or seven or even eight or nine billion people can all climb into cars every day, everywhere? (“World Population to Top 9 Billion by 2050” Where are those resources gonna come from? Where is that waste product going to go? Ya know, basic, obvious, math-driven questions . .… . ;)

Poverty as punishment, punishment paradigms in general, the evils of our car obsession, there’s so much wrong with this story.