Promoting electoral reform and sound government.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Some More Crazy Taxi2000 Ideas

How about a low power electric car that get on a PRT line AND get charged while on it? It would have to be compatible, of course.

What is needed is the creation of standards for both hardware and software. Such standards may make it more difficult for one company to own an entire market, but the size of the market will grow much faster if anybody can build a PRT line or build cars for them to an open standard.

Such standards should also encompass automated inspections of both cars and lines by each other (cars would inspect lines and lines could inspect cars) for compliance to the standards.

I think the latter notion actually has some merit. While letting electric cars in is not very feasible, having a standard would certainly help comfort those who would pay for such a system.

Once purchasers see inertia building with several companies building cars and/or lines to a standard, the investment starts to look predictable and that is certainly needed here.

An open standard would encourage companies to get into the business as well.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I think its significant that Taxi2000 is a private initiative. Public works with access to your taxes frequently overlooks the simpler, lower-cost, strangely more elegant solutions. There is no pressure to find or create such alternatives.

One of the biggest boondoggles around where I live (San Jose, California) is the light rail system. Its positive effect on the traffic situation is minimal. Apparently, it costs at least 12 times to move someone on light rail as it does on the freeway. The federal incentives apparently make it easier to make bad decisions like this.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The future of transportation

Salon has an article (get a day pass by viewing an ad) about this on-demand, automated taxi monorail system that seeks to address the major problems of mass transit. The big annoyances seem to be that you have to wait a lot, you have to ride with a bunch of strangers and how expensive it is to build mass-transit networks that are easy enough to access.

These guys envision elevated tracks going everywhere, but I think the real deal will happen underground. The more places this system goes to, the uglier it will become.

I also see this system being used to move packages securely directly into the home. I mean, really, why should you have to move 3000 pounds around just to get some milk moved to your house? You do want that to be underground, or this world starts looking really ugly. In any case, FedEx starts looking redundant, as do half of the trips you make on the weekends to Home Depot.

I think that an underground system will actually end up being pretty competitive with air travel and will replace it all together for short to medium trips. No waiting! No terrorists traveling with you. No reservation required. And once you get smaller sections in place, it becomes easier to piece together a coast-to-cost system.

And when robotic tunneling and strong, flexible nano-materials become feasible, we should start seeing a wholesale replacement of the surface streets with an underground network. These underground networks might even be evacuated, making it possible to go extremely fast with no air resistance. Then we can get rid of all of those parking lots.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Doing Electronic Voting Right

To go along with the verification mechanisms in the voting system I proposed October 18th, here's an organization pushing for an open source system. Open source is the way to go, clearly.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thankfully a Decisive Election

I was gratified to see a clear, if not big, majority in the popular vote and electoral college in Tuesday's presidential election.

Of course, the appetite for "reinventing democracy" would be greater if there were a lot of turmoil again, but its probably not a good thing to make such changes just because circumstances are driving things. Its better if a concensus is reached that the system can and should evolve into something better.