Machine Fecundity

From Kevin Kelly’s blog: The Technium
“A while back George Dyson sent along this note about the fecundity of manufactured items:
I had to park my car at [Seattle’s] SeaTac on Saturday-Sunday and this sparked a small epiphany. It now costs more to park a car at one airport than to rent one at the other end. To my twisted mind, this indicates that machines (taking the automobile as a benchmark) are now self-reproducing so fast we have reached a transition point where machines are cheaper than the empty space they fill.”

Too close to be bused to the neighborhood school

According to my local newspaper
The Bridge
” District transportation officials also eliminated some Pratt bus stops near the Glendale housing development, which is within the school’s walking zone. Isola said many of the new immigrants who live at Glendale don’t feel comfortable letting their children walk to school, however. “We’ve heard anecdotally that we’ve lost students there to other schools farther away that provide busing,? he said. “We’re hoping to restore some of those stops so we can get those students back.?”
The map of the distance is here:,44.968893,-93.219148&saddr=96+Saint+Marys+Ave+SE,+Minneapolis,+MN+55414+(Parents+in+Community+Action+Inc+(Pica):+Glendale)&daddr=pratt+school+55414&mra=pe&mrcr=0&sll=44.823173,-93.424879&sspn=0.372574,0.553436&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=17
of course they could walk use local streets, it is literally 2 – 3 blocks away. So, if the story is correct, rather than walk with their children to the neighborhood school, parents would prefer their kids to be bused to a school farther away.

Ethanol death watch

From Treehugger: Ethanol Death Watch As Corn Prices Rocket

“John noted earlier that the floods on the Mississippi are going to wreak havoc on food prices this summer; They are not doing too much good for the ethanol industry either. According to Citygroup analyst David Driscoll, 3 out of 4 operating ethanol plants could be shut down in the next few months.
Earth2Tech counts 11 proposed plants that have been cancelled because financing was unavailable. As one expert on the biofuel scene said: “US ethanol producers are screwed.” ”

NSW says no to congestion charge

NSW says no to congestion charge
“But Mr Roozendaal on Tuesday poured cold water on the suggestion, saying it was “not something the government will be part of”.
“His whole theory is about taxing free roads into Sydney,” the minister told reporters in Sydney.
“Sydney families already have high interest rates to deal with, high petrol prices. To face taxes on free roads into Sydney is an unacceptable burden for families in this city.”
Prof Hensher’s intervention follows the release of a report by the Institute last month, which called for car registration fees and petrol taxes to be scrapped and replaced with a congestion tax.
That plan was similarly rejected by Mr Roozendaal.
The introduction of a congestion tax is also opposed by the NSW opposition, which says public transport needs to be improved before such a change can be made.
“You cannot have a congestion tax without having proper public transport,” opposition roads spokesman Duncan Gay told ABC radio on Tuesday.”
Lesson: An 8% reduction of congestion is insufficient politically to warrant a whole new financing scheme.

Clean Car Challenge

From Washington Post Sen. McCain offers $300 million prize for new auto battery
McCain’s energy policy is described in a speech today.
Key points:
“The Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting is proposing a $300 million government prize to whomever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology.”
“The Arizona senator is also proposing stiffer fines for automakers who skirt existing fuel-efficiency standards, as well as incentives to increase use of domestic and foreign alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol.”
“In addition, a so-called Clean Car Challenge would provide U.S. automakers with a $5,000 tax credit for every zero-carbon emissions car they develop and sell.”

Public transport in Brisbane

An Op-Ed in the Courier Mail by Chris Hale on public transport in the Queensland, Australia city of Brisbane (population 1.8 million according to wikipedia)Kevin Rudd on right track with push for public transport l
The article notably discusses the importance of ticketing and signing, which are far too neglected in consideration of public transport use.
Whether the combination of density and energy prices is sufficient to support rail is an empirical question.