Rep. Paul: Abolish TSA

The Hill says Ron Paul proposes to Abolish TSA , including privatizing airport security.

“If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents,” he continued. “Unfortunately in this case, the perpetrators are armed federal agents.”
Paul said he was introducing a bill called the “American Traveler Dignity Act,” which he said would force TSA employees to follow existing laws against inappropriate physical contact.


London Tubemap – A new angle on the London Underground

Another London Tubemap
Another London Tubemap

The Economist leads me to London Tubemap – A new angle on the London Underground which contains another proposed revision to the famous Beck map, with somewhat more geographic accuracy, though retaining stylization, but with 30 and 60 degree angles, rather than just 45 degrees. Buckminster Fuller might approve.

New Mileage Rules Debated by Carmakers and White House

The NY Times reports New Mileage Rules Debated by Carmakers and White House:

“The administration is proposing regulations that will require new American cars and trucks to attain an average of as much as 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, roughly double the current level. That would require increases in fuel efficiency of nearly 5 percent a year from 2017 to 2025.
The standard would put domestic vehicle fuel efficiency on a par with that in Europe, China and Japan, saving consumers billions of dollars at the pump and creating for the first time a truly global automobile market.
The automakers say the standard is technically achievable. But they warn that it will cost billions of dollars to develop the vehicles, and they express doubt that consumers will accept the smaller, lighter — and in some cases, more expensive — cars that result.”

Consumers will accept it if that is what is offered, i.e. if all automakers have to produce this at a price to move (i.e. hiking the price of poor fuel economy vehicles to shift the demand curve), the CAFE standards will have achieved their end. Why we can’t just raise the gas tax to achieve the same ends and be done with it remains something I cannot fathom (yes I know politicians don’t like to raise taxes, but this is implicitly a tax, and surely people complain about regulation with the same frequency they complain about taxes – you could return the money to taxpayers somehow and bill it as a credit). Anyway the article suggests this will result in a 50% Hybrid fleet, which seems perfectly plausible, especially since we are talking 14 years from now. Until the recent downtick in hybrid sales, we were well on our way to that mark.

Airport security: Frequent fliers would pay for faster airport security checks

The LA Times reports: Airport security: Frequent fliers would pay for faster airport security checks –

“U.S. air travelers already pay to check bags and buy onboard snacks, among other charges. But would they pay to avoid those long airport security lines?
A sizable chunk of them would, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Travel Assn., the nationwide trade group that has been pushing the idea of a fee-based plan to unclog the gridlock at the country’s airports.
The survey of 1,007 Americans found that 45% of those questioned would be either “very” or “somewhat” likely to pay an annual fee of up to $150 to undergo a government background check to speed through a new, faster airport security line.”

Security lines have been less painful of late, so I really, really doubt that 45% random Americans would actually pay an ANNUAL fee of $150 to save 10 or 15 minutes two or four times per year. (The average American flies about once a year, though I am sure jet-setting readers of this blog are exceptional in that regard) But I am sure that it would be worth it for those who travel on 2 or more flights per month.

New air guidance system threatened with delays

The Washington Post reports on NextGen:

New air guidance system threatened with delays : “Now the Obama administration has embarked on the single most ambitious and expensive
national transportation project since completion of the interstate highway system: a program called the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
The NextGen concept sounds simple: Replace an air traffic system based on 60-year-old radar with a satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) network that would be far more versatile and efficient. In reality, it is an extraordinarily complex undertaking, threatened with delay by airline fears that the government will not deliver the system in time to justify their expenditures.
NextGen demands the largest investment ever made in civil aviation: between $29 billion and $42 billion for equipment, software and training by 2025. The cost would be shared by a federal government struggling with budget constraints and an airline industry that has been drained by years of recession and high fuel prices. Those tensions over funding threaten to slow the launch of NextGen, despite near-universal support for the program, and delays could prove costly.”

City dwellers produce as much CO2 as countryside people do: study

Via Good, Physorg reports on a recent paper: City dwellers produce as much CO2 as countryside people do: study:

“Most previous studies have indicated that people in cities have a smaller carbon footprint than people who live in the country. By using more complex methods of analysis than in the past, scientists at Aalto University in Finland have discovered that people’s carbon emissions are practically the same in the city and in the rural areas. More than anything else, CO2 emissions that cause climate change are dependent upon how much goods and services people consume, not where they live.”

Full article Jukka Heinonen and Seppo Junnila (2011) Implications of urban structure on carbon consumption in metropolitan areas Environ. Res. Lett. 6 (January-March 2011) 014018

If you buy Life-Cycle Analysis, this is one strike against sanctimonious urbanites in the GHG blame game.