War for oil vs. war against oil

I am still not clear why we entered the war in Iraq.
Many opponents of the war say it was for oil, but destroying oil fields doesn’t result in there being more oil anytime soon. Given that the price of oil has gone up (as have oil company profits), maybe it was a “war against oil”, but surely had that been the oil companies Machiavellian aim, that could have been achieved much easier (just bomb the oil fields).

Continue reading

The Urban Interface, some initial musings

Whether entering a city for the first time, or entering it for the five-thousandth, a traveler interacts with the environment to obtain cues. A first time traveler is very concerned about issues of navigation … where should I go? … how should I get there?, while the experienced resident may rely on memory and history to make those same decisions. Yet in complex cities, there are many places even the most experienced residents may never have explored, there are paths untaken, and like Heraclitus’ River, you never really step into the same city twice.

Continue reading

Value of time vs. Cost of gas

In Dynamist Blog: Angelenos for Higher Gas Prices Virginia Postrel notes the upside of higher gas prices … less traffic. We can do a back-of-the-envelope calculation. So let’s say her car gets 30 miles per gallon, and gas is $3 per gallon, she is paying $0.10/mile. If she were traveling at 50 miles per hour when gas was $2 per gallon ($0.067/mile) and 60 miles per hour now (at $3/gallon), she is traveling 20% faster (a one mile trip used to take 1 minute and 12 seconds but now only takes 1 minute). (I doubt average speeds have increased that much, but if she is noticing it, it is probably at least 10%).

Continue reading