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Virginia MagLev Project Back on Track

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the monorail-monorail-monorail! dept.

United States 329

Raven42rac writes "After much delay, the $14 million Maglev train project is back on track at Old Dominion University in Virginia. All the petty lawsuits have been settled, and a much needed $2 million grant has been approved. Let us hope that this sets a precedent to Americans to not litigate ourselves out of the science and technology markets due to petty disagreements and greed. We do not need to be our own worst enemy. I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail with others, than drive a gas-guzzling car by myself. (And I apologise for the pun in the headline.)"

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Yay! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896365)

A monorail!

Re:Yay! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896370)

A monorail!

LALL!

Re:Yay! (-1, Troll)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896411)

I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail...

I, for one, welcome our new Maglev overlords.

Re:Yay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896441)

I, for one, hope you get modded down into minusone land for being so unfunny.

Re:Yay! (1, Insightful)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896458)

I, for one, welcome our new Maglev overlords.

Maybe slashdot should auto-ban people who post "I for one welcome our [topic] overlords." and "In Soviet Russia, [topic] [verb]'s you."

Or at least punish the people who mod them up.

Re:Yay! (0, Offtopic)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896471)

Oh, you love it... that's why you reply! I am the sadist, you are the masochist and Slashdot is our tool.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896482)

Are you a retard?

Re:Yay! (1, Funny)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896536)

I,for one, welcome our new Timmmm overlords

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896568)

In Soviet Russia, new overlords welcome YOU!

Re:Yay! (1)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896601)

Could you imagine them doing this with a beowulf cluster?

Re:Yay! (2, Informative)

allanj (151784) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896619)

Or at least punish the people who mod them up.


Go right ahead - it's called metamoderation [slashdot.org] .

MagLev? Monorail? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896367)

Cue all the bad simpsons monorail jokes LALL LALL!!!!!

Re:MagLev? Monorail? (1, Funny)

stephenb (18235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896379)

Very well, sir. Ask and ye shall receive.

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail! What'd I say?

Ned Flanders: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

Patty+Selma: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

[crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]

Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

Lyle Lanley: You'll be given cushy jobs.

Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I'm on the level.

Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

I swear it's Springfield's only choice...throw up your hands and raise your voice!

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: Once again...

All: Monorail!

Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...

Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

All: Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!

[big finish]

Monorail!

Homer: Mono... D'oh!

Petty Lawsuits? (5, Interesting)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896368)

I'm glad the project is back on track again, but the 'petty lawsuits' were apparently contractors who weren't paid.

Hardly petty in my opinion - I'd be sueing if I wasn't paid for work I'd done.

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (3, Funny)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896375)

Well, that's a petty attitude.

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896388)

That is SO anti-opensource!

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (3, Insightful)

spj524 (526706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896468)

Let us hope that this sets a precedent to Americans to not litigate ourselves out of the science and technology markets due to petty disagreements and greed.

Just why is it greed when I'm looking out for myself?

I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail with others, than drive a gas-guzzling car by myself.

And I, for one, would much rather ride in a comfortable gas-guzzling, XM radio playing SUV than an a 14 million dollar mass transit Maglev that smells like a wet band-aid. Just another petty opinion, I guess.

Seth

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896508)

Just why is it greed when I'm looking out for myself?

That pretty much defines greed. A better way to put it would be: why is it greed when I'm only asking for what you agreed to pay me?

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896535)

That pretty much defines greed
That's what the collectivists of the world would like you to believe.

Just looking out for yourself is neither selfish [reference.com] nor being greedy [reference.com] . It becomes selfish when you lose all regard for other people's interests in the process. It becomes greed when it turns into an obsessive lust for wealth.

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (1, Insightful)

fizban (58094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896575)

Well, many times, people who think they're just looking out for themselves actually are being selfish and greedy. It's actually very, very difficult to not be. Care must be taken to always think about how your actions affect other people, both in the short term and the long term. Most of us think about only about the short term and consider ourselves good people, but a lot of the time, it's the long term effects that matter most. Here's an example:

The Tragedy of the Commons [dieoff.com]

Re:Petty Lawsuits? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896550)

I work for one of the contractors who hasn't been paid, not a cent.

It isn't petty to us - the contractors have been snowjobbed for almost two years by American Maglev, Old Dominion University, and the Federal Government.

The project wasn't bonded, and it is a violation of state law for a state project to proceed without a bond. It was infuriating to listen to ODU officials blow smoke telling the contractors that they would be paid, while denying it is their project.

They need to hurry (5, Funny)

harmonics (145499) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896376)

Shelbyville already has one.

-h

Re:They need to hurry (0, Offtopic)

asbestos_tophat (720099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896410)

Ha HA HA Ha hA ROTL

They could also trade the budget in for 1000 Horse and Buggies. Shoot, it could make a big steaming pile of policy too. ;o) lol

Re:They need to hurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896511)

Aww then we need a leader... and to quote Ralph.. "I choo choo chooooose you" (pun in relation to story uber strongly intended)

But Main Street's still all cracked and broken. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896382)

Sorry, Virginia, the mob has spoken.

Monorail!

Nice Editorial (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896386)

All the petty lawsuits have been settled, and a much needed $2 million grant has been approved. Let us hope that this sets a precedent to Americans to not litigate ourselves out of the science and technology markets due to petty disagreements and greed. We do not need to be our own worst enemy. I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail with others, than drive a gas-guzzling car by myself.

Gee, you think you could have offered my news and background instead of your worthless opinion?? I, for one, would rather drive my big bad Escalade than take a fruity monorail just to piss off you tree-hugging faggots.

Monorails are for pussies.

Trains vs cars (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896387)

"I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail with others, than drive a gas-guzzling car by myself"

Why would you want to be stuck on a train that goes from somewhere you're not (requiring you to get from where you are to the initial station) to somewhere you don't want to be (requiring you to get from the final station to where you want to go) via places where you don't want to go at times you can't choose, sitting across from a drunk and alongside someone who's coughing and sneezing all over you, rather than drive in your own car by yourself from where you are to where you want to go at whatever time you feel like?

Certainly there are places where the roads are so bad that trains are preferable (e.g. London), but in the vast majority of cases, trains really, really suck.

Re:Trains vs cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896390)

Trains are smooth and evironmentally friendly... but yes, they do suck to no end.

Re:Trains vs cars (-1, Redundant)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896399)

"Trains are smooth and evironmentally friendly."

ROTFL. Try going to a London station sometime and watch the trains belching out clouds of diesel smoke into the air, then tell me they're "environmentally friendly". As for "smooth", again, you've obviously never taken a British train.

Those aren't issues for maglev, though for a train to be anywhere near as convenient for a car it will need to run every five minutes, twenty-four hours a day, which will mean most of them running mostly empty. That hardly seems likely to be "enviromentally friendly" to me.

Re:Trains vs cars (4, Insightful)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896429)

...for a train to be anywhere near as convenient for a car... ROTFLEM!

Try driving into Central London. Cars really suck for mass transport. Around 10% of traffic comes into Central London by car in a typical week. Replace the residual (mainly taken up by over or underground trains) with cars and prepare for chaos. Convenient, huh?

Re:Trains vs cars (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896432)

Well then, come over to Sweden. Seems like all passenger trains are electrical and as long as the electricity production is environmentally friendly, then so are the trains. And apparently they know how to construct both the rail as well as the train itself since they are *very* smooth.

Trains are good for long distances. Especially since I don't own a car, and since I don't *need* a car since I don't go out of town very often.

Re:Trains vs cars (1)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896440)

I don't *need* a car since I don't go out of town very often.

Then your lifestyle is being dictated by the trains.

If you had a car you would go out of town more often. Ever think of that?

Re:Trains vs cars (2, Insightful)

farnz (625056) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896475)

I have a car. I don't go out of town that often either; the only reason I don't get rid of the car is that carrying myself and a Uni holiday's worth of stuff back to the south of London from Durham [dur.ac.uk] is next to impossible by train. I can get to King's Cross station (north London), but getting across London with all my belongings is impossible by public transport.

Re:Trains vs cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896496)

I commute from Durham to school in Newcastle (30mins in the train) every working day, beats having to drive through the traffic bottlenecks such as the bridge, plus my parents don't work in Newcastle, so it's a waste of time for them to drive me.

Re:Trains vs cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896502)

I can get to King's Cross station

Dude! Have you ever tried to get on platform 9 3/4s?

Re:Trains vs cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896521)

My lifestyle is not dictated by trains... I simply can't afford owning a car, so perhaps my lifestyle is dictated by my economy? But then again, even when I *can* go wherever I almost never do.

Re:Trains vs cars (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896445)

ROTFL. Try going to a London station sometime and watch the trains belching out clouds of diesel smoke into the air, then tell me they're "environmentally friendly". As for "smooth", again, you've obviously never taken a British train.

Most of the lines going to London are electrified now, and the underground has been for a centruy or so. Of course, even for diesels, per-passenger pollution is a lot lower than a car with a single person in it. And the trains are about as smooth as other alternatives. Occasionally there's a shake and a rattle, but I seem to be able to stand perfectly well unaided.

Those aren't issues for maglev, though for a train to be anywhere near as convenient for a car it will need to run every five minutes, twenty-four hours a day, which will mean most of them running mostly empty. That hardly seems likely to be "enviromentally friendly" to me.

Maglev only makes sense for long distances. The sort of distances that will take at least several hours by car. You don't need a service running that regularly.

Re:Trains vs cars (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896449)

ROTFL. Try going to a London station sometime and watch the trains belching out clouds of diesel smoke into the air, then tell me they're "environmentally friendly".

DOH! Imagine every passenger driving a car which belches out clouds of diesel smoke into the air.

Re:Trains vs cars (5, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896426)

It's debatable . . . I'm a business traveller and here in the US I have used the "trains" of several major cities to get from the airport to, say a downtown area or to other suburbs of the metro area. MARTA in Atlanta is great. A lot of business folks there live on the north side of the Perimeter but the airport is south of the city. Trying to get to the airport during rush hour is Russian roulette down I-85, but with MARTA you WILL make it in 45 minutes . . . just pay your 1.50 and read your book.

I've had similar experiences with the "L" in Chicago going from Midway airport to downtown. No rental car to pick up, park, fuel, or pay for, and like MARTA, there's a station downtown on every corner as well as one attached directly to the airport -- very cool.

IMHO, Baltimore's light rail sucks, unfortunately. It's more like electric streetcars on rails than a real train. For some reason, it's about twice as slow as any other metro rail system I've ever been on, and a bit more confusing to use if you've got to transfer to get to the way north suburbs.

The bottom line is that as a business traveler with a tight schedule, it's usually a lot easier to use the train to get close, and then walk or cab to your final destination. BTW, the key with all of these urban trains is don't take them by yourself after dark. Most go through sketchy neighborhoods and you will be panhandled and otherwise bothered at the very least.

Re:Trains vs cars (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896498)

Good point!

But for many people, a train starts from where they are, and it goes to where they want to go.

And in that case, it beats paying $500 a year for insurance and $150 a month in car payments. And that doesn't even count on gas prices.

For the week or so that I need a car, I'll rent one for $40/day. I save a lot of money that way. And yes, the train will take me to the rental car place ;-)

But in the end, I agree... if Springfield is going to build train service, it should go somewhere!

Re:Trains vs cars (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896517)

But for many people, a train starts from where they are, and it goes to where they want to go.

From the housing project to the welfare office with a stop at the crack house?
Public transportation is for losers get a car or stay home.

Re:Trains vs cars (1)

bicho (144895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896522)

Less stress at driving
The knowledge that you are not contributing to ambiental pollution
You can do things while there (i.e. read, sleep)

And stuff like that.
In general, a mix of principles and personal preferences.

NOTE: I am not from USA, but I rather preffer to use public transport (i.e. subway, bus) than get my own car... and also use the money for something more interesting.

No, it's the other way round! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896549)

Certainly there are places where the roads are so bad that trains are preferable (e.g. London), but in the vast majority of cases, trains really, really suck.

It's the other way round: Certainly there are places where the trains are so bad that cars are preferable (e.g. USA), but in the vast majority of cases, cars really, really suck.

Why should I be annoyed by stupid rednecks with their 1000kg penis replacement, when I can sit in a comfortable chair and read my newspaper or do work on my laptop? As an additional bonus, I'm faster where I want to be and pay less. It's my experience that people who travel by train are much more relaxed than people traveling by car. Obviously I don't live in the USA.

Depends on the operator.... In Denmark trains rule (1)

sunbeam60 (653344) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896557)

Everything is state of the art, trains are rarely delayed, and they enter the city centre as opposed to off-city airports.

Service is expanding [www.dsb.dk] , new trains [m.dk] are purchased [www.dcft.dk] , there's a high attention to design [m.dk] and usability [russellpublishing.com] and connections [raileurope.com] are good [www.cph.dk] . For travels in between major cities in Denmark, it's simply hard to find arguments for cars.

Maglev (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896393)

Maglev sucks ass, d00d!!!!

Re:Maglev (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896414)

How is this a flamebait?

$2M not hard to find (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896397)

and a much needed $2 million grant has been approved

The US will just cut the war in Iraq short by 3 1/2 hours to recoup the money...

Re:$2M not hard to find (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896436)

This isn't that funny, can someone provide a link to the statistic that if all the countries in the world diverted their defence budgets for one day we could basically buy our way our of world hunger.

Hell it would count as defence spending anyway, because poverty is a massive cause for war.

Car vs. Maglev? (5, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896398)

Maglev is extraordinarily expensive, noisy, and an engineering solution to what is a civil problem - commuting.

If maglev is what it takes to move people off the roads, I pity our civilization.

What about ordinary (cheap) trains, faster conventional trains (like Europe's TGVs) or living closer to work, or working more via Internet, or carpooling?

The best way to avoid commuting is for people to move back into the cities, to walk to work, to downsize the huge companies into smaller human-sized organizations, to live on a human scale. The best way to connect large countries is through high-speed trains that use conventional rail technology. It does not happen today for one simple reason: the artificially low cost of travelling by car and by air (thanks to subsidies on roads and on fuel).

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896413)

"If maglev is what it takes to move people off the roads, I pity our civilization."

If our society has sunk to the point where people think they have the right to force people off the roads, civilisation has long gone.

"The best way to avoid commuting is for people to move back into the cities,"

If people wanted to live in cities, they'd live in cities. Increasingly, people are desperate to get out of cities due to high taxes, poor services and high crime. That's almost entirely the fault of train-loving liberals, and it's not going to change any time soon.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (2, Insightful)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896430)

That's almost entirely the fault of train-loving liberals, and it's not going to change any time soon.

That was exactly what I was thinking. To continue: socialism is the reason cities suck. Having to deal with the zero-self-responsibility scum who would rather steal from you than work for a living are the reasons why no one with any self-worth wants to live in cities. If socialism didn't drive the people, who would have to work, to be lazy and steal money from those that do work, crime rates in cities would be much lower.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (0, Troll)

Triskele (711795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896448)

What the fuck are you talking about? You keep talking about socialism but I do not think you have a clue what it means. Have a look at Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland - all very hard working countries and very socialist. Maybe you Americans are just bone idle cunts who don't give a fuck about your fellows. We don't all need the fear of starvation to make us work.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (0, Flamebait)

Troed (102527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896453)

... and most interestingly - the Nordic countries are apparently the most modern ones all over the world.

(Source: Scientific American)

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896470)

They are also one of the most highly taxed countries in the world.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (2, Interesting)

Sunda666 (146299) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896534)

as long as your taxes return to you as benefits (like it seems to happen there), fine.

Here we have very high taxes, very high tax-evasion (of course), very-high stealing of public (haha) money, and almost ZERO returns to us as benefits... Makes you feel a clown when you pay taxes here. (Brazil)

(and don't bother replying that noone cares about what happens in third-world shitholes, we all know that noone cares... let me rant in peace, will ya? ;-)

cheers

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (2, Interesting)

Troed (102527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896554)

I know. I live in Sweden and I belong to the "high income" citizens who pay extra taxes.

On the other hand, I get quite a lot for that money.

(I'm neo-liberal myself, so I have issues with a lot of things in Sweden. Compared to certain other countries it's a lot better though)

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896560)

Yes, but that also means anyone, regardless of income, will get healthcare for next to nothing. Otherwise only the rich ones could afford it.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896559)

Well, I do live in Norway and it's far from the paradise you make it out to be. It is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world, and alot of that tax money is spent paying bureaucrats shuffling paper. Not to forget that there actually are people taking advantage of the public welfare system.

I for one would much rather live under a system like the one in the USA. It is possible to be individualistic and care about your fellow man. Free trade isn't a zero-sum game, both parties of a transaction gain by it.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896478)

You must live in one of those places where cities were forced to deteriorate into crap.

Let me tell you, there are plenty of great cities to live in - and in some areas of the country, the city is the most appealing place to live.

Some regions of the country have made city living impossible by over-taxing people in the cities. By over-taxing, some cities became more expensive - and then the upper and middle class moved out because they could afford to move out. What you had left was urban poor and no tax base.

Again, not every city is like this (Atlanta, Minneapolis, and NYC comes to mind). Some have never gone down hill, others have recovered well. Even more (like Philadelphia) might never come back.

In any case, MagLev isn't general solution to a problem. However, it might be the right solution for some areas... I really don't know enough about it to speak about it. Perhaps someone with urban transportation planning expertise could comment?

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896553)

You're right, I live in Rochester, NY. Most of the large industry has left or downsized (Kodak, Xerox), which left factory workers feeding off the tax money of the people who still work here. A lot of new industry has popped up because we have some great people and great educational opportunities (RIT, UofR, St. John Fisher...) But the inner city is just downright nasty. I refuse to even drive on surface streets in some parts of the city, the crime is just to bad. Of course, I have a solution for that, but the liberals don't want to hear it.

It's not like its hard to get a higher education in the US. Everyone thinks you need money to start, but you don't. I sure didn't have any money when I started college, but I put myself through just fine. If the gangbangers downtown would focus on their education instead of drugs, the problem would go away. Instead, they shoot each other for drugs, rob me for money to buy drugs, and then want me to pay for them to eat and have a place to live (socialism at it's fucking worst.)

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896447)

If our society has sunk to the point where people think they have the right to force people off the roads, civilisation has long gone.

Is it a right to drive? Why?

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896439)

Maglev is extraordinarily expensive, noisy, and an engineering solution to what is a civil problem - commuting.

Maglevs are extraordinarily expensive to build and run, yes, but probably less so than (or on par with) conventional high-speed trains, otherwise nobody would fund such ventures.

But they are definitely not noisy compared to a conventional train. Have you ever lived near a TGV line? no, I didn't think so.

What about ordinary (cheap) trains, faster conventional trains (like Europe's TGVs)

TGVs aren't that much cheaper. About half the price in fact, mainly due to the reuse of existing technologies and French government subsidies. What they really have for them is the ability to roll on the pre-existing infrastructure, which Maglevs can't do.

or living closer to work, or working more via Internet

Yes, let's produce cars, baked bean cans, houses and pencil cases on the great Internet.

Fact: people who can work remotely are a minority.

or carpooling?

But you say below that road travel is an artificially low-cost mode of transportation? surely you don't mean to cram more people on the road...

The best way to avoid commuting is for people to move back into the cities

But you say below that you want to scale back the size of organizations and live on a human scale. Surely you don't mean to cram more people in the same tiny spot of land...

to walk to work

Make the cities big enough and people won't be able to walk to work. You contradict your arguments over and over.

to downsize the huge companies into smaller human-sized organizations, to live on a human scale. The best way to connect large countries is through high-speed trains that use conventional rail technology.

Yes that's true For now. I suspect if nobody looks for better solutions though, we'll still be stuck with conventional trains a hundred years from now though.

It does not happen today for one simple reason: the artificially low cost of travelling by car and by air (thanks to subsidies on roads and on fuel).

This is changing fast. Do you know how much gas costs in Europe these days? and it's still rising.

NOTE: before you take me for an overweight Californian who can't walk across the street without his car, or an oil-producing Texan, let me precise that I don't own a car and go around by bike and public transportation, including trains.

Hear hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896565)

I don't own a car and go around by bike and public transportation, including trains.

Finally, someone who walks the walk. ;-) (yes, it's a pun)

That's not much that's more annoying than the arrogant twit anti-SUV crowd that thinks they are soooo superior because they drive around in a 2,500-pound "compact" that gets 35 miles per gallon instead of a 3,500-pound SUV that gets 25 miles per gallon. Such a huge sacrifice there....

Re:Hear hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896617)

Actually the fuel efficiency of a SUV is around 12-16 mpg, so something like 2-3 times worse than a smaller car.

It is a huge difference, yes. And SUVs are getting less fuel efficient, not more so.

Still, oil is limitless and free, and causes no pollution, so what's the worry!

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896594)

Your arguments are long but poor.

Maglev is considerably more costly than TGV but this is justified on grounds of "speed", to compete with air travel. However, since air travel is subsidised through cheap (untaxed!) fuel, the comparison is economically flawed. Europe has demonstrated the feasibilty of large-scale TGV networks that compete favourably with air travel.

The "uses existing infrastructure" argument for TGVs is not a minor detail, it is the key to bringing new services into existing urban areas. And if you can't bring the train into Central Station, it is pretty useless.

Most commuters drive to work to make pencils? What country do you live in? Most car owners do service jobs that can be wholly or partly done remotely, either from smaller regional offices, or from home. The 'cubicle farms' of US corporations are a totally senseless way of bringing employees together.

Your comment on carpooling is unanswerable. How does the cost of something relate to its efficient/inefficient use? If I say that electricity is too cheap, is that an argument against using insulation? Carpooling saves resources, and is a _good thing_ period.

Cities... actually one of the most efficient ways of living, in terms of cost to the environment per head. Much more efficient than suburbia. Without the economic distortions of cheap roads and fuel, more people would live in cities and cities would become more compact, and nicer places. And there would be more of them, but fewer areas of endless suburbia.

More compact cities, getting around by bike, foot, and simple but efficient public transport, there is no contradiction here, rather a recipe for much happier living with less stress.

But... perhaps you enjoy spending 3-4 hours a day behind the wheel of a car. Personally I find that one of the greatest tragedies of modern life, and I'm very happy to be able to avoid it.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (3, Insightful)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896443)

It does not happen today for one simple reason: the artificially low cost of travelling by car and by air (thanks to subsidies on roads and on fuel).

Interesting argument. Not sure if this would mean more cities, those cities smaller in population but higher in density (using simple von Thuman or Henderson medols), but it would be a really interesting (and positive IMHO) thing to see.

But I completely agree about the subsidy on fuel. People who complain about fuel tax simply don't seem to understand the cost of their using fuel is born on others (both in the present and the future). Increasing the cost of fuel makes the true cost apparant to the comsumer. Pity the government don't realise the other part of the equation that this revenue fuel should be addressed to the cost of it (improving 'green' technologies, actual quantification, perhaps international repatriation).

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (2, Insightful)

ChiChiCuervo (2445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896451)

Is maglev an economically a dumb idea? Yes.

Are there cheaper mass transit alternatives? Of Course.

Do many areas of the United States need better mass transit systems? Yes.

Do Americans need better, less costly and less stressfull commute options? Absolutely.

Should Americans be forced to cram themselves into crowded, polluted, crime-ridden (tho less so now) major cities just to satisfy urbanite arrogance towards the automobile? Bite me.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (1)

nuba (660398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896459)

The best way to avoid commuting is for people to sit in front of our computers all day with /. as their only friend. The best way to connect large countries is through high-speed fiber. It does not happen today for one simple reason: the artificially low cost of going outside (thanks to government subsidies on air and sunlight)

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (5, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896488)

Maglev is extraordinarily expensive, noisy, and an engineering solution to what is a civil problem - commuting.


You know, I always find it entertaining when it is suggested that trains are so expensive and such a problem. In Japan, they have trains that are 50 years ahead of our best technology, and they don't seem to have much of a problem with them.

Of course, they also built the longest suspension bridge on the planet and put an airport on water. Maybe they have fewer people saying "it'll never work." Who knows?

If maglev is what it takes to move people off the roads, I pity our civilization.

What it takes to move people off the roads is to move past the 19th century workplace where managers insist on five million lunchpail-carrying peons crawling through the door on their knees to punch a timeclock at the exact same moment. That is the cause of traffic, pollution and waste from automobiles. Period.

t does not happen today for one simple reason: the artificially low cost of travelling by car and by air (thanks to subsidies on roads and on fuel).

Agreed.

Re:Car vs. Maglev? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896528)

I'm one of the people in an increasingly rising tendency to live in the heart of the city (of Sydney, Australia) for convenience factor.

For the equivelant of US$30 more than what I was paying before moving into the CBD (central business district) I now have an apartment with great views and home is just a stumble and a fall in the gutter away on weekend nights out.

Isn't this a bit much for a university? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896401)

When I was a student, I rode a $100 bike to class. Building a $14 million monorail to do the same job sounds like overkill to me.

Re:Isn't this a bit much for a university? (4, Funny)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896407)

I guess we could do it your way, but won't your legs get tired, pedalling all those kids to school?

Re:Isn't this a bit much for a university? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896486)

Walking and Biking is not the American Way. They don't call it the Obesity Belt for nothing, you know.

Efficient? (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896408)

i personally think that $2 million grant could have gone a lot further by fueling those "gas guzzling cars" than helping another prototype that will prove to expensive to ever be put into practical use.

Re:Efficient? (2, Insightful)

Triskele (711795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896454)

And what new would we have learnt that way? Surely a university has a duty to innovate. Most research money is down the drain when looked at from a short-term practical perspective. It's only further down the road (when we run out of petrol) that we'll be glad for the work done on this prototype.

Too late! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896416)

"Let us hope that this sets a precedent to Americans to not litigate ourselves out of the science and technology markets"

For example, yet another lawsuit [indymedia.org] against the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant (what is this the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth?). The truth of the matter is that this is exactly the reason that the nuclear industry has shut down. Insurance costs are too high because people are sucessful at suing a plant so that it will never make any profits (Diablo Canyon) or voting it closed (Racho Seco Nuclear Power Plant).

Dynamos (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896533)

they could build like, a 1000 nuke plants in the death valley, bottle the electricity in dynamos, and ship it to places.

Uh Oh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896419)

"ODU Board of Visitors member William M. Lechler also has voiced skepticism. ?It sounded like it was going to be a difficult process,? he said in December. ?They really had to have a breakthrough in technology.?

"Morris has insisted that breakthrough will happen once the $2 million federal grant money flows."

That's a pretty big assumption.

Cars and the US (5, Interesting)

mst76 (629405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896427)

I've always found it interesting that in the US (with the possible exception of major cities) adults are almost always expected to have a car. The are many explanations for this phenomenon, e.g. lower population density, individualism, suburban sprawl, low gas prices, major urban development after the introduction of the car, bad public transportation. But for many explanations, it's not really clear what is the cause and what is the effect. There are of course positive (freedom, independence of time tables) and negative sides (environment, dependence on oil, health/obesity) to having cars for everyone.. But it's an interesting difference between the US and many (most?) other countries in the world.

Re:Cars and the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896456)

But it's an interesting difference between the US and many (most?) other countries in the world.

In Germany, adults are expected to drive German cars. ;-)

Re:Cars and the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896460)

the difference between the US and most other countries in the world is that we're so much more richer and successful. We can afford to buy cars and pay for their maintenance, unlike many in Europe and Japan.

Re:Cars and the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896469)

sorry, you misspelled "i have no clue about anything"

Re:Cars and the US (5, Interesting)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896461)

The reason for a car is for transportation around the city. American cities are spread out, unlike European cities are more compact. Take my city for example, San Antonio. A city of 1.5 million, but its larger land wise than Dallas. Just to get from one side of the city to the next takes 25-30 minutes and that's not counting traffic.

I used to use public transportation (VIA) about a year ago. That same route I now take with my car, took 3 hours by bus.

Re:Cars and the US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896477)

That's suburban sprawl, and it's also unclear if this is a cause or an effect of having so many cars.

Re:Cars and the US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896523)

Excellent point. Most US cities are like the suburbs and rural areas of European cities - they can be larger than 100 square miles (not kilometers)! Most people live in stand-alone wooden houses, and most of the businesses are on the perifery of the city - many times even in rural areas!

A lot of this happened due to a real lack of urban planning, in the American spirit. "Oh, let's build the factory right HERE, in the middle of nowhere". "Oh, let's put a residential neighborhood right here, in the middle of this farmland".

This is often because planners are unduly influenced by those who own large tracts of land - they're not trying to build cities that make sense - instead, they plan to build cities that make a lot of money for a few land owners.

Its not hard to understand why we like cars. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896503)

1. The US is about personal freedom. The freedom to do what you want and go where you want to go. This cannot be over emphasized. Until the formation of the EU travel between countries wasn't that high.

2. Combine that with a very large UNIFIED country. We ARE free to travel where we want within the United States and even into Canada. It is not uncommon for relatives to live in very different parts of the countries yet still see each other on a yearly basis.

3. The US Highway systems is very large and connects all major cities. Many have multiple connections. These are subsidized by the GAS tax.

4. Low gasoline taxes. We still maintain one of the lowest per capita tax loads across the world. Still it is too high and only serves to be wasted on government pork and vote buying schemes.

5.
I don't think health/obesity can be tied to our fascination with cars. It has more to do with this "Information Age" where you no longer have to go anywhere to converse with people or find things out. Yet at the same time this lack of need to travel was not in conjunction with a change in diets.

Re:Its not hard to understand why we like cars. (2, Interesting)

ctid (449118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896599)

Not to be rude, but much of what you say doesn't address the question of cause and effect:

1. The US is about personal freedom. The freedom to do what you want and go where you want to go. This cannot be over emphasized. Until the formation of the EU travel between countries wasn't that high.

Surely all citizens of democracies can go where they want? What relevance has this got?

2. Combine that with a very large UNIFIED country. We ARE free to travel where we want within the United States and even into Canada. It is not uncommon for relatives to live in very different parts of the countries yet still see each other on a yearly basis.

I don't understand the relevance of the size of the country. Wouldn't people fly if they were travelling a very long distance?

3. The US Highway systems is very large and connects all major cities. Many have multiple connections. These are subsidized by the GAS tax.

I'm from the UK and this is also true in the UK. I'm pretty certain it's true in Germany and France, and I suspect most EU countries too. I don't understand how that addresses why Americans are so keen on cars.

4. Low gasoline taxes. We still maintain one of the lowest per capita tax loads across the world. Still it is too high and only serves to be wasted on government pork and vote buying schemes.

This is clearly relevant, but doesn't address the cause-and-effect question.

5.

I don't think health/obesity can be tied to our fascination with cars. It has more to do with this "Information Age" where you no longer have to go anywhere to converse with people or find things out. Yet at the same time this lack of need to travel was not in conjunction with a change in diets.

I don't understand that at all.


I'm not posting this to be awkward, I really am interested in how the situation in the USA got to be how it is.

Re:Cars and the US (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896507)

But for many explanations, it's not really clear what is the cause and what is the effect.

Distance to grocery store: 3 miles
Distance to work: 27 miles

Therefore, a person must have a car, or they will be broke and hungry. There is also the fact that there's really no place to go walking in most neighborhoods any more. In fact, seldom do people go outside at all unless they are getting in the car to go somewhere. Bicycles are no better. Suburban blocks are sometimes one mile long, and the distance between shopping centers can be up to 10 miles. Makes a "nice bike ride" into one leg of the iron man.

But, in this society, change, ideas and vision are discouraged by threats of unemployment, starvation and ruin, which is why things like mass transit and maglev trains are never taken seriously. It's unpleasant and depressing, but it's a fact.

Re:Cars and the US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8896513)

In Germany one is expected to own a car as well although many times families have only one car which is indeed a difference between Germany and the US. I personally do know exactly two adults who do not have a car at all and in my family everybody has his/her own car. I guess it largely depends on where you live in europe but it my case it even is a major city with rather good public transport systems.

Re:Cars and the US (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896577)

It's not just a US thing - Australia has very similar low-density cities, in which most people get around by car. And I imagine Canada is pretty similar ..

Perhaps the reason is that many US and Australian cities are more recent, and were expanded after the automobile became commonly available, making low density living practical. Or perhaps it's because car ownerships is not regarded as a crime that has to be punished with high taxes, unlike on certain other continents :-)

Re:Cars and the US (1)

anno1602 (320047) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896620)

Perhaps the reason is that many US and Australian cities are more recent, and were expanded after the automobile became commonly available,

Cities in Europe do continue to expand, too, but much less sprawlingly. I think the major factor here is not the car, that just makes low-density practical, but land prices: Most parts of Europe are much more densely populated than the US. For example, Germany has a population density similar to California, and is fairly on par with the European average. That means that land is much more expensive, which tends to yield more compact structures.

Compare to Japan which has an insane population density (in the habitated areas, large portions of Japan are virtually empty) and, consequently, even more compact cities.

Joke Science (2, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896464)

Throwing good money after bad. BTW, the ODU campus [odu.edu] isn't really that big.

Noise pollution? (2, Interesting)

lxt (724570) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896472)

I remember reading an article very recently in a newspaper about how Maglevs might actually produce much more noise than a standard train...just a point...

Re:Noise pollution? (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896586)

Do you mean this one [slashdot.org] ?

This project (2, Insightful)

geoswan (316494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896544)

The article was short on details.

$14,000,000 is peanuts for any kind of real transit system. raven42rac says

"
I, for one, would much rather ride a Maglev monorail with others, than drive a gas-guzzling car by myself."

I strongly suspect that this particular project is not a substitute for driving a gas-guzzling car. On any campus I have ever been on almost no-one drives a car to get from one spot on campus to another. I strongly suspect this monorail system is substitute for riding one's bike, or going by foot.

Research makes the world go round (1)

arikol (728226) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896547)

Perhaps not efficient use of money, but then research/testing rarely is. I reckon the actual project is probably not worth the money (campus train) but the outcome MIGHT be worth it eventually my 2cents

my maglev dream (1)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896552)

I've read about bold and at this point unrealistic propositions regarding trains. How about underground vacuum tunnels, where maglev trains could reach amazing speeds. And then connect the entire EU with this system. Ultrafast communications. As I said it's just a dream, and unrealistic, but then again I also would like to see space colonies Gerard K O'Neill style, hypersonic aeroplanes and manned space missions around the solar system...

Did I read that right? (1)

Flingles (698457) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896578)

Virginal Maglev Project? I think someone needs to call up a metrosexual!

I think there isn't nearly enough... (4, Funny)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 10 years ago | (#8896621)

I think there isn't nearly enough contempt and elitism in the tone of voice in this submitter.

Where's the demand for the 'heads of the nonbelievers of the maglev'? or the crimes against humanity committed by evil 'automobilists'.
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