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Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

Water you use is unusable by me. Sure there's lots of water (if you don't live in California..) but its still a rivalrous good.

But it is not a public good. That's why we set a price on it.

But besides roads, can you think of another rivalrous good that's unpriced?

Most roads are empty most of the time

And that makes them very inefficient at moving traffic and a poor use of land. Let's work on fixing that.

Even the most congested, most complained about road in my area moves only about 30% of its daily capacity. Part of the reason is because it has so many traffic lights and at-grade intersections, and part is because people all tend to be on the road at the same time. Restaurants flatten demand by setting different lunch and dinner prices. Managed freeway lanes with variable pricing do the same thing.

Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

It is rather obvious that charging more than most people can/will pay will encompass people who are cheap/ don't care/ or would like to, but they cannot afford it. First two are fine - the third, not as much.

The wealthy are perfectly willing to pay into the road fund to use those lanes, and the poor are only too happy to let them. "Support [for toll lanes] is high across all income groups, with the lowest income group expressing stronger support than the highest income group (80% vs. 70%)." So what's wrong with giving everyone what they want?

Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

The issue is that roads are a shared public good...

No, they are not a public good. Public goods by definition are non-rivalrous, which means one person's use of it does not prevent another person from using it. Traffic prevents people from using the roads; therefore, roads are rivalrous and therefore are not public goods.

...not something that should be priced to allow the wealthy an advantage.

Even if the revenue is spent on services for the poor?

In other words, if anybody is going to be stuck in traffic, everybody should be stuck in traffic.

Good plan. Let's price all the roads at market equilibrium so nobody is stuck in traffic!

Or, do you actually like traffic?

Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

[ Paying a fee to use the passing lanes on highways is] actually a really good idea, if the fee is set just high enough to eliminate congestion in that lane...

If the tolls are not kept high, the toll lane will become just as congested as the regular lanes.

Correct, if the fee isn't set high enough to eliminate congestion, there will be congestion. So what's the issue?

Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

Is bypassing traffic if your son is sick a luxury?

I think it's cheaper to drive him and pay a toll than to call an ambulance and pay the copay. Not to mention paying less in taxes because the managed lane never gets congested (because it's always priced right at market equilibrium) and so the freeway never again needs to be widened at taxpayer expense just to relieve congestion.

Comment Re:Lack of understanding rather than nefarious (Score 1) 114

maybe we'll end up with people paying a fee to use the passing lanes on highways.

That's actually a really good idea, if the fee is set just high enough to eliminate congestion in that lane, but no higher, so that nobody is ever gouged and so that the managed lane isn't responsible for causing congestion in the anarchy lanes. Then if my son is sick and I have to get him to the doctor, I can pay the fee and bypass traffic. This would give me an option that I didn't have before. Options and competition are good things, right?

Submission + - Study Reveals Bot-On-Bot Editing Wars Raging On Wikipedia's Pages (

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years. Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots," that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks. In the early days, the bots were so rare they worked in isolation. But over time, the number deployed on the encyclopedia exploded with unexpected consequences. The more the bots came into contact with one another, the more they became locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing the links they had added to other pages. Some conflicts only ended when one or other bot was taken out of action. The findings emerged from a study that looked at bot-on-bot conflict in the first ten years of Wikipedia’s existence. The researchers at Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute in London examined the editing histories of pages in 13 different language editions and recorded when bots undid other bots’ changes. While some conflicts mirrored those found in society, such as the best names to use for contested territories, others were more intriguing. Describing their research in a paper entitled Even Good Bots Fight in the journal Plos One, the scientists reveal that among the most contested articles were pages on former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, the Arabic language, Niels Bohr and Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the most intense battles played out between Xqbot and Darknessbot which fought over 3,629 different articles between 2009 and 2010. Over the period, Xqbot undid more than 2,000 edits made by Darknessbot, with Darknessbot retaliating by undoing more than 1,700 of Xqbot’s changes. The two clashed over pages on all sorts of topics, from Alexander of Greece and Banqiao district in Taiwan to Aston Villa football club.

Comment Re:Incorrect! (Score 1) 382

Did you know that before we started massively subsidizing (socializing) the trucking industry, grocery stores used to have their own railroad spurs? True story. So capitalism can work perfectly well when we allow it to.

"The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." --Margaret Thatcher

Comment Re:Surprising (Score 2) 243

And considering that Iowa is where much food for Manhattan, LA, and San Francisco comes from, roads and bridges there should be of some interest to urban Americans.

Sure, we will maintain the roads and bridges on our side of the state line, but if Iowa wants to sell us food, isn't that sufficient economic incentive for them to maintain the roads and bridges in their state?

Let Washington give them enough money to do so but give it to them unconditionally so we can see whether maintaining ALL of their existing roads and bridges is really the best use of that money. Without strings attached, I suspect Iowa might close down some lesser-used bridges to motor traffic so they no longer need to be maintained, and they might expand their rail lines to get some long haul trucks off the road so they cause less traffic congestion and road wear.

Comment Re:first (Score 2) 382

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