Auto Beggars

Have you ever seen an old bum on the street... one who smokes continuously until there's orange-brown stains on his fingers; and he's all rough and leathery; consumes ethanol daily and pisses himself stinky. There's no way to hide that. You can't cover it with a fancy new shirt and make it go away. People who have learned to live like that don't change overnight into clean, healthy, intelligent members of the social community. They'll lie, cheat, and steal to get more to drink, more to smoke.

You can't give money to a wino beggar, because if you do, he'll just spend it on wine and tobacco, making the situation even worse. Your money's better spent on building and funding a bum cleanup facility. Why waste your money on smoke when you can buy something more permanent with it?

Ok, so what about that auto industry bailout? Isn't the auto industry like that bum? It smokes and pollutes. It begs the question... and the fools who buy into their false dilemmas think war and more polluting cars is the answer to the problem. They think they can just switch from petrol to ethanol. But there cannot be enough of that. That magical corn-u-cope-owe-yah is not bottomless. Think about soil depletion.

I wonder how many of them spent their tax kicker check, aka. "economic stimulus payment" on gasoline? Money to burn, right? Even if you finally broke down and bought a bicycle with it... Reminds me of my ex. She wanted more child support money. I thought about it, and wrote a letter outlining the cost of cigarettes, beer, snorting gas hogging mullet-mobiles, and other loud and crassly unnecessary "living" expenses. She replied that she doesn't spend the child support on those things; she spends her own money, that she earns, on it.

How many men paying support wish they could control how it's being spent? There should be rules about where it goes... Money should be spent according to laws, not according to women, right? ... Or, maybe all of those people who got nice fat tax cuts are responsible with how they spend it. Buying a new SUV "stimulates the economy", right? I can almost hear the techron trickling down the well pipe.

I think that it's obvious that instead of bailing out the auto industry, we should simply allow it to collapse under it's own weight. Face it. Automobile transportation does not scale to this level and will not scale any much farther. It stinks and pollutes. We are pumping a finite natural resource out of the ground and wasting it by burning it up into puffs of smoke that... well, we wish it would blow away.

Instead of pissing away the money on the auto and petroleum industry, it should be spent on railing up our urban transit systems. We ought to be sharing the ride with other members of the social community in residential service trolley cars powered by clean wind energy. The drivers need to quit smoking and guzzling.

The auto and petroleum marketroids are going to try and sell you (hand waving) "natural gas". It's the same problem all over again. They are pumping matter out of the ground. For every mole of natural gas you burn, you produce a mole of CO2 and a mole of H2O, plus other byproducts of incomplete combustion of an impure gas. It's adding matter to the atmosphere. What is that causing?

There are too many people burning it in cars and it will overwhelm the ability of the planet to clear it. Don't let their PR hacks fool you when they farce claiming that most of the CO2 emissions comes from big industry. It's kiking out of your own bottomless tailpipes, plain and simple. It's not fuel you're looking for.

I suggest that instead of burning the "natural" gas as fuel, it should instead be utilized in other ways, perhaps for producing direct reduced iron to be used for the rail and rebar we'll need to install that shiny new infrastructure. Think of how long your investment will last if you spend it on steel rather than on smoke.

...=T=T=T= >> ?


=T=T=T= == The TTT Transit Talkoot

I'm researching what it will take to form a non-profit organization under IRC 501(c), either section 3 or section 12.

The name of the organization will be: TTT Transit Talkoot, which can be also called Trolley Track Talkoot and various other things. The text-only logo is: =T=T=T=, and the uppercase letter T, as in T-Total, is meant to be reminiscent of the utility poles that carry the trolley power wires. The = is meant to be reminiscent of both the rail tracks and those overhead power wires. You can also see the T's as people with linked hands, with the = signs representing that we are all equals.

It also invokes ideas surrounding Henry Ford's Model T. Why that is relevant is possibly apparent to those who have seen the History Channel Modern Marvels episode about Ford. Thing was that Ford payed better wages and his workers could afford cars to show off, and that sold more; they spent that money and it helped fuel the growth of the US economy... The transportation of goods is fundamental to the economic activity, not the power source or mode of propulsion.

The acronym TTT is recursive, after the fashion of GNU, the primary project of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). (GNU stands for GNU's Not Unix.) The recursiveness of TTT is nice because there's obviously got to be more than three pillars holding up the trolley grid. (I can't build this thing alone.)

Hmmm... =T=T=T= Can somebody draw me us a logo in standard web banner size with that and the Ubuntu logo for the wheels of a vintage trolley car? Another version with ... for wheels? You're the artists. Post them as comments to this blog entry, please.


Can I drive it too?

Since, perhaps, not everyone will get to participate in the actual construction of the trolley system, perhaps everyone can have a chance to drive it. Maybe everyone should be required to take a turn driving it, and not for pay, but as a civic duty.

If every citizen drove a trolley for 4 to 8 hours per year, would there be much conflict with their regular jobs? Think of how many people you would meet driving one. I suppose you'd meet more if you drove it more, right? But when you're driving you have to watch the road, so you can't talk much face-to-face.

What are the odds that you'll meet somebody new, have a face-to-face conversation with that person that leads to a long term friendship, if you each drive cars? You leave point A at time x, and she leaves point B at time y. You are each headed for separate random destinations. If you pull up next to one another in traffic, what can happen? Can you talk? What are the chances you'll be headed for the same destination and then have a chance to talk?

What if there was a comprehensive city wide public transit with residential service rail lines and you each leave your homes headed for random separate destinations. What are the odds that you'll meet at either a stop or on the train? They are probably much higher; think about the stop light in traffic. What if all of you are in the same trolley car instead of in separate automobiles at a traffic light? Now you can talk to one another if you like.

I'm reading a book that says that we live in a life-world composed of independent actors whos actions are influenced by linguistically mediated inter-subjectivity. It follows that increasing everyone's number of opportunities for communication with others in the community will have an effect on what those actors, seen as a whole group, do within the context of that life-world. What actions will people perform to bring about a change they've never even considered? They need to think it over, and to do so, must communicate with those other people about it! Never forget that you are one of those people too.

We've all heard the old adage “Divide and Conquer”. In the social community with shared transportation resources, there are a great number of opportunities for communication with others. The overall structure of that communication is dynamic and perhaps mostly non-hierarchical. But when people are separated from one another so they can't talk, and they listen to mass media more than to each other... It begs the question: if they are playing follow the leader, then who's leadership are they following, and why?


Hay, ewe. What's your sin?


I grew up in a rural area of south western Wisconsin. My Dad was a carpenter, and we rented an extra farmhouse... Years ago when they farmed with horses, farms were smaller. With the advent of mechanized farming, some farmers lost their land, and now what used to be several farms is one, so they have extra houses they rent out to hired hands and other people. If you know someone, you can get a fair rent.

When I was a boy, my odd jobs consisted of lawn mowing, bailing hay, milking cows, feeding hogs, shoveling stalls, painting and construction cleanup. We always grew a large garden, had fresh milk and meat we grew or hunted ourselves. The environment one grows up in has a great effect on how a person thinks about and sees the world. We lived closer to the land than most of you have. Some people think I'm Amish... that's not really true, though I have probably been influenced some by some of their philosophy of life. I can't be Amish unless they say I am and I agree. I'm probably more Wiccan than Amish.

Years later, I was living on the streets in a large city. I had everything I needed on my back in an REI backpack. The air is fouled with automobile exhaust (car cucka) and after you breath it long enough, you can't smell it anymore, especially if it's all you've ever known. I think that song that goes on about "ooh, ooh, that smell; that smell that surrounds you" is about petrol fumes and car exhaust, not drugs as many people sort of like "think". I think that if I tried to point it out to them, they would think I'm nuts. They don't see it. It's out of the picture in their minds; elided by that process of mind which strives to eliminate cognitive dissonance. They're all like "what for my daddy-owe? There's petrol in the car-owe!"

At one house we lived at, there was a sheep pasture across the fence around the yard behind the house. There was too many sheep on too little land, and they grazed it down to nubble shorter than a golf-course green. The rain began creating runnels in the sheep ruts that turned into washouts high enough to hide a ward. I'm told that one of the ancient greek writers told a similar tale. Part of ancient greece washed off into the sea because of over-cutting of forest and overgrazing by sheep herders. It used to be verdant pasture and lush forest, but is now rocky and sparse, from what I gather. It makes me wonder how much of that has gone on in the long forgotten past. We mostly don't notice it now, since what we see now is all we've ever known; there are no before and after photos to speak of.


Talkoot Reading List

A “Streetcar” is a passenger vehicle about the size of an urban transit bus that rolls on steel wheels over steel track. The track is often embedded into the street, so that the right-of-way may be shared by rubber-tired vehicles. An electrical contact apparatus reaches up from the roof of the Tram where it brushes along a fat copper wire strung above the track, gathering power for electric motors and coach lights. Getting from one place to another by Streetcar in a rail connected municipality is quite a lot like getting from one floor to another by elevator in a skyscraper. You wait a short time at a well-designated location, step in, ride it, then step off when you're there.

It's very convenient — what if you had to park the elevator after each use? Or what if each of us had our own individual elevator? That's absurd! The personal automobile is useful and always will be, but honestly, it doesn't scale to this many on the road at once. Traffic congestion is horrible. The collective fuel waste is outrageous! The time lost to busy idling just sitting in traffic or driving the same route day in and day out is priceless. On the Streetcar, you can read or have a face to face conversation with a fellow commuter...

Assuming that it will take a fuel shortage to make it happen... When we begin to manufacture fuel, there won't be enough for the number of cars currently on the road. If there was an alternative form of transportation and most people used it, there would be fewer cars on the road. That would make driving more enjoyable for everyone else... It would also reduce fuel demand, one factor of the Supply and Demand economic equation. Perhaps if fuel demand decreases, so will prices? If.

Another nice thing about socially shared transportation is that costs are carried by the commonwealth collective, aka, the government of, by, and for the People, where money is allegedly spent according to laws, not men... And so with this deal, provided that capacity planning is on track, as demand increases, the price carried to the individual actually decreases. Or we could leave it in the supposedly capable hands of a large capitalist corporate entity and let them determine the price. Or?

What it comes down to is that what really needs to happen is for humanity to quickly convert to technologies that are compatible with life. How quickly can it be done? Have you ever heard the one about “somebody else's job”? Tired of producing air pollution everywhere you go? Tired of being part of traffic congestion? Tired of using more fuel than is truly necessary? Tired of being dependant on fossil fuels? Tired of contributing to resource contention that can lead to warfare between nations? Who's job is it to solve these problems? Who's job is it to help implement them? Why join the military when there are solutions available that do not involve killing other people? Why not instead join forces here at home to grid our cities with Streetcar rails powered by wind and solar energy?

Below is a reading list with things pertinent to an upcoming article containing some ideas that I have been incubating regarding socially-shared transportation and the fuel problems. I have some relatively concrete and detailed solutions in mind that I still plan to write about, on a future occasion. Please read at least a few clicks deep into the following mesh; I've got to read them also, it'll take maybe a week at an hour or two a day...