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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday




I have not posted before although I've visited your site daily. I don't want to start my contribution by being a nitpicker, but drag forces don't increase exponentially, but quadratically.

As a mathematician, I really hate it when people use the word "exponential" when they mean something else. At least half the times someone says something increases exponentially (ie. an increase by a fixed percentage for each unit of time, eg. compound interest), they really mean it increases quickly. In this case, the writer already has the correct answer: The increase is quadratic, not exponential, yet he still calls it exponential. Argh!

I'm with you guys - as a physical scientist, it bugs me no less. Not only that, it makes sense that the velocity dependence would be quadratic.

The article referenced gives an example in which a 1900 mile trip is is $70 cheaper driven at 55 mph. Most people will pay that to avoid more than 9 additional hours on the road driving at 55 mph. I'm wondering whether people, faced with a vacation trip at either speed might enjoy a high-speed rail trip more - what do think?

ugh... what do you think?



You are right.

although I am now suspicious that the hood scoop from turbo charger may be my problem.

I wonder if I can fill that in with putty.

I find it ironic that the Reagan quote was used, but that good ol' Ronnie was the one to eliminate Carter's 55 mph cap. Typical.

Seems to me that getting out of the car and onto a bike is an even better remedy to >$4 gasoline - and the caloric equivalence is roughly 1000mpg!

Hey Tim,

I would love to have a high-speed train option. Last month, I took my first Amtrak trip and thought it was a great way to travel - until we got stuck behind a coal train going about 20mph. Then, on the next leg of my journey, we stopped several times in small towns in the middle of nowhere to wait for oncoming freight trains. I was over six hours late getting to my destination both going and coming.

If we had passenger rail that didn't need to share track with freight trains, I'd use it for most of my vacations.

I would love to have a high-speed train option.

Yes, Folks are getting it right.

As long as getting there fast is still an option most people will pay to get there fast. So if you want more environmental options to work they need to be comparable.

Bikes for short trips or rush hour commutes in good weather

Metro lines for longer commutes

High speed trains for cross country.

Only the purest of idealist is going to drive from New York to Chicago at 55mph to save one tank of gas. Especial with 18 wheelers flying by at 80.

The amount of carbon produced turning everyone in the world into an idealist would be counter productive.

And as much as I hate Reagan, we all drive faster because modern cars can do it safely. Some states have high speed limits enforced strictly and some states stick to the 55mph and enforce them loosely.

Drive from Ohio to Pa on 76. the limit drops from 65 to 55 and the average speed goes from 70 to 80 mph.

Syngas -

If we had passenger rail that didn't need to share track with freight trains, I'd use it for most of my vacations.

Awwww....this just makes me laugh. You'd better vote for a Democrat if you want that. Do a little research on the Republican support for that....

And as much as I hate Reagan, we all drive faster because modern cars can do it safely.
I'm not sure I understand this. President Carter took the speed limit down from 65 to 55 as part of his energy policy. People went faster before he was in office....Reagan put the speed limit back. I think it was Norm (?) who did a couple of posts on Carter before and the good things he did in office. It reminded me I never have gotten what Carter did that was so bad and I also don't understand why people think Reagan was so good (except he seemed to be a very pleasant man.)

I'd also like to fly a helicopter to work Jill. Probably not all that practical though. Not sure high-speed rail is either. It would just be nice, that's all.

We gotta be practical - except when implementing war fantasies. For the cost of the war in Iraq, for example, we could rebuild our entire interstate highway system. In Iraq, we took a fucked up country and fucked it up even more.

I'd also like to fly a helicopter to work Jill. Probably not all that practical though. Not sure high-speed rail is either. It would just be nice, that's all.

Oh, I didn't realize you considered not being behind a coal train going about 20 mph "high-speed rail" or akin to riding in a helicopter. Never mind then - I thought you were talking about the passenger rail system that the Bush administration has basically been trying to get rid of since he's been in office.

It would be a nice way for people to travel and it is more fuel efficient than cars and planes. But, that's not something this administration has ever been interested in. Remember how our brilliant President thought we as a nation should conserve energy to avoid gas prices so high they affected our economy? Here's a great briefing from 5/2001 when gas prices were going up. Bush's presidency is the one that thinks it's the American way to guzzle gas. (But, what do you expect from someone proud to be the "world's biggest polluter."

And, BTW, I believe McCain is going to be worse than Bush on passenger rail.

Once again, you’ve misunderstood my point – though I’ll concede that my point was stated recklessly and obliquely enough that your criticism is well taken. My point is not that high-speed rail projects should be undertaken without ‘being practical’ – I agree with you, such projects should be considered with all due consideration for practicality.

Would that the practicality of war expenditures be given equal consideration. Indeed, it was no accident that Eisenhower called the interstate highway system project the "> National Interstate and Defense Defense Act – what better way to put through an ambitious infrastructure project? What? It’s for “defense” too, you say? Well, sure then - let’s do it! Apparently – even if high-speed rail is “practical”, we’ll need to call it an antiterrorist project to get it. (I think it isn’t for most of your vacation spots it won’t be practical – NYC to Disneyland may be one for which it is.)

As for impracticality and Iraq, the last comment I can recall you making was that “[the] waste would be to leave Iraq before we help fix it.” How long does it take to learn that we can’t “fix” Iraq? It is no less practical to think we can, than it is practical to think that if one million Chinese troops had invaded the United States in 1880, they could have “fixed” American race relations.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in your classroom Tim. How many times a day do you get the question 'will this be on the test?'

Seriously man, is there any topic you can't relate to Iraq? It's like some kind of OCD.

I bet we could start a discussion about ammonia, and the words Bush (or some pet name for him), Iraq or Halliburton would come up by your second post.

How many times a day do you get the question 'will this be on the test?'

Interesting question, I get it a lot, but I'm afraid it's always motivated by a fear of chemistry - nothing else. :)

There a few interesting stories to tell about it though. My university has had one Rhodes scholar in twenty-five years - he took two classes from me - the first as an honors freshman. I wrote one of his letters, and when he received the award, I was one of the faculty invited to the president's residence for the only reception ever held in the term of that president for a single student. (The president is now the US Secretary of Defense - a damned sight better one than his predecessor.)

At the beginning of class one day, this student asked my opinion about the Iraq War. He was told my policy - I don't expound on any subject other that chemistry in front of the captive audience of a chemistry class - if he'd like to ask after class, I'd talk his ear off. The student is now well into his graduate career in biochemistry at Oxford (that's how long this stupid war has been going on). He remains interested in politics: he's the guy who exposed yet another Bushie fraud here.

Norm, I beg you! Please include this in the 'links with your coffee' tomorrow.

Syngas, What does that have to do with Iraq? :)

I can't wait to find out!

You're right though, it's pretty cool!


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