The Amtrak train had PTC installed, but IT WASN'T TURNED ON.
Meanwhile PTC was installed and active on the other side of the curve, on the north side, so as to regulate the speed of southbound trains.
To make matters even worse? Let's look at what happened: it turns out the train was going 70 MPH in the 70 MPH zone, but about ninety seconds before it went into the curve its speed began increasing; by the time the brakes went on the train was moving at 106 MPH. In other words, the train was going at the speed limit on the straight section--and it probably could have stayed on the traks in the 50 MPH section--but instead of slowing for the curve, the train sped up. Then the engineer hit the brakes at the worst possible moment.
But even though it costs nothing to slow down, of course we're not spending enough on infrastructure and that's all the GOP's fault.
* * *
Amtrak is a money pit. It's an economically useless boondoggle.
Some time ago--years--I had a post here about what Amtrak charges for a bottle of soda. Google won't find it now, but I recall that Amtrak was unable to make money selling soda at something like $4 a bottle because they pay so much for it, about $3.50 a bottle as I recall. The comments to the AoSHQ link above mention that Amtrak sells a burger for $9 but it costs them $16.
They can't charge $16 for the $16 burger because if they did that it would drive more people away from using a transportation system which is already economically unnecessary.
For intercity travel in the US you have a few basic choices if you're not planning to drive yourself, and it comes down to bus, train, or plane. Of the three, buses are cheapest per mile. Planes next, and of course they're the fastest.
Trains are both the most expensive and the slowest way to get people anywhere in the United States. That is not going to change anytime soon, not without massive government interference in the economic workings of the transportation system.
* * *
I feel Bluesun's pain. Word is a pain in the ass.
* * *
So now the big thing in the aristocracy is the elimination of cash. Because it's much easier to control people if they can't whip out a wad of bills to pay for things, and it's similarly a cakewalk to track their every move if they have to show ID every time they take part in a transaction.
This is something I've feared for a long time. Years ago I recognized that "the number of the beast" would require some kind of biometric identification, and that the mark being put "on the forehead or the left hand" was simply John's way of describing something he saw in his visions but didn't understand (because they didn't know about fingerprints or other biometrics in the first century AD).
I will not be part of that. I won't. I'll starve under a bridge before I let them put that on me.
* * *
Tiny computer is good for streaming, not so good for applications. And it's $150 with Win 8, which is less than the $156 I paid to build El-Hazard. Dang.
* * *
Last week, a woman brought in a laptop to trade in. It was two years old, still in its box, having never been used; I looked up its trade-in value and the most I could give her for it was $56.
I wanted to say, "Look, I'll give you $112 cash for it right now." If I had only had money I could have made that offer, and if she'd accepted it I would have had a very nice new laptop with an i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a terabyte of hard drive, and so on. Fuck.
She probably would not have accepted my offer--she declined the trade-in--but I could have tried, dang it, or offered her more money, if I had had it. What a pisser.
Well: my hunt for a new job continues, and that'll have to do.