atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5420: Infrastucture

An interesting theory. Democrat strongholds don't invest in infrastructure and the result is a hidden "time tax" on producers. I don't disagree with the notion; Democrats are big on buying votes and keeping people chained to the party; notice how many prior Presidential elections contained an element of "If you vote for [Republican] he'll take away your [government program]!" Democrats hold that kind of thing over their heads: senior citizens, [Republican] will take away Social Security! Single mothers, [Republican] will take away WIC and food stamps! Women, [Republican] will take away Planned Parenthood! And so on.

...the fact that it's politically impossible for [Republican] to take away any of that--let alone reduce it or simply reduce the rate of funding increase!--notwithstanding.

But I also note that in some cases it's virtually impossible to fix an infrastructure problem without spending a highly disproportionate amount of money, or causing a severe dislocation of services.

Example: in the Fungal Vale there is a certain railroad crossing near an intersection of roads. For many years the track in question was not often used, and in fact the railroad that owned it reduced it from a double-track main line to a single-track because there simply was not enough rail traffic to justify the maintenance cost on double track. That changed, however, and now trains are much more common.

Couple that with the fact that the intersection is more heavily-traveled than it used to be. The east-west road is undergoing improvements to make it a four-lane road (something it's needed for at least fifteen years) and it now connects with Interstate 57, an improvement which only happened in the last couple of years. The intersection itself is a four-way stop, no signal, and has been for decades--longer than I've had a driver's license.

When a train comes through--and the usual train is a mile-plus long freight--it jams up traffic on that east-west road solid. The line of cars runs half a mile to either side of the north-south road. Many people, seeing that there's a train, simply turn around and detour about a mile north, where [other road] passes under the train tracks.

The ideal solution here is to build a viaduct or a flyover, so that auto and train traffic need not wait on each other. But to do that, both the road and the railroad tracks would have to be closed for an indeterminate amount of time while that was built.

Cars can easily detour around a closed road, so that's trivial compared to what it takes to keep the train traffic flowing. And shutting the tracks down is a non-starter; that's millions of dollars lost, and it's already hard enough to make money in the railroad business.

Detour the train, put up temporary tracks to go around that site? Can't--trains can't make sharp turns and the necessary detour would run through farm fields and a university campus. You can't lay down main-line track--not even for low-speed over a couple of months--without doing a lot of foundation work, things like riprap and gravel and so on, stuff that's not conducive to farming after the tracks are gone.

And then, once you've got those problems solved, there's a couple of other inconvenient facts. There are a few houses right there, so close to both road and tracks that they'd have to be demolished. "Eminent domain", sure, but that's the last step, because this is quite literally trivial compared to the problem of keeping the trains moving.

...with the result that right there, at the worst possible place, the newly four-lane road pinches down to two lanes, right at that railroad crossing. And doesn't go back to four lanes again until a mile or so westward, out near the interstate.

This is one example. I see them, every so often, in my travels; I look at a particular setup and think, "Any way to fix this?" And the answer that comes back is, "Sure, if you've got a few billion laying around you don't mind using." It can be done; as my Dad was fond of saying, "All it takes is money!"

And our government is broke.

Our government is broke because it spends money on buying votes, of course, but broke is broke regardless of how you spent the money.

Incidentally: that article also explains in loving detail why I don't want to live in California: TAXES. The cost of living out there is insane, and for what?

* * *

A confident prediction that Democrats will continue to be feckless this year. I hope so.

* * *

Modern singers rely too much on tone correction. And when the tape goes awry, they don't know what to do; certainly they can't start singing, not for real singing, because then their level of actual ability would be obvious.

When Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was in theaters, I watched The Tonight Show one night specifically because Enya was on it, because her song "May it Be" was the end theme for that movie. And as I watched her stammer and stumble her way through it, voice quavering, I realized that the clear sustains that were one of the things I liked about her singing were nothing but computer remodulations of her voice and I began to like her singing less. (For the record, though, Amaranthne was why I stopped listening to her: when you come out with a new album every other--or every fifth!--year, your albums had better be good, else people will stop listening.)

(Enya reportedly has a bad problem with stage fright, so I expect that was also an issue, but come on already--if you're a singer, once you start singing everything else should go out the window. I'm no great shakes as a performer but even when I'm very nervous about how well I've got a piece down, when I start singing I forget about everything but singing the song.)

Lip-synching your own music is disingenuous but I'm not surprised pop stars do it.

* * *


A good rocket fuel is only a small step removed from high explosive.

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