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Bob Lutz: Kiss the good times goodbye


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 05:13 PM

"Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap"
 
Bob Lutz: Kiss the good times goodbye

 

an.jpg

 

Automotive News has long been the flagship journal of the US auto industry.


Gregory Wells

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#2 Samiam

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 05:36 PM

Didn't this same guy predict in 1969 that slot car racing would be completely gone in five years?


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#3 Cheater

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 05:41 PM

You're too funny.

 

In 1969, Bob Lutz was a GM executive in Europe.


Gregory Wells

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#4 Frankie Schaffier

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 08:06 PM

I had the pleasure of working with Bob Lutz in the past. He's an old school car guy, with the same passion for cool fast cars as the rest of us.

A great read is his book called "Guts." A fantastic book covering the auto industry back in the heyday. Once you read the book, you also become a Bob Lutz fan.
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#5 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:14 AM

In the '60s they told me there was an ice age coming, and that in 30 years we would have flying cars.
 
Like most predictions there is probably some accuracy in what he forecasts, but you can bet it will change more before then.
 
When I am no longer able to drive it would be nice to have transportation on demand like that, but that is the only part of it I like.
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Eddie Fleming

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:47 AM

Eddie, on my Facebook timeline, in response to Phil Nyland's "Pretty depressing" comment to my share, I posted this:

"In some ways, especially if you love cars the way I do.

On the other hand, what Lutz is predicting is IMO just about the only viable solution to the traffic gridlock problems we're seeing in major cities now and it is growing to encompass smaller cities more and more every day."

Gregory Wells

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#7 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:10 AM

Every time I drive up to CMS I understand, Greg.
 
I still don't like it.
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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:21 AM

I don't like it either...

But fortunately (or not!) you and I are old enough that the situation probably won't hugely impact us in our remaining time on the planet.

Gregory Wells

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#9 NSwanberg

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:22 AM

Driving matters! It fits the human spirit!
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#10 Dave Crevie

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 02:36 PM

I never liked Bob Lutz much. And I don't see this happening for a long time. But it will solve most of the personal transportation issues. Congress has been trying to pass "clunker" laws for at least 25 years. As bills on their own, and as riders on other bills presented to the general assembly. So far the car enthusiast lobbies have successfully blocked them.

But as we enthusiasts fade away, the new generations will not carry the torch. Just like in slot racing, the car culture is not developing new blood to continue supporting the hobby. And the universities are turning out only "green" people, not hot rodders or sports car racers. They are the ones who will run this country.

#11 MarkH

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 04:10 PM

For nearly the whole of my life I have heard promises great things were coming. Life as we know will be lost.
 
Still waiting...

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#12 Bob Kurkowski

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:23 AM

I'm going to get out my old McCulloch chain saw and mix up some over-rich gas and oil and while its belching out a ton of smoke and noise I will raise it to the heavens as the ultimate middle finger salute to everyone and everything green.
 
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#13 Rob Voska

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:25 AM

They forced us to buy healthcare, right?

#14 havlicek

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:44 AM

Look, whether Lutz's prediction comes to pass or not, or even whether he himself is a good guy or a bad guy is all besides the point. GM, Ford, Chrysler... and all the other US car companies now gone (meaning the people in charge and making corporate decisions based on what they forecast as "the future") have had an extraordinarily bad track record. They kept giving us big inefficient cars when foreign manufacturers gave us smaller ones. They shared platforms across all the various divisions (those having originally been other marques they bought), changing maybe grilles and wheelcovers in the hope that we'd pay more for a Lincoln that for a Ford. After decades of failure, it's hard to pay more than passing attention here.

Having said that, car (and truck!) manufacturers worldwide has been developing autonomous vehicle prototypes for a while now. It seems at least as though they are telling us that this is what we will want/need. It's all interesting and could eventually increase safety and decrease gridlock and traffic. While the safety thing looks like a better bet, logic says that the gridlock thing would only be marginally improved. Calling up a "pod" when it's time to hit the road doesn't address the math: when you have a lot of people... you need a lot of pods. Unless many/most people will want to do ride-sharing, or "pod-sharing", traffic will still be a snarled mess.


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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:56 AM

It amuses me to compare the uproar caused by the healthcare situation to the virtual silence (IIRC) when liability insurance was required on one's automobile(s). I know some of you will remember when there was no such requirement, as do I. When it first came into being in the mid-to-late '70s here in Georgia, I was so poor I paked my car for nearly three years and road a motorcycle winter and summer, as liability insurance was initially not required for bikes. (It is now.)

Perhaps it was because the auto liablity requirement is a state-by-state reg and was also phased in over a period of years; I'm pretty sure all states enforce this now as a condition of being able to license a car.

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#16 Bill from NH

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:20 AM

You don't have to carry car insurance in NH in order to register a car. However, if you cause an accident without having insurance, you have to post a bond ($50K, I think) before you can get back on the road. Maine had similar rules, but I haven't lived there in years. Myself, I've used the same insurance ccarrier since 1969.


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#17 Cheater

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:27 AM

John,

I fully agree that reducing the level of personal vehicle ownership is not the solution gridlock, but only a component of a possible solution.

 

The overal solution is to assiduously reduce the need for people to get into vehicles of any type to live their daily lives. Promoting the maximum level of telecommuting (via tax incentives to businesses and employees), transitioning a much larger percentage of city-to-city freight to rail, having a much higher level of delivery of goods and services to consumers (rather than having the consumer have to drive to acquire good and services), more pervasive and reliable punlic transporation systems, and other more-efficient approaches to societal functioning will be involved.

 

There are numerous places in the world where cars are banned, and people are still able to live their lives, so this is not a new movement.

 

Bob, to ascribe what Lutz is predicting solely to environmental issues is misguided IMO. The 'fleet' today is clean enough (and the growth in electrics and hybrids will improve this even more) that the environmental impact of cars will not be a significant factor going forward.

I believe the movement to autonomous cars will be driven by insurance companies, as even though self-driving cars will not be perfect, they wil be far, far more perfect than human drivers are today. The use of cellphone and the distraction they bring has reversed the trend of fewer traffic-related deaths each year over the last few decades. The numbers used to be in the 50,000 (and higher) range of deaths each year and the safety improvements mandated over time had brought that number down to the low 30s. Distracted driving has caused the annual number of deaths to start to increase again; last reliable figure from a year or so ago is more than 35,000 deaths in automobiles and the predictions are the number will increase before it gets better.

 

Back to you, John; autonomous cars will almost certainly work to reduce gridlock because of far fewer accidents, noticeably improving the through-put on major arteries. That's the major issue in Atlanta's traffic problems, almost hourly lane and all-lanes closures each day on the interstate system in the area due to driver-caused accidents. Hardly a week goes by where there aren't total closures of one or more major interstates, not uncommonly for hours at a time (if there's a fatality). IMO that's a bigger contributor to the gridlock we experience so frequently in the greater Atlanta area than the near-capacity traffic volumes.


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#18 Bob Kurkowski

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:29 AM

Greg,

 

You are correct in a sense but the 'Green' argument will be and has been a huge backdrop for all of these whimsical solutions. 

 

Don't worry too much about my chainsaw because I have some unused energy credits from Al Gore that I need to use up before the next crackpot idea comes around.

 

Bob K.


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#19 Dave Crevie

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 03:42 PM

Making anything legally required doesn't really solve any problems. There will always be a huge percentage of people who

will not obey the law, especially if it costs money. Of the seven wrecks I have had in my lifetime;

 

         2 were my fault. One I slid on black ice and hit a parked car. The other I hit a car that was pulling out of a parking lot.

 

         4 of the other five were people who hit me and did not have any insurance. Three of those were after Illinois passed the mandatory insurance law. 

      

         1 had insurance, but only because he was driving a company truck. He did not even have a drivers license.

 

The three that had no insurance all got tickets for that. But it didn't help me, my insurance had to pay the repair bill. The fine for the ticket was about

one third of the cost of insurance for the year, so the offenders saved money.

 

Going to totally autonomous vehicles will not solve the gridlock problem. It is a situation of too many people travelling to centralized destinations. 

Population is too concentrated. The jobs are in big cities. If those jobs could be dispersed across the land, it would also scatter the vehicular

traffic, cutting down on the gridlock.

 

By the way, for all you "green" folks out there, Volvo says they will only sell hybrids and electric vehicles after 2020.  



#20 Rob Voska

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 04:16 PM

While I see a use for this in a controlled environment turnpike situation... maybe some sort of a dual-mode vehicle will be needed.

 

* How do you pull a camping/boat/racing/small utility trailer that has no sensors?

 

* How does it deal with farm tractors/equipment?

 

* What if I want to pull my car under the tree in my yard to wash it on a summer day?

 

* If you think taking guns away is hard just wait until you try to take street rods and monster trucks away!

 

* How do they deal with broken-down cars, people, tree branches, potholes, or anything else?

 

* No need for headlights but it sure sound like a hackers dream to crash cars into each other.

 

* Who would be liable if it malfunctions? Only factory-authorized people would be allowed to do any service. Few would be able to afford a car... and that might be the whole point.

 

* That leads us to corporate-owned short bus transportation. You need to be at work at 7 AM. Bus pulls up and takes you and a bunch of others in that direction where you get on another and another until you get to your destination. 

 (Sounds like fun dragging all my groceries or slot stuff to the track... Larry Kelley's two-wheel dolly comes to mind.)

 

* If corps own everything you are essentially a prisoner in your own home with no transportation and records of every move you make.  Insurance co.s go under because they would not take any responsibility, recreation industries would die as there would be no camping, boating, or racing. Gas stations would not be needed and you would not grab a Coke or a Starbucks or a burger because you never stopped. How do you get a load of firewood or even a dozen 2x4's home? They would have to be delivered in a special vehicle at a cost that no one would pay.

 

* I doubt if I see it fully functional in my lifetime...



#21 havlicek

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:21 PM

I agree, Greg. While autonomous car-pod-things may well become a thing and will at least somewhat help gridlock/accidents, my view is that by far, we are being told we want it way more than any significant number of people are saying they want it. Visions of... er... "vehicles" whose interiors look more like an executive lounge with two rows of swivel seats facing each other while young upwardly mobile folks are laughing, consulting their laptops and talking on their phones are more than a little reminiscent of all sorts of "visionary" concepts you and I have seen over the years.  

I am not pooh-poohing Lutz's prediction, but I do think it's far more likely that even 30-40 years out, we'll see some autonomous vehicles, but not the "death" of the person-driven car. I'm not even so sure we'll ever see all-autonomous transportation. People after all, do want to go different places at different times and then, on the spur of the moment stop somewhere else. Autonomous vehicles can certainly accommodate all that, but not so much the basic human thing about a need to feel as though they're "in control."

Lastly, and this is a biggie. Autonomous vehicles becoming a major thing seems (at least for now) to mean that cars and their computers would be directed either by satellite or even systems embedded in roadways themselves. All of that is subject to some pretty awful messing with by bad actors. Cars can already be hacked, wireless communications and hardware can be sabotaged, and a whole range of people with technological capabilities and bad intentions are out there taking notes. I don't mean to sound paranoid, but in this new reality we live in, the potential for some gruesome consequences are really disturbing. Put it this way, none of our data is safe.. .even when it's "guarded" by a bank, and our computers are only as safe as the last time some malicious code was detected and defeated. It would only take a minor "9-11" type event to have us all back behind the wheel again.

A good thing (as for the whole gridlock problem) is that more and more people can and do work-from-home or at least remotely. Of course, this won't help when it comes to jobs like retail, service, medical, manufacturing, food prep, and other jobs that simply can not be done by "phoning it in."

Predictions are dead-easy. Prophecy, not so much!


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#22 Half Fast

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:44 PM

A new opportunity for John H-

 

Rewinding all the armatures in the electric motors in those pods!

 

My pod is faster than your pod :)

 

cheers


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#23 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:51 AM

Beam me to....

Transporter technology can be practical and inexpensive by the end of the Century.


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#24 John Streisguth

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:00 AM

Autonomous cars will probably also require roads to be built a bit differently, and especially lane markings to be more clearly read by the "vision" in the cars. Urban areas shouldn't be a problem, but I would bet rural areas would be decades behind on this.


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"Whatever..."

#25 Samiam

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:10 AM

I predict by the year 2050 we will all be riding in electric cars guided by slots in the roadway and powered by electrified metal strips along side the slot.


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#26 Bob Kurkowski

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:24 AM

Do I hear the sound of 'socalized' transportation ? While the pods or whatever they will be called may be privately owned who is going to pay for these futuristic roadways, refueling centers, and infrastructure systems that will be require for them to operate ?

 

Only bright spot I'm seeing is that this just might help to lower the number of drive by shootings in urban areas.  :mega_shok:

 

Bob K.



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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:33 AM

... who is going to pay for these futuristic roadways, refueling centers, and infrastructure systems that will be require for them to operate?


Bob, my friend, like so many today, you seemingly have forgotten or never knew the relevant history.

Major transitions in the transportation arena have occurred at least twice since 1900.

Just who do you think paid for most all of the paved roads that have been built since that time? And who do you think paid for the airports and air traffic controls systems needed since the airplane became a major component of the world transportation system?
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#28 havlicek

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:51 AM

Bob, my friend, like so many today, you seemingly have forgotten or never knew the relevant history.

Major transitions in the transportation arena have occurred at least twice since 1900.

Just who do you think paid for most all of the paved roads that have been built since that time? And who do you think paid for the airports and air traffic controls systems needed since the airplane became a major component of the world transportation system?

 
... Bingo! Paying for this stuff has never been an issue. We all pay for it, whether we're aware of it or not. 
Jeepers, wasn't it Eisenhower who championed the Interstate Highway system? I mean, it wasn't all that long ago!  :)

 

Man, I clearly remember family road trips in the Rambler station wagon and multiple stops at all kinds of weird/freaky/interesting roadside attractions that were as cool or cooler than wherever we were actually headed for. Oops, I'm going OT here!   :)


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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:02 AM

Good post, Rob.
 

... Few would be able to afford a car... and that might be the whole point.


A non-trivial portion of the younger generation have no desire to own cars and the expense seems to be a significant part of the reason. Thus the growth of Uber and Lyft.

I see similarities in the growth of the tiny house and off-the grid living movements – a rejection of the traditional 'shackles' of mortgage and home insurance payments, land costs, electrical and water bills, etc., etc.
 

... you would not grab a Coke or a Starbucks or a burger because you never stopped. How do you get a load of firewood or even a dozen 2x4's home? They would have to be delivered in a special vehicle at a cost that no one would pay.


"Siri-car, order my favorite latte from the nearest Starbucks and stop there so I can pick it up."

"Car-center, I need a half-ton pickup at the house at 9 AM."

IMO neither of these concerns are particularly valid in the longterm
 

I doubt if I see it fully functional in my lifetime...


As I said as well in my post #8...


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#30 Cheater

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:10 AM

Jeepers, wasn't it Eisenhower who championed the Interstate Highway system? I mean, it wasn't all that long ago!  :)


You're not wrong, but the actual Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (which is what created the Interstate Highway System) was co-authored by Senator Al Gore, Sr. of TN and Rep. George Fallon of MD, each introducing the bill in their respective bodies.

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating The Interstate System
 
That history thing again... OL!

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#31 Cheater

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:15 AM

... we are being told we want it way more than any significant number of people are saying they want it.


Reminds me of the quote attributed to Henry Ford (though it is generally agreed that he hever said it):

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#32 Bob Kurkowski

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:16 AM

Greg,
 
Please help me, I never was good in history. Who will pay for this system ?  Don't forget that when something so simple as current roadways are being widened that demolition, removal, and possible abatement are often required and before the initial concept can be implemented it would not be uncommon for the costs to escalate sometimes two maybe three times.
 
I was just talking to a road crew the other day that was repairing a section of the street by my in-laws and I asked them if they were going to replace a small complete section of the road that is destroyed and I was told "no," we don't have the money for that.
 
Sounds like you seemingly have forgotten or never knew the history of politicians spending like drunken sailors. Just kidding, I'm sure you know.
 
Bob K.



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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:27 AM

Bob,

In my view, the level of spending by politcians makes drunken sailors look positively frugal!
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Gregory Wells

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#34 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:44 AM

How does a 'auto drive' vehicle work on a snow-covered road?

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#35 Cheater

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:54 AM

Who knows? Right now, no one knows exactly how any self-driving car works...

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#36 Dave Crevie

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 04:44 PM

Here's something to think about. The ultimate people mover already existed before the turn of the century.

 

Consider that paved streets and highways had never been built. Instead, railways went everywhere, even residential areas. You just walked to the end of your block, and got on a railcar that took you directly to your job, or to the mall, or out for dinner,  The railcar would be shared with neighbors who lived near you, and were going to the same general location. The cars would automatically be switched to the lines which would take you to your destination. Cars could be scheduled every 15 minutes, and the final destination punched in on a keypad in the car. It could pick up additional persons along the way, and drop people off at destinations on the route. Goods would be picked up and delivered by special merchandise cars. 

 

Using modern construction methods, the lines would be cheaper to build, and easier to maintain than paved roadways. Snow would be continually plowed, and no potholes would exist. And all traffic would be centrally controlled. No running red lights.



#37 Samiam

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:33 PM

Trains? You want trains?

 


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#38 NSwanberg

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:50 PM

i used this in my classes.

 


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#39 Jay Guard

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:21 PM

We have absolutely nothing to worry about with Lutz's futuristic fully automated car module system. I am certain this incredibly complex man-made system will be 100% reliable and without any bugs that could cause serious accidents or injury. For example look at the substantially less complicated computer controlled train system here and in other countries. I mean when was the last time you heard of a train wreck? What could go wrong with a system as massively complex as a complete transportation system? Not only will it be as technologically perfect as all of our present "technical systems" are, and like Communism has shown, us a "communal" system such as outlined by Lutz will be socially accepted by all (previously) free Americans.

 

Actually I'm going to suggest to my daughter that she become a liability lawyer as I always wanted her to become rich beyond belief.


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#40 Rob Voska

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 08:01 AM

What about motorcycles? Cops could not get you for DUIs and all the lawyers income would be gone. 
 
This reminds me of that commercial where everyone swipes their card and buys their $6 coffee with ease, music playing and everyone is happy, then the dunce with cash comes up and everything crashes to a halt while he fumbles with money and everyone is agitated. As soon as he is gone everything if fine again. 
 
In my experience it's the opposite. Card won't work, had to try again and again and then another card all the while I got my money in hand and being held up by some dingbat telling everyone in line how it just worked at the last place. In other words, it's a dream that meets real world reality and is much different.
 
Now lets read between the lines. Card users spend 16% more on average, bad for consumer. Great to swipe the card but they don't show the tears when you get the bill and have to pay or become their slave and pay 25% interest, bad for consumer. But the music plays for all of them that get a cut of the fees and hidden charges and expenses involved, bad for consumer and business that has to raise the price so the banksters get their cut of every move you make.Hey it's hard to be a bankster and get buy on only a few mil a year. They are worth it just like the "take a knee" group of sports figures.

#41 Gator Bob

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 11:24 AM

Sing along...my friends

.


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                            Bob Israelite

#42 Cheater

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 12:54 PM

Here's something to think about. The ultimate people mover already existed before the turn of the century.


How would a train come to pick up Rob's "camping/boat/racing/small utility trailer" or deliver the 50 sheets of drywall I ordered to my home construction site?

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Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#43 Cheater

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:09 PM

I am certain this incredibly complex man-made system will be 100% reliable and without any bugs that could cause serious accidents or injury.


Just like passenger aviation, right?

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#44 Dave Crevie

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:35 PM

Greg.

As I said, specialized merchandise cars would handle all freight. Special cars could also be designed to handle most non-standard items. With the lines laid out where the current street grids are, the farthest you would have to move yourload manually would be a block. But most likely, the line would run right in front of your house.  
 
As to current railroad control systems. The CTC system still being used on most railroads is not reliable, and hasn't been for a long time. Mainly because the electrics, which still rely on relays, were designed and installed before WWII. In fact, many of the relays, originally manufactured by Standard Railway Supply corp., are still in service 75 years later. Systems to upgrade to solid state have long been available, but any program to put them into use has been hampered by the cost, downtime, and the difficulty to get them to work with current system. We just can't shut down the entire National railway system while the upgrade is performed. Any completely new rail line built now would have the latest in controls, as well as construction methods.



#45 Gator Bob

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:53 PM

Experts say... A.I. will fix all this for us.


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                            Bob Israelite

#46 Samiam

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 08:47 PM

How would a train come to pick up Rob's "camping/boat/racing/small utility trailer" or deliver the 50 sheets of drywall I ordered to my home construction site?


How is a 17 year old going to "get some" on a Saturday night? :man_in_love:
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#47 Horsepower

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 02:09 AM

There is so much room for sabotage, hacking and even lower forms of mischief (like bricks from an overpass) that I predict the "autonomous" car is a figment of liberal imagination.

Here is my "autonomous" car.

Auto Show Cars  Feb 2006 005.jpg
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#48 Dave Crevie

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 02:45 PM

Sam; around in back of the garage like I did.







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