[extropy-chat] Psychology of investments in infrastructure

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Tue Jun 20 02:51:37 UTC 2006

On Jun 19, 2006, at 6:49 PM, spike wrote:

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Russell Wallace
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Psychology of investments in  
> infrastructure
> On 6/19/06, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> Ja ...  I am suggesting that
> vulnerable stuff like subways are a bad investment with current  
> technology.
>> This is ridiculous. What are you going to do, let fear of terrorism
> convince you to start driving to work instead of taking the subway?...
> No, not at all.  It would convince me to vote against building of  
> subways
> because they are too likely to go bust.  The reason I avoid subways  
> is not
> because of terrorism, it is because they are inconvenient.

If we had a decent mass transit system out here in the south bay I  
would use it more often.  Caltrain is better than nothing but by the  
time I have fought traffic to park at the nearest station I would be  
over halfway to work.    The buses are too few to take to the station  
for me.

>> How many people have terrorists killed in the last few years? A  
>> handful of
> thousands. How many people have road accidents killed in the last  
> few years?
> Hundreds of thousands...
> Inappropriate comparison.  Far more people drive than ride subways.
> Freeways are more difficult to attack than subways.

Not at all inappropriate.  Per passenger mile the highways are orders  
of magnitude more dangerous than subways or any other form of mass  

> My notion is that building expensive vulnerable infrastructure can  
> actually
> *cause* terrorism, in which case past history doesn't really help  
> us much.
> The most expensive most vulnerable target will be hit first, for it  
> produces
> the most bang for the buck.  Examples: the Japanese subway, the  
> World Trade
> Center (twice), the Spanish and British rail station attacks.

Terrorism is not caused by building things that can be attacked.  A  
shopping mall or even a restaurant can be attacked.  Random small  
attacks are just as effective at spreading terror than one or two  
large attacks.

> The next lesson from kindergarten is that having your block tower  
> knocked
> down requires no provocation.  The little girl in the corner hurled no
> insults.  Canada did nothing to provoke an attack.  Russell, do  
> explain what
> is irrational about this line of reasoning.

Well you did claim to be getting on with life yet you are advising  
not building various things because you fear terrorism.  Something  
seem a bit off.

- samantha

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