[extropy-chat] Psychology of investments in infrastructure

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 22 03:35:19 UTC 2006

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Mike Linksvayer
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Psychology of investments in infrastructure
> On Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 08:33:18AM -0700, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > I have rarely seen it that underutilized.
> I haven't read the entire thread closely but I think you're talking
> about VTA light rail.  It is grossly underutilized when measured
> against capacity anp estimates used to sell the system.
> See http://www.ti.org/vaupdate32.html

>   Mike Linksvayer

Thanks Mike, interesting article.  What caught my attention is the

Light rail is an obsolete technology that doesn't really work anywhere. But
it is especially unsuitable in post-automobile urban areas such as San Jose,
whose jobs are spread throughout the area rather than concentrated in a

Along the lines of the previous discussion of terrorism, suppose Iran or
someone else gets a nuke and wants to use it on the US in such a way as to
maximize the pain.  One might decide that the Silicon Valley is the place to
hit, since the US generates so much wealth there.  

Problem: where is it?  Downtown San Jose?  Palo Alto?  Sunnyvale?  Santa
Clara?  Menlo Park?  Stanford campus?

Go to GoogleEarth, type in Palo Alto CA.  It will zoom in on an area about
the size a bad guy could reasonably nuke, completely slaying every prole in
that area.  Now imagine a terrorist, flying around looking for the best
place to pop off her one nuke.  Where?  Palo Alto sure doesn't *look* like
the heart of Silicon Valley, and furthermore most of the proles that
actually live there have already made their contribution, earned a fortune,
gone on to their earthly reward, and perhaps are not the ones she would wish
to destroy.  Likely she would decide this isn't the right place, and take it
over to San Jose where there is at least a cluster of middling tall
buildings, but even that is nothing like San Francisco, off in the hazy

All this grim speculation illustrates my point exactly: future cities might
develop all smeared out like the Silicon Valley as opposed to the New York
City model.  Subways are suitable in San Francisco-like places, but not
Silicon Valley-like places.  Therefore subways, along with light rail, are
poor investments.


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