Print Story cowboy films. diesel. suburban blight. ted sorensen. country music. perverse incentives. arm gouges.
Diary
By lm (Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:15:30 AM EST) (all tags)
You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility.


Last night I made my two daughters sit down with me and watch The Magnificent Seven. It took them about 20 minutes to get drawn into it. Uncultured git that I am, I think it was the first and only Yul Brynner film I've ever watched. My eldest daughter kept saying things like `oh, that's just what happened in X' and `He looks like so-and-so in Y.' After a few of these comments, it dawned on her what I meant by it being one of the most influential films in modern cinema. And yet, it itself drew on those that have come before. Art is like that.

Diesel powered passenger cars are finally coming back to the US. Audi/VW and Mercedes ramping up diesels that meet emissions testing in all 50 states for the 2009 model year. Honda may have a diesel Accord in the same. Suburu and Nissan have their eye on 2010 for diesel releases. Toyota is conspicuously not mentioned, which is a shame. My biggest complaint about my Yaris is that Toyota didn't bring the diesel engine available in Europe to the US market. The article also mentions the big three not pursuing diesel for the passenger car segment.

Krugman has a piece on a renewed interest in urban living in the US that mentions how much greener (and less expensive vis a vis energy costs) urban living is over suburban living in the US. This dovetails quite nicely with an Atlantic article from a couple months ago that argued the suburbs will be the slums of the next generation. The most interesting thing to me about the latter article was Leinberger's point about the quality of construction of the McMansion boomlet. Today's inner city slums are filled with the mansions of yesteryear, which were built to last, being converted to multi-family dwellings. The new crop of McMansions in the suburbs won't be economic to do that with as they aren't built anywhere nearly as solidly. This will be interesting to see play out.

Ted Sorensen was on the Diane Rehm show last week to promote his new book Counselor and made an interesting point about Clinton's campaign to be POTUS. He remarked that he would think that a woman being a serious contender for the presidency would be a larger step forward if the woman in question wasn't a former president's wife. The wife of a term-limited former president running for office has a certain air of nepotism. (I think he actually used the term banana republic, but I may misremember.) I'm not one of those who is dead set against political dynasties, especially not in the US where being the heir apparent buys one little more than name recognition, but I think I agree with Sorensen's larger point. It would be far more of an unambiguous victory for social progress if Clinton wasn't the wife of '42.

As it's pledge week at my usual local source for radio news coverage, I've been bouncing around the FM dial during my commute. Landing briefly on WNKU's morning country program, I stumbled across The Hiders. If the reset of their stuff is as good as the one song I heard (Penny Harvest Field), they are made of awesome. Just don't tell anyone that I'm recommending a country band. At least their from a northern town.

While bouncing around the stations, I also heard two good examples of perverse incentives on the talk radio dial. I like hearing about perverse incentives as I think they're a good example as to why policy should be thought through more thoroughly. The first example was of Canadian marijuana growers and distributors. They fully support the US war on drugs because it keeps marijuana prices artificially high at the wholesale level to the risk premium. The war on drugs, then, actually encourages entrepreneurs going into the drug trade at the wholesale level due to the artificially high profits. The other example was in health care. Some policy wonk on a different show compared costs per patient in the last six months of care for terminal patients between two of the best clinics in the US. Without any difference in the quality of the care or the outcome, one clinic spent twice as much per patient. The wonk opined this is because the US system rewards quantity of care provided rather than quality of care provided. Clinics have a financial incentive to provide a high quantity of care without regard to whether or not the patient actually needs the care being provided.

I took out a large chunk of my arm the other night. The gouge is about 2mm deep (at its deepest) and 3cm in length. I did it falling into bed and smacking my forearm on the metal hook that holds back the draperies. It hurt like a banshee, but not enough to get me to look at it before morning. Should be an interesting scar when it heals.

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cowboy films. diesel. suburban blight. ted sorensen. country music. perverse incentives. arm gouges. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
diesels... by clock (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:20:14 AM EST
...i've been driving a vw diesel since 2000.  and i consistently get 49 mpg.  even with that, commuting to work will be out of the question in about a year.  hence "the plan" to bust up outta this non-public-transit town.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

Does the MPG make up for by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue May 20, 2008 at 09:00:59 AM EST
the insane cost of fuel? diesel used to be cheaper than gas, these days it's, what, 40 cents more?

--
Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
yes. by clock (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue May 20, 2008 at 09:16:10 AM EST
my cow-irker and i discussed this.  his car gets ~25mpg on gas that is $4/gal.  i get 49 mpg on fuel that is $4.40/gal.  i win.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
What's the horsepower to weight ratio? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue May 20, 2008 at 11:40:39 AM EST
I was getting 50 mpg with my Geo Metro, back in the day, but it had zero acceleration and the braking characteristics of an air hockey puck.

--
Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
Curb weight of Jetta by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue May 20, 2008 at 12:06:24 PM EST
A 2008 Jetta with a stock four banger gasoline engine clocks in at 3,230 lbs, the TDI weighs in at 3,197. Both deliver 177 foot pounds of torque. 0 to 60 of the TDI is about 8 and a half seconds.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
lm hit it on the head... by clock (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue May 20, 2008 at 01:01:54 PM EST
...90 horses in the golf is more than enough to me going.  acceleration is more than acceptable and i can stop on a dime if need be (being as light as it is).

honestly?  acceleration means exactly jack to me right now.  i am on the highway all of the time and i set my cruise and forget in.  in houston you can sit in the middle lane at 70 mph and forget about the rest of the world (at the time of day that i commute).

we will very soon be re-prioritizing the desirable traits of our vehicles.  get me 100 mph and i won't give a shit about handling, smooth ride or amenities.  cars will be tools.  maybe that's sad...but i don't care.  i'm planning to dump the car for a bicycle as soon as i can.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
NY Times had a bit about that by lm (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:18:17 AM EST
Right now, most diesel powered vehicles get ~ 25% better gas mileage than gasoline powered counterparts. Diesel is presently ~ 16% more expensive than gasoline.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Plus diesel has more interesting long-term options by fluffy (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:36:54 PM EST
It's a lot easier (and possibly more energy-efficient although I don't know the numbers) to turn biomass into diesel than into ethanol.
busy bees buzz | sockpuppet revolution
[ Parent ]
depending on the bio mass, it can be by lm (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu May 22, 2008 at 02:09:14 AM EST
I don't know how to compare the best in class between ethanol and biodiesel, sugar cane and palm oil, but biodiesel is pretty easy to make, especially from waste like leftover animal renderings and used cooking oil.

I wanted to buy a diesel when I bought a new car. But the only options were way out of my price range. On paper, I could have had a new TDI Jetta for about a 4k premium over what I bought my Yaris for. In practice, TDIs fly off the lot as soon as they come in so the dealer's won't negotiate much and its rare to find one equipped such that sticker price is much less than 10k more than I bought my Yaris for.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Multiple-vendor vs. single-source by fluffy (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu May 22, 2008 at 07:43:17 AM EST
The fact alone that biodiesel can come from basically any lipid makes it infinitely more compelling than ethanol.  Pretty much everything has lipids, while not everything can be fermented.

On the other hand, there's a similar argument to be made for cellulosic ethanol, BUT at this point it's still essentially science fiction (small amounts of cellulosic ethanol have been produced in the lab but currently the amount of energy required to convert cellulose into something fermentable is quite huge).  Wikipedia does mention a "gasification" method which sounds like it might be much more energy-efficient, but it also sounds like production in quantity requires a huge amount of bootstrapping before it'll really work out.

Also, the absolutely most fungible and adaptable form of energy is electricity, which can be powered by all of the above AND have the efficiencies of scale to make it much more self-sufficient.  I have a very strong suspicion that the long-term winner (at least here on Earth) will be hydrogen fuel cells, with hydrogen generated either at home or at the filling station via electrolysis.

(I also think that in a few million years when our descendants are spacefaring, their power will primarily be solar or ramjet-fueled fusion, depending on whether they're in orbit or in transit, but aside from that being the setting for my current webcomic it's more or less out of my scope of practical interest.)
busy bees buzz | sockpuppet revolution

[ Parent ]
Non-public transportation town by theboz (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue May 20, 2008 at 09:52:22 AM EST
I'm breaking down in this regard, and will start taking the bus to work next week.  A coworker that lives in my neighborhood started doing it this week, and found out that work reimburses us 100% for the bus fares, and that we just have to go to the nearest mall, then take the bus the rest of the way in.  We'll probably end up carpooling or something to the bus stop to save even further.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
most places... by clock (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:18:52 AM EST
...'round these parts do reimburse for that but my place of biz is in another county.  i just can't get there from my home.  and it sucks.

good on you, though!  stacky loved commuting.  lots of quality ipod/book time.  i really wish i could do it.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
You're just screwed by theboz (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:26:49 AM EST
There's really no way I could make your commute every day and still keep my sanity or my life.  I think it is a huge testament to your patience that you haven't gotten road rage and done something about it yet.  But yeah, there's no public transportation for you.  Since I live in the county you work in, I have to drive a bit, but a few miles drive followed by a bus trip through the heaviest traffic will make the trip much more bearable.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
the only way... by clock (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:34:43 AM EST
...that i can manage it is by working off hours (6 - 3:30-ish).  if i had to do 8 to 5 i would go insane.  yeah, i'm low on options in my current life configuration.  but on the up-side, i'm really getting my money's worth out of my ipod!


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
How long is your commute? by houser2112 (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed May 21, 2008 at 03:45:14 AM EST
I commute from Rochester to Buffalo, NY, 75mi each way.  I'm starting to seriously consider moving to save money, time, and sanity.

[ Parent ]
Dude that sucks by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed May 21, 2008 at 03:51:51 AM EST
Buffalo real estate isn't too bad, though.


[ Parent ]
yeah by houser2112 (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu May 22, 2008 at 02:26:27 AM EST
Unfortunately, I've had little luck finding work in Rochester since taking this job a year ago.

[ Parent ]
i go 40 miles... by clock (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed May 21, 2008 at 04:23:47 AM EST
...each direction.  it's an 80 mile day.  i'm in the process of changing cities to avoid it.  soon enough, we'll be in a place where driving to work will cost more than companies will be able to compensate.  if cities in the U.S. don't start addressing this now, they're screwed (more than they are already).


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
40 mi is not bad by houser2112 (4.00 / 1) #27 Thu May 22, 2008 at 02:29:17 AM EST
Of course, I'm thinking of 40 western NY miles (light traffic interstate), not 40 Houston miles.

[ Parent ]
makes all the difference in the world... by clock (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu May 22, 2008 at 03:10:20 AM EST
...my 40 can take 50 minutes to 2.5 hours.  and that?  that ain't cool.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
mass transit by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #18 Tue May 20, 2008 at 07:50:54 PM EST
has definitely improved my quality of life. +50 placidity.

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

[ Parent ]
he looks like so and so in Y by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:24:20 AM EST
So your kids are watching "Death Wish" as well ?

And no "King and I" ? You aren't sci-fi dorky enough to clobber for not watching "Westworld"..

They didn't recognize Charles Bronson by lm (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:30:16 AM EST
They also didn't recognize Steve McQueen.

The big thing was the similarity (both physical and characterwise) between Yul Brynner's Chris and Neal McDonough's Cane in Tin Man. It was more of an `oh, they did that same thing in this other movie' and `oh, that looks like this other present actor' than seeing the same actors in later films.

The closest I've come to seeing The King and I is Jodie Foster's non-musical remake Anna and the King.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Our house is 90 years old and built very solidly by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:33:27 AM EST
plaster and lathe construction is heavy duty, and good luck getting gumboard trim in that size anymore.

I like our neighborhood too, it's not that different looking than the inner ring suburb next to us, the lots might be 5 or 10 feet narrower.


Did you tell them by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue May 20, 2008 at 08:58:02 AM EST
That it was a remake of a famous black and white japanese film?

--
Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
built to last by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:02:46 AM EST
Some letters to the editor at The Atlantic pointed out that it wasn't so much that houses back then were built to last as it was that the ones which weren't, didn't. The same will be true of the McMansions.

I have, on occasion (when highly unemployed) done a bit of construction work. I've also done walk-throughs on houses while they were being built. Some are very solidly constructed, being both bolted to the foundation and having hurricane hangers, some will fall over in a stiff wind.

It depends on how much the buyer is willing to pay for quality that isn't obvious.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The future of the US is... Canada by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue May 20, 2008 at 11:41:44 AM EST
Our slums are already in the burbs. Or better yet, way the hell out of sight and mind in remote native towns.

take that, first nations! by garlic (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed May 21, 2008 at 03:41:45 AM EST


[ Parent ]
GM and Ford by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed May 21, 2008 at 01:50:16 AM EST
make pretty good diesel engines in Europe. Ford has a joint venture with Peugeot and makes a diesel V6 which is suitable for Camry sized cars. But as we know, what goes on in Europe with ther companies doesn't seem to make it's way to the US.

cowboy films. diesel. suburban blight. ted sorensen. country music. perverse incentives. arm gouges. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback