Redistribution vs. Building

TPM: Heller Bails Out:

“Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) does the requisite distancing from Mitt Romney’s 47% comments …

‘I do believe the federal government has certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is building bridges and roads, and national defense,’ Heller said Wednesday in Washington. ‘I also believe in a safety net for individuals who need the help, so that’s why I would respectfully disagree with the comments that (Romney) made.’

Heller pointed out that his mom was a school cafeteria cook, so that he had a ‘different view of the world’ than Romney.”

Interestingly of course, the federal government does not in general build bridges and roads. It redistributes (that word again) money collected in the states (particularly the federal gas tax) back to the states that, along with locally collected funds, enables states to build (or more precisely hire contractors to build (or even more precisely, hire contractors to hire subcontractors and laborers to build)) bridges and roads.
We built bridges and roads before the federal government got involved. We probably would benefit from a debate as to what the federal value added in the redistribution of funds is. It is also interesting that building bridges and roads is something a Republican actually feels comfortable in assuming as a shared responsibility, clearly they have never heard of road privatization. One might call them “socialists”, if one called people names or labeled people.

(Via .)


California OKs Driverless Cars

Herbie Kendra Levine: California OKs Driverless Cars:

This week Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB1298, legalizing driverless cars in California. Some people are concerned about the safety risks of these robot cars. At the signing, Google’s Sergey Brin said, “You can count on one hand the number of years it will take before ordinary people can experience this.”

(I copied the brilliant use of anthropomorphized vehicle for illustration.)

Timelapse video: New Hastings Bridge is floated into place

Pioneer Press: Timelapse video: New Hastings Bridge is floated into place:

“Watch the entire process of moving the 6.5 million pound bridge down the river and being lifted into place, which took about 60 hours from start to finish, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The roadway for the bridge won’t be poured until next spring.”

Mapping Silicon Valley’s Own Private “iWay”


Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD: Mapping Silicon Valley’s Own Private “iWay” :

“That’s why many engineers live in the much more hip San Francisco, relying on the private network of shuttle services provided by each of the major tech outfits, which have no issue carting their young, valuable staff back and forth through the 40-mile stretch between the Valley and the City by the Bay.”

Original here.

MNDot Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign |


Julie Kosbab on: MNDot Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign

In my pedestrian-centric view, The most important one is on the right: “Hey Drivers … EVERY CORNER IS A CROSSWALK. Yep … every single one”. This is especially needed at T-intersections of minors meeting majors. Especially unmarked crosswalks. Now if there could only be consistency about crosswalk markings (i.e. no markings) to help remind drivers of this.

More people are driving alone, carpooling, biking, walking, and taking transit to work. There are more people working.

Wendell Cox nicely summarizes the recent American Community Survey @ Newgeography: A Summary of 2011 Commuting Data Released Today :

“As estimated employment improved from 137.9 million in 2010 to 138.3 from 2010 to 2011, there was an increase of 800,000 in the number of commuters driving alone, which, as usual, represented the vast majority of commuting (105.6 million daily one way trips), at 76.40 percent. This was not enough, however, to avoid a small (0.17 percentage point) decline in market share.
Car pooling experienced a rare increase of 120,000 commuters, which translated into a 0.1 percentage point loss in market share, to 9.68 percent. Transit increased 190,000 commuters, and had a 0.09 percentage point increase in market share, to 5.03 percent. This brought transit’s market share to above its 2008 share of 5.01 percent and near its 1990 market share of 5.11 percent.
Working at home increased by 70,000, with a modest 0.1 percentage point increase from 2010.”

Linklist: September 18, 2012

Wired: Sept. 18, 1830: Horse Beats Iron Horse, for the Time Being

Green Car Congress: Volvo Car Corporation intends to lead in field of autonomous driving technology; targeting the next-generation of consumers

Spinlister | Find a bike to rent [I read this as Splinster, which is a cooler name. At any rate, seriously, this gets VC funding? I am in the wrong business. [The problem is the transaction costs for something like this are too high for the value. Bikesharing is more viable, or hotels or AirBnB with a bike rental option, but not strangers for a few hour bike ride. Otherwise this is just a yellow pages for commercial bike rental, which is nice, but hardly earthshaking]]

Route damn spot, Route I say. or Rooting for a Rout.


In my lab today we had a discussion over the proper way to say the word “Route” dictionaries and professional linguists who were consulted give both “root” and “rout” as acceptable pronunciations, leaving us no wiser than before.
But online, we find this Dialect survey (color matching the map).

Dialect Survey Results:

26. route (as in, “the route from one place to another”) 
     a. rhymes with “hoot” (29.99%)
     b. rhymes with “out” (19.72%)
     c. I can pronounce it either way interchangeably (30.42%)
     d. I say it like “hoot” for the noun and like “out” for the verb. (15.97%)
     e. I say it like “out” for the noun and like “hoot” for the verb. (2.50%)
     f. other (1.40%)
     (11137 respondents)


As a north-easterner myself, It was always take Root 29 or Root 95, but in the South, we were on Rout 85. In the midwest, it seems more Rout than Root. In any case the “e” is superfluous, as it doesn’t modify in a consistent way, since we already have a double vowel. The word is also superfluous, since we already have the word “road” from the same root. Damn French imports.

Etymology online says: route (n.)
early 13c., from O.Fr. rute “road, way, path,” from L. rupta (via) “(a road) opened by force,” from rupta, fem. pp. of rumpere “to break” (see rupture). Sense of “fixed or regular course for carrying things” (cf. mail route) is 1792, an extension of the meaning “customary path of animals” (early 15c.).

See also this on Highway Linguistics