Gongol.com Archives: March 2019

Brian Gongol

March 27, 2019

News The inconvenient truth of high-speed rail in America

Our population density is a fraction of what is found in places with good passenger rail service. Many of us have sympathetic feelings in favor of a modernized, high-speed rail system. But we're just spread much too thin in America to make the same economics work. Compare the density of places with impressive high-speed rail service -- like Italy (206 people per square kilometer, or about 533 people per square mile), Germany (237 people/sq km), or Japan (348 people/sq km) -- with that of the United States: 36 people/sq km. There are parts of the country where we are more densely packed, for sure, but broadly the United States is much, much more spread-out than the rest of the countries we often consider as technological and economic peers. For the economics to work out comparably with those peers, we would have to be able to build and maintain the infrastructure for 1/5th the cost of theirs.

Threats and Hazards Russian police raid opposition-party headquarters

Per the Khodorkovsky Center: "They'd received an anonymous call about the 'distribution of extremist literature'. This is spookily reminiscent of the KGB raids on Samizdat houses."

Computers and the Internet What's with all the robocalls?

An industry insider says a combination of technological tricks and poor regulatory oversight has led to an insufferable deluge of calls to many American numbers

Water News A million wells are threatened

Per CNN: "The National Ground Water Association estimates that people living in more than 300 counties across 10 states have their groundwater threatened from bacterial and industrial contamination carried by flood waters." It's impossible to participate normally in modern American life if you don't have clean running water.

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