This story will makes two important points about technical reasoning that in the heat of combat, disasters, disputes, commerce, parenting or politics often get overlooked.
1.If your starting data is flawed, the rest of your argument becomes inherently flawed
2.Just because one thing looks like the other, it does not mean that they are comparable.
The problem is that it is so easy to hide these issues in clever packaging. Only when somebody carefully analyzes the argument and looks at the underlying data, will it become apparent that it is fatally flawed.
The example I will use is a TED lecture by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is the author of "Blink, the Power of Thinking without Thinking" and other popular observational works and TED is an organization that organizes symposia where smart people listen to other smart people who discuss unusual discoveries or insights. A TED lecture is about 15 minutes and there are some truly incredibly useful lectures such as the Hans Rosling lectures, but not all TED lectures rise to that level.
So that is the setting; here is the story..... read more »
So here, at the end of the year, I have spent a few moments pondering the maritime events that affected my life. As usual, this is a personal list, but checking back against prior lists I am surprised that this list making can be very unpredictable. It almost seems that these annual lists carry a hidden common thread, and this year it seems the things that affected me most are not as clearly eventful as prior years. Instead they appear to be subtle, occasionally disturbing and occasionally promising and sometimes both.
Here we go: read more »
True or not, this joke is attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
A farmer’s young son comes running into the house.
Out of breath he says: “Pa, Pa, the hired hand and Sis are in the hayloft. The hired hand has dropped his pants and Sis has pulled up her skirt! Pa, I think they are fixin’ to pee on the hay.”
The farmer says: “Son your facts are correct, but your conclusion is all wrong.”
In 1994, M&O leased the then new Jeep Grand Cherokee, with miles per gallon in the 17 mile range.
Twenty years later M&O has returned to the Jeep brand with the leasing of the new "Eco Diesel" Jeep Grand Cherokee, which can get some 33 miles per gallon on the highway.
Stephanie Khadam-Hir of the Freehold Jeep dealership handing over the keys to our new Jeeps
A Time magazine article by Leigh Gallagher highlights a problem that we deal with on a daily basis but that pretty much stays just below our awareness horizon. In the article Mr. Gallagher describes a professional epiphany of a town engineer with regard to town planning codes that exhibits itself as suburban sprawl.
The issue is simple; every piece of infrastructure that is built to support a community needs to be maintained. Infrastructure on a large flat scale, as is common in suburbs, inherently is larger per capita than in more compactly arranged communities and therefore more expensive to maintain. (Maritime, on the other hand, only incurs terminal infrastructure investment and maintenance costs. The maritime highway infrastructure is essentially free). The article describes how this sprawl results in unmanageable infrastructure maintenance costs, but the solution is all around us.
There is absolutely nothing so absolutely awesome as ice boating. It was the greatest thrill in the world 200 years ago and it still is today, and I have no problem betting that it will be still be an astonishing thrill 200 years from now.
This week is a sad week for New York Maritime. Engine repairer extraordinaire, Goltens, has announced that they will be closing their shop in Brooklyn. Goltens New York was the last classic marine engine repair shop in the port of New York.
Some people pondering five foot wide roads (or, at best, roads a little wider than 60 inches) populated with Maxi Taxis may think it would spell the end of driver excitement. Personally, having owned a Triumph Spitfire (57 inches wide) and always having coveted the original Mini Coopers (55 inches wide), I doubt that is actually the case. At the very least, the Maxi Taxi lanes provide sufficient width for motorcycles, and, remarkably, automated driving will make motor cycle riding safer since automated driving will be more effective at dealing with motor cycle traffic than human drivers (motor cycle accidents are often caused by car drivers who are not aware of the motorcycle presence).
But for more Maxi Taxi system compatible cars, which, at the same time, are more exciting than just about any car available today, an excellent example is the “Carver” car, developed by my Dutch boyhood friends, Peter and Chris van den Brink.
In our office, we often discuss the pros and cons of new tech. So when Elon Musk’s new Hyperloop preliminary design study came out on Monday, it was an obvious source of discussion.
While some of us (*cough* Rik) have some doubts about the Hyperloop concept, we can agree that a very attractive design could be reached by incorporating the Hyperloop and Maxi Taxi design concepts into one (see Rik’s blog entries about the Maxi Taxi concept on the M&O website – a summary can be found here).
With the Hyperloop’s potential advances in speed, and Maxi Taxi’s pillars of standardization and door-to-door public transportation, there is potential for a commuter’s dream. In the joint concept, a standardized carpooling taxi design that is road-worthy and Hyperloop-worthy could enter the Hyperloop and be transported at high speeds to another city (the sweet zone is a city that is several hundred miles away by Musk’s estimates) where the taxi would disembark the Hyperloop and drop off passengers at their destinations within the city.
Not too long ago only a small proportion of humanity had access to vast resources (which actually equates to access to energy). Although the very rich could travel by ocean liner between continents, poorer people’s action radii were very much smaller. For most of humanity’s existence a human might be tied to a very small patch of ground, which was accessed by walking. There were nomadic tribes, but even those tribes moved slowly and seasonally. Somewhat more recently, sailors started to move over vast distances, but they did so on a commercial level and not on a personal level.
Today, a much larger proportion of humanity travels much more, and over much longer distances. This is due to low cost and readily available energy. While this makes life interesting, it is also an efficiency trap and Maxi Taxi, instead of reducing energy use, may simply increase our mobility for the same energy dollar and not result in overall energy savings.