NaraVara's recent activity

  1. Comment on Elon Musk’s ‘Vegas Loop’ called a ‘death trap’ as traffic piles up in ~tech

    NaraVara
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    There are only 3 or 4 cities in the United States with anything approaching “good and plentiful public transit.” In those cities it’s used plenty. What most Americans think counts as “good transit...

    There are only 3 or 4 cities in the United States with anything approaching “good and plentiful public transit.” In those cities it’s used plenty. What most Americans think counts as “good transit coverage” is not. It’s a single bus line that shows up every 30 minutes and involves hour long door-to-door travel times to get anywhere from anywhere.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Elon Musk’s ‘Vegas Loop’ called a ‘death trap’ as traffic piles up in ~tech

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    That’s because almost no cities in North America are built around transit. They disdain it because they have no experience of it and development patterns (which doesn’t just mean the transit...

    Disdain for transit and car culture is a well known phenomenon in North America outside of a few key cities

    That’s because almost no cities in North America are built around transit. They disdain it because they have no experience of it and development patterns (which doesn’t just mean the transit service but also density and land use patterns) don’t suit it. None of these are inherently baked into people. When you build it people will come, the problem is it’s illegal to build it in almost all of the country, including in many of the cities where it currently exists.

    Opening the subterranean realm to traffic does nothing to alleviate the constraints restricting expanding transit on the surface?

    Correct. Because traffic is a consequence of land use patterns, not road capacity. In fact adding road capacity tends to make traffic worse due to induced demand.

    "This" pilot as in the one in this article? It's in Vegas. There is no Hyperloop in the Bay area as far as I'm aware. Are you thinking of the Hawthorne loop.

    Ah my mistake. I was under the impression it was in the Bay Area based on some other article I read on it.

    Bloomberg City Lab explains where the money actually goes when digging. My wager is that the Ft. Lauderdale bid isn’t pricing any of this stuff in because it’s a sweetheart deal and those costs are going to be eaten by someone else in the value chain.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Elon Musk’s ‘Vegas Loop’ called a ‘death trap’ as traffic piles up in ~tech

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    I’m North American and I was car free for about 10 years. Most North Americans have absolutely zero experience with a functional transit system in dense, mixed use development that makes it work....

    You are ignoring that North Americans tend to despise public transit. They have for decades. It doesn't matter how bad the traffic gets, whether the transit is faster, safer or whether it's well maintained. They still choose vehicles every time.

    I’m North American and I was car free for about 10 years. Most North Americans have absolutely zero experience with a functional transit system in dense, mixed use development that makes it work. Intermittent Bus service that connects sprawl to strip malls doesn’t cut it.

    And if that’s the problem just having a tunnel that works basically exactly like highways do, but with a worse view and DRM to determine whether you can drive in it or not, does nothing to address that problem. If anything, due to the fact of induced demand it actually makes the problem worse.

    Even more hilariously, this pilot is in the Bay Area where Muni and BART are already good transit options whose main problems are that they don’t cover a lot of the places people live and work.

    Also tunnel building in the Western world isn’t expensive because we can’t bore holes in the ground. It’s expensive because it’s expensive to buy land anywhere you’d want to build it and to deal with the metric fuckton of legal challenges before you can actually get to work. If you want it cheaper you need to reform the permitting and govt. contracting processes. The machinery to dig is the least of the issues.

    13 votes
  4. Comment on Elon Musk’s ‘Vegas Loop’ called a ‘death trap’ as traffic piles up in ~tech

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    The loop idea is still dumb because no amount of “fully implemented self driving” will get around the problem of geometry. People in individual cars take up a LOT of space. If you’re digging...

    The loop idea is still dumb because no amount of “fully implemented self driving” will get around the problem of geometry. People in individual cars take up a LOT of space.

    If you’re digging tunnels and you want actual capacity, you need to be able to cram more people in. Otherwise it’s just a ton of money on an expensive niche product. It is completely non-viable.

    24 votes
  5. Comment on Biden accuses Trump and his allies of holding ‘a dagger at the throat of America.’ in ~news

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Not really. The United States was the local governments of the colonies banding together to rebel against the imperial government of the British crown. The Continental Army was put together by a...

    Not really. The United States was the local governments of the colonies banding together to rebel against the imperial government of the British crown. The Continental Army was put together by a Continental Congress of elected officials acting as trustees of the constituencies they represented. It was emphatically not just a mob of armed yahoos revolting against the concept of there being a government.

    That also, incidentally, is what the well regulated militia qualifier in the second amendment is referring to. Again, not just having any yahoo be armed to the teeth and imposing his will by force if the political process doesn’t suit him.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Classic social networking in 2022: SpaceHey in ~tech

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    You know, I just had a kid and I resent the fact that family is all but insisting I put pictures and announcements on Facebook to have it be “real.” I might just create a family page on here to...

    You know, I just had a kid and I resent the fact that family is all but insisting I put pictures and announcements on Facebook to have it be “real.” I might just create a family page on here to dump life updates and vacation/baby photos if he ever gets the photo hosting up. I’d probably even pay for the privilege.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Critics of “Don’t Look Up” are missing the entire point in ~movies

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    I agree with you here. Not only does he seem to miss the point of film criticism, but I didn’t find the messaging of the movie particularly incisive. Almost every character the screenplay wants to...

    I agree with you here. Not only does he seem to miss the point of film criticism, but I didn’t find the messaging of the movie particularly incisive. Almost every character the screenplay wants to bash is rendered almost maliciously. The writing just oozed a level of mean-spiritedness, cynicism, and contempt for its subjects that I had trouble getting past. And not the entertaining sort of contempt either, but more a kind of smug and smarmy attitude (think Bill Maher) that I find to be grating.

    If it wanted to paint the picture of manipulation Robinson wants us to focus on, it would need to make the central characters seem more relatable and less ridiculously venal. It feels less like a clear look at the ghoulishness of any real people and more like someone is resentful about not being one of those people.

    The central premise is hardly original, and it’s understanding about the causes or mechanisms behind how any of it happens is facile. So what are we left with? Mediocre screenplay with some great actors doing some excellent work chewing scenery.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Walking away from Omelas - Lindsay Ellis says goodbye in ~life

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    When you mention the Reign of Terror it’s important to also note that this sort of mob action wasn’t just a default state of affairs. This was an extraordinary period of revolutionary change where...

    When you mention the Reign of Terror it’s important to also note that this sort of mob action wasn’t just a default state of affairs. This was an extraordinary period of revolutionary change where public order, norms of conduct, and social trust had completely broken down. Post-revolutionary governments needs a few hundred years of continued conflict and steady iteration before a new, stable, and durable order managed to establish itself and trust could be restored.

    The fact that this sort of thing is unfolding on social media and then spilling out into the real world suggests that these platforms are contributing to a similar breakdown of the social fabric the same way the revolutions of the early modern era dissolved the social orders that prevailed before the establishment of print culture. It has happened before, sure, but it’s not something I’d be sanguine about.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on Walking away from Omelas - Lindsay Ellis says goodbye in ~life

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    I don’t usually think of the Fox News types as being particularly fixated on ideological purity. Hardcore movement conservatives used to be in the 90s and aughts but I see less of it now, but it...

    I don’t usually think of the Fox News types as being particularly fixated on ideological purity. Hardcore movement conservatives used to be in the 90s and aughts but I see less of it now, but it could also just be because I don’t hang out with as many of them as I used to.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Walking away from Omelas - Lindsay Ellis says goodbye in ~life

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Yeah I think the purity politics is the exact same dynamic you find with fandoms and scenesters in general. A lot of leftist discourse attracts young people who are still forming their sense of...
    • Exemplary

    Yeah I think the purity politics is the exact same dynamic you find with fandoms and scenesters in general. A lot of leftist discourse attracts young people who are still forming their sense of identity and belonging so they do the same in-group/out-group thing. Alt-Right groups target the same people and they also exhibit the same behaviors. It’s just that there’s more money towards astroturfing them so they get led around by the nose.

    They also have no material power (owing to being young and early in their careers) and little life experience to round out the rough edges of their personalities and teach them how to make stuff happen realistically. So this sort of purity policing is really one of the only tool they have to feel like they’re accomplishing something. And it’s accessible to everyone without needing to do the “school of hard knocks” dues paying you might need to learn how to do actual stuff.

    I think this is also why discourse tends to fixate on issues of identity, representation, or other things where there’s either no actual “right answer” or the goalposts can keep being shifted so you’re never good enough. The feeling of exercising power is worth more than any concrete, material outcomes so it’s going to look a lot like bikeshedding.

    12 votes
  11. Comment on Christianity hasn’t failed in India. Conversion isn’t its only goal in ~humanities

    NaraVara
    (edited )
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    The article seems to make a mistake in treating “Christianity” as a single, monolithic entity. The ones who bore the worst abuses of the Goan Inquisition were actually Indian Jews and Syrian...

    The article seems to make a mistake in treating “Christianity” as a single, monolithic entity. The ones who bore the worst abuses of the Goan Inquisition were actually Indian Jews and Syrian Christians with the latter group being persecuted for being *the wrong kind of Christians.” So clearly this is not the case.

    It’s a mistake to conflate historically Christian or Catholic communities with aggressively evangelistic American Charismatic missionary churches. This is something both Right Wing Hindus and nominally secular liberals in India do. There ought to be room to criticize noxious and intolerant expressions of religious zeal, regardless of which religion is propagating them, without having it reflect on all the other normal people who just want to live alongside their neighbors peacefully.

    May if the authors arguments are kind of historically dubious though. The idea that there were no Brahmins in Kerela until after 800 AD is insane. Categories of who was and wasn’t a Brahmin wasn’t super clearly delineated before around 1,000 AD and it’s not like there was even a census to keep track before the British Raj. Early converts to any religion were predominately Brahmin just because they were the only ones spending a lot of time reading and discussing religious matters. The same pattern occurred in China and elsewhere. It’s the educated influencers who convert first and spread it around to others.

    Where he’s right and most wrong is in the statement that we can no longer compartmentalize people into religious groups. The fact is we never could. The very idea that religious groups break cleanly into people adhering to specific doctrines is a modernist fiction. It’s actually doesn’t even make sense in a polytheistic context. You have to presuppose a Christian worldview to even think it religion that way.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on Vintage tech - The Sony eMarker in ~tech

    NaraVara
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    One of my friends had this back in high school and I thought it was really cool back then though I only had a vague notion of how it worked. Looking at the implementation now I'm even more...

    One of my friends had this back in high school and I thought it was really cool back then though I only had a vague notion of how it worked. Looking at the implementation now I'm even more impressed with it even though the problem it solves has been obviated and also can be solved in way more versatile ways today.

    It's nice to see this super clever and simple solution to a simple problem and the intro points out how it really highlights the promise of what we now call IoT device. If someone tried to make this today I can't help but feel like there would be 12 unnecessary technologies shoehorned in to sell it as a service, put it on the blockchain, or whatever else.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    That's still a lot more power than you have to alter your personal gravity well or weather conditions. Like I said, political scientists deal with the same thing. People have to interact with and...

    That's still a lot more power than you have to alter your personal gravity well or weather conditions. Like I said, political scientists deal with the same thing. People have to interact with and touch political matters all the time and they think this makes them knowledgable about the underlying dynamics of it even as they make concerted efforts to alter or change it. Individuals, likewise, can't single-handedly turn the tides on much. But they are compelled to interact with and engage in activism to reform it anyway. And we wouldn't want them to stop.

    Nor does any individual have the power to impact or manipulate the English language.

    Did Shakespeare not? What about William the Conqueror? I think you're saying this in a pretty specialized way that's not what the author of the piece nor most activists for changing how people speak are thinking of it. When Clueless came out I think you'd have a hard time arguing that it didn't create new slang, alter some peoples' vocabularies, and generalize a lot of regional, southern Californian, affectations across the country. That's impacting the language people speak and I don't see much about what the author is saying that wouldn't be altering things on that dimension. Where he's wrong is simply thinking words have some sort of platonic meaning that exists independent of the contexts in which they're used. But that's not any dumber than the thousand other misapprehensions people have about how the world works.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    You don't really have the power to impact or manipulate either of those things though.

    You don't really have the power to impact or manipulate either of those things though.

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Reddit confidentially files to go public in ~tech

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    I maintain that platform centralization is bad and would love it if Reddit’s communities fractured into a million different, independent sites. Reddit killed forum culture so it stands to reason...

    I don't know of an obvious destination for modern Reddit émigrés.

    I maintain that platform centralization is bad and would love it if Reddit’s communities fractured into a million different, independent sites. Reddit killed forum culture so it stands to reason that once Reddit (and it’s link aggregators with commentary ilk) go something like it may come back. It won’t look or work like Reddit, in the same way Reddit doesn’t look like Usenet groups and BB forums, but it will occupy the same space in peoples’ hearts.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    To be fair, physicists and meteorologists have to use language at a way deeper level of familiarity than linguists have to do physics or meteorology. Political scientists have the same problem....

    For some reason, you don’t see linguists (at least not considerate ones) scrawling blog posts about nuclear physics or meteorology when they have no background in such domains.

    To be fair, physicists and meteorologists have to use language at a way deeper level of familiarity than linguists have to do physics or meteorology.

    Political scientists have the same problem. Everyone has (mostly wrong) opinions and they don’t want to hear you correct them.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Part of the difference may be that the US has a lot more regional subculture. I’d say the Northeast and mid Atlantic is probably as or more direct. The South and West Coast are notoriously evasive...

    Part of the difference may be that the US has a lot more regional subculture. I’d say the Northeast and mid Atlantic is probably as or more direct. The South and West Coast are notoriously evasive (in markedly different ways). The MidWest is direct but much more about courtesy and saving face.

    But in terms of business and media culture British are way more direct. You can tell, in particular, because they’re just straight up better at coming up with insults than Americans.

    3 votes