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Topic: Infrastructure (Read 54589 times)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Infrastructure
Do we invest too little in public infrastructure, or too much? Should we spend more on new infrastructure, or in maintaining what we got? Should old infrastructure be replaced, upgraded, removed, or saved for posterity? Who should pay for it? Who should use it? What infrastructure should we have more of and what less? Is it good for your town, country, world, even if it is away from you? Where can we find good infrastructure and where bad?

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #250
It was more profitable than incinerating it. Which is profitable as well. Sweden and Norway are buying trash to feed their incinerators as we are not producing enough domestically. With its newest, and most stylish, incinerator add Denmark to the list. We might be facing a global trash shortage if this keeps going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOqocj2h6EM


What goes for plastics also goes for ships. Luxury cruise ships or scrap? Depends on their relative value.

 https://youtu.be/qo-2gDg-37w

Or airplanes. Just a couple decades ago Airbus A380 was to be the flagship of the company with a list price of $450 million, while the older Boeing 747 had a price of $380 million. Both are now discontinued. Both had fuel economic and business model for an earlier age. So when the Hollywood movie Tenet was produced, they found it was cheaper and more fun to crash an old (non-flying) 747 than to hire a few CGI programmers in Bangalore. 

https://youtu.be/_lnwizgUbec

  • Belfrager
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #251
Do we invest too little in public infrastructure, or too much?
Here you have a simple answer: Manmade mass outweighs life on Earth
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #252
It's interesting, but not particularly surprising. Total biomass, the amount of carbon in all living things, is a pretty small number.

The Earth's crust is the top 1% of the planet in mass (and the atmosphere about 0.01% of the the crust).  Carbon is actually a pretty rare element in the crust, about 0.02%, while oxygen + silicon comprises ¾ of the crust. In total there should be something on the order of 100 petaton of carbon, which is plenty, but also abstract because the vast majority is inaccessible to living things (including humans) and non-living processes.

Actual biomass is much smaller, in the order of gigatons (millionths of petatons). Our World in Data made a prettier version of a PNAS study of total biomass (measured in carbon).



So measured in biomass, life is largely plants, and to be specific trees, and even more specific wood. But wood is just scaffolding, the living, growing cells of a tree live in the thin layer below the bark, as well as in the leaves.

Then again, plants since the very beginning have been extremely good at fixing carbon, from oceans, atmosphere and soil. From CH₄ to CO₂, from CO₂ to O₂. That has had far greater impact on the surface of our planet than anything we animals have done. 

https://youtu.be/qERdL8uHSgI

And of course, like today's trees, they have fixed carbon for hundreds of millions of year, creating our massive stores of fossil carbon. Accessible carbon is easily hundred times more than the carbon bound up in currently living. If we look all the living things and piled them up, they would make a heap of about 200 km³, the size of a medium-sized mountain (or a very large mine). We also consist of a lot of water, enough to create a nice lake by that mountain.

Now, our construction use much more abundant materials on the surface like sand, stone, cement. Apart from the chemical process to make cement (a major CO₂ source), these are very inert materials. It takes long time for them to affect the environment. The comparably much smaller amounts of fossil carbon, metals and more are causing us far more trouble.





  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #253
But getting back to the thread topic, both US and EU grids are dwarfed by Chinese grid projects, like this one:
 
https://youtu.be/_6pE0z5StI4


China's Ambitious Plan to Build the World's Biggest Supergrid



Europe



Map courtesy of Hitachi.

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #254
Today I discovered that Norwegian TV's Brennpunkt is (globally?) available without obstacles. So I took a look at how Norwegian recycling works. Namely, e-waste, tyres, and cars get dumped to Africa, where locals process it to something monetisable as best as they can. The journey of the waste to Africa is illegal every step of the way, but no authority takes any responsibility to check up on anything https://tv.nrk.no/serie/brennpunkt/2019/MDDP11000819/avspiller

  • Luxor
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #255
The start and end to every story is the same. But what comes in between you have yourself to blame.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #256

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #257
America finally has a good railway: Brightline in Miami (I tend to trust this guy)
(I have explored almost the entire length Tri-Rail in Miami area and found it recommendable.)



Meanwhile, LA-SF high-speed rail line is getting nowhere (also the likely fate of Rail Baltic)



Will Brightline's CA-NV project work out as nicely as their FL project has?



  • Frenzie
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #258
America finally has a good railway: Brightline in Miami (I tend to trust this guy)
I noticed priority boarding for premium passengers 15 minutes before departure. That's giving me a lot of bad airplane vibes. Anyway, looks decent.

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #259
I should not have said "I tend to trust this guy". I meant that I like his videos as he goes through the same points in every video, so his reviews are consistent and I know what to expect in terms of the level of information. I actually disagree quite strongly about class division in trains (and in airplanes). But there's apparently nothing to do about it. (Regarding Brightline, it's also suspicious to give first-class passengers free wine before boarding. Then again, I would surely take a cup of it myself if riding first class there.)

In Estonia, we even have noticeable price differences depending whether you pay for the same thing in cash, with a payment card, with the train operator's customer card, or with an online bank transfer. There used to be a law against such differentiation, but I don't know what happened to it. Maybe some day I'll get angry enough to look it up.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #260
And here's the latest on the idiotic tunnel concept:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZaRfNjTPx8

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #261
Elon Musk said, "Think of them as wormholes. You go in and woops out in the other end." Totally a thrill ride. Lovely how the reporteress puts her hand into his lap for sense of safety, at the speed of Boring.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #262
I'll grant that a train traveling at 300 km/h isn't quite as comfortable as one traveling at 130-200 km/h, but I wonder if the thrill ride even went as fast as 50.

https://twitter.com/erQuipo/status/1479584392712441865/photo/1

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #263
I'll grant that a train traveling at 300 km/h isn't quite as comfortable as one traveling at 130-200 km/h,...
I wish I could experience that speed some day. (Well, I have in airplanes.) The thing is, Musk's main promise has always been speed - speed that obviously cannot be had, yet somehow important enough people fall for it so that they made him (almost) the richest man in the world despite his lack of merit.

Promise:
The Vegas Loop - Quick Facts

 - Includes the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop (LVCC Loop)
 - Total Current Cost: $52-million
 - Travel Speed: 155 mph

...but I wonder if the thrill ride even went as fast as 50.

Wikipedia says, "The tunnel was unveiled in mid-April 2021 with regular Tesla Model 3 and Model X cars used for shuttling, running at about 35 miles per hour (56 km/h)" i.e. surface street level top speed - and that must be the top speed, because in the video the traffic looks congested to begin with and is 30 km/h tops (yes, I mean km/h). Also the promised capacity is orders of magnitude "not there yet".

Even though in my opinion it only adds to the shamefulness of the whole experiment, Musk's client references a money-back guarantee: "If the system doesn't work, we will get all of our money back." In my opinion, these are the kind of projects where money back is not enough, because it cannot cover the cost of demolishing the failure.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #264
I wish I could experience that speed some day. (Well, I have in airplanes.)
I think in the Benlux top speeds don't exceed 200 km/h, rarely 160 km/h even, and both of those are basically indistinguishable from a more typical 130 km/h in a normal intercity, ignoring for a second the obvious advantage that you might gain half an hour or more.[1] Btw, Dutch Wikipedia says the intercity from Brussels to Ostend used to go at 160 km/h before the war, but that after the war it took another 60 years before it attained such speeds again.

I've only experienced 300 km/h in Germany, where you could notice the train feeling ever so slightly less smooth, indeed in some ways comparable to an airplane. The train to Paris as well as to London also goes at 300 km/h, putting Paris at a mere 2 hours and 5 minutes from here.[2]

Anyway, I can endorse it as being perfectly boring. When we went on vacation to Nuremberg a decade ago we took the ICE. The trip was about 7 hours. Some people have brain damage or something and think that's a long time compared to the 1 hour flight, when it's actually 1 hour to get to the airport 2 hours early, a 1.5 hour flight, and some 1.5 hours to get from the airport to the center of Nuremberg. The total time is close to identical, except with a lot more stress and things to worry about when you could've just been reading or sleeping or something.

There's also the interesting concept of night trains. I've never been on one, but to go to Vienna I can very much imagine it's much more comfortable to board a train at night, sleep while you're barreling towards your destination and to wake up near Austria. The fact that the trip takes 12 hours instead of ~5-6 is then completely irrelevant.
Wikipedia says, "The tunnel was unveiled in mid-April 2021 with regular Tesla Model 3 and Model X cars used for shuttling, running at about 35 miles per hour (56 km/h)" i.e. surface street level top speed - and that must be the top speed, because in the video the traffic looks congested to begin with and is 30 km/h tops (yes, I mean km/h). Also the promised capacity is orders of magnitude "not there yet".
Hah, so my guess was pretty much dead on. It looked pretty fast because the tunnel's so claustrophobic, but it was clearly quite slow.
Of course the rails themselves have to be higher quality, be straighter and such but I mean as a passenger.
But since that works with reservations like airlines, let's add another hour to get to the station, because if you miss it, it's not like a regular train where you'll just catch the next one with no worries of any sort.

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #265
There's also the interesting concept of night trains. I've never been on one, but to go to Vienna I can very much imagine it's much more comfortable to board a train at night, sleep while you're barreling towards your destination and to wake up near Austria.
It's not an outlandish concept. There are also overnight ships and airplanes. And you can have an odd nap on the train or tram at any point, even during the day.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #266
As it happens, the best night train ran Amsterdam-Prague. The compartments were practical, comfortable, and convenient without being excessively so, but more importantly the schedule was perfect. The ride needs to be right length, a full night's sleep, plus cleaning and (un)packing, plus an hour or two to relax in evening, wake up and have a breakfast. But not more, or you waste your time and risk getting bored. While daytime trains are (should be) home offices on wheels, night trains fail in that.

The Amsterdam-Prague train did that perfectly, in both directions impressively. The route just restarted, unfortunately with a less perfect (but still good) schedule. That is the challenge with night trains. Done well they are far less stressful than a morning plane run (especially those that you have to get up at 4AM to reach), but done badly they are useless. Paying premium for half a bad sleep is not attractive, or arrive at 6AM to a town that doesn't wake up until 8AM.

There are tricks for those not-10 hours rides. Short rides don't have to be too short if route is terminus to terminus. You can get on train an hour or so early and/or the train can stay on the track another hour. Whether that is an option depends on the terminus, many don't have spare tracks. (You could have trains ending central station - terminal station, where the latter is slightly less central, but still good for early/late sleepers, but not a usual configuration.) Breakfast can be served in station lounge instead of on-train.

If the trip is longer, the excess time should be in evening, not morning. Trains should arrive no earlier than 7 AM, no later than 9 or 10 AM. Here in Scandinavia we had an interesting three-way setup for coordinated night trains between Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. At about 10 PM all three trains left the station for Gothenburg. There the cars from Stockholm headed for Copenhagen joined with the Oslo-Copenhagen train, likewise Oslo and Copenhagen to train going to Stockholm and Copenhagen and Stockholm headed for Oslo. Quite clever, if you didn't mind being woken up by huge clangs in the middle of the night.  Modern sets might do that smoother.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #267
I'll grant that a train traveling at 300 km/h isn't quite as comfortable as one traveling at 130-200 km/h,

Not in my experience. The 380 Beijing-Shanghai trains are smooth. Classic coin test; you put a coin on its end, it shouldn't fall down. I don't think I have traveled 300+ trains in Europe. The trains I have taken in Germany, Spain, Italy were below 300, the Swedish barely 200. Have travelled in France, but not high-speed.

Anyway, the highest speed tracks are dedicated, while lower speed are shared. If those are good, then good. If not, then we have a little turbulence. Can't say I have experienced that lately, but then again I haven't travelled much by train (or at all) lately.

  • Frenzie
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  • Administrator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #268
Not in my experience. The 380 Beijing-Shanghai trains are smooth. Classic coin test; you put a coin on its end, it shouldn't fall down. I don't think I have traveled 300+ trains in Europe. The trains I have taken in Germany, Spain, Italy were below 300, the Swedish barely 200. Have travelled in France, but not high-speed.
There are just the occasional minor vibrations that would drop your coin. Whatever it is, it's not there in regular (Dutch) trains. It's not bothersome.

  • ersi
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Re: Infrastructure
Reply #269
This guy is more passionately and devastatingly anti-Musk.



  • Frenzie
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  • Administrator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #270
Quote
00:00
oh yeah i had moved on from elon musk
00:03
but then the richest man on the planet
00:06
had to go and invent the underground
00:09
traffic jam
Minor sidenote, but I'm in an underground traffic jam pretty much half the time I have to drive through the Kennedytunnel for work.[1] Which luckily is only once every few weeks or less. I spend most of my days happily cycling instead, which is relaxing and good for your body, while driving is the opposite.
Only about half because in many cases I can leave shortly after 9 when the traffic jam has stopped being a traffic jam and is merely traffic going at 30-50 or so instead of 70.

Re: Infrastructure
Reply #271
Reminds me of the Simpsons Monorail episode  :lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDOI0cq6GZM
"What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter."
― Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #272
What are you doing, mocking everyone's most beloved genius.

There is definitely a market for better, primarily cheaper, tunnels, and then it is disappointing with a hype brand rediscovering tubes



Volume extracted is a huge component of tunnel costs, mind you, but it is hard to come up with a less efficient transport concept than Teslas in tubes.

There are good reasons for double-bore tunnels, they may be practically mandated in the EU by now, but those are safety and ventilation. Cars function like pistons moving the air out of the tunnel, and ventilation is a major part of tunnel running costs, and very energy consuming. The risk of head-on collision is also minimised. But service tunnels and turns are necessary in case of cheese fires, so all in all these are more expensive tunnels. 

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Infrastructure
Reply #273
Saw there was a clip on the Follo Line project, Oslo.  Good enough case of underground spaghetti.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQYrqOXzdVo

Re: Infrastructure
Reply #274
There's been some progress on the high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Los Angelos, according to one of our local tv stations. The story also highlights the problems with the existing connection, the I-15 freeway, basically imagine the tiny town of Baker, California with a population of a few hundred but with traffic that can be worse than the urban freeways of Las Vegas. Clearly, the existing infrastructure is not adequate.

https://news3lv.com/news/local/high-speed-rail-takes-step-to-link-vegas-with-la-10-22-2021
"What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter."
― Terry Pratchett, Going Postal