transportation


The Tesla Death Trap!

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A Tesla killed Mitch McConnell’s billionaire sister-in-law. It’s a tragedy … that she wasn’t driving with him at the time. The circumstances that caused that accident (and the countless other accidents) revealed a lot of Tesla “features” that ensure I’ll never set foot in one. Shifting gears via touchscreen, doors that require disassembly if the power fails, spontaneous battery combustion, the list goes on.

Everyone now knows Elon Musk is a drug-addled racist, and America’s full of ’em, but this one happens to be a billionaire who gets a ton of subsidies from the government and has access to a lot of its military and space infrastructure. He also controls the former Twitter, which most governmental officials and public figures still use despite it turning into a hub of stochastic terrorism and the worst jokes you’ve ever seen.

Hopefully my view of the eclipse next month isn’t spoiled by his shitty satellites.

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Boeing’s Blueprints for Success

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Almost five years after Boeing’s cost-cutting grounded 737 Maxes, a plugged door failed on one on its way out of Portland. They nearly avoided charges for the first round of negligence, but this latest incident reset the clock.

These disasters, or near-disasters, happen because passengers aren’t Boeing’s or the airlines’ customers. Their shareholders are. It’s the same reason why only masochists fly Southwest. Extracting profit from us rubes to churn out dividends or worsening the product to claim write-offs isn’t unique to aviation; it’s a symptom of late-stage capitalism.

Can’t think of a clever segue to carbon offsets, so I’ll just say they’re a scam. Unless investments in true transit alternatives are made, our reliance on air travel remains bad news for the climate. No one, not even me, a bike-riding transit pinko, would opt to take Amtrak instead of a plane to anywhere further from Boston than DC. And that’s before even taking costs into consideration.

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Cruisey

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San Francisco let these things loose on the streets earlier this year. While there haven’t been any fatalities, many accidents have already happened. There’s no real point to driverless taxis except to avoid paying people to drive them, especially in cities that have priced the labor pool out to the exurban hinterlands.

As a pedestrian and cyclist, I never want to see one of these things attempt to navigate Boston streets. They’re more of a threat on the roads than this week’s college new arrivals are to the bridges over Storrow Drive.

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Masochist Airlines

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This week’s Southwest Airlines debacle made regular holiday air travel look pleasant.  COVID, flu, RSV (insert Gilligan’s Island theme song:) and the rest of the viruses we’re pretending don’t exist are causing people to be out sick from all sorts of essential jobs.

Southwest was apparently hit especially hard since they put all their post-shutdown profits towards stock buybacks instead of updating any of their infrastructure. Companies putting buybacks, dividends and executive payouts above improving anything else is what people mean by late-stage capitalism. Everything is getting worse, but LINE GO UP.

Way back in ancient times, I would fly Southwest from Baltimore to Providence often for just $69 (nice) and it would take about 1 and half hours, including what little pre-9/11 check-in hassle there was. Amtrak was over a hundred for 7+ hour trip. Trains haven’t improved, but airlines have pretty much sunk to or below their level.

I haven’t flown in a while. Hope I didn’t draw the seats looking too comfy.

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