How to organize for a political push to restructure copyright and patent law?

Looking at things from a high level view. Shows much work is needed.

Advocating for changes in copyright and patent law is basically a sharks versus minnows problem. The sharks are the relatively few businesses who are able to write laws and lobby for their passage. The minnows are the 200 million plus people who buy material covered by copyright and patent protection.
At the level of Federal law, the sharks have been winning by arguing for and lobbying for broader laws and longer terms of copyright and patent protection.
I write here about the problem by cutting it into three parts. One part is “How do you organize the minnows.” Part two is: “How do you argue for less restrictive copyright and patent laws? Part three is: “What law do you write and what do you ask elected representatives to vote for?”

On the problem of “How do you organize the minnows?”

I recently discovered an article that shows how and why an organization effort could plausibly employ a social network site like Facebook. The kind of action group that is plausible is: A loose social network.
The article title is “Small Change Why the revolution will not be tweeted.” by Malcolm Gladwell, published in The New Yorker magazine, October 4, 2010.

  1. Copyright and patent reform needs to be a non-partisan movement.
  2. As an issue for the large numbers of “minnow” advocates, this will be a relatively small commitment activity that does not require the intense friendship and hierarchical structure of the American Civil Rights movement. The Malcom Gladwell article above eloquently disassembles the presumption that a Facebook type advocacy program can create a disciplined, hierarchical organization. Instead of an institution, a Facebook advocacy program tends to create a loose network.
  3. The hundreds of thousands of reform advocates need a set of winning arguments.
  4. Money and rhetoric: In the absence of a better rule of thumb, the lobbying and campaign donation dollars deployed needs to match or exceed by a factor of two the lobbying and campaign donation dollars spent by the “shark”advocates. The movement needs a well documented estimate of the shark lobby hours and dollars and shark campaign spending and a matching tally for the “minnow” advocates.
Unless something changes, let's assume that money talks in politics. The movement needs both money and quality talk. The copyright and patent reform activity needs both a coherent rhetorical argument and matching donations.

On the problem of “How do you argue for less restrictive copyright and patent laws?”

There are many instances where copyright and patent protections are an encumberance and annoyance. For instance:

German Kindergartens Ordered To Pay Copyright For Songs

Several legal arguments are of great importance to the development of an effective advocacy argument. Some thinkers are:
  • Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.
  • Lawrence Lessig, law professor and copyright lawyer.

The intellectual property and entertainment industries have a very strong argument for more restrictive copyright laws. The advocates for stronger laws and longer terms of protection claim the stronger laws are needed to prevent illegal copying and unpaid distribution of copyrighted works.

It seems to me that the counter arguments should be rhetorically organized using ideas developed by George Lakoff. Mr. Lakoff proposes that metaphors built around the “strong father model” regularly get a strong acceptance response from American people of the conservative persuasion. One book by Mr. Lakoff that summarizes this idea in a political context is: Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. See this Wikipedia article for a summary:

On the third problem of “What law do you write and what do you ask elected representatives to vote for?”

One good discussion is:
Six Steps to Digital Copyright Sanity: Reforming a Pre-VCR Law for a YouTube World

My recent private citizen thoughts have been like this:
  • In the area of patents, I think we should explore removing the process of patent accumulation and cross licensing as a business practice of excluding small businesses. I suggest that cross licensing agreements create industrial oligarchical relationships. Legally regulate patent licensing so there are only two prices for a patent license. One price is the institutional license. The other price is the “capped per embodiment” license. Capped per embodiment means that in a physical object or computer program, all the patents taken together can not exceed 2% of the wholesale price of the object or program. The point of patents as named in the U.S. Constitution is to advance the useful arts, not exclude businesses from engaging in the best practices.
  • In the area of copyright, I think we should again, put a licensing model into the law. For copyrighted objects that can move over the Internet there are two licensing fee models I feel we should explore. One, a fee based on the limit of hours of attention that the recipient of data downloads experiences. Two, a fee based on a tax added to storage media when sold. Then payment to copyright holders based on a sample and audit of user storage media for copyright tags and serial numbers prepended at the head of every downloaded file of copyright material.

A proposal for autonomous vehicle technology in California

Surfer's beach El Granada, California in the early afternoon.
Dear Governor Elect Jerry Brown,

        Please write me back if you would like me to develop this idea further.

        The idea is to develop and implement autonomous vehicle technology (AVT) in California.

        The computer side of a project like this needs a software design and a hardware prototype.  The vehicle will have a kind of computer that reads sensors and sends control signals to the vehicle. This device presents a self describing interface. The autonomous vehicle computer connects to this interface. The interface tells the computer about the car and what this specific car can and can't do. 

       Instead of every make and model of automobile and truck having different and unique autonomous vehicle operation features, I argue that the car and the autonomous vehicle computer should be separate units. One advantage of partitioning the system is the autonomous vehicle programs can be tested on a simulator. Second, autonomous vehicle computer software can be written to optimize different objectives. An autonomous vehicle could run a commuter collision avoidance program and a ride sharing program too. A socially useful program would be an impaired or distracted driver program that helps a vehicle operate safely even if the driver is impaired by alcohol.

        The political side of this project needs somebody who can make the following points:

        We need 1 new chapter passed in the Vehicle Code.
        We need the drunk driving law enforcement establishment to put autonomous vehicle technology to work completely stopping drunk driving deaths.

The California government has two roles in this scheme:

        The first role for California government is to implement vehicle code and other laws to use the technology. One immediate field for laws enabling AVT use is in drunk driving accident prevention.

        The second role for California government is to bring together the makers and designers of autonomous vehicle technology (many of them are in the State now) to quickly roll out on California roads AVT technology.

        One California specific political purpose is to assist in the growth of California businesses furnishing the computers, sensors and programs required by autonomous vehicles.

        A second political purpose is to use AVT technology in California to facilitate the better use existing vehicles and roads with a higher load factor, lower CO2 emission, lower pollution and greater safety.

        I see one short term way a project like this can benefit California:

        Autonomous vehicle technology can provide a great reduction in injury and deaths due to drunk driving. The zero tolerance alcohol law has been estimated to reduce teen age binge drinking by 12%.

        A very simple use of autonomous vehicle technology with existing cars is to stop the car if the driver is drunk. A basic autonomous vehicle control setup could cost $3000.
        In California, the drunk driving problem has about 1700 fatalities per year, 28,000 injuries per year and 200,000+ DUI traffic stop events per year. These are 2008 numbers taken from:

        A second benefit to the State is autonomous vehicle technology can lead to many innovations in transportation. As the sophistication of the vehicle control adapter increases, layers of benefit appear.

An autonomous vehicle computer with just a GPS and a cellular data phone could do real time paid and insured ride sharing. This could raise the commuter miles per gallon by a factor of 50% or more with existing vehicles.
An autonomous vehicle computer with basic vehicle control and basic sensors could do coast between stoplights and stay in lane. The vehicle could avoid blind intersection, speed and fog related collisions.
An autonomous vehicle computer with more vehicle control could avoid cats, possums and deer. It could do self parking and . The driver could let go of the steering wheel. Public buses could run sometimes without an expensive operator driving the bus. Vehicles could caravan in groups.
Commercial vehicles are a huge market for AVT because commonly the labor cost of the driver equals the operational cost of the vehicle at around 35 mph. Long haul trucks run as fast as possible to minimize labor cost. With AVT technology, a long haul truck could be operated at the slower lowest fuel use and least pollution emitted speed.
An AVT computer could be used on a bicycle to enable the rider to reach every traffic light at the best time.

Thank you Governor Brown for reading this email.

What to do to move ahead to low CO2 emission low energy auto and bus transportation ?

Automatic traffic cameras on a pole make money for the city. Why not switch to autonomous vehicles that don't break traffic laws?
My vehicle, a 1993 Dodge V6 van has around 249,000 miles and I have a really bad leak from the water pump. It is Tuesday night and I can't realistically work on the car until Saturday because replacing the $40 water pump is an 8+ hour job. (Home mechanic repair projects take longer than professional mechanic repairs.)

This state of affairs has caused me to ask three questions:
  1. Is there for sale a reasonably priced low CO2 and low energy solution to replace my tired piece of 20th century automobile machinery?
  2. Can I build an electric motorcycle or electric car with present day parts to do my present commute?
  3. Can I reasonably ride the bus to work? Even for just  4 days?
  4. Can I find a ride sharing arrangement for tomorrow morning?
The answers are: Question 1 is, apparently not. Question 2 is not right away.  Question 3 is last time I looked the bus ride was >2 hours. Question 4 is "I doubt."

What are the reasonable changes that can be made today to improve the lame choices available?

Changes to the California American automobile economic and technical framework:

The goals are:
  • Make not-driving as economically rewarding as driving.
  • Raise the load factor of many vehicles on the road by means of ride sharing.
  • Create a technical solution to drunk and distracted driving by bringing autonomous vehicle control technology to the existing fleet of vehicles. 

  • Modify the automobile liability insurance and vehicle tax structure to make the cost of driving a car mostly linear where there is very little charge applied to a vehicle which is parked and not driven for a whole day. 
  • Provide a vehicle information and control interface, like a USB jack.  Provide a "pay and drive" device that logs the use of the car and communicates the use to the insurance provider and state. This "pay and drive" device would be a small computer, a GPS receiver and a data transmission cell phone. The pay and drive device would be attached (as by a usb connection) to the vehicle computer and dashboard instruments of the car. When the car is driven, then the pay and drive device deducts a daily insurance and daily license charge from the owner's prepaid account.
The result is the car owner is literally free of car insurance and license charges every day the vehicle is not driven.
  •  Connect the automobile to a cell phone device that runs applications. Create a ride sharing application that would enable a specific vehicle to accept a rider when the vehicle is being operated in a repeating commute pattern.
  • Create the legal and financial structure for ride sharing to reimburse the ride provider and provide insurance and a measure of personal safety.

........................  Continue .......

Questions for a Transit Agency Board of Directors Member

A bicycle rider on Devil's Slide, Highway 1, San Mateo County. Photo taken through a side view mirror. At least 100 cars passed the cyclist as he pedaled uphill from Pacifica
Questions about what are the limiting factors the Board of Directors has struggled with over the past year.

What are the boundary lines or limiting factors that the Board of Directors winds up engaging with?

Of these following items, how would you rename the items and then which are the biggest factors:
  • Other transit agencies with other transit activities removing SamTrans funding.
  • Difficulties arranging drivers and staff to do new projects.
  • Restrictive terms of Federal and State funding
  • Problems getting bus stops and cooperation of cities and city traffic engineers.
  • Business closures and changes in the need for specialized transit service.  
I would like to ask you to tell me about one or two transit service developments that the Board of Directors have considered that might change the basic productivity or patronage ratio of the public transit institution.

What are some projects the transit agency has tried that involve cooperation with private transportation organizations like taxi and charter bus services?

Has the Board of Directors developed a request for more freedom of operation from the State?
Has the Board of Directors discussed seeking changes in the SamTrans State enabling legislation and changes in the State anti-dumping and anti-trust laws to enable cooperation with private transit providers?

What are some of the technical innovations the Board of Directors is working on?

Has the Board of Directors explored modifying buses for autonomous operation? If equipped for autonomous operation, one bus driver could lead a caravan of 3 or 4 buses for a heavily traveled section of road.

Has the Board of Directors explored creating an electric bus using ultracapacitors and frequent recharging at bus stops?

Has the Board of Directors explored forming a business and technology partnership with a non-profit foundation and several local Colleges to initiate a local technology leap with business formation possibilities?

Has the Board of Directors explored schedule and route innovations using methods of operational research, network theory,  game theory and topology?

Has the Board of Directors explored operating it's own cell phone and data network? This would facilitate electronic payment, trip coordination, and work-while-you-ride value exchange.

Has the Board of Directors explored lobbying the State to create an automobile insurance and licensing fee structure to facilitate the decline of the California automobile population into a "drive occasionally" status.

Has the Board of Directors explored doing a marketing study and service prototype to characterize the service parameters required to effectively allow freight carts on the public bus?

A kind of energy and economic advancement plan

A tempered glass sliding door, shattering and about to drop out of the frame

You can read a document like an economic recovery plan as a statement from a person about what that person knows, sees and values in his society and life.

Here is my list of the "really big problems". 
No reasonable economic recovery plan can directly address these items. These problems need to be divided into smaller units and the equilibrium shifted so the nation will drift in the right direction.

  • The United States has undergone a 40 year period of increase in the price of single family residential homes. The price increase appears to have peaked and receded to dollar amounts common in the years 2000 to 2006.
  • The United States (in October 2010) is in a state of high unemployment. 
  • It appears that large numbers of unemployed persons in 2010, when they do become re-employed move to lower wage work and sometimes part-time work.
  • There appears to be a 30 year trend of de-industrialization in the United States. Except for food, many items one might buy in a department store or hardware store or auto parts store are made off shore, and most commonly, in China.
  • The reciprocal benefits of lowering trade barriers, eliminating protected industries, and seeking "free trade" are not resulting in a surge of high value American made products being sold over seas. 
We have had a good solid 50 years of conservative politicians saying the United States government will be made insolvent due to rising expenses caused by entitlements.
  • Namely the Social Security system, the Medicare health insurance system for older people, and  welfare support for children, orphans and the disabled. 
  • There also is a chorus of complaints that American public elementary and secondary education is yet another "entitlement" that costs too much and produces too few educated people.
In the transportation area, we have another series of problems:

  • The car - bus dialogue is caught between the same service and cost problems that have existed since privately owned public transportation systems began economically failing before World War II.
  • Gasoline presently sells for (On October 9, 2010, Pacifica, California Shell station) $3.19 per gallon and there is no visible change in the vehicle mix or commute habits of Californians I see. At best, there is a modest increase in usage of the public  bus.
  • While I see internet advocacy, there does not seem to be any major movement to reduce the Carbon emissions resulting from automobiles driven by individuals.
  • As an individual, I am caught in a relatively high commute CO2 emission situation, and I don't see any pathway opening to do my existing job with a shorter commute or a much cleaner commute vehicle.

    In the military area, the nation is still caught in a high expenditure situation.

    • The September 11, 2001 Twin Tower and Pentagon attacks have created a strong philosophical agreement between the American military and a group of religious fanatics. Both sides agree that military force is the only way to dispute the ideology voiced by the fanatics.  
    • The vulnerability of these 6th Century AD religious fanatics to non-force based marginalization is simply forfeited. We have no significant social presence, literacy or intellectual presence in their culture.
    • On our side, the American military operates a very high energy consumption activity.
    • Some critics suggest that the military actions we are engaged in will continue for ten more years at least (that is 2020).

    So these are the broad problems to be addressed in an economic recovery package?

    How to write an economic recovery plan

    The light is green as traffic in Burlingame, California speeds past the waiting red light camera.

    Here is an example of an economic recovery plan:

    Here is a case study of the kind of employment and life problem that should be addressed by an economic recovery plan:,_the_face_of_an_american_lost_generation/

    An economic recovery plan is a description of a course of action that will affect the life of a group of people in America.

    1. Your plan needs one or more structural axes. Examples are changes in a tax, a subsidy or some other kind of financial encouragement.
    2. Your plan needs to describe an area of cost and an area of benefit.
    3. What beliefs or folklore does your plan benefit?
    4. What popular delusion does your plan engage with?
    5. How is your plan going to alter the status quo?
    6. Who are the groups that are at the center of your concerns. 
    7. What is an example of a single person who will typically benefit from your planned action?
    8. Are you going to recreate a state of affairs from a time in the past?
    9. Are you going to create a new future?

    Natchez Transit System on PBS News Hour

    With 248,000 miles, the car gets harder to keep running - when will the transportation revolution arrive?

    Lightweight, high power, one wheel. Really now! Demonstrated at the 2010 Dream Machines Show, Half Moon Bay, California. 

         The PBS Newshour public television news program, on September 30th, carried a story about the city of Natchez, Mississippi telephone transit service. That city has a Department of Adult Services and Public Transportation.

       The story profiled the two sides of the transportation service. 

       Natchez Transit runs buses that come to people's houses to pick them up. Sometimes the pickup is in 15 minutes.

       To tell the Transit side of the story, the director of the service was quoted. 
    ".SABRENA BARTLEY, director, Natchez Transit: I do not have to tell you how important that transportation is in the community."

       To tell the conventional criticism of the service, a car dealer was quoted.
    " CARL ROGEL: A bus system in this area is never going to be profitable. So, not only are we spending the initial $4 million of the stimulus money; you know, someone is going to have to support that system, and that someone is going to be the taxpayer."

       The reporter, quoting a local paper, noted the individual per-ride cost of the service. 

    " MILES O'BRIEN: The editorial board at The Natchez Democrat is also skeptical. They did some math and warned that, at about $20 a ride, taxpayers may not be getting the most bang for their buck."


    Review: Crash Course the American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster

    This is a 1949 Cadillac reworked by a San Jose craftsman into a one of a kind dream machine. 
    It was shown at the Dream Machines car show, April 2010, Half Moon Bay, California.

    Crash Course, The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster by Paul Ingrassia. Published by Random House Inc., New York, c. 2010.

    Crash Course is a narrative of the development and decline of the American auto manufacturing business from the end of World War II to the bankruptcy filing of General Motors which started on Monday June 1, 2010 at 6:03 am at U.S. Bankruptcy Court, New York, New York.

    The author, Paul Ingrassia is a long time journalist covering the American auto industry. He was the Detroit bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. In 1995, with Joseph B. White he wrote "Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American auto industry."

     Is there a conflict that the author published a book in 1995 about an apparent business recovery and the same author publishes a book 15 years later describing the crash of the same American automobile industry? No. A few good years of sales in the '90s covered up structural problems that became insoluble when gasoline prices went up and car sales went down a few years later.

    Crash Course is selected vignettes of the automobile industry. In one event after another, the American auto manufacturers were boxed in with high fixed operating costs, then a drastic decline in volume of sales, and finally very few desirable car models.

    One of the stories in Crash Course is the General Motors second effort to make a small car to compete with imported cars like the Volkswagen.  Chevrolet designed the Vega 4 cylinder small sedan. Chevrolet prepared to manufacture the car in Lordstown, Ohio with production beginning in 1970.

    The same Lordstown factory was also studied by  Emma Rothschild who wrote Paradise Lost The Decline of the Auto Industrial Age.

    I have reviewed her book in this blog: Review of Decline of the Auto Industrial Age

    Crash Course tells the story of Lordstown with additional details. Where Emma Rothchild found the Lordstown factory an example of the problems with the the mass automobile manufacturing culture, Mr. Ingrassia adds details and shows business consequences that are both mundane and grim warnings of the upcoming problems with making autos in America in the American way.

    Chevrolet had spent about 2 years designing the Vega and advertising it's engineering innovations. Shortly after the Vega went into production at Lordstown,  the United Auto Workers called a strike. The strike lasted 67 days, it stopped Vega production and distribution. The strike as an event shows that the UAW Union treated the Vega introduction as an opportunity to force General Motors to sign a new labor contract when the company seriously needed to get a major new manufacturing iniative started.

    Right around the same time, General Motors reorganized the Lordstown factory management. GM gave control of the factory to a new entity called GM Assembly Division. The effect of that change was to add a new layer of bureaucracy between the Vega designers and the car assemblers.

    Within the Lordstown factory, there had been a major effort to incorporate robotic machines. The goal was to improve build quality and reduce labor content in the cars. Unfortunately, the setup changed many assembly jobs into machine loading tasks.

    According to Crash Course, the Lordstown factory also had one of the youngest workforces in General Motors. The factory was one hour drive away from Kent State College where 4 students were shot to death on May 4, 1970. The Vietnam War and the draft were both in effect. Recreational drugs were known and used at that time. The social climate, draft pressures and a robot dominated work environment all affected the workforce.  When the strike ended, the Lordstown plant began manufacturing Vega cars.

    Lordstown management raised the number of cars built per hour from 60 to 90. It was called "the fastest factory in the world" according to Ms. Rothschild. There was an explosion of car quality problems. Cars were made with keys broken off in the trunk lock, dents in the fenders, cuts in the upholstry. The engine had cylinder problems resulting in the car becoming famous as having a "throwaway engine block".

    The Lordstown Vega story happened 40 years before the GM bankruptcy. Let me try and list the ways that this incident foreshadows the coming problems:
    • General Motors was re-organizing itself.  The change at this factory played a small role in a failure to build good small cars. The corporation became more complicated but not more productive.
    • The union was using strike tactics that conflicted with the goals of the Vega project. The strike damaged the product introduction and contributed to the subsequent speed up of the production line later.
    • The effort to automate car manufacturing combined with the production pressures created by the strike timing combined with the Vietnam draft and Kent State killings made a work environment of epic crumminess.
    • The Vega was several hundred pounds and several hundred dollars more expensive than the imported Volkswagen it was supposed to compete with in the marketplace.
    • Once the engine problems and manufacturing problems were fixed, the car was a decent cheap 4 cylinder sedan.
    • The strategic goal of making a quality and cost competitive American small car was undermined by the actions of GM management and the Union management and the assembly workers.
    Crash Course shows how the American automobile makers became boxed in several business dimensions. High labor costs, equally higher management costs, further costs due to committees,  strictures preventing importing of parts, rules preventing use of low cost suppliers.

    I think one of the things that is missing from Crash Course is numbers and description of the huge American consumer buying push over the last 70 years. What is the economic rocket motor that has caused the American public for at least the first 50 years to buy the stuff the American automobile manufacturers have offered?

    In this blog I have explored one of the factors propelling the usage of automobiles in America. I found a cost advantage of using a private car compared to the cost of a public bus when the value of the traveller's time is included in the cost computation.


    Another thing that puzzles me after reading Crash Course is why does General Motors (or the other two American makers) not learn from past management and engineering successes?  Here is what I mean: All the car makers have had instances of good small engines and good small cars. Why doesn't years of experience result in new designs that are better than the old designs?

    Here is another way of putting it, the puzzle in Crash Course is how could all three American auto makers have all gone so deeply into a jam of rising costs, difficult labor relations and plausible energy problems?

    The powerful picture created in Crash Course is the Big Three became boxed in, they finally all leaned towards a "big vehicles for big profits" product mix and they marched ahead with a cost structure that would not proportionally decrease if sales decreased.

     Here is my list of puzzles about the automobile business that Crash Course approaches: 
    • The car business is still a vigorous trade despite the economic problems experienced by the Big Three. How strong is the continuing demand for cars? 

    • The financial problems of the Big Three would probably make some very interesting tables and graphs.  Both GM and Chrysler bankruptcies have  accounting stories that needs to be told. 
    In a Wikipedia article about General Motors, one view point is that the accounting methods introduced by Alfred P. Sloan in the 1930's eventually allowed  excess production in later years. The accounting design left management blind to excess inventory that became a great burden when car sales began declining.

    • One of the seminal decision points of the entire narrative is the finding by American car makers that "Small cars (energy efficient cars)  result in small profits." 
    This is a specific pivotal point where the journalism should describe the problem in much more detail. There are many examples of abandoned efforts: What is the theme revealed by the Falcon, Pinto, Escort, Vega, Corvair, Sprint, Aveo, Valiant, Dodge Omni, Dodge Colt and domestic Volkswagen.?
     What is required to make a domestic small car to match a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic? Why can't a domestic small car go 200K miles and not draw curses from it's owner as one cheap thing after another breaks, falls apart or rusts away?

      Found, Linear regression data from Los Angeles 1980

      (Having trouble getting the graph right)

         I found my linear regression travel time analysis of automobile and public bus travel in Los Angeles. The trips were made in 1978 
      and 1979. 

          In the table below, the Los Angeles 1980  trips are slower than the El Granada - Pacifica -San Mateo trips made in 2009-2010.

          The analysis was done in 1980 from the trip records using topographic maps and a drafting scale for computing airline distance between points. The regression calculations were done using a HP-41 programmable calculator. I published the program through the HP contributed software  service. 

         I  need to check if the distance value I measured using maps in 1980 has an error compared to the great circle value I have used for 2009 calculations. In 1980 I used topographic maps that are marked with a 1000 meter Mercator grid. I used this grid without any documentation. Fortunately I have a paper record for each trip.

      Linear  regression coefficients for travel time.
      For Los Angeles in 1979-1980 and El Granada-Pacifica-San  Mateo in 2009-2010
      Not yet tested for differences in measurement and calculation method.

      Travel time in minutes. minutes per mile +minutes
      Bycar2010EG 1.41 12.09
      Bycar1980LA 1.68 8.04
      Bybus2010EG 4.20 24.51
      Bybus1980LA 8.54 16.88
      Same equation expressed in popular units:
      Vehicle behavior miles per hour +minutes
      Bycar2010EG 43 12
      Bycar1980LA 36 8
      Bybus2010EG 14 25
      Bybus1980LA 7 17

      The real bus trip alters my previous linear regression

      The recent bus trip I took from home to work modifies my previous linear regression calculations of a "travel time equation". The "real" bus trip had modest walking and very little waiting

      For travel distances expressed in great circle miles:
      Auto:              1.41 minutes/mile + 12.09 minutes  = 

      Samtrans bus: 4.20 minutes/mile + 24.51 minutes =

      The 3-16-2010 journey has these calculated  and real travel times

      Auto, calculated  = 35.3 min.   Real = 45 min
      Bus,   calculated = 93.52  min.  Real = 80 min.

      Taking the bus to work

      Finally I got organized and made a trip to work using the public bus. I look forward to testing my linear regression formula and reviewing my total cost of a trip analyses I made earlier in  this blog.
      For this first trip, I took notes on the number of passengers. The table below shows the "load factor" of the buses I rode as I made a trip to work during a workday morning. 
      For the advocacy of this blog here are some of the observations I was interested in during this journey:
      • Is the rear door and rear area of the public transit buses adaptable freight carts?
      • Do the SamTrans buses board wheelchairs?
      • How busy is the bus driver?
      • What is  the level of time and destination automation being used on the buses?
      • Are there active advertising signs inside the bus?
      • Are there any clues to the potential  for making the bus an autonomous vehicle?
        The following table shows the load factor generally increasing as the buses I rode moved from a suburban setting to a highly urbanized setting.

      Definitions: Time = clock time. On = count of people who board Off = count of people who get off Riders = count of riders including the observer Seats = count of seats Load factor = riders (up to this stop) / seats. Minutes = interval between rows.

      3/16/2010 bus trip home to work
      Time On Off Riders Seats Load factor Minutes Comment
      5:51 Leave house
      6:00 0:09 Arrive at bus stop
      6:03 1 8 39 0:03 Bus 294 arrive
      6:11 1 1 8 39 0.21 0:08 Stop on 92 near Peets
      6:18 3 11 39 0.21 0:07 Main x Kelly HMB loop
      6:36 1 10 39 0.28 0:18 92 x Alameda de las Pulgas
      6:38 1 9 39 0.26 0:02 Near high school
      6:41 1 8 39 0.23 0:03 Near library
      6:44 8 0 39 0.21 0:03 End El Camino Real x 31st
      6:45 12 39 0:01 Board 390 Southbound
      6:46 7 19 39 0.31 0:01
      6:48 1 20 39 0.49 0:02
      6:49 1 21 39 0.51 0:01
      6:50 1 22 39 0.54 0:01
      6:52 4 26 39 0.56 0:02
      6:54 1 25 39 0.67 0:02
      6:57 2 23 39 0.64 0:03
      6:58 1 22 39 0.59 0:01
      7:00 1 4 19 39 0.56 0:02
      7:02 1 18 39 0.49 0:02
      7:03 1 17 39 0.46 0:01 End bus ride ECR x Brewster
      7:08 0.44 0:05 Arrive gate
      7:11 0:03 Arrive at work
      1:20 total trip time

      Brown for Governor, Poisner for Governor and Meg Whitman - can they say the unpopular truth?

      This tractor is used to place rocks and sand to prevent cliff erosion.

      I write this on March 4th 2010. 

      Around the state (California) there are demonstrations asking "Restore the funds cut from education." I  feel the demonstrations neglect to speak to much larger public and political problem: 
      The public dialogue will not contemplate enacting higher taxes.
      How will the three candidates for governor engage with the following unpopular truths?
      • Revenue to the California state government needs to be substantially increased.
      Revenue must be increased to fund a modern society that does provide public education, health support, social security and other services and benefits.  

      The problem with raising the basic tax rate for all is how to do it fairly and evenly. I  favor raising the sales tax rate to 11%, and then doing adjustments and credits at the level of the state income tax.

      • Real estate in California over a 40 to 50 year period has become over valued by 40-50%. 

      The entire state (indeed the entire nation) is caught in this unpleasant state of affairs.  Nobody enjoys the vanished "wealth effect" that ended when property price appreciation stalled out in 2007-2009. 

      The over valuation of real estate (I refer mainly to homes) is the root of a cascade of problems. 

      One of  these problems is the large amount of mortgage debt. The  nation hasn't  yet started to have a  dialogue about  how to get off of the hook of enormous mortgages that often require two working parent incomes.

      From another point of view,  critics describe the mortagage  industry as about twice as big as it should be. 

      Another aspect of the over valuation is: Young adults starting a family can't afford a home. See "The coming collapse of the middle class" below.


      Henry_George advocate of land value taxation

      YouTube - The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

      How to move forward on a bus system charter ammendment?

      A bell pepper core. After getting to the core of things..
      How do we reorganize the core for presentation to others?

      How would I recast the arguments of "Put carts on the public bus..." to appropriately address lawmakers?

      How would I address transit agency directors and engineers?

      1. The history of public transit is the collapse of private transit and the development of public transit funding and public transit organizations.
      2. No matter whether the funding is public or private, transit service agencies operate with a very low load factor or utilization of available capacity.
      3. More...

      President's State of the Union Address - reviewed from a bus system change point of view

      A row of bicycles for rent or sale at Half Moon Bay Bicycles

      Entertaining an advocacy like "Put carts on the public bus..." immediately puts a listener to the State of the Union address on the alert for what is the President's vision of the approaching social future?

      One policy change of note is the President advocated construction of more safe nuclear power. He also asked for  more alternative energy projects, research, and business startups. He places these measures in a framework of more jobs, more domestic growth and competitiveness.

      On a broad view, I feel the Republicans don't grasp that Mr. Obama is a very middle of the road politician, he is with them in not changing the American system much at all.

      The image of America I heard from the President sounds consistent with the past.

      Here comes the tide of advocacy for high density urban cities

      This photo, taken on Tuesday, 12:33 pm 12-29-2009,
      shows a pretty good load of passengers.

      Here is a book that advocates large dense urban cities as a way for many people to live with a smaller carbon emission footprint:

      Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, And Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability

      By David Owen, published 2009.

      Rebecca Solnit reviews the Copenhagen Climate Summit

      Best wishes to you in the new year: 2010.

        The Copenhagen Climate Summit conference held in December 2009 ended with what I regard as a stunning and disappointing outcome. No numeric goal and deadline for global warming gas emission was agreed on. According to the Rebecca Solnit article, the main reason for no numeric emission reduction is China refused to participate in a commitment.

        Lets take the Copenhagen Summit disappointment, and note the broad decline in American manufacturing, and especially note that what remains of an American automobile industry depends on a large fraction of low cost imported components.

       Here are the points that affect the implementation of  "carts on the bus":
      • This blog needs a CO2 emission reduction overview of the :carts on the bus scheme.
      • The design should favor modifying existing carts, locally creating the components.
      • The benefits of an euler path should be reviewed.
      • The benefits of unatteded autonomous buses should be identified..
      • A further design with "zero packaging waste" and 100% re-use should be explored.
      Not within this blog but personally, I have had a feeling that the state of California should raise the sales tax to 11% (from the present level of 10%). In other words, the state of California should move a little further toward the European "consumption tax" revenue model.

      One of the reasons for that tax increase is the tax will collect revenue from Chinese import products whose manufacture has ended the tax revenue created when the same products were previously made in California. A state cannot directly tax imports, but a state can tax all manufactured non-food and non-medicine items.

      So as it relates to the "carts on bus" proposal, if the scheme uses carts or buses or bus batteries made in China, the additional 1% of sales tax is partial compensation for the higher CO2 emissions of the offshore manufacturing in a non-CO2 capped nation.