Morning Links

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

62 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Elliot | 

    @EH (#49)

    Huh?

    As far as Limbaugh’s drug use, I don’t think he should have any legal problems. Nor should anyone else who isn’t hurting anyone else, for that matter.

    If he quit championing drug prohibition after his trouble, then that’s good. If not, he’s an ass.

  2. #2 |  Highway | 

    EH, that certainly is interesting, and makes sense, and it would be a defensible argument to make for specific capacity reductions with investigation. I wonder about some of the examples given, since two of the three seem to have effected mode changes for a percentage of users, although I guess that can be part of ‘socially optimal’. However, I’m not a big fan of the idea of “Get those people off my road” which is many people’s primary motivation for supporting mass transit (for other people).

  3. #3 |  EH | 

    I don’t think the motivation for HOV lanes is “get those people off my road” so much as “let’s let some cars drive faster.”

    As far as Braess goes, it’s not so much an argument for reducing capacity, more a challenge to the assumption that adding lane capacity will result in better flow. The paradox says that when the participants in the network (drivers) are acting selfishly, that becomes a factor in lane capacity irrespective of the change in capacity. I have never seen a one-lane addition to a three-lane (per side. conventionally: six-lane) highway result in a 1/3 reduction in travel time. Braess is why.

  4. #4 |  MIkeS | 

    I dunno, Radley. The unsourced claim mixed in with hyperbole and ranting about fake callers to talk show hosts didn’t seem very compelling to me.

  5. #5 |  qwints | 

    I, for one, am laughing at the number of libertarians who seem to think they are entitled to public roads.

  6. #6 |  Elliot | 

    Re: my #51 above, EH should have said “Highway@47” not “Highway@37”. That’s why I was scratching my head.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    ‘# #32 | EH

    Marty@18: Why does the solution have to be changing schools rather than changing administrators or the rules? Why do vouchers have to be involved at all when they are the most disruptive solution possible?’

    if I get horrible service at Wal Mart, I take my business elsewhere. I might write a letter to someone’s supervisor, but generally, I try to shop where I’m happy. I think a family should be able to shop for a school they’re happy with- whether they don’t like an administrator at one school or if they prefer the academics at another. It doesn’t have to be a punitive thing- school that make students/parents happy will be rewarded with a higher demand.
    I just don’t understand how giving consumers a choice can be a bad thing.

  8. #8 |  Elliot | 

    quints (#55):I, for one, am laughing at the number of libertarians who seem to think they are entitled to public roads.

    When one group uses a monopoly on the use of force to create a monopoly in a given market, then the usual discussions involving individual rights are already tainted by the aggressive coercion underlying the premise of “public” anything. Growing up in a world where “public” property is a ubiquitous occurrence, in which the vast majority make no substantive ethical objections, it’s easy to understand why people who overlook the root of the problem get contradictory results when they try to apply basic principles of individualism.

    In a free country, the owners of a given road would have full authority to decide who could drive on them and what rules they had to follow (traffic rules, speed limits, conditions of vehicles, lights, mirrors, insurance). If you didn’t like an owner’s rules, you don’t have to drive on that owner’s road. Of course, basic 2D geometry plus the occasional bridge or tunnel means having a competitive market in roads rather complex. It’s not impossible, though. Look up James Jerome Hill.

    Telling people “you can’t do X without government” is a bit like breaking everyone’s legs, maintaining a monopoly on the sale of crutches, and then bragging about how you’re “serving the people” because no one else is able to do so.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    # #21 |
    #18 Marty –

    ‘I don’t know that vouchers would help in this particular instance. Parents drive these kinds of zero tolerance policies in the first place…’

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I disagree. Drug testing didn’t originate with parents. Metal detectors didn’t originate from parents. Parents may be buying into the propaganda now, but I believe there will be enough unsatisfied customers that vouchers will have an impact. It’s predictable how hard the monopolies are fighting against vouchers, though.

  10. #10 |  Elliot | 

    Marty (#57):I think a family should be able to shop for a school they’re happy with- whether they don’t like an administrator at one school or if they prefer the academics at another. It doesn’t have to be a punitive thing- school that make students/parents happy will be rewarded with a higher demand.
    I just don’t understand how giving consumers a choice can be a bad thing.

    Even before you get to the obvious point of allowing parents to choose how to educate their offspring, why don’t you stop forcing people who don’t have children in school to pay for it?

    If a person is home schooled then doesn’t have children, why should she pay one penny for other people’s kids to be bored and brainwashed in crappy government zoos schools? There is not one good reason. (And, if you think she benefits indirectly, why not convince her of that and ask her to voluntarily contribute? Or, if you think that the product you produce depends upon the education of your employees, then you take up the slack and pay more towards the schools and raise your prices. Then, people who benefit will end up paying, if they want your nifty gadgets.)

  11. #11 |  Highway | 

    EH, I didn’t read the paradox quite the same way. I took it more that the individual decision making can decrease the overall system efficiency due to network effect improving some trips at the expense of many others. Now, the overall capacity may be much higher, but it shows in total number of trips, while the time per trip goes up. The system can achieve an equilibrium that varies from the optimal efficiency.

    As for the ‘Get off my road’ attitude, that’s usually associated with mass transit (as in “Other people should get their cars out of my way so that I can drive faster). Usually the response to HOV is “Why can’t *I* use that lane? It’s not fair!”

  12. #12 |  Rob in CT | 

    Re: HOV lanes, in my experience hardly anybody uses them. The one available to me is an HOV-2 lane (I gather it may have started as an HOV-3). Also motorcycles and hybrid cars w/only 1 occupant are allowed.

    Since my wife and I work in the same building, we commute in together and use the lane. Of course, we’d commute in together anyway, so the lane isn’t altering our behavior in any way. It probably saves me ~1-2 minutes of driving time under normal conditions (total commute = 25 minutes).

    I’d say that ~25% of the people I’ve seen driving in the lane are driving alone. Many others are driving their kid around. Some others are undoubtably like my wife & I (driving the way they’d have driven anyway). I would guess that very, very, very few people actually “carpool.” The buses use the lane, and they are used by a fair number of people.

    To sum up… public transit gets a thumbs-up, in general, from me. HOV lanes, not so much.