Why Do They Go?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Baron Max, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    On the news last night, they showed a map of the USA with green dots to indicate the planes in the air over the USA at that moment. The damned map was almost covered in green dots! I think it was map produced by the NASA, but I'm not sure and don't have a link.

    Where are all those people going? And what the hell are they going there to do? And do they all really need to go?

    If we were to cut the air traffic in half, it would save tons of fuel, not to mention the tons of air pollution (which some of you think causes global warming). And all those planes surely cause more air pollution and use more fuel than the family cars, don't they?

    So, ...in light of the problems it causes, ...is all that travel really necessary? And what would happen if we just cut the number of flights by half? Surely people who NEEDED to go could wait for the next flight. And what's the matter with rail travel that some people could take?

    Baron Max
     
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  3. pjdude1219 screw watergate i want to know about zaragate Valued Senior Member

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    i believe scientific american had an article about maglight traINS OR SOMETHING to expand the us rail system to make it more efficient so less people would fly
     
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  5. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    Maglev currently is efficient only in short distance, i.e., a city.

    When I fly it's usually to do a work assignment in another country.

    It depends on the plane, Airbus A380 per person is more fuel-efficient than a Toyota Prius, i.e., 3,4litres/100km. So if all those people went by their own cars the overall fuel use would be bigger.
    I imagine prices would rise a lot
     
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  7. pjdude1219 screw watergate i want to know about zaragate Valued Senior Member

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    like i said the are designing new maglevs for long distance it will be some thing like a decade before they are on the market
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The possibility of air travel created dependency on air travel. Now it's not to hard or rare to live on the other side of the country as your parents.

    The train system has been systematically dismantled by auto and airline interests. It gets little federal support, which is a grave mistake.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I took my first flight in 1963 and my most recent one a few months ago. Then and now, whether it's night or day, weekday or weekend, summer or winter, it always seems that a majority of the passengers are flying for business.

    Why is this? We've developed all this great technology that allows us to work at home. If you just absolutely have to see the face of the person you're working with because you're a diplomat or a psychiatrist, we've even invented webcams for that. It especially galls me that people in my profession--IT--don't spend more time working virtually, since we invented the bloody stuff!

    I'm as guilty as anyone. I've browbeaten my manager into not forcing me to "go to work" every day, so I'm not out there clogging the Beltway or the Metro trains, but I still have to "go to work" about once a week so I can't just go home to California and live with my wife. I swear I never accomplish anything "in the office" that I couldn't have done as well or better 3,000 miles away. Therefore, several times a year, my wife or I are on one of those green dots, flying across the country to spend some time together because of my job. (No she can't relocate but that's another story, and besides nobody in their right mind would choose to live in the Washington region where nothing works and nobody gives a damn as long as they get paid for pretending to work.)

    I think that "business travel"--both by land and by air--will see a dramatic downturn when the current generation of kids takes over the business world. They've grown up with cellphones, chat rooms and MPRPGs. They've spent their entire short lives proving that they don't have to be physically near someone in order to communicate, work or play with them. They're not going to spend an hour or two driving to work every day just so they can spend eight or nine more hours in the company of people whose company they didn't choose. And they're sure not going to put up with the caprice of the Homeland Gestapo just so they can spend the better part of a day jammed onto an airliner to go someplace for a two-hour meeting and a mediocre lunch with people they'd rather not socialize with and then turn around and come back home.

    People will live wherever they want to and do their work virtually. If they like spending time with their parents, they'll stay close to their parents. They'll fly on airliners only for vacations to places with nice scenery, culture, beaches or ski runs.
     
  10. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    As a sort of representative of the diplomatic service I can't overemphasise the importance of direct contact to which no webcam can substitute.

    1. Security. The information that is exchanged in such meetings is not the stuff you send over the cable.
    2. Personal contact. Much of diplomacy is done in easy going, relaxing occasions over a glass of wine in circumstances where even conflicting parties can find mutual understanding.
    3. Respect. The best way to pay respect to someone is to visit that someone.

    For these reasons I don't think webcams will ever replace traveling in diplomacy.

    As for me, going to work helps me to concentrate on the work to be done and I can use the resources of the workplace, i.e., office equipment, archive, restricted access documents, advice of colleagues, team problem solving and giving your work for quick evaluation. And when there is a crisis situation people can't be quickly organized into a new, specialized team over the net.

    Any way, I walk to work every morning, so transportation is not an issue.
    And on holidays I prefer to go hiking.
     
  11. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Y'all seem to be talking more about yourselves, personally, but I'm more interested in all those other people. I mean, I can understand some people need to travel somewhere ...okay, that's fine. But are there really enough such people as to clog up the entire sky with little green dots? It just doesn't seem possible that that many people fly somewhere every damned day and night of the year. ....does it?

    Baron Max
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't it the holiday season weekend?
     
  13. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Sure, but it just gets WORSE during holidays. Sam, I'm talking about every day, all day, every week of the year. I don't know how to link that site that shows the little green dots, but if you saw it, you'd be amazed at the number of planes in the air at any given time. ...the map of the USA is literally covered in little green dots!

    Where are all those people going? And what the fuck are they going to do when they get there? And is it really necessary that they go?

    Baron Max
     
  14. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Times are good Baron Max...Times are good. We need a good ol' crash.
     
  15. Till Eulenspiegel Registered Member

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    I fly a couple times a year. Since I am retired I fly for pleasure, to get to a destination that is too far to get to conveniently by car or that is overseas. When I am in Europe I do a lot of traveling by train but the trains in Europe are so much better than those in The States. I can travel easily from Milan through Zurich to Munich, something that would be a nightmare in The States.

    My youngest is a lawyer and flies at least three times a month for business purposes.

    People fly for different reasons.
     
  16. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    In a country of 500+million people, even if 1% of them need to travel by air on any day, it equates to 5million passengers, so there's your answer, it's simple logistics.
     
  17. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps. But the main question is ..why do they need to travel, to fly? For example, in 1900, 1% of New Yorkers didn't need to go to Los Angeles once a week, right? So why do they need to now? And especially now in the age of high-speed communication with video capability, etc.

    Baron Max
     
  18. sniffy Banned Banned

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    Because they can.....
     
  19. Till Eulenspiegel Registered Member

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    In 1900 most New Yorkers worked on the family farm and those who didn't worked in local factories. Today jobs are not localized by are spread across the country and even across the world.

    In 1900 most Americans never traveled more than twenty miles from home. Most never saw other parts of their own country let alone other parts of the world.

    I will take the present time even with its crowded skies over 1900.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Okay, I'll accept that. I was being a little flippant in suggesting that diplomats and psychiatrists can do their work virtually. Obviously the same is true of auto mechanics, surgeons and bulldozer drivers. Still that's a tiny percentage of the population who really need to work "on site." Furthermore, if we weren't all driving to work we wouldn't need so many auto mechanics. And we wouldn't need to build so many office buildings so we wouldn't need so many bulldozer drivers. And if we stayed home more and spent "quantity time" instead of "quality time" with our families, pets and hobbies, I daresay we wouldn't need so many psychiatrists either.
    Humanity is obviously going to have to solve the problem of data security. It's only a matter of time. The mathematics exists, we just need to turn it into technology. Perhaps with the resources of an entire nation the possibility might always exist that one nation's military could successfully hack into the secrets of another, so diplomats might be the only exception. For the rest of us, there's no excuse for the rampant hacking of financial and identity records. It's just shoddy IT project management, and don't get me on my professional soapbox about that. As Capers Jones puts it, legal remedies against "professional malpractice" should be extended beyond the medical profession. If Americans purchased any other type of product and found it to be as defective, counterintuitive and user-hostile as software, the manufacturer would be hounded out of business within a month.
    Perhaps diplomats are like bricklayers and janitors, and will always have an excuse for having to leave home and go to work.
    Can you say "Paradigm Shift"? That is soooo nineteenth century! The best way to pay respect to me is to listen to my music, read my writing or take my advice, all of which are available on the internet. Anyone who demands that I spend an hour and a half preparing myself for a public viewing and riding the goddessforsaken subway through a snowstorm is NOT paying me any respect.
    Again, that is soooo nineteenth century. I have all the office equipment I need right here, in addition to resources they don't have in the office like the calming influence of pets and a view of my garden full of birds, flowers and bunnies. My coworkers, managers and clients are a phone call or an e-mail away, and it is much faster to contact them that way than it is to find them somewhere inside a ten-story building, where I end up phoning them anyway. As I have noted before, the younger generation has developed new ways of communicating and socializing, and they are going to revolutionize the workplace. I'm 64 and I'm adapting to it. You older and less adaptable folks had just better get out of their way.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    These kids are building entire civilizations, complete with jobs, responsibilities, families, educations, communities, supply chains and politics. By the time they take over the business world MPRPG technology will naturally come with them. Amusingly enough, gaming software is engineered to much higher quality standards than "work" software because these kids don't settle for the shoddiness that we do. So we'll see a quantum improvement in the world's IT infrastructure as part of the bargain.
    How nice for you. I'm stuck in a job 3,000 miles from home.
    I fly home and back twice a year. Other people fly on vacations. If every American takes only two round-trip flights per year, that's three million people in the air every day.
    As I just pointed out, vacation travel alone will put three million people in the air every day. You tell me whether vacations are "necessary."
    I think you'll find that crashes never deter people from flying. After the Alaska Airlines crash about eight years ago, people were lining up at the Alaska counter at my local airport, saying, "Well they'll make dang sure that doesn't happen again!"
     
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Oh, I don't want to go back to 1900 necessarily, but if we're complaining about air pollution, auto emissions, global warming, etc, and people are all upset and trying to solve the problems, ......one airplane from NYC to LA emits tons of pollutants into the air. If we eliminate just a few planes a day, it would make a tremendous difference. If we eliminate ten planes a day, .....

    And yet we all seem to be focusing on the auto industry instead. Why?

    Baron Max
     
  22. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Necessary enough to continue to pollute the atmosphere with tons of buring jet fuel? I don't know, Fraggle, you tell me. If you can come up with a good reason to be responsible for that amount of pollutants, why can't everyone else? And thus ......?

    Baron Max
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    But why the heck are you picking on vacation air travel, of all possible uses of petroleum? That's the one thing that can't be done virtually! I've been to Hawaii, Jamaica, Bulgaria and Spain. Those are some of the highlights of my life. I could not have gotten there without flying. The daily trips Americans make to work, that account for 25% of our petroleum consumption... just exactly how many of them are necessary? One in fifty, one in a hundred? Today hardly anybody does anything "at work" that they couldn't do just as efficiently and far more happily at home! Why do you want to rag on people taking vacations when it's their trips to the bloody office that are unnecessary??? And if you want to pick on air travelers, why not the "business" travelers? How many of those trips are really necessary? I've done plenty of them and they were a colossal waste of both petroleum and time.

    Since the advent of workstations twenty years ago, my work-related travel has been almost a complete waste, yet it accounts for the majority of my travel miles, both road and air--and thus the majority of my pollution, which is roughly the same per passenger mile in the air or on the ground. I speak for the majority of Americans. We've all got computers and telephones at home, we don't need to go to the office, except for the handful of us who are surgeons and gardeners and diplomats and ditch-diggers.

    If you want to cut back on pollution and resource usage, why don't you make a BIG difference and start promoting telecommuting? Don't tell us to make a LITTLE difference by cutting back on our bloody vacations!

    Get rid of all the dinosaur managers who can't figure out how to manage people they can't physically spy on!
     

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