The Appeal of not Riding the Bus

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What is the appeal of “automated” – also called “self-driving” – cars?

Perhaps “appeal” is not the right word. Is that the word people generally use to describe taking the bus? It is something people do, of course. But is there appeal in it? The word connotes positive emotion, as in something appealing. Like a good meal when one is hungry.

That is appealing.

So also a beautiful woman – or for that matter a beautiful car. It is why there are car shows but no bus shows.

A bus is a means to an end. It is transportation. You take the bus – and then forget the bus. A bus ride is only memorable if something unexpected – something unplanned – happens along the way. The same is true of taking the plane. Commercial air travel has very little appeal, except perhaps to those who enjoy standing in line to wait their turn to be processed by a government worker on the way to being herded into what amounts to a bus that flies.

Hence airbus. As opposed to (once upon a better time) Constellation or 707.

Walking does have some appeal – as does cycling. It is why people go for walks – just because. If there were no appeal, why would people do that? How many people take the bus, just because?

Cycling is also more than mere transportation. People cycle for the fun of it. And that is the essence of the appeal of it.

Motorcycling even more so.

But what is it, precisely, that is so fun – so appealing – about it?

It is the same thing that makes driving a car more than merely a kind of solo version of riding the bus. That being the freedom to decide your course. This does not mean entering a destination – and then going to sleep, as you would in a “self-driving” or “automated” car.

As you would in an airbus.

It means deciding how you get there, every moment along the way. Changing course, on the fly – your eyes and mind working together to decide which course is best. Emphasis on your eyes and mind. As in no one else’s.

As in, not some god-damned machine’s.

Sizing up situations. Taking advantage of opportunities. Anticipating. Acting. Using your judgment. You see the traffic bunching up ahead and – before you become bunched up, too – you decide to take an unplanned right off the road you’re on onto a side road you know that will take you around the bunch-up.

Yes, “automated” and “self-driving” cars can imitate  the same – using AI and real-time traffic monitoring. And so can a train. There is a helpless sterility in this. No satisfaction of involvement, of initiative taken and rewards accompanying.

No happy knowing you know how to parallel park. How to handle a slick, snow-covered hill. That you can make it, even though others can’t. One size does not fit all. Except inside the bus.

Instead of being the captain of your ship as well as its course, there is the sickly passivity attending the absence of control.

One sleeps when riding the bus – or the train.

Let’s also touch the third rail of “self-driving” and “automated” technology. The one no one wants to touch because of the issues it brings up.

It will make illegal action impossible.

And this will make you want to ride the bus.

No more “speeding” – the smear-word used to shame those who drive any faster (ever) than whatever the government says the “speed limit is.” Yet almost everyone does “speed,” because it is almost impossible to drive without doing so. At least, in a way that is preferable to taking the bus.

But a “self-driving” or “automated” car will not “speed” – ever. That would be against the law and there would be liability for any car so programmed. The “self-driving” or “automated” car will always drive precisely as fast as the speed limit allows – just like the bus. Just like many commercial delivery vehicles, which are GPS real-time monitored to catch every incident of “speeding” – and the driver sanctioned, accordingly.

Just as many new cars are already equipped with the technology to do the same. It is styled “advanced speed limit assist technology.” No explanation necessary.

The person being transported by an “autonomous” or “self-driving” car will not be sanctioned for “speeding” because “speeding” simply will not happen. The accelerator pedal –  if the car still has one – will not comply. Push down as hard as you like. It will have the same effect on your velocity as showing Pete Buttigieg a centerfold (for those who remember) of a beautiful woman. Or Ralph Nader a centerfold of a beautiful car.

No more rights-on-red, either – irrespective of the idiocy of just sitting there interminably waiting for the green light in the absence of any other reason to just sit there waiting.

The “self-driving” or “autonomous” car will stop fully at every stop sign. It will accelerate slowly. It will queue up in line. It will not attempt to maneuver through the line as that would probably entail “speeding” and “unsafe” lane changing. The trip will take exactly as long as the programming allows. There will be no deviation from the established parameters.

You will sit down – and be . . . transported.

Those within will always be obliged to “buckle up” – for “safety” – prior to transportation being provided. They could just as readily be obliged to put on a “mask,” also for “safety.” Just as people who ride the bus – and take the plane – were obliged to wear a “mask,” else forgo being transported.

Don’t forget to scan your QR “vaccination” card in the touchscreen.

If it doesn’t sound very appealing, keep in mind what being transported will mean.

. . .

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  1. I’m even less convinced of automated driving becoming commonplace as I am of battery electric vehicles. I still don’t see how they’d work in a situation (that I find myself in frequently) where I buy a big item (such as a 10′ tree, for example) and drive it into my yard (I have a couple acres) to a precise spot within the yard to unload it

  2. I work on self driving car tech for an automotive systems supplier, though I’ll not say who lest I’m accidentally leaking something I should not be. I hope I am not viewed as an enemy of the libertarians as a result.

    We keep enormous amounts of incident statistics on situations where self driving went wrong, and it’s very clear that self driving cars which follow all the rules end up causing a lot of accidents. They are almost never at fault, but they violate other drivers’ expectations, and these violations of common behavior, in order to follow the law, lead to safety issues. To build a safe self driving car, you need to be predictable, and break the law in the same way as other drivers do. Most sane officials recognize this, assuming someone who goes into the career of traffic safety is sane, so my prediction is that self driving cars will be permitted to break laws that are commonly broken by others and it won’t be a liability to the system manufacturer. We need to demonstrate safety holistically, and our PR people work to convince the regulators that driving like everyone else is the way to go. Self driving cars today are like the worst human drivers, but they pay attention without interruption, and never get interrupted by a cell phone, and the tech is getting better.

    Different car OEM’s will want different behavior from their self driving tech based on their cultural customs. The Asian manufacturers will likely tune theirs to follow every law and will sacrifice their passengers for the “greater good” if they must, while Germans seem to be building cars concerned only with their own occupants (good!). There are going to be a lot of future court cases and arguments to establish whether a self driving car should kill its occupants to save more lives, for example, and this is going to be resolved along cultural norms.

    On my end, I’m doing my best to make these things the best possible drivers, so that people can trust their car to drive them home after some drinking, on when they’re exhausted, and also, working very hard to protect privacy so that no individual driver can be separated out from aggregate data. The EU is actually much better on this than the US, as they forbid gathering this data, while in the US, anything goes and if the government asks, you have to turn it over.

    • Hi OL,

      For myself, even if this technology is “perfected,” in that it is capable of self-driving the car with an extremely high degree of “safety,” I want nothing to do with it. I like driving. I dislike being driven. If I wanted to be driven, I’d live in the city and use Uber or ride the bus. I despise every jot and tittle of this techno-ending of individual autonomy, this turning of people into meatsacks to be “transported.”

      • Oh, I love to drive too, Eric. I wrench on cars, and I have a couple of truly analog cars that are a joy to drive. The problem is, that most people want appliances, and the better and more profitable the appliances, then the higher the odds of still having amazing driver’s cars. It’s like the Cayenne funds 911 development, or we have the Supra and BRZ because of the Camry, RAV4 and Sequoia. Without profits on the boring ones, the cool ones are those which get sacrificed.

        I personally would love to have one car which can drive me while I sleep or read a book, and another for fun.

      • As a former juvenile delinquent, I have to assume future juvenile delinquents will figure out ways to trick self driving cars and/or jam their electronics. We were amateur children in the 1960s, pelting a car with 6 or more hard snowballs simultaneously. That was not smart, but many other things I did were worse, including outrunning cops two times, who were going to give me speeding tickets. Eric P. would have been proud.

  3. In regard to trains, they are the only “mass transport” that captures the public’s imagination, especially steam locomotives.

    And they do it because of what Eric is talking about here: there is no piece of machinery that is more “analog” than a steam locomotive. There is nothing onboard that requires a single electron for vital operation of the locomotive. You make fire, stoke it to an extreme level of heat, flames and smoke using it’s own exhaust gasses that give off a much more pleasant sounding “chuff” than the screech of a turbocharger. Water vigorously boils, steam comes up, releasing from a hundred different points, and by simply operating a few manual levels, valves and injectors, thousands of tons of mass are put into motion, with every mechanical function clearly visible, beautiful to behold and awesome in it’s power and simplicity.

    The engineer and fireman make every decision required to make all this work. Done right and the engine operates efficiently and swiftly. Make the wrong decisions and smoke, waste and “stalls” are the result.

    No other mass transport technology, especially obsolete technology, fascinates so many people.

    • Trains are awesome! Vintage diesel-Electrics too. I love the mid 60s styling and power of something like an EMD SD45 with flared radiators and turbo smoking. Modern “GEVO”s are just like new cars. Boring appliances on rails, especially with the Tier 4 mandates! Classic E units… oh man!

  4. Trying to remember my few experiences with buses

    1969 In high school a rich girl’s Dad rented a school bus for his daughter’s Sweet Sixteen party. Drove us to a nightclub on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village two hours away. He had rented the whole nightclub and the band for his daughter’s party. The bus rise was great.

    1971 Started college at the Rochester Institute of Technology without a car. Big mistake. I took the bus home — four hours by car — but almost eight hoirs by bus.
    A nightmare. That was the last time I rode in a bus.

    1975 Started NYU graduate school in Manhattan. Lived with relatives in Brooklyn. Took the NYC subway to school and back (one hour each way) every day for three semesters. NYc subways during rush hours are worse than any bus.

  5. Just a heads up for anyone with a Truist account. I believe we will be seeing more and more banks altering their Terms and Conditions. Please read them. There is some serious crap in these that truly promotes the establishment of social credit scores and should be worrisome to us all.

    I have not had a Truist (SunTrust) bank account in years so I was a bit surprised when I received this email the other day. I would like to bring your attention to Page 9 (Prohibited Payments) for BillPay. These same prohibited payments can also be found further into the agreement for Zelle usage (page 22).

    Note…biometrics is on Page 5 under Security. Keep your head on a swivel. They are coming after all of us.

    • Thanks for this info, RG –

      I, like many, am deeply worried about banking with any bank – yet we effectively must. Do you have any suggestions/insights regarding which banks, if any, are better or worse than others?

      • Hi Eric,

        Personally, I prefer local community banks because I believe the customer service is better, but they are starting to be gobbled up by the bigger institutions. The two banks that I use do not have any locations near you or I would recommend them.

        Unfortunately, I believe Truist’s new stupid rules will end up being implemented everywhere. I am just hoping the smaller banks will hold out the longest.

        I would ask around town and see what friends and family suggest. Just to note there are Federal Reserve Member and Non Member banks. The non member banks are state chartered vs being nationally chartered. The regulations are usually less restrictive under a non member bank. In your area the Non Member banks are Carter, Bank of Botetourt, First Citizens, Pinnacle, and Truist (if you can believe that). I would scout a few of these out and see how the customer service is. Are they are warm and welcoming or don’t acknowledge you when you walk in? What are their Terms of Service? How convenient are their locations? Is their Online Banking easy to use? Do they have monthly fees?

        I have never used a credit union, but I would consider it if the ones in your area are reviewed highly.

        Let me know how it goes.

        • Thanks, RG –

          I bank with Truist – awful name – because it swallowed up BB&T, which was my bank. I know the tellers at my local branch and they are nice to me. But every time I go there, I must hand over my ID. Not merely show it to them. They scan it every time I make a deposit or withdrawal. Creeps me the hell out. But I also worry about doing anything to “trigger” some form of special handling. I wish I had been smart enough, years ago, to never have more than about $200 in my account at any time – and keep everything else in cash.

          • Having to show ID would bother me as well. Why do you have to show ID to make a deposit? I have never had to do that. Do they still demand if you deposit it through the drive thru or ATM and then use your debit card to withdraw the money?

            Truist (I agree with you…stupid name) was the bank that I had a problem with when I tried depositing cash into my grandmother’s account several months ago. She provided me her account number and we had completed a deposit slip for her. She was not with me when I tried depositing the cash and they refused to accept it without her being there. She is 90 years old and is not as mobile as she once was. I could not believe it when they refused to accept it…their reason…potential money laundering. Yep, all those grandmas performing high crimes. I left the branch and drove 20 minutes to another realizing the new game to play. Located the youngest and dumbest employee I could find and was able to deposit it without ID or questions.

            I keep enough money in the accounts to pay the bills. I have gotten to the point that I pay everything else in cash…groceries, meals out, supplies, etc. I will be damned if I allow the someone or something to dictate what I can and cannot buy. Thankfully, all of my horse betting has always been conducted in cash. 😜

            • Just a heads up for Eric and anyone else with a Truist account. Apparently, the “prohibited purchases” has been part of their agreement since they have taken over BB&T. I did a bit more research and made a few phone calls. It looks like the BillPay and Zelle transactions are run through Fiserv, based out of Wisconsin, who handles most of the behind-the-scenes transactions for banks, credit cards, insurance, and finance companies. They are also the parent company for First Data (who is the third-party credit card conglomerate for the US). They also link all of the ATMs through their STAR network.

              The “prohibited items” list is from Fiserv, not Truist. Any bank or credit union that uses Fiserv to service their transactions has the same restrictions. Just an extra “ha, ha” Frank Bisignano, CEO of Fiserv, is apparently a big time Republican donor. Apparently, not a big believer in the Constitution or a large privacy advocate though.

              I recommend paying any “prohibited items” via cash. This is only going to get worse. I expect them to get the systems in order and legalese in place and then the hammer falls. Probably around the same time the US digital coin drops in July 2023.

      • I use a money market fund within my Fidelity brokerage account as my primary checking account. I also use a Fidelity VISA card that gives a 2% rebate on all purchases, with no limit. The VISA rebates automatically go into my Fidelity brokerage account every month. I also have a small balance Credit Union account that Ive use for automatic electric utility and natural gas utility payments every month since 1977. I was inside my credit union building once in the past 17 years, since I retired, only because their outdoors no-fee ATM machine was broken. I have not been inside a real bank since the 1970s.
        My Fidelity investment portfolio is growing bigger and bigger
        — now up to $129, plus a 25% share of the Brooklyn Bridge.
        The bad RG
        Bingham Farms, Michigan

  6. If driving your own car is an adventure compared to riding a bus, then riding a motorcycle is an order of magnitude more adventurous than driving a car.

    I had a shitty, low-paying job that I mostly disliked for several years that was a 25 mile commute each way. Riding my motorcycle almost made it worthwhile. I would ride every single day I could, unless it was drenching rain or snowing. I would bundle up and turn on the heated handgrips and ride when it was 34 degrees. I would plan rural routes specifically to avoid getting killed in six-lane traffic by some moron finger f–ing a cell phone while driving. It became an adventure going to a shitty, low-paying job.

    I would see these soccer moms in minivans at traffic lights and lawyers in suits in Jaguars, and I am sure they thought I was crazy riding a motorcycle in 30-something degree weather. I was the ONLY one on a bike every day below 65 degrees.

    Actually, I thought THEY were the ones who were nuts, like hamsters in a Habitrail while I was out in the real world.

    I don’t have that job any more and the only thing I miss about it is that I don’t get to ride every day…

  7. This: “The “self-driving” or “automated” car will always drive precisely as fast as the speed limit allows” – fits in perfectly with the short video below:

    ‘Why are Most People Cowards? | Obedience and the Rise of Authoritarianism’

    The gist of much of it seems to be, the more compliant one is, the ‘better’ they are. It’s about self-worth? And, value to the Borg-Genisis hive mindset?

    An EV, or a self-driving car, the use & support of such is a measure of ones compliance, and therefore; shows how ‘good’ that person is. …Same as it is with getting The Shot, putting on a face diaper, standing six feet apart, and getting into box railcars.

    … A slice of Bizarro World.

  8. Well, I think it depends what you have to put up with to get where you want, or need, to go. There s a world of difference between a pleasant drive on a country road, and routinely being stuck in slow moving traffic (including at night!) on a limited access highway. I notice that all of Eric’s videos are examples of the former, never the latter.

    Tell you what, Eric. Next time you visit your sister, take a spin up I15, book a room in Riverside or Corona, and “experience” a winter morning weekday commute, starting at, let’s say, 5AM, on SR91 through Santa Ana Canyon into Anaheim. An hour, or more, of “keep the taillights in front of you in the right place” is just a high stress, high stakes video game. NF. It is not “driving” as you know it in rural Virginia.

    Now do this twice a day for a week, and tell me you don’t wish for “Otto Mattick” to take over when you hit the freeway. If you say “no,” I call bullshit. 🙂 Either that, or you probably are addicted to video games…

    BTW, I made that commute for many years, along with all the other poor bastards who have no choice. But, given the choice, I avoid freeways altogether. For example, to get from Corona, where I live, to Lake Elsinore, I always take Temescal Canyon Road, never I15. It is a nice drive, and these days maybe quicker and safer than the freeway. My preference, YMMV.

    • Adi Heidler,
      “along with all the other poor bastards who have no choice”
      There is always a choice. The question being, what are you willing to give up to make it. You chose to live under those conditions. Eric chose otherwise. As did I. As could you.
      I think Eric’s point is that the current trajectory leaves us NO CHOICE regardless how much we may be willing to give up. And no choice leaves one no freedom. Even you, feeling trapped where you are, still understand that you COULD make another choice, even if you aren’t willing to do so. If current trajectory continues, you won’t be able to.

      • Hi, John,
        >There is always a choice.
        You are absolutely right.
        In this case, at that time and place, the available choices for many people were, approximately:
        1. Work in Orange Co., live in a rented apt (no tax write off on mortgage interest) or buy a condo (tax write off, but H.O. dues & not the accommodation you would prefer).
        2. Work in OC, where wages are higher than Riv. Co., buy a detached single family residence, (or acreage), in Riverside Co., and put up with the commute.
        3. Figure out how to get rich, never mind how, so you can live anywhere you choose.
        4. Start your own business (sky is the limit, right?) and hope for the best.

        I opted for #2 in 1981, when the commute was really not that bad, because I desperately needed the tax write off, and did not want a condo. But, in the interim, more than 2.,000,000 people made a similar choice, and the commute became totally crazy.

        I changed careers in the early 1990s, and started my own one man consulting business (option #4) in 1996. Working from an office in my own home, I totally eliminated any “commute,” and never looked back. I walked across the hall, coffee cup in hand, to go to work, until I retired in 2021. But, these things take time.

        Just sayin’…

  9. The word “transport” is very key here. I own a large semi that I use to transport heavy equipment. That heavy equipment is just that. A tool, machine, means to an end. When you are being transported, you’re just a tool, machine, means to an end.

    Every technology touted by government is to herd everyone in the cattle chute. Cattle are also transported around sometimes until their owner(s) decide it’s time to end their life. So many people believe they are choosing this bland, life sucking existence. Because that’s “what everyone does”. Fuck that.

  10. The globalist end game is to corral everyone into the slave cities and slowly strip them of their means of independence so they’re forced to use public transport. That’s what NYC already is, and its subway system has been slowly falling apart over the last 40 years. Literally no one in NYC likes using the subway but they have no choice.

    The upper middle class will maybe be able to afford an EV or a self driving car, but even then they won’t be able to go where they want when they want. That leaves the ultra rich only with the true freedom to go where they want when they want, which is what they want. The entire earth to be their disney world while us plebs have to stay in the tiny fishbowl and ask permission for everything.

    I don’t think they’ll get what they want, but they’re certainly going to try.

  11. Believe it or not, I think the general public’s fascination with autonomous vehicles is a desire for more screen time, whether they want to increase productive hours at their jobs or simply want to watch “Game of Thrones” on the road.

    And I’ve seen the latter first-hand, a few years ago while following an older Mazda3 through a dense part of town with what I assume was a custom dash player installed such the video kept rolling even when the car was in motion.

    Where were the cops? Probably practicing mask enforcement drills at WalMart.

  12. One thing about liberal Democrat-Marxists is that they love their train sets. I guess their effeminate fathers never bought them one for Xmas. In Portland about 10 years ago they expanded the light rail system 4-miles on the East side of the river. This spur cost $1B or $250MM per mile which rides mostly empty every day. In CA they have abandoned miles of track of the proposed high-speed rail system which is gathering dust and graffiti (as it should).

    • Portland. Do they still have less than a half dozen “fare enforcement” personnel on the MAX?

      Austin has a serious case of MAX envy, but they’re planning to upstage Portland with an eloborate homeless shelter -er station dug underground beneath the TX State Capitol building as part of the expansion to the airport.

      Ironically, the airport line will run down the wide median of a road popular with the urban outdoorsmen looking for a place to pitch their tents for the night.

  13. It isn’t necessarly the bus, it’s the “public transportation” that’s a problem. Vanderbilt built an empire on providing a transporation service to the public. He drove costs down to get more market share and evenutally was able to provide transport for free just on food consessions. The Pullman cars were “rolling hotels” that provided clean comfortable service at reasonable prices. Intercity bus service has to compete with air and automobile travel, so regularly scheduled service took the K-mart route. However there are very nice charter coaches operating tours that cater to the retirement crowd that are pretty good. And it is a testament to just how amazing air travel is that travelers are willing to put up with all the bullshit.

    There’s no reason why buses have to suck, other than they’re run by city transportation agencies (government). The managers are more interested in securing public funding than they are in providing good service, so of course there’s no interest in attracting riders. In fact the last thing they want is more riders, because that would mean they’d need to do more work.

    But yea, Airbus is a horrible name. Says a lot about the European mind. Interesting that the Italian arm of Airbus makes really cool looking hellicopters. If only they’d get the French and Germans out of the design studio and let the Italians have a shot…

    • >it’s the “public transportation” that’s a problem.
      I agree.
      Some years back, I took Amtrak from Riverside, CA to Albuquerque for my Mom’s 90th birthday celebration. Being a cheapskate, I purchased the cheapest ticket, which meant sitting upright in a chair overnight.

      Never again will I do this, for two reasons. First is that I did not sleep well, arrived at destination exhausted and cranky. Second, although most of the passengers were unremarkable and well behaved, there were two extremely boorish individuals who got obnoxiously drunk, to the point the conductor threatened to put them off the train.

      I did have a pleasant conversation with complete strangers over breakfast in the dining car, whilst taking in the wonderful scenery.

      Lesson: pay for a *private* sleeping compartment. At that level of accommodation, I would have no problem taking Amtrak again, assuming it goes where I want to go. That is itself problematic. U.S. put its money into air travel and interstate highways, while railways fell by the wayside, which means the U. S. rail system really sucks, compared to some other parts of the world.

      While China, Japan, and France routinely build high speed rail, the sole U.S. attempt, in California, is a total clusterfuck. It doesn’t have to be this way, but that is the way it is, due to bureaucratic stupidity. China even has maglevs, due first to Siemens, then to Chinese copying of the German design.

      Hell, U.S. bureaucrats can’t even get *local* rail service right. I live in western Riverside County, and it is *NOT* possible to get to *any* airport via Metrorail, where “any” includes LAX, SNA and ONT. Go figure.

      • I took Amtrak between Glenwood Springs and Fraser CO when I moved to Aspen. This is one of the most scenic sections of the rail network, going through Genwood, Gore and Beyers canyons. After an hour and a half delay, we were underway. The entire trip the conductor(?) made loud, close-mic announcements in the PA. Everything from dinner reservation deadlines to announcing one of the crew member’s retirement, just constant chatter. Really made it difficult to enjoy the trip. Seat was comfortable though.

        • RK –
          Still on my bucket list is ride on at least one of the two steam trains in northern NM/southern CO (Cumbres & Toltec, Durango & Silverton), maybe even a ride pulled by the restored AT&SF 2926 along the AT&SF right of way.

          When I was a boy growing up in Albuquerque (1960s), the wooden trestle out of the coal mine at Madrid was still up, though the mine shut down when AT&SF converted to diesel in the early 1950s. Oscar Huber, who owned the entire (nearly ghost) town of Madrid at that time, lived on Ridgecrest Drive in SE Albuquerque. His yard was a riot of flowers, because he had lost, and somehow regained, his sight, and wished to celebrate that.

          • Hi Adi,

            The train from Durango to Silverton is awesome. If you go, take the first one so you can spend part of the day in the town. Its worth the hike up to the light of Jesus of the mines shrine. Really tranquil and inspiring once you catch your breath.

            If you ever get to N Az, the Verde Valley has a decent narrow gauge from Clarkdale to Perkinsville ranch, much nicer than the Grand Canyon Railway IMO. And like you said its worth the upgrade to get on the nicest car you can.

            We had planned on taking the train through the Canadian rockies until all this recent unpleasantness. Hopefully some day Canada will once again be accessible to purebloods

      • Hi Adi,
        I’ve taken two cross country trips on Amtrak, one Boston to Seattle and the other Boston to San Francisco (actually Emeryville). Had a private sleeping compartment and it’s like a mobile hotel room and a great way to see the country. First leg goes Boston-Chicago and then to the west coast. Lots of great stuff you wouldn’t see from a road trip; it goes through the gigantic US Steel works in Gary Indiana which is mostly a ghost town now, a sad reminder of how far the USSA has fallen.
        Also took the Coast Starlight that runs from Seattle to L.A., great scenery along the California coastline.

        • Hi, Mike,
          > Lots of great stuff you wouldn’t see from a road trip
          You got that right.
          Former co-worker (EE degree from Northeastern) quit his job, divorced his wife, basically said “eff it,” spent a week travelling cross country via Amtrak, then another six months hiking around the Sierras, living off cached food and whatever fish he could catch. Ken was really appreciative of his collapsible fishing rod. :). Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, as they say.

          Now, I do not know why I am attracted to this:

          but, I am. 🙂

        • >Coast Starlight that runs from Seattle to L.A.,
          Well, farther south, actually.
          My favorite beach in OC is in south San Clemente, where access to the beach entails crossing the Amtrak rails and clambering down the rocks to the beach, just north of San Clemente State Beach and, farther south, Tricky Dick’s “Casa Pacifica.”

          It is possible to sit in a bar in San Juan Capistrano next to the rail line and watch and listen as the train rolls by. BTDT. 🙂

  14. Great stuff Eric. Makes you think. To me, we, or our brains, should be able to outsmart these AI’s pretty easily. I believe it will become apparent to brain users how-why-when an AI machine will act, and eventually we, brain people, will be able to figure a way how to beat them in the transportation thing. Should be fun. It will happen on the highway, traffic lights, stop signs, traffic jams, etc….
    As for right now, I have to check my mirrors religiously to make sure a tesla isn’t going to smash into my rear while riding my motorcycle. And certainly why it’s much more enjoyable to ride in rural areas vs urban.

  15. “The ‘self-driving’ or ‘autonomous’ car … trip will take exactly as long as the programming allows. There will be no deviation from the established parameters” —

    UNLESS it’s raining hard, or foggy, or snowing, so that the machine can’t “see” where to go. Or if construction or farm equipment or a very strong wind has put dirt or other material on the road to cover the lines. Or unless an empty Walmart bag drifts across the road and the machine slams on the brakes.

    I wonder what choices will be made in regard to the size of the perceived object in the road. Will it be programmed to just run over squirrels, cats, small dogs, porcupines, and raccoons? Will it be programmed to try to stop before hitting medium-to-large dogs and deer, and people? Or will it be programmed to drive OFF the road, perhaps off a cliff, to avoid hitting hitting a moose and other objects perceived as large enough to total the car and occupants?

    Because of these and other issues, I deem it not only impossible to fully implement so-called self-driving vehicles but also another crime by the enemy-controlled government to do so.

    Some commenters will refer to the government and media and corporations as led by “idiots,” etc. Their leaders certainly are not idiots. They obtained power, they exercise power, and they employ every weapon no matter how illegal to retain their power over us. They do sometimes install stupid flunkies in positions, but not in positions of real power. This includes the presidency. Our USA is not the first country in which “they” have done this.

    • good questions JLaffrey. I will add what about motorcycles? Currently, the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) is currently asking these questions, and so far is mostly getting rebuffed by them. They are also asking about the ethanol fuel questions/problems, and also mostly getting rebuffed by the ‘lawmakers’, etc…..
      Challenging times.

  16. It will have the same effect on your velocity as showing Pete Buttigieg… – article

    I usually read your articles while eating breakfast.

    My breakfast velocity went to zero. I know this is the 21st century and all but…..

  17. Exactly Eric,
    I never got the obsession with self-driving cars either; if you really don’t want to drive there are multiple alternatives. Bus, subway, taxi, uber, etc. will get you where you need to while you stare at your sail fawn. I mostly take the subway going into the city because it avoids traffic and I don’t have to hunt for a parking spot where the meter maid (of either sex) is waiting to pounce with a $50 ticket if you go one minute over. Plus traffic is so jammed up around here that it could only make it worse, which is some “solution” in search of no problem.

    • “Parking spot” and “City of Boston” sound like mutually exclusive categories, to me.

      Fond memories of taking the “T” to Park Street to meet my sweetheart for lunch on Boston Common, many years ago. She really did have summer colored skin…

  18. ‘It is why there are car shows but no bus shows.’ — eric

    Ah, but there are. Check out the scintillating offerings at American Public Transit Association’s EXPO next October:


    – Automated transit systems
    – Buses
    – Trolley buses, streetcars, light rail

    Show Floor Destinations:

    Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration: Attendees can take a ride into the future on the latest autonomous vehicles from the leading vehicle providers.

    Sounds like a great destination for a busman’s holiday!


    First recorded in 1893 in the UK. The idea is that a busman, to go off on a holiday, would take an excursion by bus, thereby engaging in a similar activity to his work.

    How do I know about these exclusive bus shows? From meeting a sweet, sophisticated lady at APTA’s headquarters in DeeCee one day. But that’s another story …

  19. “The “self-driving” or “automated” car will always drive precisely as fast as the speed limit allows”
    Or less.
    Busses and trains are exactly where they want us. Which is precisely why the EV push.
    I’ve taken two long bus rides in my life. From here in Missouri to Washington DC, and another to Florida. If one could die of boredom, I would have, twice. Or more.
    And we all know the history of trains being used by tyrants. Which is why they want you disarmed as well. Much easier to load them if the loaders aren’t being shot at.

  20. “But a “self-driving” or “automated” car will not “speed” – ever. That would be against the law and there would be liability for any car so programmed. The “self-driving” or “automated” car will always drive precisely as fast as the speed limit allows”

    Year 2039:
    Self-driving vehicles are mandatory for 2040 models, with mandatory speed limiters on pre-1940 models, to fight climate change.

    The police, having lost the huge income from speeding tickets, now issue citations to drivers who merely give them dirty looks as they drive by. A one finger wave at a policeman is punishable by a mandatory $1,000 fine and 30 days in h jail.

    Veteran auto reviewer Eric “speed demon” Peters, forced to drive a self-driving truck, that will not exceed the speed limit, threatens to move to Cuba, where good old American ICE cars from the 1950s are still being used. (Okay, you can get annoyed at my satire now).

    • Reply to Richard Greene:

      The way things are going 2025 might be more accurate. In other future news Eric “Chicken Man” Peters was sentenced in early 2027 to the Alaskan Gulag for a term of no less than 15 years for unlawful possession of a flock of unlicensed Rhode Island Red chickens . Federal Court Judge Pete Buttigieg stated “People should just learn to love eating bugs”.

      A sad future may await us.

      • Sort of like a person with a natural poker-face? In real-life, ya can’t tell if a person with a poker-face is kidding around with you & joking, or if they are dead serious. Or, where the two meet.

        • Since I began studying climate science in 1997, I have tested my many leftist (unfortunately) friends climate science knowledge by inventing climate factoids following the words: “Scientists say”. They almost always believe me.

          I convinced an MIT computer engineering graduate friend that climate change would end life as we know it in 48.75 years if nothing was done. He agreed. He knows nothing about climate science, but thinks he does.

          My next door neighbor drives a Prius with the Michigan license plate “Oils Gone’ (lucky me). Wrote his Masters Degree thesis on solar panels for homes and has one on his roof. He had no idea how often greenhouse owners add CO2 inside their greenhouses to accelerate plant growth. The good news from More CO2 in the atmosphere!

          These people are graduate degree people with six figure incomes.
          One is a multi-millionaire.
          They are nice people but they believe EVERYTHING the government tells them.
          Typical leftists.

          • An undergraduate classmate of mine was easily convinced by another classmate that there was an automobile called Cninga Su Madre 500. Nuff said. 🙂

            >He knows nothing about climate science, but thinks he does.
            Of course. EE grads think they know everything. Wrong-o.

      • I sit more than I stand these days
        I have ave been a libertarian since 1973
        I agree with almost everything Peters says and only read his auto reviews because most others seem like cheerleading for the auto industry.
        He still goes berserk when I disagree with anything he says.
        I try to correct conservatives and libertarians when they sometimes make false claims before the leftist fact checkers get them. I have three blogs to fact check the leftists, who rarely make correct claims, from climate change to Covid.

        I voted for Trump in 2020
        I think Jumpin Joe Biden is a crook, and obviously not all there
        And I will never get vaxxed for Covid because I value my health.
        My three blogs feature almost 100% links to conservative articles.
        Because leftists are born liars.

        My wife of 45 years compares my humor to famous comedian Rodney Dangerfield, and my drumming (hobby) to Ginger Baker, formerly of the band Cream:
        She often says:
        “You look like Rodney Dangerfield”
        and she also says:
        “I heard Ginger Baker playing live in the 1960s — you’re no Ginger Baker”
        Nice to have a wife with a sense of humor.

        I also tell lame jokes when not getting Peters all riled up.


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