Thursday, January 12, 2012

Iranian sabre rattling: Good reason to have a bike ready to go down Trinity Drive

'''Economic miscalculation. In Tuchman's view, both European intellectuals and leaders overestimated the power of free trade. These individuals believed that the interconnection of European nations due to this trade would stop a continent-wide war from breaking out, as the economic consequences would be too great. However, this assumption was incorrect. For example, Tuchman noted that Moltke, when warned of such consequences, refused to even consider them in his plans, arguing he was a "soldier," not an "economist."
--Wikipedia review of Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August

U.S. Sends Top Iranian Leader a Warning on Strait Threat
I'm neither an historian nor economist. Just a blogger and geoscientist.  I do read the newspapers and occasional book. So here is to the joys of successful diplomacy carrying the day. What do you suppose will happen to the price of oil, or our chances to reduce defense spending, if a supertanker is hit by an Iranian cruise missile or mine launched by a mid level loose cannon in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? While it might be the equivalent of the Ayatollahs shooting themselves in the foot, how often has bad calculation started a war (i.e., Guns of August)? 

Meanwhile, maybe its time to get that bike dusted off from the back of the garage, make sure the tires are not dry rotted, and have it ready to go. You can go a long way on a gallon of Canola Oil and a couple sacks of beans and rice. Or, whatever your choice of protein and carb happens to be.

 On a related subject, we continue to debate how many cars we can stuff onto Trinity Drive without completely blowing off our complete streets guidelines. Indeed, much of the debate at the Transportation Board hearing last night kept circling back to whether the various options would carry current and 20-yr projected peak commuter traffic loads at an acceptable Level of Service (D or better). I wondered aloud two things, for the public record. One, whether anyone could predict future growth in Los Alamos or justify the extremely rosy 1% per year growth rates being tossed about. UNM, according to one citizen testifying, suggests 0.3% per year. Pat Max reminded us that a few decades ago, some were estimating we would have 30,000 people here today. We actually lost 2% of our population in the last ten years. My other question was whether anyone could predict whether we would be moving around in 20 years in single occupant cars, once we finish steaming the bitumen out of those Alberta tar sands. Methinks we are thinking inside the box. Or should I say inside the cage?

We need to keep our options open, but we would be wasting tax dollars to overbuild now. Keep the right of way intact. Leave the acres of excess asphalt till later. Make sure Mom can ride her bike to the Co-Op and back without rising blood pressure and adrenaline poisoning. As Victor Gavron alluded, we may some day be doing much of our commuting over fibre optics lines--or not. The crystal ball is notoriously foggy.
A fifth of the world's oil goes through the six mile wide shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz-NY Times


Jimbo said...

Nic post, Khal, and timely considering the hullaballoo coming up about the Trinity Site Revitalization Project. Stay tuned.....

Alex said...

All so unsettling. I went car-free when Katrina hit New Orleans and gas prices sky-rocketed. Now I have a folding bike, and while I'll occasionally put it in a friend's trunk if they're giving me a ride somewhere, most of the time, I can either ride or take it on public transit.

Steve A said...

One future myth I am contemplating writing about is that you can infrastructure yourself into automotive utopia any more than you can infrastructure yourself into cycling utopia. Bigger roads beget more traffic and more sprawl. Be careful or you'll turn into Dallas!