Assorted links

by on January 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Ashok Rao January 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

The biggest and most inane hurdle is this whole “security” fiasco. The security, understandably, doesn’t exist to protect the lives of the passengers but the chance that some crazy fundamentalists would, oh I don’t know, hijack the plane and crash it into a monument. Otherwise, if its was the life of the passengers themselves that mattered, rail and boat travel would also be a huge security mumbo-jumbo.

The fix for this is to give the United States Air Force remote override capacity to blow-up the plane or control it for all flights over USA airspace. In case any terrorist threat is reported, the Pentagon can cut our losses and run.

Therefore, it’s hard to believe any sensible reason why LAX needs any more security than Union Station. Sure check for guns or whatever. Not powder in my shoes.

If all this is done, the airport experience can become a pleasure again. And we can start planning to come to the airport thirty minutes and not three hours before departure.

2 prior_approval January 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

‘The security, understandably, doesn’t exist to protect the lives of the passengers…’ but that of expensive airliner and the fragile reputation of the airline.

The funny thing is, the security started back decades ago, when bombing planes became a preferred method of gaining notice for various struggles – Sikh (1985), Palestinean/anti-Israel (numerous attempts), exile Cubans (1976), not to mention state sponsored bombings, like that of a plane from a now defunct airline over a certain part of Scotland.

It was very noticeable by the first Iraq War more than 20 years ago, with the X-raying of all luggage becoming standard at an airport like Dulles.

3 Ashok Rao January 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

Call me naive but I think the lost functionality, time and, yeah, elegance that results from security that does not make us more secure outweighs the risk of an attack.

It’s understandably hard to count attacks that didn’t happen and analyze the counterfactual. That said, I don’t think full-body scanners prevent all that much.

I’d rather place an armed marshal on each plane than all the nonsense we go through, and god knows that is cheaper.

4 babar January 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Xian’s Famous Foods is ok. Hot Kitchen is close by to it and much better.

5 libert January 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

4. According to that data, Ireland is currently on the gold standard. See cell AI218 of sheet “Gold” of the following file:

This has me worried about the quality of the data underlying R&R’s analysis.

6 Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

That’s weird, but it’s also fairly clearly a one-off entry error, since all the other Gold Standard years are highlighted, and everything nearby is a zero. They put together a lot of data and it would be odd if there wasn’t a single mistake.

7 libert January 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I hope you’re right. What has me worried is the fact that this is the very first spreadsheet I opened and the very first thing I checked.

8 TV January 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Yes, let’s hope this is the case, b/c without the data Reinhart/Rogoff is worthless.

Is that book the worst read of the century so far?

9 Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Does anyone have a cleaned/merged version of the R&R data on inflation and/or debt?

10 Mr. Econotarian January 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Yelp reports that Romera is closed:

11 anon January 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

2. Air Genius Gary Leff on Seth Godin and airports.

Too easy – Seth Godin is a whiner.

12 ibaien January 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Romera went tits up last year. Xi’an Famous Foods has been franchised into bourgeois oblivion by the owner’s hipster son. Perhaps you should stick to your own beat when it comes to restaurants. I hear a couple of ex-Naxalites have opened a place in Herndon with a three-item menu and no bathroom…

13 Bill Reeves January 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm

1. The pharmacy study finding equality among pharmacists misses the whole point: 50 years ago retail pharmacy was a skilled profession requiring expertise to prepare and compound drugs. Lacking extensive databases, they also actively advised and in some cases substituted for physicians. Today with detailed FDA and DEA regulation, all drugs that go through retail pharmacies are pre formulated and often prepackaged or dispensed by robot and only at a (usually male) physicians direction. The role of the pharmacist is now a clerical one – making sure that the script is accurate, that reimbursement is made and that the paperwork is clean. It is not surprising, then that women and men’s pay have equalized as in other clerical roles.

14 Cliff January 29, 2013 at 1:43 am

You mean, as in every role?

15 Ed January 29, 2013 at 3:35 am

On the airports article, I’ve often wondered what it would be like if airports were like nineteenth century seaports, integrated into the city and a somewhat dangerous place with bars, brothels, and all sorts of activity (good and bad). If thought of in those terms, it might be possible to make airports more interesting and enjoyable places for passengers and no you don’t have to replicate the entire nineteenth century seaport experience. Anyway there are three reasons for the difference:

1. Late twentieth century/ early twentieth first century people are wusses (otherwise airport brothels would be doing a brisk business).

2. The security. You can’t go to a good airport restaurant, bar, or shop just to hang out and then return home, at least not without alot of hassle.

3. The need for airports to be located far from city centers because of land/ noise issues.

So it would seem that the keys to making airports better places would be to focus on addressing #2 and #3. For # 3, it would be a combination of faster, more frequent, and cheaper (meaning heavily subsidized) transport links to the city center, plus you could develop the area near the airport as a sort of satellite city center in its own right (New York state is trying to put a convention center and a casino near JFK).

For #2, actually there is something the airport authority can do, even assuming no changes in Homeland Security/ TSA procedures. They could invest in increasing the capacity of the security screening. Imagine if on arrival at the airport people went to a large hall, specially designed as the security checkpoint, filled with nothing but security checkpoints, so at least the lines would be short. After that passengers went to their separate terminals. Also, what is the rationale for needing to show the ticket to get into the terminal, as opposed to just on the plane itself? I do agree with critics of much of the TSA/ Homeland Security approach, eg measures such as hardened cockpit doors were a more effective and less obtrusive way to deal with the issue.

Only briefly mentioned in the article is that many airports are patronage sinks and/ or mafia havens, and that is a big part of the reason they are crappy places as far as passengers are concerned.

16 Now a Mormon Transhumanist January 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

I have not met other Mormon transhumanists…glad to see there are more out there!

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