February 21, 2013

From reader comments

The real problem with race: it doesn't exist

Would you also propose doing away with the term race or sub-species in other species? In fact, what about the term species itself? Even then you have unclear or fuzzy boundaries. As Jerry Coyne notes, in evolutionary biology, races of animals (also called “subspecies” or “ecotypes”) are morphologically distinguishable populations that live in allopatry (i.e. are geographically separated). And, as we all know, there are morphologically different groups of people who live in different areas, though those differences are blurring due to recent innovations in transportation that have led to more admixture between human groups. Also, self identified ethnicity matches genetic clusters almost perfectly.

Yellow traffic lights

I've been grousing for years that DC's yellow lights are too long, not too short. Everybody knows they're yellow for at least 4 seconds, and so step on it to run the light. In cities where yellow light are two seconds, most people stop when they see it; knowing they don't have time to run it.

Howard Dean

The last national liberal Democratic leader to make some sense on this subject was Howard Dean, which isn’t surprising since he was the last liberal Democratic leader who knew how to reach out to all Americans and not just stay in the liberal cocoon. Sam, are you starting to go politically senile? Dean is and was a Republican in a Dem suit - a DLC opportunist from the marrow out. Look at his record in Vermont, fachrissake. Don't you remember him shucking and jiving in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, trying to figure out what stance to take for the biggest gain to him? He should have cringed every time he saw the playback - but I bet he didn't.

How high speed trains will hurt freight rail 

The current rails and roadbeds are inadequate for hi-speed rail. So there must be new roadbeds and rails laid. Given that high-speed curves must be larger in radius and banked more sharply to deal with the centrifugal force, I wonder how much even of the existing right-of-way can be re-used. If the amount is small, as I suppose, then a new web would have to be created, leaving the existing web to be used for freight. I'd expect the new hi-speed rail service to include freight cars that replace air-freight for within-continent carriage. It seems somewhat obvious to me that we'll need to revive the interurban railways, too.

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