The Mental World of Joseph Biden–Technology Department

 

Here’s President Biden, in his ‘infrastructure’ speech, talking about the future of transportation:

I tell the kids…they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.

21,000 mph is about Mach 28, or 28 times the speed of sound. No aircraft goes this fast today, and that includes high-performance military and experimental aircraft.  Air resistance–which increases with the square of airspeed–limits the highest practical speeds for atmosphere-inhabiting, air-breathing vehicles.  If you want to go Mach 28, you need not an airplane but a spaceship.  It would certainly be possible to provide intercontinental rocket-based passenger service–Elon Musk has been talking about something of the kind–but there are serious problems, including the acceptability of the G-forces to passengers, and such a service would surely be very expensive, not something for the mass market.  And, very significantly, such vehicles would be completely incompatible with Biden’s hostility toward fossil fuels.

And from the same speech:

Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas, or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane.

Even if we assume he is talking about today’s planes, rather than the hypersonic vehicles projected above–there is still that problem of air resistance, which is a lot higher at ground level than at 30,000 feet.  Maybe you could get trains up to 500 mph, but the energy consumption would be vast. And there are other problems: the radius of curvature of any non-straight segments of track would be have to be very, very high.  And stops would have to be widely-spaced and infrequent; otherwise, you lose much of the benefit of the potential benefit of the higher speed.

The only practical way to achieve ground-level speeds in the 500 mph range is probably to operate the vehicles inside an evacuated tunnel, as (again) Elon Musk has proposed. Construction costs would be very high, switching is more difficult than for conventional rail, and there are still the problems of curves and stops.  There may be some opportunities for such a technology between certain city-pairs, or to connect multiple cities within a region, but a national Musk-style network seems improbable.

I’m remembering something that Biden said in early 2020:

Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well… Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake!

No one who has ever managed people in a skill-diverse environment would glibly assert that anyone with Skill A can easily master Skill B…in reality, plenty of miners either couldn’t learn to program at a commercial level, or wouldn’t want to—just as many programmers couldn’t or wouldn’t want to do coal mining.  But the truly bizarre part of that Biden statement is the assumption that there are a significant number of people in America who are paid to throw coal into furnaces.  Actually, Joe, automatic stokers had been invented and were in common use before you were born.  I doubt if there was much manual stoking going on by 1940, except on steamships…and coal as a fuel for ships was rapidly on its way out by that point, as it was being displaced by oil.

Biden, whose understandings of the energy world and the computer world seem equally flawed (and equally arrogant), is the individual who was Obama’s point man on his ‘jobs of the future’ initiative.

In the speech, Biden pats himself on the back for having brought Scientists back into the White House. (He doesn’t mention engineers, who would seem at least equally relevant in an infrastructure context.)  But it doesn’t do much good to have scientific and technology experts on hand if the decision-maker lacks that background and judgment to ask intelligent questions and to evaluate contending courses of action.

Biden has never spent any significant time working outside the political sphere; he has never had to run projects or businesses where he would have to be concerned with what works–only with what sounds good.  He is a quintessential word-person, as were Obama and Woodrow Wilson–although at a considerably lower level of eloquence than either of these men.

See also my earlier posts: Shovel That Code!, Learn to Code–Still a Dem Thing, King of the Word People, and Minds of the Word People.  

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    • #1
  2. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Biden is an empty vessel, a bobble head

     

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    • #3
  4. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    Arahant, you’re just so mean.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    Arahant, you’re just so mean.

    I try, Kent, I try.

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    It’s part of his “Build Back Better” plan – except it’s not his plan – it’s the WEF’s plan – The Great Reset. He’s one of their puppets.

    • #6
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    Yet there are a lot of programmers who are very much on the Dem/Prog side.  I was unfriended by a high-level computer science guy not too long ago, apparently for political deviationism.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    Yet there are a lot of programmers who are very much on the Dem/Prog side. I was unfriended by a high-level computer science guy not too long ago, apparently for political deviationism.

    Understood. And many of the big tech titans certainly are on the Progressive side. Sometimes it comes down to fundamental beliefs (usually about human nature), and theirs are misguided.

    • #8
  9. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    David Foster: travel 21,000 miles an hour. 

    That is about 80% of earth’s escape velocity.   I hope Joe’s passengers are all Mercury 7 healthy, because that is going to be one hell of ride.

    I don’t think there is a market for supersonic passenger flight.   People are cheap and they are not going to pay 10X to save a few hours on flight to Europe.   The Concord stopped flying, because they ran out of customers.

    Self-driving cars are the future.  We should invest in making roads friendly to self-driving cars.  Trains are a great 19th century solution.

    • #9
  10. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    David Foster: travel 21,000 miles an hour.

    That is about 80% of earth’s escape velocity. I hope Joe’s passengers are all Mercury 7 healthy, because that is going to be one hell of ride.

    I don’t think there is a market for supersonic passenger flight. People are cheap and they are not going to pay 10X to save a few hours on flight to Europe. The Concord stopped flying, because they ran out of customers.

    Self-driving cars are the future. We should invest in making roads friendly to self-driving cars. Trains are a great 19th century solution.

    You’re obviously not Italian – or a car enthusiast :-) (neither am I, but I’d rather have control over where I go and when)……

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    A problem with know-nothings like Joe Biden in positions of power is that they cause resources to be diverted away from real potential solutions in favor of ridiculousness.  People who have real and useful ideas end up wasting time and effort chasing nutty ideas that flash through the empty space behind a politician’s mouth. 

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Understanding computers and how to code them takes something called logic, which precludes Joe and most Democrats from ever really understanding.

    I would argue that the details of the logic involved, precludes MOST people from really understanding.  At least to the degree needed to accomplish many of the things that people want technology to do for them.

    People think that getting a robot to fetch them a beer from the fridge is just “get beer” but if they stopped to really think about it – if they even really could – there are thousands/millions of steps involved, most of which are “automatic” for people such as “not falling over while standing up” etc.  And each of THOSE actually involves thousands if not millions of details, too!

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    A problem with know-nothings like Joe Biden in positions of power is that they cause resources to be diverted away from real potential solutions in favor of ridiculousness. People who have real and useful ideas end up wasting time and effort chasing nutty ideas that flash through the empty space behind a politician’s mouth.

    Beautiful phrasing.

    • #13
  14. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Trains are very important for the hauling of freight, and the US freight rail industry is in pretty good shape.  Liberals and ‘progressives’ though, seem very un-interested in this side of the industry

    See Big Prestige Projects and the Obama Way.

    • #14
  15. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment): A problem with know-nothings like Joe Biden in positions of power is that they cause resources to be diverted away from real potential solutions in favor of ridiculousness. People who have real and useful ideas end up wasting time and effort chasing nutty ideas that flash through the empty space behind a politician’s mouth.

    I don’t know how you got past security but I want you to stay out of my office / cubicle farm. Next year’s budget depends on it…

    • #15
  16. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    A problem with know-nothings like Joe Biden in positions of power is that they cause resources to be diverted away from real potential solutions in favor of ridiculousness. People who have real and useful ideas end up wasting time and effort chasing nutty ideas that flash through the empty space behind a politician’s mouth.

    This was exactly Bjorn Lomborg’s point in his interview with Peter Robinson – I think it was an Uncommon Knowledge episode last year. Regarding Globing Warming climate change he made the point that there were actually things that could be done but Biden would not do any of them and just waste money in the process.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Trains are very important for the hauling of freight, and the US freight rail industry is in pretty good shape. Liberals and ‘progressives’ though, seem very un-interested in this side of the industry

    See Big Prestige Projects and the Obama Way.

    The problem, of course, is that rail – especially freight rail – is powered by OIL.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    A problem with know-nothings like Joe Biden in positions of power is that they cause resources to be diverted away from real potential solutions in favor of ridiculousness. People who have real and useful ideas end up wasting time and effort chasing nutty ideas that flash through the empty space behind a politician’s mouth.

    This was exactly Bjorn Lomborg’s point in his interview with Peter Robinson – I think it was an Uncommon Knowledge episode last year. Regarding Globing Warming climate change he made the point that there were actually things that could be done but Biden would not do any of them and just waste money in the process.

    Which wouldn’t even be a problem, really, if he was only wasting HIS OWN money.

    • #18
  19. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    How soon you forget- this technology stuff is difficult for the Dems. Remember John Podesta? A chief of staff for Bill “I did not have sex with that women” Clinton and consigliere to the Hillary. He claimed the Russians hacked his email. When it was revealed his password was “p@ssword” it became clear that any 10 year old could have hacked his account. If it took the FSB more than 10 seconds to hack his account I can promise you Putin would’ve had most of them shot, their houses burned and their dogs killed. If their wives were cute he would’ve let them live..

    • #19
  20. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The problem, of course, is that rail – especially freight rail – is powered by OIL.

    Freight rail *can* of course be powered electrically, and there were some railroads the implemented this approach on segments of their routes, back in the 1920s.  Big advantage if there are heavy grades is that you can use dynamic braking when descending and return the power to the line for use by other trains, or even to sell back to the power company.  But the capital cost is very high.

    I can easily imagine Biden proposing a major national project for freight rail electrification, advertising it as powered by clean wind/solar instead of smelly diesel, while never asking or answering the question of how long you can run the trains when there is no sun and little wind.

    Related article at Railway Age.

     

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The problem, of course, is that rail – especially freight rail – is powered by OIL.

    Freight rail *can* of course be powered electrically, and there were some railroads the implemented this approach on segments of their routes, back in the 1920s. Big advantage if there are heavy grades is that you can use dynamic braking when descending and return the power to the line for use by other trains, or even to sell back to the power company. But the capital cost is very high.

    I can easily imagine Biden proposing a major national project for freight rail electrification, advertising it as powered by clean wind/solar instead of smelly diesel, while never asking or answering the question of how long you can run the trains when there is no sun and little wind.

    Related article at Railway Age.

     

    Biden and the Dims evidently think it’s a good idea for much of Europe to depend on Russia for their energy (especially natural gas) so maybe the next step is for us to depend on Russia too.

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I fear we are in for an age of Lysenkoist engineering…Trofim Lysenko of course being the Russian agriculturalist who propounded bizarre theories of plant genetics (or rather, non-genetics), with Stalin’s full support.  One of the attractions of this approach to the Soviet leadership was its claimed consistency with the Marxist world view.  

    I expect there are many hustlers looking for ways to cash in on Biden’s energy and transportation programs.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    I fear we are in for an age of Lysenkoist engineering…Trofim Lysenko of course being the Russian agriculturalist who propounded bizarre theories of plant genetics (or rather, non-genetics), with Stalin’s full support. One of the attractions of this approach to the Soviet leadership was its claimed consistency with the Marxist world view.

    I expect there are many hustlers looking for ways to cash in on Biden’s energy and transportation programs.

    Well for sure, Putin and the Mullahs are doing so already.

    • #23
  24. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Trust the science….fiction.

    • #24
  25. dukenaltum Coolidge
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    The idea that Government can both predict, design, and plan the future is just so charming and quaint.  Very 19th Century.

    It is like we never experienced a year of a Government run health care economy and twenty-five years of the Climate Change Apocalypse.

    • #25
  26. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Until Politifact says he’s wrong, I think it would be safest to just believe Joe.

    • #26
  27. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Self-driving cars are the future. We should invest in making roads friendly to self-driving cars. Trains are a great 19th century solution.

    You’re obviously not Italian – or a car enthusiast :-) (neither am I, but I’d rather have control over where I go and when)……

    I understand driving is fun–I am from Detroit–but in 20 years most people will be using an Uber-like service with self-driving cars.  Automotive manufacturers will become transportation companies. 

    • #27
  28. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    Automotive manufacturers will become transportation companies.

    But manufacturers of large aircraft haven’t become airline companies, they just sell their products to the airlines.  Why wouldn’t the same model apply with automobiles?

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    Automotive manufacturers will become transportation companies.

    But manufacturers of large aircraft haven’t become airline companies, they just sell their products to the airlines. Why wouldn’t the same model apply with automobiles?

    There would have to be some more or less centralized infrastructure as with air traffic control etc, which is government-based.  Self-driving cars would require infrastructure over much larger areas – not just airports, etc – and I wouldn’t be surprised if big companies like GM undertake that rather than government.

    • #29
  30. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Maybe I can get a job shoveling coal in one of those Mach 28 passenger jets!

    • #30