Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Friday, September 22, 2006

Redefining success

Every once in a while, Ken Avidor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist likes to engage in a hearty round of self-congratulatory back-patting. Now is one of those times.

Let's reflect for a moment on the inputs that led to this egotistical output. What are the dependent variables of his anti-technology crusade?

  • He urges Democrats to support light rail; he attacks Resmuglicans for not supporting light rail; he then acts as though no one else could predict Ds and Rs would take those positions.
  • He conflates a public policy choice to adopt existing technology in the short term with with the viability of a developing technology in the medium term or long term. When it comes to major public works, the public sector tends to prefer dominant paradigms almost by default--but he claims victory anyway.
  • He attacks third and minor-party candidates for supporting PRT; he then claims those low-polling candidates lost because of PRT.
  • To low-polling candidates who normally don't attract much attention, his flurry of attacks on a single issue takes on the appearance of great importance. They scramble to adjust their PRT stance (because that's politics), and give Ken more influence than he deserves (giving him the benefit of the doubt because they don't know his anti-technology campaign is an obsession).
In other words, he sets really easy hurdles for himself, then struts around crowing when they come to pass.

I would like to propose an alternative method for evaluating Ken Avidor's effectiveness. It's quite simple: How many active PRT programs exist today, compared with when he started his systematic attacks on personal rapid transit and its supporters?

Then: Three programs (Taxi 2000, ULTra, Skytran)

Today: Ten programs--
ULTra-European Union-BAA
POSCO Vectus-Uppsala University
Skyweb (Taxi 2000)
Skycab-Swedish Rail Agency-city of Hofors
Korean Railroad Research Institute
EcoTaxi APGM-Techvilla
Unimodal (Skytran)

Congratulations, Kendoll. You're so effective.



A Transportation Enthusiast said...
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A Transportation Enthusiast said...

Some other recent Avidor predictions that came true:

- January, 2006: "Spring will follow winter this year"

- Feb. 4, 2006: "The winner of Super Bowl XL will be either Pittsburgh or Seattle"

- July, 2006: "Sean Penn will NOT attend a Bush fundraiser this month."

- every evening for the last 3 years: "The sun will rise tomorrow morning."

This guy's clairvoyant!

Mr_Grant said...

Overpour's "Whatever" retort in Comments has got to be the most compact unintentional admission of defeat, ever! Is he a Valley Girl now?