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

Friday, December 28, 2007

A headline that would mean something...

...if I were ever a member of CPRT or supporter of Slappy Olson:

‘The CPRT's David Gow Calls Rep. Mark Olson a "Certifiable Wacko"’

In the interest of accuracy (I'm all about the accuracy) I should point out that the full context is "He seems to be... a certifiable wacko." Nor am I a member of CPRT -- Kenthorpe knows this. Nor can anything be found showing that I ever supported Slappy -- because I don't support Resmuglicans.

Readers are invited to speculate why Captain Whatever thinks this is worth blogging about, while it's OK for him to call PRT supporters wacky, loony, cultish, unhinged, nutcases, deluded, fanatics, etc.

Or imply a PRT official's company was responsible for train accident deaths.

And where did this tiresome thrown under the bus cliché first start? Because it's transit bashing.

Also today: When he types "whatever" and clicks Post, do you think he rolls his eyes, and does the neck thrust with talk-to-the-hand gesture?

Welcome to the Hotel Ken Avidor; check in but you can never leave

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Christmas is Bogus - Dump Santa," advises skeptic

A Minnesota anti-holiday activist and skeptic of childlike wonder today issued a warning about the annual 'Christmas' holiday. Ben Bloviador of Minneapolis says that the winter holiday and its iconographic spokesperson, 'Santa Claus,' is a stalking horse for the retail industry and the Republican Party.

Conservative connections

"Basically, Santa Claus is a stalking horse for the retail industry and the Republican Party," said Bloviador.

"All you have to do is look at the symbology. Santa is dressed mostly in red, the color of the right wing. A real progressive would be dressed in blue," Bloviador said.

Bloviador's most compelling evidence is that Santa's red suit with white trim are the same colors as Target Stores, the Minnesota-based retail chain. "I have video taken in a local Target, of Republican state representative Mark Olson doing his Christmas shopping -- including items for a 'care package' for imprisoned former city councilman Dean Zimmermann."

"I don't think you need any more evidence than that to prove what a silly, bogus holiday Christmas is," said Bloviador.


Bloviador said that Santa's transport, a sleigh, is unproven and infeasible technology. "We're supposed to believe an open sleigh can travel the entire world in one night?" he asked. The purpose, he said, was to create the illusion that Christmas is eco-friendly. "Look at all the green," said Bloviador, "Green holly, green wreathes, green trees. But a sleigh powered only by reindeer on hay is wacky; it would have to be a hybrid to power all those systems and achieve high speed."

"It removes the idea that sleighs are non-polluting," he said, adding that a real liberal would deliver presents with a light rail train.

A long quest

Bloviador said he first became suspicious of Christmas in 1962. "My family was having a Hannukah dinner, when this Santa Claus came down the chimney, uninvited, and disrupted the evening. He stomped through the house screaming 'Ho, ho, ho,' and ordering us to have a 'Merry Christmas.' He gave me coal," Bloviador recalled.

"That's when I began investigating Christmas, and now I am perhaps the leading skeptic of this bogus right-wing scam."

Peace On Earth and Good Will Even to Ken Avidor

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tick tock

Almost like clockwork, Ben Humidor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist has grasped a straw of apparent hope for his anti-innovation jihad. He's saying ATS Ltd.'s ULTra at Heathrow is delayed:

From the BAA 2005:
On successful completion of all the milestones a year long pilot scheme will be introduced at Heathrow airport in 2008.
From the BBC on Monday:
Heathrow Airport operator BAA said the guided vehicles should be up and running in 2009.
No mention in the article or at the ULtra [sic] site why the project has been delayed a year (of course). Source

Is Kenwood suggesting that no conventional transit project has ever fallen behind schedule? But is this even the case with ULTra? The key is: what does he think "introduce" means? Or "up and running"?

As usual, it's up to me to do his research for him. Two sources with the ULTra project say, first, there is no known schedule change and, second, that ULTra will begin its shakedown in 2008. Public service will be early/mid-2009.

How did I get this information? Unlike the Labridor, I ask people questions. Whereas what he does is guesswork from a distance.

In short -- it's a big project. It's a first; they have set fairly wide target windows for completing the various stages. They don't want it fast, they want it right -- pleasing one Minnesota cartoonist is not the objective. Parsing press articles to divine clues about 'problems' will always bear fruit, because the parser wants them to be there. It's just nitpicking.

What Kiln Ovendoor sounds like is nervous. The first modern Personal Rapid Transit is on its way (new BBC video - Real | WMP; and ITN video @CNN). ATS is poised for growth, with a new CEO with extensive rail industry experience. In Kenthorpe's future could be a hearty meal of crow, with a choice of two sides from a menu that includes complete & utter defeat, abject failure, shame, mockery, and humiliation.

The clock is ticking.

Recently: even proven technology needs testing

Dec. 24 -- Yup. Real nervous: 1, 2, 3 *

* Read our 2004 article Priming The Pump: why innovation doesn't threaten vital services; funding instruments provide a lot of protection against boondoggles (it's not perfect, but it's better than dictatorship-by-cartoonist). Ask yourself why the Propagandist wants Transit to continue to be the only economic sector that doesn't plan for innovation.

BOO! Why so nervous, Ken Avidor?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Witness his sensitivity

The Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist is cutting-and-pasting his usual talking points on the forum at the Ithaca Journal -- the usual stuff, so I won't go into it here. But this excerpt made me look twice:

Imagine that slim guideway packed with pods each filled with standard-sized, 300 lbs [sic] Americans. Imagine the centrifugal force as the pods whipped around a corner at 40 mph. Without bracing, the slim poles would either bend or fall pulling the entire guideway down.

That is why the Raytheon PRT had massive posts and a big pipe for a guideways [sic].


Ignore his made-up claims about structural engineering and Raytheon, and focus instead on this part:

filled with standard-sized, 300 lbs [sic] Americans

This jogged my memory about a graphic he did a few years ago:

What's his freaking problem with large people?

Ken Avidor -- always Klassy with a K

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The worst conspiracy ever

Recently we discussed the reasons why Kentweed the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist might be using conspiracy to advance his anti-innovation jihad. This time we will approach the question from a different angle:

How would a real conspiracy advance its agenda?

To review, what Labridor is alleging is that Personal Rapid Transit is an old, far-reaching conspiracy, stretching back to the 1970s. He claims it is a front, a scam, a stalking horse, for highway construction and automobile interests opposed to light rail -- including the right wing forces of Creationism!

There are some problems with this theory, not the least of which are:
  • Light rail has undergone a revival since the 1970s; in fact, no light rail project has been canceled in favor of personal rapid transit
  • In the 12 years they controlled the U.S. House, the Creationist party did not enact personal rapid transit legislation; nor did the Creationist party include personal rapid transit in its national platforms (on the other hand, the California Democrats' state platform has)
  • No criminal or civil case has ever been filed by a government or transit agency claiming PRT fraud (i.e. a scam)
  • In Minnesota, the Hiawatha light rail line was built and opened during the term of Dean Zimmermann, an ex-city council member and felon, whom Kenwood attacks for supporting PRT; and Zimmermann' s felony was not about PRT (see preceding point)
  • In 21st century Europe, PRT has been adopted as a tool for transport and energy policy by the EU and Sweden, and received regulatory approval from Britain; European PRTs are being built or implemented by major profit-seeking companies
  • PRT has been endorsed by the founder of the Congress for New Urbanism, and is being included by Foster+Partners (architect Norman Foster) in the plan for the world's first zero-waste city; that city, Masdar, will pair PRT with a light rail line!
And so on. Some conspiracy, right?

But whatever a conspiracy did, the conspirators would not create informational profiles about themselves on a public and wide-open professional networking website, describing their support of PRT in black and white, and then create links to each others' profiles.

That would make things so easy for any truthseeking conspiracy theorist. Even a stupid one.

Also: Definition of "a stupid one" -- one who links to one of his own blog posts, where the best things about it are the Comments!
And: Google sponsors the Advanced Transit Association! Google owns Blogger; Humidor blogs on Blogger --why is Humidor supporting Michele Bachmann???

Ken Avidor is a grassy knoll

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another Talking Point cut down

Kenmore Humidor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist is fond of repeating (and repeating and repeating and repeating) to people that PRT would:

...cut down half the trees on their block for an elevated structure with a clear view into their bedroom window.

And yet here is the big 1970s-era PRT guideway in Morgantown, West Virginia-- AND A TREE!

And what's this on the left in this photo? Could that be -- a dogwood?

Photo: Ralf Brown (PBase)
More trees!
Photo: Ralf Brown (PBase)

I will allow, however, that those could be bedroom windows across the street. But of all the WVU student complaints Ovendoor lists about the PRT, none of them are about voyeurism. So it's too late to claim that now. Finally, another big PRT guideway--Raytheon's PRT 2000: Trees!

Yet more trees!

Remember though, this design is not being installed anywhere; guideways like Taxi 2000, ULTra and Vectus are smaller (despite any superficial resemblance). This exercise merely shows that trees and PRT guideways are not incompatible -- even big guideways.

Ken Avidor and his blue ox, babe