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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Ejection Seat

For a while, a dismissive "Whatever" was Ken Avidor's escape hatch of choice whenever the debate got to much for him. The following Incident List was originally in the sidebar, it is retained below for future reference. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

There he goes

It's December 24 everyone, and legend has it that tonight at midnight the animals will be able to talk!

I'm going to be listening. And what I hear will probably be more intelligible than the latest PRT Moondoggie post by Ken Avidor.

In his latest anti-PRTeabagging epistle (and check out the seasonal URL!), Ken appears to simply be attempting an ol' drive-by ricochet three-fer:

1. Ken snips a six year old item to 'question the association' of Taxi 2000 with one Loren Jennings. It shows Ken is really interested in perpetrators of fraud, since Jennings was convicted of fraud (mail, and money laundering) and Avidor personally knows Mark Knapp, a fellow PRT-hater who happens to be a federal fugitive wanted for identity theft.

2. Avidor returns to the subject of Cabintaxi and Ed Anderson. Back in the '70s a conman named Ryan had tried to defraud the German PRT company and Atlantic City interests. This is an old smear, with Ken headlining a 2006 post "Ed Anderson's Atlantic City Casino Con Job." This despite it being clear Anderson, then a Cabintaxi employee, was one of Ryan's victims, not his partner.

3. Ken Avidor's final tangent this time is another return to the past -- posting two pages from the lawsuit filed by Taxi 2000 Corp. against Anderson after he departed as that company's CEO. It's all out of context -- and irrelevant, because the suit was settled four years and four days ago.

Gee, what would Mark Knapp think of this post by his ex-friend and blog co-author?

Also today: Keep track of how many hits Google finds for "Ken Avidor" "Mark Knapp"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here we go

Gee, I wonder (don't you?) what federal fugitive and PRT-hater Mark Knapp thinks about his ex-friend Ken Avidor's latest post about personal rapid transit, Winona (Minnesota) and Dr. Vukan Vuchic?

A guy like Knapp, smart enough to allegedly steal other people's identities, might have thought: Why would Ken have put the Michael Setty white paper in the same class as two that have been debunked (1, 2)?

He might also have thought: But Vuchic has never done a detailed analysis of PRT, and hasn't had an original thought about PRT in what -- a decade?

I bet Knapp would also ask Ken Avidor what he meant by:

"Polish PRT?"

Ken Avidor (@Daily Kos)
read the PRTJJ coverage


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The One-Armed Man

Or, "How Does It Feel?"
Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Now that Ken Avidor has had a few days to let things sink in, I now provide for him the following answer to the musical question, "Why Is PRT Promoter David Gow Tweeting About Anonymous Comments on a Crime Story?"

And by "for him," of course I mean 'for everyone on the internet'; I do not want to be accused of thinking my blogging is private.

Here is Ken's complaint:
The easy answer is I am mentioned in a recent City Pages article about a fugitive from justice, a former Green Party candidate for Ward 10 and a former friend of mine. I am quoted in the article saying clearly that Knapp should be brought to justice and that I had no knowledge of the crimes Knapp is accused of committing.

Here is a list of Mr. Gow's recent tweets about me... four out of five mention myself and the fugitive, Mark Knapp and link to the article :

David Gow's latest tweet says the following:
More comment in City Pages' #MarkKnapp story http://is.gd/5rtfq #Ken Avidor
There are two new comment(s) to the article. The first states the following:
So where's the photo of Knapp so we citizens can help capture him? Maybe Ken Avidor could could submit a perp sketch. Oh wait - after looking at his Petters trial sketches, that wouldn't help.
Well, there's a screenshot of Mark Knapp's old campaign website with a photo of him in that article.

The other anonymous comment Mr. Gow tweeted about says the following:
I never did trust that Ken Avidor. Cynicism is the easiest out. Interesting that the federal marshalls are visiting him. he just spent several weeks sitting next to his FBI buddies in federal court. Go figure. he is not one to trust
It is true that I sat next to the FBI during much of the trial, because that was the best place to sketch the witnesses. During opening and closing arguments, I sat far to the left side of the gallery to get a profile of the attorneys.

As for describing the FBI as my "buddies"... I have sent three Freedom of Information requests to the FBI for the audio and video exhibits shown in open court at the trial of Gary Dean Zimmermann.... and all three requests were rejected because the FBI said I needed a waiver from Zimmermann, which he refused to give me.

Do I support Federal investigations into economic crimes such as Ponzi schemes, bribery and identity theft? You bet I do. Do I think the investigations, trials and convictions of Gary Dean Zimmermann and Tom Petters were fair and just? Absolutely. Until Mark Knapp is apprehended, we will not know whether he is guilty of the crimes for which he has been charged. However, Mark Knapp's flight from justice is a crime. In order to apprehend Knapp, law enforcement came to my home and others... I don't have a problem with that. The Feds are working really hard to investigate and prosecute white collar crime... and they deserve our support. They have my support.

Do the PRT guys support the Fed's effort to investigate and prosecute economic crimes? [all ellipses in original]

Doesn't this seem a trifle bit much, a little too desperate to explain things to casual readers unfamiliar with the history? And therein lies the purpose of my tweeting about Mark Knapp's past ties to Ken Avidor: How does it feel, Ken? How does it feel there might be even the slightest, nuanced hint of the mere possibility of your name being guilt-by-associated with a disreputable person?

Because that's what Ken Avidor has been doing to PRT supporters for years. Even if all you do is say something non-committal about PRT, you might wake up the next day to find yourself in Ken Avidor's Pod Squad with Mark Olson (R-domestic violence), "Gary Dean Zimmermann" (GP-illegal gratuities), and the politically disreputable Michele Bachmann (R-Crazytown). (Think I'm exaggerating? Ask Julie Risser.1 2 3)

And now the clog is on the other foot. All I am doing is stating indisputable, objective facts -- that Mark Knapp is a PRT-hater, that he is a fugitive, that he is an ex-friend of Avidor, that he and Avidor used to co-author a blog, and that said blog has been taken down -- and look at how gymnastically Ken Avidor falls all over himself to distance himself from Knapp.

Think hard the next time you consider smearing anyone, Ken.

PS- Put the Green Party Gone Bad blog back up, Ken! What are you afraid of? Doesn't the work stand on its own?

gPRT The commenter's perp sketch joke also went right over Ken's head

Friday, December 18, 2009

What We Learned - What do you expect from a Luddite?

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Everyone knows how Twitter works, right? It's a microblog service -- like any other blog you can have, except the posts are a maximum of 140 characters at a time. So what is this PRT Moondoggie post all about???

It's all delusional. Delusional!

• "Several PRT websites"
Two. I administer two serious PRT websites, Get On Board PRT and GetThereFast, and they are not devoted to Ken Avidor. It's not all about you, Ken .

• "several attack blogs aimed at me"
This is just spin by someone who knows his propaganda does not stand up under the light of debunking.

• I think my "activity on Twitter is private"
Laughable! If I thought my tweets were private, to whom was I telling all those Avidor-based one-liners (which are comedy gold, by the way)?
Or pick another tweet topic: #inews9k, the as-it-happens, Twitter version of my almost-weekly blog feature, "iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator." It used to be on my blog Wiseline Institute and Center For The Secular Humorism, but for almost 2 years it's been running at Ragebot.
Here's the thing: at the end of each week I cull the best of my on-Twitter #inews and post them on Ragebot --
with an invitation to readers to read all the #inews ON TWITTER!--

I'm driving visitors to my Twitter feed, whether they Follow me or not. Ken Avidor: why would I make such an open invitation if I thought my tweets are private? The blog you're reading right now has the same invitation in the sidebar!

Where would anyone get such an idea, that tweets are private? It has the feel of an ego-driven notion. Therefore, my theory is that Ken Avidor is merely projecting -- that he himself thought tweets are private, and only learned the truth recently, and now he's going to show off his high-tech knowledge. He is, after all, the 'expert' who thought "LIM" is a PRT company.

• "furiously tweeting that he was being sarcastic"
He posted this as 'evidence':
Another example of Ken Avidor not reading what he clips (or absence of a sense of humor) -- those are the jokes, Ken! Those are one-liners! Thus the #badumbum hashtag! And you didn't even include the tweet with the "DOPE" pic!

Ken also urges the following:
David Gow (Blogger ID- Mr_Grant) is very much the public face of Personal Rapid Transit on the internet. I hope Governor Pawlenty, MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel and elected officials take a good look at PRT promoters like David Gow before they waste additional time or money on PRT.

Thank you, Ken! Thank you for associating PRT with me, a smart, liberal blogger, world-class satirist, and environmentalist! Of course, Gov. Pawlenty is a Resmuglican, so maybe Avidor's Palin-style questioning of my associations would make The Gov oppose rider-oriented, energy smart PRT on partisan political grounds.

Did I just blow your strategy, Ken?

Of course, that plan closes the barn door too late. If I am already "the public face of PRT on the internet," then Commissioner Sorel (and maybe new PRT Director Thakur) already know about me. And went ahead with the PRT initiative anyway.

And they did so even though they must have known about Ken Avidor and all his anti-PRT propaganda -- because he is very much the public face of opposition to PRT on the internet.

I'm afraid you lose again,
Ken, no matter how you slice it.

Oh why not: "Audacity of the Dope"!

I nearly forgot: Ken, what did you mean by:

"Polish PRT?"

Ken Avidor (@Daily Kos)
read the PRTJJ coverage


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mark Knapp ex-friend returns to anti-PRTeabagging

And he is way off his game. Witness how far the non-mighty have- can you fall if already at the bottom?

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.

All Ken Avidor does this time is snip from the Winona Daily News! No invective! No snide comments! No smears, "PRTista" or guilt by association!

Of course, no amusing typos either -- but that's OK. Because he has to faithfully reproduce passages that mention:
Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said he welcomes funding for PRT development in Winona or elsewhere
But cities worldwide are revisiting the technology: London is building a system at Heathrow Airport slated to operate in 2010, and San Jose, Calif., also is exploring PRT.
MnDOT commissioner Tom Sorel... appointed Mukhtar Thakur as MnDOT's director of PRT development. Thakur said computer technology has improved since the PRT failures of years past. Thakur also said PRT doesn't need to compete with light rail, but could provide "last-mile" transport to complement other transit modes.
Flying in the face of three of Avidor's oldest talking points: Only right wing Resmuglicans support PRT; transit experts don't take PRT seriously; PRT's purpose is to sabotage light rail. His own post puts the lie to his lies!

Avidor seems to be barely trying anymore. It must be sad when the air gets let out of one's propaganda campaign. I have something in my eye- No, no, I'm fine, really.

Also today: He doth protest WAY too much (and no mention that he used to author a blog with Mark Knapp -- now taken down, conveniently)

Seen the Petters trial sketches? Avidor's stuff is looking more and more Plympton every day!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

End of the world for the anti-PRTeabagger?

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Ken Avidor has injected himself into a lot of public PRT discussions over the years. Alameda, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Heathrow, Daventry, Ithaca -- if the local language is English he's been there, sowing his little bitter seeds of fear and hate. Like Johnny Rottenappleseed.

If, however, there was one place where pods could find no fertile soil, you would expect it would be Avidor's home field of Minnesota. He has spent years pouring poison into that soil, depriving it of water and light, shoveling-in too much of the wrong fertilizer.

So it's got to be a shock to everyone, no matter what side you're on, that the State of Minnesota is going to have a symposium about personal rapid transit!

Certainly Avidor must be beside himself with inarticulate (what else) rage, because all he can do is cite the press release and sputter "Bill James" (whoa, wash his mouth out!).

The takeaway message today: This can only be seen as a humiliating loss for Ken Avidor. After years of guilt-by-associating PRT with Bachmann and Mark Olson, after years of attacking CPRT, after years of harrassing any local candidate of any party who dared to not oppose PRT -- only to have podcars rise from that dead earth in time for Halloween? Instigated by the state DOT no less!

We're talking apocalypse-level, end of the world, Bill Buckner/Game 6 of the 1986 World Series FAIL for Team Avidor.

Even the spin in today's PRT Moondoggie headline is lame: "Pawlenty's MnDOT"??? Leave it to Kiln Ovendoor (did you miss those?) to ignore Transportation Commissioner Thomas K. Sorel, in favor of guilt-by-associating the symposium to a handy Resmuglican.

You really have to laugh. So I will: "Mua ha ha ha ha ha! Aha ha ha ha ha- *cough* "

"FHWA," Ken. You're not even trying.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More about the size of his n

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.

Wait, I had something else lying around needing to be debunked. Ah, here we go:
Citizens on Both Sides of the Atlantic Say No to Personal Rapid Transit

Almost a year ago, Chris Millar leader of the Daventry District Council told the Daventry Express, "The eyes of the world are on Daventry with this project." The project he was talking about was a plan to install a futuristic "Personal Rapid Transit" (PRT, Podcars) system in the quiet market town of Daventry, England, population 22,36. [sic]

Now, it appears the plan to bring the much-hyped "revolution in sustainable public transport" to Daventry has been called off... what happened? [ellipsis in original]


"Citizens on Both Sides of the Atlantic." Man; how many people are required to take a position before you start generalizing like that?
Fast forward to the April, 2009 when The Gusher published an article titled "Pod Off! Residents oppose Daventry PRT scheme"
More than 100 Daventry townspeople voiced their opposition to proposals for a pod transport network in the town at a public meeting on Monday night.

100 people out of the 22,367 who live in Daventry (town)? Why, that's a sample size of four tenths of a percent (0.004). And one tenth of a percent (0.001) of the population of the wider Daventry district.

I only mention this now because, recently, I helpfully tried to bring this to Kenny-Boy's attention! I placed this comment on the Daventry article he posted on his Viropop stalkblog (the one he set up after I started blogging on Viropop):
Population of Daventry District: 71838
Population of Daventry Town: 22367
Number of members of "Stop the Daventry POD"*: 70
Awww, but Avidor censored it.

So when Ken writes "both sides of the Atlantic," alert readers are probably wondering, Daventry is just one side of the Atlantic -- what about the other side? How many citizens in the U.S. said No to PRT? Ken only bothers to mention Peg Tully in Ithaca, New York. A sample size of 1 out 304 million Americans is 0.00000000329 (0.00000000296 if you include 34 million Canadians).

*A Facebook page

This just in: PRT Is a Joke IS A JOKE is the #2 Ken Avidor site on the web!

Fun comparison:
  • Number of active PRT-haters: 4
  • Number of Alan Keyes for President voters, 2008: 47,694



Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Y'all remember your college statistics, right? Then you know what n is. Ssshh! Don't tell Ken, he went to art college.

The bigger your n, the more confidence you can have in your results. Therefore, when Ken Avidor generalizes about Ithaca, New York, using a sample size of just one (Ms. Peg Tully), there can be little confidence in the results. You can't say "there is little enthusiasm for the pods among Ithacans" based on one person's opinion.

Whereas if you refer to the PRT Is a Joke IS A JOKE coverage of Avidor and Ithaca from last September, you can see for yourself the number of Ithaca organizations who support Personal Rapid Transit -- including the mayor!

PRT's n is bigger than yours, Ken. Your n is really small; tiny; shriveled; like a peanut. Your n has shrinkage.

Read our coverage of Avidor's Ithaca blogging

Read the Los Angeles Times comment thread in which I refuted the smear of Jake Roberts

I see your Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (n=1), Ken, and raise you BioRegional and World Wildlife Fund (n=2)!

Now he's copying my Google Translate links from Twitter -- Ken IS copying everything I do!

Propagandist undercuts his own position

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Ken Avidor's editorial policy at the PRT Moondoggie blog is not only to copy multimedia embedded on PRT Is a Joke IS A JOKE, Get On Board!PRT and GetThereFast. His (currently frenzied) pattern is also re-posting old propaganda -- whether it makes sense or not! Let's examine the items in his 'latest' posts:

Post 1: Personal Rapid Transit Hucksters to Offer Non-Solutions During Cop 15 [sic]

Apparently, SkyTran is the only PRT system worth discussing -- 1,900 words worth (after promising a "quick answer to any questions about podcars"!). It's all there -- Doug Malewicki's "Aaaarrrrgghh!" quote, the Robosaurus, the guideway building robot. No need to read any of it -- all have been previously posted by Avidor, numerous times:
  • "Aaaarrrrgghh!" quote. Posted by Ken at least six other places on the internet. It's a relatively antique statement that was on the SkyTran website as early as May 11, 2000 (click through to item 14 in the Technical section)-- yet Avidor manages to omit the fact and let readers think it reflects SkyTran's current status.

    And funny that he wants to call attention to Malewicki's statement, "If I want to hire all black engineers (and I know a bunch of dam
    [sic] good practical ones), to the exclusion of Hispanics, Women, Polaks, etc. the government won't let me" (as if that's supposed to be 'shocking' -- 'Malewicki' is Polish). Funny, because Ken slurred Poles only two weeks ago:

"Polish PRT?"

Post 2: Will San José [sic] Pimp Their Own Pods?
  • Eleven month old report from KGO-TV San Francisco. Gotta brush up your HTML, Ken! Then the embedded player might work. I'd be happy to give you some pointers.

  • "ULTra is featured zooming around in computer-generated videos... [ellipsis in original] no mention that the launch of ULTra at Heathrow 5 has been postponed twice." Because that eleven month old report came out before the reschedulings!!!

  • "Pimp your own pod" video. Posted by Ken at least 14 other places on the internet.

  • Video with Barbara Johnson in JPod. Posted by Avidor at least 4 other places on the internet.

  • "Barbara Johnson's pod-praising letter to Bill James from the Jpod website."
Yes. What about Barbara A. Johnson, President of the Minneapolis City Council, representing Ward 1? She was elected in 1997, succeeding her mother, Alice Rainville, who was the city's first woman Council President. Mrs. Rainville served for 22 years; she only passed away this past March. In other words, Ken Avidor is sneering at a woman who is carrying on a family tradition of public service. And only because she supports PRT. Klassy* again, Ken!

And you know what else? BARBARA A. JOHNSON IS A DEMOCRAT! Endorsed with an "A" rating by Stonewall DFL! But- but- Ken Avidor claims only right wing Republicans like Michele Bachmann support PRT!!!

I guess Ken Avidor is wrong. Again.

* BTW Ken, I notice you're using "klassy" too. Get your own shtick.

This is too easy Ken, you gotta put some effort into it

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mr. No Research

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Again a Kena Wei (Ken Avidor) post that shows he does no research!

Campaign to Protect Rural England Opposes Personal Rapid Transit

From the CPRE's paper (PDF) "Eco-towns: living a greener future - CPRE's response" that can be downloaded HERE:
an integrated approach to transport, across a district as a whole, should be taken to maximise potential for journeys to and from eco-towns to be made in a sustainable fashion, rather than relying on unproven technologies such as Personal Rapid Transit

Aside from the fact that this is another example of advocacy -- remember, it doesn't determine policy -- and CPRE is perfectly entitled to take this position, there are some oddities.

1. The CPRE is responding to this consultation paper from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It does not mention PRT or podcars.

2. What DCLG does mention are:
• frequent, reliable and easily accessible public transport for longer journeys, that residents are encouraged to use to ensure that they are well connected to key destinations within the ecotown and with nearby settlements and local supply networks. This may include such measures as bus priority schemes, car clubs and additional provision of community transport, as well as good access to information on transport options, including real time information in the home and personalised travel planning for every resident.

Ooooh, how pie-in-the-sky!

What is the plan right now for using PRT in rural England? Let's see, in rural-ish Daventry, it would be a local network, eventually connecting to the train station. Is this not an "integrated approach," local, but also connecting people to "nearby settlements"?

But the point is, PRT is not being put forward for the service niche CPRE is concerned about, transit "across a district as a whole." English districts (below), or 'shire counties', are pretty big, Ken. No one is talking about PRT "across" districts.

(Note to readers: Expert recommendations DCLG has received about PRT are: (a) consider PRT as a way to avoid building a new highway, and (b) consider trams and PRT as a way to avoid creating more local congestion. And these were not general recommendations, but rather specific to two of the proposed eco-towns.)

What you should have researched and written about, Ken, is the question -- what was CPRE actually responding to?

Maybe they were motivated by this kind of thinking:
Critics characterise CPRE as
  • proponents of a drawbridge mentality (i.e. "I've moved to the countryside but I don't want others to do likewise")
  • motivated by luddite nostalgia, or
  • motivated by an egotist NIMBY stance[4]
In December 2008 George Monbiot of The Guardian interviewed CPRE head, Shaun Spiers, about the organisation's opposition to wind farms but not opencast [open pit] coal mines. George Monbiot asked why he couldn't find any opposition of the CPRE to surface coal mining over the past five years, and pointed out that the negative effects that coal mines cause by removing the soil from large areas are much greater than the negative effects wind energy might have on the countryside. [5]

One Guardian reader commented about the Monbiot interview:

Let's face it- the CPRE are there to protect the few who enjoy the country life. Not the countryside itself. Not the biodiversity. But the pretty 'midsomer murders'/'vicar of dibley' version of rolling peaceful England and the privileged few who are allowed to enjoy it.


So -- non-inclusive, upper-class, anti-technology, against new alternative energy, and OK with open pit coal mining.
Good to know who Ken Avidor supports!

* * *
Ken Avidor and friends enjoy the English countryside:

"Polish PRT?"


Friday, October 23, 2009

Is PRT an issue in Minneapolis Council Ward 9 race?

It is, if you believe anti-PRTeabagger Ken Avidor:

Dave Bicking is your garden-variety PRT-promoting politician.

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.

But is Bicking talking about PRT?

How about Democrat Gary Schiff?

The Independence Party's Todd Eberhardy?

So why is Ken Avidor injecting non-issue personal rapid transit into this race? Why? WHY???

Update: His response to this post? To rehash four year old non-news!
(Kena Wei, how much should a first prototype cost -- one that worked "exactly as designed"?

"Polish PRT?"


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mock Journalist, Part VI

("Duck, duck, canard!")

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
©2009 Get On Board PRT News & Wiseline Institute and Center For The Secular Humorism

Recently, Ken Avidor lobbed the following bon mot at the MIST-ER personal rapid transit company:

"Polish PRT?"

Source (@Daily Kos)
PRTJJ coverage

Hopefully this ethnic slur was unintentional. 'Hopefully' because, so far, he has refused to explain himself.

So it's a kinda breathtaking example of chutzpah that he would almost simultaneously put forward the claim that PRT appeals to one of the worst human impulses. In the comment thread accompanying the same Daily Kos post, Ken manages to stir one reader's outrage:
Greendem: Pods are safer because you don't have to ride with scary brown people.
Pod people should just stay in their cars.

Avidor: That's what the [sic] used to say... [ellipsis in original]

Greendem: Exactly
It's "public transit" for racists.

Yeah, I know -- the brochure doesn't mention race. What was racist when only Whites could ride in the front of buses? The buses, or Jim Crow and its supporters?

This Tuesday Avidor went after Bill Mego, a columnist for the Naperville, Illinois, Sun. Mego's October 20 column advocated for PRT in Naperville. No public funds were spent because of it, but as regular "PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE! readers probably expect, Mego's mere advocacy for PRT was enough to send Ken searching Mego's archives for a gotcha.
Last week, Bill Mego of the Naperville Sun wrote a column titled; "Public transportation is going away in U.S.".
It will have to be safe and private. Naperville people don't want to travel in groups or mingle with the lower classes or the homeless.

So, to be successful, public transportation will have to be less than a fifth as expensive as light rail, not need a right of way, and run on a very small amount of electricity. Its cars will have to be safe and private, have essentially no moving parts that require maintenance, and not need a driver. So is there such a system? Yes, fortunately there is, but the "experts" aren't considering it.

I'll explain next week what it is.
Right.. [sic] the old, you don't want to ride with scary (fill in the blank) people, anti-transit canard.

Link that to this week's PRT column and -- "GOTCHA!" Chalk one up for Avidor's position, right?

Sorry, no. Because this is another example of Ken Avidor's tendency to not ask questions and rely on guesswork.

His mistake this time was to not seek out the local context.

The Local Context

What you need to know is that Naperville (pop. 145,000) is a suburb west of Chicago, and calls itself a--
"vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate."

What is Naperville like? You be the judge. Thumbnail sketch: Naperville's median home price is $311,2005 (higher than Chicago and Bloomingdale). The average family income is $149,352, and 80.7% of residents are White (2005). Only 2.8% are below the poverty line.

There is also an ongoing controversy about an ordinance making it illegal to sleep on a "public way," directed at the homeless. One outspoken and mediagenic homeless man, Scott Huber, seems to be a particular target of the ordinance.1, 2, 3, 4

My opinion? Naperville seems like a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to be homeless there.

Which, it turns out, was the point of Bill Mego's Oct. 13 column. As Mego explained to me (Yes! I contact total strangers and ask questions like a real writer!), Naperville has trouble getting people to ride the bus.

Those routes only carry an average of 46, 38, 36, 34, and 12 riders, respectively, per day.

"We have been having problems getting enough riders on our buses," says Mego. "One of the reasons people give is that the Mexicans from a neighboring town, who travel through and who work in our downtown restaurants, make riding the buses dangerous."

That's part of the background. The law aimed at Huber, in Mego's words, "makes it illegal to sleep on a public way. Yes, it makes it against the law to nap in the park, fall asleep during a parade, and let your baby sleep it its buggy."

The Denouement

Pay attention now,
Ken! This is where I tell you, if you haven't guessed: Mego doesn't like the ordinance, saying about its backers: "They passed this foolish law because we have a homeless man who has been living alongside a parking garage for the last eight years, and people are now saying 'I didn't move to Naperville to see slovenly homeless people'."

Mego added: "The Sun is a local paper, and our readers know I've written often, defending the man [Huber]. They understood that that statement [about group travel and mingling with lower classes] referred specifically to that situation, and was a sarcastic comment on some of our citizens' intolerance."

* * *

I think Mego's motivation in suggesting PRT can be characterized as 'irritated realism.' Something like, you idiots, so you don't want to use transit? Well how about PRT, would you use that?

The implicit answer is 'No.' Mego's final point in the column was, and I quote, "the 'experts' aren't considering it."

The town that passed an ordinance against sleeping on the street isn't considering PRT. Some gotcha for Ken Avidor

The people of the Chicagoland area are going
to LOVE Avidor's "Polish PRT? " slur!
(that about wraps it up for Ken Avidor in Naperville!)

Read: Mock Journalist- The Series


Monday, October 19, 2009

Today's Secret Word is: "Hilarious"

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
1. Over at Streetsblog LA last weekend, one of the many fulminations emanating from Ken Avidor was "just do it already." He was saying stop mocking me and get on with PRT.

Well OK, someone who is getting on with it is Richard Garriott. But is Ken cheering him on? Uh, no. Ken -- who is often wringing his hands about wasting public money -- is attacking Garriott, an astronaut who went into space on his own dime. Ken finds even the effort of starting a PRT project to be "hilarious" and worth ridiculing.

But Ken, Garriott is only trying to "just do it," as you request. Do it? Don't do it? Make up your mind.

2. Ken also thinks this is hilarious:

This is even more hilarious [see?]... [ellipsis in original] from November 16th, 2005 - "PRT is a Joke":
An effort in search engine optimization. Road Kill Bill (Ken Avidor) is an unfortunately effective (if ill-informed) opponent of personal rapid transit. But he’s showing up as the third entry on Google when someone searches for Personal Rapid Transit. So... the question is, what do we do about it? I think there’s a case for libel, but I don’t have the money to pursue it. But I do have one idea... stay tuned. If you really want to learn more, contact me at the phone number on my main web page. [ellipses in original]

Ssssh! Don't tell Ken, but today, 4 years later, despite his investment of hundreds and hundreds of hours of blogging and link spamming, "PRT Is a Joke" has fallen from third to the sixth top-level result. At number one: Wikipedia, site of so many of Ken's defeats.

Half as popular -- or twice as unpopular.

Not so hilarious:
Avidor 'unmasks' Atren? Which proves- what, exactly?

OK, this is hilarious: "He Really Believes He's a Sleuth"


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shiny PRT?

(Updated) Regarding incidents at Streetsblog LA and Daily Kos

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.
Time for another installment of: What We Learned!

1. Multi-cartoonist Kena Wei (Ken Avidor) didn't know the difference between policy and advocacy -- until I told him. I say it here:

and it comes out here:
"Nothing but rail" is not my "position".

But, it doesn't matter what my "position" is.

It's up to citizens and public officials to decide what transportation is right for their community.

2. Ken doesn't know the difference between advocacy and engineering.
If the PRT guys were really intent on creating their "revolution in sustainable transport", they would put more time into proving it could work instead of arguing at transportation forums and blogs or putting out tons of hype and CGI videos on the web... just do it already. [ellipsis in original]

PRT engineers don't have time to blog and go to transportation forums in the USA. They are doing "it" -- at Heathrow, Uppsala and Masdar. And Ken is not cheering them on every step of the way.

3. He likes how "straw man" sounds, but may not know what one is.
Wow... that big heap of straw men keeps getting bigger and bigger. [ellipsis in original]

Whenever anyone tries to inject some reality into a discussion about PRT, the handful of PRT true believers attack the messengers

Asking him to explain things he wrote are straw men??? And Ken has attacked so many messengers, there's a Wanted poster of him at every UPS Store in America.

4. Ken thinks he is clairvoyant.
And the argument that a city can be served better by PRT than conventional transit could be tested with a peer-reviewed computer model... but, the PRT guys won't do that because such a model would prove that real world circumstances (vandalism, weather etc.) would make a complex system such as PRT infeasible in an urban area. [ellipsis in original]
In order to know this, wouldn't Ken had to have already run such a model himself? That's rhetorical.

5. You be the judge! Here are remarks Ken made about a number of PRT systems, in context.

Now take the poll!

Seriously: if Ken Avidor meant "Polish PRT?" as an innocent comment, why is he evading giving any explanation?

History: What Ken once said about a different place in the world -- "Strange place Dubai... lot's [sic] of weird stuff happens there" [ellipsis in original] (sneering at a plan for an indoor ski slope -- that was actually built!)

Plus, he got Dubai mixed up with Abu Dhabi.