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

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wheelie, wheelie, strange meme

One strange meme to which Ken Avidor has tried to impart momentum is his opinion of the inadequacy of wheels used in PRT vehicles, specifically:

the Cardiff ULTra was essentially Frog/2getthere with its dorky wheels covered up to give it a futuristic look
--Avidor at Daily Kos, 5/21/09

the Cardiff ULTra was essentially Frog/2getthere with its
dorky wheels covered up to give it a futuristic look
--Avidor at Dump Mark Olson, 9/10/07

Taxi 2000's PRT pod is supposed to run on futuristic-sounding "linear induction motors" (The pod actually rides on dorky, little rubber tires).
--Avidor on Dump Mark Olson, 6/15/06

The only difference between FROG and ULTra that I can see is that the ULTra vehicles have wheel covers that hide their dorky, un-futuristic-looking wheels.
-- Avidor at WellUrban, 6/9/06

Lately, he's been at it again:

That's just an error within an error -- ULTra uses 13 inch diameter tires, and everyone knows golf carts have 18-22 inchers.

What's dorky about small wheels anyway? I guess we have to do what PRTJJ does best: examine the facts.

Dorky (dȯr-kē), adjective.
slang: foolishly stupid
Merriam Webster

How are small tires foolish or stupid? Not only have they been standard equipment on some compact cars for decades, they are also used in custom cars. Such as lowriders.

I invite
Ken Avidor to go to East L.A. and tell the first lowrider driver he sees that his car has "dorky little wheels."

Little (li-təl), adjective
1. Not big
2. Not much
Merriam Webster

What does wheel diameter have to do with strength or reliability? Not much:

I doubt four 13 inch wheels will have trouble supporting a 800-ish kilo PRT vehicle.

Plus, in today's eco, bio, lower consumption, smart-energy, compact walkable urban village world, isn't smaller better? Next to a Hummer, is a Zenn a "dorky little" electric car? Which is better, Ken -- a Range Rover or a Smart fortwo? Which happens to be the same size as a --


Of course, one person's dorky golf cart is another's Neighborhood Electric Vehicle.

But to be consistent, Ken Avidor must support the bigger and therefore less dorky wheels. And we all know what guys who love the BIG wheels are compensating for, don't we?

I bet he rides a

Also today:

He goes all the way back 10 years to portray PRT support as mostly Republicon -- still dances around more recent majority Democratic backing

gPRT Ken Avidor (Kən Av-i-dor), noun - small in importance or interest: trivial

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Missed Again

Desperate in his continued attempts to politicize transit research and development, propagandist Ken Avidor has returned to trawling (or trolling) for controversial messages at the Transport-Innovators discussion group on Google.

Let me say some things here about that group: many if not most of the active members in the group are highly opinionated inventors, engineers and scientists. So looking there for controversy is the lazy person's research, as difficult as looking for moisture in the ocean.

I try to avoid reading Transport-Innovators unless absolutely necessary. The group often seems less about discussing transportation so that it can be understood by an ill-informed cartoonist, and more about who's right about a laundry list of issues. Or wrong.
Some of the "Innovators" have political views that can be characterized as libertarian, others positively neanderthal. It takes all kinds to make a world.

But Ken Avidor has decided to take two persons' extreme views and cram all PRT proponents in that pigeonhole.

1. Jerry Roane of TriTrack, who apparently doesn't care much for man-on-man love:

I did some more study on why Portland has an affinity for little bicycles and why they resonate with Washington DC money givers. There seems to be a naked bike ride they do and they had the first openly homosexual (male on male) mayor. This money is being passed out to the constituents. It has very little to do with mobility. The naked bike ride looks more like a men's locker room than 800 randomly chosen citizens. Portland is not even a metropolitan city. It is in a metropolitan area but the city is only 1/2 million.

Jerry Roane
Ehhhh whatever, Jerry. Like I said, it takes all kinds.

2. Jack Slade of god-only-knows, who wants to draft Halal dietary rules into the global war agin terr':
If you really want to put the fear of Allah into these terrorists, you should make it be known that ALL your bullets have been dipped in pig blood. All the Military bullets, too.

Jack Slade
I think that misspeaks for itself.

If these cries for help prove anything, the first is that PRT has a right wing (as well as a left, e.g., Donn Fichter, Joan Bokaer, World Wildlife Fund, Debbie Cook, me) -- just like light rail had Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich, and high speed rail has the LaRouchies. The second thing is that the world of PRT advocates doesn't have a single centralized messaging apparatus. Unfortunately.

Not that such an apparatus would have kept Roane and Slade's mouths shut, because they were expressing their opinions about world events. PRT is a technology. PRT doesn't have opinions.

Which brings us to an interesting concluding note: Roane is not a PRT designer, his Tri-Track system is Dual Mode -- private road vehicles that can be placed on a guideway. The words "personal rapid transit" aren't even used on Roane's website.


Not all Transport Innovations are PRT -- you missed again, Ken. Stop calling Roane's system "TriTrack PRT."

And what of Jack Slade? His technology is shrouded in mystery; even a source of mine who is regarded as the leading archivist of transportation technology isn't sure what Slade is working on. My source guesses it might be passenger cabins on a conveyer belt. Which wouldn't be PRT either, since the definition says no moving parts in the guideway.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Too Hot Baby

Hi there, kool gang of PRTistas -- guess which Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist can't handle freewheeling life on the Interweb.

As you know, Ken Avidor's been doing his usual sniping at Rob Means' PRT Idea over at Change.org.

To do this, Ken had to create an account. Which has a profile. Which has a Facebookish comment wall. So I've been using that wall to ask Ken some questions about things he's written or said, including:

What did you mean by "Polish PRT?" http://bit.ly/c9ZWVX

Have you apologized to Bill Mego yet? http://bit.ly/bLdyLP

Have you apologized to Larry Fabian yet? http://bit.ly/dtshP8

I had a whole bunch of 'em lined up and ready to roll.

What could be so wrong with that? They're just questions. It's not like Ken has to answer them, or even look at them. He could ignore them; he could delete them; he could post non-responsive comments; he could -- well, a lot of things.

Instead, he did what he does with his blogs, like Dump Mark Olson and Green Party Gone Bad, when he's losing the argument -- he shuts down discussion and hides:


I guess this means six more weeks of winter. Nice going, Ken.

Thank you, Ken, for linking Change.org readers here (2/13 6:08pm PST) so they can read the questions you were afraid to have on your comment wall

Idle thought:
Why is Ken on Change.org anyway? In 2006 and 2008 he supported an anti-choice, pro-highways, pro-gun, anti-marriage equality candidate for Congress. That would be change in the wrong direction. Ken even interviewed that candidate, Elwyn Tinklenberg, and didn't challenge his positions

gPRT Ken, you haven't Changed (badumbum)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

See his impact on Change.org

There's a PRT Idea being voted on at Change.org, so naturally Ken Avidor has been littering the comments with his propaganda. Here's the latest impact of his contributions:


Take Action!

gPRT Ken Avidor is "a minor issue" --Change.org

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Letters (with apologies to A.R. Gurney)

After all these years, I think we've finally found a PRT scam. And it has been exposed by "PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE!!!

from: J. Edward Anderson <[* * * *]@gmail.com>
to: ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 12:43 PM
subject Re: Help Request


How are you today? May this emergency appeal finds you well,i am sorry i didn't inform you about my travelling to Europe for a program.The program is taking place in three major Countries in

Europe which includes Spain Germany and United Kingdom.It has been a sad and bad moment for me,the present condition i found myself is so intoxicated to explain.I feel so ashamed because i am

stranded and stocked in United Kingdom because I've misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money,my document and other valuable things were kept ,i am so confussed right now i don't know what to do or where to go.

I need your urgent help,i want you to please loan me the sum of 3,200.00 USD = £2,000GBP to sort-out myself and confirm my basic travelling allowance fees back home.In case you couldn't come up

with all the requested amount due to the short notice kindly go ahead and send me any amount you can afford at this time and email me the transfer details i will be so grateful to receive the money,I

will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with and I promise to pay you back as soon as I return home.
I want you to understand that i am in a very tight and critical sitaution at the moment,i know you will never disappoint me that is why i have contacted you in this regards and please as you endeavor to

help me with this money i don't mean you should disclose my predicament to anybody for personal reasons till when am successfully back home.However,it is not compulsory that you will send me the

money but if my situation and our good relationship touches you i want you to quickly proceed to any of the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER OR MONEY GRAM TRANSFER station or post

office around you and transfer me the money as soon as you have received this email.Western union money transfer is the most convenience and safe for me to receive the money here without any delay or problem.

Below is the information where to send me the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.

Here are the details:

Name:Edward Anderson
Address : 10 Godliman Street
Zip code : EC4V 5AJ,
State : London
Country: England
Test Question :Thank
Answer :You

After you have sent the money email me the western union transfer details such as:

MTCN(Money transfer control number)
Test Question: Thank
Amount Needed: 3,200.00 USD = £2,000GBP

I'll check my email soonest to pick up the western union transfer details to enable me return back home with the next available flight,i need the transfer # MTCN (money transfer control number) as soon as you are done with the transfer.

Thanks for your kind help and sorry to bother you.


J. Edward (Ed) Anderson
PRT International, LLC
763 [* * * *]
[* * * *]@prtinternational.com

from ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
to "J. Edward Anderson"
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:08 PM
subject Re: Help Request

Ed --

FYI, your email account has been hacked.

- Show quoted text -

from: J. Edward Anderson <[* * * *]@gmail.com>
to: ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:19 PM
subject Re: Help Request

Thank you for your concern and reply, My email address has not been compromised, I sent you the mail in-order for you to help me out, let me know if you can help me out

from ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
to "J. Edward Anderson"
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM
subject Re: Help Request

Ken, is that you?

from: J. Edward Anderson <[* * * *]@gmail.com>
to: ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:55 PM
subject Re: Help Request


Thanks so much for your concern and reply i sent you the email in other for you to help me out,let me know if you can help me make the transfer.


from ["PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE]
to "J. Edward Anderson"
date Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 2:04 PM
subject Re: Help Request

Typos. Repetitive. Slow to catch on -- Ken, it IS you!!! I will send you this much post-haste!
Don't spend it all on pints at Quarter Jacks, 10 Godliman Street, London.

(Note to lawyers with no sense of humor: it wasn't really Ken Avidor.)

Scams with same/similar language

The REAL J. Edward Anderson and PRT International

Godliman Street by St. Paul's, London:
Quarter Jacks
(in Grange St. Paul's Hotel)

The corner of Godliman & Knightrider (!)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Reading Is Still Fundamental

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued an RFI for PRT in that state. So today anti-PRT propagandist Ken Avidor asks:

Will MnDOT be taking this PRT plan into consideration?

For the answer to Ken's question, let's go to the RFI!
5.1 Who May Respond

Responses from any city, county, company or organization, such as a university, institution, or partnership of same with the ability to build, operate and maintain such a system are welcome.

Dean Zimmermann (ex-Minneapolis Green Party councilor who served time in the federal prison system for "illegal gratuities") is not a PRT builder, operator and maintainer. Nor is CPRT, the nonprofit advocacy group who supported Zimmermann's plan in the past.

In short -- NO,
Ken, the Zimmermann plan won't be considered. The answer was right there in the RFI, in black and white, for you to read.

Ken Avidor's 'question' is merely his latest attempt to smear PRT through guilt by association.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Just a bill

Earmarks vs. Pork (Ken Avidor goes to school)

Earmarks are products of the legislative process. They are part of the overall appropriations process, but unlike a tax exemption or bond there is no requirement for an earmark to pay for it itself.

The name earmark comes from the legislature specially designating money for a specific project -- like turning down the corner of a page in a book -- as opposed to an executive branch agency funding a project through the budgetmaking process.

A legislator adds an earmark to a spending bill, and it becomes one of the legislative body's spending priorities. This is not horsetrading -- a quid pro quo in which lawmakers agree to vote for each others' measures. That is termed 'logrolling.'

Appropriation is another way earmarks differ from grants, which are awarded to projects based on objective evaluative criteria. This lack of objectivity (and publicity by good-government and anti-government activists alike) has caused earmarks to be conflated with 'pork,' which traditionally is understood to mean spending intended to buy the support or votes of a group of constituents.

Politics can affect how an earmark gets approved. But one person's earmark is another's wasteful spending.

In contrast, a grant program is set up through a legislative process, but legislation only establishes the top level goals and objectives. The recipients are chosen by an executive branch agency through an open call for applications; grants are awarded to projects that are judged, based on the objective criteria, the best able to achieve the goals and objectives.

The current Winona 'PRT Lab' funding request is to a grant program.

Richard Shelby's $35 billion Northrop-Grumman earmark
(1,400 times the size of the possible 'PRT Lab' grant for Winona)

Federal spending in Minnesota
LESS THAN federal taxes paid

Monday, February 01, 2010

"Short attention sp- look, pork!"

(Mock Journalist, Part VII)

You really have to wonder about Ken Avidor. Look at his post from last Saturday, "
Hilarious Opinion Piece By Personal Rapid Transit Promoter Hugh Miller." The excerpted "hilarity" includes:

Our country is in very serious financial trouble, mortal financial danger, and unless and until we turn it around, quickly, the American Dream will die.
The national debt we are accumulating is both debilitating and unsustainable, and by most standards we are already bankrupt. What this means, in practical terms, is shortly we will not be able to control our own destiny...
We are a nation of about 300 million people, and we now have a total debt and unfunded liabilities of about $62 trillion. That''s $200,000 a piece!
Simply put we must cut spending, drastically, tough and unpopular as that may be.
Sacrifice will be required by all of us, and it must be done fairly...

Somebody help me, I just busted a gut laughing. And notice: the op-ed does not mention PRT.

I don't know Hugh Miller (of the same family as Mayor Jerry and state senate candidate Jeremy -- didya know that,
Ken? You're welcome) or his politics. And I don't know that he, personally, is a PRT supporter. All I know of him are his philanthropic activities (1, 2) and leadership of the RTP Company. And I'm neither endorsing nor condemning his views, I am only reporting the above excerpts from an extremely windy op-ed. That was the extent of Mr. Short Attention Span's superficial reportage: it's funny cuz it's long!

But at this point there is also enough information above that Ken Avidor could have had himself a Big Scoop. See, one of the things cited as an advantage of the Mayor Jerry-backed "Winona PRT lab" plan is that the city has a thermoplastics company that could build some of the PRT components (see p. 6 here). That company? RTP.

If he was even a fourth of the half of the genius investigative blogger he thinks he is, Ken Avidor could have raised a question like "Is the 'PRT lab' just a way to help out the Miller Family empire?" I'm not saying the situation is too cozy; and I'm not saying it isn't. I'm just saying that Ken Avidor is so focused on namecalling, mocking, and guilt-by-associating to the exclusion of all else, that he misses the obvious line of investigation.

Instead, the Big Scoop -- objective skepticism about this specific proposal -- goes to "PRT is a Joke IS A JOKE"! We out-skepticized the PRT Skeptic! All hail Mr_Grant, perhaps the new leading skeptic of PRT! Policy analysis beats art college again!

Read: the "Mock Journalist" Series
(is "mock" an adjective or a verb? You decide!)

Also today:
See the end of his post -- Avidor still thinks a grant is pork, an earmark (see earlier #4 here).

Where is Porkidor's outrage over $35 billion in major earmark
abuse, holding hostage more than 200 of President Obama's
nominations? That's 1,400 times the size of the proposed
$25 million "PRT lab" grant.

1981-2005: Federal spending in Minnesota
LESS THAN federal taxes paid