Sunday, November 26, 2006

Life Ahead

I don’t seem to have suffered any irreparable damage from running and losing in the recent elections. In fact, it seems like my visibility took a jump up to another level -- quite unexpectedly just because of the electric scooters I used to go from door to door, and person to person. It’s the hit of Waikiki. Usually it’s kind of tough to stand out with everybody in their own way competing for attention -- and then to be just passing through and drawing a lot of attention, smiles and approval -- from an international audience, no less.

It’s one of those things that just makes a lot of sense -- for those from 8 to 80. I’ve never seen such universal approval and acceptance of any product. The ultimate is zooming down the Ala Wai as the cars are all gridlocked. Makes one feel like the undisputed genius of the world.

For those interested, I got them at Unit 99, at the Ranch 99 shopping mall in Mapunapuna, next to the Olelo station. The only caveat is that the seats and clamps need immediate replacement -- because they are of inferior material and destruct virtually immediately. Suitable replacements are found at McCully Bicycle shop; the proper size seat and steering post clamps are 28.6 MM.

Surprisingly, one gets a fair amount of exercise just riding it -- especially to balance while riding slowly. I feel like that is my mission right now -- to promote this smart, personal transportation technology to a worldwide audience of curious onlookers. It bolsters my argument for really alternative personalized transportation devices -- over the highly impersonal, extremely expensive mass transit options.

I think the appropriate technology for Waikiki and beyond, is the electric scooter and bicycles -- as well as all those funky little go carts. Why are we transporting a mobile home everywhere we go? What is the minimum required to achieve that task? Even the people on the Segways recognize that I have an even better idea. As smart as the Segway is, do you really want to stand all day?

It reminds me of the same ergonomic design challenge for computers. Yes, it can be more compact -- but is that the optimal design for its prolonged use? Having had to look at this season’s hot new offerings, I would think the must-have item at this year’s price points, are the LCD TVs, at the lowest end. It seems that the cathode ray tube (CRT), ought to be outlawed as the major culprit in eye strain.

Five years ago, a 15” LCD (liquid crystal display) cost $1,000; now it’s $100. Usually it makes sense to buy things going down in price -- and migrate out of things going up in price. That’s the intelligent response to a rising cost of living -- buying things that go down, and eliminating the need for things that go up, out of control -- even collectively, as a government purchase.

The indelible lesson of the tech boom is that value goes to infinity, as cost goes to zero; that’s how one recognizes he is on the right track.


At November 27, 2006 6:24 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The poor people of Hawaii:

What the Media and City Administration Don't Want You to Know About Tampa's Successful Tollway Project

By Don Newman, 11/27/2006 10:15:20 AM

(The following is a letter to the editor to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that the editors chose not to publish. The facts and figures come from the director of Tampa Tollway Project.)

The Sunday, November 12, 2006, editorial entitled “City Council should not shirk rail decision” contains statements about the Tampa Tollway that are inaccurate.

The statement is:

“That tollway is open only during rush hour and, it turns out, is used by a tiny percentage of commuters; a toll increase already is scheduled for next year to help pay for the cost of construction.”

First the project was opened early to give relief to rush hour, bumper to bumper commuters. Hours will be expanded when the project is completed.

Second, the tollway handles 75,000 trips on its east end which is greater than the total daily trips projected for the Oahu rail. The peak hour usage is 50,000 trips which is during the morning commute which makes up 80 percent of the tollways usage.

Third, the current toll is a mere $1.00 and will be increased to $1.50, not what one would call an exorbitant increase. The increase is part of standard periodic increase of all tolls throughout the system as part of the financial plan established years ago.

The part that is disingenuous about the critique of the Tampa Tollway is the editorial utterly overlooks the degree to which the tollway has relieved traffic congestion. What used to be a frazzling 30 minute plus commute to go 10 miles is now a 10 minute breeze. Even traffic on the non-toll freeway lanes and 3 parallel non-toll roads has been significantly reduced.

This should be contrasted to the fact that nowhere in the U.S. has rail resulted in or contributed to a reduction in traffic congestion.

It would be a pity if the residents of Honolulu would have to pay upwards of $4 billion dollars to learn that lesson.

Don Newman, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii's first and only free market public policy institute focused on individual freedom and liberty, can be reached at

At November 27, 2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Pretty soon they'll have to blacklist and suppress everybody in town so none of the truth can get out anymore.

That seems to be the only way they'll be able to maintain some semblance of control of all the information available to the citizens.

At November 27, 2006 6:33 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The only debate anymore, is whether the Star-Bulletin is more heavy-handed than the control-freaks at the Advertiser.

Both are not doing very well in the Age of Information -- aging as ungracefully and ugly as possible, and this is just the beginning of the end.

At November 27, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

"Authoritarianism depends on lack of information. Totalitarianism depends on misinformation."

At November 27, 2006 6:54 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There's a reason people's faces swell up hideously when they don't let the truth out.


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