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Friday, October 13, 2006

Mark Stenglein, Barbara Johnson and the J-Pods

Bill James is man with a dream. He's one of those "personal rapid transit" (PRT) hobbyists who think they can create an entirely new transportation system in their garage out of metal tubing, plywood, carpet remnants and black duct tape (see photo of inventor Bill James' J-pod below).

Go to the Intelligent Transportation website and click on "leadership" from the sidebar menu. There are three letters you can click on and read. The first is from Hennepin County Commisioner Mark Stenglein. Here's an excerpt from Stenglein's letter to Bill James:

"Intelligent Transportation's approach to the energy and transportation needs of our community is one whose time is come. Computerized networks can automate repetitive centers, and commuters to and from work." -Mark Stenglein

Does Mark Stenglein really think that his constituents will agree to cut down half the trees on their block for a monorail with a clear view into their bedroom windows? But, Mark Stenglein isn't the only elected official who thinks J-Pods are a great idea. Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson also wrote a letter in praise of J-Pods:

"As a City Council Member in our state's largest city, I firmly believe that strong leadership in a public/private alliance can quickly implement break through technologies such as yours."- Barbara Johnson

Not content to make a fool of herself in a letter, the Minneapolis City Council President allows herself to be filmed by a Fox Television crew for a "news" feature on J-Pods.

Watch Barbara Johnson ride on a J-Pod in this hilarious Fox TV video.

Learn more about PRT at the PRT is a Joke web site.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


knappster said...

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then this animation from the cult's very own proponents demonstrates the breath-taking improbability of an operational PRT system.

Each of the red dots represents a PRT pod — hurtling along at 30 mph on an elevated track with extremely exposed human cargo.

Note the number of near-misses.

Perhaps a better name would be Personal Roulette Thrill.  This thing would make a tilt-a-whirl look like a walk in the park.  Got a pace-maker?