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Author Topic: Discuss - KunstlerCast #189: Irrational Cries to Demolish Infrastructure  (Read 1957 times)
Duncan
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« on: January 12, 2012, 10:21:05 PM »

KunstlerCast #189: Irrational Cries to Demolish Infrastructure
Citizens React to Tragic Death With Calls to Demolish Train Bridge

Released: Jan. 12, 2012

After a tragic death, citizens in the Albany area are clamoring to tear down an old train bridge that is already slated to be re-opened as a bike-hike trail. JHK & Duncan examine this story and explain why we must save historic infrastructure like the bridge in question.

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KunstlerCast_189.mp3
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LINKS:

A long night at work, a sudden fatal slip
A bartender's walk home on New Year's Eve ends in a fatal fall from trestle
By STEVE BARNES, Times Union, Monday, January 2, 2012

Times Union Blog (with comments by Duncan

Petition: Demolition of the Black Bridge
(The petition to demo bridge, with contact form for creator)

New plans for an old Cohoes bridge begin to take shape
CBS 6, Jan. 3, 2012

Letter: Tearing down trestle not answer
Times Union, Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dangerous road claims another life
Poor lighting and lack of crosswalks add danger; fifth pedestrian killed
By DENNIS YUSKO, Times Union, Jan. 3, 2012
 

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Gregg Stacy, VP of Brown's Brewing Co., and Troy author/podcaster Duncan Crary flex their manly vocal stylings to promote The Festival of Manliness this Jan. 22 at Revolution Hall. After wrestling a live sabre-toothed tiger on the airwaves, Gregg and Duncan have a serious talk with Rick Lyke, founder of Pints for Prostates, about the importance of getting regularly screened for prostate cancer. A portion of the proceeds from The Festival of Manliness will benefit Pints for Prostates and their awareness campaign.

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marcszar
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 12:06:39 AM »

I wonder: In their effort to make the dilapidated railroad bridge "safe" (making it semi-unusable by removing ties and decking) did the people closing the bridge unintentionally make it more dangerous? If the old ties and decking were just left in place, there wouldn't have been any "trapdoors" to fall through.

I totally understand Duncan's frustrations here. To me this just seems to be an irrational overreaction to a very rare tragedy. We're not militating against stairways and throw rugs and roads (where most pedestrian accidents occur) yet we fall into hysterics over the tiniest things. This is the ultimate oppressive nanny state: hysterical mommies eager to sacrifice pleasure and adventure for the illusion of safety and security.

I don't want to "blame the victim" here, but I gotta say this to my generation... TURN. OFF. THE. EFFING. CELL. PHONE. (Especially if you're engaged in a task requiring concentration, like hauling yourself across a rusting trestle.) There's a reason the police don't like it when you yak and drive... why would yakking while gingerly hiking in the dark be any safer? If you're lonely when walking alone, then whistle. Don't fake-text or filler-call, it just distracts you.

I also sympathize with the guy's exploratory spirit. I did a lot of potentially-dangerous things as a kid: wandering through abandoned farmhouses with sagging floors, exploring rocky rivers, wandering through abandoned and active railyards, digging through old dumps for bottles, and, a couple years ago, almost falling into a huge basement-adjacent hole because I was gazing up at the architectural details of this old thing. Big Mother (we don't have a Big Brother in the US anymore) would probably object to all these things, but I think all kids - especially boys - want to explore like this, even if it's risky.

The discussion on bridge maintenance was interesting, especially the observation about old Roman bridges in southern Europe still being used today. It may be worth it to spend more upfront to build something that will require less maintenance later on. There are some relatively old solid-masonry bridges in the US that are still in great condition today - maybe masonry is the way to go with infrastructure like bridges and road surfaces.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 12:26:11 AM by marcszar » Logged
Duncan
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 01:25:54 AM »

Big Mother (we don't have a Big Brother in the US anymore) would probably object to all these things, but I think all kids - especially boys - want to explore like this, even if it's risky.

BIG MOTHER! I love it!

That's perfect. And all this safety troll shit is just smoke up the ass because it is an illusion of safety that Big Mother forces on us. Remember the Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders wife is constantly shrieking "Will Somebody Please Think of The Children!"

(Now, to be clear: Big Mother can be -- and often is -- men too. Just like women can be part of "Big Brother.")
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 04:45:40 AM »

Don't tear it down, keep it for train service, though put a path beside it!





In transit, Andrew
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kevinm
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 04:50:56 AM »

Where is that Andrew?
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 05:07:00 AM »

Where is that Andrew?

The top photo is from Delaware, the lower photo is Victoria B.C.

In transit, Andrew
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 05:13:22 AM »

Jim mentioned the Hudson Valley Railway interurbans.  http://ginostrolleypage.com/HVRR/pictures.html









In transit, Andrew
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mjcrites
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 05:23:44 AM »

I'm totally digging Lord Whimsy's website.

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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 06:07:24 PM »

Duncan mentioned in the show that he may have been in just as much danger walking in a heavily used auto area at that time.  Reminded me of this:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/12/28/the-perils-of-drunk-walking/

"LEVITT: For every mile walked drunk, turns out to be eight times more dangerous than the mile driven drunk. To put it simply, if you need to walk a mile from a party to your home, you’re eight times more likely to die doing that than if you jump behind the wheel and drive your car that same mile."


The news stories Duncan linked to don't say he was drunk but a witness speculated that he was...

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Duncan
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 06:13:18 PM »

Duncan mentioned in the show that he may have been in just as much danger walking in a heavily used auto area at that time.  Reminded me of this:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/12/28/the-perils-of-drunk-walking/

"LEVITT: For every mile walked drunk, turns out to be eight times more dangerous than the mile driven drunk. To put it simply, if you need to walk a mile from a party to your home, you’re eight times more likely to die doing that than if you jump behind the wheel and drive your car that same mile."


The news stories Duncan linked to don't say he was drunk but a witness speculated that he was...



Yeah. I figure he was drunk. The toxicology reports will still be a few weeks till they return. But let's use Occam's Razor. He was probably drunk.

Now, as far as the Freakonomics guys go, they're pretty great. (Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics, endorsed the KunstlerCast book by the way. His quote is on the cover and inside).

BUT...any justification for driving drunk is bullshit. Most people who drink have gotten behind the wheel when they shouldn't have. I'm not here to preach or judge. Think about it though -- if you're drunk behind the wheel you can drive your car through the window of a crowded restaurant, take out all the people on the first floor, start a fire, burn down the whole building and end up killing all the sleeping babies and kittens on the whole block.

On the other hand, if you're walking down the street drunk, you could step into traffic and get run over.

Which is worse?

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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 06:16:59 PM »

I'm totally digging Lord Whimsy's website.
^
Yup, adding to Favorites Bar.

Cool topic today Duncan, and keep up the good fight.
I think Jim hit it square and firm when naming the legal system as the root of these nonsence issues.  However the term "Big Mother" is a great one.  Used in conjunction with raising awareness.  All a bunch of yammer.

The topic of boys (and girls) exploring their surroundings in an un-supervised manner is an oldie but goodie around this forum.  I can't imagine not sneaking into an old abandoned house or plodding through the ruins of factories or industrial activity as a kid.  Ya, today I've got a little more sense and measure things abit first, but still like to snoop around. 
It is amazing to me how quickly things change as Jim alluded to with his story of the fawn and the factory floor.

 There are rooted up, un-even sidewalks that lead to the old "Shops" on the edge of town, small wonder no goodie two-shoes haven't called for the removal of these dangerous hazards to humanity.  I mean you could accidently run off the road and hurt your car on them.

Great photos as usual Andrew.  These always break the heart.

Eat Game.  Watch Game.  A regular growlery if the score goes unfavorably.   Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 07:40:04 PM »

Quote
drunk behind the wheel you can drive your car through the window of a crowded restaurant, take out all the people on the first floor, start a fire, burn down the whole building and end up killing all the sleeping babies and kittens on the whole block.

O' noes, save teh kittens!

That's our next argument for walkable neighborhoods.  Build walkable neighborhoods or kittens will die.
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marcszar
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 07:45:22 PM »

BUT...any justification for driving drunk is bullshit. Most people who drink have gotten behind the wheel when they shouldn't have. I'm not here to preach or judge. Think about it though -- if you're drunk behind the wheel you can drive your car through the window of a crowded restaurant, take out all the people on the first floor, start a fire, burn down the whole building and end up killing all the sleeping babies and kittens on the whole block.

On the other hand, if you're walking down the street drunk, you could step into traffic and get run over.

Which is worse?

Levitt was relying on specious econometrics...
http://bettercities.net/news-opinion/blogs/robert-steuteville/15804/drunk-safer-drive-walk-says-economist
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Karaokevox
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 08:48:53 PM »

                     
Which is worse?


The loss of life for any reason is just as bad as the loss of quality life.  It's interesting how the cellphone has become a sort of nanny for kids and adults.  I thought it was interesting how the mother of his child was on the phone with him at the time.  She considered charming his "vague" answers to her questions about where EXACTLY he was located.   Being inebriated is never charming.  To me, it revealed her controlling and possessive attitude towards her boyfriend.  He wasn't charming, he was acting like a teenager who missed his curfew.  Obviously, he wasn't a teenager and he wasn't unfamiliar with the area, the people and working late hours and drinking.  A fair analysis of the situation, after all the available evidence being given, would lead me to "rule" that he was destracted.  Just like a driver can be destracted while driving, a walker or bike rider can be destracted. 

If it wasn't the gauntlet bridge it could have been a steep incline or a rock that throws him off balance tumbling into an area where he could have broken someting or had a concussion.  Phones are for when AFTER accidents happen, for rescue.  Yet, the whole conversation seemed to be anticipating it.  The more I think about it...the personal aspects of his life...the more possiblility he could have decided to commit suicide.  Maybe it wasn't consciously planned...maybe in his condition it was spur of the moment and maybe someone has a life insurance policy on him...Not only is our society litigious but its very desperate and in difficult straights of the times.  He had a child with a woman he wasn't married to and working a job that is not conducive to family life.  Maybe in Europe you can run a pub or neighborhood bar (15ft form your house) and have a family life....not in the States.  I don't know about that part of the country...mabye i'm wrong.

       
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 09:40:00 PM »

Kvox, you seem to be jumping to a fair amount of conclusions:

- charming is in the eye of the beholder.  She didn't say his (alleged) inebriation was charming, perhaps silly answers were part of his own sense of humor.

- I don't like the notion of anybody saying a certain job is or isn't appropriate for "family life".  My father-in-law is a jazz musician.  He taught music lessons all day, and gigged all night, 6 days a week.  He'd be giving a master class at a school in Milwaukee in the morning, and blowing all night in a club in Chicago on any given Friday, getting home at 3am typically.  Raised 3 great kids, one of which is my wife, who has nothing but love and respect for the man.  It takes all kinds.

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