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Wyoming Has 66 times More Senate Power than California, and You Should be Mad.

By: Michael Rodriguez

I’m going to sidetrack today and talk a bit about politics, and in particular, electoral systems.  Any of you who know me know that I can’t stand the disproportionate power that some small states have over larger states.  In particular, I’m talking about the deliberate over representation (aka “equal representation”) in the U.S. Senate, as well as in the Electoral College.

I want to place the disproportionate power in context, and argue that back in 1792 the power imbalance was not so stark as it is today. The Founding Fathers probably didn’t anticipate the disparate population levels we have among states now. I think it would have been a tougher argument to give so few people in these tiny states so much relative power.  I just don’t think Wyoming deserves as much Senate power as it has, for example.

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Can Uber Break 1-million Riders In Charlotte?

by: Michael Rodriguez


Based on some of the job postings around, it comes as no surprise to anyone that the everyone’s favorite taxi/technology company, Uber, has been expanding at breakneck speed. As they plan to enter the Charlotte, North Carolina market, some may wonder if this service is viable in a city that is not New York, San Francisco, or Washington, DC. I decided to run some numbers and do some fancy-pants statistics, and the preliminary figures are: its possible to get towards 1 million even in this market. I used some math to estimate.

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Velomobile: Can the ELF Buck History’s FAILS in Transportation Tech?

Image: The ELF is a pedal/electric velomobile, that can be charged using a built-in photovoltaic panel. Photo from Gizmag.

Every now and again we see another vehicle designed by another company that claims to be the disruption in the transportation field to move us past the internal combustion automobile.  Recently, Oragnic Transit has developed a “velomobile" that they are calling the ELF, and they have raised over $250,000 on their Kickstarter campaign.

I would be excited to see folks zipping around in ELFs all over the place, and wide adoption of this type of technology (a petal-powered, electric-assist, solar-recharging, partially-enclosed tricycle). But I’m cautious, and think that without navigating the regulatory environment and phenomenal marketing, this might end up in the dustbin of “cool idea but not practical” innovations. 

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The Washington Post:

“Tysons Corner, on the verge of a do-over

By Corinne Reilly, Published: January 3

The first thing to go was the parking lot behind the Container Store. And if all goes according to plan, more lots will be bulldozed — as will dozens of mid-rise office buildings, hotels and car dealerships.

Two years after Fairfax County adopted a radical, four-decade plan to redevelop Tysons Corner, it is finally beginning to happen, block by block, building by building.

Inspired by the decision to run Metro’s new Silver Line through Tysons, the county essentially is undertaking a do-over, one that seeks to replace much of what stands today with an urban, vibrant, walkable, downtown built around residents and rail. It is a monumental task that has never been done on such a grand scale. And there is no turning back.

Even the name has been remade. It is now just Tysons — no “Corner” — a sleeker brand that the marketing people hope will sell “the new downtown.”

“No one in the history of mankind has ever tried to do this” in a place that is already so developed — and developed entirely around cars and commuters, said Christopher Leinberger, with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “There is nowhere to look for a model for this kind of transformation.”

Photo: Bill O’Leary/WASHINGTON POST FILE PHOTO - Lunch-time traffic is seen in Tysons Corner on International Drive.

Is Uber Empowering Female Drivers?

I want to share an interesting theme that came up the other day when I was taking an Uber ride (and briefly tweeted about). I was in DC using Uber for my first time just the other day and headed to lunch when I pulled out my iPhone and called up a black car. Because I was centrally located at 14th and K for work, it took well under 5 minutes for the car to roll up - it was a nice black Escalade. 

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(via Would More Drivers Use Mass Transit if It Mimicked Private Cars?)

Personal Rapid Transit is probably best described as a hybrid between the private car and public transit, with some more familiar elements of the taxi and elevator thrown in. Picture, in short, a pod car. Engineers and researchers (even Google!) have been fantasizing for several decades now about the concept, which would personalize public transit in small vehicles – perhaps running on or hanging from an elevated track – that would transport you straight to your destination without any of the stops and delays of a bus route, or without the cost of a taxi ride.

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