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Choisya
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Themes : Where there's a will...

[ Edited ]
Many railways run in remote parts of the world - the trans-Siberian railway for instance, although Russia has a low population density (8.4). Canada's density is the same as the US but it has a good public transport system and one of the best railways in the world. Australia only has a population density of 2.4 but has a good public transport system. Britain's system was built long before it had a high population density but successive governments have thought it important and so invested in it. Offshore islands here often have subsidised bus and ferry systems. All European railway systems are subsidised by the taxpayer because they are considered to be an important natioonal resource. Wars have also played an important part in maintaining European railway systems and both Germany and Britain nationalised their railways to facilitate the movement of troops and military hardware. Mrs Thatcher denationalised our railway system and we are now lagging behind Europe in train and railway design, where we once led the world. We only have two high speed (200 mph) trains whereas the TGV network operates all over Western Europe.

As part of our 'green' policies our bus systems are subsidised by ratepayers and pensioners and schoolchildren get free bus passes. Four wheel drive cars are more heavily taxed and you pay a charge to drive into a major city, thus freeing the roads for buses. The success of public transport systems depend on the amount of public investment governments are prepared to make, or rather the amount of taxation the public is prepared to pay towards it. As fuel becomes a scarce and costly resource American governments may be forced into making similar decisions. US railways were built out to the West to facilitate trade and the movement of people. We know from reading Victorian literature that these were highly speculative ventures but that they eventually became profitable. It may become necessary to revive these systems with public money. Where there's a will, there's a way:smileyhappy:.

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-29-2007 03:26 AM
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Themes : Where there's a will...

Ah, Choisya, I knew you would come back to try to refute me. The more things change....

The US has long line train service also, all the way across the country, like the trans-Siberian railway or the cross-Australia railroad. So we're no different in that regard. Although in the case of almost all long-run railroads, flying is much faster and usually much cheaper, so the railroads on these long hauls are most often utilized by those not willing to fly or by tourists wanting the travel experience more than an efficient trip to a destination.

Long haul railroads are a very different thing from public transit which enables people to get around without cars. So you can take a train from Moscow to Chita. You still have to find a way to get to Yakutsk.

As to Canada, have you ever tried to travel there outside any major city by public transit? Ever tried to get from Vancouver to Squamish, say, without a car? Good luck.

We have excellent public transit in many of our cities. But between cities, less so. In England most of your major cities aren't more than 20 or 30 miles from the next significant city, and the longest distance from your capital in London to the most distant part of England is only about 300 miles.

Our cities are much further apart than that. Go 300 miles from Washington, D.C., and you're not much more than a tenth of the way across the country, or if you go either north or south you haven't come close to the end of the country either way. Trying to cover these vast expanses with a public transit system which would bring the majority of our population within walking distances of their homes would be exorbitantly expensive.

However, there are some interesting statistics from the World Resources Institute. You may have great public transit, but you still rely on cars almost as much as we do. According to WRI statistics, for the latest years they have data, the UK had 439.2 passenger cars per thousand population, and the US had 482.4. Given that your population density is much greater than ours, your automobile density per square mile or square kilometer is far higher than ours. Given that with your public transit there is significantly less need for a car in the UK than in the US, so that for many Britons it is more a matter of choice than necessity that they choose to own cars, it is apparent that you actually love your cars more than we do.

You're right about one thing, though. Europeans accept heavy taxation to support their public transit, and are much more willing to rely on government to provide for their needs than we are.

To bring this back to O Pioneers, it is evident that even in the late 1800s, when Europe was almost fully settled and had its public transit systems of railroads and stagecoaches well in place, we were still settling vast areas of raw land where there was no possibility of supporting public transit. As Middlemarch, now being read in another BN group, points out, your railroads were building rapidly as early as the 1830s, when Cather's Kansas was still wilderness.

Different countries, different lifestyles, therefore different need or possibility for public transit.

BTW, I have no idea where you get the idea that Canada's density is the same as ours. According to Wikipedia's article on population density, Canada has 3.2 people per square km to our 31. About one tenth as densely populated. That hardly justifies your saying that their density is the same as ours. I used to camp in central Canada, and I can assure you that there is only a small part of the country with even reasonably available public transit. For most of the country, no car or no float plane means no access.


Choisya wrote:
Many railways run in remote parts of the world - the trans-Siberian railway for instance, although Russia has a low population density (8.4). Canada's density is the same as the US but it has a good public transport system and one of the best railways in the world. Australia only has a population density of 2.4 but has a good public transport system. Britain's system was built long before it had a high population density but successive governments have thought it important and so invested in it. Offshore islands here often have subsidised bus and ferry systems. All European railway systems are subsidised by the taxpayer because they are considered to be an important natioonal resource. Wars have also played an important part in maintaining European railway systems and both Germany and Britain nationalised their railways to facilitate the movement of troops and military hardware. Mrs Thatcher denationalised our railway system and we are now lagging behind Europe in train and railway design, where we once led the world. We only have two high speed (200 mph) trains whereas the TGV network operates all over Western Europe.

As part of our 'green' policies our bus systems are subsidised by ratepayers and pensioners and schoolchildren get free bus passes. Four wheel drive cars are more heavily taxed and you pay a charge to drive into a major city, thus freeing the roads for buses. The success of public transport systems depend on the amount of public investment governments are prepared to make, or rather the amount of taxation the public is prepared to pay towards it. As fuel becomes a scarce and costly resource American governments may be forced into making similar decisions. US railways were built out to the West to facilitate trade and the movement of people. We know from reading Victorian literature that these were highly speculative ventures but that they eventually became profitable. It may become necessary to revive these systems with public money. Where there's a will, there's a way:smileyhappy:.

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-29-2007 03:26 AM


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Choisya
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Themes : Where there's a will...

Everyman wrote:
Ah, Choisya, I knew you would come back to try to refute me. The more things change....


Sorry, I thought I was answering a post from Lathan! However, I will give you the courtesy of a reply:

Lands End to John O'Groats is 700 miles and London to John O'Groats 500. On our motorways the distances between cities are often around 200-300 miles, especially in Scotland. There are far more under-populated places in the UK than you seem to think, especially in our agricultural areas but they are all served by some sort of a subsidised bus service, even if it is a min-bus operated by the postman. But in Europe, which includes Russia up to the Urals, vast distances can be travelled on rail and road. Calais to Moscow, Marseilles or to Barcelona for instance all have road, rail and bus links. The US could have the same if it had the political will.

Your transport figures are peculiar because only 2.59 million cars are licensed in the UK to approx 60 million population. (I think perhaps your figures refer to those travelling in cars - which could include, say, 3-4 per car.) 40% of Londoners do not have a car whereas according to the WWF '37% of the total number of cars in the world are on America's roads' and 'US residents consume almost double the resources as that of a UK resident and more than 24 times that of some Africans.' However, in Europe we know we have too many cars on our roads and we are trying to do something about it. We are happy to pay more taxes if it helps to share the world resources more equably and helps to prevent the sort of global warming which is making life impossible for animals such as polar bears or siberian tigers - which our grandchildren may never see in the wild:smileysad:. My children and my friends are happy to have a lower standard of living if it means that such things can be achieved and that others can live more comfortably. I think perhaps Americans are burying their heads in the sand about such matters at the moment but I feel sure that your grandchildren will be travelling on public transport and helping to save their planet from further degradation. My eldest grand-daughter will soon be on her way to South America to help preserve rainforests, and already campaigns about similar issues. I will help to fund her, just as I am helping a young girl in Kenya through school. We can all do our bit, I feel, and Lathan is contributing by forgoing his car (which I realise is impossible for you because of your island location).

I do not know what you mean by 'long haul railroads are a different thing from public transit'? All the European railways carry both freight and passengers, the freight usually being carried overnight. Much road freight travels overnight because many European cities do not allow delivery of goods via lorry during the day because of noise and pollution. Lorries entering London are confined to delivering between midnight and 7am.

BTW my Lonely Planet guide tells me there is a bus service between Squamish and Vancouver and even a bus station at Squamish, and there is also a bus service between Yakutsk and Moscow:smileyhappy:. But I know from taking my younger grandchildren around that those used to driving or being driven think that waiting for a bus/train is the end of the world and always say that public transport is dreadful:smileyhappy:. But you can get a lot of work done on a train - when I was on the Eurostar to Paris recently there were many business people plugged in to their laptops and mobile phones getting two-and-a-half hours work done in a comfortable, spacious environment and I certainly got a lot of work done when I travelled by rail to and from the European parliament. It also means you can get a lot more reading done!

However, this is nothing to doing with O Pioneers or Cather so we had better desist and bring in a peacable New Year!
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Themes : Where there's a will...

Choisya wrote:
Lands End to John O'Groats is 700 miles and London to John O'Groats 500.

If you want to go to the outer reaches, sure. Then for the US you have to take from Key West in Florida to Port Barrow, Alaska (I leave out Hawaii since you can't drive there). This is a distance of well over 7,000 miles.

On our motorways the distances between cities are often around 200-300 miles, especially in Scotland.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say only in Scotland. Even Exeter to Bournemouth, which seems to be one of the greatest between city differences in England, is less than 100 miles.

here are far more under-populated places in the UK than you seem to think, especially in our agricultural areas

From my travels in England and in the US, I would say that we have different views of what under-populated means. I suggest that you take a bus across Montana sometime, or from El Paso to San Antonio, Texas. Then you may begin to appreciate what underpopulation is.

Even Scotland, where most of the UK's emptier land can be found, has a population density of about 170 people per square mile, compared with Montana's 6.2 people per square mile, or maybe better compare with our northern extremity of Alaska, with 1.1 persons per square mile with, like Scotland, most of the population along the southern edge.

I have driven across Montana through stretches where I would not come across so much as a single house or gas station for more than 50 miles. Even in Scotland that's hard to accomplish.

As I said, I don't think Europeans have any concept of the vastness of the US or, once you move away from the coasts or Mississippi corridor, the sparseness of its population.


The US could have the same if it had the political will.

In theory, of course, you're right. In theory, anything that is physically possible can be done if one has the political will, just as the UK could ban all private motorcars entirely and force the population to rely exclusively on foot, bicycle, and public transit.

But if you're talking rational and not theoretical political will, you're talking nonsense. The cost to give Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Maine, etc. a public transit system as comprehensive as Europe's would be a stupid waste of money.

I've travelled in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland by car, bus, train, underground, bicycle, and foot. Have you done the same in the US? Until you have, you really don't understand what you're talking about.
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Choisya
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems.

I do not think that such a vast country as the US can be compared with the UK in this way, which is why I have been giving European examples. But for the size of the country and the density of its population, we too have remote areas and long distances between cities. Bournemouth and Exeter are small towns on ordinary roads but the distances between cities on the motorways like London to Birmingham, London to Edinburgh can be several hundred miles. The Highlands of Scotland from the East Coast to the West have been deserted since the Clearances and are several hundred miles of narrow, winding, deserted roads. Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Yorkshire moors are some 30 miles across without any habitation. You can walk the Pennine Way, in the Cheviot Hills and the Lake District for up to 100 miles without encountering anything except a shepherd or a fellow walker. You can also drive across the 'breadbasket' of the Lincolnshire fens for over 70 miles without seeing anything but a small village. Maybe you have forgotten about these lonely places. Underpopulated to me means a village or a hamlet with around 6 residents and we have had plenty of those since the Industrial Revolution caused agricultural workers to move to the towns.

I have not visited the US of course, although my son has driven from Canada across Montana and told me how vast and lonely it was. However, I do know quite a lot about the world's railway systems and their economics because it was a specialist lecture subject of my father's. I grew up in an area where the men either went down the mines or made railway engines and talked about railways endlessly. I also have friends and relatives who are railway enthusiasts, including one who frequently goes to Canada on business and travels by rail, bus and taxi there. Railways are a popular 'hobby' subject in the UK and statistics and books on them abound - I just sent one to my cousin for Xmas but not before reading it!

As for political will, America has spent vast amounts of money travelling into space and if circumstances like shortage of fuel force it into building better public transport systems, I have no doubt it will do so. If China can afford it, so can the US. It is just a question of communal and national effort, rather like that being expended on 'fighting terrorism' at the present time. We do not know what future transport systems will be. As rail speeds and comfort grow, people may decide they want to travel this way. Maybe trains will become jet powered. We are now building monorails in London, these may become popular everywhere, as in Japan. Australians are working on a 'Beam Me Up Scotty' device, maybe our grandchildren will be travelling this way:smileyhappy:. It is just a question of thinking outside the box, not assuming that everything will remain the same or that our governments will spend our taxes on the same things. I just do not think that as the world (and America's) population expands (explodes!) that a car mainly carrying one person is a viable option and we are going to be forced to think about alternatives. I am pleased to see that some Americans are already doing so:-

http://bikeforpeace.org/packing_pavement.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,940698,00.html

BTW I am sure other readers here would be interested to hear about your travels in the UK. You have not mentioned these when we have been discussing novels dealing with the English countryside. When were you last here? Which parts did you like the best? Maybe you were put off by the overpopulation in our cities - I know that I am and I head for the remoter areas whenever I can.
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems - Apology..

I must apologise to Foxycat and her readers for banging on about public transport systems - brought on by dear Lathan's comment about giving up his car:smileyhappy:. These are hot topics Over the Pond and conversation, TV and newspapers are full of the issues I have raised but I realise they are of little concern to those here. I will therefore desist forthwith so as to bring in the New Year on a more peaceable note:smileyvery-happy:.
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems.

Choisya wrote: the distances between cities on the motorways like London to Birmingham, London to Edinburgh can be several hundred miles.

But there are numerous cities in between. If you're in an English city, you're never more than about 50 miles from another city or large town. In the US, that can be several hundred miles with NO significant town or village.

And we consider several hundred miles to be a relatively minor distance here. The distance from New York to Los Angeles is on the order of 2,500 miles. The distance from Ocean Shores, in the west of Washington State to Spokane in the East, the two largest cities in the state, is 390 miles. All in just the one state.

The Highlands of Scotland from the East Coast to the West have been deserted since the Clearances and are several hundred miles of narrow, winding, deserted roads.

I'm not sure which sections you're referring to. Above Inverness, Scotland is pretty much deserted, but is only about 30 miles wide, so you would have to do an awful lot of back-and-forth to travel several hundred miles. Below Inverness, the people of Milton, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Avemore, Newtonmore, Aberfeldy, and many other places might take issue with your contention that their home country is deserted.

Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Yorkshire moors are some 30 miles across without any habitation.

In that case, you should tell both Google satellite images and the Ordinance Survey to correct their websites, since both show habitations on Dartmoor. And the people living in Simonsbath and other sites on Exmoor might take offense at their homes not being considered habitations. But they must be wrong, since you say there are none.

You can walk the Pennine Way, in the Cheviot Hills and the Lake District for up to 100 miles without encountering anything except a shepherd or a fellow walker.

Gee. This site
http://www.sherpavan.com/accomm_booking/maps.asp?trail=PW
certainly suggests that there are towns and accommodations all along the way. And you certainly cross a number of roads, though I suppose if you're lucky you can avoid seeing any cars on them.

Are you contending that there are any stretches of the Pennine Way where it is essential to carry a tent and sleeping bag because there is no possibility of finding accommodation once you have started up the trail?

If you want an isolated walk, try our Appalachian Trail (2,175 miles give or take a few, much of it through deep wilderness, not a calm walk on the dales) or the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles from the desert to mountain passes that are only snow free for two or three months in the year.) On either of these trails you really can walk 100 miles without seeing any human habitations. Indeed, there are places on both trails (I've hiked on both) where you have to carry at least four days food or you'll go hungry, because there is NOWHERE to get off the trail to get food. And be sure you hang your food out of the reach of bears or you'll be mighty hungry before you get to the next road or place you can find any humans.

You can also drive across the 'breadbasket' of the Lincolnshire fens for over 70 miles without seeing anything but a small village.

You need to tell Google that they've got a lot of places shown on their maps which don't exist. Perhaps you can tell me what route I should take across the fens to travel even twenty-five miles without passing through several villages.

As I have said before, back to the original point here about the necessity of cars in most of the US, Europeans simply don't understand the vastness and underpopulation of most of the US and the total absurdity of trying to design an affordable public transportation system for most of the country.
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Themes : Where there's a will...



Choisya wrote:
Your transport figures are peculiar because only 2.59 million cars are licensed in the UK to approx 60 million population. (I think perhaps your figures refer to those travelling in cars - which could include, say, 3-4 per car.)

Well, you can check the numbers for yourself.
http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/index.php?theme=6&variable_ID=1016&action=select_countries

the figures from this site are a bit different, but still show a much higher per capita ownership of cars in GB than your figures do. Your figures suggest only 43.2 cars per thousand residents.

I know you're an expert Internet researcher, so I hesitate to question your figures without knowing the source of your information. Can you provide me with the data sources you used for your assertion of car ownership?

It's interesting to note that according to NM, despite Europe's vaunted public transit system and alleged emphasis on green living, five European countries have higher car ownership rates than the US does. I guess they aren't as committed to public transit as we over here might think.
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems.

[ Edited ]
This isn't a competition about remoteness or distances! It stands to reason that America is far far bigger than the UK and that people commonly travel very long distances but nevertheless there are many remote and dangerous places here - ask any experienced walker or climber. Aviemore, for instance, which you mention, is at the foot of Ben Nevis, one of the most dangerous mountains in Europe and is never snow-free. It claims lives every year through exposure and inability to get to the nearest farm or village, as do Kinderscout in Derbyshire and Snowdon in Wales. Small by your standards but places do not have to be vast to be remote and dangerous. Bad weather and impenetrable mists play their part (remember the Hound of the Baskervilles and Dartmoor?) All I was trying to say is that although we are densely populated there are still many remote places.

I was wrong to say 'no habitation' - I should have said insignificant habitation, that is a hamlet or a small village, a golfing hotel maybe. Or a Manderley tucked in a valley. Google or not, I have walked and cycled thousands of solitary miles in all the places I mention, which for the most part do not have roads suitable for ordinary cars. Your 'map' of the Pennine way, which I know like the back of my hand, is a histogram, as is the one of Northumberland. Many are just place names, pubs or farmhouses. A large part of Scotland between Inverness/Aberdeen and Fort William is barren and cottages have been deserted for several centuries, although they probably show up on Google because it shows empty and ruined buildings as well as inhabited ones. They are called 'blackhouses' and are supposedly haunted:smileysurprised:.

http://www.highlandclearances.info/index3.html

From what you say you have clearly not been to the Highlands, Northumberland, the Peak District or Dartmoor/Exmoor. Looking at maps gives you no idea whatsoever of the terrain you cover - the 20 mile distance between Simonsbath and Molland is very inhospitable heathland and bog. And most fens, which are only around 12ft feet apart, are fit only for boats, with arable land strips and/or reeds in between. Also, roads over here twist and turn so much, 'back and forth', that you cover far more miles than on straight man made highways. This is especially true of Scotland where old roads wind around the mountains. Many of our B and C roads are just ancient covered cart tracks going over and/or around the hills - all our motorways, which have been built since you were here as a lad, bypass them, although our railways went through many.

As for the 'absurdity' of railways or public transport systems in vast, isolated places, try telling that to the Russians (whose land area exceeds that of the US and which has some of the most inaccessible regions in the world - where the Gulags were!) or for difficult transport systems try explaining it to the Swiss whose efficient road and rail systems for the most part go through the limestone Dolomites at around 9000 ft. Building railway track across Montana would be a doddle! You might not be able to reach every part of the country - no railway in the world does - but you could cover the major part of it IF the will was there and you imported some good European railway engineers. Did you know that Russia plans to build a railway tunnel under the Bering Straits, linking Russia with America via Alaska? Tsar Nicholas first thought of it but the idea was shelved during the Cold War. They say it is now economically viable. So maybe that will be the start of a US railway revolution:-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1680121.ece

As I said at the outset, where there's a will there's a way - Federal subsidies were given to your early railroad builders, especially for surveying, so maybe history will repeat itself:smileyhappy:. Maybe one of your grandsons will become another George Pullman and build luxury carriages the like of which we have never seen before!

As a walker and cyclist I was always thankful that we had no dangerous animals, insects or snakes here although recently wild boar has been re-introduced and there is talk of re-introducing wolves! It will be bears and bison next!

BTW on my 60th birthday I travelled from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express, which is a distance of around 2000 miles - the longest journey I have done, so roughly equivalent to New York to Los Angeles. IF I manage to get my railway enthusiast friend to go with me on the trans-Siberian express I will be travelling around 6,000 miles to Vladivostock or maybe Beijing.

I think we have exhausted this conversation but I have found your information about the geography and distances in the US fascinating and thank you for taking the time to explain them, particularly as I am unlikely to visit.




Everyman wrote:
Choisya wrote: the distances between cities on the motorways like London to Birmingham, London to Edinburgh can be several hundred miles.

But there are numerous cities in between. If you're in an English city, you're never more than about 50 miles from another city or large town. In the US, that can be several hundred miles with NO significant town or village.

And we consider several hundred miles to be a relatively minor distance here. The distance from New York to Los Angeles is on the order of 2,500 miles. The distance from Ocean Shores, in the west of Washington State to Spokane in the East, the two largest cities in the state, is 390 miles. All in just the one state.

The Highlands of Scotland from the East Coast to the West have been deserted since the Clearances and are several hundred miles of narrow, winding, deserted roads.

I'm not sure which sections you're referring to. Above Inverness, Scotland is pretty much deserted, but is only about 30 miles wide, so you would have to do an awful lot of back-and-forth to travel several hundred miles. Below Inverness, the people of Milton, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Avemore, Newtonmore, Aberfeldy, and many other places might take issue with your contention that their home country is deserted.

Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Yorkshire moors are some 30 miles across without any habitation.

In that case, you should tell both Google satellite images and the Ordinance Survey to correct their websites, since both show habitations on Dartmoor. And the people living in Simonsbath and other sites on Exmoor might take offense at their homes not being considered habitations. But they must be wrong, since you say there are none.

You can walk the Pennine Way, in the Cheviot Hills and the Lake District for up to 100 miles without encountering anything except a shepherd or a fellow walker.

Gee. This site
http://www.sherpavan.com/accomm_booking/maps.asp?trail=PW
certainly suggests that there are towns and accommodations all along the way. And you certainly cross a number of roads, though I suppose if you're lucky you can avoid seeing any cars on them.

Are you contending that there are any stretches of the Pennine Way where it is essential to carry a tent and sleeping bag because there is no possibility of finding accommodation once you have started up the trail?

If you want an isolated walk, try our Appalachian Trail (2,175 miles give or take a few, much of it through deep wilderness, not a calm walk on the dales) or the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles from the desert to mountain passes that are only snow free for two or three months in the year.) On either of these trails you really can walk 100 miles without seeing any human habitations. Indeed, there are places on both trails (I've hiked on both) where you have to carry at least four days food or you'll go hungry, because there is NOWHERE to get off the trail to get food. And be sure you hang your food out of the reach of bears or you'll be mighty hungry before you get to the next road or place you can find any humans.

You can also drive across the 'breadbasket' of the Lincolnshire fens for over 70 miles without seeing anything but a small village.

You need to tell Google that they've got a lot of places shown on their maps which don't exist. Perhaps you can tell me what route I should take across the fens to travel even twenty-five miles without passing through several villages.

As I have said before, back to the original point here about the necessity of cars in most of the US, Europeans simply don't understand the vastness and underpopulation of most of the US and the total absurdity of trying to design an affordable public transportation system for most of the country.









Everyman wrote:
Choisya wrote: the distances between cities on the motorways like London to Birmingham, London to Edinburgh can be several hundred miles.

But there are numerous cities in between. If you're in an English city, you're never more than about 50 miles from another city or large town. In the US, that can be several hundred miles with NO significant town or village.

And we consider several hundred miles to be a relatively minor distance here. The distance from New York to Los Angeles is on the order of 2,500 miles. The distance from Ocean Shores, in the west of Washington State to Spokane in the East, the two largest cities in the state, is 390 miles. All in just the one state.

The Highlands of Scotland from the East Coast to the West have been deserted since the Clearances and are several hundred miles of narrow, winding, deserted roads.

I'm not sure which sections you're referring to. Above Inverness, Scotland is pretty much deserted, but is only about 30 miles wide, so you would have to do an awful lot of back-and-forth to travel several hundred miles. Below Inverness, the people of Milton, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Avemore, Newtonmore, Aberfeldy, and many other places might take issue with your contention that their home country is deserted.

Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Yorkshire moors are some 30 miles across without any habitation.

In that case, you should tell both Google satellite images and the Ordinance Survey to correct their websites, since both show habitations on Dartmoor. And the people living in Simonsbath and other sites on Exmoor might take offense at their homes not being considered habitations. But they must be wrong, since you say there are none.

You can walk the Pennine Way, in the Cheviot Hills and the Lake District for up to 100 miles without encountering anything except a shepherd or a fellow walker.

Gee. This site
http://www.sherpavan.com/accomm_booking/maps.asp?trail=PW
certainly suggests that there are towns and accommodations all along the way. And you certainly cross a number of roads, though I suppose if you're lucky you can avoid seeing any cars on them.

Are you contending that there are any stretches of the Pennine Way where it is essential to carry a tent and sleeping bag because there is no possibility of finding accommodation once you have started up the trail?

If you want an isolated walk, try our Appalachian Trail (2,175 miles give or take a few, much of it through deep wilderness, not a calm walk on the dales) or the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles from the desert to mountain passes that are only snow free for two or three months in the year.) On either of these trails you really can walk 100 miles without seeing any human habitations. Indeed, there are places on both trails (I've hiked on both) where you have to carry at least four days food or you'll go hungry, because there is NOWHERE to get off the trail to get food. And be sure you hang your food out of the reach of bears or you'll be mighty hungry before you get to the next road or place you can find any humans.

You can also drive across the 'breadbasket' of the Lincolnshire fens for over 70 miles without seeing anything but a small village.

You need to tell Google that they've got a lot of places shown on their maps which don't exist. Perhaps you can tell me what route I should take across the fens to travel even twenty-five miles without passing through several villages.

As I have said before, back to the original point here about the necessity of cars in most of the US, Europeans simply don't understand the vastness and underpopulation of most of the US and the total absurdity of trying to design an affordable public transportation system for most of the country.



Message Edited by Choisya on 12-30-2007 04:14 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Car ownership/licensing figures.

[ Edited ]
I gave the latest figures from the DVLA - our official Vehicle Licensing Association, as reported in my Social Trends - official government statistics following the last census. To drive a car in Europe you have to have a license and be insured. Our population is 60.6 million. The figures given in Earth Trends are for 'transportation' and could include all kinds if 'vehicles'. No European country has a per capita ownership of cars higher than the US. It is well known that the US has the highest car ownership in Europe and North America. Only if Western Europe figures are aggregated will they show figures which equal or surpass the US. In the UK I think we purchase more cars than in other parts of Europe and perhaps the US because we change our cars more frequently, which may skew some figures if ownership is confused with purchase. These are the UN figures:-

http://www.unece.org/stats/trends2005/transport.htm

The same tables show the US as having 765 passenger cars per 1000 of population, UK 437, Germany 541 and France 476 so the US figure is approximately double that of the major European countries.

These are probably the most reliable figures because they are based on official government statistics submitted by all member countries of the UN.

'Green' policies in Europe also include tax breaks for cars which do more miles to the gallon or which use diesel, natural gas, 'green' petrol or biofuel. A typical car in the UK will do 35 miles to the gallon and this is an important factor when buying a car. SUV's pay a higher vehicle tax. In the UK we can, of course, use smaller cars because we do not drive such long distances. Germans have larger cars. Motor cycles are also very popular (especially in Germany) as are 'scooters' (Italy/France) as they are economical on fuel. In the small EEC countries like Holland, Belgiunm, Luxemburg the electric 2-seater smart' cars are used a lot and they are increasingly being seen in London - I don't suppose Americans would entertain those:smileyhappy:. It is fairly common to see a family with one large and one small car - one for local runs and the other for long distances and holidays.

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/12/05/2008-smart-fortwo-makes-its-auto-show-debut-in-bologna-with-...

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-30-2007 05:11 PM
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Everyman
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems - Apology..

Apparently you didn't mean what you said. Or else your definition of "desist" is much different from the dictionary's.

But it's time to call a halt to dueling statistics where we could both continue to produce statistics to support our positions and in reality neither one of knows which statistics are really accurate.

The reality is that Europe is much more densely populated than the US.
And the reality is that the more dense the population, the more efficient and cost efficient public transit is.

But since you appear to be committed to bashing the US on any environmental issue (at least I have never seen you say anything positive about our environmental policies), and I generally support our commitment to rational environmental policies over green hysteria, we are not going to agree. So I will take on the commitment you made but didn't follow through on to "desist forthwith so as to bring in the New Year on a more peaceable note."


Choisya wrote:
I must apologise to Foxycat and her readers for banging on about public transport systems - brought on by dear Lathan's comment about giving up his car:smileyhappy:. These are hot topics Over the Pond and conversation, TV and newspapers are full of the issues I have raised but I realise they are of little concern to those here. I will therefore desist forthwith so as to bring in the New Year on a more peaceable note:smileyvery-happy:.


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foxycat
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Re: (Off topic) Public transport systems - Apology..

No need to apologize. Everyone else left the board days ago. I've just been lurking.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Choisya
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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

[ Edited ]
But since you appear to be committed to bashing the US on any environmental issue (at least I have never seen you say anything positive about our environmental policies)

I have never 'bashed' US environmental policies. I cannot say anything positive about US environmental policies because I know absolutely nothing about them, other than the US non-participation in the Kyoto Agreement. I merely inform folks about the European ones, which may or may not be different/better/worse.

The reality is that Europe is much more densely populated than the US.

I think everyone knows this and that it is much much much larger than tiny tiny tiny UK.

And the reality is that the more dense the population, the more efficient and cost efficient public transit is.

It is actually more expensive to build railways in densely populated countries and much easier and more economic to build them across vast expanses of land. How much fares are then subsidised is a political not an economic judgement.

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-31-2007 01:20 PM
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Everyman
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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

As I said, you were unable to desist despite promising to.

You really are simply psychologically incapable of letting somebody else have the last word.

But I am more mature, so will let you have the last word on the topics under discussion, even though you're wrong about much of what you say. But somebody has to be adult enough to call this off, and since you can't although you said you would, I will.

Good bye.


Choisya wrote:
But since you appear to be committed to bashing the US on any environmental issue (at least I have never seen you say anything positive about our environmental policies)

I have never 'bashed' US environmental policies. I cannot say anything positive about US environmental policies because I know absolutely nothing about them, other than the US non-participation in the Kyoto Agreement. I merely inform folks about the European ones, which may or may not be different/better/worse.

The reality is that Europe is much more densely populated than the US.

I think everyone knows this and that it is much much much larger than tiny tiny tiny UK.

And the reality is that the more dense the population, the more efficient and cost efficient public transit is.

It is actually more expensive to build railways in densely populated countries and much easier and more economic to build them across vast expanses of land. How much fares are then subsidised is a political not an economic judgement.

Message Edited by Choisya on 12-31-2007 01:20 PM


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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

Why don't the two of you resolve not to do this any more? Make your point, agree or disagree, then move on. Someone in the group wrote to me, saying that's why s/he dropped out of the discussion early. I have the last word :smileyvery-happy:
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Everyman
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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

Better, perhaps, we should set up a Choisya-Everyman battle thread and every time either of us wants to respond to a post by the other we should copy in the original post there and respond there. That way we can keep battling out as long as we want without bothering anybody who doesn't want to be bothered.

foxycat wrote:
Why don't the two of you resolve not to do this any more? Make your point, agree or disagree, then move on. Someone in the group wrote to me, saying that's why s/he dropped out of the discussion early. I have the last word :smileyvery-happy:


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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

How about your own website?


Everyman wrote:
Better, perhaps, we should set up a Choisya-Everyman battle thread and every time either of us wants to respond to a post by the other we should copy in the original post there and respond there. That way we can keep battling out as long as we want without bothering anybody who doesn't want to be bothered.

foxycat wrote:
Why don't the two of you resolve not to do this any more? Make your point, agree or disagree, then move on. Someone in the group wrote to me, saying that's why s/he dropped out of the discussion early. I have the last word :smileyvery-happy:





Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Choisya
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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

[ Edited ]
OK FC except to say that this can't be the reason why someone dropped out early because I joined the discussion late and this is the only subject in O Pioneers upon which Everyman and I have answered each other - which I agree was a mistake:smileysad:.




foxycat wrote:
Why don't the two of you resolve not to do this any more? Make your point, agree or disagree, then move on. Someone in the group wrote to me, saying that's why s/he dropped out of the discussion early. I have the last word :smileyvery-happy:



Message Edited by Choisya on 01-01-2008 05:24 AM
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foxycat
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Re: (Off topic) US environmental policies.

Good point. I wrote and told him/her that, but that's how some people perceive it.



Choisya wrote:
OK FC except to say that this can't be the reason why someone dropped out early because I joined the discussion late and this is the only subject in O Pioneers upon which Everyman and I have answered each other - which I agree was a mistake:smileysad:.




foxycat wrote:
Why don't the two of you resolve not to do this any more? Make your point, agree or disagree, then move on. Someone in the group wrote to me, saying that's why s/he dropped out of the discussion early. I have the last word :smileyvery-happy:



Message Edited by Choisya on 01-01-2008 05:24 AM


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers! -- Dec 17 --Part V "Alexandra" and Book as a Whole


Everyman wrote:
Well, I finished the book last night, and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in it. But I'll wait to say why until this thread officially opens on Dec 17. {12-04-2007 01:06 PM}
Everyman, are those comments of disappointment basically embedded in your posts, or was there a summary review of O Pioneers! to which you intended to return?

Even though you undoubtedly realize my judgment would probably be less harsh on Ms. Cather than your own, just from the discussions that occurred during December, I would still be interested in the summarization of your views. But, I certainly understand if the topic seems not worth spending time upon, especially after so long a period.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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