Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Houston a green capital? plus top rankings, reducing crime, and elevated busways

Some smaller items for your reading pleasure when escaping the relatives or shopping of Thanksgiving break (or work, if you're stuck there this afternoon or Friday).
"The Daily Beast set out to definitively sort the best and the worst, undertaking a comprehensive study that heavily factored in on-time arrivals and departures, and also examined safety records, tarmac nightmares, airport accessibility, the baggage process, security waits, and amenities."
Here's the IAH profile for the story. Hat tip to Jessie.
"The lesson of High Point is that you can reduce crime by making credible threats, without having to lock up so many people. To deter, a punishment must be swift, certain and severe.
...
Mr Kleiman suggests several other promising, non-macho approaches to curbing crime. Raise alcohol taxes. Start school days later to prevent after-school crime. Force probationers to wear GPS tags, thus making probation a tough (and much cheaper) alternative to prison. Americans should experiment with such ideas, he says, and if they are serious about justice, the object should be to cut crime, not to make criminals suffer."
Lone Star Luck

In No. 2 city San Antonio, home to four military bases, and Austin, our third-ranked city and the state seat of government, municipal jobs supplement Texas' robust energy sector. In Dallas (No. 6), it's a thriving tech industry that buffers it from energy highs and lows. Although Houston (No. 8) is invested mostly in oil, it has diversified its energy industry beyond oil rigs into refining and chemicals manufacturing.

What's more, the state's housing prices never ascended to the unsustainable levels the rest of the country hit at the peak of the housing bubble. Thus, it didn't crash as hard. These factors have toughened the local economy against a recession that is inextricably tied to real estate.

"Texas didn't have as big of a boom," says James P. Gaines, research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "So we're not having anywhere near the kind of bust."

"Houston actually makes a lot of sense. Unlike many places in the country, Texas’ electricity grid isn’t under stress, for starters. And from an environmental perspective, it’s fairly clean, with a lot of juice coming from wind farms and natural-gas fired plants.

Electricity-guzzling cars that up the demand for natural-gas for power generation could even make the region’s fossil fuels industry happy, says says Kenneth Medlock, an economist at Rice University. And since most cars would charge at night, Texas’ booming wind-energy industry would find new customers, too.

In the end, America’s fourth-largest city epitomizes the country’s love affair with the car. Unlike in green urbs like San Francisco or Seattle, it’s all but impossible to live here without wheels—so they might as well be electric. It will probably be cheaper and easier to electrify urban sprawl than rein it in altogether.

Who knows? Maybe in a decade Houston’s famed ArtCar parade will be a largely electric affair."

(as I've been saying on this blog for a while: transit will not take over more than a tiny percentage of trips, the personal vehicle is now a permanent part of society, it will just change propulsion technology)

  • Speaking of being a green capital: algae fuel is picking up momentum, and biofuels are Houston's best bet for leveraging our energy infrastructure skill base to lead the next generation of energy technologies.
That's it for this round, but keep 'em comin' Jessie (and everybody else).

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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2 Comments:

At 6:29 PM, November 25, 2009, Blogger Alon Levy said...

Another idea for cutting crime that Texas should consider adopting is restricting private gun ownership. But then again, Texas without the guns is like California without Prop 13 or New York without the public sector unions.

 
At 11:58 AM, December 02, 2009, Anonymous kjb434 said...

Posting a fallacy Alon?

Restricting private gun ownership has never reduced crime. It makes it much easier to commit crime.

Law abiding citizens aren't the perpetrators of crime. A law abiding citizen owning a gun isn't a problem.

Why would a criminal care if it's illegal to own a gun. They aren't following the law anyway.

On top of that, if the criminal knows that homeowners, shop owners, etc. can't legal own a gun, then they will have no fear on committing the crime. Who's going to stop them?

Relying on the police for every aspect of public safety is idiotic at best. The police aren't here to prevent crime. They are here to handle the aftermath of criminal occurrence. Responsible citizens are the front-line and the police are only a backup and to clean the mess up.

Home break-ins and carjackings in Houston and Texas in general are lower than similar places with strict gun laws. A criminal is stupid to rob a home or steal a car with a person inside because they may get shot. Private gun ownership creates a great deterrence for crime.

Come live in the real world and not the intellectually void one where no guns means no crime.

 

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