Months after two deadly crashes, Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft still isn’t cleared for take off. The grounding has cost Boeing billions and thousands of flights have been cancelled. Investigations portray a culture of deceit and cost cutting, incentivizing corporate profit over product safety.
What will it take to prevent mass shootings?
Will mass shootings become part of America’s background noise? That’s an ugly prospect raised by the deaths of 34 people this week in Texas, Ohio and California. So, why are such atrocities on the rise?
President Trump and others blame video games and mental illness, but evidence shows otherwise. In fact, it appears there’s reason behind the madness. UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler says, “I think that they are designed to create terror and to spread terror.”
There is, “A clear white, nationalist, terrorist ideology,” according to James Palmer of Foreign Policy. “Recruitment and radicalization of these young men is carried out through the Internet.” Beyond that,”When we see language like invasion being used by the President, being used by Fox News, this is the language that fuels the false and racist conspracy theories on which terrorism draws.”
Whatever the motive of mass shooters might be, it’s America’s gun culture that gives them the means to carry out their intentions. In the aftermath of the latest incidents, background checks, gun buybacks and red flags are proposed by Democratic candidates to run against Trump in next year’s elections.
All could be effective in different ways, but Winkler says that’s where political reality sets in: “Four hundred million. That’s the number of firearms in civilian circulation in America today, and any gun law that you adopt runs headlong into that number.”
Vanderbilt Professor Jonathan Metzl has a cautionary note about gun control. “A lot of fear for people on the right is that all of a sudden what happens at moments like this is that every gun owner is all of a sudden quoted as being a ‘mass shooter.’ It’s important to create some context about just what guns mean in their communities.”
California v. Trump on auto emissions
President Trump wants to roll back Obama-era emission standards. But, after secret meetings with California’s top regulator, Ford, Honda, VW and BMW won’t go along. Will Toyota, GM and other car makers be left behind?
Are Democratic candidates playing into Trump’s hands?
Once again it’s the race for the White House as Reality TV, with 20 performers focused on making the next audition. Are “bold proposals” politically risky? Are moderators letting the candidates off easy?
Beat climate change: get out of your car?
The original purpose of cities was to bring people together. That was their function for thousands of years. Then came the 20th Century and the automobile, which, “blew cities apart.” That’s according to Robert Kunzig of National Geographic, who tells us that, Climate Change may bring cities together again.
Satellite research by NASA shows that cars--not to mention trucks and buses--produce a major part of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Getting rid of cars sounds like a helpful solution, and that sounds good for cities like New York which held on to their rail-transit systems. Many people who live there don’t even have a license to drive.
But, in other cities, “the choices we made 50 years ago have boxed us in.” Getting rid of cars in those places will mean years of urban re-planning and massive instructure construction. Projects are under way in Atlanta, Houston and even Los Angeles--the car capital of the world--but it’s not cheap, and it’s not easy.
So what about the electric car, with a developing market beginning to catch on? Joann Muller, transportation reporter for Axios, says that still means a lot of cars on the road, so Tesla and other companies are working on cars piloted by Artificial Intelligence to safely negotiate urban sprawl.
And, consider this Muller says, it’s right out of The Jetsons ; “there’s hope for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft… these types of air taxis will be in the sky flying around 10,000 feet and they’ll go right up over all this traffic”. They’ll get you to the airport or wherever in no time.”
What’s most likely is some kind of multi-model transportation adapted to local conditions. It will likely include higher-density housing as well as new ways of moving from one place to another.