4 min read

things i think about while powerwashing 61

things i think about while powerwashing 61
pc: esteemed subscriber junghyun choy.

this is now a train newsletter

One of my core memories while in China was the high speed rail (HSR). Zipping through the Chinese country side, cutting through the summer heat at 220 mph, there's no other way to get around China. All you need to do is sit and relax — and then you're there.

There is currently no such thing in California. Despite being one of the leaders of rail transportation in the 19th and 20th century, the car and the plane have quickly surpassed the lowly train as the premier way to transport Americans, thanks to a hefty helping hand from the government and legislators.

Who needs trains. Trains are for liberals anywa — wait, what's that? The sound of a train? A high-speed passenger rail system has been built? In the liberal stronghold of FLORIDA.

That's right. A public venture called Brightline has built a high-speed passenger rail at a max speed of 125 mph connecting Miami and Orlando. Still not exactly a stone's throw away from the Chinese HSR's high speed, but still pretty fast regardless.

But that's not the only HSR in the country. According to Wikipedia, there's actually faster HSR's between Philly and NY and between Providence and Boston (ostensibly operated by Amtrak).

The Acela train, which offered its first ride in 2000, is ostensibly one of the fastest trains of America, and I can believe it. The Northeast corridor is filled with a vast history and daily number of train commuters, but people who have taken the train have told me that Amtrak is definitely not immune numerous amounts of delays.

So why am I ranting about all these high speed rails, with seemingly no direction and no end, just like most high speed rail projects in America? Well, many portions of the California HSR project have broken ground or just passed their environmental review, leading to my dream of being able to take the train to LA, eat KBBQ, then take the train back to San Jose with each one way trip being 2 hours and 10 min.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:California_High-Speed_Rail

This is huge. Currently with planes it's recommended to be at your gate at least 40 minutes before your flight, and those times don't even include any possible delays at the gate or any TSA mishaps. Not to mention (again) having to go through TSA and specifically with LAX, having to get out of the airport using pretty much only an Uber and maybe a bus if you're patient. So this 2:10 travel time might actually hold up pretty well! Check back next week when I have more energy to write and you shall behold my thousand-word long expose on how the new HSR could possibly be faster than getting on a plane or driving to LA.

a note on taiwanese elections

By the time most of you have read this newsletter, most people in Taiwan will probably have cast their ballots for this year's election. Taiwan, the country that my parents are from and basically my favorite place in the world, has a weird and long history of being politically contentious as well as being the home of my grandma and the best chip manufacturers in the world.

Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, has two main movements: the Kuomingtang (KMT, blue party) who subscribe closer to the Republic of China identity that has its roots in literal China, and the Democratic People's Party (DPP, green party) which very much wants Taiwan to be its own country and its own identity. The DPP has been in power for the last two presidential terms, and now the KMT has a chance to put their guy in place for the first time in a while.

And this matters to Americans how? This section was originally much longer, but basically this election will decide how Taiwan will act in China-Taiwan relations going forward. This relationship basically decides computers for the rest of the world. All the good chips are manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. If no more good chips are put out for whatever reason, all the Apple fanboys are not going to be able to get their next iPhone. And those "whatever reasons" could include the disruption of production due to military activity.

Anyway this is an important election to watch, so read this NYT article where you can learn more about what's going on. I'll write a bit more on the chip issue in the coming weeks as I think it's pretty interesting to my subscribers.

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