Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Look Ma! No Hands!

Google revealed yesterday that it has been testing autonomous cars on California highways. Thought that guy behind the wheel was reading a book? You may have been right: these Priuses are driven by new technology including “video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic.”

According to The New York Times, these cars can “drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.”

Filed under: technology, transportation, , , , ,

Why was that cab ride so damn expensive?

Ever feel like that was a really, really expensive cab ride you just took?

The NYT reports on a troubling trend in cab rides in New York City. On average, passengers were charged an extra $4 to $5 for trips around the city. I, for one, remember when you could get across town for five bucks flat. So the report from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission justified my concerns.

This was not a grand scheme affecting the entire system, however (the Times‘ headline chooses “gouged,” which has a more pejorative connotation than a factual one). The overcharges were tallied on about 2 million (out of 360 million) trips in the period studied. Taken as a whole, the charges affected less than 1% of all cab rides. Still, the 8.3 million overcharged to New Yorkers and visitors is nothing to scoff at.

Filed under: transportation, , , , ,

Who will pay for the T’s “Little Dig” Silver Line tunnel?

On the heels of the Big Dig’s official launch of the Kennedy Greenway (reminiscent of Bush’s faux-announcement of the end of the war in Afghanistan?), the MBTA is pushing forward plans to build a new tunnel to connect the two Silver Line bus routes that currently serve Roxbury and South Boston. The Globe reports that the MBTA does not mention how it will pay for the expense, other than requesting more loans from the federal government. Rider advocate groups against the new connector claim that those who utilize public transportation the most–low-income riders–will bear the most burden of the cost.

I have mixed feelings about the results of the Big Dig: at times, I zip from Dorchester to Cambridge through the tunnels; at other times, including 9:00 pm on a weeknight, I’m stuck creeping along South 95 from downtown to JFK/UMass. It’s like playing Russian Roulette. Not to mention the facts we all know of shoddy contractor work and dangerous construction.

Will a $1 billion dollar tunnel connecting both Silver Lines be a good thing or another disaster for Boston?

Filed under: government, Massachusetts, transportation, , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
February 2017
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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