Saturday, February 21, 2015
  Torch vs torque

I'm thoroughly puzzled by the story about the burning Torch in Dubai.

The people who live in that phallus are RICH. They can afford far more safety and security than I can. They could build a super-private super-secure house with topnotch burglar alarm and sprinkler systems. Instead, they choose to live in a place where someone else's mislaid cigarette can burn their residence. Not only that, it's a place where the fire alarm system constantly gives false alarms but fails in a real fire. And it's a place where you have to walk down 70-some flights of stairs to escape.

This is EXACTLY what most people want to get away from. When I finally had enough money to get OUT of apartments, I breathed a 25-year-long sigh of relief.

I'm reading an old-car book about Duesenbergs, which solves the puzzle. Duesies were sold to the same super-rich fuckheads who like the Torch. For a mere $160,000 (in today's dollars) you got a running chassis, with cowl and hood and fenders. You had to order your own coachwork separately. Why was the chassis worth so much? Because it WENT FAST. Faster than any other car on the market, with handling and brakes capable of taking the speed. (At least by the standards of that era.)

Working-class drivers favored Dodges and Fords. Cars with long-stroke engines designed to give plenty of torque at low RPM. Cars that could lug you from point A to point B with a minimum of shifting and thus a minimum of wear and gas usage. Slow but sure.

And there's the key.

Rich folks want horsepower. Poor folks want torque.

Rich fuckheads want MAXIMUM NUMBERS. INFINITE NUMBERS. They want a top speed that wins every race, even though they never get near a track. They want an altitude that exceeds everyone else's altitude, even though it means losing the basic benefits of a residence. They want an infinite net worth, even if the numbers in the net worth are counterfeit.

Poor folks want to reach point B, not point Z++++++++++. And they want to get there safely, with minimum wear and minimum expenditure.

It comes back, as always, to exp vs tanh. Rich assholes fantasize that they can run a life by exp. Poor folks understand that life is tanh. Wacked economies are designed to favor Goldman's exp function. Sane economies are designed to favor Nature's tanh function.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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