September 30th, 2008

Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Rail 京津城际铁路

On August 1st, in time for the Olympics, China put their first conventional high-speed rail line into service*. It is the fastest conventional train service in the world, with a top speed of 350 km/h (over 215 mph). Beijing (the capital) and Tianjin (the third largest city) are 120 km apart (just under 75 miles).

The trains run at ten minute intervals (as of September 14th, when they added ten pairs of trains to the service) between 6:30AM and 10PM, and cost 69 yuan (about ten dollars) one-way in first class. The new service has cut travel time from 70 minutes to 30.

Wikipedia article

Photos of train and brand new saucer-shaped Beijing South Station in the CNReviews blog posts Part 1 and Part 2.

I very much want to ride this.

*There's already a 431 km/h (268 mph) maglev connecting Shanghai Pudong Airport with a somewhat inconvenient outlying station on the Shanghai Metro. Of course, I want to ride that, too.

Ramesh Ponnuru, responding to a reader.

The bailout was atrocious, and the responsible thing to do was to vote against it. Its defeat is a victory for liberty.

Anyway, the Republicans delivered plenty of votes. They're not in charge of running the House. The Democrats are. If you want to blame anybody, blame them.
Thanks for your note, which is representative of quite a few I have gotten. It seems to me, though, that your two points are in some tension with each other. You can say the bill was terrible and applaud conservatives for killing it, or say that it should have passed and that it's the Democrats' fault it didn't—but putting these two positions in a blender is odd.

This Is What Causes Panics


Catherine Rampell writes:

Yesterday my mother wrote me the following (real) e-mail:
From: Mom
To: Catherine Rampell
Subject: Important
Try to take some $ out of your account at an ATM asap — doesn’t have to be [your primary bank]. Some are predicting scarcity of cash from banks in this mess.
I wonder how many other worried mothers are sending the same message to their offspring. For the record, I’m not taking my mother up on her suggestion. (She later retracted her advice, anyway, when I asked her if I could blog her e-mail — she became worried that muggers might read my blog post and follow me home.)

(no subject)

In fact one of the “obvious” solutions to this year’s crisis – force unstable investment banks to become part of stable commercial banks – is exactly the opposite of the solution proposed for the 1929-31 crisis – separate commercial banks from investment banks. Clearly our analytic framework leaves something to be desired if these two very opposite solutions can be proposed for the same problem.