Events of note


For the last few days, I’ve mainly focused on coding and the only reading I’ve done is through my aggregator, and then only enough to keep up. I finally took a moment this evening to check the news and was astonished to hear about a horrible train wreck in Japan. Saddened by the story and the pain of the family members, I was also disheartened to hear of yet another train wreck–this time in a country famous for the efficiency and safety of their rail systems.

At the BBC “Have Your Say” page one person wrote:

I am just lucky. That’s all what I can say, I missed the train by around five minutes and that’s the main reason of my being here. I don’t have words to describe such a disaster where even the trains don’t often get late. There’s a saying that ‘In Japan, if you are late by 20 seconds, then you would have missed the train exactly by 20 Seconds’. In such a country, how can anyone believe this disaster?

How, indeed.

With increased population and people having to make longer commutes and high gas prices, trains, especially commuter trains, are becoming more of a fact of life for all countries — including this car dependent country. Thank you SUV drivers for helping to make this true.

Yesterday, if you had asked me what country had the safest rail system I would have answered Japan. I would still answer the same thing today– even the safest system will fail at some point. It’s just that at 80MPH, failure has a heavy price.

Are we, as noted by some of those writing comments, trading our safety in the interests of the clock? And In the more complex rail systems needed to support ever growing population centers, where a train being five minutes late could disrupt the entire system, do we have any choice?


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