I recently watched a documentary on mag-lev bullet trains. Judging from I've seen and experienced, American passengers today have access to basically the same train technology as they did in 1971, when the government organized Amtrak (criticized as a bailout serving corporate rail interests and union railroaders, not the traveling public). That's tantamount to using the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (also introduced in 1971) in the computers of 2011. That's ridiculous. Just imagine if we had applied the money, resources, and brains spent on war over the last 40 years to transportation instead. Hell, I should be able to take a train to Mars by now. Or at least to Europe from America. Sound far fetched? I don't think so, but every time I hear why something didn't happen, doesn't happen, won't happen, or will never happen, it's always the same excuse: "It costs too much." Jesus, I'm getting tired of that, both in my own life and as an excuse for the continual lack of social progress.
People sometimes complain about technology being unable to solve our problems, but as I see it, the real problem is stupid ass bureaucrats who won't get out of the way and let the technology we already have improve our lives. There's something fundamentally wrong with a race of beings whose most sophisticated technology is for killing each other. Somehow we always have money for that, and no one blinks an eye. We concentrate on weaponry and destruction while all other good things languish, sucking the planet and everything on it backward into dystopia. This makes Earth the most stupid planet I've ever lived on.
There's plenty of money -- we can give the Department of Transportation all it needs by taking it from the Department of Defense. We can build and run elevated mag-lev bullet trains between every major city in the world, simply by unfucking our priorities, and we should, because adding another billion cars to the planet isn't going to work. Who cares how much it costs? That's what money is for -- improving the quality of life. The cost is irrelevant because we already know our money is intrinsically worthless, so the whole world is already bankrupt anyway. It's time to throw out this entire system and start doing what people want, what they need, and what is right for the future civilization we should already be living in.
Japan: a post-apocalyptic society using magnets instead of diesel fuel.