Author: David Schanoes

Tickety-Boo to You—Not Your Computer

I’m not worried that human beings working on artificial intelligence are going to produce machines that are smarter than us, and certainly not smarter than my three grandchildren, ages 15, 9 and 5, all of whom are definitely smarter than I. I’m afraid that human beings designing artificial intelligence are, in doing so, going to make most other human beings using the artificial intelligence more stupid.

Make Sure the Damn Air Brakes Work

There are many things that can’t be hurried in this life, and probably shouldn’t be, like wine and bread (let beaujolais nouveau and matzoh be a warning to us all). There are other things that could use a bit of hurrying, like medical fitness for duty standards and the National Transportation Safety Board, but those two have proven themselves so resistant to urgings, proddings, cris du coeur, that they’ve almost worn me down. Almost.

In Defense of the FRA

I don’t often feel the need to defend our industry’s regulator, the Federal Railroad Administration. Part of that is me. Like many who have stumbled into a career in this industry (and I literally stumbled my way into railroad employment, half-blinded and three-quarters frozen by a blizzard in Chicago), I’ve always had a problem with authority. Not that I begrudge anyone his or her authority, title, rate of pay—any of that stuff. I just don’t like other people telling me what to do, and I positively hate it when others think they need to tell me what to do.

PSR: WTBD? (That’s “Precision Scheduled Railroading: What’s The Big Deal?” BTW [By The Way])

Nothing burnishes an image like death. Ask Richard Nixon, not that you can, and that’s part of the beauty of the whole process. Once he or she is effectively and permanently silenced, memory can go to work blurring those hard edges, air brushing away those unfortunate blemishes on what some call a soul. And we’re left with “the great contributions.”