Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Private cars vs public transport system Thurwtey, October LETHBRIDQE By Vladimir Brodetsky, Novosti Press Agency The transport asphyxia in cities and their suburbs, caus- ed primarily by private cars, is as great an evil of the 20th century as, say, the pollution of rivers and lakes by in- dustrial waste-waters. The smog, a bad mood because of coming late to work, thousands of gallons of gas- oline aimlessly burned by cars paralysed in bottlenecks are some of the many attributes of rush hours. It is no accident, therefore, that people began to talk recently about the need to develop public transport, the advantages of which came into the public eye during the energy crisis in the West. The first attempts to take traffic underground the London Tube, the Budapest subway can be called a genuine revolution in the life of big cities, considering par- ticularly that the realization of these projects began at the end of the last century. However, the steam-engine traction of the trains, with which the London Tube started off, the crowded un- derground stairways and passageways, and the virtual absence of ventilation were not conducive to the populari- ty of the new mode of conveyance. Ford's idea to provide everybody with an inexpensive private car won over far more admirers. Soviet planners took a different road. They applied themselves to the develop- ment of public transport and, in the first place, the un- derground railway. However, the conception of the first Soviet subway, in Moscow, was based on a quite different principle. The underground railway in the Soviet Union Berry's World was to be made not only a high-speed, comfortable and low-cost mode of conveyance furnished with powerful ven- tilation, moving stairways, wide passageways and spacious halls, it was also to be made beautiful. The Moscow subway is rightly considered the best in the world. It carries more than 5.5 million passengers a day. The New York subway which has a twice greater dis- tance of lines carries only about 3.8 million. The trains, many of which are driven automatically, move strictly according to schedule, with intervals of 90 seconds in rush hours. Passengers are brought to the underground railway stations by buses and street- cars which total 388 route ser- vices and cover the city in a ramified network. Besides, there are 31 so-called route taxi lines, that is, taxi mini- buses which move along fixed routes. A passenger can climb into the minibus and get out of it in any point along the route. A considerable rise in the standard of living in the Soviet Union has boosted the demand for durables, among which a special place belongs to cars. The Volzhsky Auto Works has reached its rated capacity of Zhiguli cars a year. To this may be added Moskvich cars annually produced by the Moscow small car factory, thousands of the Zaporozhets mini cars Book review as well as the Volga cars. The growing car traffic is accom- modated with difficulty by the streets, which were laid long before the revolution, as well as by broad modern avenues in Soviet cities. Does this mean that a few years from now, say, Gorky Street, the central Moscow thoroughfare, will in rush hours bear resemblance to roads near to Los Angeles? We in the U.S.S.R. hope this will not be so. There are grounds for this a firm policy for extending the public transport network and raising its efficiency. Some planners believe that only monorail high-speed roads and moving pavements can be considered up-to-date kinds of public transport. In 1968 the State Committee for Science and Technology of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers set up a special commission to study the possibility of building up monorail tran- sport. An experimental sec- tion of a monorail road has been built in Kiev. Nevertheless, monorail tran- sport still remains a project of the future and so are moving pavements. Paradoxically enough, the majority of specialists believe that the street-car is destined to play an important role. This will be the street-car of a new design noiseless and mov- ing at a speed of over 30 miles an hour along a wide track separated from the road. At Incomprehensible attitude <974 by NEA. Inc "My home canning project works out to around three dollars per jar, but who knows maybe we'll still come out ahead." "The Decay of the Angel" by Yukio Mishima (Random House of Canada Ltd., 236 This, the fourth and final novel of The Sea of Fertility, was also Yukio Mishima's last before he committed ritual Like the previous books in this tetralogy, it is a masterpiece of 20th century 6year Syearoldprice. literature in one sense. A lot -of credit must go to the translator, Edward George Seidensticker, who achieved a unity of beautiful written language without losing any of the typically Japanese sym- bolism and analogies in the book's English version. Yet, although one must be fascinated by, and admire, the novel's unique style and wealth of expression, there is again as in Mishima's previous books that depressing preoccupation with ugliness, futility and, as the title implies, decay. In Decay of the Angel, Hon- da, now an old man, adopts a boy in whom he sees the rein- carnation of all he thought he had loved as a young man, just to discover he had never real- ly loved at all. Looking af the boy. he sees his own life: "The evil suffusing that life had been self-awareness. A self- awareness that knew nothing of love, that slaughtered without raising a hand, that relished death as it composed noble .condolences, that in- vited the world to'destruction while seeking the last possible moment for itself." To all of us who love life for its own sake no matter how short by measures of eternity and can see compensations in old age and the often great beauty of maturity and ac- quired wisdom. Honda's at- titude must remain in- comprehensible. The author and his characters who see nothing in the young child but the skeleton it will one day become, are themselves, in my estimation, not among the immortals. In spite of his novels' uni- versal acclaim and un- disputable mastery of manipulating words, Yukio Mishima's distorted outlook on life and his self-inflicted terrible death will remain, to me. an anathema in a world that could be beautiful if it weren't for the Hondas. EVA BREWSTER crossings the tram track will run along underpasses or overpasses. The street-car is however archaic and city fathers who are anxious to make their cities look modern lend an un- willing ear to the advice of planners to extend or moder- nize street-car tracks. Will the car be necessary in a perfect public transport system and maximum prox- imity of residential areas is industrial establishments and offices? I think many people will then voluntarily stop using their cars on workdays. Transport roads will become freer, citizens, relieved in a great measure of the poisonous exhaust gases, will breathe easier, and the number of road accidents will drop sharply. Such a voluntary refusal will have a great economic effect. It should be borne in mind that the petroleum resources of the Earth are not inex- haustible. People in North America and Western Europe know full well what it is to be short of gasoline and other oil products. The rise in prices for fuel was followed by a surge in the cost of all con- sumer goods, including food. The process of voluntary refusal to use cars every day has not yet begun and it will not begin tomorrow, but, I think, the time will come, and pedestrians, "the better part of will become motorists only on days off and holidays. Endowment funds for research By John I. Daeley, freelance writer PINCHER CREEK Education Minister Foster's desire to make Alberta a centre of excellence in research is much to be praised. His projected policy is in accord with the human need to diversify responsibility. Both humanistic and scientific pure research need to be encouraged. Endowment would be a way to diversify responsibility. Funds would be invested by the government in the name of the research organization, and control of the funds would be turned over to the research organization. The terms of the transaction would be that the funds themselves, i.e. the endowment, would not be spent. It would, instead, be the revenues in capital gains, interest, etc., from the endowment which would fund the research. The research organization itself would be responsible for the investments. An- nual additional monies might come from the government, but essentially the would be independent. Successful research organizations work this way. The Rockefeller University in New York City was originally created to attack major unsolved problems (such as yellow fever) in medical science, and it now funds research in several areas. Rene du Bois (science and the humanities) was funded by this research university, and Frederick Seitz (in solid state physics) was for awhile its president. The Rockefeller University has about 230 faculty and 150 students, and most people hold an M.D. or Ph. D. before they become students at the Rockefeller. Independently endowed, the original money was provided by the Rockefeller family. From the interest on its investments the un- iversity funds much of its research activity. The money, as in Alberta, came originally from oil. The University of California at Berkeley had, at last check, produced more Nobel Peace Prize winners than any other single place in the years since the Second World War. Berkeley's scientific eminence is a product of a private endowment which goes back, I understand, almost to the Spanish priests who founded the original institution in the. seventeenth century. Independent research organizations would resist inflation because inflation can destroy them. Secondly, such research organizations could have their investments widely diver- sified. Re-investment in Alberta e.g.. in low interest home mortgage funds would strengthen the provincial economy. Investments in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the United States, etc., would give Albertans additional markets and a real "vested interest" in the welfare of people everywhere. They would have more leverage upon things that they consider should change in, for example, Africa. Foreign investments by Albertans would strengthen their natural relationships with all the places from whence have come Alberta's people, or with whom she has mutual interests. For example, sup- posing the better use of dry lands were one of the province's discovery priorities. There would then be natural comings and goings between centres in Southern Alberta and Arabia. People would need to be the priority. That is, the purpose of the endowment would need to be the support of research people, and not the support of a huge plant. Intelligent use (by research organizations) of existing facilities should be canvassed before any new buildings are built. We have confused buildings with education and we are paying plenty for that. Let us not confuse buildings with research. Patience and vision are needed, and this is especially true if the funds are going to go for research instead of into a pile of cement. Peo- ple do not know how to leave a fund alone when things get tough, and so shrewd people in the fat years have collected plenty of ce- ment around them which cement seems to de- mand funds. With vision and patience we can avoid that problem, and leave endowed funds alone. Moreover, research people need time. It can take a lifetime to do one thing. For ex- ample, after completing graduate school in chemistry, a team of men, funded by du Pont, worked for 17 years before they had learned what was already known about the organic chemistry of fibres. After that that team went on to develop nylon. Discovery is prevented by those who want a quick return By endowment of research organizations the unreplenishable resource, oil, would benefit all the generations to come because it had been re-invested and because it was funding discovery. Albertans have a use for what is available, if it is invested to be useful for 200 years. Art Carney's new masterpiece By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday For at least a decade, Hollywood has per- sisted in believing that the best formula for making a successful movie is instant sex and merciless brutality. The formula has been in a steady upward spiral. Like nations competing in an armaments race, the motion picture producers have been escalating their offerings. Explicit sex acts have been topped by all sorts of abnormalities and deviations. As for violence, it is not enough, apparently, to smash a man in the face. His eyes must be gouged out or his skull laid open. Nor is there any point in shooting someone unless the camera can zoom in on the sudden spurt of blood, especially from the forehead. The moviemakers justify these products by saying this is the only way to attract customers. This theory is now being jolted, however, by a new film called "Harry and now playing to standing room only. Since Hollywood never takes its eyes off the box office, it is likely that "Harry and Tonto" may have a more salutary effect on the American film than hundreds of sermons, organized protests or court decisions'. "Harry and Tonto" is proving that good storytelling and good acting are unbeatable characteristics of a genuinely successful mo- tion picture. Nothing could be more improbable, at least in theory, than the basic idea behind "Harry and Tonto." It is the story of an old man, superbly played by Art Carney, who travels from New York to California to see his grown children, with stops in Chicago and Las Vegas. "Tonto." a cat, is his, constant com- panion. Harry is a retired schoolteacher who Finds it difficult to fit into a pitching, herky- jerky society that likes to think of itself as young and modern but that has forgotten too much about human sensitivity and dignity. Without moralizing or finger-pointing, the film has a lot to say about the need for a restoration of basic values It seems to be saying that the highest value on this earth is not youth but, in the phrase of Albert Schweitzer, "reverence for life" and that the greatest tragedy of life is not death but the loss of sensitivity. Art Carney's "Harry" is not the soul of goodness. He is an average person whose big failing is that he has lived into his 70s. He is still physically sound, mentally alert, still capable of all the emotions, stresses and glories that define human life. More than anything I have read in recent years, "Harry" gets across the message of old age. The multitudes of young people waiting in line to see this film means that the under-30 generation is getting this message. But the principal achievement of the film is that it puts a thumb in the eyes of all those, in Hollywood and elsewhere, who persist in say- ing that the American people are prime customers for sadism and peep shows. "Harry and Tonto" proves that the American people are not prudes or namby-pambies, but neither are they totally devoid of good taste, a sense of privacy or respect for the fragility of life. The trouble with films exploiting cheap sex is not that they promote lust but that they produce mechanized feelings about one of life's deepest and most joyous experiences. And the trouble with films of brutality is that they tend to produce casual feelings about pain in others. What is most desirable in human evolution is the refinement of feelings and the increas- ing capacity of individuals to respond to the world around them. In this sense. Hollywood has run counter to the main mission of art. which is to stretch the capacity of a person to become more human in direct ratio to his ex- posure to life. "Harry and Tonto" couldn't have come at a better time. Airline subsidies By Don Oakley, NEA commentator Books in brief "Bmlah Urt" by Louie Cofenn (Dwbfeday Cuada ttJS. Beautiful! A nostalgic return to the age of cotton plantations in Georgia when great white plantation owners were masters of hundreds of slaves. Lonnie Coleman provides a touching characterization of her fictitious people, number- ing over 100, who populate the great Beulah Land. While some tried to change the lives of those who lived on the plan- tations, others busied themselves creating scandals that bad the whole countryside talking. Beulah Land is not another Peyton Place, but its characters are as real and JIM GRANT The Ford administration's rejection of a temporary million monthly subsidy to the financially nosediving Pan American World Airways sits well with most people. If there's one thing Americans won't tolerate it's the coddling of capitalists. (The controversial million government guaranteed loan to Lockheed Aircraft a few years ago was merely the exception thai proves this For all our dedication to the "may the better company win" and "no special treatment for anyone" philosophy of free enterprise, we are strangely indifferent to UK myriad other ways the government interferes with the normal competitive functioning oi the marketplace that we so much extol. In the case of the airlines, it is certainly a legitimate function of government, through the Federal Aviation Administration, to es- tablish and enforce certain safety standards. But the government not only does this but, through the Civil Aeronautics Board, tells the airlines what routes they may fly, bow often they may fly and bow modi they may charge for tickets. They can't even lower the price rf a ticket without CAB permission. Speaking of airlines, governments am! sub- sidies, most people would be surprised to learn how much the government already sub- sidizes the airlines. Foreign airlines, that is. Correction how much they, as taxpayers, subsidize foreign airlines. Some "for instances" are as noted by a Pan Am flight engineer: Pan Am gets 25 per cent of the postage for flying a letter to Tokyo. If the letter goes by Japan Air Lanes. JAL gets 75 per cent When Pan Am, a private company, bought its fleet of 7fTs, it had to obtain private financing at II per cent interest. Japan Air Lines, being the carrier of a "poor" nation, was able to borrow from the World Bank at three percent Each time a Pan Am 747 lands in Australia, the airline has to pay a landing fee of about When Qantas, the Australian flag carrier, lands a 747 in San Francisco, it pays a landing fee of Pan Am is told it is tough beans if it cannot compete with the airlines of other countries, every one of which is government owned and subsidized. Yet at the same time it is prohibited by its own government both from dropping unprofitable overseas routes and from offering service on the more lucrative domestic ones. This is free enterprise?