DETROIT—After kicking the tires on a shiny new train system, the Motor City has decided to take the cheaper bus instead.
This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Mayor Dave Bing suddenly abandoned a roughly $600 million plan to build a light-rail line along a key corridor that supporters had insisted would attract new residents and jump-start economic growth. Instead, they proposed a less-expensive plan for a network of express buses to deliver workers from the city to the job-rich suburbs.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204844504577100660265044228.html
IT IS hardly news that the city of Detroit has been in long-term decline, a victim of everything from the problems of the "big three" carmakers to family breakdown, crime and middle-class flight, both black and white. But the scale of the recent collapse has caught even hardened Detroiters by surprise. When the results from the most recent decennial census appeared earlier this year, they showed that in the decade from 2000 to 2010 Detroit lost an astonishing 25% of its population, a demographic catastrophe (New Orleans apart) without parallel in the developed world.
Yet despite all the gloom, there is a bit of a sense that things might just be starting to turn, and the reason is simple: Detroit is now incredibly cheap. And that has drawn some admittedly rather pioneering types back into town.http://www.economist.com/node/21533407?frsc=dg|a
Microsoft’s assault on Google in Internet search and search advertising may be the steepest competitive challenge in business today. It is certainly among the most costly. Trying to go head-to-head with Google costs Microsoft upward of $5 billion a year, industry executives and analysts estimate.
As the overwhelming search leader, Google has advantages that tend to reinforce one another. It has the most people typing in searches — billions a day — and that generates more data for Google’s algorithms to mine to improve its search results. All those users attract advertisers. And there is the huge behavioral advantage: "Google" is synonymous with search, the habitual choice.
Once it starts, this cycle of prosperity snowballs — more users, more data, and more ad dollars. Economists call the phenomenon "network effects"; business executives just call it momentum. In search, Google has it in spades, and Microsoft, against the odds, wants to reverse it.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/technology/with-the-bing-search-engine-microsoft-plays-the-underdog.html
Someone started a kickstarter to fund the erection of a Robocop statue. This is awesome.
Perhaps if we contribute enough as a collective, his chin can be Black and we can make a slight alteration to the placard.