The captain has locked the armored cockpit door, the engines whine, and the plane pushes off, rolling away from the gate so another can take its place. Then it stops. After the safety briefing the pilot tells you the bad news — there are 40 or 50 planes ahead of you, all waiting their turn to slip the surly bonds of earth. As if the uncomfortable flight weren’t enough, you are now condemned to spend another hour or two waiting on the ground. Who’s surly now?
For the year ending August 2007, a third of scheduled flights left the John F. Kennedy airport more than 15 minutes late. The average delay for late departures was just over an hour. That’s the average, so for every flight that leaves a tolerable 30 minutes late there is another in which passengers sit and fume for 90.
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In the 1960s and 1970s, every country wanted an auto industry. In a world obsessed with the automobile, being in the car business was central to national pride. In today’s economy, the chip fab seems to have taken the place of the auto industry. Nations and U.S. states offer dramatic incentives to capture these massive manufacturing facilities. A modern chip fab—those producing 300 mm wafers—cost more than $3 billion to build and incorporates the latest manufacturing technology.
Enticing a chip fab has long been a goal of the Pataki administration. The Luther Forest Technology Park in Saratoga County received substantial state and federal money to support site assembly, permitting and infrastructure. The Luther Forest brochure promises “up to 10,000 good paying jobs for our young people” for the estimated 2 million square feet of manufacturing space. So far, so good.
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