Many present-day industrial systems are dramatically overengineered, built to be prepared for maximum demand even though maximum demand is, by definition, rare.

This is easy to see when it comes to the private automobile. Take your average SUV. It has a range of hundreds of miles, the power to navigate hostile offroad territory, seating for seven people, and enough armor to survive direct collision from any angle, yet it spends 90 percent of the time parked and 9 percent ferrying one or two people back and forth to work. It’s a marvel of modern engineering, a monster, a f*cking spaceship, and we use it to get groceries.

An SUV carries around the capacity to do the most extreme things ever asked of it, even if they are under 1 percent of use cases. The same goes for the road and highway system around it, which is built to handle peak…

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