I like flying into Oakland airport and taking BART train around the Bay Area – but dislike taking the shuttle bus from the terminal to the station. That is about to change with the connector light train under construction.
Even better, the rail car is being improved
“The new train car design includes two types of seating areas to meet the diverse needs of BART customers. The train cars will have conventional seating at the ends that customers settling in for a longer trip may want to choose, while open seating areas near the doors may be preferred by riders traveling in groups. Riders with luggage, strollers or other personal items, as well as customers who want a little more legroom may also prefer the open seating areas.”
The factory floor is silent but not empty. Dozens of workers dressed in crisp white lab coats, hairnets and matching Crocs are maneuvering dollhouse-size hand tools and manipulating minuscule parts to assemble wristwatches. With loupes to eyes, one line builds the movement–the timepieces’ quartz-powered brain. Another line does nothing but put the dials in place, while others set the hands, fix the case backs and lash the leather straps. This isn’t a clean room in Geneva or a Chinese factory in Shenzhen. These movements are taking place behind the floor-to-ceiling glass wall that separates Shinola’s Detroit headquarters from its sprawling state-of-the-art factory.
Bloomberg on Green Plains and the rest of the US corn based ethanol industry.
“Rail cars, storage elevators and shipping terminals complement his trading desk and ethanol plants. Fifty miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Omaha, in Shenandoah, Iowa, Green Plains produces 65 million gallons of ethanol a year in towers that emit a sweet beerlike scent. The company wrings 175,000 tons of animal feed from leftover parts of the corn. It converts some feed to corn oil, adding a nickel to its typical 15 cents–a-gallon ethanol profit. It saves three cents a gallon by grinding corn thoroughly.
Becker promises to pressure presidential candidates to support ethanol when they pass through Iowa in 2016 -- even though he’s sure lawmakers will scrap minimum requirements. “It’s just a matter of when,” he says.”
Meanwhile in Brazil cane base ethanol is facing its own challenges even though the country has long pioneered the use of the biofuel. The Washington Post
“In the 1970s, Brazil wanted to wean itself off expensive, imported oil and turned to ethanol. Cars were built to run solely on the biofuel. Gas stations selling ethanol popped up nationwide. Generous subsidies went to sugar-cane producers and mills.
By 2003, Brazil introduced the flex-fuel car, which can run on ethanol or gasoline. Today, virtually all cars manufactured in Brazil are flex-fuel, and 64 percent of those on the roads can run on ethanol or gas.
This was the biggest project in the world to replace a fossil fuel with a renewable fuel,” said Adhemar Altieri of the Brazil Sugarcane Industry Association, which represents the country’s cane and ethanol producers.”
As the designer of the first emoji for cellphones, Shigetaka Kurita periodically fields requests that he expand the lexicon of the pictogram-like characters.
Ranging from symbols for food items like a “hot dog” to more forthright images such as a “middle finger,” the requests for new emoji reflect people’s growing reliance on emoji for injecting emotion and mood into a short e-mail or text message.
But when Mr. Kurita first started creating emoji, nearly a decade before the launch of Apple’s App Store, he had no idea they would become so universally popular. At that time he was working as part of a team preparing for the February 1999 debut of NTT Docomo’s i-mode–the world’s first major mobile Internet system.
One of the highlights of our trip to New York last week was visits to 3 museums – the Met, MoMA and a little known one in Long Island City
It is Ilan Averbuch’s studio. He builds amazing (mostly public space) art with stone, wood and metal. Married to my cousin Alka Mansukhani (no slouch herself – she is a stem cell and cancer biologist at NYU), they live and he works in a former factory in what was predominantly a blue collar area when he moved in 3 decades ago. It is gentrified now, but surprisingly navigable with lots of neighborhood restaurants and bars. Hard to believe it is a stone’s throw from the always busy streets of Manhattan.
As you can see from the video below he needs a lot of space to work. But they raised a bright young girl there (she is now in college), have several pets including Tota seen in video, and have views of NYC from the terrace to kill for.
Bloomberg on the impact of the $ 5 bn widening of the Panama Canal
“The widening of the canal has triggered preparations at ports up and down the East Coast of the U.S. and throughout Latin America. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is raising the Bayonne Bridge; Savannah, Georgia, plans to deepen its river by 6 feet; and Miami has budgeted $2 billion to modernize its port.
In the Bahamas, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. has built a deep-water port at Freeport, vying to become a transshipment hub, a place where cargo is unloaded to smaller boats that can navigate cramped waterways across the Caribbean. And in Louisiana, Lake Charles Exports LLC got permission in August from the U.S. Department of Energy to ship liquefied natural gas from its terminal in Lake Charles.
It’s the fourth company awarded such a license, and 21 more applications are pending. This activity is largely about Asian markets, which will be made accessible when the expanded canal opens. U.S. exports of natural gas liquids could jump to 20 million metric tons in 2020 from the current 5 million metric tons, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “
Amazingly, even after the widening the Canal will not be able to handle the biggest classes of ships which are focused more on the Asia to Europe routes.
In fact, it required sheer doggedness and considerable skill in applying nuclear science to a global deal freighted with technical complexities and political uncertainties. Yet in the end, Dr. Neff noted, the mission was accomplished: Uranium once meant to obliterate American cities ended up endowing them with energy.
Nuclear experts hail it as a remarkable if poorly known chapter of atomic history. The two decades of bomb recycling, they say, not only reduced the threat of atomic terrorism and helped stabilize the former Soviet Union but achieved a major feat of nuclear disarmament — a popular goal that is seldom achieved.
It was a gorgeous weekend in NYC and my wife and I enjoyed several acres of NYC’s Central Park along with several migratory birds that drop by as the temperatures start to rise. This documentary does a very nice job describing the unexpected pleasure of seeing so many species in the middle of the Manhattan concrete jungle
I was also impressed with all the subtle technology that enhances the park experience
My wife and I used the iBird Pro app on our iPhones to check out various species we were unfamiliar with. We took a tour by Dr. Robert DeCandido better known as "Birding Bob" who in his twenty years of birdwalks is now fully in the digital world with a website and accessible by mobile phone. Here he is with his iPhone and his handheld iHome speaker. He used his Sibley birding app to call out and attract a downy woodpecker and a flicker. If you walked all year round he said you would probably run into 250+ species.
(Sean) Zhang says his team has taken a step toward decreasing paper consumption with the water-jet rewriteable paper because it can be printed on and erased a number of times. The paper is made with dyes that are invisible when dry but reveal colors when wet. Water acts as a key for the dye, opening up closed and colorless molecules when it is present to trigger coloration.