Path to better quality of life could be slow road … or not

I have my own ideas on what would make an ideal city: Subsurface plus grade level and above-ground transportation corridors and living. Personally, I think such an idea is neither too outlandish nor too far-fetched. “Outlandish”: now there’s an interesting-sounding word. Thinking the ideal city is probably not going to happen anytime soon, the next … Read more

Electric, steam, diesel, and LNG: Locomotive development on a roll

Back on Jan. 17th in “CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons,” I wrote: “I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around World War II, quite interestingly, maintains a presence, albeit a shadow of its former self by … Read more

California air much cleaner, a long ways to go still

Of the Bay Area, Central Valley and South Coast air sheds, air in the first region is by far the healthiest. It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand why that is. That the region is often buffeted by winds blowing in off the eastern Pacific … Pacific Ocean, that is, sums things up. The constant … Read more

Transport rationalization: A second look

I take a look around me. Now I ask: Are more transportation modes than what currently exist needed? My answer is: Yes. I am fast reminded of the collective amount of delay, fuel and productivity waste and air quality and environmental impact. In “Rationalization of transportation: Putting the brakes on delay, worsening air, etc.,” I … Read more

Kern County biomass plant a hit … and miss

“Here’s the rub: that global energy production from fossil-fuel burning is as pronounced as it is, a byproduct of which is the release of harmful pollutants into the atmosphere creating an ever-present human-health hazard, to slow and perhaps reverse the air damage already done, sustainable energy-production methods must not only be employed but exploited as … Read more

On polluted air, cleanup requires both a will and a way

So, my car has a dead battery. Last evening, I raised the vehicle’s hood and had a look. Even though externally the battery looked sound, internally it just wasn’t delivering the amps (amperage) needed to start the car. Using a volt-ohm-meter (VOM) I purchased years ago, with an analog display no less, I measured the battery’s voltage … Read more

More power to the White House, to the people – solar power, that is!

The White House during the Carter administration was outfitted with solar panels. Then during the administration that followed – Ronald Reagan’s – those panels came down. In response, but years later in 2010, it had become a mission of the organization 350.org to locate and then re-deliver one of those Carter-era panels back to the place where … Read more

Garbage in = garbage out? Not always

Conversation picks up where discussion on July 16, 2013 in “CATS: Trash – it’s the ‘stuff’ of biomass and documentaries” leaves off. Trash is unsightly, no question, but it can also be harmful, unhealthful or both. Bottom line, refuse must be disposed of. That’s no small proposition, let me tell you. Moreover, the way in … Read more

Power-grid gridlock? Who would’ve thought?!

Finding space on nation’s grid for all electricity, no easy order, apparently It seems in some parts of the country the nation’s existing power transmission-line infrastructure lacks sufficient capacity to handle all the electricity trying to be fed it – be this from renewable or non-renewable sources; at least , for the time being, anyway. Trevor Graff of the … Read more

TIFFS: Steam engines; you know those fire-eating, smoke-belching contraptions

Number four in the Transport-in-a-Fine-Fix Series. I am one of transportation’s biggest advocates or one of its biggest critics; it could go either way. With this – the fourth installment in the Transport-in-a-Fine-Fix Series – I may be opening a can of worms, that is, if I haven’t done so already. Since I have committed … Read more