With rising gas prices, it's not surprising that there's more interest being shown in rail transit. The reconstruction of I-235 cost around $429 million. The construction of Atlanta's passenger-rail system cost about $800 million in 1970s dollars, or probably over $2 billion today. And that's for a system that covers about 48 miles. If we were to set up an elevated rail system going to the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids metro, or to Omaha/Council Bluffs, we'd be talking about systems covering 100 or 120 miles. So it would be an expensive proposition that probably won't work unless someone smart with a profit motive gets involved. Take a look at the the big passenger-rail systems: Many (like Chicago's) lose money like there's no tomorrow.
What if you could capture wind power on top of your house? A company called Helix Wind says it can deliver a roof-mounted windmill that looks like the sails on a sailboat.
We like to get what we want, don't we? The era of getting exactly what you want could be right around the corner with the rise of automated custom manufacturing.
Here's a scary thought: In a poll of British scientists, 20% thought communicating with the public hurt their standing among their peers. There are massive changes happening all around us -- for instance, the fastest-growing city in the world is Chongqing, China, a city almost no one in the West has ever heard of. And as those massive changes happen, we're going to have to rely on science and technology more than ever before to solve our problems in areas like health, energy, and raw materials. Unless scientists are communicating with people, we're going to end up with a science-hostile public...and that's bad news for us all.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by a big figure this past week, but unfortunately, it's the result of too much overreaction.