Latest Idea In BITCOINS

I see in todays news that KODAK is going into the BITCOIN business! And their stock soared.

Why does General Electric not consider it too!!!!

That “MONOGRAM” is about the most recognizable image in business!

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IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT COMPUTERS?

SERENDIPITY

You see stuff online — Facebook mostly — about “could you live in this lovely (log cabin) house (in the middle of really nowhere) without WiFi? And everyone says “Oh sure! I could live in that great little house — in the middle of a huge woods by a cold lake where the nearest shopping center is 50 miles on dirt roads — forever without so much as a VOIP phone.

Sure you could. NOT.

I know I couldn’t and wouldn’t even want to try. Because that’s not life or at least not my life.

There was a time when I could imagine a life without computers. I think that was before I owned a computer, before every house everywhere had one or many computers. Before every single thing in the house got “connected” and computerized in some way. Before your toilet got so smart you have to argue with…

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NJ TRANSIT Service Resumes With Delays In And Out Of Penn Station

NJ TRANSIT service in and out of Penn Station has resumed with delays after the Portal Bridge was stuck in the open position near Secaucus.

Trains are still facing residual delays of up to 60 minutes. NJ TRANSIT says MidTown Direct eastbound trains will operate into Penn while westbound trains will be leaving from Hoboken Terminal.

NEC, NJCL & RVL service has resumed in/out of NY Penn with trains subject to up to 60 minute delays following Amtrak Portal Bridge being stuck in the open position. MidTown Direct eastbound service will operate into NY Penn with westbound service departing Hoboken Terminal.

Well! Hope everybody who supported Donald Trump realizes HE declared the Hudson River a “local issue” and will NOT support improvements!

SMART train needs to avoid runaway costs

Even public transit advocates can be critical of the way government approaches some projects. The New York Times’ startling article, “How excessive staffing, little competition, generous contracts and archaic rules dramatically inflate capital costs for transit in New York,” demonstrates why New York’s partially completed Second Avenue subway costs six times more than Paris’ similarly situated Line 14 extension.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District faces similar out-of-control costs, frustrating those who want the most bang from scarce bucks.

Everywhere the process is dominated by a consultantocracy conditioned to build the perfect over the adequate but affordable.

The proposed $55 million, 3.1-mile extension of SMART’s commuter rail line from Santa Rosa Airport Station to Windsor is an example. In 2008, when North Bay voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax funding SMART, trains going north from Santa Rosa to Cloverdale were promised.

When the quarter-cent levy proved inadequate, the line’s “first phase” instead terminated at Windsor, the next town north of Santa Rosa.

Windsor is a booming community that needs and wants the promised trains.

SMART estimates it will cost $55 million to put the three-mile line into service. With no significant bridges involved, flat topography, existing Federal Railroad Administration Class 2 freight track in district ownership and Windsor’s already-built new depot, $18.3 million a mile seems high.

I ran the numbers by veteran Santa Rosa railroad civil engineer Mike Strider. With one caveat, Strider estimates the job can be done for about $7 million.

One big difference between Strider’s and SMART’s approach relates to maximum speed. SMART built its line to FRA Class 4 standard, allowing speeds up to 80 mph.

The three-mile Windsor segment is so short, given acceleration and de-acceleration times, rail cars can travel at maximum speed for only a mile. To control costs while expediting construction, Strider suggests upgrading the three miles of existing track to FRA Class 3 standards, allowing 60 mph. That change consumes two minutes of extra travel time and save tens of millions.

As an old railroad-hand friend says, “The problems is the tendency of most government agencies to build expensive high-maintenance solutions when simple solutions are at hand because those complex solutions automatically enrich the vendors and justify the employment of those who write the specifications.”

Engineer Strider’s estimate for making the 3.1-mile airport-to-Windsor segment ready for passenger service is in the range of $6.85 million. That’s including installation of Positive Train Control safety technology.

He cut tens of millions from SMART’s best guess by starting with the track. SMART’s plan is to remove and replace the existing three miles of track.

Don’t do it, he says. The current freight-only track is FRA Class 2. Doing a few relatively minor upgrades costing $800,000 a mile — totaling $2.4 million — will bring the three-mile segment up to FRA Class 3 standard which allows passenger train speeds of up to 59 mph.

The balance of his estimate is for two control points, approach signals at Windsor, existing track switch upgrades, improving four grade crossings and a temporary passenger platform at Windsor.

He discards the idea of building a frills-loaded Windsor station platform until service is extended north to Cloverdale. That won’t happen before 2027.

To be conservative, let’s add $3 million for contingencies and soft engineering. Call it $10 million.

Even if Strider’s estimate is low and we triple it to $20 million, it is still a $35 million savings over SMART’s $55 million projection. That’s not chump change.

At a minimum, SMART’s board and General Manager Farhad Mansourian need to summon value engineers and seek alternatives that get the rail cars to Windsor sooner at a lower cost.

Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley writes on local issues on Wednesdays and Sundays. Email him at spotswood@comcast.net

Extension of #1 Line ‘Wishful Thinking’

Tribeca Trib

The extension of the NYC Transit #1 subway line from the Rector Street station to Red Hook for $3.5 billion (a tunnel and three new stations) as proposed in 2016 by Senior VP of AECOM Engineering firm Chris Ward and now supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2018 State of the State speech is wishful thinking.

This subway extension would support a proposed Red Hook economic development project. It would be similar in size and scope to Battery City Park in Manhattan. Was this $3.5 billion figure written on the back of a napkin?

Cuomo wants the MTA to conduct and pay for a planning feasibility study. There would still be the need for environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering followed by final design and engineering efforts and identification of billions for construction funding.

All of the above is necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs.

Given the narrow streets and dense development, who could find a staging area for mobilization of contractor employees, equipment and materials to support construction? Imagine trying to assemble a tunnel boring machine at Rector Street adjacent to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. What about removal of debris once excavation begins? Hundreds of trucks needed on a daily basis to remove rock and soil would be challenging.

It cost $4.5 billion for Phase 1 Second Avenue subway (36 blocks & 3 stations) & $2.4 billion (18 blocks & 1 station) for #7 Hudson Yards subway extension. Neither required a multi-billion tunnel under the East River. Construction of new subway stations average between $500 million up to $1 billion, depending upon location and complexity of work. All three new subway stations would require compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This includes expensive elevators and other features.

Is there a political quid pro quo in the form of campaign donations between developers, construction contractors and unions who support this project and Cuomo?

Enthusiasm for ‘maglev’ train between D.C., Baltimore mounts — as does opposition

Washington Post

Opponents of a proposal to build a high-speed train line that could make the trip between Washington and Baltimore in 15 minutes are asking state and federal officials to kill the project.

Northeast Maglev, the Washington-based company behind the project, says the 40-mile “superconducting magnetic levitation train system,” commonly called a maglev, would be the first leg of a line between Washington and New York — a trip that could be done in an hour.

Proponents say the project would ease travel in the congested Interstate 95 corridor, but many residents are concerned about the environmental impact and the homes that would be taken to make way for the line.

And, with limited public funding available for transportation projects, opponents say, any taxpayer money that would be used for the maglev would be better spent improving the existing rail infrastructure.

“We don’t believe it is economically viable. We don’t see the ridership. We don’t see the revenue,” said Dennis Brady, a Bowie resident who has organized a grass-roots group against the project.

Cuomo Proposes New Name For Stewart

In the last few days, we have heard ALOT about Stewart International Airport. On Thursday, January 4, 2018 World’s biggest passenger jet forced to land at SWF New York airport because of blizzard.

The flight was one of dozens that were diverted as powerful winds and heavy snow closed runways at some of the busiest airports along the East Coast, including several international long-haul flights. The airport’s 11,800 foot runway can easily accommodate the large plane, and the airport even bills itself as an “efficient diversion airport” because the runway is so long.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to expand and rebrand Stewart International Airport.

The governor wants the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to spend $34 million to build a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection federal inspection station to allow the airport to expand its international service. Stewart currently flies to Norway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The airport currently uses a temporary federal inspection station.

Now, New York Governor Cuomo also wants to rename the airport “New York International at Stewart Field.”

“By transforming Stewart Airport into a state-of-the-art transportation destination, we are providing an inviting gateway to the region and supercharging an economic engine for the entire Mid-Hudson Valley,” Governor Cuomo said. “This international transportation hub will provide a world-class passenger experience, attract new visitors and businesses and continue to move the Mid-Hudson Valley forward.”

Cuomo said the airport’s name does not tell travelers where the airport is geographically located.

On January 6, 2018 we published “HOW AIRPORTS CAN KEEP UP WITH THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL

Stewart International Airport (SWF) is in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Manhattan. It is operated by the Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey (www.panynj.gov/airports/stewart.html). So it is not just another little airport. It is sometimes billed as New York City’s FOURTH AIRPORT. It has some of the longest runways in the New York area.

The sight of the giant plane, whose 262-foot wingspan is more than double that of a Boeing 737, was unusual for the airport, which is dwarfed by JFK in terms of passenger traffic. In 2016, about 137,000 passengers boarded at Stewart. At JFK, some 29 million passengers boarded, according to the Department of Transportation.

When the first UK tourists disembark at New York’s newest international airport last summer, they were be in for a shock. Stewart International is no bigger than a motorway service station. In fact, it’s probably smaller. And most of the time it’s deserted. Last Saturday afternoon (usually peak time for international travel), it was remarkably empty –and remarkably clean. Indeed, the bathrooms were cleaner than any I’ve seen at any airport.

But the airport’s advantage (being outside the congested airspace around Manhattan) is also its drawback. It is over 60 miles north of midtown Manhattan. And transport options will take a little while to catch up with the airport’s ambitions.

So our conclusion is that some better options than a motor coach (sometimes referred to as “a smelly old bus”) must surface. Yes, rail can be reached from Stewart: (1) shuttle bus across the Hudson River to nearby Beacon then Metro-North to either Penn Station or Grand Central; (2) shuttle to the Port Jervis Line and rail to New Jersey side of Hudson River; (3) Uber or LYFT. They get same killing traffic that busses get.

The obvious solution is to investigate HYPERLOOP. Specifically the “World leader” Virgin Hyperloop One

ON MTA: NO, GOV. CUOMO DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO “FIX IT”

Black Star News

Yesterday, I watched as Governor Cuomo reflected on his tenure in office and outlined his plans for New York’s future. The issues highlighted and solutions discussed in his address are of critical importance, and I fervently hope that many of the policies that the Governor proposed are enacted.

However, I believe that Governor Cuomo’s assessment of the state of our state was flawed in several ways. I agree that our justice system is unjust, but would go further. The system is not simply broken; in fact, it is working in the way that it was designed. What is necessary is to continue to completely revolutionize our thinking and our practices in the criminal justice system.

I further agree that fighting on behalf of unions and working people is among our most important tasks as public servants. I was among those on the front lines of the Fight for 15, working for a living wage for New Yorkers both in the streets and in City Hall, leading protests and sponsoring legislation such as the Living Wage 3.0 package.
In fact, on many issues, it would seem as though the Governor has finally started to take notice of the work that local activists, organizations, and elected officials like myself have been doing on these progressive causes for years.

He spoke about the affordable housing and homelessness crisis we face across the state while threatening to freeze funds for localities that he feels are not doing enough to combat the crisis, ignoring all of the work that we have done in New York City and threatening, in effect, to make that work for more difficult. The Governor, with his falsely branded “Affordable New York” housing program, has stunted the progress we could have made.

As Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, I worked tirelessly with my committee to address our housing crisis, to achieve real, deeper affordability and to keep New Yorkers in their homes. The Governor’s actions at times have stood in the way of our efforts, and we have fought back. I was arrested alongside my colleagues in government and activist allies for protesting when he failed to deliver on rent regulation, and I will continue to stand up to the Governor on these issues when necessary.

The Governor rightly acknowledged the significant drop in crime across the state, but failed to acknowledge the immense role that initiatives here in New York City such as the Community Safety Act, the Criminal Justice Reform Act, and the Crisis Management System for combating gun violence have had in effecting that change.

Additionally, the Governor seems to want us to forget that New York was the 49th state to “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility. I find it difficult to call that progressive.

He made mention of increasing youth employment, but failed to highlight the Summer Youth Employment program here in New York City which I worked with my colleagues to expand to historic levels, currently providing 70,000 jobs. The state would be well served following the model we have created.

Perhaps the most surprising claim that the Governor made in his address was that, in regards to the MTA, “We know how to fix the system.” With our public transportation system in crisis for so long, and New Yorkers suffering as a result, we should ask the Governor: If he knows how to fix the system, why has he continued to allow it to fall into disrepair? The Governor cannot stand for photo-ops at the Second Avenue Subway and then abandon the city where the real work is needed.

After hearing all of the Governor’s proposals, I am sure that I am not alone in questioning both the Governor’s conviction on some of these progressive goals and his intent to carry them out, regardless of political consideration. In progressive politics, there are those who work from deeply held beliefs, and those who take up the progressive mantle when it is politically popular. True progress comes from those who are driven by cove values and willingness to fight. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is coming around to many of the causes for which I and others have spent years fighting, but I question his resolve for the fight. The Governor said that a progressive government requires the confidence of its citizenry and the trustworthiness and strong management of its officials, and I believe that he has overestimated his own standing in each of these areas. Hearing his discussion about “leading the resistance” fell flat to any true activist resistor.

In the time of Trump, the state of New York must be nothing less than a progressive beacon, an embodiment of the ideals that the progressive movement has championed on local and national platforms.

Governor Cuomo has presented an agenda that would represent significant positive change for New Yorkers, including around tax reform and infrastructure, and it is my sincere hope that he has the conviction and strength to act on it in full, as we in local government fight for forward progress in our communities every day.

How Airports Can Keep Up With The Future Of Travel.

Stewart International Airport (SWF) is in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Manhattan. It is operated by the Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey (www.panynj.gov/airports/stewart.html). So it is not just another little airport. It is sometimes billed as New York City’s FOURTH AIRPORT. It has some of the longest runways in the New York area.

Yesterday was a TOUGH WINTER DAY and Stewart served it’s purpose when the other three airports closed for the snow and ice. See a blog: WORLD’S BIGGEST PASSENGER JET FORCED TO LAND AT SWF NEW YORK AIRPORT BECAUSE OF BLIZZARD

A massive winter storm forced an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, to divert to SWF, a small New York airport around 1 p.m. ET on Thursday after heavy winds and whiteout conditions closed runways at its intended destination: John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 325 passengers aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 26 from Frankfurt, Germany, found themselves on a snowy runway for more than three hours at humble Stewart International, about 80 miles north of JFK. Passengers were leaving the plane after 5 p.m. ET using outdoor stairs.

The sight of the giant plane, whose 262-foot wingspan is more than double that of a Boeing 737, was unusual for the airport, which is dwarfed by JFK in terms of passenger traffic. In 2016, about 137,000 passengers boarded at Stewart. At JFK, some 29 million passengers boarded, according to the Department of Transportation.

The airport’s 11,800 foot runway can easily accommodate the large plane, and the airport even bills itself as an “efficient diversion airport” because the runway is so long. But the airport’s gates aren’t high enough to reach the plane’s doors. Stairs were brought to the aircraft and passengers exited the plane into the outdoors.

Then the plane, which is used on some of the longest international routes, will fly a very short route: from Stewart to JFK, according The spokesman for Singapore Airlines said it wasn’t clear how long that would take, but business-jet operators estimate the flight time on a small jet at about 30 minutes. The plane is expected to then fly back to Frankfurt.

Stewart’s history stretches back to the 1930s when the U.S. Military Academy at West Point built an airfield there to train cadets. It became Stewart Air Force Base in 1948 and what is now the Stewart Air National Guard Base is next to the commercial airport.

When the first UK tourists disembark at New York’s newest international airport last summer, they were be in for a shock. Stewart International is no bigger than a motorway service station. In fact, it’s probably smaller. And most of the time it’s deserted. Last Saturday afternoon (usually peak time for international travel), it was remarkably empty –and remarkably clean. Indeed, the bathrooms were cleaner than any I’ve seen at any airport.

But the airport’s advantage (being outside the congested airspace around Manhattan) is also its drawback. It is over 60 miles north of midtown Manhattan. And transport options will take a little while to catch up with the airport’s ambitions. Launching on Thursday, to coincide with the first transatlantic flights, is the Stewart Airport Express, a direct coach service to Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. It takes 1 hour 25 minutes. And travellers are recommended to book seats in advance. This is really the only way to reach New York City unless you hire a car. At the moment a taxi ride is not an option, unless you want to pay as much as your airfare. A local firm quoted me $250 + tip for a one-way trip.

Trains, Trains, Trains

John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad

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What is it about trains?  It is the sound of the wheels squealing on the tracks or crossing the joints?  Is it the ringing of the bells and flashing red lights at the crossing gates?  Is it the sound of the horn or the toot of the whistle?  Is it the steam rising out of the smoke stack into the sky?  Is it sitting at your favorite spot watching each train roll on by?

How about those train shows?  You see so many model train displays of all different scales, and you meet the men and women who put their hearts into making these displays look real.

You cannot forget those museums.  You can see all of those locomotives that once pulled trains across the country and the rolling stock that carried the goods.

Remember the caboose?  They are no longer part of the train, but you see them on…

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