Saturday, 5 May 2007

More Trains

Yesterday I made several attempts at uploading videos from You Tube, to no avail. I had a fantastic video of the French TGV breaking a speed record of 574 kilometers per hour! Now that's extremely quick. For a little perspective, if one were to maintain that velocity a trip form coast to coast could be made in under 9 hours! Another way to envision such speed is to imagine traveling one mile in ten seconds! Mind you, this is old technology, since we're talking about wheels on tracks and overhead cables.

Maglev trains are a step up in technology, since the computer controlled driving mechanism is in the track bed. In the case of Maglev, there are no overhead cables, and the wheels retract at speeds above 140 kmph so that in effect, the train is suspended in air, reducing friction to mere aerodynamic considerations. However, even this is not cutting-edge technology – the future involves Maglev trains in transatlantic and transglobal vaccuum tubes, where speeds of 5000 kmph could be attained. A transatlantic crossing in such a scenario would take so little time, that commuters could live in London and work in New York. I had posted a Japanese Maglev train breaking a speed record of 581 kmph. Don't ask what happened to the video – I'll attempt to link to it later. That is not significantly faster than the tried and true TGV, but the limit of Maglev is still being tested. The last video that never made it to my blog is a currently operational Maglev train in Shanghai, China that routinely travels up to speeds of 430 kmph.

I may decide not to post for a while, since this takes up a lot of time, and I do work for a living. I also find myself getting awfully depressed at the state of politics in this country and often wonder if it will continue to decline to the point that I might find myself emigrating to China, or someplace that is building an economy. Here in California, our "governator", Schwarzenegger and the lilly-livered Legislature are about to kill the HS Rail bond measure we as voters would have been voting on in 2008. What the hell are they afraid of? You want an answer? The voters!

I have decided to put my full support behind Senator Mike Gravel. I was a big Kucinich supporter, and I still admire the man greatly. Yet Gravel really impresses me as less of an idealist and more of a realist. You need that balance. I also think he has a presence that makes him more "electable". He is relatively old, but I don't think voters will care too much. But best of all are his planks for a national initiative that allows direct voter participation in the legislative process, elimination of the IRS and the unconstitutional income tax, full funding and no raiding of Social Security, and of course an end to our illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.

Please contact your representatives. Tell them you want a voice regarding the future of rail in California.

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