1. Sub-Urban Renewal

    jake on 2003.03.14
    at 07:10 pm

    Wired has posted some of the stories from their April issue. "Sub-Urban Renewal" discusses using the huge tracks of land below the surface. Many different points are touched on in the article.

    Among the first wave of tunneling projects under way are subway extensions, highway re-siting projects, and petrochemical repositories. These will pave the way to further standardization and automation needed for transnational, Chunnel-type digs. The East - which has never been shy about big engineering - will likely plow down first, linking Japan and Korea, China and Japan, and Taiwan and China. The West might follow by tunneling under the Gibraltar and Bering straits.

    The last stop on this train is the ultimate TBM megaproject: a supersonic world subway. Maglev trains running through depressurized tunnels are the logical successor to airplanes, at least between large cities. Magnetic levitation would eliminate rolling resistance, and the vacuum does the same to air resistance. The trains could "fly" down the tracks at many times the speed of the Concorde - without creating a sonic boom. In a couple of decades, we may see a world where major international cities are within a few hours' commute of each other.

    I don't know that I would enjoy living underground. But something like a mall, or a stadium could be nice to visit. And underground travel like referenced above would be an interesting alternative to flying.

    Wired Magazine

    Posted in: Technology

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  2. Natalie Merchant going it alone

    jake on 2003.03.14
    at 06:45 pm

    I saw over at Boing Boing that Natalie Merchant has decided to not renew her major recording contract (actually, she got rid of it last August.) Her new CD, "The House Carpenter's Daughter," will be out soon. :)

    Ms. Merchant paid for recording and packaging "The House Carpenter's Daughter," including the $3.50 manufacturing cost of an elaborate box for the first 30,000 copies. (The CD will sell for $16.95.) The special package "was printed in America for three times the price in Hong Kong," Ms. Merchant said.

    "It's just not in keeping with American business practice right now," she added.

    Even so, "The House Carpenter's Daughter" needs to sell only 50,000 copies to break even, less than 15 percent of what "Motherland," her last album for Elektra, sold.

    Although I like some of her songs I may just buy this CD purely to "stick it to the man." Even if I enjoyed one song on the album, it would be worth it for that. ;)

    NYTimes (registration required)

    Natalie's web site

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  3. More abortion news

    jake on 2003.03.14
    at 04:49 pm

    On a similar note, a piece of legislation that Bush reinstated in 2001 may affect his proposal of aid to countries with HIV/AIDS epidemics.

    Now, the Bush administration is considering extending the Mexico City policy to include HIV and AIDS clinics in developing countries. That would restrict the $15 billion promised by the president in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28.

    Let's hope this isn't some jerky way to save some money.

    Wired News

    Posted in: Politics · Medicine

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  4. Senate passes late term abortion plan

    jake on 2003.03.14
    at 04:36 pm

    The senate has ok'd a ban on late term abortions.

    The bill prohibits doctors from committing an "overt act" designed to kill a partially delivered fetus. Partial birth is described as a case in which the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the event of a breech delivery, if "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother."

    The article seems to have a typo. It references many times that there is no exemption when taking into account the health of the mother. Like this...

    Abortion rights supporters have pledged a court challenge. "This bill is unconstitutional," argued Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) citing the lack of an exemption in cases where the health of the mother is in jeopardy.

    And right after, the odd line...

    The legislation includes an exemption in cases in which the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.

    On a personal level, I find abortion to be terrible in most circumstances. And I realize this isn't all encompassing, but if you don't wanna have kids, use contraception.

    There are exceptions, like when the health of the mother is at stake. Which is why I believe that should have been added to this bill. I'm smack in the middle of the grey area that many people can not even see on this issue.

    Wired News

    Posted in: Politics · Medicine

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