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Monday, September 03, 2012

Interesting Links 

It is the return of an old school Clarion Content feature, Interesting Links and Links of Interest. You know, just in case you had not found enough ways to waste time on the inter-webs yourself. We have a few more places to kick it, read something you did not know, see something you had not seen, maybe get a laugh.

To see old Interesting Links posts click here and scroll down past this one.

Our first two links are about transit. We were going to go with a good news/bad news dichotomy. So what do you want first? The good news or the bad news?

Presuming in favor of your innate optimism, we are going to go with the good news first. India’s Tata Motors is working on a revolutionary new car, the Airpod. It runs on air. No kidding. It is part of Tata's line of super cheap nano cars that they hope to market and sell all over the less developed parts of the globe. They are built with pneumatic motors that use pressurized air to drive pistons. In May, the motor giant announced that it had completed the “first phase” of the Airpod cars, successfully testing out the engines in two vehicles. Its tank can hold 175 liters of air. Filling it up will cost about a dollar and get you 125 miles. Awesome!

Read the whole story here. Special thanks to a young reader from Pennsylvania for sending this our way.

The next transportation story is not such a happy one. But, it is important, especially if you are wondering why America doesn't have diddly for high speed rail, while all kinds of other countries do.1

It is the same corruption, bureaucratic raj and systemic morass that is dragging down the rest of our economy. Stephen Smith offers up a fabulous expose in Bloomberg News. Here are a few of the nuggets. If the first segment of Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway opens on the current schedule in 2016, it will have only taken seventy-five years to get'er done. (Not a typo.) Smith says on average American mass transit projects cost as much as five times as much as similar work in Europe and Asia.2
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $3.8 billion on a single subway station at the World Trade Center designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect known for his costly projects. If New York could build subways at the prices that Paris and Tokyo pay, $3.8 billion would be enough to build the entire Second Avenue subway, from Harlem to the Financial District.---Bloomberg

Our next link falls more into the "What's grosser than gross category?"

Answer? Winning one of those storage wars, bidding on abandoned, rent unpaid storage units, and finding a stash of crudely preserved human organs inside, including hearts, brains and lungs, as a guy did in Pensacola, Florida last week. Most of the body parts found were not labeled, including a heart found in 32oz convenience store cup filled with formaldehyde. The AP reports the previous owner of the storage unit was Dr. Michael Berkland who worked for the state of Florida as a medical examiner. Find the rest of the story here. (Icky.)

The next one is actually an NPR story featuring a regular Clarion Content contributor, Storey Clayton, author and illustrator of Duck and Cover, director of the website The Blue Pyramid and in his day job, the Rutgers University debate coach.

In this article, he and Cornell University director of forensics, Sam Nelson break down the five most common argumentative fallacies likely to be seen this campaign season: Argumentum ad verecundiam, the appeal to authority, post hoc ergo propter hoc, meaning "After this, therefore because of this..." the familiar, argumentum ad hominem, "name-calling," and the rest of the lot.

In each case, they include explanations of what they mean, why they often work and an example from both presidential candidates. It is funny and an eye-opener. Read the whole story here.

One final one to blow you away. In case the military-industrial complex had drifted out of your subconscious; this will snap you back. Check out this article about the newest nano-drones from Lockheed Martin.

1No, you can't simply keep blaming President Obama. It is more nuanced than that.

2The French rail operator SNCF told the California High-Speed Rail Authority that it could cut $30 billion off the project’s $68 billion estimated price tag!!! Repeat, the French.

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