Maine’s Downeaster rail line got its start as the improbable dream of a group of plucky citizen activists who envisioned running trains on a section of track between Boston and Portland, Maine, that last saw passenger traffic in 1965. After more than a decade of determined work, capped by passage of a citizen ballot initiative, the Downeaster made its initial run in December 2001.
The train was an immediate hit — a 1990 study projected that the line would ultimately attract about 167,000 passengers each year, a figure that it quickly surpassed. Last year, the train carried more than half a million passengers — twice as many as in 2005.
All posts for the month January, 2012
Posted by Gillies on January 31, 2012
The future? GigaOm:
Consumer electronics giant Kyocera is working with battery system developer Nichicon Corporation to package up Kyocera’s solar rooftop gear and its energy management system, with Nichicon’s lithium ion home battery systems, to sell an all-in-one product to Japanese home owners.
Posted by Gillies on January 30, 2012
When I was a kid, my family read Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales. I remember everyone loving it, so I just ordered up a copy on Amazon. Hope the book holds up.
Posted by Gillies on January 29, 2012
I don’t think [Tom Marshall] and I have ever written a single song for any reason other than to entertain ourselves. We don’t really think about the fact that anyone will ever hear this stuff. It’s in the moment. If we took the time to think about it more, we would probably edit ourselves into submission, and take a lot of the joy and spontaneity out of the songs.
Posted by Gillies on January 28, 2012
Posted by Gillies on January 27, 2012
A good one from Phish’s June 11, 2011 show at Merriweather:
Posted by Gillies on January 26, 2012
Covering 24% of the Earth’s surface, mountain ecosystems play a critical role in maintaining a sustainable flow of resources to the plains below. Mountains are the source for nearly 50% of the world’s freshwater for direct consumption, agriculture, and energy. Also, mountain tourism accounts for 15-20% of the world’s tourism industry, totaling an estimated $US70-90 billion per year. Mountain regions are also severely impacted by climate change, which only magnifies existing development challenges. Ecosystems will experience a vertical shift, as climates warm, generally flora and fauna will move towards higher altitudes. Fragile alpine ecosystems systems and endemic flora and fauna are likely to change resulting in significant negative ecological and socio-economic implications.
Posted by Gillies on January 25, 2012
No issue divides partisans more than the importance of environmental protection: 58% of Democrats say it is a top priority, compared with just 27% of Republicans. Of the 22 items tested, environmental protection is one of the lowest GOP priorities, along with such issues as improving transportation infrastructure and campaign finance reform. Dealing with the nation’s energy problems, by contrast, is of equal importance to both Republicans (55% top priority) and Democrats (57%), though other recent surveys suggest that partisans have very different solutions in mind.
Posted by Gillies on January 24, 2012
The most successful and best-loved cities in the world have vibrant and walkable streets. They put great and constant care into improving them. Great cities start with great pedestrian environments.
Posted by Gillies on January 23, 2012
Why should sustainability, essentially an ecological concept, serve as the centerpiece of a twenty-first-century American grand strategy? Sustainability is not an end state in itself. It is a strategic mindset and philosophy that can carry us forward in time, just as diplomat and historian George Kennan’s concept of containment carried our nation through the Cold War years. In this sense, sustainability, as a central, coalescing grand strategic concept, would serve to inform our national policy decisions regarding investments, security, economic development, energy, the environment, and engagement well into this century so that successive administrations can look beyond current risks and threats with a more positive focus on converging interests and opportunities as they relate to emerging global conditions.
Posted by Gillies on January 22, 2012