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How green are electric trains?
Leo Hickman, The Guardian
At last. Good news to report about the "greenest government ever". Justine Greening, the transport secretary, has announced a package of railway spending across England and Wales worth £9.4bn - of which £4.2bn will be spent on previously unannounced projects.
The projects include a high capacity "electric spine" running between Yorkshire and the East Midlands down to south coast ports, and the electrification of the line between Sheffield and Bedford. Further electrification is also planned in Wales meaning two-thirds of the Welsh population will have access to electric trains...
But just how much "greener" are electric trains compared to diesel-powered trains?...
(16 July 2012)
Baby You Can Drive My Car
Farhad Manjoo, Slate
...I would love to live in that world—a world where sharing your car is as hassle-free as selling a knick-knack on eBay, and you could consider renting your neighbor’s barely used convertible for a fun weekend getaway. But I’ve been worried that our world isn’t ready to share. In March, when I wrote enthusiastically about RelayRides, a startup that had just launched a nationwide car-sharing service, most readers pooh-poohed the idea. Lots of people said they’d never be comfortable lending their cars to strangers—they’d all taken liberties with rental cars, so they assumed that strangers would mistreat their vehicles, too. The idea is also plagued by ongoing legal and regulatory uncertainties, and, until recently, the process of the technology to manage handing over the car from owner to renter was too cumbersome.
Recently though, I got to try out a new RelayRides feature that convinced me that sharing might one day really, truly work. RelayRides has integrated its service into General Motors’ OnStar roadside assistance service. This means that any of the 6 million OnStar subscribers across the country can now make their vehicles sharable on RelayRides. The new feature also makes it easy for people to rent a car. In the past, you’d often have to get the keys from the owner, but with OnStar—which connects the car to a central dispatch service by satellite—you can unlock the car with your phone...
(23 July 2012)
The $9 Cardboard Bike From Israel (PHOTOS)
Tafline Laylin, Green Prophet
It only costs Izhar Gafni 9-12 USD to produce this sleek, waterproof and roadworthy cardboard bike. At the behest of his wife (who was tired of Gafni’s talk without action), the Israeli Kibbutznik developed an earth-friendly alternative for urban cyclists that is “so cheap it’s not worth stealing.” Like most innovators, Gafni defied the naysayers who said it’s impossible to make a bicycle out of cardboard in order to realize this creation, though the journey was not without its pitfalls. Check out images taken from Giora Kariv’s six-minute film that demonstrate what a cardboard bike is made of.
(25 July 2012)