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Category: Transportation

Where are you going, little one?

Where are you going, little one?

Last week, an unmanned spaceship named New Horizons, nine months after departing Earth, zipped within 8,000 miles of our last planet, and continued on toward … well, we’re really not sure what it will find. But that’s the point of such trips, isn’t it. In the same week, while peering through a telescope we’ve stationed about 93 million miles from the site of a certain well-known terran battlefield, we found, a mere 1,400 light-years from the same battlefield, a planet…

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No speed record – yet

No speed record – yet

The aircraft took off from Nagoya, Japan, Sunday on a planned 120-hour flight to Hawaii. Clearly, it is not out for a speed record; it was cruising at a ground speed of about 10 miles an hour when I watched it online. In 2010, the craft flew a then-record breaking 26 consecutive hours. When it landed, it reportedly had enough battery left for another six hours in the air. Only five years later, the flight from Japan to Hawaii is…

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First stop light in (that part of) the county

First stop light in (that part of) the county

Gettysburg, in west-central Adams County, Pa. takes pride in being “the most famous small town in the world.” It is slightly more than one and-a-half square miles, and has 16 traffic lights within its boundary.[pullquote]“Then she looked up. At the green light.”[/pullquote] There are a few more traffic lights in the county, most to the east of the borough, a couple to the north – but none to the west (not counting the light on U.S.30 northwest of the borough….

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First driver’s license

First driver’s license

Granddaughter Kass has a school project involving me supplying pictures from experiences of my younger self. One image she chose was my first wife and a 1954 Ford Ranch Wagon. [pullquote]His test, his rules. My second try was a success.[/pullquote]That station wagon was pretty terrific. It had a three-on-the-tree shifter, and ran fine if one didn’t count that it burned more oil than gasoline. We and that car went places, many of which were night runs to the Ponte Vedra…

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That’s a mid-size car??

That’s a mid-size car??

My wife-slash-Resident Travel Agent and I went to Florida recently. We left my Jeep in Long Term Parking and flew to Fort Lauderdale, where I signed for a rental car to use for the week. Renting a car for a trip actually is a good way to go. You get a fairly new vehicle, and all you need do is drive – and turn it in when you are done for someone else to clean out any dog hairs or…

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Is this really the lesson we intend?

Is this really the lesson we intend?

(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 12/6/2013) Out on the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike, there is a billboard announcing the upcoming New Stanton service area. “Tantrum Averted,” it proclaims, the words above a picture of a young boy eating an ice cream cone and grinning. The lesson, for child and parent alike, is either the kids gets an ice cream cone or the parent gets to listen to screaming and pounding.

Electric buses, u-rent bicycles, and fish at the brink of extinction

Electric buses, u-rent bicycles, and fish at the brink of extinction

I am returned home from a six-day conference, counting travel, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, during which I saw little of the city whilst I mingled with fellow recorders of “environmental” tales and observations. It was an informative sojourn, full of camaraderie and information, at least some of which we members of the Society of Environmental Journalists each hope will add value and color to our future musings. But I was impressed, in what limited exposure I had, with the uncity-ness of…

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Happy Birthday to the Mighty Lincoln Highway

Happy Birthday to the Mighty Lincoln Highway

“It was 3,000 miles of rockin’ rollin’ highway, a million memories long and two lanes wide” – From the lyrics of “Old 30,” by C.W. McCall. The Lincoln Highway turns 100 this year. Actually, it is about 3,400 miles, New York to San Francisco, and 28 of those miles are in Adams County, Pa., passing through Gettysburg, less than a mile from my home. Former Adams County Commissioner Harry Stokes once told me the name reflected Gettysburg, and its downtown…

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Future holds promise for electric commuter cars

Future holds promise for electric commuter cars

A recent story in Reuters posited electric cars are “headed toward another dead end.” The outcome was illustrated at the Pennsylvania Auto Show last month in Harrisburg, where there was plenty of emphasis on gasoline and precious little on electric – though hybrids were well represented. But while Reuters was pronouncing Last Rites for all-electric automobiles, other’s were painting a slightly rosier picture. I submit the demise of the electric car is greatly exaggerated in a storyline carefully engineered by…

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“Poverty-stricken” Shell Oil offered $2B taxpayer handout to set up in Pa.

“Poverty-stricken” Shell Oil offered $2B taxpayer handout to set up in Pa.

Shell Oil Co., a child of Royal Dutch Shell – the latter reportedly the largest oil company in Europe and second largest company in the world – is thinking about building an ethane cracker plant in Monaca Borough, Beaver County, 30-some miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Pa. The proposed plant would be used to “crack” ethane from natural gas derived from wells drilled into the Marcellus Shale in the southwestern region of the state. The cracking process results in ethylene, used…

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While we continue to subsidize fossil fuels, at least one American industrial giant invests in green technology in, of all places …

While we continue to subsidize fossil fuels, at least one American industrial giant invests in green technology in, of all places …

While some of our politicians and fossil fuel barons try, with varying success, to convince us we’re not digging up enough coal, oil or natural gas, the folks who we are told are selling us our oil are busy building a city that doesn’t need it. For the first time in more than a half-century, the U.S. exports more fuel than it imports. We still are the world’s largest importer of crude oil, but a huge portion of the imported…

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Clean the air, subsidize a business or two, and all with free money

Clean the air, subsidize a business or two, and all with free money

California has a suggestion for Pennsylvania: use some money won from companies which have harmed Pennsylvanians’ health – tobacco money comes quickest to mind – to improve the health of the aforementioned residents. Help support electric cars, for instance, in a public-private partnership that offers something more than tax breaks to petroleum fuel producers. The Golden State has won $120 million from resolution of a power crisis a decade ago, in which companies such as Enron shut down power plants…

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Riding the Metro – a lesson in efficient cooling

Riding the Metro – a lesson in efficient cooling

I don’t know whether it’s global warming, climate change or as my spouse chooses to believe, the snow thrower we bought last year, when we thought more snowy winters to be in the offing. I pulled the machine out of the shed in October, when we had a pretty serious snow – for South-Central Pennsylvania. About eight inches of the white stuff blanketed the ground. I cleared the driveway and the extra parking space – and have not used the…

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