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    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS
    Articles, Blog

    World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS

    November 12, 2019


    Welcome to TDC. This is our mini-documentary
    on the most ambitious, fascinating infrastructure Megaprojects of the near future. The rulers of the United Arab Emirates have
    insane amounts of money to spend. Thanks to everyone’s thirst for oil, they’ve been
    on a construction spree unlike any the world has ever seen for such a small country, investing
    in one ambitious infrastructure project after another. At one point, 24 percent of all the
    world’s construction cranes we in Dubai. Unfortunately, that was before the 2008-2009
    global financial meltdown, which led to much of the investment in the city drying up faster
    than the water on somebody who just got out of the pool at the Burj Khalifa. But the government
    insists that many of these projects have simply been delayed, and are putting their money
    where their mouth is with the recent approval of a $32 billion expansion of Dubai’s Al
    Maktoum International Airport that will break ground by the end of 2014. When complete,
    it’ll suddenly have the capacity to become the busiest airport in the world in both total
    passengers – at 220 million a year – and total cargo of 12 million annual tonnes of goods
    that can move through it–that’s almost 3 times more than what takes off from the
    runways of the world’s current leader, Hong Kong’s International Airport. It’s terminals
    will able to hold 100 of the massive new Airbus A380’s that are over 2/3ds of a football
    field long and cost $300 million a pop. The UAE’s Emirates airline already owns more
    of those planes than anyone else in the world. It’s the largest airline in the Middle East
    and will eventually move into the Al Maktoum airport to help jump start activity. The government’s
    plan is for the airfield to be the heartbeat of a city within the larger city of Dubai
    called World Central, which the UAE thinks will be home to 900,000 residents in the near
    future. The airport also hopes to be the central hub for the emerging Middle East, North African,
    and South Asian economic bloc known as MENASA. But time will tell whether the Shaikh’s
    vision for Dubai actually becomes a reality, or fades like some vicious mirage. This is Songdo International Business District,
    the world’s most futuristic urban area. It’s being built 40 miles southwest of the
    second-most populated city in the world, Seoul, South Korea. The $40 billion project is along
    the waterfront in the city of Incheon and is embracing two key concepts that urban planners
    are in love with: The first is Aerotropolis, which means the airport is integrated into
    the urban center instead of banishing it far outside of the city. This allows for shorter
    trips to and from the place that’s going to get you out of town–this’ll be an emerging
    pattern in 21st century planning as air travel continues to become accessible to more and
    more people in our increasingly interconnected world. Songdo is brilliantly directly connected
    to the airport via the 7-mile long Incheon bridge so you’ve just got a straight shot
    that gets you there in like 10 minutes that’s also got these incredible views and is the
    first thing visitors see coming into the city. The other key theme is Ubiquitous City, which
    is a uniquely Korean concept where every device, component, service is linked to an informational
    network through wireless computing technology, allowing for greater coordination and a more
    efficient and synchronized city than has ever been possible before. An example of this is
    Songdo’s trash system, which won’t rely on garbage trucks, because a network of tubes
    will suck in the garbage straight from the can and through a system of pipes, transport
    it efficiently to treatment facilities. Songdo’s so dedicated to being a model for sustainability
    that it has set aside 40% of its land area to be outdoor spaces like parks and it’ll
    become the first city in the world outside of the United States to achieve LEED certification,
    which is the highest energy consumption and waste standards possible with currently available
    technology. As a tip-of-the-hat to other great cities, Songdo will also incorporate replicas
    of New York’s Central Park and Venice’s historic canals. Overall, construction is
    currently half done. It already has 67,000 people living there studying and working at
    its many schools, including the foreign campuses of four American universities, but it’s
    struggled to attract Korean businesses as the government is refusing to give tax incentives
    for relocation, because that would create an unfair playing field favoring Songdo over
    other cities in the country. Still, if it stays squarely focused on the future, Songdo’s
    a long-term investment that’s likely to pay off. Nicaragua is about to embark on what may be
    the boldest and riskiest Megaproject in the history of the world. One that will change
    it forever. It’s going to build the biggest canal in the world . The $50 billion Nicaragua
    Grand Canal will cut the country in half to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific,
    running through the biggest lake in Central America. At 173-miles-long, it’ll dwarf
    the 120 mile-long Suez Canal in Egypt and directly compete with the Panama Canal 250
    miles to the south, through which more than 15,000 ships already pass each year. But in
    the coming years, many more ships full of goods and raw materials are going to try and
    pass back and forth from the Pacific to the Atlantic to connect Europe, Brazil and the
    Eastern Coast of the United States, with China and the rest of Asia. The story of how little six-million-man Nicaragua,
    the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is able to afford such an expensive
    project is a fascinating case study of globalization, and how capitalism is increasingly driving
    geopolitical decision-making. In June of last year, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s
    Sandanista party also controlled parliament and – without any real debate – gave a 50-year,
    no-bid contract to Chinese telecommunications magnate Wang Jing to build and manage the
    proposed canal. And, it just so happens that, also last year, according to a report in the
    LA Times, Wang hosted a number of Nicaraguan officials and businessmen on a trip to China,
    where the powerful and connected Wang supposedly flaunted his extreme wealth and was accompanied
    at all times by Chinese military officers and other high-ranking governmental officials.
    So, it’s tough to believe him when he insists that the Chinese government is not financially
    backing the project, especially when we already know that China is using state financed companies
    to buy more and more assets in the West. The opportunity to own the world’s most valuable
    shipping lane seems too tempting for the Chinese government to pass up. The supposedly democratic government of Nicaragua
    is using a page out of China’s playbook, by refusing to release any of the studies
    about the impacts of the canal until December 2014, the same month construction will begin.
    That’s because there is a loooong list of environmental and humanitarian concerns. The
    project will tear through countless ecosystems and communities, and rip into the source of
    much of the country’s fresh water, Lake Nicaragua. The residents whose land is on
    the canal route have received no word on what the government plans to do for them in terms
    of compensation and relocation. But, as easy as it is to criticize the way
    the project is being handled, it’s also fairly hypocritical of me, as an American,
    to mount a very convincing argument against the plan. Afterall, about a hundred years
    ago, US President Theodore Roosevelt basically took control of Panama and pushed through
    the canal there, a project that’s benefitted America time and time again, and has made
    Panama economically better off in the long run. But we’re not living in 1914… Now is the time of social media-fueled revolution,
    where images and video fly around the world instantly, empowering even the poorest locals
    to use the power of the global community to rally support for their cause and exert political
    pressure in unpredictable ways. So, what I’m saying is that it may have been easy for President
    Ortega see all that money flying around and secretly, singlehandedly approve a massively
    disruptive project like this, but when those bulldozers start tearing apart the countryside
    – and people’s homes – there’s probably going to be hell to pay for not consulting
    the voters at all. This could be shaping up to be another one of those important moments
    of struggle in world history between the powerful have’s and the have nots. On the one hand, you have the limitless funding
    of the Chinese who want that flag-in-the-dirt, statement-making moment for their country
    of staking a claim in the Americas. We know the canal would benefit corporations in the
    west through the shipping and trade benefits I outlined earlier. And with construction
    set to begin in Nicaragua next month – there doesn’t seem to be any stopping it from
    starting. But on the other hand, this thing is going
    to take six years at a minimum to finish, and if we’ve learned anything from recent
    history, it’s that a lot can happen in six weeks or six months, let alone six years. On a person-to-person basis, the United Arab
    Emirates has the biggest Ecological Footprint in the world thanks to its prolific oil production
    and the massive construction boom that’s been going on there for the last decade. So
    it’s surprising to learn that the UAE is home to Masdar–the world’s first zero-carbon,
    zero-waste city. To meet this ambitious goal, it’s powered only by renewable energy, like
    a 54-acre 88,000 panel solar farm beyond the cities’ walls. That’s right, I said walls.
    The designers studied ancient cities to learn the most effective planning methods to reduce
    energy consumption. One of the key things are walls that helps to keep the high, hot
    desert winds away from its inhabitants. They also raised the entire foundation of the site
    a few feet above the surrounding land to keep Masdar cooler and spaced the buildings much
    closer together to keep the streets and walkways narrow, and mostly in the shade. These techniques
    – combined with 130-foot wind towers that suck air from above and convert it into a
    cool breeze blowing on the street – mean Masdar is a comfortable 70 degrees fahrenheit when
    just a few meters away, the thermostat rises well above 100. Plus, there’s no driving
    in the city and any car that enters is parked at the outskirts. A system of driverless electric
    vehicles then ferry people from place to place underground, and a light rail system is also
    available above ground, which means there’s no need for streets. And in a move that cuts
    both water and electricity consumption more than half, there are no light switches or
    water taps–everything is controlled by movement sensors. This unprecedented level of environmental
    consciousness has won it hard-earned endorsements from environmental conservation groups like
    Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. The German engineering giant Siemens has located
    its Middle East headquarters there, as has the International Renewable Energy Agency.
    The Masdar Institute for Science and Technology – a small postgraduate university that was
    founded through a collaboration with MIT – occupies one of Masdar’s first completed buildings
    and is already producing great work and first-class researchers. So the city undeniably has a
    solid foundation, but it’s got a lot to do still if it’s going to meet its ambitious
    goal of housing 50,000 residents and hosting offices for 60,000 more commuters. The city’s
    co-founder admits that Masdar is “a fraction of what it was supposed to be back in 2006
    when we announced it. At the beginning of the project, nobody really anticipated how
    difficult it is to build a city.” This underscores the point many urban planners around the world
    have made: that we should be focused on making our existing cities more sustainable instead
    of building brand new ones. But even if Masdar only teaches us one or two major things about
    what’s possible when it comes to sustainable urban design – and it does seem like it’s
    already done that – then it’ll have been worth it, even if it takes much longer to
    achieve its overall vision, or if it ultimately fails. Because let’s be honest, the UAE
    was going to spend that $20 billion in oil revenue on something, so it’s better for
    everyone that its going to an important experiment like Masdar rather than another row of gold
    and marble crusted hotel skyscrapers or an electricity-sucking indoor snow park. This is the future–maglev trains. Japan’s
    all aboard. They’re spending a staggering $85 billion over the next 30 years to connect
    the island’s three largest cities: Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. That’s over three hundred
    miles that you’ll be able to cover in about 67 minutes by racing through the countryside
    at over 300 miles per hour. Maglev technology uses powerful magnetic charges to move rail
    cars that float several inches above a concrete guideway, rather than riding on steel wheels.
    This frictionless system allows for a smoother ride at significantly higher speeds than traditional
    high speed rail. In contrast, California’s planned high speed rail system that’ll eventually
    connect San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, will only be able to travel at top
    speeds of 220 mph, but its estimated overall cost is ten billion dollars less than the
    Japanese system and will cover a distance two and a half times as long. The Chinese
    city of Shanghai has had a short maglev line in operation since 2004, but the Japanese
    line is the world’s first intercity link to gain public approval. The project’s called
    Chuo Shinkansen – or as the Japanese refer to it, Rinia Mota Ka – and is a culmination
    of 40 years of Japanese maglev development that began with an unlikely partnership between
    Japan Airlines and Japanese National Railways. What’s really impressive about this project
    is that JR Central – the company that’s building the line – will finance the project
    without public money, thanks largely to the success of the bullet train it’s run from
    Tokyo to Osaka since the mid 1960’s. The company’s also pushing hard to construct
    a maglev line between the American capital city of Washington DC and New York, which
    would showcase the technology to the American market and the rest of the western world.
    The Japanese government has even offered to fully finance the 40 mile first leg of the
    US project from Baltimore to DC, a proposal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directly pitched
    to President Barack Obama during a meeting last year. But critics of Maglev say the costs
    outweigh the benefits. Opponents have raised questions about the sheer monetary cost of
    the project, its environmental impact, and whether it is really needed. Tunnels will
    be blasted through some of Japan’s highest mountains to build the Chuo Shinkansen line.
    But regardless of what the critics say, something had to change. When the Maglev system is done
    it will help alleviate the overcrowding on Japan’s existing rail system and make it
    feasible for commuters into Tokyo to live further outside of the city than they can
    now. Many of the projects that we’ve profiled
    in our Megaprojects series have a real purpose for advancing society, or at least meeting
    the needs of a growing world economy. Then there’s Azerbaijan’s ridiculous Khazar
    Islands, a project that – despite all the progress in the world – is the perfect example
    of everything that’s still wrong with its power structure, but more on that in a moment.
    The creatively named Azerbaijan Tower will be the world’s tallest building, about 800
    feet taller than the current leader, the Burj Khalifa, and, insanely, twice as tall as the
    tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, New York’s One World Trade Center. The Freudian
    showpiece of the $100 billion project, Azerbaijan Tower will rise above the capital city, Baku,
    and will be surrounded by 55 artificial islands built in the Caspian Sea with land gathered
    by completely destroying a nearby mountain. There will also be at least eight hotels,
    a Formula One racetrack, a yacht club, and an airport. So basically, we’re talking
    about Donald Trump’s fantasy. Now, it’s one thing to build an over-the-top city like
    Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is one of the most-developed places in the world,
    and a completely different thing for it to rise in Azerbaijan, which has a per capita
    GDP that’s not even ⅕ as much as the UAE. This madness is the brainchild of the billionaire
    developer Ibrahim Ibrahimov, who has extremely cozy ties with the corrupt government of the
    newly oil rich nation of Azerbaijan. Just how corrupt is Azerbaijan? In a 2012 report
    by watchdog group Transparency International that declared 2/3rds of the world’s countries
    “highly corrupt,” Azerbaijan’s Prez Ilham Aliyev stood out from the pack as the
    report’s infamous, “person of the year,” with untold amounts of money stashed in various
    locations around the world. But back to President Aliyev’s good buddy, Ibrahimov, who lazily
    came up with the tacky idea for the megaproject that’s basically a copy of Dubai’s island
    development and mega-tower while on a flight home from, you guessed it, Dubai. He argues
    that Khazer Islands will be home to 800,000 people, but doesn’t explain how those people
    will afford its expensive apartments. Instead of investing in the future by maybe funding
    a network of world class universities – which Azerbaijan isn’t even close to having – in
    a country that borders no ocean and produces no product that the rest of the world wants,
    besides oil, the government thinks its a good idea to build this. I doubt many of the nine
    million people of Azerbaijan think it’s a very good idea. In fact, in a possible sign
    of things to come, last year, Azerbaijanis in a city across the country, got so fed up
    with the corrupt regime, they rioted for two entire days. But look, the capital is doing
    some things right, Baku made Lonely Planet’s top ten ranking of the best nightlife spots
    in the world. I just wonder how much they paid to get on the list. No list of Megaprojects would be complete
    without including the largest-ever science project. The International Thermonuclear Experimental
    Reactor (or, ITER) is a collaboration between China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia,
    South Korea, and the United States that is under construction in Southern France where
    researchers will attempt to see if they can, essentially, recreate the power of the Sun
    and harness it in a steel bottle. Gas will be heated to over 150 million degrees in a
    massive steel frame using giant magnets that will force some atoms together. In this experimental
    reactor, the hope is to produce 10 times more energy than what is used to initiate the reaction,
    or the equivalent of 500 megawatts of power for 1,000 seconds. Although electricity won’t
    be generated at the ITER facility, a fusion power plant would use the heat generated to
    drive turbines and produce power. Unlike nuclear fission, which are what all nuclear power
    plants are today, fusion reactors should be completely safe, with no risk of a producing
    a runaway chain reaction and no dangerous long-living radioactive waste. The fact that
    nations who are competing in nearly every area of geopolitics and economics are coming
    together to collaborate on a $50 billion project is a sign that the science is incredibly promising
    and the potential benefits to humanity are profoundly game-changing. That’s why countries
    that represent half of the world’s population and account for 2/3ds of the global economy
    are participating: because solving fusion would mean prosperity for all, the closest
    thing to limitless energy we can fathom. This month, after the completion of the ground
    support structure which took four years to finish, the second phase of construction began:
    the walls of the seven-story building where the experiment will take place. But we’re
    still several years away from turning the thing on. The complex will make its first
    attempt to produce plasma in a fusion reaction in 2020, with regular operations beginning
    in 2027, 11 years behind schedule and over 40 years after the program was first initiated
    in 1985. But no matter how long, or how many tries it takes to get it right, the prospect,
    the hope of living in a world powered by this type of energy that we wouldn’t need to
    fight over, or pump out of the ground, that we wouldn’t need to burn, that wouldn’t
    harm our precious planet, that’s probably one of the most optimistic, hopeful ideas
    I’ve ever heard, and it’s definitely one worth waiting for. China is about halfway done building the largest
    expressway system in the world, and it’s done so at a feverish pace over the last 25
    years to keep up with the rise of the automobile as the country – and the world – has shifted
    away from a rail-based transportation system. The first expressway within the National Trunk
    Highway System, as it’s called, opened in 1988 and today, just 26 years later, the system
    is over 65,000 miles long. In the ten years since 2004, the network has tripled in length.
    Each year, China’s now building new expressways equivalent in length to the distance of going
    coast-to-coast and back in the United States. The Chinese system exceeded the total length
    of the US interstate highway system back in 2011. This crazy expansion has happened because
    the Chinese have embraced the car at a staggering pace. This next mind-blowing fact pretty much
    sums up this entire video: as the country’s middle class boomed and tens of millions of
    people suddenly could afford to buy cars, in the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, the number
    of passenger vehicles in China increased from 19,000 to 62 million cars on the road, that’s
    a mind-blowing increase of 323,000%. And that 62 million number is more than tripling to
    200 million by 2020. That’s why we’ve seen those stories that I thought were a joke
    the first time I read them, of traffic jams around Beijing stretching over 60 miles and
    lasting for 11 days. So this project is sorely needed simply for the country to function.
    When it’s finished, it will have cut total travel times between cities throughout the
    country, by half, on average. Overall the total cost of building the entire system is
    $240 billion dollars, that’s easily the biggest infrastructure project in human history,
    with $12 billion a year being invested through 2020. It’s been able to afford to do this
    without adding a national fuel tax because 95% of the system are toll roads owned by
    private, for-profit companies. This is a problem, as tolls are expensive at over 10 cents per
    mile…which is more than the cost of fuel itself. But regardless of how the roads are
    paid for, or whether, you drive on them in your gas or electric car, or ride in a self-driving
    car. The Chinese economy and quality of life of its people will be significantly better
    thanks to this ambitious project. It seems the whole country is embracing the Chinese
    saying, “Lutong Caiton,” wealth follows the extension of motorways. India faces one of the most challenging situations
    in the world. It has 1.2 billion people spread over a vast country. More than 350 million
    of whom will move into cities in the coming decade, which means some 500 new urban centers
    will need to be built from scratch. And even though India’s sheer size means that its
    economy ranks third in the world in purchasing power, overall, it’s relatively poor and
    underdeveloped. It’s also young. The average Indian is just 27 years old, compared to the
    average American, who’s a decade older. This means that most of the population is
    about to hit their prime working years—these are all people who need jobs to be created
    now. That’s why the government is embarking on the largest infrastructure project in Indian
    history: the $90 billion Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, whose backbone will be a 920 mile
    long dedicated freight corridor, basically a set of multiple rail lines that will exist
    solely to move goods from the factories where they are produced to the sea and airports
    where they can be exported to market. It’s designed to cut the logistical costs of manufacturing
    goods to make India the cheapest place in the world for a company to build its stuff
    and – in turn – triple the amount of merchandise it exports from 2010 levels by 2017. Japan
    is the major partner behind the project because the Japanese economy is based on a technology
    industry that needs to build its products at the most competitive rates in the world.
    The overall effort will include a 4,000 MW power plant, and at least three brand new
    seaports and six airports. And all along the route, 24 new cities will spring up with each
    aiming to be superior to any existing Indian city in terms of the quality of infrastructure,
    planning, management, and services offered. With natural resources scarce – and climate
    change a concern of any good urban planner – the use of technology has been stressed
    to make sure this boom will be as clean and sustainable as possible. Roads are also a
    major part of the plan with thousands of miles of expressways planned to ease congestion.
    The project is a priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who entered office in 2014
    after leading his BJP party to a dominating win in the 2014 election, giving him a mandate
    to enact his vision for making India a global manufacturing superpower. It seems the Indians
    are attempting to follow a similar blueprint for success the Chinese put into action over
    the last 40 years. With a population nearly as big, Indians are rightly asking, why not
    us? If you were playing Sim City, you’d want
    to go about building your metropolis the same way the Saudi’s have with King Abdullah
    Economic City. And just like other great leaders of men, you’d probably name it after yourself
    too, which is exactly what King Abdullah did. You’d also focus on job-creating infrastructure
    and a dream university to attract the best and brightest. Saudi Arabia is the world’s
    dominant oil producer, and is a country that knows how to play the game. While its flashier
    neighbors like Abu Dhabi and Dubai get all the publicity for their megaprojects, the
    Kingdom is embarking on a far more ambitious project that’s focused squarely on creating
    the most cohesive, well-planned city in the Arab world. The $100 billion enterprise on
    the coast of the Red Sea is about an hour’s drive north of Jeddah, the second-largest
    city in Saudi Arabia, and plans to expand into an area about the size of Washington
    DC. That location is no coincidence, says Fahd Al Rasheed, the man who’s in charge
    of growing King Abdullah Economic City – which we’re going to shorten to just its initials,
    KAEC – “you’re talking about 24 percent of global trade going through the Red Sea,
    and this is a trend that’s never been addressed by a Red Sea port.” That’s why KAEC’s
    port is going to be massive, with an annual capacity of over ten million shipping containers,
    which would make it one of the busiest ports in the world. So cargo is KAEC’s first major
    transportation hub. The second is Haramain station, one of four stops on Saudi Arabia’s
    planned high speed rail network that will connect the new megacity to Jeddah, Makkah,
    and Madinah. This will bring thousands of visitors to KAEC right from it’s inception,
    with officials hoping that some will naturally take jobs and stay there, fueling its expansion.
    At first, the whole plan struggled to gain much traction with investors, “but,” says
    Al Rasheed, “then we reoriented ourselves towards building that demand, creating that
    support and it’s completely shifted. Now we have captive demand — all our apartments
    are full and we have waiting lists for hundreds of people, literally.”
    Part of that shift focused on KAEC’s Industrial Valley which is centered on a large petrochemical
    plant and has more than 70 companies lining up to set up bases there.
    And then there’s the cornerstone of any thriving city: a great university. Enter,
    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – which began instruction in 2009 with a staggering
    $20 billion endowment, making it the third best-funded university in the world behind
    Harvard and Yale. This capital injection has allowed it to lift off like a rocket in its
    first five years. It’s recruited some of the best talent from over 60 countries around
    the world–scientists who’ve carried the school to an eye-opening 99.9% research record
    score. The research teams at King Tech are advancing many important fields like solar
    cell technology and cancer therapy. It teaches in English and is the first mixed-gender university
    in the Kingdom. Plus, with just 1200 postgraduates on an 8,900 acre campus, there’s plenty
    of room to expand in every direction. With forty percent of Saudi Arabia’s citizens
    under 15 years old, the plan is for the megacity – by itself – to create upwards of a million
    jobs for all of those young people to grow into.
    In the end, it may be true that Saudi Arabia would be a bone-dry desert wasteland without
    it’s exploitation of the vast fields of black gold underneath it, but at least – in
    the twilight of his life – King Abdullah is doing all he can to set his people – and the
    rest of the world – on a slightly better path than the one they were on when he took over
    just nine years ago in 2005. And if that’s his legacy, he deserves to have a city named
    after him. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this
    video, and if you did, you’ll love our video profiling 10 promising renewable energy sources
    of the future or our mini-doc on robotic armies and the militaries of the future. Make sure
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    The Monorail: $999 All-In-One Windows PC from 1996!
    Articles, Blog

    The Monorail: $999 All-In-One Windows PC from 1996!

    November 8, 2019


    Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing! And today we’re headed back to the ‘90s
    with this boxy beast right here: the Monorail PC, an all-in-one desktop computer that first
    hit the market in November of 1996. [Windows 95 startup sound plays] Despite its bulky metal case making it look
    like a piece of industrial equipment, the Monorail was a low-cost desktop PC intended
    for first-time computer users. And for a short period in time they were the
    new hotness, with Monorail being the 14th leading manufacturer of desktop PCs, growing
    at a rate of 50% per quarter, and looking to become a $2 billion company by 2003. Unfortunately for them that didn’t happen,
    but this machine is still a notable footnote in personal computer history. The first reason is its unprecedented design,
    packing a Pentium compatible motherboard, desktop-sized CD-ROM, floppy drive, and hard drive, and a color LCD monitor all into one unit. The second thing setting it apart was pricing,
    with the original Model 7245 first going on sale in 1996 for just $999. At the time, that was a magic number for a
    PC with a monitor included. So the Monorail was not only one of the cheapest
    complete systems around, but it was perhaps the first all-in-one desktop with a built-in
    LCD, predating computers like the Compaq Presario 3020 by nearly a full year. And obviously, before Apple’s iMac G5 by
    a good eight years, that didn’t arrive until 2004. Of course the Monorail is a way chonkier lil
    guy by comparison, but the underlying idea is the same. Adjustable LCD screen up front, optical drive bay on the side, I/O section with all your ports around back. Even its “sealed case” maintenance philosophy is very Apple-esque, with Monorail intending it to only be upgraded by the manufacturer, voiding the warranty if you opened the case yourself. Something many tech reviewers back then did
    not appreciate, despite Monorail’s efforts to make upgrades as painless as possible. You see, Monorail Computer Corporation was dead-set on forging a new path in the personal computer business. The company was founded in 1995 by Doug Johns,
    formerly the senior vice president of Compaq’s PC division, basing Monorail in the city of
    Marietta, Georgia just outside Atlanta. At the time, 30 million American households
    had never owned a computer, and Johns saw things like pricing, distribution, and maintenance
    as barriers to entry. So he invested $2 million into Monorail in
    1995, with several talented folks helping co-found the company, each coming from the
    likes of Compaq, IBM, and Oracle. Pricing was one of the biggest initial hurdles,
    since the main goal was to sell a sub-$1000 computer. Reducing overhead costs was key, and this
    was accomplished by outsourcing practically everything. Monorail designed their PCs in-house and received
    orders by telephone, but all manufacturing, logistics, repairs, and financials were handled
    by outside partners. An original equipment manufacturer took care
    of building the machines, at first being Phelps Technologies out of Kansas City, Missouri. Federal Express would handle all the shipping
    and handling of the machines once they were built and packaged by the OEM. CompUSA was Monorail’s sole retail partner,
    initially, so they took care of regional advertising and kept limited inventory in stock. And Suntrust Banks handled company finances, acting as Monorail’s accounts receivable department. Even the machines themselves were designed
    around the idea of using third party options. FedEx told Monorail that the ideal dimensions for a package weighing between 15 and 25 pounds was 19”x19”x9.5” inches. Too small to fit both a monitor and a PC,
    which is why Monorail decided to use a dual scan laptop LCD panel integrated into the
    case. The rest of the components were on the lower end as well, with a 75 megahertz Pentium-class AMD CPU, 16 megabytes of RAM, a 1 gigabyte hard drive, 4x CD-ROM,
    and a 33.6 Kbps FAX/modem. Nothing mind-blowing, but Monorail was keen
    to push its planned upgrade path, offering faster processors and up to 80 megs of RAM at prices they claimed were comparable to doing it yourself. They recommended holding onto the shipping
    box for this, so you could simply drop off your Monorail with FedEx, they’d deliver
    it to the original manufacturer for upgrades, and then send it back in a few days. As for the name “Monorail,” you might
    be wondering: what kinda name is Monorail anyway? – ”Monorail!” – “Monorail. Monorail. Monorail.” Well, like almost everything else at the company,
    the name was outsourced. Another company called Name Lab was tasked
    with the job, and the mandate was to come up with a friendly name that avoided overused computer company words like “Cyber” and “Tek.” Apparently “Monorail” fit the bill, despite
    it not really having much in the way of meaning. It did at least lead to the company mascot,
    Monorail Mo, the Monorail system conductor. Yeah we’ll get to you later, Mo. Anyway, despite their lofty ambitions and
    positive press, Monorail had a bit of a rough go of it at first. Their OEM, Phelps, went bankrupt so they had
    to move manufacturing to Mitac and SCI Systems, certain retail partners were marking up the
    price above $1000, critics weren’t happy with the stingy warranty and upgrades, and
    competitors were slashing prices to get their own PCs under a grand. By 1998 Monorail decided to move away from
    all-in-ones and start focusing on boring white box towers aimed at business users, with machines
    like the NPC 5000 and 7000 series hitting shelves late that year. You know what else hit shelves in late ‘98? eMachines, with their sub-$500 PCs using almost the exact same specs as those from Monorail,
    but at prices hundreds of dollars less. The race to the bottom was finally bottoming
    out and Monorail wasn’t fully prepared. Pulling out of the PC market in the year 2000
    and rebranding as Monorail E-Solutions, briefly becoming a business decision-making company
    before fizzling out in 2002. But that was then and this is now, and we’ve
    got ourselves this lovely boxed example of a Monorail Model 133. This was introduced in early ‘97 at a price
    of $1,299, with upgrades to the CPU, hard drive, video RAM, and CD-ROM drive over the
    original Monorail. The manual and the mouse were long gone by
    the time I got this, but it does have the original keyboard as well as this quick setup poster that kinda reminds me of a board game somehow. And there’s our friend Mo again, guiding
    us through the process of plugging things in, a quaint reminder of how fresh the PC
    experience still was to many folks in 1996. But yeah, there’s really nothing to it:
    just plug in the keyboard, a mouse, and a power cable and you’re good to go. Time to power on the Monorail! [computer powers on, whirs to life] [beep] Right, so this runs the venerable Windows
    95, complete with a custom Monorail boot screen. A nice touch indeed. Takes a while to load with that old hard drive,
    so let’s take the opportunity to admire that die-cut steel case. [clunks metal metallically] Yeah for being a budget machine, this thing
    is surprisingly sturdy. It’s metal all the way around, weighing
    in at just over 17 pounds or around 8 kilograms. And yes, it does feature expansion possibilities, there’s a proper 16-bit ISA slot right there above the floppy drive. As mentioned earlier, this was not intended
    to be user-serviceable. Though you can open it up somewhat by removing
    a handful of T15 Torx screws around back. This provides access to the monitor, drives,
    and expansion slot, but you’re only gonna get so far without really tearing things down further. And regrettably, that slot is in a really
    cramped space up against the CPU and its fan, so there aren’t many cards that’ll fit
    without blocking the exhaust. From what I gather, Monorail only offered
    a network interface card for this slot, and it was a very specific model since almost
    nothing else fit. Once Windows finishes loading, a couple of programs start up. One is this control panel for showing system
    information and display options. This is where you control the LCD brightness settings, which is either bright or dim. Just either/or, nothing in between. Contrast is an entirely separate thing, controlled using these two rubber buttons below the power and volume. There’s also a system tray icon that runs
    on startup letting you open and close the CD tray by clicking it. [CD-ROM tray opens, closes] Yep, that’s…
    that’s all that does. Seems Monorail included this after users complained
    the CD-ROM’s eject button was cumbersome to reach by hand. Which, it is, so good call. Oh and before I disabled it, the Monorail Home Station program also used to start up with Windows. Keeping in line with the idea this might be
    someone’s first PC, it’s a collection of shortcuts to commonly-used programs, settings,
    tutorials, games, and website links. And hey look, there’s Monorail Mo again,
    let’s hear what he has to say! – “Monorail Central Station! It’s where every Monorail user starts off.” [door closes, monorail SFX] – “Approaching Internet Central.” – “Now I know you’ve heard about the Internet.” – “Information Superhighway” The ‘Net? Cyberspace?” – “Call it what you will, it’s on the
    tip of everyone’s tongue these days.” – “Right now over 63 million people are linked by computer” – “to the Internet! To access the Internet, all it takes is your Monorail,” – “a standard phone line and an account
    with an Internet Service Provider.” So yeah, Monorail Mo walks you through signing up to Mindspring dial-up and Monorail’s warranty and registration, and that’s about it. There are other web-focused tutorials included
    though, minus Mister Mo and instead it’s some generic narrator dude. It’s pretty great. – “Make sure nobody has picked up the phone
    recently,” – “as this can cause the modem connection
    to hang up.” – “If the modem seems to be in order and
    no one has picked” – “up the phone, exit Internet Explorer
    and start it up again.” For whatever reason, you can rewind the playback here, but like, in the way that you’d play a record in reverse. [narration plays backwards] Not entirely sure what the point of that is,
    but it amuses me so I approve. Anyway, as for how the Monorail PC is to actually use? Well, it’s not ideal. The biggest issue is that awful 10-inch passive
    matrix display, with its washed-out colors, tiny viewing angles, and smeary motion. Evidently Monorail offered a TFT active matrix later on, but this original display is dreadful even for ‘96. Granted, it’s perfectly fine for productivity
    and games that require little in the way of movement. You’re not gonna have a problem with word
    processing, for example, or looking up articles within Microsoft Encarta or whatever. And uh by “whatever” I mean adult entertainment! Yeah it seems the previous owner figured out
    the seedier side of cyberspace pretty quickly, there’s seriously like half a gig of late
    90s dial-up wank bank. [clears throat] Anyway so uh, point being
    that this display isn’t very good, and even something like Solitaire
    can be irritating to play with it being so easy to misplace the mouse cursor in a waft of blurry pixels. Yeah, you can enable mouse trails to alleviate this, that’s what it’s there for after all. But eh, cheap passive matrix displays, one
    piece of ‘90s tech I won’t be yearning to use again anytime soon. At least the keyboard it comes with is half-decent, being manufactured by NMB Technologies. [keyboard keys thunking away] It’s not a mechanical board or anything,
    but it does feature NMB sliders over rubber domes, making it feel quite similar to the
    Dell Quietkey keyboards. One can certainly do worse. However, you can certainly do better in almost every single way when it comes to mid-to-late 90s gaming. Again that display is total balls, and while
    you can hook up an external monitor to alleviate that, it’s hard to justify going to the
    trouble when the horsepower simply isn’t there. Even though mine is the upgraded 133 megahertz
    model, with RAM upgrades taking system memory up to 48 megs, it’s still in a rather un-sweet
    spot in overall performance. First-person shooters from 1996 are sluggish,
    with Duke Nukem 3D being playable but choppy, close to what I get on a PC running a hundred megahertz 486 Overdrive. Quake is another step down from that in terms
    of playability, as expected. The Monorail only has an integrated Chips
    & Technologies SVGA graphics chipset, with the Model 133 here boasting
    one whole megabyte of VRAM. So it’s really no surprise to get frame rates
    in the low twenties. Something like Hot Wheels Stunt Track Driver is playable too, something I was curious about since it relies on full screen
    full motion video. And it does run rather sluggishly as well,
    dulling down the game’s pacing with every stunt happening in slow motion. And 1997 games like Pod here are truly unplayable, with chops, skips, and jumps all over the place. [choppy, skipping audio plays] This game was really made for Pentium MMX
    CPUs and at least two megs of video memory, which the Monorail doesn’t have and it shows. Really about the best kinda game to play on this would be higher-res adventure games, like Pajama Sam here. You’re still gonna lose the mouse cursor
    on occasion because of the LCD, but at least you can keep up with what’s going on. And real-time strategy games like Age of Empires,
    those tend to work pretty well too and the movement is slow-paced enough on default speed
    settings. This kinda 2D fare really is about as far
    as you’d wanna take the Monorail in terms of Windows 95 games. There’s also the DOS side of things to consider,
    which is actually not half bad with its Crystal Sound chipset offering Sound Blaster compatibility. It’s an imitation of the real thing of course,
    notable in games like Commander Keen Goodbye Galaxy, but overall it’s entirely passable. And the speakers do an okay job too, they’re actually louder and less garbled than I expected. [Commander Keen plays for a bit] Heh, again, not that you’d wanna play a
    side-scroller very long with all the ghosting going on, and some additional issues with
    resolutions lower than 640×480. There’s this black line running through
    the middle of the screen, along with non-integer scaling, plus this wonky wave effect on top
    of that. Not at all pleasant, but I think I’ve made
    my point. [Keen pathetically dies] That being, the Monorail PC is a downright
    compelling device, both to research and to go back and use, despite its cost-optimized
    inferiority. Parts of it are astonishingly well-made, while
    others are serious letdowns, and in the end I wouldn’t recommend trying to track one
    down except as a retro curiosity. You may have noticed the RMA markings all over the box I showed earlier, and yeah, from what I’ve read on old user’s forums it
    seems these were constantly breaking in one way or another. I got lucky and found this one fully working,
    something I’m grateful for because I’ve been wanting to share the Monorail experience
    on LGR for a long time now. And with that, I hope you’ve enjoyed this
    excursion with the Monorail. Please exit through the doors in a calm and
    orderly fashion. [doors closing, monorail speeds up] If you had experiences with Monorail computers do leave a comment down below, I’d love to hear about it. Or perhaps check out some more LGR, I post new videos every week so there’s a lot to choose from. As always, thank you for watching!

    Albuquerque, New Mexico – Breaking Bad, Old Town, Nuclear Energy and Sandia Peak
    Articles, Blog

    Albuquerque, New Mexico – Breaking Bad, Old Town, Nuclear Energy and Sandia Peak

    November 7, 2019


    – [Robert] In today’s video, we are going to visit Walter White, and Los Pollos Hermanos as we explore Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also, the National Museum of
    Nuclear Science and History and the Sandia Peak Tramway. That and more coming up next. ♪ I’m riding, riding, riding ♪ ♪ Riding with my RV ♪ ♪ My RV ♪ ♪ Wherever I want to be ♪ ♪ Because I’m free in my RV, yeah ♪ – Well, hopefully, today
    we’ve done a little better planning than yesterday
    and the first thing I’m going to go to the
    Old Albuquerque area, maybe have some breakfast, and then we’re gonna do
    some Breaking Bad locations, and then we’ll see. (upbeat guitar music) Here we are, Old Albuquerque. Let’s find parking. Well, once again, it’s dead
    here early in the morning, so we’ll go back later. Although I was getting kind
    of hungry but I can wait. So I stumbled upon the
    Visitor’s Information Center. What a concept, right? And I spoke to the very
    knowledgeable, very nice lady there, and apparently nothing
    opens here in downtown, or Old Town, rather. – [GPS Voice] Take the next right on to South Plaza Street Northwest, then turn left onto Rio
    Grande Boulevard Northwest. – ‘Til like 10 or 11 a.m. so okay, that’s that, so what I’m going to do now
    in the morning, I’m going to. – [GPS Voice] Turn left onto
    Rio Grande Boulevard Northwest, then turn right onto
    Central Avenue Northwest. – If she lets me talk I’m going to do the Breaking Bad locations. Another one that is really far away in the middle of the desert, because it’s like 40 minute drive and I know 40 minute drive usually turns into an hour, two hours, but I’m going to go to like Los Pollos Hermanos, the car wash, Walter White’s house, and then I’m gonna come back here to the restaurant that I was going to come to anyways, which is this church. – [GPS Voice] Take the next right onto Central Avenue Northwest, Route 66. – And she recommended that, yeah, this is the oldest restaurant in town. So I’m gonna have an earl
    lunch there probably. – [GPS Voice] Continue on
    Central Avenue Northwest for one mile. – Around 11-ish, and then
    there’s a post office, I have to mail a sticker to England. So I’m going to mail it from
    there and then we’ll see, there’s so much to do. There’s the Nuclear Energy Museum, there’s, of course, the
    Sandia Peak Tramway, there’s Nob Hill, although
    she says that Nob Hill is under construction so it may not be the greatest experience, so
    we’ll take it from there. (upbeat guitar music) By the way, she also had a map of all the Breaking Bad locations
    and I was even considering taking a tour, but you know, I made myself a little bit of a tour here. I saved some of the locations in the, in Google Maps and I’m just
    going to, you know, explore. Ooh, by the way, if you’re
    not really into Breaking Bad, feel free to skip ahead
    about three minutes or so, and we’ll continue exploring
    the rest of Albuquerque after that. Here we are at the infamous
    location of Los Pollos Hermanos, which is Twisters Burger
    and Burritos fast food chain here in New Mexico and Colorado. Let’s go inside. I’m not gonna eat, I just want to see it. Of course, they have
    a Pollos Hermanos sign right by the entrance. Hi, good morning. Let’s make sure that we don’t
    have any GPS trackers here. All clear. We’ll be on our way. We continue on our Breaking
    Bad locations tour. (upbeat guitar music) I know, old Kia is kind of
    filthy and in a bad need of a car wash, but that’s
    not why we’re here. This is the car wash from the TV series. I was tempted to do a car wash, you know, patronize the building, the business but, but let’s continue towards
    Walter White’s house. How about that? (upbeat guitar music) Hmm, I guess they got
    the same idea as I did, or maybe they’re cooking
    meth in there, either or. Ah, yeah, the new owners
    have put up fences and cones. I don’t think they are
    thrilled with the idea of having a famous house. They have a sign that says take your pictures from across
    the street, do not disturb. I won’t disturb them. I just want to throw a pizza on that roof. Leaving. Let’s find another, oh by the way, the guys in the RV, I think they were taking
    pictures of the wrong house. Okay, let’s go. Actually, if I owned that
    house, I would decorate it just like in the TV
    series and offer tours. But then I guess I would
    have to license the rights. It might not be worth it. Anyways, I’m not going to
    spend my whole morning on this, so last but not least is one
    of my favorite locations, Hank and Marie’s house. You know, the cop brother-in-law? And it is located on the
    foothills of the Sandia Mountains in the very nice Glenwood
    Hills neighborhood. That’s the one. Down the hill we go. By the way, there was a trail head at
    the end of this street. Maybe we can do it some other time. The next time we come
    to Albuquerque for sure. So the idea now, I’m
    going to take a historic Route 66 into town. I don’t know how long
    that’s going to take, but sounds sensible and then
    we’re gonna have breakfast at the Old Town. (upbeat guitar music) This here is Central
    Avenue, which became part of Historical Route 66 back in 1937 when the road came through here. And we’re going to be approaching
    here a neighborhood called The Nob Hill, which is
    supposed to be very lively with this eclectic mix of
    locally owned businesses. (upbeat guitar music) Well, might as well make it
    all the way to downtown, right? This here is the Civic Plaza, and apparently they do
    concerts and special events and when it is not in use,
    it is a great spot for the homeless to charge their phones, I hear. What does this building remind of you? It’s like the InterAmerican Plaza in Miami. We are back by Old Town. Let’s check out Old Town
    here in Albuquerque. We’re back here. This place is supposed to
    be right behind the church. Now I am really getting hungry, so let’s go to that Church Street Cafe to have an early lunch. Yeah, I think that’s it over there. – [Woman] Hi, how are you? – Here we are. Church Street Cafe. I start with a coffee because I thought it was going
    to be breakfast, actually. This is apparently the
    oldest house in Albuquerque. Then I changed my mind to a local IPA because you know what? It is almost noon. This is the combination platter, some bread and everything. Tamale and enchilada and I forgot. I think it’s a chiles rellenos. That is fantastic. A bit pricey, but it was really good. And, well, you know, you
    are in a historic building after all. Wow, that was a very, very good meal. Check it out. (guitar music) – Bye bye. – Bye. Well that was very nice. By far, the best meal
    I’ve had in New Mexico, so I’m very pleased. And it supposedly the oldest
    private residence here in the city, as I mentioned. Owned until 1991 by the same family. (upbeat guitar music) Alright, let’s continue exploring Old Town a little bit here. All these shops here in the back. This little alley here. I am back by the Old Town Plaza and the San Felipe de Neri Church. Here’s the official historic marker. And we have these cannons. And Native American crafts. Let’s check out the church. 1793. This here church is the oldest
    building in the whole city, and the only building here in
    Old Town proven to date back to the Spanish Colonial era, although it did go through some
    remodeling after 1817, like the bell towers and
    the pitched roof and the interior decorations, those are newer. (whimsical music) Well, I think we’ve seen
    enough here for today, so I’m just going to slowly
    walk back to the car, admiring all this adobe
    style architecture, the chili peppers ever-present everywhere. (drumming music) Here’s another restaurant I was
    considering for lunch today, although I think I made the right choice. Here’s the main entrance
    to the Old Town area. So it’s Don Francisco Cuervo Y Valdes, founder of Albuquerque, April 23rd, 1706. The plan is we’re going to
    go see some nuclear weapons. Nuclear, or nu-cu-lar, how do you say it? Anyways. Saying goodbye to old, I don’t know where I am, Albuquerque. – [GPS Voice] Take the
    next left onto San Felipe Street Northwest. – Thank you. Check it out, Old Town. – [GPS Voice] In 300 feet, turn left onto Mountain Road Northwest. – See the church? Yeah. We are going to transition here from colonial Spanish
    history and old Mexico to a much more recent
    time period, the Cold War. Our next destination is The National Museum of
    Nuclear Science and History, which I am really looking
    forward to because I grew up during the Cold War, and I
    was stuck on the other side of the Iron Curtain, kind of. So it is a very interesting historical period for me, personally. Here we are. Adult admission is $12. In this first section, we
    learn about some of the people involved in the study of the atom, and Einstein’s letter
    to President Roosevelt. World War Two, Hitler and the Holocaust. And the Nuclear Threat. And then we get to see some
    artifacts from the era, from the different countries involved. The Manhattan Project
    that involved the design, assembly and testing of
    the first atomic bomb in nearby Los Alamos, very
    close to here, actually. Fascinating stuff. (upbeat music) Here’s a replica of Fat
    Man, which was the bomb detonated over the city
    of Nagasaki, Japan. This flag flew at the site
    of the first atomic test. The limo that transported the scientists of the Manhattan Project. Gadget, the first atomic
    device ever tested. The Nagasaki aftermath. The Soviet section, perhaps? Ever wonder what a fallout
    shelter used to look like back in the sixties? Yeah. There is so much stuff here,
    I could make a one hour video of the museum alone, but don’t worry, I’m not going to do that. Here’s a section about nuclear medicine. You see? It’s not all war and doom and gloom. There have been, actually,
    many contributions to the advancement of medical technology. There’s another section on radiation, they even have a Geiger Counter here, measuring the radioactivity
    of different materials. Electric power, and of course, a pretty substantial section
    about atomic pop culture. There is, of course, a famous DeLorean, and something called a Flux Capacitor. Great Scott! Well, as I said, we
    could spend hours here, but before we go, let’s step
    outside into what they call the Heritage Park. As I step outside, a museum
    docent, a very nice guy follows me around everywhere
    and explains everything, actually, like the fact that
    this F16 would be carrying a hydrogen bomb under its
    wing and heat-seeking missiles and yeah. Here’s a B-29 Super Fortress, just like the one that
    dropped the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it was from a tower like
    this one that they tested The Gadget, the first nuclear bomb, at White Sands. Actually, on the next
    video, we are going there. Here’s a Nike Missile. We saw one of those at the
    Everglades not long ago. This, of course, is the legendary B-52. I recently had a chance to see
    one of these up in the air, and all I can say is, what a sight. This thing is majestic. It is almost the size of
    the whole museum building. And that’s where they kept
    the hydrogen bomb, down there. This here is the B-47 Stratojet, nicknamed The Widowmaker. Wonder why? It looks to me like an
    oversized fighter jet, and according to my guide,
    the pilots used to say that once it was up in the air, it actually handled like one. We move on to the rockets, the intercontinental ballistic
    missiles, but at this point, it’s information overload. I believe this is the Titan II, a staple during the Cold War,
    always ready to be launched, pointing at the Soviet Union, of course. – [Guide] This one’s
    called The Peacekeeper. – The Peacekeeper. – [Guide] This is a four stage. Special type of epoxy. – Let’s see. Kevlar. Here’s, once again, the
    Titan II, which was designed so it could fit on a truck on the highway, and under most tunnels. Pretty cool. Now we go to the, to the Tramway, to the Sandia Peak. Well, yes, we are going
    to do one more thing today before we turn in to the campground. And there is another one of
    the top ten things to do here, the Sandia Peak Tramway. There is actually so much
    more to do here, really, but I only allocated one
    day on this particular trip, more like an overview of the city this is. You can bet we’ll be back
    here sooner than later. We’re going north on
    Tramway Boulevard here, which actually hugs
    the eastern city limits and eventually will
    take us to the Tramway. Hi. – [Ranger] Hi there, how are y’all today? – I’m doing great, how are ya? – [Ranger] Great, it’s a beautiful day, I’m on the mountain. – Yeah. Yeah, it’s very good. (laughing) – [Ranger] Have you been before? – No, first time. – [Ranger] Where are you from? – Miami, Florida. – [Ranger] Miami? Woo, well it’s lighter there. And lower. Been there, it’s a nice town. – Yeah, it’s good. – [Ranger] Well, two whole dollars. – It’s two whole dollars
    to go over there, right? And then how much is the tram? – [Ranger] $25. – 25. – [Ranger] 20 if you’re a
    senior, but I don’t think. – No, not yet, not quite yet. (laughing) – [Ranger] Just follow this road around. It just landed, you may
    be able to catch it. – Alright. – [Ranger] If not, the next
    will be down in 15 minutes. – Alright, perfect, thank you so much. (upbeat jazz music) Well, let’s take the Sandia Peak Tramway. (bell ringing) – [Woman] Thank you, Robert. (whistling) – [Man] Watch your step. – [Woman] Thank you, coming through. – The 50 year old tramway goes from 6500 feet above sea level all the way to 10000 feet,
    along 2.7 miles of cable. As we ascend, we’re going into
    the Cibola National Forest. Passing Tower One now. From here up, the Tramway was
    constructed by helicopter. 5000 helicopter rides it took. – [Announcer] Mount Taylor’s Mountain, about 75 miles to the west
    there, it’s about 1000 feet higher than we are, and
    it is a dormant volcano. Just to give you guys an idea
    of how big things really are from the Tram, on the right hand side here,
    we’re passing Fish Rock and then right out back
    there on top of that hill, there’s a big boulder perched on top, looks curiously like a cannon,
    we’re real imaginative, we call it Cannon Rock,
    it’s about the same size as this cabin, so things
    on the outside of the Tram are much larger than they appear. You can see Cabezon from here,
    too, if you look out to the Northwest on the horizon
    out there, it looks like an outie belly button sticking
    up out of the horizon. That’s the, that’s El Cabezon, that’s
    the hollowed out core of an extinct volcano. (whimsical piano music) – There’s the mark from a lightning strike that looks like a face, or a skull rather. (string music) – [Announcer] At the very
    tippy-tip-top of that mountain up there, there’s a little
    small square granite cabin called Black Window, and
    the longer you look for it, the easier it is to see. I know that sounds weird,
    just totally out there, and it’s right where the
    sky meets the tippy-top of that mountain up there. And that was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was built to house
    workers that worked up there a long time ago, but they don’t
    use it for anything anymore. It’s just a national monument. But you all can hike there,
    it’s about a three mile round trip hike from upper
    terminal to Kiwanis and back. – We’ve made it to the top. Well what do you know? There is snow up here. No drones, why am I not surprised? Here’s the view looking
    towards the other side, to the East. So beautiful. There is our tram car going back down. (whimsical music) There is pretty good wifi
    here in upper terminal, so if you recall, I did
    a live video from up here back in February. Such a commanding view. Ready to head back down. Not many people going down
    now because a lot of people come up here to see the sunset. So it is coming up full and
    going down nearly empty. By the way, Sandia means
    watermelon in Spanish, and the mountain, at
    sunset, due to its color, it kind of looks like a
    sliced watermelon, I guess. Yeah, I kind of see how it could look like a sliced watermelon. I’m actually glad that the
    tram is coming back down nearly empty because it is so much better to take in the views. There comes the other car. – [Woman] There must be
    tons of people going up because they want to see the sunset or? – [Announcer] No, usually,
    like we usually get busier at this time. Here is gonna be a swing and a miss. (laughing) – We are almost back at ground level. Let’s drive back to the campground, as the day comes to an end. Oh, by the way, did I mention
    that there is a brewery right next to the campground? Yeah, I think it’s through here. Where is the brewery? And there is the brewery. That’s people in there. What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in Key West? I am eating Buffalo Frito Pie, and an IPA, of course. Well, it is our last sunset here in the West. It’s a beautiful one. Well, for sure I am
    going to miss having the Sandia Mountains in my backyard,
    but the show must go on. Well, I’m about to take a
    shower and I always wanted to have one of these. It’s a microfiber towel,
    supposedly they dry up really, really quickly
    and this was sent to me by it’s called Country Bound, and in the spirit of full disclosure I didn’t pay for it, but
    I’m gonna test it out and, wow, this makes a lot of noise, huh? I’m gonna test it out
    and I’ll let you know at the end how it is. Let me show you, it comes in this nice bag that could probably
    reuse for something else. And thank you, we appreciate. For 25 off your next purchase visit www.countrybound.com/offer. I’m gonna put a link in the
    video description to this but check it out, it’s two towels. Three, four towels. Hmm, very interesting, and it’s very thin. This is the large one
    that I’m going to use. I mean, if you’re a woman
    you could use it as a skirt, to go to the beach. So very nice. Squeaky clean now and let
    me tell you about the towel. It’s a different drying experience than with a regular towel. There’s more of, a bit more
    of a friction, you know? I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. Maybe you’re supposed to pat dry yourself, it didn’t come with
    instructions, so I don’t know. But the good thing is, and
    especially here in the RV that sometimes we are inside
    and we hang the towel inside to dry, it dried up way
    faster than a regular towel, so yeah, thumbs up to the microfiber towel by Country Bound. They give you three towels in this package and I’m gonna put a link
    in the video description if you wanna get ’em. And tell you what, I think
    it is time for us to put a New Mexico sticker, so I’m
    gonna do that right now. Here’s my remaining
    stickers here on my map. Let’s put up New Mexico
    and then I’ll tell you what I intend to do here. By the way, a lot of people have asked me where I got this map. And you know, it’s the store
    that we all love to hate. Camping World. I got it at the pop up
    store that they usually have at the Tampa RV Show. I got it the same year that
    I got my travel trailer. 2015, and, 2014 actually. And let me tell you about,
    actually January 2014 we got it. Let me tell you about my
    map and what I intend to do because as you can see,
    I’m about halfway done with The United States, I think
    I have like 25 states left exactly. So now in the fall, I’m gonna cover this whole area here. Because I’ve driven through
    many of these states, but I haven’t actually been in any of those states
    and my premise for this map is I either have to sleep
    or do something significant in the state, and I kind
    of cheated with Alabama, because all I did was
    have lunch at a rest stop, but I didn’t want to have
    this gaping hole here in the South. So that’s what I did and I kind of cheated and for some reason I
    haven’t done much in Alabama, maybe because Alabama gave
    me a bad first impression back in 1996 when I was
    driving through here and on my way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. And we just stopped at
    a gas station and it was muddy and dirty or dusty or I don’t know, there was something about
    it but definitely have to give Alabama a chance. Apparently on this next
    trip, on my way back from New England, maybe, we’ll
    have to do something there. And then, I want your suggestions about doing the rest of these states in early 2019 and what route to use because
    I still have this whole area here in the middle. I have Wisconsin and Michigan up there, and then I would like to, maybe I can do the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Oregon Trail, I don’t know. Do comment below or if you
    know which is the best way to tackle all these states
    in a couple of months. Maybe we’ll do, yeah early 2019 because my
    goal was always to do the lower 48 before I turned
    48 and time’s running out. I’m about to turn 47 right now. So, let’s head south. I am leaving Albuquerque and I’ve been going back
    and forth, you know, changing my plans. Originally I wanted to go
    through Amarillo, Texas, to take a part of Route 66 along the way, but it doesn’t look like
    that’s going to happen. Let me stop real quick, I think I forgot to close my basement. Or storage, whatever it’s called. Okay, I closed it but I didn’t lock it. Let me, I’ll be right back. Well, as I was saying,
    there’s a storm coming and, a winter storm, it might even
    rain here in Albuquerque so I have to head back south. I’m going to El Paso,
    Texas, once again and then I’m gonna take I-10 east all the way back. The one positive thing about. – [GPS Voice] Take the next
    right onto South Hill Road. – Thank you Google lady. The one positive thing about
    this is that I might be able to stop for a few hours in San Antonio which will be cool because I’ve
    heard it’s a very neat city. This is where I stayed, Bernalillo. ♪ Riding ♪ ♪ Riding in my RV ♪ ♪ Wherever I want to be ♪ ♪ Because I’m free in my RV ♪ ♪ Yeah I’m riding,
    riding, riding, riding ♪ ♪ I’m riding in my RV ♪ ♪ My RV ♪ ♪ Wherever I want to be ♪ ♪ Because I’m free in my RV ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ Let’s fly the drone here one more time. (upbeat music) – [Drone Voice] Landing. (beeping) – Well, yes, this is
    when the drone decided to land by itself on the
    other side of the highway. – [Drone Voice] Stop landing. Stop landing, stop landing. (beeping) – I was able to take
    control and bring it back as fast as I could. But it was a scary moment for sure. (futuristic music) Well, this is breakfast
    here at the rest area, I’m heating up some, made like
    a wrap with ham and cheese with those new tortillas
    I bought in New Mexico. And here we are at the rest area. I am going to head back
    south towards El Paso as I make my way back to Florida. Actually, I want to make
    it back by Valentine’s Day, so I must rush a little bit. But before that, we’re going
    to explore the White Sands and spend a couple of hours in San Antonio so stay tuned for that. If you have enjoyed traveling with us, make sure you are subscribed
    and check out my other videos. Also share it with your
    friends, spread the word, and leave me a comment. Now if you really, really liked it, you have a chance to show your support at Patreon.com/travelingrobert. As always, thank you so much for watching and see you on the road.

    Why Don’t Trains Have Cabooses Anymore?
    Articles, Blog

    Why Don’t Trains Have Cabooses Anymore?

    November 6, 2019


    Why Don’t Trains Have Cabooses Anymore? For well over a century, cabooses, the cute
    quintessentially red cars at the rear of trains in years past, served an integral function
    in train operations. Carrying a brakeman and a flagman back when
    brakes were set by hand, when it was time to slow the train, the engineer would blow
    the whistle. This signaled to the brakemen, and one would
    emerge from the caboose and work his way toward the engine, while another would leave the
    engine and work his way back toward the caboose. At each car, the brakemen would stop and turn
    its brakewheel with a club. Once the train stopped, the flagman would
    leave the caboose with a flag, lantern or other visual display and walk back down the
    track to warn any approaching trains. The caboose was also an office for the conductor,
    who was responsible for managing the paperwork that accompanied each freight car. Often assigned to a particular man, the interiors
    of cabooses would be equipped as temporary living quarters, and even decorated with personal
    items like photos and curtains. Considered a home away from home, crews would
    sometimes sleep in the cabooses, and many conductors even prepared meals in them. Legend has it, the cupola on top of the caboose
    was invented by a conductor who used to stack boxes up, sit on them, and look through a
    hole in the roof of his car. Regardless of its true origins, after about
    1863, the cupola became a fixture on cabooses, and was used by all of the men to observe
    the train and look for signs of trouble (like overheated hotboxes). Also called a doghouse, bone breaker, hack,
    hearse, monkey cage, crumm, and snake wagon, the caboose, like the brakemen and flagmen
    who used them, became unnecessary as technology was developed that performed their jobs just
    as well, and for less money. Air brakes were developed in the 1880s, thus
    eliminating the need to turn a wheel. Electric-powered signals, triggered by track
    circuits, made signaling other trains automatic, and improvements in bearings made the problem
    of overheating a thing of the past. In addition, trains grew longer and the cars
    became so tall that viewing much of the train from a caboose became impossible. On top of that, computers eventually took
    over the paper-handling duties, so there was no need to store any such paperwork on board. Rather than a cheerful red car, today’s
    trains have small boxes that fit over their rear couplers to monitor operations. Tied into the train’s air brake line, these
    End of Train devices (EOTs) transmit brake pressure information to the engineer, who
    can also adjust the air brakes with the device. This is helpful for emergencies, since even
    if the train breaks in two, the brakes of the rear part
    can be activated.

    Can You Melt Obsidian and Cast a Sword?
    Articles, Blog

    Can You Melt Obsidian and Cast a Sword?

    November 6, 2019


    Over the past few months I’ve been working on this video as a follow-up to user comments on a previous video on if it’s possible to cast obsidian. This proved to be a major challenge that took six attempts, broke multiple crucibles and two different kilns. But I didn’t want to stop until I finally had success at casting obsidian. Previously I made obsidian blade by knapping, which is kind of a Stone Age technology. But a lot of people wanted to see me try and do actual casting with obsidian. Which is something that’s pretty difficult because actual obsidian doesn’t melt until over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit Which is something that’s very hard to achieve. So while looking for this I realized that you can actually cast glass using sand and a similar method that I used for the aluminum But because I can’t melt the actual obsidian, I need to grind it up into small little particles, mix it with the flux and then melt it. And hopefully then I can cast it into some form of knife Obsidian is largely made of silica like regular glass but also has an unknown mixture of other impurities in it as well. That can make its melting point difficult to work with. Melting straight obsidian is potentially possible But would likely result in a very thick viscous substance That’d be hard to work with especially to cast my early attempts at glass making also had a fair amount of impurities which made it really difficult to work with so The solution to this is flux Which is adding chemicals with lower melting points that make the entire solution melt easier and be fluid enough to cast so the thing with knapping is that when you fracture it you’re able to create potentially razor thin blades that are a Molecule thick you. Can’t quite reach the same sharpness by just sharpening glass itself But you should be able get something close and it’s also probably gonna be pretty Brittle as even this is brittle itself and it has wood reinforcing and holding it So let’s give it a shot. First up is grinding the obsidian, melting it down and see if this is even feasible I used a ball mill to grind it to a fine powder in a liquid solution, which I then need to boil off. One of the biggest pains is getting a crucible That’s just big enough to hold a large enough volume, but still fits inside the rather small kiln As it heats the Obsidian and flux tend to boil over some and unfortunately in these smaller crucibles nearly everything spilled out For this first test it looked like the Obsidian and flux may have separated, which means this might not be feasible Also enough spilled out and burned through the insulation until it broke the kiln’s coil making the kiln unusable Next I tried a larger batch using a more flexibly designed kiln that I could scale up to fit a larger crucible (whispered) I uh, suck at this It’s melted all the way through. For an initial small test knife I carved a model out of styrofoam and then packed it into the sand Once poured the hot glass will burn off the styrofoam and fill in its place Like regular glass, if my cast obsidian cools too rapidly it’ll fracture and shatter So I took a note from the compound we used when we made glass with Grant last year and picked up a bag of vermiculite. Which can act as an insulator to allow the glass to slowly cool Alright, lets give this a shot. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough and it still ended up shattering But the most interesting result was that the remelted obsidian turned out fairly transparent with just a slight amber color This is likely due to the flux which probably added to the transparency But this also might be related to how this glass is formed versus the original obsidian Which raises an interesting question on if this compound could even be considered obsidian anymore Regrinding this glass, I started a new batch, but this time, assuming it got more clear because of the flux I thought I’d attempt to counteract it by adding some new impurities back in specifically added in some metals that are often used in glass making to dye glass black: nickel and chromium Which gave it a nice dark color very similar to what it started with Now to cast it. (talking about fluffy cat) Usually she just lays in the grass and eats it. So I’m gonna try and cast this toy Roman sword in obsidian but I don’t want the handle to be obsidian So I’m gonna cut that off Unfortunately by the time it came to pour it, my crucible had cracked and the majority of the obsidian had leaked out While I reset again for another attempt I was curious to do another experiment to see what would happen If you try to melt just straight rocks of obsidian This resulted in a interesting formation of a foamy mess Likely caused by off-gassing of compounds like water that’d previously been trapped in the obsidian The semi molten obsidian adhered to the crucibles as well as the sides of the kiln which unfortunately caused this kiln to break as well But in the interim I had fixed the first kiln and gotten a better fitting crucible. So let’s keep going Collecting as much of the previous attempt as I could Plus adding some more crushed obsidian And some more flux I’m ready to go again This time with a very promising pour Alright, moment of truth to see if the sword is in one piece I’ve had mixed results so far with the vermiculite of Some things still shattering in it, some things not Let’s see what we got Dreams shattered dreams Refusing to give up I brought my setup to glassmaking studio FOCI Where I could throw my final result into their annealing chamber and not risk it shattering Okay, so got a weird reaction in the last attempt where it got really bubbly when we poured it not sure exactly why, there might’ve been some cracks that formed when I transferred the mold or There might have just been more humidity in the air that made it damp and caused a reaction I’d like to polish this, it’d probably break up if I try to grind it and shine it up. So We’re gonna go over there. Give a one more shot to do it the right way previously I added a little bit of a tang to attach a handle to it easier But that’s kind of flimsy so I’m a little worried how well that’ll hold up. So I think I’m just gonna do the whole thing obsidian, So I’m just super gluing the handle back on sand cast it once more I hopefully will finally have the obsidian sword Not very strong Working with FOCI, I learned how sand casting for glass is done a slightly different way Instead of packing the sand tightly around the mold you lightly place the mold into the sand and pack it only along the edge The idea is to allow the air to escape through the sand so it doesn’t bubble up through the glass like it did last time Then they also torch the sand to leave a fine layer of carbon on top. So the glass can better release from it So after six attempts, I finally managed to cast a full obsidian blade. Unfortunately in the annealing process it got a little cracked and Probably can’t polish it off and put a nice edge on it, unfortunately I took quite a bit of flux in order to make it cast-able which made it a bit difficult to actually temper It’s kind of messed up the whole annealing and made it a bit weaker, so it’s more ceremonial at this point. despite all the mythology around obsidian, it’s really fragile, just glass and uh… So put it through a whole different process than how the obsidian originally formed, which is evident when it became pretty transparent at one point and then I had to add the additional dyes in order to turn it back into black. So it’s kind of debatable if this is obsidian, but it’s definitely made from obsidian and uh, took a lot of attempts, though I finally made it So this took six attempts and broke two crucibles and two kilns. Just fixed this guy and last time this crucible cracked it leaked the obsidian all over it and Eroded and did a ton of damage Fortunately, it’s still working at this point But I don’t want to push my luck too much so as much as I enjoy making unprofitable videos and I’m gonna call it at this point say it’s complete So now that I’ve cast the glass next I’m gonna move on to a different mineral, actually try and do actual metals with some copper and make bronze So I’ll do that in uh… In a while If you enjoyed this video be sure to subscribe and check out other content we have, covering a wide variety of topics Also, if you enjoyed these series consider supporting us on Patreon We are largely a fan funded channel and depend on the support of our viewers in order to keep our series going Thanks for watching

    The Homeschooled Kids Who Shoot To Kill | RISE OF THE RADICALS
    Articles, Blog

    The Homeschooled Kids Who Shoot To Kill | RISE OF THE RADICALS

    November 4, 2019


    DERRICK GRACE II: How fast can somebody be a victim of gun violence? KIDS: This fast. DERRICK GRACE II: I bought the Glock 42 maybe
    2 years ago – easy to use. This is a pistol grip AK-47. Her name is Brown Sugar. This
    is the first gun that I shot that I actually saw the dust come up off the ground as the
    bullet travelled. This gun packs a lot of power. And the Uzi. This is a great gun for
    children to start with. I know it may not look like it to most of dawgs because they
    have a different view point of Uzis. But Derrica has shot this on multiple occasions, piece
    of cake. DERRICK GRACE II: Go next. There you go young man. DERRICK GRACE II: I home-school my children.
    We are currently working through volume-1 in my Unlearn and Relearn parent-child curriculum.
    I’m not a huge fan of these school systems. I think they do a whole lot to dilute the
    mental progression of our children. So, I think it’s absolutely necessary that we
    take that in our hands. INTERVIEWER: Could you tell us just generally about growing up in Tampa?
    DERRICK GRACE II: I was a terrible child. I don’t know how many fights I got caught
    setting. I know I broke in at least 20 cars as a child. Never stole anything, I just really
    got a rush out of the glass, bricks and glass, it really just made my blood boil. But yeah
    I broke in my first house, well literally 20 years ago. I was in third grade – same time I
    smoked my first cigarette, my first cigar. INTERVIEWER: Could you just kind of talk us
    through why you chose to get facial tattoos? DERRICK GRACE II: I got 33 on my face and
    I got one on the side of my head over here. The ABC stands for Adversity Builds Character.
    We’re going go to go through it; we’re going to grow through it. INTERVIEWER: Can you tell us about Unlearn
    and Relearn? What that is? DERRICK GRACE II: Unlearn and Relearn is
    a movement and a series of curriculums that I created. The mantra behind it is us whitewashing
    out the traditions and the conditions we’ve been taught to believe. There are so many people
    that have absolutely no idea why they do what they do. They just simply do it for the sake
    of fitting in a tradition. Today we’re just going to focus on money. We’re going to
    talk money, okay? Finances, ownership and things of that nature. INTERVIEWER: Why is Unlearn and Relearn better
    than sending your kids to school? DERRICK GRACE II: That’s a great question.
    I think Unlearn and Relearn is better than sending them to school. I think a lot of our
    biggest downfall is our mental dependence on outside entities for happiness, for love,
    for freedom, for things of that nature, so we have been programmed to believe I need
    money. So, somebody please give me an opportunity. I need happiness, so somebody please bring
    that and be my friend. The biggest thing in Unlearn and Relearn is self will. Understanding
    that, you are who you have been looking for and everything you’re looking for is already
    within you. You have to find a reason to pull it out. INTERVIEWER: Do you ever wish that you were
    at school? DERRICA GRACE: No.
    INTERVIEWER: Why not? DERRICA GRACE: Because, I will not like to
    be in a class 6 hours a day. INTERVIEWER: Really, why?
    DERRICA GRACE: Because 6 hours? Uh-Uh. I am not sitting down in a class
    writing so long. DERRICK GRACE II: Quick answer ok? Knock ‘em out and you get.. I give you another four
    pieces of candy but you are not going to get it until tomorrow because you are not eating another candy in one day. DERRICK GRACE II: If you lost everything today
    what you got tomorrow? DERRICA GRACE: Intellectual property.
    DERRICK GRACE II: And what is intellectual property? DERRICA GRACE: They can take your possessions but they can’t take your mind. DERRICK GRACE II: If daddy had an emergency in this house and you needed to save my life what gun would you use? DERRICA GRACE: The Glock 42.
    DERRICK GRACE II: Why? DERRICA GRACE: Because it has less strength. INTERVIEWER: Why does the curriculum include guns? DERRICK GRACE II: Because violence can take
    place at anywhere in the world at any given moment. But I’m a firm believer if you have
    guns in your house and the educated mind is far greater than the wondering mind. So I
    think it is very much necessary that you both educate your children on guns and the gun
    rules and laws on whatever land you are on. DERRICK GRACE II: Listen Grace how many school shooters we have this year?
    DERRICK GRACE III: 45 DERRICK GRACE II: How many random shooters
    we had this year? DERRICK GRACE III: 255
    DERRICK GRACE II: If people got guns and children in their house they should do what with them?
    DERRICK GRACE III: Teach them about them. INTERVIEWER: Are you worried about their safety at all? DERRICK GRACE II: Oh, no, not at all, not at all, they are very, very mature for their
    age and when you actually take the mystique out of a gun, kids aren’t that much interested
    in it. It’s just like a toy, like they going to play with a toy for a little bit and then they going to be like, ‘Ok. I want a new one.’ DERRICK GRACE II: Oh what if I bought you this? DERRICA GRACE: I am gonna die if you bought me that. DERRICK GRACE II: You’re going to die if I bought you that? DERRICA GRACE: Yes, I’m gonna die, oh look at this Hello Kitty one. DERRICA GRACE: This be easy peasy. DERRICK GRACE II: A lot of shooting takes
    place after night or they take place after dark. So essentially what she has to do, she
    has to locate her round, I’m sorry her magazine in her weapon, chamber a bullet while answering
    questions from my curriculum. 3, 2, 1 go. Who is Huey P Newton?
    DERRICA GRACE: An African political activist a revolutionary who along with Bobby Seale
    co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966. DERRICK GRACE II: What do Osama Bin Laden,
    Gaddafi and Saddam Hussain all have in common? DERRICA GRACE: They challenged the dollar
    bill of the western banks. DERRICK GRACE II: Are you a buyer or a seller?
    DERRICA GRACE: Seller. DERRICK GRACE II: Good job. DERRICA GRACE: I started using guns when I
    was 3 years old. INTERVIEWER: Were you scared?
    DERRICA GRACE: No. INTERVIEWER: Why not?
    DERRICA GRACE: I don’t know, but I wasn’t scared. INTERVIWER: Do the kids have their own guns?
    DERRICK GRACE II: Yeah, Derrick, Derrick has his own gun, he has the Uzi, the .22 long
    rifle and I’m going to buy Derrica a .22 long rifle as well.
    INTERVIEWER: A rifle for a six year old? DERRICK GRACE II: That’s typically how they
    say you should start. They say you should start them with rifles cause most handguns
    because they are so small and they pack a lot of power and recoil so a lot of children
    aren’t strong enough for handguns. DERRICK GRACE II: Now we are gonna work on that, you might not be quite strong enough
    for that yet. DERRICK GRACE II: People are doing the most weirdest things, they are shooting up Wal-Mart’s,
    they are shooting up movie theatres, eateries, like you could literally just go grab a soda
    and get shot. INTERVIEWER: In 2014, you had a shooting incident? DERRICK GRACE II: Yeah. DERRICK GRACE II: Tiffany, which is my youngest
    daughter’s mother, I was gonna retrieve her from her mother’s house but I remember her
    mother storming down the drive way and her son was there too. He swung one time, I just
    leaned out to the left and start firing out the passenger door, shot her, shot her in
    the hand and I ended up shooting him in the arm. It is a traumatic experience on both
    ends. Especially, when they are 2 feet away from you, you know you smell somebody’s
    flesh burning when you see the blood. My situation was self-defence. DERRICK GRACE II: I think it played a huge
    part in me not being arrested. INTERIWER: Don’t you think that if guns were illegal less people would be killed to
    gun crime? DERRICK GRACE II: No, I agree a 100%. But
    I think our country is so deep and far invested into that mentality, it would be impossible
    to get guns off the streets. DERRICK GRACE II: Big dawg time c’mon. Other way, other way, flip that clip. There you
    go, lock it in. There you go. INTERVIEWER: Is this their way of being protected? DERRICK GRACE II: Absolutely, this, this is
    definitely a way of preparing and protecting them. I have full confidence in my six and
    nine year old that should an emergency arise, we don’t get out alive, we definitely will
    put up a great fight. INTERVIEWER: If someone broke into your house, I mean, would you really want your kids to shoot them?
    DERRICK GRACE II: I will absolutely want my kids to take lethal action. No you can’t
    violate or force your way into this house at all. I would much rather them have the
    peace of mind knowing that you no longer exist than worrying about are you gonna come back or will this happen again. INTERVIEWER: People have made complaints about you. DERRICK GRACE II: Right oh yeah, got a lot of those. When the kids first started demonstrating
    with guns on the internet, it’s a part of the sheriff’s office, called ‘Child Protective
    Services’, and they came here, and they was like, ‘Oh we got a complaint. Can we come in? Can we look around? Can we interview your children?’ The answer to every question was absolutely
    not, you are not coming in, you are not gonna search, you are not gonna interview my children.
    We are exercising our second amendment. Have a nice day.

    Why Trains Suck in America
    Articles, Blog

    Why Trains Suck in America

    November 4, 2019


    Let’s face it: trains kinda suck in America. They’re slow, expensive, and just don’t
    exist in many parts of the country. The simple reason for this is because the
    US is so sparsely populated. Aside from here, here, and here, cities just
    aren’t close enough together to make train travel faster or cheaper than plane travel. When cities are within 200-300 miles of each
    other, it’s often faster to take a train from downtown to downtown rather than driving
    to an airport, checking in, going through security, flying, then driving downtown. However, as I mentioned, there definitely
    are regions in the US with cities this distance away from each other, so why do trains still
    suck? The United States has the geography to support
    trains in certain areas and yet a train from DC to New York costs at least $49 dollars
    and takes 3 hours and 29 minutes, only 30 minutes less than driving. A train from Rennes to Paris, France, a very
    similar distance, costs 27 euros, the equivalent of 30 dollars, and takes only 2 hours and
    4 minutes. The US does have one high speed train, the
    Acela express, but it costs at least $120 dollars for a ride from DC to New York and
    still takes 2 hours and 50 minutes. Turkey, Poland, and Uzbekistan all have trains
    that travel faster that America’s fastest train. Alright, so understanding the whole issue
    requires a bit of background knowledge. Back in their heyday, railroads in America
    were… amazing. We built our first in 1826 and had a transcontinental
    line by 1869—only 19 years after California even became a state. Trains travelled almost everywhere and most
    historians agree that the development of railroads was an absolutely crucial catalyst to the
    American industrialization period from 1843 to 1860. They even prompted the US to create one of
    the world’s first standardized time systems as discussed in an old video of mine which
    you can find here. While passenger trains could sometimes be
    profitable, freight services were where the real money was so most rail companies basically
    ran passenger services as a mobile advertisement for their freight services to the executives
    that would decide which company to ship goods on. Trains were, after all, the most glamorous
    and efficient way to travel. However, as cars became popular in the 30’s
    and planes became popular in the 50’s, there was little purpose any more to set up passenger
    services as advertisements to executives who would be taking the more trendy car or plane
    instead. At this point, the few profitable passenger
    services only made money because of their contracts with the US Postal Service. Most trains would have one car that served
    as the railway post office—an office on wheels where workers would sort letters en
    route to the destination to save time. In the 1960’s, mail sorting was mechanized,
    trucks and planes began to transport letters, and railway post offices were discontinued. It became essentially impossible to make money
    with a passenger railroad. By the end of the 1960’s the only thing
    keeping the few passenger routes alive was a legal obligation by the Interstate Commerce
    Commission for the train companies to keep running those routes. But then Amtrak came along. In 1970, President Nixon signed into law the
    Rail Passenger Service Act which formed the federally funded national rail company that
    promised to save and make great again passenger rail travel… except it didn’t. In the United States, a nation of 319 million
    people, Amtrak operates a mere 300 train journeys a day, while in France, a nation of 66 million
    people, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais, also known as SNCF, operates
    14,000 trips every single day, 800 of which are high speed. One common criticism of Amtrak is its unreliability. On average, only 72% of Amtrak’s trains
    arrive on time. The California Zephyr route from Chicago to
    San Francisco even arrived on time a paltry 31% in June of 2016. So what does Amtrak blame the delays on: freight
    trains. You see, Amtrak only owns 730 miles of the
    21,300 miles of track it operates on. On the California Zephyr route, Union Pacific
    owns about half the track and BNSF owns the other half. According to Amtrak, only 1.4% of all delays
    on this route were their fault. The other 98.6 percent were reportedly the
    fault of the rail companies who own the track. Union Pacific will naturally lend priority
    to their own trains on their tracks instead of Amtrak’s so Amtrak trains are often told
    to wait to let a freight train pass. After all, it’s not like Amtrak can go and
    use competing tracks so there’s little incentive to give priority to passenger trains. Most rail operators in Europe don’t have
    this problem. In France, for example, the national rail
    company owns all the track so priority can be given to passenger trains. Also, only 8% of freight in Europe is moved
    by rail compared to 38% in the United States, so there are far fewer freight trains congesting
    the tracks. Since Amtrak is so young, they never got the
    opportunity to build their own tracks. The Northeast corridor—which is absolutely
    perfectly shaped to have a high speed rail network with five major urban centers located
    on a straight line—built up it’s rail system in the 1800’s and the railroad had
    such an impact that towns and people flocked to the area around it. For that reason, this area is incredibly densely
    populated and there truly is no open space between the cities. Consequently, it would be unbelievably expensive
    to raze a bunch of houses and build a new, straighter route of high speed tracks from
    DC to Boston. Amtrak says that it would cost an estimated
    $151 billion dollars to build tracks up the spec of France’s high speed rail network
    in the Northeast corridor. Since the Northeast Regional, the train running
    between DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, is one of the few routes that
    makes money, there’s little incentive for Amtrak to sink a lot of funds into upgrading
    the tracks. Additionally, American cities just aren’t
    built like many European cities. With population densities averaging lower
    than 15,000 people per square mile, cities in the United States are far less walkable
    than their European counterparts which can have as many as 55,000 people per square mile. Due to their ancient roots, European cities
    naturally developed compact urban cores since for all but the rich there was no option but
    to walk everywhere. Given that, it’s much easier to walk to
    your destination from a train station in a European city than it is in an American city. It’s believed that since most Americans
    have to take another form of transport to get to their destination after taking the
    train in America, they see the train as not that much more convenient than the plane where
    you also have to take another form of transport to get to your final destination. So what’s the solution? How should America fix it’s rails? Well, unfortunately, we’ll probably never
    get a big network of fancy high-speed trains like in France or Germany. There are dozens of plans in the US to build
    high-speed rail lines, however few if any of them will likely come to fruition. There is a high-speed rail line currently
    being built between Miami and Orlando by a private company called All Aboard Florida,
    however, with a top speed of 125 miles per hour, the service will only be slightly faster
    than driving due to speed restrictions on many parts of the route. The state of California is also building a
    high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Anaheim with a estimated transit time
    of 2 hours and 40 minutes which would be less than half the driving time between the two
    cities. Despite construction already beginning, phase
    1 of the project isn’t estimated to be completed until 2029 and public support is diminishing. Many have proposed that America shouldn’t
    be concerned with building a flashy high-speed network. Amtrak’s 151 billion dollar proposal for
    a true high-speed northeast corridor system divides down to $320 million dollars per mile
    or $60,000 per foot of high speed track. What would be far more efficient would be
    to upgrade current track to allow trains to operate at their top speeds. On the Northeast Regional route, trains reach
    a top speed of 125mph briefly, and if they operated at that speed for all of the DC to
    New York leg, the trip from DC to New York would take only slightly longer than two hours. Small improvements can cut minutes from the
    journey times which can add up to hours. Unfortunately, Amtrak is stuck in a rut where
    they have no money to improve anything, which causes low ridership, which worsens the problem
    of no money. SNCF in France is so great because taxpayers
    pay for about half of the operating cost of every journey, while Amtrak is designed to
    be a for-profit yet government subsidized corporation. Right now, Amtrak is kinda like the neglected
    little brother in the US transit family who doesn’t get any money, and until that changes,
    we’re still going to have our slow, expensive trains. Thank you for watching! Make sure to click here to subscribe to Wendover
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    for behind the scenes updates between videos. Aside from that, make sure to check out my
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