trains, locomotives, diesel fuel, battery electric, Union Pacific Railroad, California
Photo credit: john pease / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Battery-Powered Trains Are Picking Up Speed (Maria)

The author writes, “Battery-electric power is commonplace in cars and trucks and is being tested in planes, helicopters, and container ships. Now, battery power is coming to trains, in place of the diesel-fueled generators that have powered locomotives for more than a century. Last week, Union Pacific Railroad agreed to buy 20 battery-electric freight locomotives from Wabtec and Progress Rail. The deal, which drew praise from President Biden, is worth more than $100 million. … Battery-electric locomotives have already begun rolling on California tracks.”

The Pro-Trump Case for Rejecting the Big Lie (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Days before Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters in Conroe, Texas, that ‘the 2020 election was rigged and everyone knows it,’ Weston Wamp, who voted for Trump, appeared in the third episode of his video series, ‘Truthtellers.’ ‘You know, a lot of people still have unanswered questions about the 2020 election,’ he says at the start of the episode, titled ‘Off the Rails.’ According to a number of recent polls, eighty percent of Republicans still don’t believe that Joe Biden won the election. Wamp, who is thirty-four and talks with the unhurried cadences of southeast Tennessee, where he grew up and still lives, is not among them; he’s on a mission to convince others on the right that the Big Lie is a big lie.”

Sharp Growth in Georgia Voters Alters Landscape for 2022 Elections (Reader Steve)

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The last election for Georgia governor was close. Rapid growth in the electorate since then could make this year’s races even more competitive. As the 2022 election year ramps up, a recent list of Georgia’s registered voters shows how the state has changed. The number of registered voters has jumped 11% since four years ago. Most new voters are under 35 and live in metro areas. They’re more racially diverse, with substantial increases of Hispanic and Asian voters.”

Inflation and Price-Gouging (DonkeyHotey)

From The American Prospect: “The Prospect’s special issue on the supply chain debacle should demolish the fable that the current inflation reflects too much stimulus. As we report, most supply and price pressure is the delayed result of deregulation and concentration of the global logistics system combined with far too much offshoring. It took only a crisis like COVID to expose the system’s fragility. Want more evidence? Have a look at Europe. Inflation in the EU, which has nothing like the stimulus program of the U.S., clocked in at 5 percent for 2021, the highest in decades. This statistic understates Europe’s true consumer inflation because Germany, the EU’s largest economy, cut value-added taxes for six months in July 2021, lowering net prices to consumers. Without that cut, the increase in consumer prices would have been even higher.”

PODCAST: The Texas Power Grid Fares Better in 2022’s Winter Storm (Dan)

From The Texas Tribune: “In this week’s episode … how Texas held up during the wintry weather, plus the struggles of the National Guard during Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.”

Decision Fatigue Is Real. Here’s How to Beat It This Year. (Sean)

The author writes, “Worn out from nearly two years of the pandemic, many of us are paralyzed when it comes to major life choices and quotidian decisions alike. Whether it’s leaving a job, booking that flight or letting your kid go to a birthday party, the rules and risks keep shifting. All the options seem fraught. … An American Psychological Association survey conducted last year found that nearly one-third of adults — and nearly half of millennials — are struggling with basic decisions, like what to eat or wear. About half say planning for the future feels impossible, thanks to the pandemic.”

Olympic Press Can Grab High-Tech Naps (Dana)

The author writes, “With nowhere really to go, journalists inside the Beijing Olympics bubble are encouraged to sleep on the job. They can’t visit the village rooms where competitors are staying, but they can try out the high-tech beds athletes are sleeping in. Several corridors at the main media center are lined with ‘sleep rest cabins,’ small pods that open with a QR code and contain beds. The beds can be adjusted by remote control and even have a ‘zero-gravity mode’ meant to reduce stress on the body — you don’t quite float, but it’s pretty comfortable.”


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