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Former mayor of Colombian city talks traffic, and Bogotá’s solution

Mike Lindblom. Seattle Times
Seattle might think it’s green, but the pro-transit, pro-bicycling projects here look timid compared to Bogotá, Colombia.

That city has built more than 200 miles of bicycle paths and a bus-rapid-transit system, the TransMilenio, that provides 1.3 million rides a day.

Former Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa explained how he did it Wednesday at a Seattle forum sponsored by the Discovery Institute think tank.

Where right of way was tight, his densely populated city expropriated road lanes from cars to make room for exclusive bus lanes.

Bogotá also acquired open suburban land to pave a 16-mile road for pedestrians and bicycles, before development arrived. A bikeway gives somebody with a $20 bike the same access that roads give owners of expensive cars, Peñalosa said.

“A bicycle lane that cannot be used by an 8-year-old is not a bike lane,” he said. “You need a bikeway that’s protected.”
(28 Sept 2006)

Peter Day meets Tesla Motors
Peter Day investigates an electric car that can accelerate from 0-60 in 4 seconds, and which has a top speed of 130mph.
Michael Bishop, Build Engineer, Tesla Motors
Martin Eberhard, Chief Executive Officer, Tesla Motors
Glyn Owen, General Manager, Tesla Motors
Brian Randall, Test and Validation Manager, Tesla Motors
Christian Reynolds, Lead Manufacturing Engineer, Tesla Motors
John Wormald, Co-founder, Autopolis
(21 Sept 2006)
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B-52 tests alternative jet engine fuel

Staff Sgt. Mark Woodbury, Air Force Link (press release)
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) — The Air Force accomplished another aviation first when a B-52 Stratofortress flew using an alternative fuel Sept. 19.

The flight test involved running two of the bomber’s engines on a synthetic fuel, made from a 50-50 blend of traditional crude oil-based fuel and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel derived from natural gas. The jet’s other six engines ran on traditional JP-8 jet fuel.

Undersecretary of the Air Force Dr. Ronald M. Sega was on the mission as a crewmember.

“This test sets the stage for a more comprehensive plan the Air Force has toward conservation,” he said. “This test fits into this overall vision and is the first step in a long process for looking at the viability of alternative fuels.
(19 Sep 2006)
Contributor Sohbet Karbuz writes:
The Air Force press release claimed that ‘The flight test involved running two of the bomber’s engines on a synthetic fuel, made from a 50-50 blend of traditional crude oil-based fuel and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel derived from coal.’ Derived from coal? That’s funny. Here is what Syntroleum (producer of syntetic JP8 used in the test) had to say in its own press release ‘The jet fuel that was used today was produced from natural gas using Syntroleum’s proprietary FT process, but the company believes the fuel can also be produced from the vast domestic coal resources.’
UPDATE: Sohbet Karbuz writes:
Note also that Air Force corrected the mistake (JP-8 derived from coal) on September 22, 2006, very discretely. Now it says (it is derived from natural gas). But some others (for example who copied the AF article word-by-word could not. This is not a very important issue but it will mislead the readers.

Why We Need An X Prize for Eco-Friendly Air Travel

Alex Steffen, WorldChanging
Air travel presents one of the stickiest problems we face.

On the one hand, in a rapidly globalizing world, we need to fly to do business, build networks and see loved ones. Indeed, to many people (including myself, to be honest), the ability to travel easily and keep a global community is one of the greatest accomplishments of our civilization.

On the other hand, air travel is frying the planet. While air travel contributes only 3% of humanity’s total CO2 emissions (making them a problem only a few times larger than, say, coal fires), air travel is growing at an astounding rate. And while engines are growing more efficient, planes are also getting larger and flights more frequent, meaning that air travel may effectively undo many of the gains so far made in cutting CO2:

…So, here’s my answer: we need better jets. We need to crack a seemingly insolvable problem and design carbon-neutral, non-toxic air transportation.
(26 Sept 2006)