Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hybrid Taxis in NY to Reduce Emissions from Cabs by 50%

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is implementing a plan to reduce carbon emissions from the taxi fleet by 50% by 2012. By October 2008, all new vehicles entering the fleet must achieve at least 25 miles per gallon.

As part of this effort, Yahoo has donated a fleet of 10 hybrid taxis to New York. It's also sponsoring a competition to identify the greenest city in America.

More stuff about big cars

Is the U.S. Army about to dump the Hummer? A report appears in Popular Mechanics about the Army's new hybrid diesel vehicle, the Aggressor. No wussy p(r)ious names for Our Boys!

Frisco loonies

You can do a lot of stuff in San Francisco, but some things you just can't get away with.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cutty Sark damaged in blaze

A sad day for shipping history buffs as the famous Cutty Sark, one of the few surviving clipper ships, suffered damage in a suspicious fire. The ship is a much-loved icon of the glory days of British maritime prowess, and a popular tourist draw. All is not lost, as the ship had been undergoing restoration and much of its material had been temporarily removed. Also, it seems that the damage sustained is not as bad as it looks.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congestion pricing news

The Guardian (London) has a report on the British government's plans to introduce road pricing throughout the UK.

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Whatever happened to the Segway?"

A couple of years ago, we were taken by surprise when two members of the general public entered the Transportation Library mounted on Segways (but at least they wore clothes.) This was one of the few times these machines have been observed. Apart from rich eccentrics and UC Berkeley PD officers, who actually uses these things? Once expected (by their sellers) to quickly make every sidewalk into a Segway freeway, in 2007 these critters and their riders are still head-turning rarities. And most ominously, the Library of Congress doesn't provide a term for the Segway in its Subject Headings, an indication that the amount of literature about the machine is pretty negligible. London's Independent newspaper bucks the trend with an article that ponders the Segway story, and here's a video where experts try to remember life before the Segway.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Airline offers free flights

The maverick Irish airline Ryanair, which runs no-frills flights in Europe at very low prices, yesterday offered virtually free flights (well, yes, they cost one British penny each). The move was prompted by an unexpected fall in ticket sales. But with a zero price, demand went wild and the company's website crashed several times as about four million applicants scrambled for free rides. Surprisingly, there are still some free seats available at the Ryanair website as of this post.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A new search engine for transportation

Transportation Meta Search is a Google-enabled search engine, set up and maintained by transportation librarians in the USA and abroad. There is nothing fancy here, just a single search box, and no "advanced search", but it's pretty effective. A search on "asphalt rubber pavements" pulled up 265 documents, including many PDFs.

Though TMS searches only on the Web, it could serve as a useful starting point before moving on to more comprehensive and detailed databases such as TRIS (available on the Web) and Transport (available in the Transportation Library.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"It's time to take another giant leap"

NASA's Vision for Space Exploration hopes to persuade us that there's still a lot to see and do beyond our sky. There's also a neat little video that seeks to whet our appetite to get back on the Moon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Now you see it, soon you won't

Hurry on out to San Francisco's Ocean Beach, at the western end of Noriega Street, where the remains of a clipper ship that foundered in 1878 have suddenly become visible. Last seen in 1980, the timbers may be covered again at any time by the beach's constantly shifting sands.

A further article and a gallery of photos has become available from the SF Chronicle.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cataloging Intern

The Library's technical services crew recently gained an extra hand. Ivan Silva is in his second year at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and is with us on a three-month internship in the cataloging section. Ivan is the Library's first-ever intern and his help is very welcome in the ceaseless task of dealing with the endless inflow of technical reports, government publications, conference proceedings, microfiche, CD-ROMS, online documents, and even books. This is cataloging at its toughest. Ivan hopes to become a professional cataloger, so he should be well able for anything that comes his way after working for the Transportation Library.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Maze Meltdown

The San Francisco Chronicle has a well-organized webpage providing full coverage of the April 29 MacArthur Maze meltdown and its aftermath.