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Found 59 results

  1. Hello everyone, I'm an airline employee and a big proponent of YUL and it's future development. Lately I have been using Toronto's public transit system to get to the airport. Even though not as developed as ours, their subway, combined with the new 192 Airport Rocket, is really a winning combination, and has made me really step back and take at look at YUL and our airport access (just a bit better than terrible). From Kipling station the Airport Rocket is a 15 minute express bus from a metro directly to Terminal 1, 3 and Airport road near the hotels. Now before you start, yes, I know Montreal has this too in our 747 bus, directly from Lionel Groulx. However, the difference lies in that the Toronto express bus is part of their transit system, and only costs 3.00$, and a transfer from anywhere else in the network is valid. Why on earth would we charge 10$ for such a service?!?! It should almost be free! Anyway, I just wish the STM would make the 747 a regular bus line with a regular fare and transfers from the other parts of the network accepted, then we could call our airport SOMEWHAT accessible. And don't even get me started on the fact they now have direct train access......argh Rant Over.
  2. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) I'll post my comment soon, stuck doing some paper work right now
  3. California Cities Face Bankruptcy Curbs By BOBBY WHITE MAY 28, 2009 As California seeks more funds from its cash-strapped cities and counties to close a $21 billion budget deficit, some state legislators are pushing a plan that could compound municipalities' pain by making it tougher for them to file for bankruptcy. The bill would require a California municipality seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to first obtain approval from a state commission. That contrasts with the state's current bankruptcy process, which allows municipalities to speedily declare bankruptcy without any state oversight so that they can quickly restructure their finances. The bill, introduced in January, has passed one committee vote and could reach a final vote by mid-July. The bill was sparked by the bankruptcy filing last year of Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. Vallejo's city leaders partly blamed work contracts with police and firefighters for pushing the city into bankruptcy, and won permission from a bankruptcy court in March to scrap its contract with the firefighters' union. That spurred the California Professional Firefighters to push for statewide legislation to curtail bankruptcy, said Carroll Willis, the group's communications director. "What we don't want is for cities to use bankruptcy as a negotiating tactic rather than a legit response to fiscal issues," he said, adding that he worries cities may work in concert to rid themselves of union contracts by declaring bankruptcy. If the bill passes, it could hurt cities and counties by lengthening the time before they can declare bankruptcy. That creates a legal limbo during which a municipality is more vulnerable to creditors. The proposed state bankruptcy commission would be staffed by four state legislators, which some critics worry could politicize the bankruptcy process. "This bill is impractical," said John Moorlach, a supervisor in Orange County, Calif., which filed for bankruptcy in 1994. "In many instances, haste is important. If you can't meet payroll but have to delay seeking protection, what do you do?" California towns and counties face a catalog of troubles. Earlier this month, voters rejected five budget measures, sending the state deficit to $21 billion. To overcome the gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed borrowing $2 billion from municipalities, using a 2004 state law that lets California demand loans of 8% of property-tax revenue from cities, counties and special districts. But that proposal lands as California municipalities are already facing steep declines in tax revenue because of the recession. Dozens are staring at huge deficits, including Pacific Grove and Stockton, which have publicly said they are exploring bankruptcy. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who introduced the bankruptcy bill, said the initiative is needed to protect the credit rating of California and its ability to borrow and sell bonds. Mr. Mendoza added that he wants to avoid bankruptcy's repercussions on surrounding communities by offering a system that examines all of a municipality's options before filing for bankruptcy. "Municipalities should have a checks and balance system in place based on the fact that all economies are interconnected," he said. Dwight Stenbakken, deputy executive director for the California League of Cities, a nonprofit representing more than 400 cities, said the group is lobbying against the bill because "there's nothing a state commission can bring to the process to make this better." Write to Bobby White at [email protected]
  4. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) I am just surprised no one tried this before. I know someone tried stealing one with their pick up truck a while back.
  5. Its LIVE Took almost 6 months but its finally in Canada. Take that TomTom GPS unit. Navigation is awesome you can drive around and you get Street View at the same time. Check it out <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGXK4jKN_jY&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_us&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGXK4jKN_jY&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_us&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="385"></embed></object> One other thing. Google and Ford partnered up it seems so you can sync your Google Map info with your car Navigation system!
  6. Which Are The World's Cleanest Cities? Robert Malone, 04.16.07, 12:10 PM ET In Pictures: The World's Cleanest Cities There is clean and then there is clean. In the world, as a rule of thumb, the North is clean and the South is dirty. Indeed only two of the top-25 cleanest cities in the world are below the Equator--Auckland, New Zealand, and Wellington, New Zealand. The cleanest cities are largely located in countries noted for their democracy and their industrialization. The only Asian cities represented are in Japan. There are no top-25 clean cities in South or Central America, Africa and Australia. The U.S. has five of the top 25; Canada, a strong five, with the top spot its city of Calgary; Europe has 11 of the top 25; and Japan has three. The 25 cleanest cities are located in 13 countries. It may not be accidental that these countries are among the highest in purchasing power parity according to the World Development Indicator database of the World Bank. Twelve are in the top 20, and only New Zealand lags in wealth, at No. 37 on the list of world's wealthiest. So clean may also mean well-off. In Pictures: The World's Cleanest Cities To be clean a city has to face and solve many problems that otherwise lead to unsanitary conditions and poor health as well as possible economic stagnation. Producing energy for industry, homes and transportation has to be planned and executed reasonably, and this means some form of regulation and control. To be clean means organizing what is done with waste. Landfills are being closed or filled up. Recycling is the only long-range answer, but this takes civic discipline, a system and preferably a system that turns a profit. Green only works well when it results in greenbacks. In addition a city has to look closely at its transportation infrastructure (roads, rail, air, subways) and their impact upon being clean or going dirty or staying dirty. The logistics infrastructure is also critical in terms of efficiency that can translate into money and fuel savings that in turn affect cleanliness (air quality, water quality and ground quality). Taken all together as with clean energy generation, waste control, recycling and various levels of infrastructure reorganization, the challenge is formidable. Some will recommend taking on one challenge at a time, and this may be what President Bush has in mind with ethanol. Bush's advocacy of ethanol is a step towards cleaner fuel and in turn cleaner cities. The idea is also controversial as the resources available for ethanol are directly related to the food supply chain. There can be great friction over sharing such resources. Some are advocating inputs beyond corn grain. "One of the most abundant potential resources we have is the nonfood parts of the corn plant, including the stalks, leaves and husks,” says Dr. Michael Pacheco, director of the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The figures for the cleanest cities are derived from studies by the Mercer Human Resources Consulting that cull from 300 cities, identifying overall quality of living as well as special reports on regions. It is interesting to note that size does not appear to be a factor either in terms of size of population or physical size of the city. The most common trait in common to each is a focus on high tech, education and headquartering of national and international companies along with an extensive public transit system.
  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/business/global/hip-cities-that-think-about-how-they-work.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&smid=fb-share The story of young people, full of ambition, energy, skill and talent, moving to enticing cities that call to them like a siren’s song is as old as modern civilization. And in a world where national borders are easier to traverse, where more countries are joining the prosperous global middle class and where the cost of a one-way plane ticket is more affordable, young professionals probably have more cities to choose from than ever before. This survey is not based solely on quality of life, number of trees or the cost of a month’s rent. Instead, we examine some cities that aim to be both smart and well managed, yet have an undeniably hip vibe. Our pick of cities that are, in a phrase, both great and good: Auckland With its beaches, inlets and lush coastal climate, the Kiwi metropolis has always had great natural beauty going for it (and, now, for the first time in 24 years, it is the home to the World Cup Rugby Champions). But we digress. Currently counting 1.5 million residents , the government is projecting the city to hit the two million-mark in just 30 years. The city has recently voted to create a new central core that mixes sustainable housing and mixed-use development. The public transportation system, which includes subways, trams, busses and ferries, is constantly being expanded. Measures to increase the density of the urban landscape, meant to ultimately prevent encroachment on surrounding lands, as well as planting “green carpets” along urban roads demonstrate a keen eye toward creating a greener future. Plus, the city is expanding its free Wi-Fi coverage, according to a city official. Auckland is doing its best to “up their game with urban design,” said Angela Jones, a spokesperson for the city, turning a beautiful but provincial capital into a smart city. Berlin This culture capital combines low rents, a white-hot arts scene, good public transportation and myriad creative types — from media to design to technology — from all over the world. Known as Europe’s largest construction zone for at least 10 of the past 20 years, 4.4-million-strong Berlin has probably changed more in that time than any other large European city. And while the restaurants have become more expensive, the clothes are now more stylish and the D.J.’s have added more attitude, there is still plenty of real city left to be discovered by the thousands of artists and young professionals who move here every year to make this the pulsing center of Germany, the powerhouse of Europe. Besides radical renovations to the government center, main train station and the old Potsdamer Platz, the city recently turned a historic airport in its heart into a vast urban park. A short-term bike-rental system is in place and the old subway system, reunited after the fall of the wall, like the city itself, is as efficient as ever. Besides artists and bohemians looking for the vibe, the city — home to several prestigious universities, research institutes and many a company headquarter — is brimming with smart scientists and savvy businessmen. Barcelona Anyone who has walked down Las Ramblas on a summer evening or has stared at the Sagrada Familia for long enough understands why this city attracts planeloads of tourists. Music, good food, great weather and strong technology and service sectors compete to make this city of 1.6 million a home for all those who want to stay beyond summer break. If all the traditional charms of Barcelona were not enough, an active city government is trying to keep this city smart, too. Under its auspices, photovoltaic solar cells have been installed on many public and private rooftops. Charging stations for electrical cars and scooters have recently been set up around the city, in preparation for the day when residents will be tooling around in their electric vehicles. A biomass processing plant is being built that will use the detritus from city parks to generate heat and electricity, and free Wi-Fi is available at hotspots around the city. Cape Town Wedged between sea and mountain, Cape Town’s natural setting is stunning. Nor does the city — with its colorful neighborhoods, historic sites, and easy charm — disappoint. And while its one of Africa’s top tourist destinations, it also attracts many new residents from around the globe. The local government is trying to lead the growing city of 3.5 million with a more inclusive government and development structure, to overcome the gross inequities of South Africa’s past. Four major universities and many research institutes make Cape Town one of the continent’s bustling research centers. Named the 2014 World Design Capital last month, the city government is encouraging a cluster of design and creative firms in a neighborhood called the Fringe. The 2010 World Cup of soccer was a boon for infrastructure, especially public transportation. A new bus system, with dedicated lanes, has been rolled out in recent years to keep the many suburbs connected and alleviate crushing traffic. Under a program called Smart Cape, libraries and civic centers have computer terminals with free Internet access. Poverty and crime are still issues in Cape Town, but overall quality of life indicators rank the city as one of the best in Africa. Copenhagen Progressive, cozy and very beautiful, the young and the elegant flock to this northern light. Rents might not be as low as in other hip cities, but the social infrastructure in this metropolitan area of 1.9 million cannot be beat. Offering a prosperous blend of art, culture and scene, this highly tolerant city is attracting young professionals lucky enough to work in the center of Danish industry and commerce. A mix of stately old European buildings and modern, green-oriented architecture speaks of a city that treasures the old but loves experimenting with the new. Despite its cool Scandinavian climate, the Danish capital might just be the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Bike superhighways crisscross the city, and statistics show that more than a third of the city’s inhabitants commute to work or school on their trusty two-wheelers. A metro system was inaugurated in the last decade for those who choose to go without. With sunlight-flooded underground stations and clean, driverless subway cars, the system looks more like a people-mover at an international airport than an urban transport system. Having committed itself to reducing carbon levels by 20 percent before 2015, some of the city’s power is generated by wind. The city has been so successful in cleaning up its once-industrial harbor that it has been able to open three public baths in a harbor waterway. Curitiba, Brazil One of the smartest cities in Latin America, Brazil’s wealthy regional capital attracts many new inhabitants with jobs in service and production sectors, and with the promise a functioning city. The 1.7 million residents have access to a bus-based rapid transport system so good that more than 700,000 commuters use it daily. Buses run on designated lanes that, because of a unique and modern urban design, have right-of-way and preferred access to the city center. A beautiful botanical garden and other city parks, along with other strong environmental measures, keep the air largely clear of pollution, despite Curitiba’s land-locked location. The city strives to be sustainable in other ways, too. According to reports, it recently invested $106 million, or 5 percent, of its budget into its department of environment. The city government makes itself integral in the lives of Curitibans, not just seeking comment and feedback on policies, but also organizing a host of events. “Bike Night” is the latest craze in the active city. Each Tuesday, residents take to their bikes and peddle through the night, accompanied by municipal staff members. Montreal With its hearty French and North American mix, this city of 3.6 million has a real soul thanks to low living costs and long winter evenings. And it is no slouch when it comes to good food, hip culture, well-appointed museums and efficient transportation. With four major universities and plenty of bars, the nightlife in this bilingual city has a well-deserved reputation. Because the winters tend to be long and cold, the city possesses an extensive underground network connecting several downtown malls and a subterranean arts quarter. When spring finally does arrive, and snow is cleared from the many bike paths, the city puts out its 3,000 short-term-rental bicycles, known as Bixi. City-sponsored community gardens are sprouting around town, giving urbanites a chance to flex their green thumb. Montreal is an incredibly active town where festivals celebrating everything from jazz to Formula One dominate the city’s calendar during the summer. Thanks to Mount Royal, a large central park and cemetery that serves as cross-country, snowshoe and ice-skating terrain in the winter and becomes a verdant picnic ground and gathering spot in the summer, Montrealers never have to leave city limits. Santiago A vibrant mix of Latin American culture and European sensibility, this Chilean city is modern, safe and smart. The rapidly growing city of 6.7 million — , which, perhaps surprisingly, was first subject to urban planning mandates in the mid-20th century — is still ahead of others in South America when it comes to urban governance. A law curtailing urban sprawl and protecting the few natural spaces close to the city is exemplary. Beautiful old cultural jewels like the library and fine art museum are dwarfed by serious commercial skyscrapers. The smell of local food, good and inexpensive, brings life even to the streets of its financial district. One of the most extensive public transport systems on the continent whisks more than 2.3 million commuters to and from work or school every day. Because of its high altitude, pollution is a problem — one that the national government is trying to curb with various green initiatives. Short-term bike rentals exist in one of the more active parts of town, and significant city funds have been used to construct bicycle lanes. For a city this modern, however, Santiago has few parks. But the ocean is just a short drive to west and the mountains to the east. Shanghai China’s commercial heart has grown tremendously in the past couple of decades. Attracting young professionals with its jobs and opportunities rather than with museums and hip nightlife, this megacity of 23 million is surprisingly smart. Its top-down urban planning approach is efficient in a city made up of separate 16 districts and one county. City coffers are put to use building enormously ambitious infrastructure, like a deepwater port, tunnels, bridges and roadways. A good indicator for the rapid and deliberate growth of the city is the metro system. First opened in 1995, it is now the world’s longest subway network, according to city officials. Adding a futuristic aspect to the utilitarian system is a Maglev (magnetic levitation) line that connects the airport to the city, and on which the train travels at speeds of up to 431 kilometers, or 268 miles, per hour. But Shanghai’s urban development is also green. The city claims that it put the equivalent of $8 billion into environmental improvement and cleanup, which include sewage treatment systems but also an impressive number of city parks. In addition, Shanghai has made its city government more accessible by running a Web site were residents can find municipal information, and read a blog entitled “mayor’s window.” Vilnius, Lithuania One of the greenest of the former Eastern bloc capitals, Vilnius has a forward-thinking city government. In a recent Internet video that spread virally, the mayor, Arturas Zuokas, is seen crushing a Mercedes parked on a bike path with a tank. Beyond the obvious political theater of the stunt, the city, whose metropolitan area population is 850,000 takes providing good public transportation seriously. A recent study suggested that some 70 percent of the capital’s citizens either walk, bike or take the bus. Vilnius, a verdant city that despite some communist architectural clunkers is charmingly medieval and surprisingly well maintained, boasts an old town that is a Unesco world heritage site. After the fall of the old regime, the city took great pains to retool its waste disposal systems, building a modern landfill in 2005. The capital attracts young professionals, and not just from Eastern Europe, who see in Vilnius a rising star in business and appreciate all that the extensive cultural scene in the little capital has to offer.
  8. Peu importe où l'on se trouve sur la planète, je pense qu'on pourra toujours se consoler en regardant Détroit..... http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mother-six-trades-98k-house-used-minivan-152424777.html
  9. Interesting article: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/09/can-quebecs-church-based-curse-words-survive-in-a-secular-age/
  10. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/02/25/lawrence-solomon-transit-competition/
  11. Anyone who's sat at a red light for minutes on end in the middle of the night when there's no cross traffic can cheer on science for proving what we already knew: lights that adapt to the flow of traffic, instead of dictating the flow of traffic, can improve the flow of traffic. A team of researchers discovered that if you let lights locally decide how to time their signals based on how much traffic they're dealing with, and then communicate that with nearby lights, you get closer to the "green wave" of lights that keeps thing moving smoothly. The issue with the centralized, top-down system of control is that it is geared to address an average traffic situation that rarely occurs as planned. The variations in rush hour traffic mean that lights are trying to apply one solution to a vast number of situations. In their trial in Dresden, Germany the team found that traffic congestion was eased by nine percent, pedestrian congestion by 36 percent, and bus and tram traffic by 56 percent. With rush hours spreading in time and distance, the proof and implementation of this can't come soon enough. Blog: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/23/study-traffic-lights-should-respond-to-cars-not-other-way-arou/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog) To tame traffic, go with the flow Lights should respond to cars, a study concludes, not the other way around By Rachel Ehrenberg Web edition : Friday, September 17th, 2010 Traffic lights that act locally can improve traffic globally, new research suggests. By minimizing congestion, the approach could save money, reduce emissions and perhaps even quash the road rage of frustrated drivers. The new approach makes traffic lights go with the flow, rather than enslaving drivers to the tyranny of timed signals. By measuring vehicle inflow and outflow through each intersection as it occurs and coordinating lights with only their nearest neighbors, a systemwide smoothness emerges, scientists report in a September Santa Fe Institute working paper. “It’s very interesting — the approach is adaptive and the system can react,” says mechanical engineer Gábor Orosz of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “That’s how it should be — that’s how we can get the most out of our current system.” An ultimate goal in traffic regulation is “the green wave,” the bam, bam, bam of greens that allows platoons of vehicles to move smoothly through intersection after intersection. When that happens, no drivers have to wait very long and sections of road don’t become so filled with cars that there’s no room for entering vehicles when the light does go green. To achieve this rare bliss, traffic lights usually are controlled from the top down, operating on an “optimal” cycle that maximizes the flow of traffic expected for particular times of day, such as rush hour. But even for a typical time on a typical day, there’s so much variability in the number of cars at each light and the direction each car takes leaving an intersection that roads can fill up. Combine this condition with overzealous drivers, and intersections easily become gridlocked. Equally frustrating is the opposite extreme, where a driver sits at a red light for minutes even though there’s no car in sight to take advantage of the intersecting green. “It is actually not optimal control, because that average situation never occurs,” says complex-systems scientist Dirk Helbing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, a coauthor of the new study. “Because of the large variability in the number of cars behind each red light, it means that although we have an optimal scheme, it’s optimal for a situation that does not occur.” Helbing and his colleague Stefan Lämmer from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany decided to scrap the top-down approach and start at the bottom. They noted that when crowds of people are trying to move through a narrow space, such as through a door connecting two hallways, there’s a natural oscillation: A mass of people from one side will move through the door while the other people wait, then suddenly the flow switches direction. “It looks like maybe there’s a traffic light, but there’s not. It’s actually the buildup of pressure on the side where people have to wait that eventually turns the flow direction,” says Helbing. “We thought we could maybe apply the same principle to intersections, that is, the traffic flow controls the traffic light rather than the other way around.” Their arrangement puts two sensors at each intersection: One measures incoming flow and one measures outgoing flow. Lights are coordinated with every neighboring light, such that one light alerts the next, “Hey, heavy load coming through.” That short-term anticipation gives lights at the next intersection enough time to prepare for the incoming platoon of vehicles, says Helbing. The whole point is to avoid stopping an incoming platoon. “It works surprisingly well,” he says. Gaps between platoons are opportunities to serve flows in other directions, and this local coordination naturally spreads throughout the system. “It’s a paradoxical effect that occurs in complex systems,” says Helbing. “Surprisingly, delay processes can improve the system altogether. It is a slower-is-faster effect. You can increase the throughput — speed up the whole system — if you delay single processes within the system at the right time, for the right amount of time.” The researchers ran a simulation of their approach in the city center of Dresden. The area has 13 traffic light–controlled intersections, 68 pedestrian crossings, a train station that serves more than 13,000 passengers on an average day and seven bus and tram lines that cross the network every 10 minutes in opposite directions. The flexible self-control approach reduced time stuck waiting in traffic by 56 percent for trams and buses, 9 percent for cars and trucks, and 36 percent for pedestrians crossing intersections. Dresden is now close to implementing the new system, says Helbing, and Zurich is also considering the approach. Traffic jams aren’t just infuriating, they cost time and money, says Orosz. Estimates suggest that in one year, the U.S. driving population spends a cumulative 500,000 years in traffic at a cost of about $100 billion. And the roads are just going to get more congested. The optimal way of dealing with such congestion is to take an approach like Helbing’s and combine it with technologies that deal with driver behavior, Orosz says. Car sensors that detect the distance between your bumper and the car in front of you can prevent a sweep of brake-slamming that can tie up traffic, for example. “In general these algorithms improve traffic, but maybe not as much as they do on paper because we are still human,” he says. “It is still humans driving the cars.” http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63481/title/To_tame_traffic,_go_with_the_flow
  12. The automatic Bike Dispenser -- like PEZ but good for you Posted Aug 15th 2007 9:41AM by Thomas Ricker Filed under: Transportation For those not familiar with portable-urban travel: that's a bicycle. In fact, it's one of several bicycles wedged inside this "Bike Dispenser" created by the Dutch-based (of course) design agency, Springtime. The concept has actually been floating around since 2005 in The Netherlands but it recently won the Spark Design & Architecture Award causing the world to take notice. The idea here is to offer these RFID-tagged bikes to riders in cities supporting bike rental or bike exchange programs. The garages then, would be conveniently scattered around places like train stations and tourist hot-spots to automagically dispense your new ride. This automated system has completed a pilot and is now being worked into the national OV-fiets (public transport bicycle) service in Holland which rents a bicycle for € 2.75 ($3.71) per 20 hours. Unfortunately, the Bike Dispenser relies upon a uniform bicycle design leaving it helpless to relieve the crushing mass of "parked" bicycles seen in Amsterdam and like-minded cities across Europe and Asia. Still, as a quick and dirty, eco-transport solution in-a-box, what's not to like?
  13. Frustrated by how difficult it is to contact Montreal's 311 service, a couple of friends and I have built this handy web app: chermtl.ca It works on desktop and on mobile. This is not a for profit project, but simply our proposed solution to what we see as a very outdated system. We take care of bundling up and forwarding reports to different instances of the city's boroughs using a partially automated system. Please give it a try and let me know what you think
  14. Excess wind energy to be stored underground for future use Posted Oct 5th 2007 8:57PM by Darren Murph Filed under: Misc. Gadgets We've seen some fairly impressive uses of wind power, but a group in Iowa is looking to actually capture and preserve excess wind energy for use when demand peaks. At the Iowa Stored Energy Park, a number of local utilities is "building a system that will steer surplus electricity generated by a nearby wind farm to a big air compressor," which will be held deep below the ground for future use. The project is being backed by the Energy Department, but more than a hundred municipal utilities in surrounding states are shelling out $200 million to construct the 268-megawatt system. As it stands, Iowa's compressed air energy storage (CAES) installation will be the first of its kind when it's completed in 2011, but there's already work being done in Texas to build a similar unit.
  15. Changing the plans America’s oil capital is throwing up a few environmental surprises Jul 14th 2012 | HOUSTON | from the print edition STEVE KLINEBERG, a sociologist at Rice University, mentions a couple of events that made Houston’s leaders take notice of a looming problem. One was the day, in 1999, when their city overtook Los Angeles as America’s most polluted—evidence that the rise in asthma attacks among the city’s children, and the students passing out on football pitches, were no coincidence. Another was when Houston came up short in its bid to compete to host the 2012 Olympics. No one on the United States Olympics Committee voted for it, despite the fact that Houston had a brand-new stadium and had promised to turn an old sports field into the world’s largest air-conditioned track-and-field arena. At a casual glance, Houston looks much as it ever did: a tangle of freeways running through a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, strip malls and mixed districts. A closer inspection, though, shows signs of change. The transport authority, which branched into light rail in 2004, is now planning three new lines, adding more than 20 miles of track. Most of the traffic lights now boast LED bulbs, rather than the incandescent sort. More than half the cars in the official city fleet are hybrid or electric, and in May a bike-sharing programme began. Every Wednesday a farmers’ market takes place by the steps of city hall. Other changes are harder to see. The energy codes for buildings have been overhauled and the city is, astonishingly, America’s biggest municipal buyer of renewable energy; about a third of its power comes from Texan wind farms. Houston, in other words, is going green. Laura Spanjian, the city’s director of sustainability, says that businesses are increasingly likely to get on board if they can see the long-term savings or the competitive advantages that flow from creating a more attractive city. She adds an important clarification: “We’re not mandating that they have to do this.” That would not go down well. Houston is the capital of America’s energy industry, and its leaders have traditionally been wary of environmental regulation, both at home and abroad. In fact the city has been sceptical of regulations in general, and even more of central planning. Houston famously has no zoning, which helps explain why the city covers some 600 square miles. It is America’s fourth-largest city by population, but less than half as densely populated as sprawling Los Angeles. People are heavily dependent on cars, the air quality is poor and access to green space is haphazard. At the same time, Houston has jobs, a low cost of living and cheap property. Many people have accepted that trade-off. Between 2000 and 2010 the greater metropolitan area added more than 1.2m people, making it America’s fastest-growing city. Still, the public is taking more interest in sustainability, and for a number of reasons. As the city’s population has swelled, the suburbs have become more crowded. Some of the growth has come from the domestic migration of young professionals with a taste for city life. And despite living in an oil-industry hub, the people of Houston are still aware of the cost of energy; during the summer of 2008, when petrol prices hovered around $4 a gallon, the papers reported a surge of people riding their bicycles to bus stops so that they could take public transport to work. The annual Houston Area Survey from Rice’s Kinder Institute also shows a change. This year’s survey found that 56% think a much better public transport system is “very important” for the city’s future. A similarly solid majority said the Metro system should use all its revenue for improvements to public transport, rather than diverting funds to mend potholes. In the 1990s, most respondents were more concerned about the roads. People’s views about houses have changed, too. In 2008 59% said they would prefer a big house with a big garden, even if that meant they had to use their car to go everywhere. Just 36% preferred a smaller house within walking distance of shops and workplaces. By 2012, preferences were running the other way: 51% liked the idea of a smaller house in a more interesting district, and only 47% said they wanted the lavish McMansion. http://www.economist.com/node/21558632
  16. Ottawa boosts mortgage buyout by $50B Eoin Callan, Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, November 12 TORONTO - After a sustained lobbying campaign by Bay Street executives that culminated in a breakfast meeting with senior government officials in Toronto Wednesday, Ottawa agreed to the most pressing demands of Canadian banks squeezed by the credit crisis. "We had asked for four things and we got all four," Don Drummond, a senior vice-president at TD Bank Financial Group, said after Ottawa unveiled co-ordinated measures to buy up to $75-billion worth of mortgages, facilitate access to capital markets, provide extra liquidity and loosen reserve requirements. Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister, said the moves meant Canada was making good on a pledge he made during talks with his international counterparts to collectively bolster the banking system ahead of a summit on the financial crisis this weekend in Washington. The actions were a sign of the "commitment" of Ottawa to ensure the country's financial system remained strong, said Gerry McCaughey, chief executive of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which, along with TD, is thought to be among the main beneficiaries of new looser rules on minimum capital requirements. But executives who participated in the process cautioned state interventions to ease the credit crisis had proven to be more art than science, as the United States Wednesday ditched an earlier plan to buy up toxic assets at the same time Ottawa was expanding its own scheme to buy mortgage-backed securities by $50 billion. Executives said it remains to be seen if the interventions finalized at Wednesday morning's meeting would succeed in lowering the premium banks pay for medium-term financing, which is about five times higher than before the credit crisis. In a bid to ease funding pressures, executives persuaded the Conservatives to reduce to 1.1 per cent from 1.6 per cent the fee to be charged if banks invoke a special new government guarantee when they borrow money in international capital markets. Banks argued the previous higher rate had actually encouraged lenders to nudge up the premium they were charging banks at a time when other countries were offering more generous terms. The Finance Minister said he would resist new global initiatives that might put Canadian institutions at a competitive disadvantage during the weekend summit in Washington. But he said Ottawa's ability to influence the outcome was being undermined by the absence of a federal securities regulator in Canada, which is alone among major industrialized nations in not having national oversight of financial markets. "It is difficult for us to go abroad and say governments should get their house in order when there is a glaring omission at home," he said. Flaherty said a key objective of the moves announced Wednesday was addressing "concerns about the availability of credit" for business borrowers, adding that "the government stands ready to take whatever further actions are necessary to keep Canada's financial system strong among external risks." The Bank of Canada also said it would boost the availability of affordable credit in the banking system by $8 billion, using new rules that mean institutions can bid for cash using almost any form of collateral. Banks also welcomed a move late Tuesday by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to allow them to top up their capital reserves with securities that are a hybrid of debt and equity. The regulator clarified Wednesday that a related measure on treatment of money lent by banks to other financial institutions under the government guarantee of interbank lending "would have the effect" of "increasing their regulatory capital ratios, all else being equal", but would "not count as regulatory capital." Bank analysts said the interventions were positive for Canadian banks, but warned they would be squeezed further in the coming months as the global economic slowdown hit home and losses on bad loans mount. Ian de Verteuil, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, cited as an example how falling demand for coal could by next year jeopardize more than $10 billion in bank loans made to finance the acquisition by Teck Cominco of Fording Canadian Coal Trust. Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and CIBC each have about $1 billion in exposures, while TD and Scotiabank each have $400 million of exposures to the deal, which the companies expect will be viable. But bank executives remained bullish Wednesday, with TD chief executive Ed Clark saying he was still on the hunt for U.S. acquisitions.
  17. Quebec already has power to be an international player: Charest KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 9 hours ago Canadian federalism already allows Quebec to negotiate international agreements on its own, Premier Jean Charest said yesterday, commenting on a federal minister's declaration that Ottawa would give provinces more power to act on the international stage. Charest said Quebec needs to play an active international role to thrive in the global economy. "I see it as an occasion for the emancipation of Quebec," he said of the province's international relations. Charest called Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon's declaration, on the eve of a federal Conservative caucus meeting in Quebec this week, "a positive signal." But as things stand, Charest added, Quebec has more powers to make international agreements on its own than France has as a member of the European Union. Quebec's position is that "what is in Quebec's jurisdiction at home is in Quebec's jurisdiction everywhere," he said. The Canadian constitution gives Quebec jurisdiction over education, health, language and culture. The proposed agreement between France and Quebec on mutual recognition of professional qualifications is within Quebec's powers. "We have the powers to do that," he said. "In fact, when I proposed the project to President Sarkozy, I think it was about a year ago when I did it, I didn't call Ottawa to ask them permission to do it. "I proposed it. We did it and we started negotiating." Some consider Cannon's statement a betrayal of a more centralized vision of Canadian federalism. "There will always be these people in English Canada and elsewhere, even in Quebec, who fear the future of the federation if we ever question their way of exercising federalism," Charest said. "The Canadian federal system is a very decentralized system, by choice," he said. "It is not an accident of history that we have a decentralized federal system. It is one of the conditions that permitted the creation of the country."
  18. My mother was telling me today at work, that people complained about "Remembrance Day". They consider it a federalist holiday She works for Margaret Bourgeois school board. I honestly have no clue how some people can be so stupid. I just wish those people would get fired from their jobs. They shouldn't have a right to work for the government or be teaching. Goes to show how dumb some people are in the education system. If these people don't want to remember family members or their friends for what they have done. They shouldn't be part of this society and go live somewhere else. There is a few other choice words I would love to say, but I have to keep this civilized.
  19. Pas de Camion à Déchets dans le QDS Source: Spacing Montreal There aren’t going to be any dump trucks blocking up the streets in Montreal’s new Quartier des Spectacles. Last Wednesday, the City approved a proposition to replace public trash cans with receptacles for garbage, recyclables and compostables, all hooked up to an vacuum-powered collection system. Waste placed in each receptacle would be sucked into a network of underground tubes and transported to a central processing location (possibly located in Place Desjardins). At first glance, this system may seem unduly costly and invasive, not to mention energy intensive. But since the streets in the QDS are already slotted to be ripped up in order to replace ageing sewers, aqueducts and power-lines, throwing in the waste-collection system will only cost an additional $8.2 million (according to a planner who worked on the proposal). Under the new system, garbage collection in the neighborhood would rely on electricity rather than fossil fuels, which may not be a bad idea given the cost and environmental impacts of burning fuel. Most importantly, the new garbage collection system would also apply to residents and businesses located in the Quartier des Spectacles. For instance, the restaurants in Place Desjardins would be able to be compost food scraps, saving several hundred tons of waste from landfills each year. Although Montreal is behind cities like Toronto who offer composting for household waste, this initiative would be the first in North America to offer composting on the public domain and for businesses. ENVAC, the European company that engineers these systems worldwide, built their first trash-vacuuming system in Stockholm in 1961 and it is still in operation (it has an expected lifespan of about 50 years, although that is probably standard for sewers and other infrastructure). Teaching the hoards of drunken festival-goers and clueless tourists to sort trash from recyclables and organic waste is a challenge for the future…
  20. Highway/Freeway - 6-8 lanes (both ways) Roads/Blvd/Ave - 4 lanes (both ways) Would probably takes 25-50 years to fix everything on the island of Montreal. Also overhaul the metro system, like one person invisioned for 2100. If not that atleast a monorail system between the airport and the financial district. Thats all I can think of for the transportation bit It's true we need to expand our highways wider because even back in 50's/60's we had problems with congestion. Hopefully with doubling the lanes we might be able to cut down on congestion. Also have the city of Montreal, Quebec and Canadian government help pay for doubling the bus and metro cars to run 24/7 and split waiting times in 1/2.
  21. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/08/23/light-rail-disease/
  22. Cette camera deviens une serieuse candidate pour etre ma prochaine caméra si Canon ne sorta pas la 5D v2. ------------------------------------------------------ The world’s fastest D-SLR – remastered EOS-1D Mark III: The new benchmark Canon today sets new standards for professional photography with the launch of the EOS-1D Mark III. Delivering 10 frames per second at 10.1 Megapixels for a maximum burst of 110 Large JPEG images (30 in RAW), the EOS-1D Mark III replaces the EOS-1D Mark II N as the world’s fastest digital SLR. Dual “DIGIC III” processors drive the camera’s high speed, high resolution performance, and bring 14-bit image processing to the EOS series for the first time. A ground-up redesign introduces a host of new features and advancements to Canon’s flagship EOS-1 series, including a 3.0” LCD with Live View mode, EOS Integrated Cleaning System, new auto focus system with 19 cross-type sensors, and 63-zone exposure metering. The camera’s APS-H size (28.1 x 18.7 mm) CMOS sensor enables a wider 100-3200 ISO range as standard, expandable to L:50 and H:6400. “The EOS-1D Mark III represents a complete reappraisal of everything Canon has learned over the past 20 years of EOS development,” said Tsunemasa Ohara, Senior General Manager, Camera Development Center, Canon Inc. “In building this camera, we started with a blank canvas. Every facet of the photographic process has been refined, every design decision re-evaluated to bring us to this point: a camera that combines familiar EOS ergonomics with a vastly enhanced specification. Our engineers are overjoyed with the result.” Key features 10.1 Megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor 10 fps continuous shooting for up to 110 frames Dual “DIGIC III” processors New auto focus system with 19 cross type sensors EOS Integrated Cleaning System ISO 3200 (expandable to H:6400) 3.0” LCD with Live View mode Wider, brighter viewfinder Picture Style1 The choice of professionals The EOS-1D line has enjoyed massive popularity among the world’s leading sports, reportage and wildlife photographers, with international wire agencies AFP, Getty and Reuters choosing Canon for their photographers. “The people at Canon are great to work with because they listen to photographers. It’s their attention to detail and the pace of innovation that makes EOS the system of choice,” explained Stephen Munday, Director of Operations – Editorial, Getty Images. Exceptional image quality Canon’s dual “DIGIC III” processors deliver unprecedented levels of speed, responsiveness and image quality. Ready to shoot within 0.2 seconds of power on, the EOS-1D Mark III can capture and process over 100 Megapixels of image data per second, rapidly clearing the image buffer to allow up to 110 frames in one burst. Images are processed at 14 bits for a total colour depth of up to 16,384 tones per pixel, compared to 4,096 tones from 12 bit images. The third generation CMOS sensor incorporates a new pixel design that works together with on-chip noise reduction circuitry to ensure high image quality at ISO 3200. The option to expand to H:6400 will benefit professionals working in news and sports locations where the use of flash is not permitted or desired. Greater precision, more control Canon has redesigned its auto focus system to include 19 cross-type sensors with sensitivity up to f/2.8, spread out across the AF area to better accommodate off-centre subjects. An additional 26 AF assist points are used to aid AF tracking for improved accuracy. Responding to professional photographer requests, a dedicated AF button on the back of the camera allows users to instantly switch auto focus on or off while keeping their eye on the viewfinder. The viewfinder is now brighter and offers a wider angle of view. The camera’s new 63-zone metering system gives photographers greater level of control over exposure. New LCD with Live View The bright 3.0” LCD monitor provides 230K pixels resolution for precise framing and reviewing of shots. New to EOS, Live View mode enables photographers to frame without having to look through the viewfinder – particularly useful for shooting from awkward positions. The menu system on the EOS-1D Mark III has been completely redesigned to take advantage of the LCD size – menus are easier to read and use. A choice of 57 custom functions gives photographers more options for customising camera settings to their daily working requirements. A new My Menu option allows photographers to store frequently used settings on a separate menu for faster access. Settings for new accessories such as the Speedlite 580EX II and Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 – also released today – can be controlled directly from the LCD. Total reliability The EOS-1D Mark III incorporates a range of practical enhancements for the working photographer. Shutter durability has been increased by 50% to 300,000 cycles. The body is protected by a magnesium alloy casing with dust and moisture resistant seals. The EOS Integrated Cleaning System provides further reliability by reducing sensor dust, minimising the need for manual cleaning on assignment. To avoid corruption of captured images, a warning appears on the LCD and an alarm sounds if the memory card door is opened while images are still being written. Interfaces include video out (for display in both NTSC and PAL formats) and USB 2.0. Compatibility and accessories Canon is marking today’s launch with the release of several additions to the professional EOS system: EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM – A fast, ultra wide-angle zoom lens delivering exceptional image quality throughout the aperture range. Speedlite 580EX II – An update of the Speedlite 580EX that offers weather resistance when attached to the EOS-1D Mark III. Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 – Smaller, lighter and more versatile than its predecessor, the WFT-E2 speeds up workflows by allowing photographers to transmit images wirelessly during the shoot. Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3 – Verifies the authenticity of images taken with the camera and supports image encryption for additional security. Software The EOS-1D Mark III is supplied with a comprehensive software suite to help the photographer’s workflow. This includes Digital Photo Professional (DPP), a powerful RAW converter that provides complete RAW image processing control. DPP integrates with cameras features such as the Dust Delete Data and Picture Style. The camera also comes with EOS Utility, ImageBrowser/Zoom Browser and Photostitch.