Our Crumbling Infrastructure

If We Ignore Our Decrepit Bridges They Will Heal On Their Own, Right?

"I would not use the word crisis. Things are a little bit more urgent than they have been in the past. I would say there is concern," says some libertarian professor of the nation's 63,000 structurally compromised bridges. So the next time the span you're crossing seems a little creaky or in bad repair, don't worry too much about it. It's probably not going to collapse and send you hurtling to the treacherous waters below. Probably.


The Internet Is TOAST

No, literally, the Internet is over. Average packet loss today in North America? 32%.


Another Reason To Congratulate Yourself For Living In The City

"Along with the now-familiar candles, downed trees across the driveway and the thawing hamburger meat taken from the freezer and tossed in the trash, the region’s latest freak storm, which left three million people without electricity, has left something else in its wake: increasing unease about just what is going on and what it means for the vast majority outside the relative stability of an underground urban power grid. No one can know for sure if this is just the eternally unpredictable chaos of weather on earth or it is something more ominous; call it the new abnormal. But in recent years, suburban and rural residents have found themselves facing [...]


How We Will Finally Learn To Care About Climate Change

"Wi-fi internet access and other communications are at risk from global warming unless measures are taken to protect them from rising temperatures and stormier weather, a government report warned on Monday." This is Britain, but hopefully the problem is universal, so that we might actually do something about it. Because if I can't stream my movies on Netflix things are gonna have to change.


City Old

"Forty-seven New York City bridges 'have been found to be both structurally deficient and fracture critical.' That means 'if a single span, beam or joint of such a bridge fails, the whole thing could come tumbling down.' The average New York City sewer main is 84 years old. The average New York City water main is 69 years old.Twenty-six percent of subway signals are more than 70 years old. About 43 percent of all Manhattan roads are 'substandard.'"


Highway Actually Does Go To Hell

"From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms."


Good News: 8 Out Of 9 Bridges Probably Okay

"In the country’s 102 largest metro areas, one in nine bridges is structurally deficient. That translates into more than 18,000 precarious structures. Americans drive over bridges in need of repair, replacement or maintenance about 210 million times daily, according to the report. In California alone, that translates into 396 people every second. Put another way, each day the volume of travelers who use deficient bridges in the United States far outnumbers the customers served by McDonald’s worldwide."


Mexico Keeping The Lights On In Texas

"Mexico's state electricity company on Wednesday started supplying electricity to Texas, where cold weather and power shortages forced rolling blackouts across the state. Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission issued a statement saying it 'was determined to support Texas with electrical energy' as its neighbor to the north scrambled to deal with its power woes."


New York City Cordially Invites Uber to Innovate, Disrupt Our Taxis

"It is one of the great ripoffs of the public any place I've ever seen" Mayor Bloomberg on the structure of the NYC taxi industry.

— Dana Rubinstein (@danarubinstein) December 14, 2012

Good! New York City will begin a year-long pilot of working with taxi-hailing apps starting early next year. The program will be pretty restrictive, but lots of the hard tech work is to ensure that the app systems work with the taxi meters. So that, you know, we don't get ripped off. That wasn't so hard, petulant, pouty, Ayn Randian startup boys, now was it!

Also apparently Mike Bloomberg went crazy about taxis this [...]


Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For The Superfast Choo-Choo

By the time the new high-speed rail for the Northeast Corridor arrives we will all be too busy running from fires to notice. Or dead. Some of us will be dead.


Nuclear Disaster Is Not The Only Thing To Worry About

Anxious about the possibility of a Fukushima-style nuclear calamity in the event of another earthquake here on the East Coast? You should be! But save some shelf space in your cabinet of concerns for our deteriorating dams:

In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers released a survey of the state of infrastructure in the U.S. The group found that dams are, on average, in terrible disrepair. Of the more than 85,000 dams, more than 4,000 are unsafe or deficient, and nearly 1,800 of those are located where a breach would cause severe damage to life or property. With so many dams, it is hard to [...]


Don't Panic, But Your Water Is Full Of Lead

Some day you will tell your children about how you used to be able to get hot water from the tap. Of course they will be too stupid to understand, because of all the lead poisoning, but the soothing tones of nostalgic reverie will at least calm them down.