Headline News

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  • Nearly five years after Peninsula cities first sued to block California's high-speed train from running along the Caltrain corridor, a judge has dismissed the case in a long-awaited victory for bullet train backers.

    Mercury News
  • BART's board of directors Thursday approved a 5.2 percent fare increase, which will raise the average one-way fare from $3.59 to $3.78 starting Jan. 1. That will cost the average daily BART commuter about $50 over the course of a year.

    Mercury News
  •  When California held its first-ever auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances last fall, allowances sold for $10.09, just pennies above the $10 floor price set by state regulators. Some observers warned that the low price meant the state's new cap-and-trade program wouldn't work and was a sign that companies were not participating. But in the second auction last week, the allowances sold for $13.62 each, higher than many analysts had expected.

    Mercury News
  • Boeing CEO Ray Conner met with Japan’s transport minister and other officials in Tokyo on Thursday to explain his company’s proposal for resolving problems with the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries that have kept the aircraft grounded for over a month....He would not give details of Boeing’s plan, but said it had come up with a solution “that addresses all probable causes of the incidents in the aircraft.”

    Washington Post
  • IN THE world of academic publishing, it is hard to get more traditional than Nature. The British scholarly weekly has been reporting scientific breakthroughs since 1869....Contrast this with Frontiers. The Swiss publisher has been posting online papers since 2007. Its peer reviewers, whose names are known, accept 80-90% of submissions, rejecting only those which are fatally flawed....On February 27th Nature Publishing Group (NPG), which owns Nature and 81 other scholarly journals, announced that it has bought a controlling stake in Frontiers for an undisclosed sum. Besides 30 titles in 14 scientific fields the Swiss upstart brings a social-networking platform—a LinkedIn for boffins, if you like—to share not just research, but news, job offers and information about conferences and events. 

    Economist
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    Last week Democrats in the Washington state legislature introduced a $10 billion transportation package with a number of revenue elements. According to the Seattle Times, the proposal increased the gas tax by 10 cents every five years until it reached nearly half a buck per gallon, created a "car-tab tax" for .7 percent of a car's value, and a $25 sales fee on bicycles that cost more than $500. The latter item was included as "a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share."

    Atlantic Cities
  • After almost two decades in the dark, plans are rolling forward to energize metering lights in Pittsburg and North Concord by the end of the year. ..The addition of the signals on Highway 4 and Highway 242 during peak commute hours is aimed at improving traffic flow on one of the Bay Area and nation's most punishing commutes.

    Contra Costa Times
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    ... To get to the Nimitz, 100 miles off Honolulu, our turboprop is flying a 50-50 blend of biofuel and standard JP-5 shipboard aviation fuel. The biofuel is made from algae plus waste cooking oil. This makes us part of history, my aircrewman says, players in what the Navy calls the Great Green Fleet demonstration of July 2012...The Navy is tackling problems that freeze Congress solid. What it learns, what it implements, and how it adapts and innovates will drive market changes that could alter the course of the world.

    Mother Jones/Wired
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    ...Airports, especially those in big cities, expose an architect's work to millions of people every year and are highly sought-after assignments. New projects are awarded through competitions that can span years; once granted, they may take decades to be fully completed. The latest airport award to be given will be happening in London. The British capital is facing an aviation crisis and mayor Boris Johnson has called on Zaha Hadid, winner of the 2004 Pritzker Prize, to help solve it.

    Wired
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    ... Federal and state gas-tax rates haven’t kept pace with inflation. And when gas taxes were first conceived early in the last century, most cars had roughly the same fuel efficiency; now a 50 mile-per-gallon Prius shares the road with an 8 mile-per-gallon rusting pickup truck...In this climate, several states are now looking for transportation revenue in entirely new places. 

    Atlantic Cities