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  • Low levels of the hormone cortisol may identify teen drivers with a high likelihood of getting into car accidents, suggests a small new study. Newly-licensed teens who produced high cortisol under stress were less likely to be involved in a crash or a near-crash, the researchers found. Measuring cortisol might make a good test to flag young drivers in need of extra safety training, they conclude.

    Reuters
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    A fleet-footed pooch is lucky to be alive after racing a commuter train in New York City from the Bronx into Manhattan. The New York Post reports (http://bit.ly/1itSK5u ) that the dog ran alongside the Metro-North train on a parallel track Tuesday.

    AP/Sacramento Bee
  • A new tool to help local governments and regional planners evaluate the impact of policy-relevant variables on vehicle miles traveled — taking into account the unique attributes of each community — is available online, the California Air Resources Board announced today.  This tool offers look-up tables that provide neighborhood-scale VMT elasticities and marginal effects associated with changes in land use and transportation variables for city, county and regional geographic areas.

    California Air Resources Board
  • Laboratory chamber walls have been stealing vapors, causing researchers to underestimate the formation of secondary organic aerosol in the atmosphere. A study published April 7 in PNAS Online Early Edition describes how a team of scientists, including researchers from the University of California, Davis, showed that vapor losses to the walls of laboratory chambers can suppress the formation of secondary organic aerosol, which in turn has contributed to the underprediction of SOA in climate and air quality models.

    UC Davis News
  • New draft rules limiting greenhouse gases from existing power plants will give states the tools to curtail emissions that drive climate change without shuttering lots of facilities and threatening electric reliability, said Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, at a panel discussion in Washington on Monday. “Nothing we do can threaten reliability,” McCarthy said at a conference hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, especially because “in a changing climate, it will be increasingly challenging to maintain a reliable energy supply.”

    LA Times
  • As many as 900 street parking spaces - one of San Francisco's most precious commodities - will be reserved for car-sharing vehicles and leased at discounted rates. The parking program, which will begin in the summer, is a two-year experiment that aims to spread car sharing throughout the city...Half of the street spaces - 450 - will be available starting in the summer. They'll be marked with signs and paint and assigned to a specific vehicle. Primus said they'll be spread around the city, which was a goal of the program.

    SF Chronicle
  • Q: Gary, you stated that a carpool lane ticket was not a moving violation and didn't affect insurance premiums. I say, "Au contraire!" At least, USAA didn't go along with that. Back in the good old days, when I was commuting with "Henri," my companion dummy, I finally got nailed by a motorcycle cop. All I could say was: "Officer, desperate men do desperate things." They raised my premiums for three years!

    Mercury News
  • ..."We believe that Model S demand in the U.S. has plateaued," said Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays Capital..."To a large extent, the early adopters have gotten their fix," said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst with Gartner. "Tesla has to conquer new segments of buyers."...That could change, he said, when Tesla introduces its new Model X sport-utility vehicle, scheduled to go on sale in 2015.

    Mercury News
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    Crews dismantling the old east span of the Bay Bridge have cut it in half by slicing through metal sections of the cantilever section east of Yerba Buena Island...Contractors are dismantling the 77-year-old span in reverse order of how it was constructed in the 1930s.

    Contra Costa Times
  • ...The fact that the black box and cockpit voice recorders must be physically retrieved and the data downloaded seems positively archaic in an era when we all have GPS in our pocket, OnStar in our cars and the NSA can track anyone, anywhere. Indeed, the technology exists to render black boxes obsolete, and the question of why we aren’t using it came to the fore after Air France Flight 447 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. WIRED explored the question of why we still use black boxes and what alternatives there are in this piece from 2011, which remains relevant in light of MH370.

    Wired