Illinois wants ‘timeout’ on Amtrak’s Hiawatha expansion over community concerns

The proposed expansion on Amtrak’s Hiawatha route calls for increasing service from seven to 10 round trips per day between Milwaukee and Chicago to address over-capacity conditions during peak hours. Adding three routes would require substantial track upgrades and the addition of a third train to run on the route.

Illinois wants ‘timeout’ on Amtrak’s Hiawatha expansion over community concerns – Milwaukee – Milwaukee Business Journal

Illinois is such a corrupt shithole.


‘You Just Don’t Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessary’

Americans across the country, from Maynard’s home in rural Appalachia to urban areas like Flint, Mich., or Compton, Calif., are facing a lack of clean, reliable drinking water. At the heart of the problem is a water system in crisis: aging, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds to pay for upgrading it.

On top of that, about 50 percent of water utilities — serving about 12 percent of the population — are privately owned. This complicated mix of public and private ownership often confounds efforts to mandate improvements or levy penalties, even if customers complain of poor water quality or mismanagement.

Drinking water is delivered nationally via 1 million miles of pipes, many of which were laid in the early to mid-20th century, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Those pipes are now nearing the end of their life spans.

A 2017 report by the group gave America’s water systems a near-failing grade, citing an estimated 240,000 water line breaks a year nationwide.

…Leaks in the pipes that carry water throughout the county result in substantial losses of treated water — nearly 65 percent in 2016. And those leaks create a vacuum, sucking in untreated water from the ground that’s subsequently delivered to people’s homes.

That’s especially worrisome given the region’s history of mining and industrial activities. In October 2000, a giant coal sludge spill dumped more than 300 million gallons of toxic waste — including heavy metals like arsenic and mercury — into Martin County’s river system, which is also its main source for drinking water. Thick black sludge ran downstream for dozens of miles, spilling over onto lawns and roads.

‘You Just Don’t Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessary’ : NPR


US mid-terms: Hackers expose ‘staggering’ voter machine flaws

A report outlines major flaws in voting hardware, weeks before US mid-term elections.

One ballot machine, used in 23 US states, carries a cybersecurity flaw that was reported over a decade ago, the hackers claim.

…The report says vulnerabilities mean the M650 can be remotely hacked.

A design flaw reported as far back as 2007 was also found in the model tested during the conference.

The [organizers] of the conference argue that because the unit is designed to process a high volume of ballots, hacking one of the machines could enable an attacker to “flip the electoral college and determine the outcome of a presidential election​.”

…Other machines tested include the AccuVote TSx, currently used by 18 US states. The system includes a smart card reader for users to cast votes, which the report says can be easily disconnected to “disrupt the election” process.

Attendees of the conference were also able to [reprogram] voting smart cards wirelessly, using mobile phones.

US mid-terms: Hackers expose ‘staggering’ voter machine flaws – BBC News


Meet the Puerto Rican sisterhood reinventing the island’s future after Maria

For generations, more than half of Puerto Ricans relied on informal construction to build affordable homes and bypass a costly, bureaucratic process. It was these homes that bore the brunt of María. About 300,000 dwellings suffered significant damage and some 70,000 of those were completely destroyed, according to the island’s Housing Department. Without formal property deeds, home owners struggled to get federal aid.

…The answer: shipping containers.

“They are fabricated to withstand the worst atmospheric conditions, in the middle of the ocean, getting hit by waves and typhoons.”

…HiveCube’s basic model is priced at $39,000. It includes two bedrooms, one bathroom and a kitchen-living area. They are compliant with US building codes and are ADA accessible. The entire structure, including the windows, can withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 175 miles per hour, assuming it is properly anchored to a foundation.

For an additional cost, the homes can be fitted with a solar power microgrid, rainwater collection and a sewage treatment system that doubles as a garden.


…Vilar put out a call for seeds through her nonprofit, Americas for Conservation and the Arts, …[and] working with Rodriguez Besosa, launched the Resilience Fund, a two-year campaign to restore 200 farms destroyed by María.

…Vilar and Rodriguez Besosa are on the front lines of a fast-growing movement to use locally-grown food as a way to decolonize the island. Their mission has evolved from emergency response to creating a lasting food legacy for future generations.

…Rodriguez Besosa, an architect by training, envisions a fundamental shift in the way farms are run — from large, one-crop, corporate strongholds to small-scale, sustainable, locally owned farms.


…With over 80 manufacturing plants and 10,000 skilled workers, Puerto Rico is a garment powerhouse.

…Puerto Rico is a major source of military apparel in the United States, according to a Congressional Report.

…It brought much needed cash flow, but also created a dependency on military contracts.

…In the first three months of operation, Retazo Moda Lab has received ten orders for high-end ready-to-wear fashion, which they’re in the process of delivering. They have an additional 30 clients on a waiting list.

“We want to plant the seeds for a fashion ecosystem to exist on the island,” said Herrero Lugo. “This is about coming together and seeing the potential of being good at multiple things.”


“After a month, it became clear that there were already these amazing service organizations on the island that had the systems, infrastructure and personnel to help people. But they didn’t have power.”

…”We got materials, solar panels, then flew them down there, got crews on the ground,” said Roig-Morris. Resilient Power’s mission quickly evolved from crisis response to building partnerships with community organizations providing critical services to vulnerable groups like the elderly, children and the impoverished.

…”You are choosing a community asset who is providing other services like education, clean water, health clinics.”

Resilient Power has identified about 100 community centers across the island that meet those criteria.

…Long-term, she explained, Resilient Power plans to emphasize training of young people in collaboration with universities on the island, and to promote an alternative-energy industry that creates jobs.

Meet the Puerto Rican sisterhood reinventing the island’s future after Maria – CNN

Very cool!