Why federally owned trackage could be good

This is not an opinion I formed lightly. It has come from my experiences traveling internationally and witnessing first hand how the United States is clearly behind in rail travel. I am also always reluctant to postulate that our federal government is better or smarter at providing a service than privateers (see: Parcel Delivery). But there are some areas where government standards can improve efficiency and safety (see: FAA & Air Travel – minus the boondoggles that are TSA & DHS).

By having the track rights under federal control, it relieves freight carriers of their property. I say relieve because at the moment they pay property tax on their right-of-ways. Instead it would be better served to have them pay a usage tax, or something similar, rather than retaining ownership. The reason being is the rail network vastly needs up an upgrade.

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Kyosho Raider

The year was 1988, I was 11 years old. The Minnesota Twins were fresh off a World Series win. After taking my Sears Lobo II to it’s limits (whatever that means to an 11 y/o), it was time for an upgrade. I had purchased a copy of Radio Control Car Action magazine from the local […]

The post Kyosho Raider appeared first on Meatball Racing.

The year was 1988, I was 11 years old. The Minnesota Twins were fresh off a World Series win. After taking my Sears Lobo II to it’s limits (whatever that means to an 11 y/o), it was time for an upgrade.

I had purchased a copy of Radio Control Car Action magazine from the local hobby shop – Jolly’s Toys and Hobby in Apache Plaza. Inside, I found this article with all of its 80s flair:

Raider1
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Democrats, Libertarians, and the roads we travel

Let’s take a moment and look at two political philosophies and how they can even be applied to something as simple and mundane as a road (re)design. It may seem like somewhat of a reach, but stay with me for a story of regulation vs. self-regulation.

In Finance

Alan Greenspan himself did not foresee the housing crash coming. His mantra had always been that the market should (and will) self-regulate. He may have, at one point during the crisis, re-considered his libertarian ideals, as the situation left him “in a state of shocked disbelief.”

I saw Alan Greenspan on Charlie Rose (relevant conversation at 51:16) where he discussed the 2008 mortgage crisis. I suspect that in the aftermath he did some research going backwards to see what could have been done to prevent it. He mentioned a change at the NYSE in 1970 that allowed broker-dealers to become incorporated. Prior to this, broker-dealers were required to be partnerships where all partners had “skin in the game.”

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How to cheat at winter cycling

When it comes to winter bike commuting, I’m somewhat of a cheater: I only ride to work when it’s convenient.

For example, if I’m meeting someone on the other end of town after work, I drive. But it’s almost always more convenient to throw a leg over the saddle than to reach for the car keys – because I’ve made it that way.

It’s only October, but here in America’s snow boot we know winter is coming! Last year I had the opportunity to become a year-round bike commuter, thanks to a new job with a very convenient location. My not-so-new job has now moved to a new location, and my commute is 4 miles instead of 1, but it’s all do-able even in the winter. Here are some things I did to make it a no-brainer to spin to work on most days rather than driving.

Two Bikes

My biggest cheat is by having two bikes. Being a bike “enthusiast” it’s natural that I have a couple of bikes. Every winter I put winter tires (and fenders) on both of them. They’re strategically set up for varying levels of winter weather, so I just ride which ever one is more appropriate for the weather that morning, or what is forecasted for that day. One bike is for nice winter days, and the other is for harsh winter days.
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Specialized Stix Comp Tail Light

As you already know, I’m a fan of Topeak’s rack systems. They work great for carrying kids, groceries, panniers, etc. I’ve gone through a couple iterations of tail lights from Ax-Man Surplus that I usually just stick to the back of the rack with 3M Very High Bond (VHB) double-sided foam tape and some 3M adhesion promoter.

The foam tape, when used with adhesion promoter, works great for all bumps, jumps and falls. The cheap Ax-Man lights however, left something to be desired. One quit after some moisture got into the housing, the other quit because it was just plain cheap – I’d never paid more than $5 for any of them at Ax-Man.

Since I’d already invested over $100 in my front light, I figured it was time to give the back light some love. Continue reading “Specialized Stix Comp Tail Light”

Budget FPV Ground Station < $100

Now that I got my ham license and some FPV equipment, I needed a way to set it up so that it’s usable at the flying field. Also, don’t let the title fool you – most of the money ($75) was spent on the FPV system itself, (including camera!). Other parts I was able to […]

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Now that I got my ham license and some FPV equipment, I needed a way to set it up so that it’s usable at the flying field. Also, don’t let the title fool you – most of the money ($75) was spent on the FPV system itself, (including camera!). Other parts I was able to borrow or steal…

I started with the two-monitor portable DVD system that my kids use to watch movies on road trips. The 1st monitor is the “brain” that has the DVD player. The 2nd monitor simply accepts power and an A/V signal from the 1st. I stole this monitor for use with my ground station. I tested it by powering it on through the cigarette lighter jack and then hooking it up to the FPV receiver. With the FPV transmitter off I saw static instead of the dreaded “blue screen” – which is good!

fpv-screen-static
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Ham Radio for FPV

I finally jumped into FPV by purchasing my first kit, a Quanum Tx/Rx/Camera package I got for around $60 from HobbyKing while it was on sale. With it’s 600mW transmit power, it should be more than enough for some field flying, even with trees in the way. But before I fire it up, I needed […]

The post Ham Radio for FPV appeared first on Meatball Racing.

I finally jumped into FPV by purchasing my first kit, a Quanum Tx/Rx/Camera package I got for around $60 from HobbyKing while it was on sale.

With it’s 600mW transmit power, it should be more than enough for some field flying, even with trees in the way. But before I fire it up, I needed to get legal. The FCC has a rule called Part 15 about “unlicensed equipment” which states what sort of emissions a device can have to be operated without a radio license. It’s rather complex and the only FCC Part 15 certified FPV systems I’ve seen are 20-25mW. So it was time for me to ante up and get my amateur radio license so I can be a legal, card-carrying operator.

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DIY lithium powered lawn mower

While this isn’t about anything R/C, it’s somewhat related… I recently converted a lead-acid battery powered mower to lithium-ion batteries. Anyone that is in R/C and has a lawn to mow should follow this course. For the record, I hate mowing the lawn. It’s a useless pursuit. We’ve all got better things to do with […]

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While this isn’t about anything R/C, it’s somewhat related… I recently converted a lead-acid battery powered mower to lithium-ion batteries. Anyone that is in R/C and has a lawn to mow should follow this course.

For the record, I hate mowing the lawn. It’s a useless pursuit. We’ve all got better things to do with both our time and our resources like water and land. This Washington Post article “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them” pretty much sums up my opinion.

Instagram Photo

The purpose of upgrading to an electric mower is to get the job done faster, and without smelling like a snowblower repairman when I’m done.

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