Thursday, January 31, 2008

US Primaries and US World Leadership

Roger Cohen, a columnist from the NY Times, has a great op-ed today on how foreign interest in the US primaries is appropriate. He makes clear in a short article why the USA is still, and will remain in the foreseeable future, a critical force in the world, despite the problems Bush's presidency have created.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I was thinking about pork barrel spending today. As a civil engineer I generally like infrastructure projects, but also disagree about wasting money.

Then it came to me, one of the biggest problems with pork barrel projects is that they are inefficiently designed, not that they are totally worthless.

I think about Buffalo's light rail transit system. It might have been fine if it had cost 200 million rather than about 550 million. A surface light rail line might have made more sense in the long run and saved money.

So, I guess the pork isn't bad, it's the extra fat that's the problem.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Vienna Restaurants 1

There's a good article on Vienna restaurants in the Herald Tribune today.

I would add restaurants called Gaumenspiel, Wiener7 and an all time favorite: Cafe Florianihof.

Swiss Railways

We just returned from Switzerland and the IT08.rail conference. As part of the conference we traveled to see the new Loetschberg alpine basis tunnel. The Swiss railway network (and buses, boats, cable cars) never ceases to astound me, it's simply magnificent in every respect. It's simply a pleasure to ride and takes you everywhere you could ever want to go. What a lesson for other countries and regions.

IT and rail conference 2005

I am back from Zurich and the IT08.rail conference I wrote about last week. Here is a link to the website from the first conference, last week's conference link is in the last post.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zurich - IT08.rail

We traveled to Z├╝rich today to attend the IT08.rail conference at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The conference is extremely interesting and deals with ideas for improving the operation of railways using information technology. More in upcoming blogs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best of 2007 List

Mark Morford from the SF Chronicle had a great list of the best 12 best of lists for 2007. Some great stuff there!

In Love Again

My first computer was a 128-kb Mac. Remember those! I upgraded to a 512, but then lost the faith and moved to IBM because of my job. Last fall I purchased (my last!) Dell laptop with (ta da!) VISTA and the new MS Word etc. Too much has already been written about these products, it should suffice to say that in January I ordered a MacBook, and, as the song goes ... I'm in love again!

But, Apple, please, please don't get lost the way you did in the early 1990s!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cabaret at the Volkstheater

We saw Cabaret at the Vienna Volkstheater last night. Excellent show, unfortunately the last performance. The Volkstheater is great place to see live theater in Vienna. Here's a photo from the website (a scene from the song: Two Ladies, photo copyright by Lalo Jodlbauer).

TRB Intercity Rail Passenger Committee

Among the events at the 2008 TRB Annual Meeting were several sessions and meetings organized by the TRB's Intercity Passenger Rail Committee (I'm a member). The sessions and workshop were packed with interesting new information and ideas. We heard many good approaches for improving passenger rail in the USA and world! The Committee has a great new website where you can download information about passenger rail.

TRB 2008

Another year, another TRB Annual Meeting. This year's was great, of course too much to do and too many people to see, but that's success. I had five papers in three sessions and one meeting. Good comments and lots of interest. Download my presentations and papers from my website.