Building the World

June 3, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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Linking North America by Train

 

Why not build a train route linking Canada, United States, and Mexico? Image: wikimedia commons.

When the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, Montreal suddenly became married to Vancouver. The Canadian Pacific Railway employed 3.5 million workers, another benefit. Should Nafta encourage a vac-train line linking Canada, United States, and Mexico? Might the route include a Sportsway? North America could found a Center for the Study of Trains, patterned after the Russian Railway Service Corps, via universities of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Education and employment might combine in a rethink of the medieval guilds, helping to achieve what Christopher Wilson of the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars terms “globally literate workforces.”

For more:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/world/americas/as-ties-with-china-unravel-us-companies-head-to-mexico.html

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/mexico-institute-the-news-arizona-manufacturer-sees-mexico-key-to-growth

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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May 12, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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All Aboard, Africa

 

Eurostar: image, wikimedia commons.

May is a good month for trains. On May 10, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad transformed the commercial and social interactions of the United States. The Channel Tunnel opened in May 1994. In May 2014, Africa announced a new railway line to run from Mombasa to Nairobi, eventually extending to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co will be the main contractor, with China’s Eximbank supporting 90% of the cost of the first phase. Will the world next welcome the “China-Russia-Canada-America” line, now reportedly in discussion in Beijing? What is the future of train transport?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27368877

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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May 10, 2013
by zoequinn001
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Golden Spike Driven Today

The driving of the final spike, from Golden Spike National Historic Site, at nationalparks.org.

Today is the anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The last spike was driven into the ground on May 10, 1869, the news of which was telegraphed around the nation near simultaneously! It is a little known, but important, fact that telegraph lines were placed beneath the rail tracks, creating one of the first large communications networks. The United States previously held the world record in rail tracks, but now China is deemed the leader as that nation builds a rail network uniting major cities with high speed rail including maglev. When the United States Transcontinental Railroad opened for business, cross country travel formerly taking six months by covered wagon could now be accomplished in 10 days. Commerce increased rapidly; by 1880, $50 million in cargo traveled across the 1800 miles of rail. In the future, will the United States join Canada and Mexico in a vision of high speed rail, perhaps as a celebration of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? Could the PanAmerican highway become the route of a new transportation corridor combining state-of-the-art rail, road, and bikeway?

To read the original New York Times report, please see:
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0510.html#article

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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April 30, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Singin’ in the Train

 

SFOT Red Train 4 by James Murray from Wikimedia Commons, at wikimedia.org.

Haunting whistle in the night, hypnotic rhythm of wheels on rail, panting acceleration of uphill runs breathed heavily by a 2860 engine, sigh of brakes — these were sounds quite new in the landscapes of the world until rather recently. The business of constructing rails was introduced in England in the seventeenth century. British mapmaker and engineer Captain John Montressor built the first American railway in Lewiston, New York in 1764. Nearly a century later, the Golden Spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad; it was now possible to traverse the country in 10 days instead of six months. The Transcontinental Railroad (1869), Canadian Pacific Railway (1885) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (1904) introduced soundscape to the landscape — the train whistle. Japan’s Shinkansen(1964) added a new note: each commuter station is announced by an electronic tune, composed to reflect the culture of the district. For a train soundscape, enjoy a listen (and look) via YouTube “Sound of Royal Hudson steam engine with O Canada horn ‘Good Times Express'” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQNQbuXjF2M). Finding music in the midst of urban sound, George Gershwin who included in “American in Paris” the blare of French taxi horns, might agree with Mozart: “Music is continuous, listening is intermittent.” As new trains, and cars, are developed, should musicians be on the team to create the ideal soundscape?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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July 3, 2012
by zoequinn001
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The Best Stir Fry in the US?

American fare is notoriously heavy and it turns out it always has been. On the Transcontinental Railroad the Chinese proved to be the healthiest workers. The reason? They cooked light and healthy stir-fry cuisine while other laborers ate heavier fare. In addition, the Chinese tradition of drinking tea served well for cleanliness of water as well as benefits of sobriety. Other workers preferred something stronger.Today stir fry is a fairly common food in America, with recipes in all sorts of cookbooks. For a variety of stir fry recipes see:

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/main-dish/stir-fries/ViewAll.aspx

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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