Sunday, November 30, 2008

Politicians at Fault for MTA Trouble

The MTA recently voted to raise fares to $2.50 and cut late-night service and eliminate two lines completely, among other items in so-called "Draconian" actions in a "Doomsday" scenario. However, although the MTA should get better accountability within their organization, politicians should bear the front of the blame for their irresponsible attitudes towards funding for the MTA. People such as Sheldon Silver or David Gantt or the countless other assemblymen and councilmembers who refuse to believe that in today's world, mass transit in metropolises like New York City mandate that reliable, efficient, and inexpensive mass transit is vital to the city's economy and standard of living.

Read about the MTA's 2009 horrible-to-look-at-but-even-more-horrible-when-it-is-implemented budget in Second Avenue Saga's extensive analysis.

(This post was scheduled to be published on Nov. 22, 2008 but was delayed. Apologies.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

"NYT": Iraq War Ends link

Finally published: my article dated 11/12/08 about the fake New York Times edition given out on November 12th.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

YouTube Live

On Saturday, November 22, 2008 (tonight) at 8 P.M. EST, YouTube will host its first-ever "YouTube Live" event. It will be broadcast as a live webcast from this link and will feature numerous music artists as well as prominent YouTubers.

>>>YouTube Live

:::>After watching segments of it live, I would have to say that it was alright and in need of some better material/transitions to help it flow better. And the live webcast itself needs to be streamed less choppy and at a better quality. The full screen mode sometimes freezes too.

(Edited 11/23/2008)

Friday, November 21, 2008

OBAMA: #44 (Final Post)

It has been more than two weeks since the historic 2008 Presidential election. Let us push hatred and partisanship aside and let this country come together so that we may better serve ourselves and the world. In order to continue the progress that we have made and to brighten our and our future generations' prospects for the future, we must work together and make smart compromises while preserving human morals. Our future is at stake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Answer Lost

So I was on the train Monday morning and I was happily attempting to fall sleep on my coveted, rare seat when a lady walked in at Roosevelt Ave. She held a handful of small pamphlets with the word "Hell" in large print. She then started a seemingly never-ending talk about God and how we should be religious and how Jesus is our savior and how he helped us out and how were all formed from the earth. I just felt like I wanted to question her about religion vs evolution... It must have been ten minutes until she finally caught my eye and attempted to hand me a pamphlet. At that point, I summoned up the courage and asked her, "So who created God?" She looked at me, shut up, and walked towards the other end of the car. I felt gratified but regretted that I had not spoken up sooner (to save my and my fellow travelers' souls.)

Now, I do not mean to be bashing religion or the overly religious, and perhaps I was somewhat out of line with my question at that spur of the moment. But it was definitely a valid question: neither she nor myself can answer that definitively. However, what made me have a lesser respect for [them] was her refusal to answer or at least address my question. Was it because she was too embarrassed to answer it because she was a blind follower of religion/God? Or was it because she knew that someone like me would likely have a long debate about her beliefs? Maybe I should go to a public place in a conservative city and start preaching about science and evolution. Hehe.

BTW, the title of this post is a reference to Milton's Paradise Lost.

Excuse the Lateness, Please (11/19/08)

Inserting a blog on an overly-religious preachess from my Monday travels. (Posted Wed)
Finally, my post on post-election thoughts.

NYT prank with scan of front page.
Not MTA's fault for proposed service cuts.

Health care informatics.

(Edited: 11/19/08)

Friday, November 14, 2008

R160 Sighted on F! And the MTA's Tech at Use

On Thursday at around 12:13 PM, I was sitting inside a regular F train car and facing the Manhattan-bound station wall at Kew Gardens/Union Tpke, when I noticed a strange reflection off the opposite side's window. I saw what seemed to be electronic LED lettering seemingly glistening from a train's display. I instantly remembered what Lost City said about seeing a new R160 train being tested on the F line, and turned around to peer into the station. Sure enough, there was a R160 on the Jamaica-bound tracks departing from the station. Since it was undergoing non-revenue testing, there were no passengers on-board. But I was just so excited that I got to see a train undergoing testing that would soon be opened to the public. One of the car's numbers was 8708.

Of course, I cannot wait for it to be put into service, but at the same time, I prefer the current R46 since its interiors seem much more cozy with the softer lights and a vibrancy of the wallpaper and "disco-colored" seats as compared to the sterile blue/white of the 160s. Plus, those conductors on the 160s can just never get those station announcements/FIND displays working properly, probably because the rolling stock uses a revolution-based distance measurement tool to predict where it is. (BAD)

By the way, I have recently seen and heard the MTA finally putting those Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) to good use. At the Jamaica-bound 71Av/Forest Hills station, after a R, V, or G local train pulls in and opens its doors, an automated (not the manually-announced ones telling you that a train is at XX station) message announces that 'This is the last stop of this R train. Please leave the train." or something similar. In addition, one time my E train was being held at that same platform in order to wait for an incoming local train, and the announcement said, 'This train is being held momentarily in the station to help connecting passengers from another train.' In both instances, the PIDs displayed each message! Hurrah-finally we get to see some results! Hopefully those next-train arrival times can soon be initiated too.

>>>RELATED POST: R160s on the E!<<<

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Avenue Subway, Maybe Not All the Way

As the transport politic puts it, the Second Avenue Subway is definitely needed to relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Lines (4,5,6) but should be amended to provide a crosstown connection as well as better serve those further away from Second Avenue. He believes that there should be two major changes to the plan:
  1. A crosstown route from 125th St. on the East Side of Manhattan to the West Side, connecting the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, B, C, and D lines in Upper Manhattan. It makes it a lot more convenient for riders, as this would eliminate the need for waiting for a bus as well as increase ridership overall. (Presently, none of the lines in Upper Manhattan truly enable East-West travel there.)
  2. A slight diversion from Second Avenue south of 14th St. and down Avenues B/C into the East Village, where it currently maybe just one of the few remaining parts of Manhattan that do not come within a short walking distance of a subway stop. The East Village is also home to many mixed small and medium density residential buildings. In addition, politic stresses that the planned SAS is only two avenue blocks away from the Lex. Ave. Line, making little difference anyways and would attract more riders if shifted East (plus one more station than currently planned). The SAS would then return to its namesake avenue at Chatham Square.
"But the most important point is this: since all three stations will be built where subway service already exists, no new areas of the city become more easily transit-accessible...The Second Avenue Subway’s downtown route should be significantly revised to provide two significant improvements: one, increasing subway access to currently transit-deprived areas of the city; and two, improving transfer opportunities for passengers who currently have trouble moving between lines."

Although the 125th St. Fault may present a problem for the Westward expansion of the SAS, and a deviation from the MTA's plan may cost more money that they do not have, the proposed scheme is of an interesting note and should be taken as an alternative by the MTA. Since the proposed changes do not affect the current Phase of construction, changes would not be met with cries of wastefulness.

A tip of the hat to the transport politic for this and many thought-worthy suggestions. Each day, he provides a lengthy and well-researched article (but a good read nonetheless) with independently made diagrams and maps. Bravo! You have earned my respect!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Excuse the Lateness, Please

I apologize if some of the posts here involve information a bit old; I've been pretty busy these past several days, and even busier these past few months. Don't worry: anticipate a post on transit tomorrow, a spoof of the Times Saturday, and a health care informatics initiative Saturday/Sunday!

Global Network Initiative

Often, when there is a greater and more beneficial cause to be fought for, enemies will band together for it. This is what happened on October 29th, when Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft joined with other organizations and universities to stop persecution on the internet. They formed the Global Network Initiative to push for greater freedom of speech online (especially in China, where the "Internet Police" forces search providers to give up information on users they deem dangerous due to blogs, activity, etc.) The providers have also been targeted by various international governments on their agreement with certain countries to censor information and media. The organization is supported by the human rights declaration, as given by the United Nations. However, admission into this club requires some dough. Companies who join must pay $100,000 and be required to demonstrate that they are abiding by the Initiative's goals.

>>>Scientific American: Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! join human rights initiative

"NYT": Iraq War Ends

So boasted the main headline on The New York Times copy I received outside of a subway station. At first, I walked right by, not believing for a second that the NYT would send someone handing out free copies of their paper from a bicycle. However, after my friend showed me the headline, I dashed back to obtain my copy. I could not believe it - I had not even heard a peep from 1010Wins that morning! I then noticed the date: July 4, 2009. And instead of the traditional "All the News That's Fit to Print," it instead had, "All the News We Hope to Print" in the upper left hand corner.

It was a stunt pulled by a group called the "Yes Men," a group
"Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else."

1.2 million copies were claimed to be printed and distributed by thousands of volunteers. Reportedly, a few unnamed Times journalists had helped the publication. The paper was aimed at the next president to keep his promises regarding issues such as the closing of Guantanamo Bay or the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. However, most of the paper only mentioned "The president" instead of Barack Obama.

As I perused its stories, I found that it was extremely liberal, featuring headlines such as "Bush to Face Charges", "Ex-Secretary Apologizes for W.M.D. Scare", "Maximum Wage Law Succeeds" etc. I actually did wish that most of the laws and events described would happen, since it would definitely bring the United States in line with the policies of a majority of Western nations and to continue making progressive improvements. Yet I also winced at the news stories since I knew that in real life, compromises must be made in order to make progress.

>>>Read the online version of the paper
>>>New York Times description

(Published 11/28/2008)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

OBAMA: #44 (4th Post)

Some screenshots of Times Square after Obama was declared the projected winner; Look at those crowds! Nearly half of what it would be on New Year's Eve!:
High up:

At the new TKTS booth:
Most recent results:
Posted by Picasa


His speech:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OBAMA: #44 (3rd Post)

John McCain's concession speech with video
Barack Obama's acceptance speech with video

Random public reactions in NYC following the results:
  • Yelling on city streets for the better part of the night, honking
  • Egyptian woman, with her young daughter, talking with an acquaintance on the subway: "I have been living here for 33 years...McCain's too old...I'm glad Obama won."
  • African-American woman speaking to her husband on bus: "On [Linden?] Blvd. last night, the Bloods and Crips were dancing together!"

New York Times' Electoral & National, State Election Maps

Google's election gadget:

Or run for president yourself and see what states you want to win with Yahoo's customizable election map at their Political Dashboard.

And here's what my dream electoral map for U.S. elections would be like:
Yahoo! News Political Dashboard

OBAMA: #44 (2nd Post)

When Obama mentioned during his acceptance speech at around 12 AM EST in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois that he received a "gracious" call from McCain, his supporters applauded McCain. What a stunning difference from McCain's supporters during his concession speech. Obama also stated that there were still many obstacles to overcome that may not be resolved within the next year or in a term. He also reached out to Republicans by sympathizing with them that "he needs their help" and that every U.S. resident shares the same ideals. He also described the past 106 years of the U.S. (because there was a 106-year old Black woman voting in Atlanta, Georgia).

Some of his key phrases:
"This victory belongs to you."
"You did this because you understand the enormity of the task before us."
"That's the true genius of America. That it can change."

And some laughs:


(Soon to come: complete electoral map, votes, acceptance speech?)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OBAMA: #44

Congratulations BARACK OBAMA on becoming the 44th President of the United States! He will also be the first African-American President in the U.S. The projections were made first by ABC at around 11 PM EST. Right after the projections were made, throngs of supporters in Times Square, NYC, and in Grant Park, Chicago, cheered. Many were in tears. Times Square looked nearly as crowded and ecstatic as on New Year's Eve.

In an ABC poll, 80% of those polled said that race was not a major factor in their voting decision, instead, 63% believed that the economy was the reason.

When John McCain gave his concession speech in Phoenix, Arizona at around 11:20 PM, his supporters booed when McCain first mentioned the name "Obama." McCain took it professionally and signed that he wanted them to stop. I applaud him for finally taking responsibility about the actions of his supporters. However, I still fear that many right-wing Republican conservative extremists, who were clearly upset at his speech by continually booing Obama, may be even more deeply divided from the rest of the country and may now have an even bigger reason to cause hate in this country.

Plus: reactions
  • Aunt (before projection): Are you voting just because every other youth is voting? Did you hear in the news that if Obama wins, to watch out for terrorist attacks to "test" Obama? Or from white supremacists?
  • Mom in a seemingly disgruntled, "Yeah-he-won-so-what-I-just-don't-plain-like-him" tone.
  • Dad: Already? I just went up to take a shower and he won already?

Free Coffee!

Another great reason to vote:
Starbucks is giving away free coffee on Election Day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE! (for Obama)

This is one of the most important elections of our lifetime and after eight years of lies, deceit, and irresponsible governance by the Bush Administration, it is time for a New and Better strategy.

For the past eight years under George Bush and the Republicans, the United States has appeared as a greedy and carefree nation who only care about the rich and lets the nation's poor live a miserable life.

For the past eight years under George Bush and the Republicans, they have left the developing world to fend for itself and brushed away the actions of vicious military leaders who have committed genocide.

For the past eight years under George Bush and the Republicans, they have ballooned our national debt into the trillions and have caused our youth and future generations to not have an outlook where they will be able to retire and enjoy life.

For the past eight years under George Bush and the Republicans, they have put our children and students behind while students in the rest of the world have far exceeded us in education standards.

For the past eight years under George Bush and the Republicans, they have neglected the environment in order to put money into the oil and gas companies, and have quickened our death by rejecting international proposals to reduce our pollution and clean up our only home.

That is why
This Election Day, let us show ourselves and the world that we DO care about those who are homeless, those without health insurance, and those who have been trampled by the credit and mortgage crisis.

This Election Day, let us vote for the party that gets things done with the future in foresight while learning from our past mistakes.

This Election Day, let us vote for the candidate that will ensure that the United States' standing in the world is not blemished by ill-conceived and ill-planned wars, and that we will make sure our financial systems are amongst the best in the world.

This Election Day, let us choose the one person who will bring our nation together by regaining trust in American consumers and households by reforming our old laws and updating regulations to reflect that of today's society.

This Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, make your voice HEARD.

This Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, CHOOSE a new direction that will better our and our children's futures.

This Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, VOTE for BARACK OBAMA to be the next President of the United States of America! And vote for the Democrats in any other positions as well!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Biden-Taken Out of Context

John McCain and Sarah Palin's recent attacks on Barack Obama regarding his running mate's opinions were taken entirely out of context in order to misinform voters. Joe Biden's statement that there would be

"An international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy,"

referring to Obama, meant that there would be a situation that would put up resistance to the next President. The fact is, any President will have to be "tested," especially with the current international and generated economic crises (all of the world's markets are in turmoil right now, and were generated by banks, mortgage companies, and other businesses practicing in risky actions.) Many experts are agreeing with Biden's comments, that the current world's state is not in good standing and that even McCain would be tested if he were elected (God forbid). In addition, McCain's remarks on the comments that he would "test them" instead of the other way around simply puts him in a hostile position.

>>> Think Progress: National Security Experts Agree: Biden Was Right; Enemies Likely To ‘Test’ Next President»