Railroads adding more cars to trains in effort to trim costs, raising some concerns about safety
Russell Hubbard, July 6, 2017, Omaha World-Herald
The train that moved through downtown Council Bluffs late last month on a bright Saturday morning didn’t seem extraordinary at first glance — just another Union Pacific freighter with different types of cargo and railcars slowly crossing the railroad tracks in a town crisscrossed with railroad tracks.
But it was notable in one respect: It was 142 cars long. And for a manifest train — the industry term for trains with mixed cargoes and car types — it was 45 percent longer than the average Union Pacific manifest train in 2016.
The extra length was no accident. Trains are getting longer, as the nation’s freight railroads seek out greater efficiency — lower expenses mean higher profits — by grouping more railcars into fewer trains.
Microsoft proposing $10B program to bring broadband internet to rural America
Matt Day, July 10, 2017, The Seattle Times
Microsoft is set to propose a $10 billion program to bring broadband internet to the rural U.S., an economic-development program aimed at a core constituency of the Trump administration.
The plan, which calls for corporate and government cash, relies on nascent television “white-space” technology, which sends internet data over unused broadcast frequencies set aside for television channels.
In an event scheduled for Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Microsoft is to propose using the technology it helped develop as a cornerstone of an effort to connect the 23.4 million Americans in rural areas who lack high-speed internet access.