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Posted by Victor Crew on

Cook Islands Readying for First Covid-19 Cases

The small, South Pacific nation Cook Islands who has not yet had an serious issues with Covid-19 is preparing for its first possible infections now that a infected traveler, who was likely contagious while on the islands, visited their Prime Minister Mark Brown recently.

The traveler was from New Zealand. The traveler spent just over a week in the community and tested positive for the Omicron variant after returning to his home country. This according to a video by PM Brown posted on the governments Facebook page.

Brown posited that the visitor was likely contagious while visiting Cook Islands and that he believed the virus was likely in the community. He also stated it was possible that there was “silent transmission” in the Cook Islands due to their high vaccination rate, so the infection is so mild people don’t know they have it.

Only .4% of the nation’s 17,000 citizens are not double vaccinated (for people over 12) and only 30% have not received a booster.

Cook Islands had shut it shelf off from the world early in 2020 when the pandemic hit and just resumed quarantine-free travel with New Zealand a month ago.

The island country reported a single case of Covid this past December when someone arrived on a repatriation flight, however they were not exposed to the community at large.

Brown stated that he thought their high vaccination rate has afforded the country a strong shield against the pandemic.

Posted by Victor Crew on

Airbus to Test Hydrogen Engine Plane

Airbus has recently come that much closer to creating the world’s first zero-emission aircraft. The French airplane manufacturer announced that it is ready to test hydrogen fuel technology in a modified A380 jetliner. The A380 was discontinued last year.

Airbus partnered with CFM international on this very important hydrogen demonstration program.

The A380 will be fitted with fuel tanks rated to handle liquid hydrogen tanks in the trial of propulsion technology for future hydrogen fueled aircraft.

2.8% of global CO2 emissions is generated by aviation. And aviation accounted for 95 billion gallons of fuel consumption in 2019.

The industry as a whole has promised to reduce their emissions to half of what the level was in 2005 by 2050. Some carriers are switching over to sustainable aviation fuel or SAF to help reduce the carbon footprint of flying. British Airway’s parent company IAG has stated it will power 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030. United Airlines made its first successful flight via 100% sustainable fuel last year.

Airbus is putting all its eggs in the hydrogen basket, however. But, hydrogen fuel could potentially reduce aviation emissions by 50%.

 

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

New Temporary Alcohol Restrictions in Place for Spring Break, Miami Beach

Miami Beach has elected to have additional restrictions on alcohol sales during the peak period of Spring Break.

The city voted that these areas with high Spring Break/tourist traffic during these 2 peak vacation weeks will have restricted alcohol sales after 2 am. The temporary measure is dated between 7 March and 21 March and will affect all businesses in the area that allow on-site drinking.

A Miami Beach official stated that the ordinance is intended to help ensure a safer environment as they try to protect the quality of life of our residents through this temporary ordinance. Last year, in 2021, the city had to enforce not only a curfew but enact a state of emergency for weeks because police were struggling to control dense crowds of spring breakers even amid the pandemic.

Dan Gelber, Miami Beach Mayor, called the situation “intolerable.”

It will come as no surprise that businesses and advocates are claiming that limiting alcohol sales to venues with onsite drinking is unfair. Many are citing the fact that while one club or bar is forced to close at 2am, spring breakers can walk a few blocks and find another club or bar that is open until 5am. Many believe the temporary ordinance should be enacted city-wide or not at all.

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

Southwest Airlines Serving Alcohol Again and Expands its Beverage Service

After stopping sales of alcohol on their flights in March 2020, Southwest Airlines will be bringing back adult beverages. Spirits, wine and beer will be offered again on their flights starting February 16.

Most of the other largest airlines in the US had resumed alcohol sales previously.

Southwest will also be generally expanding their beverage selection to include tonic water, Coke Zero and hot coco.

Southwest will provide beverage service on all flights over 176 miles in length.

The airline had stated that customers had expressed their desire for more options when it came to beverages. The airline said it was delighted to restart serving adult beverages as well as expand their all-ages offerings.

However, spokes people from the union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants have said they believe resuming alcohol service is irresponsible and unsafe. Their argument is that it makes it harder to enforce federal mask mandates on flights and in addition puts flight attendants at additional risk to exposure to Coivd-19.

The union has stated that they’ve made it very clear to Southwest Airlines management that resuming the sale of alcohol will almost certainly, they believe, increase non-compliance and misconduct issues.

“We have adamantly and unequivocally informed management that resuming sales of alcohol while the mask mandate is in place has the great potential to increase customer non-compliance and misconduct issues,” Montgomery said in a statement.

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

The Beijing-Zhangjiakou Intercity Railway

The world’s first self-driving high-speed train is in action moving 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics participants, workers and officials between the cities hosting the games on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou intercity railway.

While it is incredible in and of itself that the train is autonomous, part of the 56 minute rid takes place inside an a marvel of modern engineering—the Badaling Great Wall Station. The station was completed in 2019 and the station is located very near the entrance to Badaling which is the most popular tourist-accessible section of the ancient wall. In a so-far successful effort to preserve the wall from damage, the rail line was constructed far underground.

The rail line is built 335 feet below the ground and it covers more than 36,000 square meters. Many are calling the 3-story structure the world’s deepest and largest underground high-speed railway station.

Of course, construction of such a complex station, underground and underneath a world renowned historical site was a very complex undertaking. The tunnel is almost 8 miles long.

China state media has stated that engineers were able to use a technology new to China that allowed them to precisely time explosive detonations in such a way as to protect the popular section of the great wall.