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Science

We need more trains. Video shows why it's so expensive to build them in America.

We're the sixth most expensive place to build rail transit in the world.

public transit, infrastructure bill, new york city

The A Train in New York City

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, heavy rail transit such as subways and metros produce 76% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle. That makes them one of the most essential tools for fighting climate change.

However, according to a new report from CNBC, the United States is the sixth most expensive country worldwide for building rail transit.

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure law that included the country's most significant investment in public transportation. According to CNBC, the U.S. is expected to spend between $91 billion and $108 billion on local public transit through 2026. With all that money at stake, using it effectively will be key.


“I believe that with the money coming in from infrastructure, it’s going to help us rebuild American transit,” Carmen Bianco, former President of MTA New York City Transit, told CNBC.

However, building infrastructure in the U.S., especially subways, is very expensive. This CNBC report shows that building subways in the U.S. is more expensive than in most countries because of high labor costs, overbuilt tracks and stations, and onerous regulations.

Fortunately, the video doesn’t just point out the problems with building infrastructure; it also provides solutions. Prices can be cut if Americans move away from building infrastructure with flashy designs, work with quieter equipment that allows them to build during a greater range of hours and cut down the red tape by using more state workers rather than contractors.

At a time when building trains is more important than ever, the smarter we work, the greener our future will be.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

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Pop Culture

'British Bake-off' judges sample American snacks. Their favorite might surprise you.

Either way, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith bring every bit of wholesome delight that 'Bake-off' fans have some to expect.

Bon Appétit/Youtube

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judge American snacks for Bon Appétit.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, renowned hosts of the beloved “British Bake-off” show (as well as its predecessor “The Great American Baking Show”) have sampled some of the best, most indulgent, most artistically crafted sweet and savory treats imaginable. They’ve built entire careers off of knowing what tastes good, and what doesn’t.

So when put against their expert taste buds, how might our everyday American snacks fare? Would they gag over a Twinkie? Would they prefer Snicker’s to Reeces? Could they handle the heat of Flaming Hot Cheetos? Which snack would be crowned champion?

These were the questions that Bon Appétit aimed to answer in a video posted to Youtube that has every bit of delight that all “Bake-off” fans have come to expect.
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Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Joy

Doggo loses his mind with joy when he finds out he's going to visit Grandma and Grandpa

Sound up for this one because Nosh REALLY loves his grandparents.

Nosh freaked when he found out they were going to see Safta and Boppa.

Eagerly anticipating a trip to the fun and doting grandparents' house is something we think of children doing, but one couple's doggo proves that visiting the "grandpawrents" is just as exciting.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed nearly 30 million times, dog owners Skylar and Deko are nearing the end of a 20-hour drive from Phoenix to Kansas City, Missouri. Their good doggo named Nosh, sits in the backseat, looking out the front window.

Suddenly, Skylar asks Nosh if he wants to go visit Safta and Boppa, the nicknames of his grandparents, and he immediately reacts. You can practically hear him say, "Whut? Grandma and Grandpa? Are you serious?!? OMG, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!! When are we gonna get there?!?" only it comes out as a series of squeals and whimpers and sneezy woofs of joy.

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Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as Agent Scully and Mulder

As any “X-Files” will tell you, mystery is a major part of the show’s intrigue. After all, Agent Mulder and Scully dealt with some new kind of paranormal phenomenon every episode.

But it’s usually not a mystery centered around the show itself.

That is, unless we’re talking about a catchy country song that appears during the 5th episode of season 6, titled “Dreamland II,” which premiered in 1998. During the episode, Mulder gets body-swapped with an Area 51 employee at a dive bar, where the song plays in the background.

It was a song “so good” that Lauren Ancona tried to use her Shazam app to find its title. Only nothing came up. So then she tried to look up the lyrics. Still nothing. Finally she decided to look up the episode itself.

That’s when she realizes she was stumbling upon a decades long puzzle that even the most high tier “X-Files” aficionado couldn’t solve.

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Democracy

Urban planner shares a simple and proven way to cut rents in half

“Housing is ultimately for people, not profits.”

Why is one building so much cheaper?

Over the past few years, one of the most significant contributors to the increase in the cost of living in the U.S. has been skyrocketing rent and housing prices. A big reason for the rise is the lack of housing supply. Estimates show that Americans need to build around 6 million more housing units for supply to meet demand.

If we are going to build more housing units, About Here’s founder urban planner Uytae Lee, suggests that the U.S. and Canada focus on building more non-market co-op units.

He lays out his theory in a video entitled “The Non-Market Solution to the Housing Crisis.”

To illustrate his point, he highlights two apartment buildings side by side in the up-and-coming Olympic Village neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada. In one building, the average rent for a 2 bedroom is $4,500. However, in the building across the street, a 2-bedroom unit only costs $1900 a month.

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