What Next? Fixing the Megalopolis


Assessing Damage From Hurricane Sandy – Graphic – NYTimes.com.

Flooded subways, sewage treatment plants overflowing, power failures across the region – how do you even begin to fix it?  Here’s whats up, according to the NYT.

Decline Of The Asian Family

Decline Of The Asian Family: Drop In Births Threatens Economic Ascendancy | Newgeography.com.

In the last half century, East Asia emerged as the uber-performer on the global economic stage. The various countries in the region found success with substantially different systems: state-led capitalism in South Korea, Singapore and Japan; wild and wooly, competitive, entrepreneur-led growth in Taiwan and Hong Kong; and more recently, what Deng Xiaoping once described as “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

But that will definitely change as the population of the region declines.  How will these nations face the future?  And what will that future be like?

The Lawsuit

Attorneys for Texas school districts tell judge school funding system is ‘hopelessly broken’ – The Washington Post.

Six lawsuits have been filed on behalf of about two-thirds of school districts, which educate about 75 percent of the state’s roughly 5 million students. They have been rolled into a single case which opened before state District Judge John Dietz in Austin. The trial is expected to last into January.

Global Shipping Routes and the “New” Panama Canal

$300 Million Harbor Deepening Moves to Water – ABC News.

The State Ports Authority wants the harbor channel deepened from 45 feet to 50 feet so the port can handle larger container ships that will routinely call when the Panama Canal is expanded.

With the canal expansion set to open in 2014, harbors and ports across the US are preparing for the new ships: Post Panamax vessels.  Already 30% of shipping vessels are the giant Post-Panamax type.

How will shipping costs change?  What affect will that have on consumers?

And how will this new volume of containers be transported away from port?  According to GlobalSecurity,

One train is physically limited to 240 40-foot containers. Therefore, about 10 double-stack trains would have to be arranged to move the inbound containers from one such 9000 TEU ship. Those problems can be solved through infrastructure improvement. Container vessels in the size range of 400-3,000 teu still hold a very important part of the freight market.

Who pays for this “infrastructure improvement”?  How much congestion will this create on highways if trucks are used, instead?  Are cities and states really prepared for this influx?  We’ll find out soon…

Good Bye, Magellan


Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — South American engineers are trying to tackle one of the continent’s greatest natural challenges: the towering Andes mountain chain that creates a costly physical barrier for nations ever-more-dependent on trade with Asia.

The proposed tunnel through the Andes will allow ships to by pass the dangerous Straits of Magellan around the tip of South America, saving time and money.

The trip over the mountains is slowed by snow, and impassable for days at a time.  A tunnel would change all that.  A consortium of companies with experience in building tunnels have proposed the 32 mile long tunnels and electric trains to cut shipping costs.

Currently, much of the processed soy oils, wine and meat Argentina sends to China, as well as Asian electronics destined for Brazil, must first sail around the tip of South America, adding nearly 3,000 nautical miles and another week to the trip. Shipping by rail between Atlantic and Pacific ports would unite the most productive regions of Chile and its South American neighbors, making trade more competitive for all involved.

Both Chile and Argentina, as well as Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, will benefit from the lower shipping coasts.

Chile’s mining wealth and Argentina’s agricultural bounty have sustained their economies, delivering positive trade balances year after year, but both countries need to produce and move those exports more efficiently to maintain growth. Chile imported $75 billion worth of goods and exported $81 billion last year, while Argentine imported $74 billion and exported $84 billion, the U.N.’s regional economics commission reported Tuesday.

How likely is it the tunnel will be built?  How will new routes affect global trade?

Oil Central

These are 24/7 days for oil production in the U.S. North Dakota now pumps more than Alaska (and Ecuador), and geologists estimate Oklahoma still has 80 percent of its reserves in the ground. All that crude has to be stored somewhere—and a good portion of it makes its way to tanks in the small Oklahoma town ofCushing through a vast network of pipelines.



In the Pipeline – Businessweek.

Where is it coming from?  Where will it go?

Visualizing Population Growth

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