Infra What?

\r\n\r\nA brief look at where that $100 billion worth of infrastructure money is going\r\n"We have to come up with a sexier word than ‘infrastructure.'"...

A brief look at where that $100 billion worth of infrastructure money is going

"We have to come up with a sexier word than ‘infrastructure.'" That's what Arnold Schwarzenegger had to say about the stimulus bill's commitment to infrastructure-which he praised as thorough but criticized for being a little on the cheap side. His point, though, was that it's hard to get adequate funding when the average American doesn't really know what the word means-let alone how much it affects his or her daily life. To get up to speed, here's a breakdown of the proposal.RoadsIt's unclear where the $27.5 billion set aside for highways, roads, and collapsing bridges will go. Will it fund more lanes and new construction? Or will it help repair and redesign existing highways to reduce traffic (and therefore emissions)? Time will tell.RailEight billion dollars have been set aside for high-speed passenger rail, which could be a boon to commuters who drive long distances to work, because intercity rail will get priority. Just $1.3 billion goes to Amtrak, meanwhile, and no more than 60 percent of that can be spent on the Northeast corridor. Repairs and upgrades will be prioritized. Little expansion is considered feasible with this budget, but maybe it can help them run the trains on time.Public transportationAbout $8.4 billion has been set aside for public-transit associations, much of it for new equipment. One hundred million dollars will help local transportation agencies, many of which are plagued with rising costs and lowered operating budgets, despite ridership being at an all-time high. Unlike highways, riders don't typically end up paying the operating costs of public transit, so don't expect fare reductions anytime soon.Rural BroadbandThe $7.2 billion committed to extending broadband wireless internet to rural areas has been a hot-button issue (it's been called the "cyber bridge to nowhere"). Still, only 41 percent of rural Americans have reliable high-speed access to the web. For rural dwellers it will be a step in the right direction, helping them attain access to a basic resource that many of us take for granted.WeatherizingThe $6.2 billion in the bill for home-weatherization could make a significant impact on homeowners. It will extend the life of buildings, as well as reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by at least 8 million metric tons annually, according to a recent report. In addition to helping the planet, it's big savings in your pocket. Government buildings and low-income housing will also get weatherization help.

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

Keep Reading Show less

It's easy to become calloused to everyday headlines with messages like, "the world is ending" and "everything is going extinct." They're so prevalent, in fact, that the severity of these statements has completely diminished to the point that no one pays them any attention. This environmental negativity (coined "eco-phobia") has led us to believe that all hope is lost for wildlife. But luckily, that isn't the case.

Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less