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Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

Written by Kevin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, International Railway Journal
September 14, 2021

From article…

Biden has been a vocal supporter of the federally owned passenger operator for almost the entirety of its existence: from his days as a U.S senator when he would regularly ride the train from Wilmington, Del., to Washington D.C.; to his time as the U.S. Vice President, when he presented the Obama Administration’s plans for several short-lived high-speed passenger projects as part of a 2009 economic stimulus package.

Now as the 46th President, Biden has made rebuilding and reviving the country’s infrastructure, including its passenger rail operator, the signature policy of his first term. The American Jobs Plan was announced by Biden on March 31 and has since moved to Congress for debate and negotiation.

From article…

The Administration hopes the legislation that emerges will satisfy Biden’s objectives so he can sign it into law this autumn. Inevitably, given the variety of views on the scale and ambition of the proposal on both sides of the political spectrum, there have been several compromises.

From a $2.3 trillion plan when Biden presented it, the Senate scaled it back to a $1 trillion initiative, including $550 billion of new spending.

However, the legislation took a significant step forward on Aug.10 when 19 Republican senators joined with their 50 Democratic colleagues to pass a bi-partisan Infrastructure bill, a move praised by Biden.

As it stands, the bill includes $66 billion for intercity passenger rail, with $22 billion of this figure set to go directly to Amtrak. This includes $6 billion for the Northeast Corridor, and $16 billion for the national network, including state-supported services.

Source: Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

Why Are Ebooks So Terrible? – The Atlantic

By Ian Bogost, September 14, 2021

Getty / The Atlantic

Perhaps you’ve noticed that ebooks are awful. I hate them, but I don’t know why I hate them. Maybe it’s snobbery. Perhaps, despite my long career in technology and media, I’m a secret Luddite. Maybe I can’t stand the idea of looking at books as computers after a long day of looking at computers as computers. I don’t know, except for knowing that ebooks are awful.

If you hate ebooks like I do, that loathing might attach to their dim screens, their wonky typography, their weird pagination, their unnerving ephemerality, or the prison house of a proprietary ecosystem. If you love ebooks, it might be because they are portable, and legible enough, and capable of delivering streams of words, fiction and nonfiction, into your eyes and brain with relative ease. Perhaps you like being able to carry a never-ending stack of books with you wherever you go, without having to actually lug them around. Whether you love or hate ebooks is probably a function of what books mean to you, and why.

Editor’s Note: I happen to love ebooks, public service announcement…

Source: Why Are Ebooks So Terrible? – The Atlantic

Academy Museum: Movie Exhibit Highlights – Sunset Magazine

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open Sept. 30 in Los Angeles, offers much more than those famous ruby slippers.

By Jennifer Konerman  – September 13, 2021

Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Saban Building. Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

Just as the 2022 Oscars season is beginning (in earnest) for awards-hopefuls, the long-awaited Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is set to open in Los Angeles.

The museum, first announced more than eight years ago, opens its doors at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard on Sept. 30 with several exhibitions and screening programs in store.

The collections vary from technology and the history of cinema to behind-the-scenes props from famous moments in film (like matte paintings that you probably thought were real life).

On display (so far) will include The Wizard of Oz‘s famous ruby slippers, a Cinerama camera from 1954, Nightmare Before Christmas‘ original expressive heads of Jack Skellington, Shirley Temple’s tap shoes, an annotated script of To Kill a Mockingbird, and the head from Alien.

Source: Academy Museum: Movie Exhibit Highlights – Sunset Magazine

National Park Service to Hikers: Leave Dogs at Home – Sunset Magazine

Before bringing your furry friend on a hike, consider these important things.

By Teaghan Skulszki  – September 9, 2021

Courtesy of Barking Labs

Animal shelters emptied out amid the COVID-19 pandemic as people adopted furry friends to quarantine with through 2021.

But the adventures you may have planned with your pet may need some rethinking, according to the National Park Service.

The service is urging people to reconsider hiking with their dogs after three dogs died on the trails in July. Additionally, NPS and local search and rescue teams in Los Angeles and Ventura County reported about a half dozen canine rescues already in 2021, a year that has seen scorching temperatures across the West.

“Keeping canine companions safe during a hike requires planning and a heavy dose of realism,” Ken Low, an NPS ranger at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a press release.

Source: National Park Service to Hikers: Leave Dogs at Home – Sunset Magazine

Library of Congress Book Festival | 2021

Posted by DrWeb, Festival is Sept. 17-26, see below for more information and links…

https://www.loc.gov/events/2021-nathttps://www.loc.gov/events/2021-national-book-festival/ional-book-festival/

Poster
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Ambassador badge…

Naomi Watts Pushed Her Body to the Limit for Grueling ‘Lakewood’ – Variety

By Brent Lang, Sep 14, 2021 6:54am PT

From article…

It was an acting challenge that Naomi Watts couldn’t pass up.

In “Lakewood,” the Oscar-nominated star of such grueling exercises in cinematic heroics as “The Impossible” and “King Kong,” spends the bulk of the movie running through the forest, struggling with spotty cellphone reception while trying to make her way to her teenage son’s school, which is under lockdown with an active shooter.

It’s Watts and Watts alone on-screen for much of the film’s 84-minute run time. Not since Tom Hardy had a psychological meltdown via speakerphone in “Locke” has an actor been so isolated and exposed.

“It scared the shit out of me, and that’s always an interesting thing,” Watts tells Variety the morning after “Lakewood” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“I feed off other actors. You rely on your cast. As an actor, you don’t want to be out there on your own. You want to be interacting and reacting. Even if you have a well planned out idea, you need someone to jolt you into another rhythm or another place.”

Source: Naomi Watts Pushed Her Body to the Limit for Grueling ‘Lakewood’ – Variety