Friday, December 5, 2008

Flywheel LRT Power Storage

As I pointed out before, DDOT has no plan to avoid using overhead lines to power streetcars. I have blogged about onboard vehicular power storage, namely supercapacitors and batteries. I engaged in some dialogue about this on Greater Greater Washington. I have done a little research and found yet another method to store power: flywheel power storage. An English company, Parry People Movers Ltd., has been doing work on this. They even have implemented a diesel prototype. Its partner, JPM Parry & Associates claims to be designing a 220-passenger light rail vehicle, in a multiyear effort. While electrical power is a possible source, neither website has information about how long a vehicle could run on it.

A possible compromise position for DC streetcars is to use electrical power storage with charging umbrellas and a diesel or turbine engine. This is an engineering task. DDOT does have engineers, doesn't it?


For years, I have been subjected to push polls by mail and by phone. The phone polls have been both automated and human. I blogged about Tysons Tomorrow's idiotic push poll. However, I have never been threatened by a push poll. Well, technically, I still haven't. The Heritage Foundation mailed my wife, "Mr. Coleman" (she has a rare, foreign name, rare in her native country), a standard mail push poll. Every question is loaded and it claims that the results will be tabulated and sent to the Congress. (Yeah, right!) Like all paper push polls of this type, they want money. However, on the outside of the envelope, it has lots of inane instructions, concluded by the title of this post. (Make me!) Even though I am sympathetic to Heritage's agenda (I even interviewed for a job there), I do not believe that the ends justify the means. Heritage should do what it does best - be a think tank. Don't send out push polls that only diminish your credibility. If you do conduct a poll, do it using surveying best practices.

I'm wondering, have they panicked (unnecessarily) about the Democrats' recent victory? Some perspective is needed: this was just one of dozens of American elections. Things can change rapidly in 2 or 4 years and bring the Republicans back to power. The past election is not the Revolution of 1800 or the 1860 or 1932 elections. All of these had unusually powerful effects on American politics.