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Five Things You Need to Know: Boomtown Edition

1Next Big Idea for Transportation in Michigan?

believing in fortunes by Chris - the Mill Race in Northville

believing in fortunes by Chris – Mill Race in Northville

Speaking on Michigan Radio’s excellent Stateside program, RFD Insight founder Lawrence Dolph says that Michigan has all the parts to think big about public transit with hydroelectric-powered  train/commuter car transportation. This is a super cool idea – click through to listen to the whole segment:

Our state has a high center geological spine running up the Lower Peninsula. It’s what has created the long rivers flowing from deep within our forests to the Great Lakes. Therefore, most of Michigan’s small towns have one or more millponds surviving from the 19th century that could accommodate a hydroelectric plant with year-round output. And many of our most populous towns are about 15 miles away or less from a similar town — another 19th   century creation — the perfect distance for push-pull electrified transportation.

Putting all the pieces together is a no-brainer. In its available factories, with its available skilled labor and natural resources, Michigan could produce fully assembled, modern freight and passenger electric trains with advanced features such as on-board electric commuter car charging and WiFi, and sell them to a global market. Michigan could also produce advanced hydro generators and low parasitic-loss power lines. You ride the train, entertain yourself or advance your career, and arrive with a fully charged personal electric car or delivery truck.

Via Lactea by ruimc77 The Milky Way, as seen from the Port Crescent State Park

Via Lactea by ruimc77 The Milky Way, as seen from the Port Crescent State Park

2Michigan Gets 3 New Dark Sky Preserves

mLive reports that three Northeast Michigan parks have received Dark Sky designation, bringing the state’s total to six.

The following parks are now designated as dark sky preserves: Rockport State Recreation Area located in Presque Isle and Alpena counties, Negwegon State Park in Alpena and Alcona counties, and Thompson’s Harbor State Park in Presque Isle County. The areas are along the Lake Huron shoreline.

The law protects activities such as stargazing and nighttime photography. Land with the dark sky preserve designation must have outdoor lighting fixtures that are shielded or constructed so that there is little to no light interference.

…The three parks join Wilderness State Park in Emmet County, Lake Hudson Recreation Area in Lenawee County and portions of Port Crescent State Park in Huron County as designated dark sky preserves.

Howard City Mystery Boom

The Freep reported on the mysterious Howard City boom of last Thursday around 10 AM.

“The whole ground was shaking, the house was shaking,” said Sue Eastman of Coral.

Christine Rizor of Howard City thought it was an earthquake. “I was sitting in a chair and all the sudden, it was like a big shake. I was like, ‘Whoa!'”

The National Weather Service & USGS said it was not an earthquake and the National Guard says there’s no jets capable of producing such a boom based in Michigan. Of course it could be UFOs.

4A Michigan Replacement for Justice Scalia?

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack

The awesome Jack Lessenberry weighs in on his general and Michigan specific thoughts for a Scalia replacement. He suggests Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack, saying:

“She has by all accounts a brilliant legal mind and real-world experience, as seen in her work as a dean at the University of Michigan law school and founder of the Innocence Project. She would add a federal perspective from the state level.

Also, while she was nominated by the Democrats, she is probably more independent than anything else, and while on the court, has broken down much of the partisan nastiness that existed before. That’s something our entire society could use more of.”


5Space Trout!

The Great Lakes Echo reports that Michigan Tech scientists are looking for trout spawning locations from space.

While studying lake trout rehabilitation in the Drummond Island Refuge in northern Lake Huron, U.S. Geological Survey researchers noticed that the stony reefs where they found naturally reproducing lake trout laying eggs were cleaner of algae than surrounding areas, Grimm said.

They realized the difference might be seen from satellite, which would help select good lake trout spawning grounds.