Shame on us! Gut Wrenching Story on CBS 60 Minutes Portrays Hard Lives of Families Living in Cars

November 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm

(Source: CBS 60 Minutes)

Came across this below story that aired on CBS this past Sunday (Nov 27) and felt compelled to share it with my readers.

Click here to read the entire story.

Editor’s Note: Shame on us, as a society, for letting these Americans and their kids live this way.  After watching this gut wrenching video, no amount of explanation is going to convince an American with a conscience. What did these poor kids do to deserve this way of life? Maybe their parents did not make the best of choices or handle their finances smartly but that does not justify such a punishing life. It is UNAMERICAN and we cannot raise our next generation this way. While our political system in Washington is grinding itself into a shameless existence, we are once again left to fend for ourselves.  I sincerely hope this documentary kicks off a national dialogue where we work together a nation towards solving this huge mess. SHAME ON US!  A note of thanks to CBS 60 Minutes producers for bringing this compelling story to the nation’s attention. Kudos to the 60 minutes team for the great commentary (an incredible social service in its own merit).

Mobbing Mumbai – Flash Mob Enthralls Commuters At Busy Mumbai CST Train Station

November 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

(source: YouTube)

How do you transform a lazy Sunday evening into a memorable one?  Youngsters in Mumbai, India think dancing at a busy railway station is one way to do just that.  This past weekend (Nov 27), about 200 enthusiastic residents  (aged 4-60) of India’s financial capital – Mumbai – came together  for the pure joy of dancing. The historic CST station blared the popular Bollywood hit song ‘Rang De Basanti’ on the speakers while surprised train commuters rushed to see whats going on. The result is a fun experience captured in all its glory on video for the rest of the world to see.

Here are some details about the effort, as provided by  23-year-old Shonan Kothari  employed with a CSR consultancy in Mumbai came up with the idea of a flash mob. She shared the idea with many others. The group practiced together for a few weeks. They wanted to pay a tribute to the people who lost their lives in 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. The CST station was one of the targeted sites and many of the victims during these chilling attacks were passengers passing through the facility.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus  aka CST (formerly Victoria Terminus) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historic railway station in Mumbai which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways.  For the uninitiated, the train station was featured in a song from the Oscar winning movie, Slum Dog Millionaire and many other movies.

Are Britain’s Public Transit Systems Fast Becoming Social/Cultural Flash Points For Racists?

November 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm

(Source: Reddit & Guardian)

The following two videos surfaced on the web, showcasing two  of the finest ladies Britain has to offer, both profusely spewing racist garbage material out of their mouths.  I wonder what makes these people lose their minds when they hear someone talk a different language in a bus/train.

In the first video (via Reddit), you will see this loud mouth passenger sipping a cuppa get confrontational with fellow passengers because someone around her was not speaking in English.  Glad to see a fellow Brit step in and check her attitude and put this racist rider in place. What this racist did not realize is that in this day and age she is not going to get away spewing such hatred in public.  Now her actions/words earned her a seat in the hall of shame and will continue to live in the eternity of the digital archives . I will not be surprised if this video will have lasting consequences for her career when more people get to see her behavior.

The 2nd one shown below (via Guardian) is much like the one above but with a few interesting twists.  Here we see a woman caught on camera spewing racist stuff and arguing with fellow passengers who are objecting to her language/behavior.  What’s crazy is the fact that the woman was engaged in hate-filled tirade, fighting with fellow passengers while holding a cute, young toddler (her son, I presume) in her lap.  Too bad, the kid is going to grow up exposed to this type of parenting everyday. Shortly after this nasty exchange was posted on the Web, the British Transport police arrested her for suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Apart from all the politics involved,  it makes me happy to know that not all Britons, White or Brown or Black, are going to put up with such loud-mouthed nut cases spewing racism on their buses and trains.  Proud to see the reactions of many of the fellow passengers in both these instances and kudos to the British police for taking swift action.   It is also heartening to see the overwhelming amount of protest voiced against these haters on the internet (suggest scanning the comments under both these videos on YouTube) though many of them are predictably profane in nature.  In this day and age, it does not take much to get on the infamous side of the Internet when you go talking nonsense in the public.   Thanks to the world of smart phones and social media, we will get to watch such racist clowns embarrassing themselves in public.

Job (s) Alert: 1). Senior Sustainability Analyst and 2). Sustainability Analyst – MTA @ New York City

November 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Reports To: Chief Officer, Environmental Sustainability
Authority:      TA/OA/MTA Bus
Location:     2 Broadway, Manhattan
Application Deadline:  12/12/11     

Under general supervision and with significant latitude for the exercise of independent judgment, the incumbent will assist in the development, collection, analysis, organization and presentation of data and information related to Sustainability in all aspects of Bus Operations (including fuels, vehicles, facilities, training and recycling).  In addition, the incumbent will support and manage projects and will assist in the development and implementation of an enterprise asset management system. Assignments will require the incumbent to work at all NYCT Department of Buses and MTA Bus Company facility locations throughout the five boroughs, and Yonkers.


  • Develop and apply systems (i.e., tools/software, job aides and protocols) to facilitate data collection and analysis on a continuing basis; train others to use these systems.
  • Implement multiple projects simultaneously and be accountable to ensure that all projects are advancing as required to meet targets.
  • Interface with staff from Operations, Maintenance, Capital Programs, and other MTA Units and outside parties on sustainability issues, programs and initiatives.


  • General knowledge of and demonstrated interest in environmental sustainability concepts and approaches.
  • Experience in Microsoft Office, Access and Powerpoint, ESRI ArcGIS and other relevant programs.
  • Good database and data management skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Excellent verbal, interpersonal and written communication skills.
  • Highly developed customer service skills, including listening and inquiry skills.
  • Demonstrated interest in new technologies and their application.


  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college with a major in one or more of the following: information systems, operations research, finance, accounting, economics, business, public administration, engineering, science or a related field.
  • Three (3) years of satisfactory full time experience; or
  • A satisfactory equivalent of education and successful experience.

Qualified candidates need to send or e-mail a cover letter and resume quoting Reference Number 11-31 to:
MTA Bus Company
3320 Hutchinson Avenue
Bronx, NY 10475 

MTA Bus Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Paid Next to Nothing – Did you know that some airport workers are paid illegally low wages

November 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

(Source: Huffington Post)

Whoa.. I did not know that some of the airport workers are making a living ONLY out of tips. How terrible – work at one of the swankiest places in town (airports) with people milling around dressed up in their high fashion.  But how many of us know that the person pushing folks around in a wheel chair may not even have the money to buy a sandwich.  Too bad these guys are stuck in a catch 22 situation, not able to tell their passengers that they work for tips due to some stupid federal law hence left out with nothing but a thank you for the service offered.  Something has to change… Either the laws or the rules imposed by the airlines that pay hefty bonuses to their CEOs and leave these folks hanging.  Read the story on Huffingtonpost.

Moving Los Angeles – Cool infographic shows Angelenos’ addiction to cars

November 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

(Source: Good)

An interesting graphic. Hopefully the share of Transit rises in the years ahead along with other non-car options.  What is most appalling is that biking has only 0.99%  share of the pie.  LA needs to go a long way in moving its people away from cars.

A Transparency

Click image to enlarge

Thanksgiving Special – Serve me some Foursquare Awesome Sauce featuring Planes, trains, and automobiles! An infographic of travels on foursquare

November 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

(Source: FourSquare via Flickr)

This awesome infographic published on the Foursquare blog, gives you a snapshot of the “checkins” across U.S. transportation facilities during last year.  I can see a glimmer of hope for High-Speed Rail by looking at this graphic, at least in the Northeast corridor. I’m hoping the proliferation of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc) and the widespread acceptance/use of Foursquare app on these smart devices during this year will result in a much more intense mapping when the next edition of this graphic is published.  Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe on the road, everyone! Oh, and don’t forget to check-in when you arrive at a Transportation facility.

Image Courtesy: FourSquare on Flickr - Click Image to Enlarge

Job Alert: Division Chief, Air Navigation and Surveillance (RVT-71) – USDOT’s Volpe Center @ Cambridge, MA

November 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration seeks a senior Engineer or Operations Research Analyst to serve as the Division Chief of the Air Navigation and Surveillance Division (RVT-71) of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center).  Located in Kendall Square area in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Volpe Center plays a unique role in looking across the transportation enterprise by applying its multi-disciplinary capabilities to anticipate future transportation issues and challenges across all modes of transportation.
As Chief of the Air Navigation and Surveillance Division, you will be responsible for developing, planning, and overseeing the performance of all the work of the Division’s portfolio of projects, and supervision Division staff.  The Air Navigation and Surveillance Division is responsible for advancement of systems and procedures to improve the safety, security, and effectiveness of navigation and surveillance systems for traffic management.  The Division performs analyses and conducts tests to determine technical feasibility, operational applicability, and cost effectiveness of improved and new sensors and systems; applies new technologies, develops and assesses their impact on programs for upgrading the safety and capacity of existing aviation and other transportation systems; and conducts development and evaluation of new vehicle systems.  Division staff have expertise in a variety of technical areas, including navigation and surveillance system electronics installed on the ground, in vehicles and in space; radiowave propagation; advanced computing and signal processing; systems architecture, operations and management; and stakeholder outreach and education.
In this role, you will develop the Division’s portfolio of work, and ensure the expansion of the Division work to meet high priority transportation needs; manage programs and projects in accordance with Volpe Center policies and procedures and best industry practices; and, establish and maintain effective working relationships with customers, industry experts, management, peers, employees, contractors, and other public/private sector interest groups and stakeholders.
To succeed, you must have experience developing, administering, managing, and/or leading the development of communication, navigation, and surveillance aviation systems and operational procedures to improve the capacity, safety and security of civil air traffic operations. You must also have experience managing resources and leading multi-disciplinary technical team(s). You must possess strong management, planning, and communication skills, and be able to work as part of a collaborative management team.  This announcement is being announced as an inter-disciplinary position – Supervisory General Engineer/Operations Research Analyst GS-0801-1515 – so, applicants with either educational background may be considered. Travel is required.
The announcement is posted to the Public and to Merit Promotion eligible applicants on  Please know that Merit Promotion announcements are the vehicle through which Federal employees generally apply for Federal positions.
Application deadline:  Monday, December 5, 2011
Public Announcement:   Division Chief RVT-71 (Public) – RITA.VOLPE-2012-0012
Merit Promotion Announcement:   Division Chief RVT-71 (Merit Promotion) – RITA.VOLPE-2012-0011
Informational briefing: Wednesday, November 23, 12:30 -1 p.m., Volpe Center, Cambridge, MA (Volpe Conference Room 1-6-25; conference call no. 1-877-336-1839/access code 6481986).  Mike Geyer, Acting Center of Innovation Director for Air Traffic Systems and Operations will describe the job and answer any questions employees may have.  Elizabeth León from Human Resources will answer questions about the application process.
If you or someone you know has the experience and proven results, I encourage you or them to apply.  We are looking for a diverse pool of qualified candidates.  Please contact Elizabeth León at  or 617-494-2214 if you have any questions.

Job Alert: Manager, Media Relations – Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – Washington, DC

November 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm

(Source: via Bernie Wagenblast’s TCN)

Company: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit
Position: Manager, Media Relations
Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: See Below
Job ID: 24115

Title: Manager, Media Relations
Location: Jackson Graham Building
Salary Range: $76,489 – $114,733
FLSA: Exempt

Position Summary

The incumbent is responsible for assisting with the management of activities for the Office of Media Relations. Serves as deputy chief spokesperson for the Authority and manages Metro’s media relations efforts with traditional media (TV, radio, print, online) and key external agencies. Assumes Director’s responsibilities when necessary. This is highly responsible professional and administrative work. Significant writing is required, as is the ability to provide professional, on camera and on-the-record comments on behalf of the agency.

Major Duties

  • Manages the day-to-day operations of the media relations department (commonly known as the press office). Supervises public information officers.
  • Serves as deputy chief spokesperson for the Authority on a variety of issues affecting WMATA and the communities served. The incumbent deals with print and broadcast media on a day-to-day basis, responding to inquiries and generating information pertaining to the Authority, including local, regional and national media outlets.
  • The Manager, Media Relations & Deputy Chief Spokesperson is an official Authority spokesperson. This includes 24-hour on-call duty to provide support during service disruptions or emergencies, and to respond to media inquiries concerning Authority policies, business matters, and service issues outside normal business hours, including weekends and holidays.
  • Advises and prepares the General Manager, Executive Leadership Team, Directors, and subject-matter experts for interviews with reporters and arranges such interviews.
  • Develops and assists in the conception, production, implementation and administration of all strategic media plans. The individual analyzes and evaluates media plans for effectiveness and recommends alternatives, if appropriate
  • Works closely with individuals in other departments and offices to coordinate media relations activities such as media photo opportunities, formal and informal press conferences, live interviews, taped interviews, group interviews, one-on-one interviews, and media roundtable discussions.
  • Conducts and oversees special research and evaluations on media-related programs and projects to enhance the dissemination of information to the various media outlets and recommends improvements.
  • Researches, writes, and disseminates news releases, talking points, media advisories, fact sheets and media/press kits.
  • Edits news releases from Public Information Officers prior to release.
  • Researches, writes and disseminates talking points/message points to appropriate internal audiences for their use in responding to media inquiries.
  • Uses available technology to post news related to the Authority on Metro¿s web site, transmit information through email alerts or similar technology. Work in coordination with Social Media Manager to ensure news appropriately transmitted via social media channels.
  • Builds professional relationships with reporters to establish credibility, positive rapport, and fair coverage of issues critical to the Authority.
  • Develops management and administrative reports within the Office of Media Relations.
  • Advises the Director of Communications & Chief Spokesperson on strategic and tactical matters to maximize positive news coverage. Must be able to meet tight deadlines and perform effectively in a fast-paced, breaking-news environment.
  • Meets with colleagues in other departments and offices to help develop strategies for presenting these programs to the media and the public. The individual meets with the Director of Communications & Chief Spokesperson to develop media strategy on issues affecting the Authority.
  • Must maintain confidences while working with confidential information.

The above duties and responsibilities are not intended to limit specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. It is not intended to limit in any way the right of supervisors to assign, direct and control the work of employees under their supervision.

Click here for more details.

This brilliant, beautiful, British Bloodhound aims for 0–>1050mph in 40 secs on Land!!!

November 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

(Source: Open.NASA)

What an amazing and inspiring project by the Brits!  The Bloodhound Supersonic Car project is currently underway in UK and its primary objective (as stated in the project website)  is to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths – by demonstrating how they can be harnessed to achieve the seemingly impossible by building a car that is 12.8 meters long, weighs 6.4 tons, and cruises on high grade aluminum wheels and reach 0–>1050mph in 40 secs on land.  Whew!!! Below is an extract from Open.NASA blog.  Wishing the project team all the very best in their mission to notch a new land speed record.

Image Courtesy: Bloodhound SSC


From zero to 1,050 miles per hour, the team behind the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car is taking the everyone along for the ride on their engineering adventure to break the world land speed record in 2013. The project is a huge challenge that will produce untold technology spin-offs and aims to inspire the next generation of engineers around the world through openness and engagement.

Project Director Richard Noble and his team are building a car that will go zero to 1,050 miles per hour (mph) in 40 seconds. Named after Britain’s 1950s Bloodhound Missile Project, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) car is 12.8 meters long, weighs 6.4 tons, and cruises on high grade aluminum wheels, which will experience radial stresses of up to 50,000 times the force of gravity at full speed.

The project is risky, dangerous, and unprecedented. Focused on building the safest car possible, Noble’s Bloodhound team intends to overthrow the current FIA World Land Speed Record by 30 percent. “It’s such a huge leap, of course we’re going to get into trouble,” said Noble. “We’re going to learn an awful lot as we develop it.”

Click here to read more.