Afghanistan has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, and a high concentration of donkeys.
Enter the maternity saddle — a new invention that promises to carry women in labor across Afghanistan’s difficult terrain so they can get the medical care they need.
The British charity HealthProm and designer Peter Muckle developed the inflatable donkey saddle to ease the burden on women about to give birth in remote areas of Afghanistan.
The lack of suitable transport in mountainous areas leads many pregnant women to opt against heading to health centers in favor of giving birth at home, raising the risks for both mother and child should complications arise.
Read more. [Image: Screenshot HealthProm]
The future of the car could well be small, cheap-to-operate electric vehicles for the workaday commute and a sports car or SUV whenever you want one.
Using data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, this animation tracks public transportation on a weekday, starting at 4am. Sumus, the Canadian software company behind these visualizations, uses the General Transit Feed Specification data from various cities to create a whole series of videos that you can check out on YouTube. Be sure to watch full screen in 720 HD to see the movement of subways and buses (which appear to be color-coded to match the corresponding lines).
If you want to see what a difficult task the MTA faces in the coming days, look at these photos the agency posted on Tuesday to its Flickr account. The damage is incredible. The South Ferry subway station is a dark Venice with waves lapping at platform edges. Out on the Rockaway line, repair crews face yawning holes in the ground and the occasional washed-up boat on the tracks. If you’re wondering why the transit agency didn’t prepare for the tidal surge with sandbags and the like, they did: It just didn’t make much of a difference against the storm’s brutal tides.
Read more. [Images: Flickr]
Last fall, as part of a massive report on climate change in New York, a research team led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University drafted a case study that estimated the effects of a 100-year storm on the city’s transportation infrastructure. Considering MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s comments today that Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the subway was "worse than the worst case scenario," it seems pretty safe to put Sandy in the 100-year category. In that case, assuming the rest of the report holds true, the subway system could be looking at a recovery time of several weeks, with residual effects lasting for months and years.
Read more. [Image: LDEO, Columbia University]
It’s a rare sight to behold in the city of 24-hour everything.
Steam-power isn’t as outdated as you might infer from its near extinction in the developed world. Skow remembers his father taking him to watch the big steam-powered freight trains run through the junction at Pasadena, California, in the 1950s. Steam wasn’t systematically phased out in the U.S. until the 1960s. Today, there is still one steam locomotive operating on a Class I railroad in the U.S., the Union Pacific 844.
Read more. [Images: David Longman]
— One of your responses to this month’s business column. “The Cheapest Generation,” asked whether twentysomethings putting off cars and houses represented a Great Recession trend or a new normal for young people.