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Track-free electric trams proposed for Parramatta Road

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 2017
Cleaner than a bus and cheaper than light rail, track-free trams could be shuttling passengers along Parramatta Road within the next five years. Track-free trams? Yes, that’s what they’re calling them. And the Inner West Council is pushing the idea as a solution to the transport woes of the Parramatta Road.
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Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash

ABC News, 27 March 2017
Uber has suspended its pilot program for driverless cars after a vehicle equipped with the self-drive technology crashed on an Arizona roadway. The accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.
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Minimum overtaking distance of cyclists rejected by Victorian Government

ABC News, 23 March 2017
The Victorian Government has rejected a recommendation to introduce a minimum passing distance for motorists overtaking cyclists, saying it will try a public education safety campaign first.
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How electric cars can help save the grid

The Conversation, 22 March 2017
A key question amid the consternation over the current state of Australia’s east coast energy market has been how much renewable energy capacity to build, and how fast. But help could be at hand from a surprising source: electric vehicles. By electrifying our motoring, we would boost demand for renewable energy from the grid, while smoothing out some of the destabilising effects that the recent boom in household solar has had on our energy networks.
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How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet

Alternet, 11 March 2017
A man old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s great-grandfather just unveiled energy storage technology that might save the planet. John Goodenough is 94, and his current work could be the key to Tesla’s future—much as, decades ago, his efforts were an important part of Sony’s era of dominance in portable gadgets. Over the years, Goodenough has scuffled with Warren Buffett, wound up screwed by global patent wars, never got rich off a headline-grabbing initial public offering and defied the American tech industry’s prejudice that says old people can’t innovate.
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Peak oil? Sooner than you think

REnew economy, 20 March 2017
For some time, there has been speculation about when global oil demand may peak – not because we will run out of oil or prices will spike making oil unaffordable, notions that are now considered passé – but because we won’t be needing as much of the stuff as we thought we would. And once the peak is finally reached – whenever that is – demand will begin to drop thereafter, perhaps precipitously. What is radically different about the new thinking about oil demand is that price, while still an important factor, no longer seems as important as it used to be. As further described alternatives to oil are or will soon be cheaper making the price of oil far less significant.
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Emissions standards on cars will save Australians billions of dollars, and help meet our climate targets

The Conversation, 16 March 2017
The cheapest way for Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions is to put a cap on car emissions. It would be so cheap, in fact, that it will save drivers money. According to analysis from ClimateWorks, the toughest proposed standard would help Australia achieve about 6% of its 2030 emission reduction target, and save drivers up to A$500 each year on fuel.
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In praise of the Sirius building, a ruined remnant of idealistic times

The Conversation, 3 August 2016
With a ministerial refusal to act on the NSW Heritage Council’s findings, Sydney’s Sirius building has lost its heritage appeal. Demolition is now imminent and the building has been, philosophically at least, abandoned. At night, its lights are out and it is merely a black, stepped shape against the slightly less black sky. There is a stairwell light, for security I suppose, and scattered around the 78 apartments, 12 or so residents still inhabit the place (although they will be rehoused soon).
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Gas crisis: a crisis of guile and greed

Michael West, 14 March 2017
It is bizarre that gas customers in Japan buy Australian gas more cheaply than Australians. Some of this gas is drilled in the Bass Strait, piped to Queensland, turned into liquid and shipped 6,700 kilometres to Japan … but the Japanese still pay less than Victorians.
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Contested spaces: ‘virtuous drivers, malicious cyclists’ mindset gets us nowhere

The Conversation, 13 March 2017
I turn on the car radio and the radio station host asks listeners to call in to comment on the idea of introducing compulsory registration for cyclists. The conversations that follow illustrate once again that our roads are a highly contested urban space. As I expected, those calling in argue emphatically in favour of the radio host’s proposal. They claim it’s unfair that motorists pay for the roads cyclists use, that motorists should be able to report cyclists running red lights, and that cyclists should have insurance to compensate the cost of injuries or damage to cars.
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