How General Motors derailed the streetcar

Toronto streetcar

Back before everybody had a car, thein the 1920s, re was a reasonable light rail system in the U.S. – and in Canada, too. I recall my mother telling me that you could take streetcars from city to city.

What happened to that budding public transit system? Did everyone just decide to buy cars one day? Not quite. They had help. Read “The Great American Streetcar Scandal.”

Here’s a hint:

GM Bought and Dismantled Streetcar Lines Nationwide
GM began by funding a company called National City Lines (NCL), which by 1946 controlled streetcar operations in 80 American cities.

“Despite public opinion polls that showed 88 percent of the public favoring expansion of the rail lines after World War II, NCL systematically closed its streetcars down until, by 1955, only a few remained,” writes author Jim Motavalli in his 2001 book, Forward Drive.


Darwin’s tomatoes

S. F. Matheson at Quintessence of Dust has an interesting article, blogging on peer-reviewed research, about Charles Darwin’s work with tomatoes and their genetic or phenotypical variability.

Left: our familiar tomato. Right: Galapagos tomato

domestic tomato vs. Galapagos tomato leaves

John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

While in Chicago, I’m hoping to visit the John G. Shedd Aquarium.

hotel to Shedd

That’s one thing I think Toronto needs–a public aquarium. Shedd Aquarium from street:

Shedd Aquarium from street

It has a lot of interesting exhibits. One of the best is the cycles of the mangrove forest through the year. water levels change 10 metres.

Shedd Aquarium floor plan

Shedd Aquarium floor plan

Here’s the LOLcat version:

humorous pictures

more funny cat pictures

The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Today is our day for touring around Chicago. Naturally, I’m headed for the science museum.

map, Chicago downtown, Hotel W to Field Museum

That’s the Field Museum of Natural History. It’s named after an early benefactor, Marshall Field.

map, Chicago downtown, view of Field Museum

As a bonus, it is next to the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Maybe we’ll go to the aquarium, too.

A great team!

more cat pictures

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