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Messages - girder

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Infrastructure and Nautical Highways / Re: Panay Railway
« on: January 16, 2020, 09:23:57 PM »
The title of the article is a bit misleading since the proposed project is actually for an electric road train system running on asphalt pathways to be paved on previous railway paths.

Specifically it is talking about the DOST's Hybrid Electric Road Train project which has already conducted demonstration runs in various cities.


Self-Reliant Defense Posture / Project BUHAWI (PN-DOST-MRSP)
« on: January 14, 2020, 03:45:03 PM »
SND Lorenzana Lauds PN, DOST, MRSP for Project BUHAWI Success (Facebook video)
Posted 14 January 2020

Awed by the initial success of the Project BUHAWI or Building a Universal Mount for Heavy-Barrel Automated Weapon Integration, Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense (DND) lauded the project's management team during the soft launching held on 7 January 2020 at the Force Reconnaissance Firing Range, Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite.

Project BUHAWI was a collaboration between the Philippine Navy - Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Science and Technology, DOST's Metals Industry Research and Development Center, and Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines.

It aims to improve the fire power capability of various floating assets of the philippine navy through the development of a fully automated weapon station for .50 caliber machine gun.

In his speech, Secretary Lorenzana conveyed his gratitude, on behalf of the One Defense Team, to Secretary Fortunato dela Peña of the DOST who personally graced the launching, for assisting the PN in the project.

He also thanked Engineers Jonathan Puerto, Roberto Quizon, and Franklin Quiachon; and the rest of the DOST and MRSP staff who assisted in the conceptualization, design and execution of Project BUHAWI.

The Defense Chief also commended the leadership of the Philippine Navy under VAdm Robert A. Empedrad, and the officers and enlisted personnel of the PN and Philippines Marines who worked hard on the endeavor.

"Aside from the obvious practical gains this project can give to the philippine navy, project buhawi embodies the true spirit of the Self-reliance Defense Posture (SRDP) Program of the department. We, at the DND, believe that the SRDP is the key towards having a truly patriotic and independent defense sector, through the self-manufacture of original and indigenous defense materiel which are products of filipino ingenuity and produced by our people’s labor and industry. I thank you all for keeping that spirit, that dream, alive and within our reach," Secretary Lorenzana said.

Alternate link.

General Discussion / Re: Taal Volcano Eruption and Ash fall (2020)
« on: January 12, 2020, 11:35:01 PM »
Face masks running out in stores after rush to buy them for ashfall protection
Published January 12, 2020, 10:05 PM

Face mask supplies in the city have started to run out in pharmaceutical stores as people rush to buy them as protection from the concurrent ashfall being experienced following the Taal Volcano phreatic eruption.

Some stores in the city have already exhausted their supplies of face masks and people are posting on social media sites asking where can they purchase more.

Photos showing people rushing to buy face masks were also posted on Twitter. Some said that there were those who were buying face masks in bulk.

A Twitter user also advised people to wear N95 masks from local drug stores to avoid inhalation of the hazardous particles.

The Department of Health has advised the public especially those with lung problems to avoid exposure to volcanic ash.

General Discussion / Taal Volcano Eruption and Ash fall (2020)
« on: January 12, 2020, 11:33:14 PM »
PHIVOLCS warns of ‘hazardous explosive eruption’ of Taal Volcano soon
By CNN Philippines Staff
Published Jan 12, 2020 3:24:26 PM

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 12) — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano, warning that the volcano, which showed a marked unrest Sunday afternoon, may soon have a “hazardous explosive eruption.”

PHIVOLCS recommended that all residents within a 14-kilometer radius of the volcano’s crater be evacuated, due to the “high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.”

All residents of the Taal Volcano Island have been evacuated, the Office of Civil Defense in Calabarzon region said. Forced evacuation is also underway in some areas in Tagaytay City in Cavite, and in Balete, Laurel, San Nicolas and Agoncillo towns in Batangas.

"The volcano is inside a bigger crater or basin or bowl, which is why people would have to evacuate horizontally and away from the crater. There is water that would be hindering the rapid evacuation and that is why people need to get out of the island as soon as possible," PHIVOLCS officer-in-charge Renato Solidum told CNN Philippines.

Disaster reduction officials have assured that they have enough supplies to provide families affected by Taal Volcano’s unrest.

Ash fall

It added that eruptive activity of the volcano in Bataan has increased since 5:30 p.m., which spewed a 10-15-kilometer-high ash column.

This has sent ash falling on nearby provinces and areas as far north as Quezon City, PHIVOLCS said. People have lined up at medical supply and hardware stores across Metro Manila, which are quickly running out of masks which would offer protection from the hazardous volcanic ash.

A picture of the targeted areas. The munitions are noted to be remarkably precise, just as they were during last year's attacks.


Iraq says Iran informed it of imminent missile attack on US forces

Baghdad (AFP) - Iraq's prime minister's office said Wednesday it had received "an official verbal message" from Iran informing it that a missile attack on US forces stationed on Iraqi soil was imminent.

Iran launched 22 missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition troops early Wednesday in response to the killing of senior Revolution Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad last week.

In its first statement hours later, premier Adel Abdel Mahdi's office said it had been warned.

"We received an official verbal message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of Qasem Soleimani had begun or would begin shortly, and that the strike would be limited to where the US military was located in Iraq without specifying the locations," it said.

The prime minister's office said it was simultaneously contacted by the US, as the missiles slammed into the Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq and Harir further north.

"We immediately warned Iraqi military commanders to take the necessary precautions," it said, adding that no Iraqi forces had been hurt in the attack.

Of note is that initial analysis of the missile attack is that it seems to be a limited and symbolic gesture rather than a full-on precision attack like what was conducted against the Saudi Aramco facilities last September.

A series of tweets illuminating the internal goings on vis-a-vis the strike:

General Discussion / Re: Why is the administration dealing with Misuari?
« on: January 06, 2020, 11:28:13 AM »
I recall a conversation regarding the matter a couple years ago with certain people connected to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.  This was sometime before BBL had officially passed, if I recall correctly.

The gist of the opinion was pretty much the same as your conclusion. To paraphrase, Duterte is "dribbling" Misuari to keep an eye on him and keep him busy so he doesn't pull anything stupid (again). People who had met Misuari recently characterized him as being practically senile these days.

Those DMUs (among other PNR rolling stock) actually had wire screens on the windshields for many years before the current round of refurbishment (new livery, etc.), but even then it's still a reactive solution to a problem that ought to be addressed with prevention.

With these recent series incidents the PNR will hopefully put more emphasis on securing and improving its rail routes as it receives newer models of rolling stock. Here's hoping more clearing operations along the rails are scheduled as well as improvement of needed facilities (crossing guard posts, stations, etc.). 

The construction of the elevated viaduct would make the issue moot in the long-term, but it's important that the PNR is able to address issues like these now should they come up again in other parts of the system.

To add to the discussion, I had been serendipitous watching a couple documentaries on the development and expansion of the Singapore MRT recently. Posting links here since it's important to look at things from a historical perspective:

A Vision Fulfilled: The MRT Story [YouTube]

SG MRT Evolution - 1980s to 2040s | as of July 2019 [YouTube]

To summarize, the Singapore MRT is the product of decades of work starting from initial plans back in the 1970s, many parts of which took decades to come to realization but did so due to consistent and directed efforts.

Other relevant videos that I feel are worth watching for lessons are on the development of high speed rail in Japan and China:

Why This Train Is The Envy Of The World: The Shinkansen Story [YouTube]

Why China Is so Good at Building Railways [YouTube]

Underlying these developments were ultimately political decisions, requiring the political will to undertake costly, but in the long-term beneficial, pursuit of railway infrastructure.* Note that Shinkansen was highly criticized during its construction for its cost and ambition, particularly as, at the time, air travel and automobiles were seen as the transports of the future. In the end, the Japanese were able to develop technology that revitalized "outdated" railway transportation.

To compare with the history of rail infrastructure in the Philippines, it should be noted that railways in and around the capital were once the most extensive in the region. Unfortunately most of this was destroyed during the Second World War, and was never rebuilt, with subsequent reconstruction aimed at making roads for automobiles. The destruction of prior infrastructure and the decision not to pursue post-war reconstruction was major setback such that rail transport modernization wouldn't really happen until the 1980s with the construction of the first LRT line. But even then rail transport projects were sporadic in subsequent decades (LRT-2 (2003), MRT-3 (1999), Filtrack (2009)). Meanwhile, railways in the other island provinces went defunct due to being economically non-viable. It should be noted that the Panay railway in particular was noted as having been an unprofitable venture as far back as the 1930s, and eventually ceasing passenger services in the 1980s.

It's only be recently with the increased attention put into the economic losses from traffic congestion and the political will of the current administration to address the problem that railway infrastructure has really gotten a substantial boost by being a political priority. Even local government and private players have begun to invest in rail infrastructure with the notable examples of the Makati Subway and SkyTrain. The key is maintaining institutional momentum for the railway drive in the following decades.

*Tying back to my earlier discussion of developmentalism in those countries. Development is a political goal requiring a political decision and will  to undertake.

From what I have been told, the LM offer was for 14 units, with 12 Block 70+ and 2 Block 50+ (hot transfer for the latter).

The Saab offer is for 14 units C/D Gripens.

The PAF is only requiring 3 units to be two-seaters.

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