-year five-alarm

‘It’s a five-alarm fire, a 100-year fiscal tsunami’ – MarketWatch


N.Y. Transit boss tells subway riders: It’s safe. Come back.

Subway and bus riders who refuse to wear a mask will be fined $50.

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As fall descends on their virus-weary city, New Yorkers have some fresh reasons for optimism.

More people are out on the sidewalks. Gyms are open again. Though Broadway’s still dark and Manhattan CEOs are grumbling about “widespread anxiety,” many offices aren’t quite as empty as they were before Labor Day. Meanwhile, indoor dining and classroom learning are both set to return by the end of the month—with restrictions.

But there’s still a big missing piece in the complex puzzle of New York’s slow resurgence, and transit officials are struggling mightily to fit it back in. The subway is still a relative ghost town.

“Come back,” Patrick Foye, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was saying a couple of hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted new $50 fines on Thursday for anyone caught on a train or in a station without a face mask.

Is the subway safe?

“Absolutely,” Foye said.

With fewer riders, cleaner trains, overnight shutdowns and mask-wearing already north of 90%, the MTA chairman does seem to have science on his side. But he still needs to gain the confidence of millions of his former riders as well as reluctant Republicans in Washington who’ve been maddeningly slow to step up with a financial bailout.

“It’s a five-alarm fire, a 100-year fiscal tsunami,” said Foye, a veteran of the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “We get half our revenues from customers based on ridership, and we get a package of subsidies from the state legislature,” shares of the mortgage-recording tax, payroll-mobility tax and other revenue streams that have also been whacked by the coronavirus pandemic. “The state of New York and the city of New York are in equally perilous waters,” Foye said. “It’s only the federal government that has the resources and the capability.”

The stakes could hardly be higher for the New York economy, as the city creaks back to life. Those 36 lines, 472 stations and 691 miles of track aren’t just a means of transportation. They are the irrigation system that nourishes all those gleaming Manhattan skyscrapers and has kept the city’s economy humming for the past 116 years. No one would get anywhere with a couple of million extra cars on the streets.

Subway ridership has been inching back up since the depth of the spring, when fare card swipes and taps were down 95% from last year. Now, the passenger count is off 73%, which comes out to about 1.6 million riders a day. That’s a good sign but still far short of the 5 million-plus who rode on a typical weekday last year.

Coronavirus update: U.S. case and death tallies keep rising, as Fauci warns not to look on the ‘rosy side’

MTA figures tell a fascinating story about the metropolitan area’s uneven recovery.

City bus ridership is almost half back now. And traffic on the MTA’s bridges and tunnels—the Triborough Bridge, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and five other crossings—is down just 10%, suggesting that many people are still more comfortable in their own cars. On Wednesday, 833,000 cars and trucks paid MTA tolls. Meanwhile, the agency’s two commuter lines—the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad—are down even more sharply than the subway.

What gives there?

Part of it may be that suburban commuters are more likely to own cars. But a bigger explanation, Foye said, is that many white-collar professionals in the suburbs are still working from home or from satellite offices outside the city. “That’s not so possible if you’re a construction worker or a waiter or you work in a pharmacy,” he said. “You don’t have a remote working option.”

But the pattern in New York—cars first, city transit next, suburban rail after that—is a repeat of what’s already happened in large European cities, the MTA chairman said. So a big part of the focus now is building confidence at home.

Foye noted a recent study from the American Public Transportation Association concluding that transit ridership has not been a vector for spreading the virus. And MTA officials are working with researchers at Columbia University who believe that ultraviolet light can help disinfect a transit system. The subway’s overnight closing has helped transit workers and teams from the city’s Department of Homeless Services find shelter for homeless people—or at least escort them out of the system. And Cuomo, Foye and other New York officials keep glancing toward Washington, while trying to ease local concerns.

“New Yorkers’ behavior does not rest in the hands of Washington,” Foye emphasized. “A lot of this is up to us.” Clearly, there’s still a ways to go.

Also see: I went to the Met, and here’s what I saw

At an emergency MTA board meeting in August, budget officials warned that if Washington doesn’t step up, the only alternative will be 40% cuts in bus and subway service and 50% cuts on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, plus 8,500 layoffs.

Said Foye: “The Great Depression wasn’t nearly as bad as this.”

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-year Watch

Watch: 10-year timelapse of the sun – The Telegraph

The Telegraph


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Published on 27 Jun 2020

Nasa has released a 10-year timelapse video of the sun by taking 425 million high-resolution images every 0.75 seconds in its orbit around Earth.

Get the latest headlines: and are websites of The Telegraph, the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.

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-year releases

NASA releases 10-year time lapse of the sun – New York Post

June 26, 2020 | 2:44pm

The sun is the star responsible for life on Earth. Without it, we wouldn’t be here and it’s a constant fixture in our everyday lives. With all that in mind, it’s a real shame you’re not supposed to look directly at it. The sun is an incredible thing and astronomers have come up with ways to observe it without scorching their retinas. One of those tools is the Solar Dynamics Observatory, an “unblinking eye” that observes the sun constantly.

Images from the SDO are produced by capturing only a specific ultraviolet wavelength that lets scientists see the star’s corona, which is its outermost layer. For a decade, the SDO has been staring at the sun and recording every blip of activity it can spot. Now, we can enjoy it all for ourselves.

The timelapse video NASA just released is absolutely incredible. It shrinks ten years of sun observations into just over one hour. Yep, it’s an hour-long video, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy it.

The video, which is available in up to 4k resolution, is stunning. It shows a wealth of activity on the star’s surface early on, ramping up until there are magnetic loops of plasma covering a huge percentage of its surface. Then, just as quickly as they appear, the hot spots of activity seem to fade away, leaving the star looking much calmer.

This is the regular sun cycle, where it moves from a period of high activity called the Solar Maximum to a period of low activity called the Solar Minimum. The intensity of the maximum and calmness of the minimum can vary, but the cycles themselves are very apparent.

As for why you occasionally see the sun’s orb shake in the frame, or see momentary frames of darkness throughout the video, NASA has a very good explanation:

While SDO has kept an unblinking eye pointed toward the sun, there have been a few moments it missed. The dark frames in the video are caused by Earth or the Moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the sun. A longer blackout in 2016 was caused by a temporary issue with the AIA instrument that was successfully resolved after a week. The images where the sun is off-center were observed when SDO was calibrating its instruments.

Observing the sun and keeping track of how active or inactive it is can be vital for predicting things like solar storms and other space weather that can affect Earth. When the sun spews plasma into space, charged particles that reach Earth can damage communications satellites and even put space missions in peril.

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