JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Obesity is on the rise in a rapidly urbanizing Africa. A new report from the World Health Organization shows the alarming extent of the problem: The prevalence of overweight and obese children living on the African continent has surged from 4.8 percent to 6.1 percent in the last 25 years. The number…
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By Natalie Alatriste
High-speed rail is not exactly an issue that is at the top of many millennial minds these days. But a few local college students are working to change that reality.
Two brothers—Darius and Demetrius Villa—and their friend, Aleksandr Khalfin, founded the High Speed Rail America Club (HSRAC) at Florida International University.
The club researches and promotes high-speed rail trains, also known as bullet trains, in America. Bullet trains, which average more than 150 mph, don’t exist in our country, and it’s a fuel efficient and quicker way to travel, according to Demetrius.
“Half of my family lives in New York City, so about every year, we would take the Amtrak from Miami [to visit]. The train ride, however, takes an embarrassing 32 hours; it used to take 25 hours back in the 1930s,” Demetrius said. “During a visit in December 2012…as soon as I got to NYC, I started searching up other countries’ rail travel in the hotel.”
And this is where it all began.
Demetrius said he started doing his own research and became passionate about the issue—so much so, he applied for TEDxFIU in 2013 to present his idea of revolutionizing American rail.
TED is a “nonprofit organization that is devoted to ideas worth spreading,” according to its website, which will partner with independent organizations, like FIU, to “spark deep discussion.”
Because he wasn’t an experienced speaker, he wasn’t able to present in 2013. However, that didn’t discourage him from informing others on high-speed rail.
People started hearing about it, and now High Speed Rail America Club has 676 members on Facebook. The club is also opening two new chapters at other local universities—the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College.
HSRAC doesn’t solely focus on bullet trains; it also focuses on inner-city transit. The club wants to solve common transit issues, especially in Miami, where public transportation is not as strong as other metropolitan areas.
The group says that they are determined to bring Miami a Maglev train-rail system, which is a transportation system that uses powerful electromagnets to create the high speed, according to HowStuffWorks.com.
HSRAC is working with three private companies—Texas Central Railway, American Maglev Technology and All Aboard Florida—with hopes of creating a national vision.
The club works closely with All Aboard Florida, though, which is a passenger rail project connecting Miami to Orlando. All Aboard Florida’s website says the project is scheduled to begin this service in 2017.
The HSRAC introduced the Miami Maglev idea to All Aboard Florida, and hope to continue working closely with this already-established organization for the initiative.
The Miami Maglev system would supposedly connect FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus with Miami’s South Beach. The students in the club have been hosting events at FIU, such as the Future of Transportation Day, where members raised awareness for high-speed railways and unveiled the idea of the Miami Maglev to students.
And the members say that they are not stopping until their visions become reality.
One member, Tolga Erbora, the director of railroading and public relations for HSRAC, said he’s confident his position will be taken to a professional level once he graduates.
“The High Speed Rail America Club is an opportunity to take action and fix the issues that come in the way of travelers today,” Tolga said. “It is also a great way to network with politicians and related businesses.”
The club is in the process of making a documentary called “The American Train.” Its release date is scheduled for sometime in October.
“With this documentary, we want to spark the conversation throughout FIU and nationwide. It will include interviews from FIU deans, local historians and executives from All Aboard Florida,” Demetrius Villa said. “With this, we’ll continue to make it a reality and get everyone on board.”
To show support or for more information on the High Speed Rail America Club, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsrac/.
This story was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com.
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WATCH: The First Trailer For Ellen DeGeneres Centric “Finding Dory” Movie Is Out And Its Making Us Feel 10 AgainBy Staff Report
Today, Pixar released the first trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo– Finding Dory.
The Ellen DeGeneres fish centric flick is sure to remind people of 2003, when Finding Nemo was released. The film will star DeGeneres as Dory the forgetful Pacific regal blue tang, Albert Brooks reprising his role Marlin, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ed O’Neill and Willem Dafoe among others.
Does this bring back some memories?
WATCH: Finding Dory Trailer
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By Allyn Farach
With not a soul but her dog Elli, Sally Gardiner-Smith spent the last nine months at sea. The 19-year-old pledged to sail 3,000 miles by herself to college as a gap year, making it just before freshman orientation.
Gardiner-Smith decided that in October, she would set sail from Woolwich, Maine to Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida where she would attend college in the fall.
Traveling has been a part of Gardiner-Smith’s life ever since she was a little girl – she was born during a two-year sailing trip that her family was taking.
“Some of the earliest years of my life were spent traveling on a sailboat with my parents and sister. On two trips, which each lasted about two years, we traveled to Central America, the Caribbean and across the Atlantic to Europe,” Gardiner-Smith said on her Portland Press Herald blog.
Like any grand voyage, there were obstacles along the way. A dinghy line got caught in the propellor and caused the engine to stop. This proved to be an easy fix for Gardiner-Smith, who jumped into the water and cut the line.
Another issue arose when Gardiner-Smith’s dog, Elli, was hit by a car in Maryland and had to have a leg amputated. Gardiner-Smith was at first upset by the damage that her dog had suffered. She wrote: “… I hope that I can be like her when faced with catastrophe. There’s a lot that I cannot control and misfortune strikes everyone. It can hurt us, make us sad, and set us back. But there is never, ever, a reason to give up. Life is too full of wonders – for Elli there are places to be sniffed and belly rubs.”
Gardiner-Smith docked in Saint Petersburg in late July and is currently attending college, but is showing no signs of slowing down. She plans on taking a trip to Cuba over winter break.Post Views: 668
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