Home > Road trip, Uncategorized > What *do* we all talk about, all that time on the road?

What *do* we all talk about, all that time on the road?

October 20, 2010

Various stuff. Here, for example, is the list of stuff we noted down to google for answers. We’ll edit this and insert answers as we find them.

Find out what that tiny town was that we found by going off even Highway 30 to the original, old highway 30.

How do the train engines that are pushing from the rear get controlled?
Ron D says: They have an engineer in them. In the 1960s they experimented with radio controlled helpers, but they went back to staffing them with an engineer and fireman. This makes sense because many times when the “helper” engines are done pushing a train up the one specific grade that needed it, the helpers will return “light” (no cars to pull) to their base and wait for the next train that needs their assist. They would need an engineer to perform this task.  Ron also adds that they calculate how many engines a train needs based on load and the grades it must go on, etc. Sometimes they just use the extra engines for the tough parts and that saves them from having 10 engines the entire trip. The helpers help with braking when it’s a downhill section.

What do they do with all those bales of corn straw?
B says: Best I can found it’s used for feed and/or fuel.  S adds:  Why aren’t they using it for building structures, similar to hay-bale houses?

What’s all the anhydrous ammonia used for in grain country?
Ammonia Addition to Whole Plant Corn or Stalks. Anhydrous ammonia or water- or molasses-ammonia mixes can be added to whole plant corn and corn stalks at the time of ensiling (Huber et al., 1979). Ammonia additions have resulted in the following benefits (Huber and Kung, 1983): 

1. addition of an economical source of crude protein
2. prolonged bunk life during feeding (aerobic stability)
3. less molding and heating during ensiling
4. decreased protein degradation in the silo  http://ag.udel.edu/anfs/faculty/kung/articles/ammonia_treated_silages.htm

How much corn does the US grow? What happens to it?
Wikipedia says: Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States alone. Transgenic maize [GM] comprised 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009.  Within the United States, the usage of maize for human consumption constitutes about 1/40th of the amount of grown in the country. In the United States and Canada maize is mostly grown to feed for livestock, as forage, silage (made by fermentation of chopped green cornstalks), or grain. Maize meal is also a significant ingredient of some commercial animal food products, such as dog food.  Maize is also used as a fish bait, called “dough balls”. It is particularly popular in Europe for coarse fishing.

What caused the Rockies?
Wikipedia sez: “Terranes started to collide with the western edge of North America in the Mississippian (approximately 350 million years ago), causing the Antler orogeny. During the last half of the Mesozoic Era, much of today’s California, British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington were added to North America. Western North America suffered the effects of repeated collision as slabs of ocean crust sank beneath the continental edge. Slivers of continental crust, carried along by subducting ocean plates, were swept into the subduction zone and scraped onto North America’s western edge. … For 270 million years, the effects of plate collisions were focused very near the edge of the North American plate boundary, far to the west of the Rocky Mountain region. It was not until 80 Ma that these effects began to reach the Rockies. …The current Rocky Mountains were raised in the Laramide orogeny from between 80 to 55 Ma. For the Canadian Rockies, the mountain building is analogous to a rug being pushed on a hardwood floor: the rug bunches up and forms wrinkles (mountains). In Canada, the terranes and subduction are the foot pushing the rug, the ancestral rocks are the rug, and the Canadian Shield in the middle of the continent is the hardwood floor. 

Further south, the growth of the Rocky Mountains in the United States is a geological puzzle. Mountain building is normally focused between 200 to 400 miles inland from a subduction zone boundary. Geologists continue to gather evidence to explain the rise of the Rockies so much farther inland; the answer most likely lies with an unusual subducting slab.”

If you change your oil and drive 5000 miles in a short time, your oil does not change color. But if you take six months to drive 5000 miles, your oil gets discolored. Why?
S says: It doesn’t. It’s just as discolored if you cover the 5000 miles quickly or slowly. Oops … senior moment!

Is there any virgin prairie left, or has it all been disrupted?
B says: Apparently so. “…the Loess Hills proved too rugged to cultivate extensively. For this reason the largest undisturbed prairie remnants in Iowa are found amid these craggy hills.” (Winkler, “prairie, a north american guide”)
Categories: Road trip, Uncategorized
  1. alicat082
    October 23, 2010 at 10:02 am


  2. alicat082
    October 23, 2010 at 10:06 am


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