Posted tagged ‘engineering’


May 15, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon from the Pearl of the Orient!

A stunningly good news was recently released concerning the success of the test drives for the bullet train of China. Built by the Foton state corporation, which also manufactures cars, buses, and a whole line of transport vehicles, the bullet train accordingly capped the 450 kilometer per hour speed.

That speed is the world’s fastest today for the bullet train. I extend my Big Kudos to China and the Foton group for the successful tests!

Let us all recall that Western analysts were of the consensus that the year 2007 was the turning point when Asia surpassed the West in terms of cutting edge technologies. Since then, sector after sector of the economy, from consumer goods to capital goods industries, the East’s cutting edge over the West had been breached.

The 450 kph bullet train is another one of those milestone events that shows the upward ascent of Asia at a time when the West is on a rapid decline. Since the prototype of the Foton bullet train is now perfected, after so many tests were done, it is time to build the commercial prototypes, and the launching of the said trains could come just couples of months away from now.

Japan used to hold the record for building the first bullet train tracks, commercializing the maglev or magnetic levitation technology for trains, and launching the bullet trains right on its very island groups. Those trains ran as fast as 250 kph, and traversed 500-kilometer distances in just over two (2) hours to a maximum of three (3) hours.

Germany followed through with the maglev tech and bullet trains, and launched its own versions of the same right within its territorial confines. Since then, Germany has commissioned to build maglevs cum bullet trains of other countries, following from the successful experiences of Japan about the same development.

It is irrelevant to talk of the USA concerning maglevs, as America neglected the development of its railways, a sector that has been in rut there for six (6) decades now. Fact is, America just erected its first maglev, which runs along the California-to-Nevada corridor, and that project was done by an external player.

However, China’s 450 kph speed is a recent development, showing that it had eclipsed the cutting edge of both Japan and Germany. Such a development is very important, as it practically slaps the arrogance of the OECD countries to which Japan, Germany and USA belong to. Increasingly, the braggadocio and condescension of OECD countries is turning more into ‘wet chicken’ self-pitying mien, as the once mighty coalition of filthy rich countries is on its way down.

As China and Asian countries are erecting and launching projects such as the latest maglev & bullet train, Western powers are raining bombs on Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, and who knows what country would be the next target of weapons of mass destruction or WMD. Clearly, the difference between Asian cooperation and Western polarity is being felt across the globe today.

[Philippines, 06 May 2011]
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September 20, 2010


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good Day from the suburbs south of Manila!

Another gladdening news for us global citizens just came out recently from the heraldry mills: that of Asians leading the way to fuel-saving behavior. For those advocates of mitigating ‘greenhouse effect’ gas emissions through direct motorist interventions, the news surely comes as a refreshing one.

In a report summarized in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (by Amy R. Remo, 22 August 2012), the Shell corporation accordingly conducted a research which shows the greater inclination of Asians for fuel saving then the Europeans. 3,300 drivers across Asia and Europe served as respondents, and was released by the Shell FuelSave Report.

The motivation for fuel-saving, as validated by the research, were (a) the prospect of saving money and (b) being environmentally responsible. One can see, from the report, how economics has been merging with ecological balance concerns for the entire Asian continent, a reality that wasn’t there two (2) decades back.

The increased awareness of Asian motorists towards fuel utilization efficiency clearly deconstructs those contorted notions that developing countries are too low in environmental awareness. It’s plain stereotyping, this protestation from Western/Northern countries that Asians can’t commit to cutting down fossil fuel emissions as their development path still lingers on in the phase of ‘smokestack economy’ of yesteryears.

Fact is, the research findings coincides with the recent manifestation of exemplary behavior by Asian countries in re-engineering their policy environments to shift their power production and fuel consumption towards more clean energy in the foreseeable future. It is the Northern/Western countries that have been remiss in this regard, as one can see, with the USA leading the way to stubborn non-commitment to international protocols on cutting down fossil fuel emissions.

The report accordingly conducted online interviews beginning March 21 this year in the following countries: Philippines, UK, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.   

My own country, the Philippines, has been among the most applauded internationally as it had reshaped its policy environment to develop and mass produce green energy fuel sources. Hybrid engines are now available in the country that utilize a combination of alternative and fossil fuel sources, while solar-powered vehicular prototypes are being designed across the country (even university students are vying for exemplary prototypes that can be mass produced locally and abroad).

The resort to fuel saving is a transitory phase towards a shift to total clean energy sources (solar, fuel cells, to the more ambitious gravitic and plasma technologies) that will be the viable option in the near future. My own forecast is that it won’t take till 2025 when the total shift can be accomplished across Asia, with the emerging markets of today leading the way towards that ambitious goal.

[Philippines, 12 September 2012]