James Lamkin (Street Articles Author)
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Worked in IT for 10 years mostly on Help Desk. Have been a railroader for the last 5 years, it is a good job with good pay, good benefits and a good retirement plan.

I graduated from college with a BA in Biology, planning to enter into the Medical Technology Field. This work would have been in a hospital lab, testing samples from hospital patients. When I finished my degree, the Med Tech field was pretty much filled up and I found out I probably would not even get an internship (which was required to complete the college program) at a hospital. So I decided to just complete my last year and get the Bachelor of Arts degree.

I had a great interest in environmental problems at the time and went on to get a MS in Environmental Science. After which I worked at the University for a few years in the Environmental Training Facility. I moved on to work in an Environmental Lab and started testing PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) in oil and soil. These were commonly found in electric transformers (like the ones you see on the utility poles not in the movies!). Power companys have now removed (or should have removed) these from service. PCBs were known to cause cancer and were a problem when transformers blew up, they contaminated the surrounding soil and ground water. I later started to analyze drinking water and groundwater on an instrument called a Mass Spectrometer (made by Hewlett Packard) which basically blasts the concentrated sample apart and breaks it down into a "spectra" so the computer generated report will show what contaminants are present. This led me to my IT job and as the IT industry dried up and decided to join the railroad.

Saving With Chevy Spark
The Chevy Spark is not a hybrid but it is energy efficient, getting 32 mpg/city and 38 mpg/highway with a 5 speed manual transmission and 28 mpg/city and 34/highway with an automatic transmission. The Spark comes in Salsa Red, Jalapeno, Lemonade, Denim, Black, White and Techno Pink colors. This car…
By:  in  Automotive  >  Hybrid Energy Efficient   Oct 22, 2012  
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Modern Railroading
Railroading pretty much began to modernize when railroads scrapped their steam locomotives and started to use diesel locomotives instead. Some railroads did not follow this trend and ran steam locomotives as late as the early 1960's. Steam locomotives were powerful but labor intensive. They required more maintenance and servicing than…
By:  in  Business  >  Industrial Mechanical   Oct 20, 2012  
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Railroad Blue Signal Protection
What is are blue signals used for on the railroad? Safety is one of the most important items for every railroad. Blue signals are used in different ways to protect railroad workers if they are working on rail cars or locomotives and are exposed to the posiblity of being injured.…
By:  in  Business  >  Industrial Mechanical   Oct 20, 2012  
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N Scale Model Railroading
Modeling can be divided into different scales (or sizes). The scales vary from G scale (or Garden) which is usually the largest scale in modeling and this scale is so large that most people build this type of model railroad outside, hence the name Garden scale. Other scales are: O…
By:  in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Oct 20, 2012  
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A Russian Adoption Experience
Life is an adventure and we have been blessed with two special children adopted from Russia. It is hard to say what, why or who decides your destiny, but in 2001, our lives changed forever. Not just because of 9/11, but just before this horrific event, two children came into…
By:  in  Home and Family  >  Adoption Foster Care   Oct 19, 2012  
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How NOT to Install Your Replacement Dishwasher
Everyone would like to save money, so I went out and bought a new dishwasher this weekend because our 15 year old one quit washing the dishes. When I returned home I quickly began to remove the old unit. The first thing I encountered was the braided steel on the…
By:  in  Home Improvement  >  Appliances   Oct 16, 2012  
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A Modern Locomotive Diesel Shop
The days of the old round house are long gone. Railroads used shops that had a circular or usually semi-circular shape (hence the name round house) to shop and service their steam locomotives. The round house also usually had a turn table in front of it, so that locomotives could…
By:  in  Business  >  Industrial Mechanical   Oct 16, 2012  
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Using A Hydrogen Generator to Improve Fuel Economy
Hydrogen Generators (HHO, Hydrogen, Hydrogen, Oxygen=H2O-Water) Have you ever thought of running your car on water? Well I did and found a product called a Hydrogen Generator which actually can convert your gasoline or diesel vehicle into a hybrid. The concept is not new, but manufacturers are making it easier…
By:  in  Automotive  >  Hybrid Energy Efficient   Oct 13, 2012  
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Old Railroad Machinery - Motor Cars
Railroads used machinery that is rarely seen now, called motor cars. These were small useful machines that were very portable and could usually be set off the rails by one person at a grade crossing or predetermined location. They were very light weight and could carry up to four passengers,…
By:  in  Business  >  Industrial Mechanical   Oct 13, 2012  
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Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson
Biography of Steve Jobs Steve Jobs, was he a visionary, a genius, an inventor. He was all of this and more. He had an innate ability to invent things people wanted. He invented products people didn't even know they wanted! How did this come about? Steve Jobs knew how to…
By:  in  Book Reviews  >  Biographies Memoirs   Oct 13, 2012  
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