Jeep’s Blast from the Past — the Mighty FC concept

Between the years 1956 and 1965, Willys (and subsequently Kaiser Jeep) built a vehicle called the Jeep Forward Control. Its cab-over design allowed it to have a full-length cargo bed, while keeping its overall length to a minimum – this made it more maneuverable than would otherwise be possible. Jeep and Mopar have now teamed up to revisit the Forward Control, in the form of the Jeep Mighty FC concept.

The Mighty FC is based on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, although the cab has been moved up and ahead of the front axle, the wheelbase has been lengthened, and an eight-foot (2.4-meter)-plus drop-side cargo box has been added.

Some of the vehicle’s other features include a Katzkin leather interior, Mopar’s new heavy-duty offset Portal Axles, King coil-over reservoir shocks, Hanson bumpers, a Warn 16.5 winch, a Corsa stainless steel exhaust system, and 40-inch tires mounted on custom Hutchinson 17-inch wheels.

The Mighty FC is one of six concept vehicles that the two companies will be officially unveiling at the 46th Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari, taking place in Utah from March 31st to April 8th.

Cripes. I used to be in Moab every 6 weeks. Great place for a truck like this. And the drop-sides makes all the sense in the world.

The Swiss post office had custom 4WD vans built on the FC chassis. They were still using them when I was there on a hillwalking trek in Switzerland in 1971.

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a national centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. NamUs is a free online system that can be searched by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public from all over the country in hopes of resolving these cases.

The Missing Persons Database contains information about missing persons that can be entered by anyone; however before it appears as a case on NamUs, the information is verified. NamUs provides a user with a variety of resources, including the ability to print missing persons posters and receive free biometric collection and testing assistance. Other resources include links to state clearinghouses, medical examiner and coroner offices, law enforcement agencies, victim assistance groups and pertinent legislation.

The Unidentified Persons Database contains information entered by medical examiners and coroners. Unidentified persons are people who have died and whose bodies have not been identified. Anyone can search this database using characteristics such as sex, race, distinct body features and even dental information.

The newly added UnClaimed Persons database (UCP) contains information about deceased persons who have been identified by name, but for whom no next of kin or family member has been identified or located to claim the body for burial or other disposition. Only medical examiners and corners may enter cases in the UCP database. However, the database is searchable by the public using a missing person’s name and year of birth.

When a new missing persons or unidentified decedent case is entered into NamUs, the system automatically performs cross-matching comparisons between the databases, searching for matches or similarities between cases.

NamUs provides free DNA testing and other forensic services, such as anthropology and odontology assistance.

This ain’t just a service for your local coppers, folks. Maybe no one out there reading this blog has need for these services at the moment – hopefully – but, if you have such a need, this is a terrific resource.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

There is an occasional unique food treat I wouldn’t try!

It’s the end of a school day in the eastern Chinese city of Dongyang, and eager parents collect their children after a hectic day of primary school. But that’s just the start of busy times for dozens of egg vendors across the city, deep in coastal Zhejiang province, who ready themselves to cook up a unique springtime snack favored by local residents.

Basins and buckets of boys’ urine are collected from primary school toilets. It is the key ingredient in “virgin boy eggs”, a local tradition of soaking and cooking eggs in the urine of young boys, preferably below the age of 10…

The scent of these eggs being cooked in pots of urine is unmistakable as people pass the many street vendors in Dongyang who sell it, claiming it has remarkable health properties.

“If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke. These eggs cooked in urine are fragrant,” said Ge Yaohua, 51, who owns one of the more popular “virgin boy eggs” stalls. “They are good for your health. Our family has them for every meal. In Dongyang, every family likes eating them.”

It takes nearly an entire day to make these unique eggs, starting off by soaking and then boiling raw eggs in a pot of urine. After that, the shells of the hard-boiled eggs are cracked and they continue to simmer in urine for hours. Vendors have to keep pouring urine into the pot and controlling the fire to keep the eggs from being overheated and overcooked…

Many Dongyang residents, young and old, said they believed in the tradition passed on by their ancestors that the eggs decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body…

The eggs are not bought only at street stalls. Local residents are also known to personally collect boys’ urine from nearby schools to cook the delicacy in their homes…

Not everyone is a fan. Chinese medical experts gave mixed reviews about the health benefits of the practice, with some warning about sanitary issues surrounding the use of urine to cook the eggs.

Some Dongyang residents also said they hated the eggs.

Realize if you tried to reproduce this treat in almost any Western community you’d probably be arrested. For any one of several possible crimes. Not even including serving weird food.

Insurance companies plan ahead for climate-related disasters

A future on Earth of more extreme weather and rising seas will require better planning for natural disasters to save lives and limit deepening economic losses, the United Nations said…in a major report on the effects of climate change…The 594-page report, with authors from 62 countries, is the world body’s most up-to-date assessment of climate change risks. Its general message is that enough is known about these risks for policymakers to start making decisions about how to deal with them…

Global reinsurer Munich Re said that since 1980, weather-related disasters worldwide have more than tripled.

Lindene Patton, chief climate product officer for Zurich Financial Services, said the report was particularly useful for insurers who rely on its scientific assessments “to assist our customers to live and work successfully in the natural world.”

The report sidestepped the politically divisive issue of tougher action on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for stoking global warming. U.N. climate talks have become bogged down over who should take most responsibility for action. Instead, it aimed to push adaptation to a warmer world, offering a range of strategies…

The report looks for “low regrets” strategies that not only protect those in the path of natural disasters but also boost sustainable development. These include early warning systems, better drainage, preserving ecosystems such as mangroves, forests and water catchments, plus better building standards and overhauling health systems.

Continue reading

Oklahoma judge strikes down ultrasound abortion law

Ultrasound of anti-choice nutball brain

An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday struck down the state’s law requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them and to listen to a detailed description of the fetus before the procedure.

District Judge Bryan Dixon ruled the statute passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2010 is an unconstitutional special law, and can’t be enforced because it addresses only patients, physicians and sonographers dealing with abortions without addressing other medical care…

Former Democratic Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry had vetoed his state’s bill after it passed the Republican-controlled Legislature, warning the measure likely would lead to a “potential futile legal battle.” Republicans overrode the veto with help from several Democratic anti-abortion lawmakers.

Enforcement has been blocked since May 2010 when the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law on behalf of Nova Health Systems, operator of Reproductive Services of Tulsa, and a doctor who practices in Norman.

The group’s lawsuit claimed the statute violated the principles of medical ethics by requiring physicians to provide unnecessary and unwanted services to patients and discounting a woman’s ability to make decisions about her pregnancy.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Wednesday’s ruling reflects a backlash against legislation she called hostile to women, their doctors and their rights.

The court has resoundingly affirmed what should not be a matter of controversy at all — that women have both a fundamental right to make their own choices about their reproductive health, and that government has no place in their decisions,” Northup said.

The author of the ultrasound statute, Republican Rep. Lisa Billy of Lindsay – and other reactionary religious fanatics said blah, blah, blah, blah-de-blah.

The intent in every case is to use the power of the state — something all hypocrite conservatives say they categorically oppose — to influence and inhibit a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices.

The question comes down to individual liberty, freedom to choose – and, as always in the United States, freedom from the state being managed to serve religion.

Your tax dollars at work — catching Big Air — looking pretty cool!

A four-wheeled robot that looks like a kid’s geeky remote controlled car is making some impressive leaps that should make the military’s top brass giddy with childlike joy. It can leap some 30 feet in the air, high enough to jump onto roofs and over walls.

The idea behind the Sand Flea, from the robotics company Boston Dynamics, is to use it as a tool to send behind enemy lines (or over walls) and capture video with an on-board camera that can be streamed back to soldiers in real time. When it’s all done, it simply leaps back to safety.

The Sand Flea rolls around on four wheels until it comes time to make a leap. Then, it rears back on a CO2 powered piston to make the jump. An onboard stabilization system keeps it oriented during flight for a better view and controlled landings. The robot can make 25 leaps before it needs a recharge.

The company is developing it in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force. The Sand Flea is slated for deployment in Afghanistan once it passes safety evaluations.

Can you imagine how thoroughly this will freak out the average Talibandit. They should install a speaker/sound system and have it blare some Kabul heavy metal tunes while escaping.