Nuclear Colonialism in New Mexico

❝ A proposal for New Mexico to house one of the world’s largest nuclear waste storage facilities has drawn opposition from nearly every indigenous nation in the state. Nuclear Issues Study Group co-founder and Diné organizer Leona Morgan told state legislators last week the project, if approved, would perpetuate a legacy of nuclear colonialism against New Mexico’s indigenous communities and people of color.

❝ Holtec International, a private company specializing in spent nuclear fuel storage and management, applied for a license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility in southeastern New Mexico.

❝ The proposal, which has been in the works since 2011, would see high-level waste generated at nuclear power plants across the country transported to New Mexico for storage at the proposed facility along the Lea-Eddy county line between Hobbs and Carlsbad. Holtec representatives say the facility would be a temporary solution to the nation’s growing nuclear waste problem, but currently there is no federal plan to build a permanent repository for the waste.

No Plan, BTW, for permanent storage ANYWHERE ELSE!

A mast year for acorns in New England

❝ If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you’ve noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, “masting.”

In New England, naturalists have declared this fall a mast year for oaks: All the trees are making tons of acorns all at the same time…

❝ For trees like oaks that depend on having their seeds carried away from the parent tree and buried by animals like squirrels, a mast year has an extra benefit. When there are lots of nuts, squirrels bury more of them instead of eating them immediately, spreading oaks across the landscape.

❝ Whatever the causes, masting has consequences that flow up and down the food chain.

For instance, rodent populations often boom in response to high seed production. This in turn results in more food for rodent-eating predators like hawks and foxes; lower nesting success for songbirds, if rodents eat their eggs; and potentially higher risk of transmission of diseases like hantavirus to people.

If the low seed year that follows causes the rodent population to collapse, the effects are reversed.

Please, RTFA for discussion of other cause-and-effect relationships, possibilities…even maybe’s

Will your car learn when to interrupt – and when not to interrupt?

❝ Can your AI agent judge when to talk to you while you are driving? According to a KAIST research team, their in-vehicle conservation service technology will judge when it is appropriate to contact you to ensure your safety.

❝ Professor Uichin Lee from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at KAIST and his research team have developed AI technology that automatically detects safe moments for AI agents to provide conversation services to drivers.

Their research focuses on solving the potential problems of distraction created by in-vehicle conversation services. If an AI agent talks to a driver at an inopportune moment, such as while making a turn, a car accident will be more likely to occur…

❝ The safety enhancement technology developed by the team is expected to minimize driver distractions caused by in-vehicle conversation services. This technology can be directly applied to current in-vehicle systems that provide conversation services. It can also be extended and applied to the real-time detection of driver distraction problems caused by the use of a smartphone while driving.

Or it will just take your cellphone away from you.

Court Rejects Western Colorado Coal Mine


RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

❝ Last week, a federal court blocked the Trump Administration’s illegal approval of a coal mine expansion in western Colorado’s backcountry.

We’ve been fighting for years to stop this expansion, which threatens to despoil thousands of acres of roadless National Forest lands. This latest ruling literally stops Arch Coal’s bulldozers in their tracks, a much-needed reprieve for these wildlands!

Importantly, it’s a BIG win for the climate…

❝ Not only is coal from West Elk burned in power plants in other states, releasing massive amounts of carbon, but the mine is also a huge source of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

Arch Coal had planned to expand into roadless National Forest lands so it could build roads and drill dozens of methane venting wells above the mine, as well as dig millions more tons of coal…

❝ With our latest legal victory, we’re one step closer to the clean energy future we need to save our climate, our public lands, and our American West.

Jeremy Nichols, Climate & Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

11,000 scientists warn: climate change isn’t just about temperature

❝ Exactly 40 years ago, a small group of scientists met at the world’s first climate conference in Geneva. They raised the alarm about unnerving climate trends.

Today, more than 11,000 scientists have co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgently necessary action on climate.

❝ This is the largest number of scientists to explicitly support a publication calling for climate action. They come from many different fields, reflecting the harm our changing climate is doing to every part of the natural world.

You don’t need me to quote chapter and verse to illustrate the danger to life and culture. Please, just RTFA and get on board with activism. Support the fight for a healthier lifetime in coming generations – and maybe this one, too.

The real BLOB is on display in Paris

Had to repost this after Ursa found this lovely photo of the actual display at the Paris Zoo

❝ It is bright yellow, can creep along at a speed of up to 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) per hour, can solve problems even though it doesn’t have a brain and can heal itself if it is cut in two.

Meet the “blob,” an unusual organism which will go on display Saturday at the Paris Zoological Park, as part of a first-of-its-kind exhibition intended to showcase its rare abilities.

❝ The slime mold, which is known officially as physarum polycephalum (or “the many headed slime”) is neither a plant, an animal or a fungus. It doesn’t have two sexes — male and female — it has 720. And it can also split into different organisms and then fuse back together, according to a press release from the Zoological Park.

The unicellular being is believed to be around a billion years old, but it first came to the public’s attention in May 1973, after a Texas woman discovered a rapidly-expanding yellow blob growing in her backyard.

Where’s the spirit of Steve McQueen when you need him?

Aptera Claims Three-Wheel EV Can Go Shopping on Solar Only

❝ Aptera…is claiming its forthcoming electric three-wheeler can operate on solar power without ever plugging in to charge.

Every hour it’s parked in the sun generates five miles of range, so Aptera claims 44 miles of range in a day based on solar charging from the summer sun in San Diego.

Users can still plug in the Aptera EV, which Aptera recently claimed will have a 1000-mile range between charges.

Interesting reads, warts, caveats and all. If it performs as promoted – and affordable in my retiree household – it makes all the sense in the world. Our average weekly shopping trip to town rarely exceeds 30 miles roundtrip. We’re in sunny New Mexico with all the solar energy you could ever wish for pouring down every day. Enough room for my wife and me + groceries, etc..

Ford EV Owners will have access to VW’s 12,000 US charging stations

❝ Ford is sweetening the deal for its future electric car owners. The “Mustang-inspired” EV crossover that’s on its way will come with access to 12,000 charging stations Ford is calling the “FordPass Charging Network.”

❝ While they might have the Ford name attached to them, these stations were not built by Ford, and the Blue Oval also won’t be building any new ones itself. However, Ford EV owners will have access to all of them for the first two years of ownership. Some of the 35,000 plugs among the 12,000 stations will be DC fast chargers built by Electrify America. With one of those 150 kW chargers, Ford says its electric cars will be capable of gaining 47 miles of range in just 10 minutes. A charge from 10 percent to 80 percent will be a 45-minute wait, according to Ford. One can likely thank the recent Ford-VW partnership dealings for this Electrify America (a VW subsidiary) access, as the two companies continue to share more technology and resources with each other.

❝ The FordPass app and FordPass dashboard assistant will help make charging easier, as well. Despite Ford saying owners will have “complimentary access” to the charging network, owners will still have to pay to charge. This can be done via the FordPass software baked into the car’s infotainment system. It also has a trip planner to help identify charge points along your route, similar to Tesla’s navigation system. You’ll be able to tell if a charger is available or not on your vehicle’s dashboard…

Don’t need all the grunt of my old 4WD Ram Pickup, nowadays. Love to have someone offer an affordable, lightweight, not-so-big electric pickup for the kind of tasks where that vehicle class shines. Something akin to this VW TriStar concept – electrified!

Breathe!

❝ Hyundai bills the Nexo as a zero-emission vehicle, but technically that’s not true. It emits water, along with 99.9-percent-filtered oxygen, as byproducts of the hydrogen-to-energy conversion process. Some people who are stuck on the idea of a traditional internal-combustion car might have a hard time believing nothing harmful comes out of the Nexo, so Hyundai wanted to demonstrate that fact as clearly as possible. As such, it put Olympic athlete (and brand ambassador) Mireia Belmonte and a treadmill in a sealed air bubble connected to the Nexo’s exhaust. Do not try this at home with any vehicle.

Way cool…