Extinct baby horse unearthed in Siberia

❝ Dug out from the permafrost in Siberia’s Batagaika crater – AKA the “Doorway to the Underworld” – the tiny colt is so beautifully preserved, it looks like it could be sleeping. But the equine died a long time ago – between 30,000 and 40,000 years, during the Upper Palaeolithic.

Discovered by local residents, the foal was excavated by scientists from Japan and Russia, and taken to the Mammoth Museum at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk.

Way cool! [no pun intended]

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Driverless trucks start test runs on Southwestern Interstate highways

❝ The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight.

San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.

❝ If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.

The plan is to have these trucks on the road 22 hours at a time. Not exactly something human drivers are up for. Since long-haul runs are literally short thousands of drivers, timing couldn’t be better. If everything works OK? 🙂

Not only in the Panhandle…

❝ President Donald Trump was tickled last Wednesday when an audience member at a Florida rally suggested shooting migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump was bemoaning the legal protections afforded migrants and espousing the need for a border wall when he asked rhetorically, “How do you stop these people?”

❝ “Shoot them!” someone shouted from the Panama City Beach crowd, according to multiple news media reports.

The remark drew a chuckle from the president, who shook his head, pointed in the audience member’s direction and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

“Only in the Panhandle,” he repeated to laughs and cheers from the crowd.

The one-liner that immediately comes to mind is…”When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Doesn’t really matter who said it. It’s hard to dispute. And – more or less – it’s already here.

Italy is now a partner in China’s new Silk Road


Reuters

❝ Italy has become the first developed economy to sign up to China’s global investment programme which has raised concerns among Italy’s Western allies.

A total of 29 deals amounting to €2.5bn ($2.8bn) were signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome…

❝ The new Silk Road has another name – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – and it involves a wave of Chinese funding for major infrastructure projects around the world, in a bid to speed Chinese goods to markets further afield. Critics see it as also representing a bold bid for geo-political and strategic influence…

❝ The levels of debt owed by African and South Asian nations to China have raised concerns in the West and among citizens – but roads and railways have been built that would not exist otherwise..

Here I sit in the richest, most powerful country in world history. Our roads suck. Bridges suck. Water systems throughout the land are polluted. And more. Our government doesn’t make infrastructure a priority. Our politicians are glad to blather about their support for rebuilding and repairing national infrastructure decades old – as long as they aren’t actually pushed into doing a damned thing.

New Silk Road, old Silk Road. If someone is putting their political and economic clout behind better, easier commerce…try to keep the whining down to a minimum, folks. You’re on the wrong side of history. I know what construction contracts look like going back to the original build-out of the US Interstate System. It was justified to keep our military happy. Which was Cold War bullshit. The victory was owned by US trucking companies.

The coming flood(s)


Click to enlarge

❝ Mr. Remus controls an extraordinary machine — the dams built decades ago to tame a river system that drains parts of 10 states and two Canadian provinces. But it was designed for a different era, a time before climate change and the extreme weather it can bring.

❝ “It’s human nature to think we are masters of our environment, the lords of creation,” said Mr. Remus, who works for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. But there are limits, he said. And the storm last week that caused him so much trouble was beyond what his network of dams can control.

“It was not designed to handle this,” he said.

❝ His decisions affect the lives of countless communities and ecosystems — the cities, factories and power plants that draw water from the river; the endangered species that nest on its sandbars; the farmers who cultivate its floodplains.

Often, their interests conflict. “You’re not going to make them happy,” he said, “but you can provide them with an explanation…”

❝ Mr. Remus’s stewardship of the river is guided by a 432-page document, the Master Manual, which lays out the eight congressionally authorized purposes he must balance. They are flood control, river navigation, hydroelectric power, irrigation, water supply, water quality, recreation (such as fishing or boating), and the preservation of endangered species…

One problem with that: The Master Manual does not explicitly tell Mr. Remus which is more important. Thus the eight purposes exist in a near constant state of tension.

❝ “You can’t say that you serve all of them equally,” Mr. Remus said. The word he clings to is “balance.” But when extreme flooding looms, he said, “the balance goes away.”

Then, all that matters is flood control.

A truly interesting read. Unfortunately. For we as a nation face governance by a Congress mostly populated with cowards and an executive branch led by a greedy fool. A criminal idiot!

Please read the article.