Category Archives: News

Non-Autonomous Vehicles May be Banned from I-5

According to an article originally published on Drive, people being able to drive their own vehicles between Seattle and Vancouver may soon come to an end if a plan proposed by Medrona Group, a Seattle-based technology firm, cones to pass. The plan was recently announced during the Cascadia Conference during which Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Prime Minister Christy Clark pledged to work together more closely in development of the region.

The plan proposed by the Medrona Group would allow autonomous cars into the HOV structure of I-5 immediately. Then, the company suggests that new lanes for self-driving cars be constructed using some of the $2 billion of venture capital pouring into Vancouver. After the lanes are constructed, then non-autonomous cars and trucks would be banned from driving on the I-5 except overnight and on the weekends.

The plan further states that the speed of development for self-driving cars should be accelerated by combining the forces at the University of Washington’s new Mobility Innovation Center with students at the University of British Columbia.

There is no doubt that the 140 mile stretch of interstate between Seattle and Vancouver can become a nightmare. Medrona Company, however, does not want to see anyone lose their jobs or have to move when their plan goes into effect. Therefore, they recommend that a voucher system be developed where low-income people could receive a self-driving car for free.

Eventually, Medrona Company wants to see the plan extended to include other areas of the Pacific Northwest where traffic is a problem. Their next goal would be to include Portland, Oregon, into the mix.

While this plan may not be perfect, it does have the support of Bill Gates behind it. Microsoft recently moved to Seattle following a move earlier by Amazon. The future in the area seems bright for technology companies. Therefore, if any area of the country is ready to accept self-driven cars it seems like this would be the perfect place.

Scientists Discover New Type of Earthquake

Scientists working at Caltech in Pasadena, California, say that earthquakes may not be limited to the earth’s crust, according to an article recently published on Science Alert. They now believe that earthquakes can occur in the earth’s upper mantle.

So far, the team has just discovered smaller earthquakes in the crust, but there is disagreement over how strong these earthquakes that are undetectable using traditional seismic equipment may become. Some scientists believe that earthquakes occurring in the earth’s mantle will remain less than a 2 calling them localized chatter that cannot group themselves together to form a massive earthquake. Others suggest that they may become stronger than any earthquake that has happened so far.

Researchers started looking at this phenomena after a 8.6 earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean on April 12, 2016. This earthquake did not occur in line with traditional theories. Therefore, scientists had to start looking for a new hypothesis. The earthquake did, however, occur along a fault line similar to those found in the San Andes fault line and the Newport-Inglewood fault lines.

Meanwhile, scientists with the Southern California Earthquake Center said at the National Earthquake Conference that they believe that a major earthquake may occur along the San Andes fault very soon. The Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate of 16 feet every 100 years while the North America plate is not moving. Therefore, tension is being created under California. If a major earthquake occurs in this area, then scientists say that it could kill 1,800 people, injure over 50,000, cause $200 billion in property damage and cause six months of compromised sewer system problems. They are most worried about the damage spreading towards Los Angeles, although they say damage in the Coachella Valley, Island Empire and Antelope Valley would be extensive.

Scientists have also announced that they have found a new fault line under the Salton Sea. They believe that this fault line may be taking pressure off the San Andreas fault which is why major quakes have not recently occurred there. This new fault line has recently been rumbling producing 300 small earthquakes last week.

Oregon State has Met its Mark – 2.5 Million Are Registered for Nov. 8 Elections

Although the Republican party is against bill HB 2177, the Democrats managed to influence Oregon state to adopt the bill. As a result, the voting numbers have risen for the next election in November. Chiefly, this kind of rise in attendees can change the outcome for local companies and communities by the millions of dollars.

 

The citizens of Oregon collected impressive numbers, by registering for the November 8 elections. Secretary of State, Jeanne P. Atkins claims that November 8th will be one of the most active elections in Oregon’s voting history. According to sources, the Oregon government is placing Measure 97 on the board for the next contingency; Measure 97 imposes a minimum tax on companies that bring in over @5 million in sales – a tax minimum of $30,001 plus 2.5% of the amount above $25 million. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 18, at midnight PST.

 

Arguably, the Republicans continue to point out that the government ‘shouldn’t’ try to register people because certain citizens attain religious beliefs that may hinder their need to vote. Furthermore, Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend comments, “Automatic voter registration replaces individual convenience with government coercion…” Thereafter, Bueler continues by expressing his dislike of the specific idea.

 

Last February 2015, a ‘sweeping’ voter registration bill moved closer to law, as the bill was approved by the House on a party-line vote, ultimately, giving Oregon the ‘most expansive’ voter registration law in the United States. This is considered a motor voter bill, which uses Oregon state drivers’ license data to automatically register voters – lobbied by the Democrats (took effect on January 1, 2016). In general, the bill supports HB 2177, which covers the usage of driver’s license data going back to 2013. Ideally, this particular information in sought after to automatically register voters who appear as citizens through the DMV. Then, those new voters are sent a postcard requesting for their attendance to vote or opt out of registration. However, if they didn’t respond, the assumed citizen would be registered as a non-affiliated voter. In the meantime, Oregon is showing additional numbers in the 110,000+ range.

Rome withdraws, could increase LA’s chances for 2024 Olympics

On Tuesday of this week Rome officially withdrew itself from consideration for hosting the 2024 Olympics. Los Angeles has been in the mix all along, and with a narrowing field, it could help the California city’s chances.

Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest are the remaining candidates to host the games. A story in the LA Times says the International Olympic Committee is made up of Western Europeans, and that could weigh heavily in favor of Paris or Budapest, and in that case the Italians’ withdrawal would not mean very much. Still, Los Angeles is a serious candidate and could eventually win the prize.

The Olympic Committee has had trouble getting applicants to host the games. The press release said local government opposition was the primary reason Rome pulled out. The Rome City Council withdrew its support recently, and that made it virtually impossible to host the games there. Also earlier in the year, Virginia Raggi was elected Mayor of Rome, and was running on the single issue of opposing hosting the Olympics.

Also earlier this year, Hamburg, Germany voters turned down hosting the games in a referendum vote.

Boston also withdrew from consideration last summer. Four other cities have also withdrawn over the past year.

The IOC has added some reforms that they hope will make hosting the games less expensive. While it is an honor to hose the Olympics, it is very costly and some have raised concerns about whether it is worth it to get the prize. Many cite the tremendous cost of hosting the games, and say the financial risk is too great. The prestige of hosting the games has value, but if the city goes broke in the process, it will have a hard time justifying winning the right to host the games.

Los Angeles and Paris have been the favorites all along, and this will not change that impression.

The Los Angeles committee issued a press release saying it was disappointed in hearing that Rome had withdrawn as a candidate. It said Rome had been a good candidate and they praised the Italian city for its professionalism.

Rome officials did hold out a small hope they could resurrect their campaign, but for now they have decided to suspend the effort.

Is California Really the Poorest State?

In an opinion piece in Forbes, Chuck Devore discussed the shocking fact that, in real terms, California is the poorest state in the union. According to Devore, the true poverty rate, considering cost of living and purchasing power, is nearly one-third, at around 30%, even though in absolute terms the state is ranked 17 on the list of most impoverished states. There are a number of factors influencing this reality and no real, coordinated solution to the problem has emerged.

 

The official poverty measures that the federal government uses do not account for cost of living disparities, so poverty tend to be overstated in the Midwest and South and overstated on the coasts. The Supplementary Poverty Measure, the official government poverty statistics that accounts for regional differences in cost, also places California at the top of the list, at 28%.

 

The issues have been hashed and re-hashed in the nation’s largest metro areas over and over again—gentrification, land-use regulations, lack of affordable housing, and wage stagnation are all at play. Both Northern and Southern California are among the most expensive areas in the country by any measure, and while Silicon Valley and the Internet Revolution transformed the Bay Area, outside of tech, wages have been sluggish and in many cases have declined substantially in real terms. The California “refugee” who flees to nearby states with a somewhat lower cost of living has become a cliché.

 

Many deride the supposed closed-mindedness of politicians who prioritize preserving a mythical California way-of-life against becoming “another Manhattan,” as if the problem is any better in New York City. Letting developers build luxury skyscrapers and other upscale housing is no way to solve this problem. On the other hand, many people are unwilling to face realities of urban population growth fueled by economic changes. People want to be able to afford luxury on their salary; nobody really wants to live in subsidized housing.

 

To be sure, poverty and social problems are not limited to California, and these effects are being felt across the country and all over the world. In the midst of rising income inequality, why would we by surprised by all of this?

Climate Change May Benefit Pacific Coast Oysters

Oyster farmers on the west coast of the United States may have good news if they can survive the current conditions. Long-term climate changes should increase the number and size of oysters growing in the waters off the Pacific Coast of the United States. The question, however, remains if they can get to that point, according to an article recently published on UC Davis.

The current climate is causing acid to build up in the waters off California and Oregon where Pacific Coast oysters are raised commercially. This acid causes the baby oysters, called spat, to die. Now, oyster farmers are starting to raise spat in other locations and move them to the ocean.

Another problem that the oysters must overcome is oyster drillers. These sea snails are not indigenous to the Pacific Coast but were introduced to the water either from the East Coast or Asia. Drillers use their tongues to drill holes into the oyster’s shell. Once the shell is penetrated, they excrete an acidotic substance which further damages the shell. Eventually, they use their tongues to eat the oyster’s flesh. Long term, drillers should not be able to continue to live in the water’s raising temperatures.

Researchers with the National Estuarine Research Reserve say that warmer ocean temperatures should help Pacific Coast oysters grow faster and bigger. They say that while most oysters eaten today come from the East Coast that when this occurs, then people will switch to eating these oysters instead.

Researchers also say that it is imperative to protect the oysters because they help many other ocean species to survive. Plants and small creatures live in their shells along with the oyster. Therefore, other species may also disappear if the oyster cannot be saved.

Workers with the reserve also hope that one day oysters can be used to create a living shoreline. When this occurs, soil erosion may be stopped. As the erosion becomes less, then West Coast droughts may become fewer and less severe.

The future for Pacific Coast oysters looks bright if the oyster driller can be stopped. Climate change may actually help them grow bigger and stronger.

Classic Rock and Chef-Prepared Foods Were Presented At The Desert Trip Music Festival

Being a big fan of classic rock bands, I was glad to see a recent news article that is about the Desert Trip music festival that just took place in Indio, California. Taking place over the course of three nights, this well-organized festival drew approximately 70,000 fans during its run.

 

The article mentions how six of the biggest names in rock music shared the headlining status at the Desert Trip festival. On the first night, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones shared the bill. The second night paired Neil Young with Paul McCartney, and on the third night, the Who and Roger Waters co-headlined the music festival.

 

The news article/photo essay that I read features some very good photos of some of the featured musical acts performing at the festival. There are also photos with captions of various concert-goers, and some of the luscious restaurant-catered foods that were available at the event.

 

A couple of photographs in this article highlight some of the high-tech stage props used by Roger Waters, while others demonstrate images of concert-goers that look similar to Woodstock-era festival attendees.

 

Although Desert Trip was an actual rock music festival, the concert was largely attended by people age 40 and up. Plenty of younger people were present at the festival, however, because of the universal appeal that the music provided.

 

Amazingly, all of the musical acts that performed at Desert Trip started their careers in the 1960s. They all still sound relevant, and draw large crowds of fans wherever they perform.

 

Music fans traveled from throughout the United States, and a range of other countries to attend the Desert Trip music festival. An interesting combination of Woodstock-like hippie culture and modern suburban living meshed well at the festival, and the general atmosphere was quite relaxed.

 

With picnic tables and tents set up for concert-goers to dine on the chef-prepared grilled meats and savory side dishes that were available, an air of mature relaxation was evident at this popular event.

New California Fault Line Discovered

Researchers in California have recently found a new fault line that runs mainly under the Salton Sea, according to an article recently published on Wire. The fault line was discovered while a team of scientist was mapping the sea’s floor for other purposes using equipment that has just recently been developed.

Researchers at the Southern California Earthquake Center say that this fault line may be taking pressure off the San Andreas fault line and the Imperial fault line. If so, then this may explain why the promised big earthquake has not developed.

They say that the earth’s crust is covered with a series of small fault lines. Most of these lines go unmapped because of the expenses incurred in locating them and in mapping them. They say that they had long suspected that there was a fault line running between the San Andreas fault line and the Imperial fault line because the end of the two lines do not meet as they would expect.

The new fault line, called the Salton Trough Fault, has been sending off little earthquakes lately. Scientists measured 300 on one night recently that were under a 2 magnitude. Therefore, they increased the likelihood that a big earthquake would soon develop.

Officials with the National Earthquake Center say that the earth is constantly in motion. They know that the Pacific plate of the San Andreas fault is moving northwest about 16 feet per 100 years. They also know that the North American plate has not moved in recent years. Therefore, they believed that a major earthquake in California would occur soon. Now, with this discovery, they are rethinking their theories.

Scientists have recently determined that earthquakes can occur much deeper than they previously thought. They say that the new evidence suggests that earthquakes can start up to 15 miles below the earth’s crust. Since the depth of the new fault has yet to be determined, it is feasible that the Salton Trough Fault connects to the San Andreas Fault deep under the earth’s crust. Therefore, scientists say that they need more time to update their thinking and earthquake models.

 

“Reclaim” Campaign: War Against World Waste

HuffPost recently launched the “Reclaim” campaign, which focuses on the world’s waste crisis and how Americans can help.

Americans buy an average of 64 new items a year, and we are the world’s top clothes shoppers.

But the truth is, we probably already own a garment that may not be the best in our collection, may not be in fashion anymore, but we still hang on to it, and we still continue to buy more and more clothes each year. And every year we continue to be a part of the world’s waste problem.

To prove our point, we asked the HuffPost staff to tell us about a particular item of clothing that they seem to be attached to, and why.

Here’s a list we have gathered:

• The college sweatshirt – bought from the college bookstore and became a weekend outfit.
• The indestructible gray cardigan – goes with everything and washes well. Invites compliments despite the worn out and dated look. It’s always on trend because it’s gray.
• See-through preschool T-shirt – The shirt has the name of the preschool I went to, and the name of my dad on the back.
• Ripped black cat tights – bought from Hot Topic at the local mall
• Black skirt – a long BCBG skirt with its childlike qualities, like twirling
• Mystery shirt – traded from Cousin Mariah with a Prince cutoff tee. Weird and colorful shirt and doesn’t even have a label!
• Zip-up sweatshirt – Christmas 1998 gift from mom. Still warm and nice, really well made.
• The family business t-shirt – Printed with “Atlantic Tree” at the back. This 70s shirt is a reminder of the amount of work my family has done, and where I came from.
• Ribbed black dress – worn at my best friend’s father’s funeral and I still wear it as a staple, especially in the winter.
• Paint-splattered T-shirt from a chicken joint – Reminds me of the disgusting time when I won the shirt at a chicken wing eating contest after finishing 37 wings in an hour.
• Holey jeans – purchased in high school and fitted me perfectly. Worn and torn, the holes are reminders of my past, and I will be adding more holes in the future.
• “Haunted Mansion” T-shirt – My fondest memories were spent with dad, enjoying the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Dad passed away in 1995. In 2014 on a trip back to the West coast after 20 years, an aunt unknowingly gifted me with the Haunted Mansion T-shirt.
• Armani Exchange T-shirt – The shirt fits. That’s all.

The reason why we still buy the 63 other garments remains unexplained.

Human Rights Fishermen Now Doing Well in San Francisco

According to an AP story, two fishermen who claim that they had been held against their will aboard Honolulu-based fishing vessels are now living in San Francisco using emergency visas designed for those who have been victims of human trafficking. The fishermen have also filed a lawsuit against their former employer saying that they were forced to work 20 hour shifts without the proper equipment, pee in buckets and sleep where bed bugs could cause running sores on their bodies. The two men say that they signed the contract in Honolulu believing that they would be well treated and be able to leave the boat whenever they chose. The two claim that they were held aboard the board against their will in a move that their lawyer compares to slavery.
Earlier this year, the AP investigated many such claims involving 140 boats where workers claim to make less than 70 cents an hour. As a reaction to the criticism, the Hawaii Longline Association has created a new contract. Owners wanting to sell their fish at seafood auctions beginning on October 1. By signing the contract, workers acknowledge that they understand that they will be living on boats for up to one year while their passports are held by the ship’s owners.
Currently, owners do not have to provide basic rights to their workers. Many human rights advocates are calling on Congress to rectify the situation so that these workers are treated like all workers in the United States.
Today, the two fishermen are doing well. They do, however, avoid Fisherman’s Wharf. Both men are employed by a liquor store. After completing their first job, one man goes on to drive a car for hire while the other man takes inventory at a large department store.
The men say that they like their new life. They admit to being scared of their previous boss saying that they want to avoid him. They say that the reason for their lawsuit is to bring people’s attention to this problem believing that most people are not even aware that the problem is going on today in America.