Friday’s Odds and Ends

Are we ready for a computer driven car? Google is apparently developing a self-driving car, as are a few other companies, and we can look forward to a time when a computer will handle all the driving tasks that we now perform. Some say a computer will be better at handling the thousands of decisions we make as we drive, such as when to brake or when to turn to avoid an accident, but what if the computer has a glitch? Or heaven forbid it is run by Windows and Windows decides to do an automatic update right in the middle of your trip to the grocery store?

I also wonder how they are going to get all that equipment into the dashboard. (smile)

I agree with those who have railed against the ruling by a three-star general that overturned a sexual assault conviction for Lt. Col. James Wilkerson. Senator Claire McCaskil of Missouri said, “This case has opened a window into what I think are some very weird provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and they are the kind of provisions that are offensive to most Americans.”

Amen to that.

Now some more news regarding the XL Keystone Pipeline. This press release was sent by “Stop Dirty Tar Sands”, an organization lobbying against the pipeline:

The largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history, Enbridge’s 2010 tar sands spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, will cost nearly $1 billion to clean-up. The unique chemical properties of dilbit (diluted bitumen) that is extracted from Alberta’s tarsands fields cause the oil to sink in water—rather than float like traditional crude. To add insult to injury, tar sands bitumen carriers are not required to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that is used to help pay for devastating leaks, thanks to what can be thought of as an “Irrational Exemption.” Enbridge, like TransCanada, gets a free ride that ignores the elevated risks of transporting tar sands crude oil relative to conventional crude.
The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route would cross the Ogallala aquifer, which provides drinking water and irrigation for millions of people in the American heartland, and two thousand miles of farmland. TransCanada has a poor safety record, including thirteen spills, in the United States alone, on its first Keystone pipeline in the first year of operation. And according to a report from Mother Jones today, TransCanada played a part in influencing the flawed State Department report evaluating the environmental risks the Keystone XL pipeline would create. the exclusive story found, “A top expert who helped write the government’s latest Keystone report previously consulted on three different TransCanada projects—a fact the State Department tried to hide.”
A tarsands spill on the two thousand miles of farmland or in the aquifer would have disastrous consequences for generations of farmers and for millions of Americans who get fresh drinking water from the aquifer.

I keep hoping that our political leaders will stop listening to the big oil lobbyists and think about the long-term welfare of our earth.

On a totally different note, I was visiting some other blogs this morning and ran across this neat badge on Tara Tyler’s blog:

If you regularly visit blogs, you may have run across these annoying attempts to weed out spammers from the comments. And if you are like me, you probably have given up on trying to leave a comment because you could not even make a wild guess as to what those blurred letters were supposed to be. There are so many other easier ways for human verification on a blog, we really don’t need this.

Literary Lessons:

From The Weeping Chamber by Sigmund Brouwer  “It is far worse, is it not, when you can only blame yourself for what is lost? When what you have lost becomes much sweeter because you will never have it again?”

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