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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,985

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Frontier Airlines drops its customer service line

Frontier airlines will no longer let customers call a phone number in order to speak with a live agent. And while the budget airline is known for its cost-cutting measures, most major airlines still operate customer service lines.

Customers will instead have to rely on other ways to contact the airline: a chatbot on its website, a live chat available 24/7, its social media channels and even WhatsApp, according to Frontier spokesperson, Jennifer De La Cruz, who confirmed the news to NPR on Saturday.

The change, said De La Cruz, "enables us to ensure our customers get the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible." She said the airline found that most customers preferred communicating through online channels.

When customers call the airline's now-defunct customer service line, they hear a prerecorded message telling travelers about the other options they have for contacting the airline.

"At Frontier, we offer the lowest fares in the industry by operating our airline as efficiently as possible," the airline's customer service line now replies.


Here is your clear "shithouse of the skies" winner for the week!

Researchers hope to give the American chestnut a leg up on climate change

As the earth warms and the precipitation patterns change, trees are expected to migrate north seeking weather they are adapted to. Scientists project trees will need to move faster than their natural abilities through seed spreading.

That’s led some scientists at the University of Vermont to try to jumpstart this process for an already beleaguered tree: the American chestnut.

“We're simultaneously trying to restore the chestnut in our experiment, as well as testing how well it will perform in a future environment if moved a bit farther north,” said Peter Clark, the study’s lead researcher.

After a blight fungus decimated American chestnut trees across the eastern U.S. in the mid-20th century, dedicated naturalists have kept the species alive by breeding hybrids of the American chestnut with the Chinese chestnut.


Now can we have more whining about how this isn't the "original" tree, a la the bison thread?

Ex-Prosecutor Says 7 Words Should Disqualify Pence From Holding Office Again

Seven words that Mike Pence said about declining to appear before the House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot should prohibit the former vice president from ever holding public office again, a former federal prosecutor has argued.

In a YouTube video released Thursday, Glenn Kirschner issued a damning critique of Pence’s recent claim that “Congress has no right to my testimony” about the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Kirschner, who was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington for more than two decades, said Congress has a legitimate purpose in investigating Donald Trump’s attempted overthrow of the 2020 election result, which indicated that rival Joe Biden would be taking his place in the White House.

Pence ultimately did not go along with the insurrectionist effort, despite pressure from Trump and his supporters — many of whom chanted, “Hang Mike Pence” on the day of the violence.

Pence, a potential 2024 GOP candidate, has “some of the most directly relevant evidence [as] to what happened,” Kirschner continued.

“Let’s be clear: By extension, Mike Pence is saying, ‘The American people have no right to my relevant testimony as Congress goes about trying to craft laws to keep this from ever happening again,’” Kirshner said.


Ukrainian women have started learning a crucial war skill: how to fly a drone

Ukrainian women have played a crucial part in their country's resistance to Russia's full-scale invasion. Now, a new school is training women to play a vital new role.

The Female Pilots of Ukraine is the country's first school dedicated to solely teaching women — both civilians as well as those serving in Ukraine's security forces — how to fly drones.

Both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries have been using drones in the war in Ukraine, for reconnaissance and fighting. Ukraine has many women in the military but they rarely work as drone pilots, according to the school's administrators.

The school, which started in Kyiv in August and is privately run, aims to change that.

"We all realize that this is a war of the 21st century," Tatyana Kuznetsova, one of the school's first enrollees, tells NPR during a class in Kyiv's giant Pyrohiv Park.

The seven-year police veteran says she decided to enroll in the free classes to learn new skills "just in case."


Look out, Vlad!

As climate warms, a China planner advocates "sponge cities"

To cushion the impact of extreme weather due to climate change, a Chinese landscape architect has been making the case for China and other countries to create so-called “sponge cities.”

Yu Kongjian, who spoke to The Associated Press in Beijing, uses sweeping language to express his vision for cities that can withstand variable temperatures, drought and heavy rainfall. The challenges for implementing this vision at a time of ambitious economic development in China are multifold.

Yu criticizes much of Asia’s modern infrastructure for being built on ideas imported from Europe, which he says are ill-fitted to the monsoon climate over much of the Asian continent. He points to recent floods that have wreaked havoc in many Asian cities, which he says are caused by this architectural mismatch.

“There’s no resilience at all,” Yu says of the concrete and steel infrastructure of major cities, and of using pipes and channels to funnel away water. “Those are useless, they will fail and continue to fail.”

Instead, Yu proposes using natural resources, or “green infrastructure” to create water-resilient cities. It’s part of a global shift among landscape design and civil engineering professionals toward working more in concert with the natural environment. By creating large spaces to hold water in city centers — such as parks and ponds — stormwater can be retained on site, helping prevent floods, he says. Sponge infrastructure also, in theory, offers ways for water to seep down and recharge groundwater for times of drought.

“The idea of a sponge city is to recover, give water more space,” Yu said.


Colorado deputies indicted, fired after fatal shooting of man, 22, who called 911 for help

Two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Colorado man who called 911 for help after his SUV got stuck this summer have been indicted by a county grand jury and fired from their jobs, officials said.

A grand jury on Wednesday delivered an indictment against Clear Creek County Sheriff's deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum’s office said in a news release.

Buen has been charged with second degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment, while Gould is charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the fatal shooting of Christian Glass, 22, of Boulder, it said.

Bond was set at $50,000 for Buen and at $2,500 for Gould. No attorney appeared to be listed for either. NBC News contacted a LinkedIn account appearing to belong to Gould for comment but did not immediately receive a response. Contact details could not be found for Buen.


This happened not too far from where I spent summers as a kid. It creeps me out to think about that.

The Far Right Is Already Attacking the Club Q Hero

Richard Fierro, the Army veteran who tackled and disarmed the shooter inside LGBTQ Club Q in Colorado Springs, is currently receiving a torrent of hate and harassment from far-right extremists.

The far-right has is calling Fierro a “groomer” and a “f*ggot,” while questioning his sexuality for being at the Club Q drag show. Others even questioned the veracity of his entire story, according to an investigation conducted by VICE News and researchers at Advance Democracy Inc, a nonprofit that tracks online extremism.

Far-right troll Jack Pososbiec was one of the first people to do this. “Are we just not supposed to talk about the US Army Major taking his family down to the local drag club for a night out?” Pososbiec asked followers on multiple platforms Tuesday morning, including on Truth Social where he has 960,000 followers and on Telegram, where he has over a million.

“Heroes don't take their kids to drag shows,” one of Posobiec’s followers wrote on Telegram in response.

Others joined in: “So a married man, His Wife, Daughter and her boyfriend all go to Gay bar together? I’m gonna call bullshit on this,” a user on far-right Christian platform Gab wrote on Tuesday.

“If it’s not bullshit he’s helping to molest children and he’s all for it,” another Gab user wrote in response, adding: “F*ggot dad in closet.”


Jack Posobiec should be folded five ways...and I'll let you imagine the rest.

How to make Covid the last pandemic

By Kelsey Piper

This is a question that’s been haunting me since the early days of 2020, when it wasn’t clear exactly how deadly Covid-19 was. What is now known as SARS-CoV-1, after all, killed almost 10 percent of people with confirmed infections; MERS, another coronavirus, has had a fatality rate of more than 30 percent in confirmed cases. But neither of those viruses was very transmissible; SARS-CoV-2, better known as Covid, however, was from the start a highly contagious virus, and had it killed at anywhere near the rate of those earlier pathogens, the result would have been horrific.

In general, there are trade-offs between how infectious a virus is and how lethal it is, but it’s not an iron rule: smallpox was more contagious than Covid and as deadly as MERS. There’s also the question of which age groups are affected; the 1918 influenza disproportionately killed healthy young adults, unlike seasonal flu, and many viruses are particularly dangerous to babies. (I had a newborn in the early days of Covid, and one of the things we were most

I’m not reciting this litany to be as depressing as possible. We should be realistic about just how catastrophic a pandemic could truly get, but we’re also not that far away from a world where the answer to ‘‘What would happen if a pandemic much worse than Covid hit?” is “we simply squash it dead.”

That’s the message of a new Geneva Center for Security Policy report by MIT biochemist and Future Perfect 50 selectee Kevin Esvelt about what to do to prepare for the next pandemic. The key takeaway? We’re not helpless, whether against nature or malign actions by human beings. We do have to invest in actually being prepared, but if we’re prepared, we could weather even a worst-case scenario: a deliberate release of a human-made virus engineered to be both extra deadly and extra contagious.


Baba Yaga: The greatest 'wicked witch' of all?

In fairy tales, women of a certain age usually take one of two roles: the wicked witch or the evil stepmother, and sometimes both.

A key figure from Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga certainly fulfils the requirements of the wicked witch – she lives in a house that walks through the forest on chicken legs, and sometimes flies around in a giant mortar and pestle. She usually appears as a hag or crone, and she is known in most witch-like fashion to feast upon children.

However, she is also a far more complex character than that synopsis suggests. Cunning, clever, helpful as much as a hindrance, she could indeed be the most feminist character in folklore.

So enduring is the legend of Baba Yaga that a new anthology of short stories, Into the Forest (Black Spot Books), has just been released, featuring 23 interpretations of the character, all by leading women horror writers. The stories span centuries, with Sara Tantlinger's Of Moonlight and Moss offering a dream-like evocation of one of the classic Baba Yaga stories, Vasilisa the Beautiful, while Carina Bissett’s Water Like Broken Glass sets Baba Yaga against the backdrop of World War Two. Meanwhile Stork Bites by EV Knight ramps up the horrific aspects of the myth as a salutary tale for inquisitive children.

Baba Yaga appears in many Slavic and especially Russian folk tales, with the earliest recorded written mention of her coming in 1755, as part of a discourse on Slavic folk figures in Mikhail V Lomonosov's book Russian Grammar. Before that, she had appeared in woodcut art at least from the 17th Century, and then made regular appearances in books of Russian fairy tales and folklore.

If you’re a film fan, you might recognise the name from the John Wick films starring Keanu Reeves, in which the eponymous anti-hero is called Baba Yaga by his enemies, giving him the mysterious allure of an almost mythical bogeyman. Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki used Baba Yaga as the basis for the bathhouse proprietor in his award-winning 2001 movie Spirited Away. Baba Yaga appears in music, too; Modest Mussorgsky's 1874 suite Pictures at an Exhibition features a ninth movement called The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga). She might well be making an appearance on the small screen soon, as well; Neil Gaiman used her in his Sandman comics for DC, the adaptation of which has just had its second season announced by Netflix.


I was introduced to Baba Yaga tales as a child, when stories appeared in Jack and Jill magazine. I loved her! There is a wonderful book by Kathy Burford called Hexed in Texas which features her ending up there by accident and is hilarious.

Bison spread as Native American tribes reclaim stewardship

Perched atop a fence at Badlands National Park, Troy Heinert peered from beneath his wide-brimmed hat into a corral where 100 wild bison awaited transfer to the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

Descendants of bison that once roamed North America’s Great Plains by the tens of millions, the animals would soon thunder up a chute, take a truck ride across South Dakota and join one of many burgeoning herds Heinert has helped reestablish on Native American lands.

Heinert nodded in satisfaction to a park service employee as the animals stomped their hooves and kicked up dust in the cold wind. He took a brief call from Iowa about another herd being transferred to tribes in Minnesota and Oklahoma, then spoke with a fellow trucker about yet more bison destined for Wisconsin.

By nightfall, the last of the American buffalo shipped from Badlands were being unloaded at the Rosebud reservation, where Heinert lives. The next day, he was on the road back to Badlands to load 200 bison for another tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux.

Most bison in North America are in commercial herds, treated no differently than cattle.

“Buffalo, they walk in two worlds,” Heinert said. ”Are they commercial or are they wildlife? From the tribal perspective, we’ve always deemed them as wildlife, or to take it a step further, as a relative.”


Restoring the balance, one animal at a time.
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