I’m sitting again in her room, this time in a wide, beige sleeping chair. It’s the one I confiscated earlier, while she was napping. Funny, but after all these visits—the emergencies, the simple procedures, the long, complicated surgeries, I know where the staff keeps the “extras” on this floor: the spare chairs; the tray […]
SCIENCE Yeah, you read that right. What else do you need to know, really? (Washington Post) Do we smell a citizen science project? Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit. Discussion Ideas So, scientists have compiled a database of animal farts. What are farts? Farts, also known as […]
I found a great article on some excavations of steamships – but not on the coast… Back in the day when steamships carried goods and people along the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. Almost like a mid-America Titanic in what they have found and what they have learned about the life and culture of the time. And how did they get there? Well, the article gives you lots of information on how the changing of the course of the rivers led to such finds….
(Photo: Luke Spencer)
BlackBerry announced its “most advanced and secure embedded software platform for autonomous drive and connected cars.” Basically, it wants to provide the computer code for everything from cars driving themselves, to the way that your smartphone hooks up to the touchscreen in the dash.
They are getting into the nitty-gritty of what a driver would want in their latest and greatest car – the one in the video is a Jaguar! So if you are quite happy with your manual window, 4-on-the-floor, and the old cassette player you may be falling a bit behind “very soon” as the rep from Blackberry says in the video.
What do you think? Is it technology at your fingertips enabling you to drive safe and informed or is it Mayhem from Allstate just sitting, waiting for you to take your eyes off the road to touch that cool flatscreen to look at a city grid while you drive?
Headed out on the town in Pittsburg today? Well, take your gamble and request a ride thru the UberX app – you might just get a free ride! Oh, yeah, one little thing – you’ll be riding with a partially self-driving Ford Fusion. How about that?
You might ask “how is it PARTIALLY self- driving?”. You’ll have a person behind the wheel but the driver is a complex mix of radar, sensors and other gadgets. That person behind the wheel is really there in case it all goes wrong.
So, how does this all fit in with the self-driving market? In this USA Today article self driving cars I like how it describes the market “In the recent weeks, the road to self-driving cars has developed some potholes.” Google, Apple and Tesla are some of the key players in this endeavor – and it is a mighty big one, in my opinion.
My comfort level with a self-driving car is pretty low right now – of course I won’t be buying a Tesla anytime soon or probably not in my lifetime. I can’t even see me riding in a self-driving car of any brand, actually. My GPS isn’t even up to date all the time with continuing construction and those backroads that only the locals know about. So if I’m on a stretch of toll-road 130 headed to San Antonio from Austin and there is that spot where the GPS thinks I’m backroading it and it’s an elevated road then imagine how my self-driving car would do…dive off the toll road without the parachute.
The optimistic and intrigued side of me says that I can’t wait to try it out. Put me in that Ford and let’s see how it does in Pittsburg. If I’m in the city what’s the worst that could happen – run into a building or over a few pedestrians?
Would you ride in a self-driving car?
It was still winter at the farm. The heifers had experienced the first snows of their lives. The first snow was pretty light around Christmas. Not really much to see then. The heifers wondered what it was, actually. They heard the man from the house call it snow – if not for that they really would not have known what to call it. The second snow was a big one! It came up quickly and covered the ground. The flakes were big and flat. There must have been visitors at the farm because several people came to give them treats the day of the big snow that they did not know.
There were also three new additions to the group of girls: Priscilla, Queenie and Rachel. They came to the farm after the second snow of the season. They were very standoffish. These heifers were also about the same size as Ophelia. So they were bigger than most of the girls. After their second day in the pasture, Ophelia took them aside and explained the rules. “Now listen up, ladies. This is the way it works around here. Every day one or more of the people from the big house come down here and give us treats. We like this. So you need to either be friendly and like them or you won’t be stayin’ here long. If you’re thinkin’ you won’t like bein’ friendly I suggest that you stay back from us that DO like it! Are we all on the same page?” Of course, Priscilla, who was the most outgoing of the three, quickly reassured Ophelia of her understanding and cooperation. “Ophelia, I am a bit shy but I will certainly try to overcome that to make the people from the house happy. And wow! We really get treats every day?” Her big brown eyes with the dark lashes twinkled and blinked in amazement at Ophelia. “Yes, we do. And we appreciate them every day!”
The other two heifers were still a bit unconvinced that they could actually trust the people from the house and Rachel voiced their concern in almost whispered, stuttering words “y-you mean y-you want u-us to-to, like, go u-u-up to them? L-l-let them p-pet u-us?” Queenie snorted and huffed as Rachel finished the question. Ophelia was quick to respond “Yes, we do. If you can’t do that then keep your distance from them. Only come up to the group when they are done putting out the treats and we’ve let them pet us and talk to us. Then you can come up and get your treats.” Queenie and Rachel huffed their agreement. Ophelia added “and if you are that scared, then talk to Lydia. She is not sure of the people either and she’s gotten over it so she can get treats first, too.”
The last snow fell but it was really not that much snow and it melted really quickly. The grass and the flowers had started to turn green. They finished off what would probably be their last bale of hay for the season. Then it was time to graze on the green grass of the pasture and laze in the sun in the afternoons.
One afternoon the lady from the house came to the pasture. She held an envelope in her hand. She was smiling a lot, too, and seemed to be more excited than usual. She put out the treats for the day and then she was petting the heifers and talking to them. When she got around to Matilda she gave the heifers the news – which was the cause for her excitement. “Matilda, we entered you in the Cheese Cowgirls competition and you won!! You get to go to California and train to be a Cheese Cowgirl. You’ll be in commercials and even some movies!” The heifers began to huff their excitement – but not too loudly because they didn’t want to scare the lady from the house. Of course, Heidi being the youngest she got a little more excited than the others and actually stood in the trough and voiced her excitement in a loud “MOOOOO!” The lady from the house just laughed and petted her and teased her for standing in the trough. Then the lady told Matilda “they are going to pick you up on Sunday for your trip. We’re all going to miss you! But get your bags packed and enjoy the next two days with the other heifers. We’re so proud of you!” Then the lady went back to the house for the day.
The next day the man from the first pasture and the boy from the house came to visit at treat time. They were saying how exciting it would be for Matilda and how proud they were. Of course, the heifers were gathered around Matilda – they didn’t want to miss one minute away from her before she left. They would chat and huff and then push each other around playing like little calves – though they were bigger now. Sunday the man from the first pasture and his son came to get Matilda. The lady from the house cried when she left the pasture because she knew she wouldn’t see Matilda again – except maybe in the commercials. But the lady seemed happy when she cried. The man from the first pasture and his son loaded Matilda up after all the heifers said their goodbyes and off she went to be a star!
It was day 1 of the Chicken Olympics! The day dawned a bit grey. The clouds held the temperature to a cool 43 degrees and the breath from their beaks formed small tendrils of smoke. The Marion Young team laughed and joked between themselves, with Donny blowing smoke rings in the cold, wet air. Jack ribbed him about being so full of hot air.
On the other side of the track the Northwoods team stoically walked around stretching. Last evening, they went a little overboard at The Coop. Oakley, Cedric, and Mabel were still sick to their stomachs. Maybe they had a bit too much feed last night.
The track was almost humming its excitement and the spirit of the competition gave the air an extra zing of life. You could hear the chuckles and cackles and the occasional crow of the teams and the crowd as they trickled into the stadium.
Over to the south end of the track, you could see the Collegiate team warming up for the first races. The relays were first on the schedule so they were practicing handoffs. Tex, Red, “Frogger” (named for his hopping ability), and Ollie were handing off the multi-colored baton at intervals alongside the track. Their coach, Penny, was yelling encouragement and some words of critique as they moved along.
On the east side of the track, the Stillhouse team moved slowly onto the field. This was their first time to the Olympics. Their faces showed the awe of the moment. Even their coach, Tudor, had a hard time hiding the awe on his face, though he’d been in the business for years. Addy, Rancho, and Bungie were twisting their heads back and forth looking at the stadium, the other competitors, and the growing crowd.
The announcers began to test the audio system. The ground crews were finishing the last of the setup of the equipment on the field. You could hear the rumble of the crowd as they made it past the ticket booths and onto the walkways of the stands. You could smell the hot corn cobs, fried worms, and fresh grass nachos from the concession stands scattered throughout the stadium.
There were 10 teams represented at the Olympics this year. The chickens came from all across the world and represented all breeds of chickens. Countless hours of training and hard work were at stake here. Reputations were to be made or crushed. Records sat waiting to be broken. The papers held the full listing of participants and the records from past Olympics. The press anticipated a sold out day for the sporting events. It was rumored that the biggest chicken farms would be here looking for their next sponsorship target, their latest spokeschicken, and the next big athlete to represent them in the Pro Barn games. The Pro Barn games involved more than just chicken events and were the greatest sporting events of all time in the animal world. They even had a Miss Chicken Olympics contest that evening to crown the next beauty queen for the world of chickens.
To Be Continued…