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Favorite (News) Link Friday Week of January 20, 2017

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Deer Mountain logging off the table for now

by Leila Kheiry

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office is no longer pursuing action toward timber sales on Deer Mountain or land in Petersburg.

The Trust board meets next week – Jan. 25th and 26th – and in the meeting packet is a memo from TLO Executive Director John Morrison. He writes that while a federal land exchange deal wasn’t approved by Congress during its last session, he is confident that the reintroduced bill will pass this year.

Last summer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office announced that it planned to move forward with logging Deer Mountain and the Petersburg site if the land exchange wasn’t approved by earlier this month. After public outcry and questions about the TLO’s decision-making process, a final decision on that plan was delayed. [Source]


COMMENTARY: Obama's OCS ban should be reversed in Trump's first days

By: Mead Treadwell

The last-minute decision by President Obama to indefinitely ban any future offshore energy activity in the U.S. Arctic should be reversed by President Trump, soon — within the first 100 days of his term.

Why? Obama's decision was taken with no public comment or consultation ahead of time. Resources worth more than $1 trillion at today's low prices were put off limits to human use.

But there's one more reason the ban should not stand: It was probably illegal. The state of Alaska's equities in law were never met. This can be rectified by court decisions if the state challenges it in court — but America's energy future is too important to tie up for years in litigation.

And yet in the space of eight weeks the White House performed a stunning about-face, first removing the Arctic from the next offshore leasing program, and then delivering the coup-de-grace by killing any prospect of future development. Suddenly the Arctic ecosystem was simply too fragile to even consider domestic energy development, irrespective of past exploration. We had adopted a "drain Russia first" energy policy for the Arctic.

Under the new reality of President-elect Trump's stunning victory, the administration decided to toss every land mine it could to slow or prevent oil exploration and production in Arctic waters.

It blew up the bridges to the state of Alaska, the Alaska Native community, and to other Arctic nations pursuing offshore development that its own policy had built.

The "leave-it-in-the-ground" crowd had crowded out the "all-of-the-above" policy, and in a manner that was most undemocratic and unfair. Keystone Pipeline got eight years of extended hearings before Obama killed it. Alaskans who had worked out how to explore the Outer Continental Shelf got no public process, not even a tweet. [Read the Full Story]


This Chart Shows How Far You Can Drive When the 'Empty' Light Comes On



Neanderthal's Eye for Bling Revealed by Unique Rock Stashed in Cave


Around 130,000 years ago, a Neanderthal in what is now Croatia eyed a pretty striped chunk of limestone and picked it up. He (or she) then carried it to a favorite cave for just one reason, according to researchers who just discovered the rock: the Neanderthal thought it looked really cool.

The discovery, reported in the journal Comptes Rendus Palevol, provides some of the earliest known evidence that early humans collected rocks. It also adds to the growing body of evidence that Neanderthals appreciated beauty and had a sense of curiosity as well as symbolic-like capacities normally associated with modern humans.

"Neanderthals are generally considered to be dull-witted and savage, compared to modern Homo sapiens," co-author David Frayer told Seeker. "As more and more evidence is being accumulated, their sophistication is being better appreciated. Our work on this rock is just another little piece of evidence that they were not the clods many assume they were."

Social animals aside from humans are also known to collect interesting objects just because they like the look of them. Male bowerbirds, for example, collect pretty stones and other natural bling to attract females. Crows and ravens have been observed grabbing unique stones and staring at them for lengthy periods, but the jury is still out on what they are actually doing with the rocks. [Read the full story]


American Airlines is banning carry-on bags and overhead bin use for basic economy passengers

Flying American Airlines just got a bit more affordable.
On Wednesday, the world's largest airline released details of its upcoming low-cost Basic Economy fare class.

"American Airlines now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via First Class," American Airlines President Robert Isom said in a statement.

Unfortunately, buying the cheapest ticket also means you will have to do without many of the amenities that have traditionally been considered obligatory in modern air travel.

At the top of that list is carry-on luggage. Basic Economy passengers are allowed to bring a personal item on board as long as it fits underneath the seat. However, any luggage that requires overhead bin space has been banned.

According to an American Airlines spokesperson, Basic Economy passengers with luggage will be forced to gate check their bags and pay an additional handling fee. Thus, instead of paying $25 (for the first bag) at the check-in counter, Basic Economy passengers will need to fork over at least $50 to gate check their bags. (A bag check charge plus an additional $25 gate handling fee.)

United will also charge a gate check fee plus a $25 handling charge, an airline spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

In addition to bag restrictions, Basic Economy passengers will not get seat assignments until check-in and will be the last allowed to board the flight.

American will begin offering Basic Economy fares on February 10 while United Basic Economy enters service in the second quarter of 2017.
[For More Specifics read the rest]


Historical Anecdote: Socrates invests in the honor of Alcibiades, and it pays off!


Whilst he [Alcibiades] was very young, he was a soldier in the expedition against Potidae, where SocratesJPG lodged in the same tent with him, and stood next to him in battle. Once there happened a sharp skirmish, in which they both behaved with signal bravery, but AlcibiadesJPG receiving a wound, Socrates threw himself before him to defend him, and beyond any question saved him and his arms from the enemy, and so in all justice might have challenged the prize of valour. But the generals appearing eager to adjudge the honour to Alicibiades, because of his rank, Socrates, who desired to increase his thrist after glory of a noble kind, was the first to give evidence for him, and pressed them to crown him, and to decree to him the complete suit of armour. Afterwards, in the battle of Delium, when the Athenians were routed, and Socrates with a few others was retreating on foot, Alcibiades, who was on horseback, observing it, would not pass on, but stayed to shelter him from the danger, and brought him safe off, though the enemy pressed hard upon them, and cut off many.

tl;dr:

Socrates saves Alcibiades in battle; the Athenian generals overlook Socrates and want to award Alcibiades because he has a higher rank; Socrates supports the decision, hoping that it would make Alcibiades want to accrue more honors, causing him to be more noble and courageous on the battlefield; Alcibiades later risks his own life to save Socrates on the field, implying that Socrates benefited wildly from his earlier decision.


Video of the Week:



Paramount Gets China Infusion: $1 Billion, 3-Year Slate Co-Financing Deal With Shanghai Film Group & Huahua Media


EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has made its most significant long-term alliance in China since Viacom chief Shari Redstone nixed a 49% stake sale to Dalian Wanda for $4.9 billion last year. The studio has closed deals with Shanghai Film Group Corp and Beijing-based Huahua Media for those companies to fund 25% or more of the studio’s entire film slate for the next three years, with an option for a fourth.

The deal is worth a potential $1 billion in slate funds, which is retroactive to Par’s fourth-quarter films. It extends a relationship between the studio and Chinese companies that already was growing. The deal also will help Paramount with the release and marketing of its films in China. Shanghai United, the country’s second-largest distributor, will be very involved in assisting Paramount with the dating and distribution of its movies in China going forward. The prospect of a team-up in co-productions of Chinese films also is being eyed.

This is the most significant move made by Brad Grey since Shari Redstone and her father Sumner Redstone fought the proposed stake sale to Dalian Wanda Group, leading to the ouster of Viacom chairman Philippe Dauman. Movement toward this slate-financing deal began in November, right after Dauman exited. It was approved by Shari Redstone, who late last year also decided not to fuse Viacom with CBS, and the deals with the China companies closed at year’s end. The size of funds to be devoted to Paramount films is one-fifth of what would have been realized in the Wanda deal, and it seemed likely that most of those funds probably would have gone toward curing the stock shortfall created by the erosion of shares in Dauman’s stock-buyback plan. [Read the rest]
Ironically a Chinese owned Hollywood would probably make better movies than 80% of the trash currently produced. Hollywood died years ago and Netflix was the Canary in the Coal Mine.

PS "Passengers" was a really good movie


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