Check these Legislative Reference Bureau resources

If you haven’t browsed the various resources available through the Legislative Reference Bureau recently, I think you’ll find a lot of interest.

Here are a few:

iClips, Headlines to your desktop.

A very handy daily compilation of the top local, national, and sometimes international news. This is one that should be bookmarked for regular visits.

LRB Library Reference Desk.

Lots of good links here to journals, organizations, etc. Definitely worth browsing for future reference.

Magazine Sites.

Quite a range, from the Congressional Quarterly and Monthly Labor Review to publications of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Yale Law Journal, and plenty in between.

LRB on Twitter (@LRBlibrary).

Interesting tidbits find their way here. You might as well be among those who see them.

In any case, you’re paying for these resources, so might as well make good use of them!

Marlo’s back!

Mr. MarloMarlo has been “on vacation” from our morning expeditions while his person was traveling for several weeks. But they’re back, and seeing Marlo again is a real treat!

Well, seeing his person was also a treat, but…Marlo is just extra cute and he knows it!

As you can see, he is an expert beggar with a very expressive face and accompanying body language. And he’s persistent!

–> See more of Mr. Marlo along with Pumpkin and Hao!

The Amazon-Whole Foods future

As soon as it was announced that Amazon is taking over Whole Foods, investors quickly bet against other retailers. Walmart, Costco, and Kroger stock lost nearly $19 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) in value last Friday.

Since we now live near a Whole Foods store, I’m interested in how this is going to play out and how it will affect us as consumers.

I’m a bit puzzled by the immediate financial hit to brands like Costco.

Is it really times to give up that Costco membership? I don’t think so.

At the end of 2016, Whole Foods had 431 stores and had scaled back new store openings, while Costco had 727 locations.

Costco boasted about 85 million members. Amazon Prime numbers, the closest comparison, are secret, but estimated somewhere between 54 million and 80 million (a number that reportedly includes trial memberships and student members).

Up until now, Costco seems to have competed effectively with Amazon in areas where they overlap, such as electronics and apparel, so I’m not convinced this is necessarily going to be a slam-dunk for Amazon to pull off.

Amazon also has the daunting task of digesting Whole Foods without undermining the things that the WF brand stands for. Or, perhaps, they think that doesn’t matter.

Then today I read a fascinating article, “Amazon’s new customer,” at stratechery.com.

It’s a very perceptive analysis of Amazon’s approach and well worth pondering.

And now I’m not sure what to think!

Extreme temperatures ground airline traffic

The news has been full of stories the last few days based on a UH climate change study that found extreme heat waves have been much more prevalent than we realize, and extreme and deadly heat will affect large parts of the earth by the end of this century.

“The 2003 European heatwave killed approximately 70,000 people—that’s more than 20 times the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks,” according to UH geography professor Camilo Mora, the lead author of the study.

With one of those heat waves sweeping across the western U.S. today, we learn about another impact of extremely hot weather–Some commercial aircraft can’t operate at extreme temperatures.

There are reports today that American Airlines has cancelled dozens of scheduled flights from Phoenix because the predicted temperatures exceed to safe operating range of smaller commercial aircraft.

According to one article, echoed across many others today:

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the smaller regional jets flown by its partners can’t operate once the temperature hits 118. That maximum is set by Bombardier, the manufacturer.

The problem is basic physics. According to USA Today:

Extreme heat affects a plane’s ability to take off. Hot air is less dense than cold air, and the hotter the temperature, the more speed a plane needs to lift off. A runway might not be long enough to allow a plane to achieve the necessary extra speed.

At high temperatures, even larger aircraft that are safe to fly will have to lighten loads by carrying fewer passengers, loading less fuel, or restricting baggage and cargo, several articles suggest. At the same time, it may take more thrust, and more fuel, to take off in extreme heat.

I haven’t seen any studies of how these climate changes will impact commercial airline travel decades in the future, but it is likely causing worries for planners in tourist economies located in tropical and equatorial areas.

Do you suppose Trump’s appointed climate deniers are paying any attention?