Let’s Talk Pirates

Arrrr Matey!

NO!  This is not one of those posts on the pipe dream of hidden pirate loot waiting to be found.

I am not going on some diatribe about the Spanish Main and stuff…..nor am I going to report on the “pirates” off the Coast of Africa that keep taking over tankers and such….not the pirates that operate in the Caribbean looting and stealing yachts…..none of those are good enough for IST.

I will cover the “pirates” that operate withing the highway system here in the good old US of A……

On May 11, 2013, a semi cab made its way up Interstate 555 from Memphis, Tennessee, northwest to Jonesboro, Arkansas. The man driving — a career trucker from Memphis — was accompanied by his nephew, and the pair was bobtailing, meaning their truck wasn’t pulling a trailer. Drivers often have to travel between warehouses and shipping facilities to pick up a new load, and these two men were indeed in search of new cargo to haul. Only in this case, they weren’t looking to do it legally. They were cruising the truck stops along I-555 for unattended trailers to pick up and steal.

Truckers sometimes leave their trailers at truck stops or even in parking lots in order to visit a mechanic or drive the cab home for the weekend. So the men knew it was only a matter of time before they came across an unattached trailer, overlooked in the bustle of a busy truck stop. The pair’s combined experience came in handy, as either one of them could hook up to a trailer, crank up the landing gear and connect a few hoses, then drive right off in a matter of minutes. Working as a team would make the process faster, allowing the thieves to blend in with the endless streams of highway traffic and be gone before the trailer’s rightful driver realized what had hit him.

At around 5:40 p.m., the men found what they were looking for. A 52-foot Wabash trailer, sitting in the parking lot of the Snappy Mart Truck Stop in West Plains, Missouri. The nephew dropped out of the cab and ran over to the trailer, directing as his uncle backed up. They maneuvered the large, U-shaped coupling on the back of the tractor, under the trailer’s enormous kingpin, which clanked into place and locked automatically. The nephew hopped up and walked through the space between the tractor and the trailer to connect a few hoses and cables. He took a quick look around the lot as he hopped back into the cab and slammed the door. It appeared that nobody had seen them. The two men drove off with the errant trailer, itself worth $7,500 even empty, and hightailed it with whatever cargo was inside, intensely vigilant but giddy like kids at a criminal Christmas

The Pirates of the Highways

Leave it to the Old Professor to tell you something that you have been missing.

To brighten your day….Jimmy Buffet…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

News–Weekend Edition

Another Saturday and much cooler temps in South Mississippi….a much appreciated diversion from late Summer….more time in the garden for me.

Here is the round-up of news that you did not necessarily hear or read or ….

The most sad news is that WP is losing an excellent blogger and my friend……Pete of  https://beetleypete.com/ ……he has come to the end of his patience with the tech problems he has been having with WP and Block Editor.  I hate that he will depart I so look forward to his post on Ollie especially and Sue enjoyed his stories.  I say bye and please be well.

Most people know what a problem plastics has become on our environment….and now there may be yet another solution…..

Plastic waste is a large and ever-growing problem around the world. Now, researchers say they’re closing in on a potentially game-changing solution that could be commercially available in a year or two, reports the Guardian. Scientists have engineered a “super-enzyme” that breaks down plastic six times faster than a previous iteration. The breakthrough came when they combined a previously discovered enzyme (PETase) with a second one (MHETase), explains a release from the UK’s University of Portsmouth. “Our first experiments showed that they did indeed work better together, so we decided to try to physically link them, like two Pac-Men joined by a piece of string,” says researcher John McGeehan. The result sped up the process faster than expected, per the new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.4

“When we linked the enzymes, rather unexpectedly, we got a dramatic increase in activity,” McGeehan says, per the Guardian. The super-enzyme degrades polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, the major component of single-use bottles and such, per CNN. The speed at which it works remains too slow to be commercially viable, but the researchers think that has the potential to change quickly, especially if they partner with firms such as Carbios of France, which discovered a plastic-eating enzyme of its own, though one that needs high temperatures. “If we can make better, faster enzymes by linking them together and provide them to companies like Carbios, and work in partnership, we could start doing this within the next year or two,” says McGeehan, per the Guardian. Another enzyme combo with PETase might improve the recycling of clothes made of fabrics such as polyester.

Crows are much hated……why most people cannot tell you…but these feathered beasties are as intelligent as humans……

Whether crows, ravens, and other “corvids” are making multipart tools like hooked sticks to reach grubs, solving geometry puzzles made famous by Aesop, or nudging a clueless hedgehog across a highway before it becomes roadkill, they have long impressed scientists with their intelligence and creativity.

Now the birds can add one more feather to their brainiac claims: Research unveiled on Thursday in Science finds that crows know what they know and can ponder the content of their own minds, a manifestation of higher intelligence and analytical thought long believed the sole province of humans and a few other higher mammals.

A second study, also in Science, looked in unprecedented detail at the neuroanatomy of pigeons and barn owls, finding hints to the basis of their intelligence that likely applies to corvids’, too.

Brainiacs, not birdbrains: Crows possess higher intelligence long thought a primarily human attribute

Humans have been mining gold for thousands of years….the next question should be….how much is left to be mined?

Experts talk about the concept of peak gold – when we have mined the most we ever can in any one year. Some believe we may have already reached that point.

Gold mine production totalled 3,531 tonnes in 2019, 1% lower than in 2018, according to the World Gold Council. This is the first annual decline in production since 2008.

“While the growth in mine supply may slow or decline slightly in the coming years, as existing reserves are exhausted, and new major discoveries become increasingly rare, suggesting that production has peaked may still be a little premature,” says Hannah Brandstaetter, a spokesman for the World Gold Council.

Even when peak gold happens, experts say the years immediately after it are not likely to see a dramatic decrease in production. Instead, we could see a gradual depletion of output over a few decades.


Do you want the secret to living longer?

Silly question…of course you do.

You may not have to do anything…..

People with chunky thighs or large hips are less likely to die early compared to those with bigger bellies, a new study suggests.

The study, published this week in the medical journal BMJ, says that central fatness or fat stored around the abdomen is associated with a higher risk of early death from any cause — regardless of overall body fat – while larger hips and thighs are associated with a lower risk.

The results suggest that measuring central fatness may be a more reliable indicator of risk of death from extra weight — and could be used in combination with body mass index “as a supplementary approach to determine the risk of premature death,” researchers said.


Finally…..dig site is Egypt coughs up many mummies……

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed more than two dozen ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo, an official said Monday. The sarcophagi have remained unopened since they were buried more than 2,500 years ago near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, says Neveine el-Arif, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. She said 13 coffins were found earlier this month in a newly discovered, 36-foot-deep well, and that 14 more were found last week in another well, per the AP. Footage shared by the ministry showed colorful sarcophagi decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as other artifacts the ministry said were found. The Saqqara plateau hosted at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials, ranging from the First Dynasty (2920BC to 2770BC) to the Coptic period (AD395 to AD642).

Archaeologists were still working to determine the origins of the coffins, el-Arif says, adding that more details and “secrets” would likely be announced next month. El-Arif notes further excavations are underway in the necropolis, and more coffins are expected to be found. Last year, archaeologists found a cache at Saqqara that included hundreds of mummified animals, birds, and crocodiles, as well as two mummified lion cubs. The Saqqara plateau is part of the necropolis of Egypt’s ancient city of Memphis, the ruins of which were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s. In October 2019, archaeologists unearthed 30 ancient wooden coffins with inscriptions and paintings in the southern city of Luxor. The Luxor coffins were moved to be showcased at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Pyramids of Giza.

The Irish Supreme Court has made its ruling….Subway bread is not bread….

Subway bread doesn’t qualify for a value-added tax exemption because it doesn’t meet the legal definition of “bread,” or indeed “food” under the relevant law, Ireland’s Supreme Court has decided. The court ruled that all six varieties of bread used in the company’s sandwiches are far too sugary to officially qualify as bread, reports Food & Wine. The court found that Subway bread had a sugar content equivalent to 10% of the weight of the flour in the dough, when Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act states that for a baked good to be exempt from the tax, ingredients like sugar and fat should not exceed 2% of the flour’s weight, the Irish Independent reports.

The law aims to ensure that pastries and similar goods are taxed differently from ordinary bread. The ruling was made in a case brought by a Subway franchise owner who sought a VAT refund on the basis that takeout sandwiches qualified as a “staple food.” “The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary,” the court wrote, per the Guardian. “Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail.” Subway’s head office hasn’t commented on the ruling.

There you have the news that the MSM has overlooked for one reason or another……and that is where the Old Professor comes in…..

In closing let’s look at the Mexican Weather reports….

Enjoy your Saturday.

Be Well…..Be Safe…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”