More SeaTac petitions to help workers
The battle over living wages for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport workers appears to be headed into extra rounds in the courts. Supporters of the drive to put a ballot measure before city of SeaTac voters in November spent today furiously trying to overcome a court ruling that said their initiative petitions lacked enough valid signatures. Heather Weiner, a spokesperson for Yes! for SeaTac, said her organization turned in an additional 250 signatures, something the measure's supporters say is allowed under law in such cases. Yes! for SeaTac attorneys are submitting legal motions both to ensure that the additional signatures are considered and to overturn the original ruling. The ballot measure would require a wage of $15 per hour in the city, which includes the airport. The Washington Restaurant Association and Alaska Airlines have raised objections.
GMO food battle
There's no doubt that a measure to require the labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms will be on the ballot and — as Joel Connelly writes on seattlepi.com — very expensive. On Tuesday, the national Grocery Manufacturers Association plopped down $1.75 million for the campaign against Initiative 522, which would require labeling on GMO products sold in the state. The two sides have already amassed warchests totaling some $3.2 million each. In California last year, GMO supporters, fueled by big industrial contributions, outspent backers of a similar labeling measure by a 5-to-1 margin. If things follow a similar course here, TV stations will be the winners, reaping a bumper crop of advertising dollars.
Hanford delays burn state
The state has complained to the U.S. Department of Energy that it missed an important Hanford cleanup deadline. A court-enforced settlement required that the construction of a new analytical laboratory be completed by the end of last year. The lab is built but with significant defects, according to the state. The lab is part of the vitrification plant that will turn nueclear wastes into glass that can be safely stored. According to the Tri-City Herald, the state Department of Ecology is upset that Energy declared the work complete in spite of the known problems. Even so, a state official told the Herald that Washington will sign off on the work if the repairs are done by the end of this year.
Burger King delivers
Burger King is offering a whole new service in Spokane: delivery of those oh-so-necessary fast food orders. In a story wryly headlined "Too lazy to drive to Burger King in Spokane?", the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that BK delivers in some neighborhoods and will soon expand into others. The company says "some of our most loyal guests" — addicts? — live in Spokane, and the city joins a number of other metro areas, including Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco, in the delivery program. We were going to make fun of Spokane until we saw the Bay Area on that list. If SF has it, we want it too. Here's where to sign up for notification when BK delivery finally gets here.
Brain to brain connection
Using electrical hookups, Skype and a brain-controlled video game, University of Washington researchers have achieved a sort of mental — and physical — telepathy, at least through the Internet. On seattlepi.com, Levi Pulkinnen writes, "Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent the signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of UW’s Seattle campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard. According to the UW statement, researchers elsewhere have demonstrated brain-to-brain communication between rats and between a human and a rat, but Rao and Stocco believe this is the first demonstration of human-to-human brain interfacing."
Researchers reportedly envision the technology paving the way for, say, ground-based pilots to connect with a flight attendant who takes over for a stricken pilot and safely guide the airliner back to earth. Hmm. Sounds to us like a thinly-veiled ruse to phase out pilots' seats as a way to squeeze in a few more paying passengers, who could pay extra for the privilege of having their brains controlled from the ground.
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