News.bytes
A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 149 - 3/16/04

(PLEASE NOTE:
This is a very abridged version of our usual News.bytes -- due to an unexpected shutdown of all Department of Interior Internet connections, including BLM's. For this reason we were also unable to release an issue the week of March 22, 2004. For a more representative sample of our weekly e-mail newsletter, see issue 148 - some of the links to news stories may no longer work, as some online newspapers only offer free access to stories within the past week.)

This week in News.bytes:
- Photo Album: "DARPA Grand Challenge"
- Robot vehicle race ends quickly
- BLM Web connection may be shut down
- Headlines and Highlights, including:
      - Imperial Irrigation District transmission line project
      - Navy wants BLM land to keep SEALs battle-ready
      - BLM California job openings
      - The rare pink burro
      - Public land looting ring unravels
      - Hunters ready to talk turkey
- Selected Upcoming Event

A driverless vehicle strays off the coursePHOTO ALBUM: "DARPA Grand Challenge"
Some photos from the robot race in the desert - most of them from the group of vehicles that made it the furthest. BLM was involved through the environmental assessment required for the race to take place across public lands in the California desert. (Note: this feature did not appear in the e-mail version of News.bytes issue 149, because all BLM Internet sites including our photo database, had been disconnected from the Internet.
http://www6.ca.blm.gov/blm/index.jsp?folderOpen=Public%20Folders%2fNewsbytes%2fHighlights%2fDARPA


DARPA GRAND CHALLENGE - ROBOT RACE

Robot vehicle tackles the desert racecourse"Robot vehicle race ends quickly" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 03/14/2004)
"A 201-mile race across the Mojave Desert for robotic vehicles officially ended just four hours into the competition on Saturday, short-circuited by a series of technical difficulties. The 15 unmanned vehicles, built to 'see' their way past rocks, washes and Joshua trees, were plagued by a series of engine failures, crashes and desert obstacles..."
http://www.desertdispatch.com/cgi-bin/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1079274887,64316,

"Robots fail to complete grand challenge" (CNN, 03/14/2004)
"Nobody won. Nobody even came close. But that didn't stop organizers of the DARPA Grand Challenge from declaring an unusual race across the Mojave Desert a spirited success." Includes links to online VIDEO of the event.
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/03/14/darpa.race/index.html

"The robots will return, DARPA vows" (Government Computer News, 03/15/2004)
"That none of the vehicles finished the race was not a huge surprise to DARPA officials. The agency said long before the challenge took place that DOD would hold it each year until someone claimed the $1 million purse. DARPA has a four-year permit from the Bureau of Land Management to use selected portions of the land in the Mojave Desert where the race was held this past weekend."
http://gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/25259-1.html



BLM WEB CONNECTION MAY BE SHUT DOWN

"Internet cutoff ordered at Interior" (Washington Post, 3/16/2004)
"A federal judge in Washington yesterday ordered the Interior Department to shut down most of its employees' Internet access and some of its public Web sites...." The decision applies to several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. "In the past, Interior's Internet shutdowns have made it difficult for people to get online information about national parks and monuments as well as for departmental offices to communicate with one another....the agency's top officials and lawyers were still reviewing Lamberth's injunction and...its ramifications for employees or the public."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61546-2004Mar15.html

NOTE: Because BLM may be disconnected soon from the Internet, News.bytes does not include the following usual features that rely on that Internet connection:
- Wildlife Trivia of the Week
- Where is this? (interactive photo feature)
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Profile
- Bookstore feature
- Selected Upcoming Events
- Thumbnail photos
ALSO, if BLM is disconnected from the Internet, the News.bytes team will not be able to receive your email messages.



HEADLINES AND HIGHLIGHTS

"The rare pink burro" (San Mateo County Times, 03/13/2004)
"Carlitos -- a shaggy creature with large brown eyes -- was born here last November after his mother, Lola, was purchased by local resident Robin Whalen at the BLM's auction of wild horses and burros....Last fall, Whalen paid $150 for the pregnant Lola -- a rare pink burro -- and called her purchase 'a complete and total bargain'.""
http://www.sanmateocountytimes.com/Stories/0,1413,87%257E11268%257E2015372,00.html

"In Las Vegas, looting ring unravels" (Washington Post, 03/15/2004)
"During the course of a two-year investigation, authorities recovered more than 11,100 relics, including a human skull, lifted from public lands in California and Nevada, many from areas never charted by archaeologists. The five members of the ring were convicted of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act...The ringleader...began serving...the longest jail term ever imposed for a first-time offender of the resources protection law."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58664-2004Mar14.html

Current job openings - BLM California
BLM California job listings on USAJOBS Web site.
http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm-ca.asp

"Flower hunters take to the hills" (Hi-Desert Star, 3/16/2004)
"With the right amount of rain at the right time of year, the desert is well known for its tendency to fairly explode with colorful wildflowers." A group that normally seeks birds each week at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (co-managed by BLM and partners) instead seeks wildflowers in the hills. They identify 57 species. "Anyone interested in desert wildflowers, or anyone who just likes an occasional scenic view, will find what they're looking for at the lower elevations for the time being. As spring progresses, the bloom will move uphill." (This includes wildflowers found on many BLM-managed public land areas in the desert.)
http://www.hidesertstar.com/articles/2004/03/15/features/feature2.txt

"BLM releases plan amendment for proposed Imperial Irrigation District transmission line project" (BLM California news release, 03/12/2004)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a proposed plan amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan to allow construction of a 2.8 mile transmission line outside a designated corridor for the proposed Imperial Irrigation District's Double Circuit 161 kV Transmission Line.
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2004/03/nr/CDDnews28_IID_SSU6_amendment.html

"Hunters ready to talk turkey" (Sonora Union Democrat, 03/12/2004)
"...[M]ost of California's turkey populations are on private land. To hunt on private property, hunters must have written permission from the landowner, or be subject to the crime of trespassing." A few inconsiderate hunters have ruined this for many, the writer says. "The alternative is to check out public land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has thousands of acres in the state and they can provide information and maps of available public land." (Story includes a telephone number for BLM's Folsom Field Office - see item below for contact information on BLM California Field Offices.)
http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=13620

Related: Contact the appropriate BLM California Field Office for more information: http://www.ca.blm.gov/fieldoffices.html .

"Navy is on a mission to keep SEALs battle-ready" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 03/13/2004)
"Service wants more BLM land in Campo."
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/military/20040313-9999-news_7m13laposta.html


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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600
http://www.ca.blm.gov

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