Monday, September 18, 2023

Short Takes – 9-18-23

Reciprocal Switching for Inadequate Service. Federal Register STB NPRM. Summary: “This decision proposes, in a new subdocket, a new set of regulations that would provide for the prescription of reciprocal switching agreements to address inadequate rail service, as determined using objective standards based on a carrier's original estimated time of arrival, transit time, and first-mile and last-mile service. To help implement the new regulations, the Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) proposes to require Class I carriers to submit certain data, which would be publicly accessible and generalized; and to adopt a new requirement that, upon written request by a customer, a rail carrier must provide to that customer individualized, machine-readable service data.”

Reciprocal Switching. Federal Register STB Docket closure. Summary: “On July 27, 2016, in Docket No. EP 711 (Sub-No. 1), the Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) proposed to revise its reciprocal switching regulations. After considering the full record and the developments in the freight rail industry, the Board has decided not to pursue those revisions and to close Docket No. EP 711 (Sub-No. 1). Instead, in Docket No. EP 711 (Sub-No. 2), the Board is proposing a new set of regulations that would provide access to reciprocal switching when there is inadequate service. The Board will continue to assess what other action, if any, the Board should take with respect to reciprocal switching.”

NOTE: I previously discussed (subscription required) these two parts of the same STB Docket.

Should We Really Be Texting for Work? article. Pull quote: “Texting, which we use to maintain our closest social bonds, was a reliable way to cut through. Ninety-seven percent of text messages are opened within 15 minutes, according to a report from Insider Intelligence, a research firm. “I may interrupt a meeting if I have a text, because my kids text,” Dr. Bloom said. “I would never interrupt a meeting for an email.””

In Risky Hunt for Secrets, U.S. and China Expand Global Spy Operations. article. Pull quote: “China has also poured resources into determining the thinking of top American officials. A Justice Department indictment unsealed in July suggests Chinese businesspeople tied to the government were trying to recruit James Woolsey, a former C.I.A. director who was in the running to be a Trump administration national security cabinet official right after the 2016 election.”

Here’s what the latest Mars rover has learned so far. article. Pull quote: “Until then, Perseverance is doing its part. Once it drops this next sample cache, it is expected to get an extended mission to do some more exploring. The rover is in great shape, so hopefully it will follow in the wheel tracks of its predecessors by carrying on well past the goal it was designed for—as part of the active Earthling presence on Mars.”

House GOP strikes internal deal as shutdown approaches. The article. Pull quote: “But soon after a House GOP conference call ended on Sunday evening, it became clear that the plan – which is expected to be universally opposed by Democrats – has some major issues in getting enough support in the razor-thin House GOP majority.”

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