Anchorage and the Mat-Su received an initial dusting of snow early Tuesday from an expected two-day snow dump, with wrecks reported on the Glenn Highway, and forecasters were expecting several inches to fall by Wednesday evening.
Anchorage police dispatchers said rollover crashes and other wrecks were reported inbound on the Glenn during Tuesday's morning commute, but none with serious injuries. Between midnight and 9 a.m., police were informed of 11 vehicles in distress as well as 21 accidents and four accidents with injuries.
Dispatchers said roads throughout Anchorage were slick Tuesday morning, and rollovers had also been reported on Minnesota Drive and some side roads.
Shaun Baines, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage, said most areas of the city had received only minor amounts of snowfall early Tuesday, including seven-tenths of an inch in Eagle River. The forecast still calls for 1 to 2 inches of snow during the day Tuesday and 1 to 2 more overnight.
"The snow we expect to move in by midday is still on schedule," Baines said. "Expect by midafternoon to see an increase."
The snowfall is being driven by a series of low-pressure systems moving north across the Gulf of Alaska and their paths as they move over land, Baines said.
"The sweet spot is Seward and western Prince William Sound," Baines said. "If they come that way, we get moisture and plenty of bands of heavy snow."
Overall, Baines said, the pattern could bring 4 to 8 inches of snow to the area.
"It sort of starts to break down during the day Wednesday," Baines said. "Things will really be starting to taper off Wednesday afternoon."
HOUSTON — A small group of U.S. oil producers has been trying to exploit advances in DNA science to wring more crude from shale rock, as the domestic energy industry keeps pushing relentlessly to cut costs and compete with the world's top exporters.
Shale producers have slashed production costs as much as 50 percent over two years, waging a price war with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Now, U.S. shale producers can compete in a $50-per-barrel oil market, and about a dozen shale companies are seeking to cut costs further by analyzing DNA samples extracted from oil wells to identify promising spots to drill.
The technique involves testing DNA extracts from microbes found in rock samples and comparing them to DNA extracted from oil. Similarities or differences can pinpoint areas with the biggest potential. The process can help cut the time needed to begin pumping, shaving production costs as much as 10 percent, said Ajay Kshatriya, chief executive and co-founder of Biota Technology, the company that developed this application of DNA science for use in oilfields.
The information can help drillers avoid missteps that prevent maximum production, such as applying insufficient pressure to reach oil trapped in rocks, or drilling wells too closely together, Kshatriya said.
"This is a whole new way of measuring these wells and, by extension, sucking out more oil for less," he said.
Biota's customers include Statoil ASA, EP Energy Corp and more than a dozen other oil producers. Kshatriya would not detail Biota's cost, but said it amounts to less than 1 percent of the total cost to bring a well online.
A shale well can cost between $4 million and $8 million, depending on geology and other factors.
Independent petroleum engineers and chemists said Biota's process holds promise if the company can collect enough DNA samples along the length of a well so results are not skewed.
"I don't doubt that with enough information (Biota) could find a signature, a DNA fingerprint, of microbial genomes that can substantially improve the accuracy and speed of a number of diagnostic applications in the oil industry," said Preethi Gunaratne, a professor of biology and chemistry at the University of Houston.
Biota has applied its technology to about 80 wells across U.S. shale basins, including North Dakota's Bakken, and the Permian and Eagle Ford in Texas, Kshatriya said. That is a tiny slice of the more than 300,000 shale wells across the nation.
EP Energy, one of Biota's first customers, insisted on a blind test last year to gauge the technique's effectiveness, asking Biota to determine the origin of an oil sample from among dozens of wells in a 1,000-square foot zone.
Biota was able to find the wells from which the oil was taken and to recommend improvements for wells drilled in the same region, said Peter Lascelles, an EP Energy geologist.
"If you've been in the oilfield long enough, you've seen a lot of snake oil," said Lascelles, using slang for products or services that do not perform as advertised.
Lascelles said DNA testing helps EP Energy understand well performance better than existing oil field surveys such as seismic and chemical analysis. The testing gives insight into what happens underground when rock is fractured with high pressure mixtures of sand and water to release trapped oil.
Biota's process is just the latest technology pioneered to coax more oil from rock. Other techniques include microseismic studies, which examine how liquid moves in a reservoir, and tracers, which use some DNA elements to study fluid movement.
Venture capitalist George Coyle said his fund Energy Innovation Capital had invested in Biota because it expected the technique to yield big improvements in drilling efficiency. He declined to say how much the fund had invested.
"The correlations they're going to be able to find to improve a well, we think, are going to be big," he said.
More than 100 million years ago, on a muddy stretch of land that is now Australia, nearly two dozen species of dinosaur once roamed.
There were duck-billed ornithopods, which left long, three-toed tracks in their wake. Heavy armored dinosaurs pressed large, tulip-shaped prints into the soil. Predators scratched the ground with their talons. And the feet of gigantic, long-necked sauropods created bathtub-sized depressions in the dirt.
Asteroids struck, continents moved, sea levels rose and fell. What was once a damp, forested environment surrounded by shallow seas became the hot, rugged coastline of northwestern Australia.
But the dinosaurs' tracks remained. The footprint assemblage, which contains evidence of 21 species, is the most diverse in the world, researchers reported Friday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
One of those tracks is the largest dinosaur print ever recorded: a 5-foot-9-inch print from a sauropod, or long-necked dinosaur. The tracks also provide the first evidence that spiky tailed stegosaurs lived in the land down under.
"The tracks provide a snapshot, a census if you will, of an extremely diverse dinosaur fauna," lead author Steve Salisbury, a paleontologist at the University of Queensland, told Gizmodo. "Twenty-one different types of dinosaurs all living together at the same time in the same area. We have never seen this level of diversity before, anywhere in the world. It's the Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti. And it's written in stone."
There are thousands of marks along the 15-mile stretch of coastline, called Walmadany by the indigenous Goolarabooloo people and labeled James Price Point on most maps. Salisbury likened the region to "Australia's own 'Jurassic Park.' "
The Goolarabooloo have known about the fossil trackways for millennia. The massive markings, which are visible only at low tide, are featured in Goolarabooloo oral histories, or "song cycles," Salisbury told the BBC.
"They relate to a creation mythology, and specifically the tracks show the journey of a creation being called Marala – the emu man. Wherever he went he left behind three-toed tracks that now we recognize as the tracks of meat-eating dinosaurs," he said.
In 2008, Walmadany was selected as the preferred site for a natural gas plant. Worried that the sacred and scientifically significant site would be lost, the Goolarabooloo reached out to paleontologists and asked them to look into the tracks.
"We needed the world to see what was at stake," Goolarabooloo leader Phillip Roe said in a statement.
The area was listed as a natural heritage site in 2011, and plans for the natural gas plant fell apart two years later.
Working alongside the Goolarabooloo, who are considered the region's "traditional custodians," Salisbury and his colleagues spent 400 hours investigating the markings. Each one was measured with three-dimensional photogrammetry, a technique used to build a 3-D reconstruction of an object by taking photographs from a variety of angles. For some tracks, the scientists also made casts out of flexible silicon, which can later be used to produce museum replicas of the prints.
According to Salisbury, most other Australian dinosaur fossils come from the continent's eastern side and date back to the mid-Cretaceous, about 90 to 115 million years ago. These tracks, which are between 127 and 144 million years old, represent the only fossil evidence from the early Cretaceous and are some of the oldest dinosaur remains in Australia, he said.
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry.
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.
Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry to United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.
As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became national security adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster.
The White House and the Justice Department had no immediate comment.
In January, Yates warned White House counsel Donald McGahn that statements White House officials made about Flynn's contact with the ambassador were incorrect, and could therefore expose the national security adviser to future blackmail by the Russians.
In a March 23 letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuel Ramer, Yates' attorney David O'Neil described the government's position. O'Neill, who declined to comment, noted in the letter that Yates is willing to testify, and that she will avoid discussing classified information and details that could compromise investigations.
"The Department of Justice has advised that it believes there are further constraints on the testimony Ms. Yates may provide at the [Intelligence Committee] hearing. Generally, we understand that the department takes the position that all information Ms. Yates received or actions she took in her capacity as Deputy Attorney General and acting Attorney General are client confidences that she may not disclose absent written consent of the department," the lawyer wrote.
"We believe that the department's position in this regard is overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department's historical approach to the congressional testimony of current and former officials," the letter continues. "In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department's notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official. Requiring Ms. Yates to refuse to provide such information is particularly untenable given that multiple senior administration officials have publicly described the same events."
Scott Schools, another Justice Department official, replied in a letter the following day, saying the conversations with the White House "are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege. The president owns those privileges. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the intelligence panel], she needs to consult with the White House. She need not obtain separate consent from the department."
Yates' attorney then sent a letter Friday to McGahn, the White House lawyer, saying that any claim of privilege "has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications. Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information."
That same day, Nunes, the panel's chairman, said he would not go forward with the public hearing that was to feature Yates' testimony.
Until it disappeared under the darkness of night, the 220-pound gold coin sat behind bulletproof glass in Berlin's Bode Museum.
Since December 2010, the gargantuan coin delighted museum visitors, who likely could not imagine the absurdity of transporting such a weighty hunk of money. Early Monday morning, however, thieves appear to have done just that.
"The coin was stolen last night," museum spokesman Markus Farr told Reuters. "It's gone."
If so, how it was stolen remained a mystery early Tuesday morning. Berlin police stayed fairly mum on the museum heist, offering only a few tantalizing details that resembled the plots of the "Ocean's Eleven" films.
The museum's back wall backs up to passing railroad tracks. Perched about four yards above the tracks was a window leading to the museum, which police found ajar, the New York Times reported. Near the open window, they found a ladder that may have been used in the robbery, police told CNN
"Based on the information we have so far we believe that the thief, maybe thieves, broke open a window in the back of the museum next to the railway tracks," police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel told Reuters. "They then managed to enter the building and went to the coin exhibition."
The working theory, as the New York Times noted, is that thieves dragged the coin through the museum and then along the railroad tracks, likely to a nearby park. How they would have avoided any further security systems or cameras remained unclear, as police declined to comment further.
There was, though, little doubt that the coin was a specific target. The bulletproof glass encapsulating the coin "appeared to have been violently shattered," Wenzel said. Meanwhile, the other coins in the display remained peaceably untouched.
The Royal Canadian Mint produced its first $1 million (Canadian) gold coin in 2007. One one side appeared the head of Queen Elizabeth II. The other side bore the image of a maple leaf.
Nicknamed the "Big Maple Leaf," the coin boasts impressive metrics: it is 99.999 percent pure gold, more than an inch thick and its diameter exceeds 20 inches. It was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for its "unsurpassed purity," CNN reported. The coin's face value is a misnomer. Given its gold content, it is actually worth around $4.5 million.
Pleased with its creation, which the Royal Canadian Mint's website called "a true milestone in minting," the mint then decided to produce up to 10 copies "after several interested buyers came forward." Eventually, it settled on producing five replicas, one of which landed in (and subsequently disappeared from) the Bode Museum.
"Why did the Royal Canadian Mint make the world's purest and largest gold bullion coin?" a statement on the mint's website said. "Because we can."
Selling such a notable coin on the black market would prove difficult, of course, unless one first melted it down and sold the crude gold comprising it.
WASHINGTON — Top House Democrats on Monday called on the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to recuse himself from the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, thrusting the entire inquiry into jeopardy amid what they described as mounting evidence he was too close to President Donald Trump to be impartial.
The demands followed revelations that the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, had met on White House grounds with a source who showed him secret U.S. intelligence reports. The reports, Nunes said last week, showed that Trump or his closest associates may have been "incidentally" swept up in foreign surveillance by U.S. spy agencies.
The new revelation that the information came from a meeting held on the grounds of the White House intensified questions about what prompted Nunes to make the claim about the intelligence gathering, and who gave him the information.
Reps. Adam B. Schiff of California, the committee's top Democrat, and Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, suggested that Nunes, who served on the Trump transition team, was simply too close to the White House to run an independent, thorough inquiry.
"The public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman," Schiff said Monday night.
Still, Schiff stopped short of pulling the panel's Democrats out of the investigation. Doing so could jeopardize Democrats' influence over the inquiry and, importantly, their access to intelligence on possible ties between Trump associates and Moscow.
The House Intelligence Committee is running one of the three investigations into Russian interference in the election, and possible ties between Trump associates and Russia. The Senate Intelligence Committee is running its own inquiry, and the FBI has carried out a broad counterintelligence investigation since July.
By most accounts, the Senate and FBI investigations remain on track, unlike the House inquiry, which appears to have increasingly descended into a sideshow since its first public hearing a week ago. That was when James Comey, director of the FBI, publicly disclosed the bureau's investigation for the first time. Days later, Nunes made his first disclosure about Trump or his associates being caught in U.S. intelligence gathering, prompting critics to argue that he was trying to shift attention and provide an assist to the White House at a crucial moment.
The revelation that Nunes had viewed intelligence materials on White House grounds the day before bolstering the administration's case fueled damaging speculation that he was acting at the instruction of the president. That could prove fatal to the bipartisan investigation, which has hinged on the ability of Nunes to conduct a neutral inquiry while maintaining the trust and cooperation of Schiff.
Pelosi echoed Schiff's call for Nunes to recuse himself, saying his behavior had "tarnished" his post, and that House Speaker Paul Ryan should weigh in.
"Speaker Ryan must insist that Chairman Nunes at least recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation immediately," she said in a statement. "That leadership is long overdue."
In an apparent attempt to change the subject, Trump on Monday night questioned why the House Intelligence Committee is not looking into connections between Hillary Clinton and Russian officials.
A few minutes later, he posted a second message on Twitter, concluding, "Trump Russia story is a hoax."
The spokesman for Nunes, Jack Langer, said the congressman met with his source at the White House because he needed access to a secure location where people with security clearances can legally view classified information. But such facilities can also be found in the Capitol building, and at other locations across Washington.
Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called it "more than suspicious" that Nunes went to the White House complex, pointing out that he would "have to be escorted" while there.
"Who is he meeting with?" Warner said in an interview with NBC. "Was it a source or somebody from the administration?"
Langer did not address those concerns Monday. In a brief statement, he said: "Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source."
He added, "The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that the Trump Tower had been wiretapped."
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said Monday that White House officials had no previous knowledge of Nunes' visit to the White House grounds, saying the only information he had came from "public reports."
He also said officials were "not concerned" about the prospect that someone within the executive branch had leaked classified information to Nunes.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, accused Nunes of weakening not only the committee's tradition of bipartisanship but also Congress itself. He urged Ryan to replace Nunes.
"He has not been cooperating like someone who is interested in getting to the unvarnished truth," Schumer said.
Acknowledging that the incidental collection from surveillance appeared to be legal, Nunes last week said his concerns surrounded additional names that may have been improperly "unmasked." Normally, intelligence agencies mask the identities of U.S. citizens who are incidentally present in intercepted communications.
Schiff said that Nunes also worried that anyone viewing the distributed reports could decipher whom they were discussing even though the names were masked.
Nunes repeatedly declined to offer any details about the source of what he characterized as "dozens" of classified intelligence reports, which Schiff accused him of viewing in a "dead-of-night excursion." Nunes said only that the information had come to him after the committee's public hearing Monday.
On Friday, Nunes declined to say whether that information had come from the White House.
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"You can ask me every single name that exists on the planet, and I'm still not going to tell you who our sources are," he told reporters.
Nunes then defended his decision to bypass Schiff and go to the White House, saying he felt a "duty" to tell Trump because of Democrats' "relentless" political attacks.
"If we would have crossed paths in the hall, maybe I would have said something to him," Nunes said in an interview. "But what I was trying to do was get to the president as quick as possible."
At that point, Trump seized on the information, saying he felt "somewhat" vindicated in his wiretapping claim against former President Barack Obama — debunked by the FBI director and the director of the National Security Agency, as well as the heads of the Senate and House investigations, including Nunes.
Q: For the last 15 years, I've dedicated myself to working hard to help a small business succeed. I've worn many hats, including those of safety cop, accounts payable/receivable bookkeeper, human resources manager and site manager, and in each of those areas functioned at a senior level.
Although I've pushed myself to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion for this employer, I've rarely made enough money to live year round because they're a seasonal business. I've grown tired of being "laid off" every November and so put myself on the job market in February.
I would have thought 15 years of hard work and senior-level work for one employer would have proved I had employer loyalty and was a great hire, but I haven't received any job offers. What appears to turn off prospective employers is the fact that the small business I worked for was owned by my family and the supervisor who can attest to my skills is my dad.
Why does working for a family business make me a less credible candidate than someone who worked for a company without family ties? This is so unfair; I had to rise through the ranks like anyone else and was probably held to a higher standard. A human resources person I talked with even suggested I delete this 15-year job from my resume. Do I really need to do that?
A: Every applicant has to prove him or herself. When your primary work experience stems from working for a family business with your dad as supervisor, you face an extra burden of proof. For example, you claim senior-level expertise in a variety of areas. Does your safety, human resources or facilities management experience equal that of an individual who has performed at a manager level in a larger, year-round company? If so, how can you prove that?
Workplace and career coach Karen Casanovas urges you to create a cover letter and resume that tells your story so specifically that a prospective employer "gets" that you're a rock star. "Start," she suggests, "by embracing your family business. Those who rise to the top in a family business learn how to effectively handle conflict and excel at strategic negotiation." What if you noted in your cover letter that you know how to successfully navigate conflict with deep tentacles? Or that your 15-year track record demonstrates loyalty, dedication and persistence, which you offer to your next employer.
Casanovas also suggests you pay careful attention to word choice in your cover letter and resume to change them from plain vanilla documents into ones that showcase you "as a three-dimensional person" who stands out from other applicants. "Know who you are and define your brand," Casanovas says. "Can you turn cranky customers and employees into teddy bears? Are you the ninja warrior that tenaciously works a project to the end no matter what obstacles you face? Did you reduce insurance payments by 20 percent? Were you able to save the company 35 percent in supply costs by switching vendors?
"Describe every accomplishment so precisely that a prospective employer can see exactly who you are, what your skills are, what you've accomplished in your work assignments and how you can add value to their company. This is particularly important given that most hiring managers spend only six seconds scanning resumes."
Finally, you earned your "stripes" working in your family business. Don't leave it off your resume, unless you've had several jobs since then. Just don't expect your work there to "seal the deal" and sell you — you have to sell what that 15 years means.