New federal climate report has dire warnings for Florida: Thank God we just elected two politicians who refuse to fully acknowledge climate change to the top seats in the state. The Fourth National Climate Assessment produced by 300 scientists and 13 federal agencies says humans need to take action immediately "to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades." If our lawmakers continue to deny global warming, Florida will be hit with increased amounts of mosquito-borne illnesses, the spread of invasive species, dying coral reefs, and more intense hurricanes, rainfall and flooding.
Brightline-Virgin rail service from Orlando to Tampa could cost $35 for one-way ticket: New documents filed by Virgin Trains USA, formerly known as Brightline, shed more light on the privately owned passenger rail service's plan for an Orlando-to-Tampa route. The documents, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, show the company predicts the Orlando-to-Tampa route proposed along Interstate 4 could be launched as early as 2021 and cost about $35 for a one-way ticket (or about $73 for a round trip). The trip between the two cities would be about an hour on Virgin trains capable of going up to 125 miles per hour. In June, Gov. Rick Scott said the state Department of Transportation had received an "unsolicited proposal" to lease state property for a high-speed train along I-4. A few days later, Brightline announced it was pursuing the route outlined by Scott.
Ocoee issues proclamation acknowledging 1920 Election Day massacre: Close to a century after it happened, the City of Ocoee issued a proclamation last week acknowledging the 1920 Election Day massacre. The proclamation recognizes Julius "July" Perry, a prosperous African American farmer who was shot and lynched by a white mob in Orlando after encouraging Ocoee's black residents to vote. "Let it be known that Ocoee shall no longer be the sundown city but the sunrise city, with the bright light of harmony, justice, and prosperity shining upon all our citizens," the proclamation reads. "Sundown towns" are communities where African Americans were advised to be outside city limits before dark under threat of violence. As well as hanging Perry from a telephone post, the mob also burned Ocoee's African American neighborhood to the ground, killed an unknown number of black people and drove out those who survived.
Florida lawmakers plan to tackle election problems after state called 'laughingstock of the world': Last week, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker called Florida the "laughingstock of the world, election after election" in a case dealing with Palm Beach County's unsuccessful recount. Florida's latest voting debacle included three statewide recounts for agriculture commissioner, governor and a U.S. Senate seat, and incoming Florida Senate President Bill Galvano said state lawmakers will likely "review various aspects of the elections process" to prevent future elections from "judicial intervention." "There is an interest among the members that I've talked to – after this cycle – to revisit it, and figure out why ballots appear, why they are hard to track, why we have machine recounts that produce a substantially lesser number of votes than originally reported," Galvano told reporters last week.
Florida ant collects the skulls of dismembered enemies to decorate nest: Add Formica archboldi ants to the rotating cast of Florida creatures haunting your nightmares. The state's most metal ant tricks a powerful species known as trap-jaw ants by chemically mimicking them and then spraying these enemy ants with immobilizing formic acid, according to new research by Adrian Smith, a scientist at North Carolina State University. After the gruesome murders, F. archboldi ants drag victims into their nest, dismember the bodies and collect the decapitated skulls to adorn their home. For decades, previous scientists observed trap-jaw ant skulls in the nests of F. archboldi ants, but assumed they had moved into abandoned former trap-jaw nesting sites. The real reason behind the amassed carcasses was a lot more macabre, according to the study published in the journal Insectes Sociaux.