Browsing Tag: education

    Conductor (Episode 95)
    Articles, Blog

    Conductor (Episode 95)

    August 12, 2019


    Our next guest plays a crucial role in railway operations and maintaining safety in and around the train at all times. Let’s meet the train conductor. Hi, I am Viviana. Hi. Chantelle. Nice to meet you. Would you like to take a tour? I would. Let’s go. My name is Chantelle Doucet and I’m a conductor and locomotive engineer in Port Coquitlam. The conductor is responsible for the safe operation of trains. They don’t drive the train, but they’re involved with making sure it gets over the road safely. You’re switching out boxcars, aligning switches, putting cars in different tracks, marshalling them into the proper order for trains that will go to various destinations across the country. When you start, you’re going to meet up with your helper and your engineer. So, there’s two conductors and the engineer. And then the tower. Someone in the tower is going to give you a switch list, which tells you which cars need to be moved from what tracks to another track. And then you’ll go and get your locomotive and go start switching the cars out. I got started with the job because my uncle was an engineer and I had three generations previous to me working as railroaders. I knew I wanted a lifelong career. So what’s in that? That’s for transporting automobiles, but we transport all different types of stuff. All across Canada, right?
    Yeah. We have three types of shifts—there’s yard shifts, which are set schedules usually eight hours. They stay in the yard. And then there’s Road Switchers, they’re also a set schedule five days a week for two days off. And they can be up to ten hours and you’ll take trains about…within 50 miles of your home terminal and you’re delivering cars to customers or interchanges with other railways. And then there’s freight, which is—you’re on call 24/7 and you could be gone for up to 24 hours. So you take the train 100 miles in one direction, and then you trade off with another crew who takes it another hundred miles and this continues on until the train gets to its destination. There’s short college courses available too, to get you ready for the career. Once you’re hired by the company, you’ll be put through six months of training in the classroom and on job training. The advantage of taking these college courses is to make sure it’s something you’re interested in and give you an idea of what the job is all about. The conductor will be on the ground and sometimes they can be up to a mile away from me. So, that’s why radios come into play, but if you can see your locomotive engineer and he can see you, visibly, then we’d like to switch by hand signals. And what’s the favourite part of the job? My favourite part is probably working with all the great people.
    Nice. A lot of conductors, after they’ve been working for a long time, take the promotion of becoming an engineer and then they’ll work as both. To become a locomotive engineer there’s another six months of on job training and classroom work, too. As a conductor, you’re always working with your hands, throwing switches, aligning switches, climbing ladders, applying hand brakes, I have to turn a wheel to tighten up a chain that applies the brakes to the car. When you’re in the train yard, there’s lots of different trains moving around the yard. All the tracks are live. You need to be aware of your surroundings and very alert. So what kind of advice would you give to somebody who’s thinking about becoming a conductor? Well, it’s really great if you like variety— every day is different, but it’s a very different lifestyle— not your average nine to five job, that’s for sure. I can only imagine. Well, thanks so much for showing me around today.
    No problem. Anytime. Once again, this is Career Trek and I’m Viviana reminding you that this career could be yours. See you next time.

    Why NASA hasn’t gone back to the Moon
    Articles, Blog

    Why NASA hasn’t gone back to the Moon

    August 12, 2019


    (dramatic music) – [Loren] At the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, big things are afoot. This massive factory floor
    holds major components for NASA’s new rocket, the
    Space Launch System, or SLS. It’s the centerpiece for
    NASA’s Artemis Program, a series of missions that will send the first woman to the Moon. When the SLS is finished, it’s going to be something to behold. Standing taller than
    the Statue of Liberty, the finished version of the
    rocket will rival the power of the Saturn V that took humans
    to the Moon during Apollo. – [Launch Control] Engine run-up, liftoff! – SLS is really going to be the backbone for going and exploring deep space. There’s no other rocket
    out there that can do that. – [Loren] But the finished rocket has been years away… for years. – So between now and June of 2020, we’d have to make that a reality. – This is 2019.
    – Yes, sir. – [Loren] The project has been plagued with delays and cost overruns, and today, 50 years
    after the Moon landing, it’s worth asking whether the US can reclaim its Apollo mojo. – [Mission Control] Apollo 11, this is Houston at one minute. Trajectory and guidance look good and the stage is good, over.
    (radio beeping) – The heart of the
    problem may be that NASA’s trying to do things too
    similarly to Apollo, and that might not work today. The perfect storm of money and politics that helped Apollo succeed
    just may never happen again. Apollo occurred during
    a very volatile time. It was the height of the Cold War, and the US needed a show of strength against the Soviet Union. President John F. Kennedy
    was advised that space could be a great way to
    prove America’s worth on the global stage, so he called on NASA to
    send a person to the Moon by the end of the 1960s. – We choose to go to the Moon. – [Loren] Congress backed
    up the proposal with cash, and NASA’s annual budget
    grew to more than 4 percent of the total federal budget in 1965. Today, NASA is maybe half a percent. Industry also rose to the challenge. NASA assembled an army of contractors, including Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, and IBM. Together, they built the
    giant Saturn V rocket that eventually took humans to the Moon. (rocket rumbling)
    (violin music) Kennedy’s call to arms paid off. – [Neil] That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. (dramatic music) – [Loren] Today, a half-century later, NASA still wants to do big
    things with big rockets, and to build the SLS, they’re playing their greatest hits in hardware and expertise. The Space Launch System has
    a lot of Saturn V vibes, but some of that is dictated by physics. If you want to launch a lot of stuff off of Earth in one piece, you need a big rocket to break free of our planet’s gravity. But the SLS also shares
    a lot of technology from NASA vehicles of the past. For one, the SLS will be
    using the same main engines as the Space Shuttle, which
    flew from 1981 till 2011. – We know those engines very well. They’ve flown so many
    missions on the shuttle, so there’s not a lot of risk in those. And in engines, you know, new development of
    engines can be expensive, so we really traded risk
    versus the cost-benefit of it. – [Loren] Many of the Saturn V contractors have stayed in NASA’s inner circle, too, Boeing in particular. They acquired Douglas and North American, and they’re now the prime
    contractor on the SLS. Overall, the endeavor
    is a big job creator, responsible for thousands
    of jobs in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and more. Michoud itself is deeply
    embedded in the regional economy. – This facility actually
    was built to support the war effort in World War II, and it developed and we took it over at the Saturn program in the ’60s, and NASA’s been here ever since. – [Loren] All in all,
    the vehicle’s development can be found across America. – I would struggle to find a
    state that didn’t have a piece. The whole country’s involved. – [Loren] But that deep history,
    all the way back to Apollo, might also be a liability. – So human spaceflight
    programs since Apollo have made up the majority
    of the NASA budget, and the majority of those programs are performed by aerospace contractors. – [Loren] This is Lori Garver. She was the deputy administrator for NASA under President Obama. Lori says those contracts
    have been so long lived that they’ve locked NASA
    into certain technologies, mindsets, and dollars. – No one wanted to compete, and competition is where
    you drive down cost and advance innovation. This has been something that unfortunately has held back the program. – [Loren] The SLS has cost
    around $14 billion so far, which seems like a lot until
    you consider that Apollo cost roughly $264 billion
    in today’s dollars, according to analysis from
    the Planetary Society. Congress would probably never give NASA an Apollo-era budget again, but NASA is still trying to pull off an Apollo-like program
    for less with contractors who don’t have a
    reputation for cost saving, and some policymakers are taking notice. – NASA and the contractors
    have to execute. Failure to do so could have dire consequences for the program, and there will be no one else to blame. – [Loren] The politics
    of cutting the program entirely are tricky. Lori told us a very revealing story. During her tenure as deputy, she actually tried to
    cancel NASA’s last big plan to return humans to the Moon:
    the Constellation program. The way she tells it,
    that didn’t go over well. – The military industrial complex didn’t want to let go of their contracts, and that is a huge force to overcome. – Ms. Garver’s plan would
    cede control of the heavens to the Russians and the Chinese, probably for most of our lifetime. – And we weren’t able to overcome it. A combination of the contractors, some of the people within NASA who are really committed
    to keeping these jobs, sold Congress, and we
    were given an ultimatum that we had to do a big
    rocket or we wouldn’t get Commercial Crew and
    the technology programs and the Earth sciences
    programs that we wanted. So we took the deal. – [Loren] Constellation
    was ultimately canceled. – This is because the old strategy, including the Constellation program, was not fulfilling its
    promise in many ways. – [Loren] But the contractors
    and hardware endured, and one of the proposed
    rockets for Constellation was resurrected as SLS. And today, in spite of all
    the delays and overruns, there’s a faction in
    Congress, led by lawmakers from states where the SLS is built, who are dedicated to
    continuing the rocket, seemingly at any cost. – What’s important is to build that rocket and build it right, isn’t it? – [James] Yes, sir. – [Loren] This all adds up
    to a feeling that the SLS has become too big to fail, that NASA is trapped by its own mythology. – We have been trying to relive Apollo. – [Loren] So NASA’s core philosophy hasn’t changed much in 50 years, but what has changed? An entire private space
    industry has appeared, and they’re building capable rockets with a lot of power. In 2018, SpaceX debuted
    its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is currently the
    most powerful in the world. And other players like
    The United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin are
    developing heavy-lift rockets that could also get a lot
    of cargo into deep space. None of these rockets are as powerful as the SLS will be when it’s finished, but they represent serious competition. Some critics suggest that
    these private players could supplant the SLS entirely, getting NASA out of the
    business of building rockets. – [Journalist] The mighty
    Delta IV Heavy rocket. – [Loren] NASA obviously
    disagrees that any one rocket needs to beat out the others. – It’s not an either/or, it’s an and. We need all these pieces. We’ve got to have all of us
    working together, public and private. I can see in the future
    where it’s kind of like the intercontinental railroad
    where they were built, they were funded by the government, but eventually they were self-sustaining, and people could travel across the country and move and live elsewhere. That’ll happen in the future. – [Loren] Lori agrees that
    the commercial industry alone won’t take us back to the Moon. There’s just no money in it yet. – Going back to the Moon, I’m not sure what the private market is. Certainly Mars, same question. I know we have very wealthy
    people interested in doing it, and that’s wonderful. We need to be realistic about
    the fact that the government will continue to lead those
    programs as they did launch for quite a long time. – [Loren] NASA is working with
    private industry more, too. Rather than building their
    own human lunar lander, they plan to pick a
    commercial company or two to develop vehicles in their own way. Companies would get a lump sum of money, build the hardware, and
    would ultimately own the design and tech when they’re done. NASA is confident that we will
    return to the Moon in 2024, but maybe what’s missing
    is why we’re going back. NASA claims that the Moon is a great stepping stone to Mars as it will help prove
    out the technology needed to survive on the Red Planet. They say there’s more science to do. There are minerals and water to mine, and eventually, companies
    could make money there. But again, the urgency of the
    Cold War just isn’t there, and multiple polls show
    that most Americans don’t see the value in
    going to the Moon either. Lori, for one, thinks NASA needs
    to become essential again, and today, that might
    not mean building rockets or going to deep space at all. – My view, we need to win
    at something right now that NASA is uniquely skilled to do, and that is address climate change. The science is there;
    we have satellites 24/7, public and private, and
    recognizing that the things that we can do to fix it, we must do in the next 10 years. NASA, given that mandate,
    could take that hill. – [Loren] NASA, on the
    other hand, still sees space as a cause to rally behind. They’ve come this far with the SLS, and it’s still NASA’s job to rally. – We don’t leave any
    dollars on the Moon, right? Every dollar we spend
    is here in this country putting this together and going, but it’s the learning we get and the benefits for humanity
    that come out of this. We are on the leading edge,
    and we can choose as a country to follow or we can lead the world, and I choose to lead. (dramatic music) – [Mission Control] Apollo
    11, this is Houston. You are go for TLI, over.
    (radio beeping) – [Astronaut] Apollo 11, thank you. – [Mission Control] Roger that.

    Plea Bargaining: A Necessary Evil?
    Articles, Blog

    Plea Bargaining: A Necessary Evil?

    August 11, 2019


    – I know it’s an early start. A very non New York start time for us, but to fit everything in, we’re getting a little bit
    early of a start this morning. So thank you all very much for coming, and I hope you’re as excited as I am, about the day we have
    ahead planned for you. Before we do anything else though I hope you will please join me in thanking Courtney Oliva, our Center’s Executive Director. (audience applause) Because she did everything. She did absolutely everything, that you are about to see today getting all these all
    star panelists together. The keynote conversation
    that we’re gonna see between Emily Bazelon And Dwayne Betts. All thanks to Courtney. With a tremendous amount
    of research in advance. So I think you will
    see the fruits of that, and how organized and
    thoughtful everything is. Thank you Courtney for everything, and it’s really even more amazing when I’m about to tell
    you all the other things she’s been working on this year, because Courtney is basically our Center, along with student fellows. We’re a small shop, but we try to do a lot with what we have. I did want to just give
    you a quick update, on what we’ve been up to since
    our last annual conference, just so you can keep up with the things that we’ve been prioritizing. You may recall that we’ve
    been doing some work on reentry issues and
    we published a report on the prosecutor’s role in reentry, and we were very happy since
    that publication in late 2017, that it’s received a citation by a judge who found it helpful in an opinion. It’s gotten some press in the appeal, and we’ve been using it to help elected prosecutors with trainings. Our hope is that prosecutors
    will pay more attention to these reentry issues, and we will get better public
    safety outcomes as a result. We’ve also been very active and remain active on the clemency front. We are still trying on the federal front. I was happy to see at
    the end of last week, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who you may know is running for president, released an OpEd outlining her agenda for criminal justice reform, and one of her top priorities is a clemency plan that Mark Osler and I have been touting for awhile now, which would take clemency decisions outside the Department of Justice, the agency that brings the
    cases in the first place. We thought it might be a good idea to have somebody else take a
    look at the clemency petitions, and we were happy to see that somebody thought that was a good idea as well who might be in a position
    to do something about it and we’ll keep working with anyone else whose interested on these issues. Any other candidate and
    the current administration. We are trying. We are also shifting
    our focus to the states and state clemency efforts. We now have a state
    clemency reform project that’s led by our center research fellow, Ben Notterman and he has done
    two amazing papers already outlining the history of these practices in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and our goal is to try to show people that the sharp declines
    that we see now in clemency and taking a second look
    at people’s sentences, that’s really new. It’s relatively new. We used to have robust looks at people and how they changed over time, and their sentences were
    reduced as a result of that. Oftentimes dramatically, and even when their
    crimes involved violence. The idea that, you couldn’t
    see that people would change and circumstances would change over time, is a new one in our history, and we are hoping to show people that, so the idea of bringing it
    back won’t seem so foreign. Also, Courtney has been working
    with our students fellows to try to get clemency for
    individuals here in New York. Stay tuned, and then finally, last thing I just wanted
    to highlight for you, as you know we often file briefs in cases that involve issues that we care about on the criminal justice reform front, and in particular issues that involve prosecution practices that are troubling or that we think could be better. Working with lawyers at WilmerHale. We filed in a brief in a pending case before the New York Court of Appeals, trying to urge better practices, on disclosure for prosecutors in cases involving jailhouse informants. We’ve also partnered with Boies Schiller, and along with the ACLU
    and other organizations to file a brief in Eastern
    District of Louisiana to argue that prosecutors shouldn’t get qualified immunity when
    they send fake subpoenas to crime victims and witnesses in order to try and get them
    to speak to their office and most recently with
    Covington and Burling we filed a brief at the Supreme Court, urging a more favorable
    statute of limitations period for defendants to bring 1983 claims in cases where evidence had
    been fabricated against them. Today’s event continues our concern with prosecutorial practices and the one we’re concerned with today is a big one which is plea bargaining and what we hope to do today is learn from the very best people
    who’ve been thinking about this issue and
    hopefully do the same thing as we’ve done with past conferences. Take what we learn today,
    put those ideas into briefs, and policy papers and trainings, and hopefully make things better, based on all the great thoughts that our panelists are going to give us. We will start with panel one, and I guess the folks from panel one should come on up and get themselves ready and thank you all so so
    much for being here today. (audience applause) – Great, well let’s get
    started and before we do I just want to give
    very brief introductions of our esteemed panelists, so they can get the
    conversation under way. To my immediate left,
    we have the honorable Stefanus Beavis, who is a
    United States Circuit Judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and was previously a professor at the University of
    Pennsylvania Law School where he has written extensively about prosecutors and plea bargaining. To his left is Vanessa Plotkin who is the Director of
    Post Conviction Litigation at the Innocence Project
    where she has been since 2000 as one of the first staff attorneys. To her left, is Suja Thomas, the Peter and Sarah
    Patterson professor of Law at the University of
    Illinois College of Law. She’s most recently written a book called Missing American Jury which questions the
    constitutionality of plea bargaining. So I think we’ll have some
    really interesting things to hear from her today on that front. Further down we have Scott Hechinger who is the Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Policy at
    Brooklyn Defender Services which is one of the largest
    public defense firms in the country and he’s
    also an NYU law grad so we’re very happy to have him back. Then last but not least
    we have Dan Sandberg who is the King County
    prosecuting attorney. He was elected to the position in 2007, and has been in the
    office for over 30 years. With that, judge. – Thank you Courtney. Thank you to NYU for
    having all of us here, and our panel is titled Plea
    Bargaining A Necessary Evil? We’re gonna try to leave
    some time at the end for audience questions so please save up your best questions for
    the last 15 or 20 minutes when we’ll call on you. First question for the panel, what’s the real problem
    with plea bargaining here? Let me start with Scott Hechinger. From the point of view of the defense, there are a bunch of different
    explanations out there but what couple of them do you think are the ones that trouble
    you for defendants the most? – The panel’s called A Necessary Evil? There’s also the question mark at the end. First of all I would just say I think plea bargaining in isolation, just forgetting everything
    else, is necessary. To the extent that it’s one
    of the few tools that we have as defense attorneys and our clients have as defendants and the accused to actually sometimes get
    leniency, the fair outcomes. There’s very little else
    that’s out there right now that’s embedded in the
    system that allows us to actually have occasionally,
    all too infrequently, but sometimes good outcomes. It’s not necessarily, plea bargaining, it’s not necessarily evil. To the extent that again in isolation, assuming that the parties
    are on an even playing field when it comes to power, to risk. Even playing field when
    it comes to incentives. We want people to be able. We want litigants to be able
    to communicate with each other. To work with each other to hopefully come out with what’s the best
    outcomes for public safety? From a cost perspective,
    from a fairness perspective. The evil I think is in the context. The context within which
    these conversations and bargaining are actually happening. The context of pretrial
    justice as we see it today. The context of mandatory minimums. Pretrial detention, and
    imbalance of information. My clients are often making decisions, are forced to make decisions, in the most powerless position you could possibly imagine. Behind bars. Their life crumbling on the inside, facing intense violence. Their lives on the outside crumbling. Bills piling up. People in need of care taking
    left without caretakers and willing to do anything to plead guilty to very serious crimes
    even if they’re innocent or to suck it up and put up
    with bad police practices even if their rights were
    violated just to go home. Pair that with mandatory minimums, which have a built in
    automatic risk component, but only to the defendant. You can go to trial. You can exercise that right. You have that power, but
    if you do you might win, but you also might lose, and the judge could be your best friend, your mom, your brother, and you’re gonna get that
    three and a half years. The prosecution and that context knows that they could offer anything less than that three and a half
    years, that five years, and it’s a good deal. Few people go to trial, because generally trial is an
    unreasonable decision to make and then you’ve got an imbalance of power. Most discovery laws around the country allow or put prosecutors in control of most of the information, and tied into plea deals, there was a recent
    decision by Supreme Court that said it is okay, it is constitutional to withhold or to not turn over exculpatory material before a
    plea bargain, before a plea. You have this combination of forces, where we want to be able to
    have a good conversation, an informed conversation. A conversation that will ultimately produce good outcomes,
    save taxpayers money, end the case early. Not have to put survivors
    through the trouble of trial, but produces evil, I
    would call them, outcomes. Outcomes that are not just. Outcomes that are costly. Outcomes that do not
    enhance public safety, because of an informational deficit, because of a risk imbalance, and because of a power imbalance. I think we have to look to
    the laws and the context within which these
    conversations are happening and also realize that often, all too often we’re not dealing with good faith actors. From the prosecution standpoint. I think all too often
    the incentive structure is in prosecutor’s offices, or built around a incentive of winning at all costs as
    opposed to doing justice and we’re seeing that
    change around the country. Excited to be sitting next to DS Etterberg and hear more about his
    efforts to do just that, but I think we have to contend with prosecutor’s offices and incentives there but also the laws that
    drive pretrial justice. – Interesting. So I heard you focus on coercion, on some lack of information
    and some safeguards, maybe some inaccuracy. You’re implying that you
    think the plea discounts, they’re a good thing but at the same time they’re so big that they’re coercive for a lot of defendants. I didn’t hear you say
    much about inequality. Do you notice disparities? – I notice disparities to the extent that the majority of my clients. Well all of my clients cannot afford to pay for an attorney. All of my clients are indigent. The vast majority of my
    clients are black and latino and they’re from only
    certain neighborhoods. Built into the structure
    of the system of plea deals is that the fact that only certain people are coming to the system to begin with, and so if we’re ever to
    make the system more equal with plea bargaining
    we have to be thinking really critically about
    whose coming into the system, whose getting arrested,
    whose getting charged, what are they getting charged with? Who is ending up incarcerated pretrial, and unfortunately the way
    that our system operates today the majority is predominantly
    black and latino from only certain neighborhoods, so there’s a built in inequality. Racial and socioeconomic. – Vanessa, from the Innocence
    Project perspective, how did this play out in
    terms of factual inaccuracy, moral legal inaccuracy,
    on guilt on sentencing? – Exactly. When you look at the
    total number of non DNA, or DNA and non DNA exonerations
    that have occurred, they’re are about 21
    people whose convictions have been overturned based on innocence, and 18% of those people pled guilty to for the most part very serious crimes. Rapes, murders, robberies,
    that they didn’t commit. When you look at the DNA exonerations, that number is about 11% of the 350, just over 350 people who’ve
    been proven innocent with DNA and some of the reasons
    that people have pled guilty in these cases where they’re
    pleading to very serious time and to serious charges that
    they’re completely innocent of, have to do with the tremendous
    sentences that they’re facing so if you look at a case of a man named Brian Banks in California. He was a high school student who had been falsely charged with the sexual assault of a classmate and he had a very promising
    football career on the horizon. Was being scouted by USC
    and basically was facing up to 40 years if he went
    to trial and was convicted, and the offer that he
    received was five years, so his public defender
    said take the five years. You’re gonna come out,
    you’ll still be young. You’ll have a life ahead of you. If you go to trial, it’s one person’s word against another, and if you lose you’re in for 40 years. He took the five years, and through a miraculous twist of fate of the accuser acknowledging
    that she fabricated the case he was ultimately exonerated, but what is the rational
    choice in that circumstance? It would be completely irrational
    in a sense to go to trial and then couple that with
    just the other aspect in addition to everything. Scott just talked about the
    crisis of indigent defense in many places throughout the country where many of our clients
    through the Innocence Project met their lawyers on the eve of trial. They’re not getting the
    lawyering that’s coming out of Brooklyn defenders, and just don’t have
    access to investigators, to look into the case, so if you’re facing that much time and you’re not meeting your lawyer, what are you to do? We view the guilty plea problem, really the problem part of it again, is as Scott said, the context, and these other areas in
    the system that are failing. – Thank you. Dan Sandberg, the prosecutorial response, we’ve heard some process complaints about poor information, poor lawyering. You’ve heard two perspectives. One the one hand the leniency is desirable for a lot of defendants, but the flip side of that
    looks like coercion to some, and even the fear of innocence. How big do these loom in practice? What safeguards do you see on the ground, from where you prosecute in Washington? – Sure, thank you. When Courtney first called
    me to talk about this issue, I hadn’t thought about it very much. It reminded me of. There’s an old parable attributed
    to David Foster Wallace. It’s a short one. Two fishes swing by and
    they see an older fish. He goes, hey boys, how’s the water? One fish turns to the other and goes, what the hell is water? He hadn’t thought about it. It’s part of the environment
    that they live in and I think every system in America has a certain disincentive to go to trial and that’s a survival
    instinct for all of us. We can’t take 100% of
    these cases to trial. My office files about
    7,000 felony cases a year. We do four to five hundred trials, and we are packed. Our people can’t do more than that. There has to be some
    way to make those cases, resolve themselves. In a lot of them what we talk about is really a matter of word choices, of the lexicon that we use. In my office we file, our filing standard would be a conservative filing. We’re gonna file the
    smallest number of counts that will accurately reflect the conduct. Now many other counties. I call that conservative filing. Many other counties, including
    the one just South of me, in Tacoma, have files, what I
    call the kitchen sink approach which they file everything
    they can think of. It’s like the law school exam. Just throw all that stuff, and then for an early plea
    they’ll dismiss 90% of it. The attorneys who operate
    in that country come to me and say why don’t you do that, because that’d made my job a lot easier if I went in and said, look
    I got this great discount. They got 90% of your cases
    are gonna be thrown out. Instead we have the trial penalty. Nobody likes a penalty. Everyone likes a discount, but you arrive at the same
    place for that same reason and I think the evil in that, or the problem in that is then when it’s too much gamesmanship, and when we lose sight of what I talked to my office about is the maximum justice value of any case. It’s like buying a car. I hate to denigrate used car salesman and compare them to prosecutors, but that car has a value, and if you’re a good negotiator you can get it for a little bit less. If you’re a bad negotiator
    you pay a little bit more, but you’re not gonna pay four times more than the guy who couldn’t do it well. Every set of criminal facts
    has I think an inherent value and if you’ve been doing this long enough you have the perspective and
    judgment based on experience to know how this case
    relates to another one, and the cases we’ve been looking at now to go back and Rachel talked
    about the second look thing. We’re starting to go back
    and look at some of the cases that happened in the 90s in my office and we handed out really
    long sentences in the 90s for stuff that today we wouldn’t do and partly it was because
    of the adversarial system. Sometimes the personalities
    of the attorneys who didn’t like each other. Couldn’t come to an agreement, and so I’ll show you. You wouldn’t take my reasonable offer. I’m going to add everything I can think of and all of a sudden you’re looking at a 40 year sentence for a non homicide case and we’re all taken aback
    looking at it in 2019. The evil of it is it is necessary but it has to be tempered by a price tag that you cannot exceed, and later I’ll offer some suggestions about how we might do that. – I think the price tag metaphor is very interesting and important. I mean I think there’s a lot to be said for being more transparent, but it’s difficult to do. Number one, what’s the baseline? Trial penalty, plea discounts. Some people think this is
    leniency, like a bargain but if everyone’s getting it, is it? If you have a culture,
    as you said, from Tacoma, where most people expect a discount it’s gonna be hard to move
    to a more standardized less haggling and the defendants feel like I didn’t get anything, so we even if we agree
    that’s a better place to be it can be hard to get there. I want to talk to Suja
    Thomas for a minute now, about some kind of outside, more academic and theoretical
    perspectives on this, people inside the system
    take it for granted. This is all about does
    the defendant like it? Does the defendant benefit, but even if we could fix
    the lawyering problems, and the information problems, what’s the constitutional
    or public justice problem of plea bargaining? – All this has to do with
    the right to a jury trial. The United States jury was
    based on the English jury and that jury was such
    that grand juries decided whether cases proceeded
    against criminal defendants and juries decided whether
    defendants were guilty of crimes. You actually had 24
    people standing in the way of someone being convicted. Right now in the vast majority of cases, I don’t think we’ve even
    mentioned the stat yet, but it’s about less than 3%
    of cases are tried by jury. In almost every case, we have one person, effectively standing in the way, of someone going to prison, and I think that’s problematic, and so our constitution,
    our constitution, our jury, of provisions of the constitution, were based on that English system and that English system was nothing like the system that we have today. Virtually everyone insisted
    on taking the jury trial and almost no one pled guilty,
    and if you pled guilty, you didn’t receive a
    benefit to pleading guilty. You received the same sentence
    that someone would receive if you actually were
    convicted before a jury, and the United States Supreme Court hasn’t recognized this. They’ve said effectively, efficiency is important to
    our criminal justice system and we need to. We won’t have enough resources to actually try these cases, but what they actually also have said, is that our jury in the United States is actually based on this English jury. Why? Because otherwise what happens is exactly what’s happened today an that is the grab of authority, and that is we make up a system that didn’t exist back in the day, that is you could not attach a penalty to the right to a jury trial, and so because we permit this penalty to be attached to the
    right of a jury trial, we have a system that we have today, and then we justify it
    in terms of efficiency. – What’s wrong with that? In our society, efficiency and quantity, they’re measurable. You maximize that. You get more deterrents. You get more incapacitation and you have it being done by experts. You Know this case is gonna wind up there. What’s wrong with saying, let’s have the largest
    number of cases processed? The defendants, they get a lower sentence than they would otherwise. The prosecutors, they get
    to maximize incapacitation. What do we lose with that tradeoff? – First of all, I want to point out, because I think we’ve decided this. The constitution doesn’t say
    anything about efficiency at least with respect to people that argue about certain
    provisions of the constitution but you can’t say that with
    respect to the jury provisions. Article three section two says, the trial of all rimes except
    of in cases of impeachment shall be by jury, and the sixth amendment refers to the right to an impartial jury, and so in the first instance, there’s absolutely nothing
    in the constitution that actually refers to efficiency, and then I just think we lose sight of. I know some of what other
    people have said goes to this, but we lose sight of
    the fact that the jury is actually supposed to be checking other parts of the government. We have now lost that. We don’t have a check on prosecutors. We don’t have a check on the laws. I want to mention briefly, some of you have seen or have heard about the Lorena Bobbitt case, because it’s back in the news because there’s a documentary, and some of you are maybe too young. Might now know about the case. Salacious facts Lorena Bobbitt cut off
    her husband’s penis, and she was prosecuted
    for malicious wounding, and she was offered four
    months, through the plea deal, but she would actually deported, and then she was told that she would get 20 years in prison if
    she took the jury trial, but this was an extreme situation. She did not want to be deported. United States was an
    incredibly important place for her to be, so she
    went to a jury trial, and at that jury trial what came out was that she had been subject to lots of abuse by her husband. She had been raped. The police had been called numerous times. The jury, at least one
    of the jury members, was interviewed in the documentary, and he said no one really believed that she was not guilty
    by reason of insanity but they found her not
    guilty by reason of insanity because they didn’t think the
    law adequately protected her and that she should not be convicted, and that’s one of the rules of the jury and that we don’t have, and that is a check on the legislature. It’s a check on the prosecution. – Let’s unpack that. One thing you’re saying
    is, separation of powers. We need an additional check, but the bit about the law not fitting, is a different way of approaching an issue from the way the prosecutor is
    approaching it when charging, but the judge is approaching it. There’s an equitable
    or populist perspective that’s required to nullify it. The response might be, well we got plea bargaining happens in theory in the shadow of the trial. Can’t the prosecutor and
    defense lawyer forecast the jury’s gonna be
    sympathetic to Lorena Bobbitt. Why isn’t that bringing down the sentence? I’ve written my own stuff questioning how well the shadow trial works. I’m curious from your perspective, when you go Scott Hechinger, when you plea bargain with a prosecutor, how much does it constrain
    the prosecutor’s offers, to say hey, this is not
    gonna play well at trial. This is a case where there’s
    a real chance of acquittal. You need to come down here. You need to dismiss a charge,
    or something like that. – I can’t tell you. Often because I don’t know
    what evidence they have. I often don’t know who
    their witnesses are. I don’t know about the conversations that they’ve had with
    their police officers when there are police officer cases, but what I will tell you is often on the eve or the day
    of the hearing or trial, suddenly magically the
    offer comes way down, and I’m in this position, where I’m having this
    conversation with my client. I’m like something’s up. They had a conversation
    with that police officer and something they said didn’t match up, but they’re offering you,
    instead of the two years on this gun possession, they’re offering you a non violent felony. A non violent felony and probation. There’s no chance you’re
    going to go to jail, or in front of a judge, so I could tell you just
    based upon the charges, very unlikely, no matter what that
    officer says on the stand, not to suppress the gun,
    and you’re dead at trial. Three and a half year mandatory minimum. What are you going to do at that point? It’s so frustrating, because there’s that again,
    that information deficit. I would think at that point, if there’s questions about credibility, the duty is not to offer less, so that you can get your
    conviction and move on it’s to dismiss a case
    if you actually find that there’s credibility issues, or at least ask for an adjournment to investigate further, but
    this ties to another piece. We’re talking about the
    loss of the jury trial. Another thing that’s lost
    is the suppression hearing. The fourth and fifth amendments
    are based upon the idea that hands off government
    hands off the people, and the key way to keep
    government’s hands off people is this exclusionary rule. This exclusionary rule is based upon the possibility of a public defender or a defense attorney challenging a police officer on the stand, and holding them accountable, and if the judge finds that
    there is justification, the prosecution can’t use that evidence, but the reality of plea deals is that, is that accountability, that disincentive to do bad police work is lost, and what’s even scarier is
    even those very few cases where you actually, where actually I’m able to cross examine a police officer on the stand, and that police officer is
    even found to be incredible. We’re talking about a .02% possibility. That’s actually the number
    of .3% of misdemeanors that were prosecuted in
    2016 went to a hearing. Even less percent of those where there’s a finding of incredibility. Prosecutors offices still continue to rely on those officers, and even the judges who
    find them incredible continue to rely on them for making out search warrant applications, so the plea deals and plea bargains and guilty pleas not only
    suppress the jury trial but it also suppresses
    police accountability. That’s a big part of why police violence and bad police practices continue. – But there’s a tension
    to what you’re saying. One the one hand you’re saying, a lot of defendants like the pleas. They benefit from them, but other defendants are losing out from the positive externalities, the public goods of the accountability of the officers bringing this the light and you’re in a position where you have to represent the many defendants who want to jump at the
    police, and the others don’t, and some of them they
    know the information. They know I did it. They know the witnesses
    are gonna be there, and others don’t, but collectively, some of them are being made worse off by the decisions of others not
    to challenge these practices, and you have to represent
    these very different. You can’t say the law no it’s a bad thing. We should all be taking these bad officers to trial for suppression. – I don’t think there’s tension to the extent that that’s the reality in which the practice exists, but its not inevitable. It’s not inevitable that we
    have mandatory minimum sentences that create this bad incentive. It’s not inevitable that we have discovery laws that empower prosecutors to withhold all evidence,
    even exculpatory evidence until close to trial, and
    not turn it over before, someone can make an
    informed decision to plea. It’s not inevitable that
    pretrial detention should exist. That creates immeasurable power, and incentive to plead guilty, just to make something go
    away over all other interests. If you got rid of those three
    pre trial justice issues, or you fix them dramatically, you’d be able to have
    better outcomes as a whole. Not perfection, because
    it still relies on, two players in the system
    operating in good faith and also thinking what is a bargain? What is a good bargain? Is it just that car? Is it just less time? Is it incapacitation, or is it necessary for defense attorneys and prosecutors to be really thinking about the system in the same way? Thinking about it as something where jail actually doesn’t make us safer. Recognizing that it actually
    damages people more than not. That people come out far more damaged than when they went in, and it doesn’t actually help survivors. That locking up people
    and arresting people for things that were formerly thought of as societal ills and public health issues, shouldn’t be in the system to begin with. I think that’s another broader issue too. When we’re having that discussion, what is the right outcome? I have ideas about it, and I’ve had some really
    really incredible conversations with especially newer prosecutors. Coming through when we’re talking about they’ll offer two to four
    years for someone whose, or they did offer a client, two to four years for stealing, 12 bread bowls and a pack of cigarettes from an area bodega, and my conversation
    with the prosecutor was, all right, I’m gonna
    meet you where you are. I step beyond the I don’t think two to four years is healthy
    for my client and back down. Let’s talk about public safety. Two to four years. Two years he’s gonna
    be eligible for parole. Even if he doesn’t get out on parole, he’ll be out with good time, a little bit after three years. He’s gonna come out. The issues that were
    underlying that conduct which were substance
    abuse and mental health are just gonna be worse. He’s gonna have the scarlet
    letter of criminal conviction. He’s gonna be precluded
    from public housing. He’s not gonna be able to get a job. He’s gonna be further marginalized, and he’s gonna be more likely to just come right back in, and I had that conversation
    with the prosecutor, and he’s like I totally feel you. Let me go speak to my supervisor. The supervisor whose been at the job for 10 maybe 15 years, whose used to doing this
    as it always has been, more often than not says no. I was able actually in that case to work out an alternative
    to incarceration, and instead of him coming
    out in two to four years, he came out at two to
    four years worse off, he came out a year later clean
    and sober for the first time and so that’s an example where
    you can hopefully sometimes have this meeting of the minds. There’s still institutional
    status quo and inertia, but that’s the hope and why I wouldn’t say let’s definitely not
    set minimum boundaries on how lenient we can get. We’ve seen how that’s happened in terms of mandatory minimums, but we can do a lot better obviously, in terms of coming to
    meeting of the minds. Taking away these inherently
    coercive pretrial laws. – Vanessa Plotkin could you pick up on a couple of these points? One of them is information deficits. Why in the cases you’re seeing, can you generalize
    about the kinds of cases where people don’t know and bluffed or why is it the defendants not knowing. Either I was there, or
    I’ve got this alibi. Why isn’t that enough? What of these pressures to plea? The pretrial detention and the like are doing the work of getting some of your clients
    whom you later exonerate to plea to something they didn’t do? To most of us it’s unimaginable that I would ever plea
    to something I didn’t do, but could we identify
    a high risk population that at least needs more scrutiny here? – I think really a lot of it has to do with the disparity incentive thing, and what is the ultimate? What’s the threat? What are people facing? In our exoneration cases we’ve
    seen people in the states who have the death penalty, who are facing a potential
    sentence of death and so they end up taking a
    plea out of fear to even life, and so this sentence disparity, we are working on several cases right now that are current cases where our clients were offered ten years and then went to trial and
    received life sentences, so I think the disparity in sentencing for taking a plea versus going to trial and the penalty and ACL has
    done great work in this area to expose the trial penalty,
    as one of the driving forces. Also I guess in addition to the list of pretrial justice issues, I would add what’s been touched upon which is just the mindset of prosecutors of the ultimate goal being either to obtain or to defend a conviction. In many of our cases what we see, where we have post conviction, developed evidence of innocence,
    even exclusionary DNA. The very scientific
    concrete proof of innocence, instead of vacating the charges, in a case which clearly meets the newly discovered evidence standard, prosecutors will come
    back and try to offer some types of sentence
    modification, time served plea, and talk about bargaining,
    what’s fair at that point? Our clients have already
    served, oftentimes 20 years. They want to come home to their families. Their kids have grown up without them and they’re being offered, if you just accept this
    sentence modification the prison doors are open, and we know we can win ultimately with the exculpatory evidence, but through the court process, we could win in the trial court. The state could appeal. We can’t guarantee that it’s not gonna be many more years of fighting. Some of our clients have the stamina, and some just want to get
    home before their mother dies, and so they end up accepting the plea, and in those circumstances, it’s just also unconscionable. When you have proof of innocence, and that resolution that’s being extorted. It’s just also I think
    changing the mindset it’s not a loss to dismiss the case, when the case shouldn’t have been brought or we know now that the person is innocent or there’s a good chance
    that they’re innocent. We’ve had prosecutors, resolve a case through a plea to resolve the case ultimately and stand up in court and say, we know if the conviction is vacated, we wouldn’t be able to
    obtain another conviction, but we’re offering an Alfred plea and that just seems to
    be fundamentally unfair. – Suja Thomas, let’s back up
    to the bigger picture here. mY guess is you’d say that
    we’re arguing about details. I don’t know if you’d say
    deck chairs on the titanic, but you’d think there’s a
    more fundamental problem, because the problems
    we’ve been hearing about. Maybe you could deal
    with the Alfred pleas. Maybe you could deal with the
    size of the sentence discount, but they wouldn’t address your concerns, citizen participation, and
    transparency and checking. Do you think all plea
    bargaining is unconstitutional? Do you think even
    implicit plea bargaining? The judge gives a discount. There’s no dickering, and the defendant gives up
    unwinnable trial and moves on. Do you think there’s a
    problem even with that? – I do. I would say that with
    respect to cooperators, there’s a historical precedent for cooperators getting a deal, but outside of the situation
    involving cooperators, I think there’s no justification
    for plea bargaining. It again goes to what Vanessa has said and others have said
    about the trial penalty. If you have a trial penalty
    associated with the plea bargain I actually think of it as plea coercion. I think plea bargain
    is not an accurate way to think about this issue. Then you don’t have a right. You don’t have any kind
    of right to a jury trial. When you attach a penalty or a tax, to the right that there
    is no longer a right. – But certainly at common
    law, there was mercy. People wound up with lower sentences. They would throw themselves
    on the mercy of the court. They would basically
    plead guilty at trial, and turn the trial into
    a sentencing proceeding, so what are we gaining by having, if we go back to something like that, as opposed to just the
    person’s admitting guilt, let’s just get on to
    the proper sentencing? – Yeah, I’m sounding like a broken record but I think we gain a significant thing that we don’t have right now, which is that we don’t have a check in the system right now. There’s someone from the
    fair trials organization called Rebecca Shafer. She talks about the fact that right now, in our system, we literally don’t have anyone checking the prosecution. We don’t have anyone checking the police. The police are a part of this as well. I think we gain a lot
    if we rethink the system and I think we do need
    to rethink the system. It’s really great that there’s a lot of criminal justice
    reform going on right now, but what we’re not doing, is looking at, and this forum is great
    to think about this, we’re not looking at the
    fundamental problem here. We’ve set up a system, that’s not defensible
    under our constitution, and there’s a loss. We lose all of this check
    that was supposed to be, the jury was supposed to actually perform an important role in the system, and the result that
    Vanessa’s talking about, that’s what we see. We see those results, but I will even go so far as
    to say, outside of innocence, this the jury was supposed to be an incredibly important
    check in government. – Dan Sandberg. It’s a great 18th century theory, but it collides with 21st century reality. What’s gonna happen to the
    volumes of cases that we have? What’s gonna happen to incapacitation and deterrence of public safety, and what’s gonna happen to the trial, as a meaningful safeguard
    if you take trials that go days or weeks, and essentially try to slim them down, the what do they take, 20 minutes a trial at the old Bailey? Two hours of trial in the colonies. Aren’t there some important
    things we would lose if we blew past a bunch of the
    modern procedural protections in orders to give everybody a trial? – You’re right. Well first I want to say that
    the New York discovery rules are bizarre and foreign to me. – They just got switched. – I mean we have open discovery, open file within a week of arraignment. You get everything we have. We’ll continue to give it to
    you. I don’t know how you. To me it looks like a game. If I’m not gonna tell you what I got. It’s like I’m playing poker and I don’t have to show you, but you have to put you cards out there. That exacerbates the unfairness, and I know that may be over the objections some state prosecutors changing that but I would assure any of them that you can operate in a
    fair open discovery process and still win most of your cases. I think fundamentally
    one of our problems here is we don’t want to
    admit that this exists. I remember when I was
    doing felony prosecutions I had a caseload in the 80s, and we negotiate a serious case. We’d be in front of a judge who in the colloquial when
    you’re pleading guilty is the judge will ask the defendant has anyone made any threats
    or any promises to you in order to get you to plead guilty, and in my mind quietly I was thinking, of course we did. That’s what we’ve been
    doing for the last month, but the right answer is no. No, no one did that, but it was all about threats and promises, and prediction, and I think there’s some. As long as everyone’s
    got the same information, the same ability to predict
    what’s gonna happen, that there ought to be some
    way to take advantage of an early admission of responsibility. That that should get you
    some sort of benefit. That if you put the state to the expense, and risk and the trauma for
    witnesses to go through trial that it’s gonna be greater, but we should just call that a name. We should admit that it exists, and say that there is a
    trial penalty if you will. There’s an analog in the civil
    rules of procedure, rule 68, which is an offer of judgment. There have defendants
    been sued by the client, defendant can come in and make an offer, and say I think I’m
    willing to pay you $200,000 and if the plaintiff says forget it we’re going to trial. If they don’t do better than $200,000, then the plaintiff is
    responsible for their costs, from that point where the offer is made. The analogous thing there being, that one point one of the parties said, I think this is what this case is worth, and if you don’t do better then I don’t have to pay more than that. I think the state when
    they make their offer, when we make our first offer
    in an early plea negotiation, we’ve stated what we
    think this case is worth. Now that doesn’t mean
    that you can go to trial, without any sort of risk, but since we stated that, why isn’t that part of the record, and why isn’t the court then, have some sort of fixed ceiling, that is a multiplier, you pick the number, two three times whatever
    that early plea was, let’s to say what the early plea was and let’s say now that
    you didn’t take that, you’re gonna have to
    pay a little bit more, but it isn’t the sky is the limit. It doesn’t go from 10 years to life. It doesn’t become the death penalty, when at one point we were
    willing to resolve it for something much less. – It’s an interesting idea. Kind of tapping the size of
    the penalty or the discount. The trick is setting the baseline, but up until now we’ve been talking about guilty pleas and plea
    bargain interchangeably. If we banned bargaining, how many of these defendants, Dan Sandberg, do you think would still be pleading guilty, because it’s a lay down
    hand in poker terms. Dead bang case. What fraction of these cases really are not disputable, such that that it would just seem nitpicky to even contest the guilt, and defendants understand
    they’re better off just fessing up? – Again, every system has a
    disincentive to go to trial and you’re talking about taking that away, and saying that it won’t be punished or penalized at all if you go to trial. I always wondered what would happen if, in solidarity if all the
    defenders got together and said, never gonna plead another client. We’re taking all these cases to trial, and just jam the system, and I’m not giving you any idea you haven’t already had, I’m sure. (audience laughing) It’s only because of your individual, your responsibility to
    your individual client to do what’s best for that client, that makes people not
    want to jam the system, but again, we have settled
    on this equilibrium in major city court systems, where about a 3% trial rate is considered a healthy trial rate, and it’s really about all we can do, because these aren’t 20 minute trials. The cases in fact, are
    way more complicated than when I was doing them. Now you’ve got your technical. You’ve got your cell phone towers, and your recorded phone calls, and you’ve go to download the computers, and you gotta do all this. There’s so much more to it. These cases take forever. You can’t possibly do 100% of the trials, but you do I think still need to have an institutional incentive for people to accept early responsibility, and the flip side of that is some fixed penalty if you don’t. – But I also think that
    the questions assumes that the option is either
    go to trial and go to jail or don’t go to trial and go to jail, and so much of plea bargaining, or negotiating, or having a conversation, I like to call it, with prosecutors, is about working out an
    alternative to incarceration. Something that will achieve the goals that the justice system is
    supposed to be set up to do which is deterrence,
    which is incapacitation, which is rehabilitation,
    which is also punishment, without actually involving jail at all. So many of my clients, benefit from negotiations
    and plea bargains, not in that they just get less time, but they actually wind up early on, ending up in treatment. Whether it be mental health
    or substance abuse treatment, or vocational training. I think the major fear I have is, again anything, I have
    a major fear of anything that creates a bar to leniency, but especially, we’re not
    just talking about jail. There is a lot, and we
    are working very well, we have for a long time with
    the Brooklyn DA’s office and pushing them and they
    responded really well to think we’re critically of that alternative to incarceration opportunities and clients, it’s not
    just for the non non nons. As it’s been put. Like the non drug, non
    violent, non felony. There’s another non out there. Non sex, there you go, but in those cases too to really think about what is gonna be best for public safety? What is going to be best for the survivor of the crime as well? – One more question for Dan Sandberg. In terms of cooperation, the federal system more than the state, what fraction of your
    cases do you feel like some kind of bargain is really essential to get inside the gang,
    break the code of silence, get one person to turn on someone else, for the murder or the like? – It’s a very small part of the practice, I think in most state courts. I think it’s more of a federal thing that they like to do
    to bring down Mr. Big, by working up a chain. Occasionally we’ll do that. Occasionally we’ll have codefendants. When one wants to plead early and be done and the other one wants a trial, and so maybe we’ll talk about that, but it’s not a big part of our practice. – Suja Thomas, you’re an abolitionist. Let’s say we take abolition off the table. We’re gonna have some kind of pleas. What are the worst or
    most offensive features to your mind that you could mend without ending the practice entirely? – Scott has talked about
    a lot but I’ll just echo and Vanessa’s also mentioned some of them, and Dan’s system has some of them, but I think we need to, everyone needs to have
    the discovery material before pleading guilty. It should be a rule that
    everyone has all discovery. I think that it should be the
    case just like Scott mentioned that you should be able to suppress. Having suppression hearings, and then actually we also, where there are grand juries this is another thing that has been stated that if you are gonna plead guilty, you have to waive your
    right to have the grand jury through the case. I think that all those things
    should be off the table, if in fact you’re going to
    allow the system to continue. – Vanessa Plotkin, so one of the things that troubles me in looking
    at the pool of people who pleaded guilty is that as you’ve said, sometimes evidence come to light. It’s troubling. It ought to lead both to
    this person’s exoneration and some real soul searching, and instead the prosecutor says, okay, let’s just enter an
    Alfred, or non contest plea. Either not admitting guilt, or affirmatively protesting innocence, but we’ll just this way, we’ll insolate ourselves from liability. Is that a way to deal with that? Would simply banning Alfred
    and no contest pleas, help with the pool of innocent people or would that just be hidden
    under a different rubric? – It’s complicated. I think that with the Alfred plea, I mean the fact that there
    is an Alfred plea itself, where somebody walks into court and says, I am innocent but I
    recognize if I go to trial the government has enough evidence, that I could be convicted,
    so I’m gonna take this plea. Really is an acknowledgement in of itself, of innocent people pleading guilty. It’s a mixed bag because it’s overused, and it’s used in circumstances, where the state should
    just dismiss the charges, then again, it’s something you don’t want to have on the table. One the other hand, for cases where maybe the proof of evidence
    or proof to support, of a conviction is far less, for somebody to be able to
    maintain their innocence when the plea is really
    the best resolution and the resolution in
    that particular case, you would not want to
    take that off the table. It is I think makes a real difference to our clients who have
    had to resolve their cases, in the end through a guilty plea and some type of resentencing, to be able to still maintain
    their innocence publicly. I wouldn’t want to see the
    Alfred plea be off the table, but it shouldn’t be used in cases where the just result is for the state to dismiss the charges outright, and I think that just adding to the discussion that we’ve
    been talking about again, context, volume plays a big part of this, because we have a system
    that processes so many cases. People on both sides don’t have the time, or ability or resources, to put in to a case
    before you go to the point where it’s really a fair bargain, and so whether that leads to us rethinking and decriminalizing
    categories of cases, we’ve just got a system that’s so large that it’s never going to
    be fair at this point. – One of the things that’s
    been absent from our discussion until now is the much
    mention of the judge, and I think it’s very striking. I think Scott’s dream is to be able to be able to persuade Dan or the other ADA about what seems reasonable, and notably it’s not
    about persuading the judge about what actually makes sense here, and some of this is because
    of mandatory sentencing, which tie the judge’s hands, and some of it is if I wait
    long enough to get the judge my client’s going to be doing more time in pre trial detention, but some of it seems to be that judges are in this reactive posture at the very end of the process, and I wonder does anyone see a role here or any best practices
    in other jurisdictions where judges play more of a role. The federal system in a lot of states, judges are forbidden to take
    part in plea bargaining, and I wonder, look I’ve
    never been a trial judge, and wonder whether that’s right. If Suja’s complaining that
    there’s no balance of power check here, are we worse
    off by banning judges from all the discussions and everything, and making them must
    rubber stamps at the end, than we would be if judges played some limited role that preserved
    a neutral fallback? I’m not gonna penalize you
    if you decide to go to trial. Why aren’t judges part
    of this conversation? – Let me address that. Judge Rinkoff here in the
    Southern District of New York has proposed that people
    in the federal system waive this idea that the judge can’t be involved in the
    plea bargain process, and he suggests that
    obviously not the judge who actually is the
    main judge on the case, that there be another judge, that actually is the one who is suggesting the actual plea bargain, and so he thinks that in
    the system that we have now, that would be a really good way to try to lessen the effect of the prosecutor’s influence on the case, and he has mentioned that Connecticut has. I don’t know if anyone
    from Connecticut is here, but Connecticut has some
    type of system like that. – I’ll just say that in my experience, the only time when judges
    have actually gotten involved and said no I’m not going
    to accept this plea deal is when it’s been too lenient. Just gonna say it. That is anecdotal. For whatever it’s worth. There was actually a colleague of mine who worked out an
    alternative to incarceration, in a gun case that carried with it a three and a half year mandatory minimum and the judge refused to take it, and you had the prosecutor
    and the defense attorney trying to see if they could somehow get the case in front of another judge, that would be willing to take it. When you say a lot of
    it’s mandatory minimums. I think the majority of it frankly is mandatory minimums. It has taken nearly all of the discretion away from the judge except within the minimum, to the max, after trial, to do frankly anything, and under New York law, there’s another part of the law that the judge can order what’s
    called judicial diversion, so an alternative to incarceration over the prosecution’s objection, but only when the charge is non violent and when they don’t have a
    violent charge in their past, and so that’s also limited. The one time when I’ve
    been able to get a judge. There’s ad hoc ways you
    can get the judge involved. You approach the bench, and you provide the judge
    with some more information about your client. You provide them with what’s called information in addition to the prosecutor and they might say come on. Just like the Brooklyn plea. Come on. I want to see your supervisor. Sometimes he’ll have
    his supervisor come down and have that conversation, but if the prosecution says no, that’s it. The one time I’ve been able to actually successfully get the judge involved and get the right outcome, I actually had to file a motion to dismiss in the interest of justice, and the judge agreed to
    hold the decision in advance pending my client doing
    a drug treatment program while the case was still open, and upon successful completion agreed that the interests of justice would allow for dismissal and so
    that’s what wound up happening, but mandatory minimums take the judges completely out of the equation, except for the old come on
    let me get your supervisor. Do a little hand wringing, but they really can’t do much, and the only time they
    actually can do something which is say no, it’s never
    in favor of more lenience. It’s never saying I’m not taking this because two years just won’t do anything for the public good. It’s too harsh. Come back to me with an
    alternative to incarceration. That doesn’t happen. It happens the other way. – We’ve been talking about
    the judge’s role in sentencing and you’re saying they
    don’t go too lenient. It’s interesting because it’s common law, so the judge had a role
    in recommending clemency. – I just want to say in our system, at the time of the plea, the person who knows
    the least about the case in the room is the judge, and often the judge that takes the plea isn’t the judge that does the sentencing. So sentencing might be put
    off for a couple weeks. Then the sentencing judge in our, we have a determinant sentencing scheme. You have a little box you’re gonna be between 15 and 23 months, and that’s what the judge
    can sentence you in. I think there’s tremendous pressure for the court to honor the
    plea negotiation process, because the court knows it’s a matter of survival for the court as well. If you start throwing those out, and doing something that disrupts smooth operation of the machine, which some people are advocating for, that’s going to just make things more difficult for the court as well. I think there’s deference from the court to the attorneys, you’ve settled on this, and 98% of the time our judges will follow the
    recommendation of the parties. – There’s this reactive
    posture, lack of information, and this interesting the disconnect in the federal court too between sometimes the judge takes the plea and the guilt and then sentencing which you might think those things ought to be connected. I want to ask Vanessa about this. We’ve been focusing on the
    judge’s role, at the sentence, but what about the judge’s
    role in ensuring factual guilt? That there’s supposed to be
    a factual basis for a plea, and judges are they rubber stamping this? Could they do more? In the military justice system, there’s a real probing into the facts. Would that have helped some of the people you’re exonerating, or conversely, I’ve gotten in debates with people who say it’s good for innocent people to have the option of pleading guilty. I was surprised to hear it, but because the alternative
    to face a trial is even worse, or rather should we be encouraging them not taking the pleas, and then making the cases
    fall apart at trial? – The problem is because
    of many of the deficiencies in the system and as
    we talked about before, many clients are relying
    on public defenders. Many public defender systems
    are totally overwhelmed. You have places where public defender is spending seven minutes with a client before the case is resolved, or they’re in New Orleans there were 10 investigators
    for 20,000 cases per year, and insisting that that
    person go to trial, is not going to necessitate
    a just outcome for them, so I think that until we fix
    some of these other problems with the system it’s right now
    it’s so baked into our system that there’s no way to just eradicate it without addressing the causes. The problem with the
    guilty plea system again is it’s a symptom of
    all these other problems within the system. – I want to go back to Dan
    Sandberg and talk a little. Some of the things, you contrasted early on King
    County with Tacoma County, and it seems like
    regulating plea bargaining depends in part on your
    choice between this figure out the right
    place and stick with it, versus let’s throw in the kitchen sink. Wide variations in charges,
    sentences, et cetera. How do you operationalize that? In particular, what do you think about the role of the prosecutor
    early in the process, as the famous screen bargaining trade off. New Orleans had this for a time, where they really tried
    to figure out up front what were the facts, do a
    little bit of investigating and try to then hold the line on the charges that were filed, rather than just using
    all of it as leverage. – I think there’s more integrity in a conservative filing approach. It’s less of a creative writing thing, where you’re trying to spot the issues and add the charges that may not have any evidence behind them. I just tell you how it
    happens in our office. We’ll file a case. It’ll go to an early plea unit, that is probably eight deputy prosecutors who can handle the negotiations
    for 7,000 cases a year, so they have to know enough about them to have informed discussions
    with defense counsel, the defense counsel says, we’re going to note a motion. We’re going to suppress. We’re going to interview your witnesses. We’re going to set this for trial, and we have to take that case out from the early plea unit, and send it to a trial attorney, and then the trial deputy prosecutor has to get that ready for trial.
    That’s when theoretically, your best deal was at the early plea unit. Now that I’ve had to send it down the line to the next person to spend
    a lot more time on it, actually that case might fall apart. You might get a good deal toward the end, but it also might be that as we investigate, we
    talk to more witnesses, we find out that in fact
    there are additional charges that we can prove. There’s I think the necessary evil just in dealing with the
    sheer numbers that we have is that we have to make that best offer right up front early on. – What digging do the
    charging attorneys do? What do they know about the
    case when they’re starting off, because that seems to
    be a key problem here. Are we doing this in the
    dark, or have they probed the witnesses and the possible defenses early on enough before the
    dickering really gets going? – Washington state is
    an information state. We don’t have grand juries. We don’t have preliminary hearings. We just file based on the police report. At the time we’re initially
    negotiating that case we haven’t met with any of the witnesses. We haven’t talked to anybody. After that it gets assigned
    out to a trial attorney. Now they have that obligation
    to start to meet with people. They also do interviews, but the defense wants to lead the witness. Will sit with them
    while they ask questions and we learn things, that weren’t in the
    police report from those. We do dig by talking to the people who were there when it happened. Sometimes that gives us more information to look at additional charges. Sometimes it makes the
    case kind of collapse. It looked better on paper than when the people came in. – Last question for you
    and for Scott Hechinger and then please your question. What could we do to learn
    more about cases earlier? Can the defense lawyer provide information in time before the i gets committed going down a road? Could prosecutors call off the officer, or the key witnesses, so that we don’t go down this road of it could be any number of things, and then it’s just all a
    matter of a bargaining? Is it possible to figure this out early? – I’ll just say that, we just passed transformative discovery overhaul in New York. For years, or for decades, we have one of the worst discovery laws in the entire country. Prosecutors were entitled to withhold and they did all too often, although Brooklyn was
    a model for open file. They did more than they were required to, until the day of trial. Just last week, overhaul was passed. In large part, because
    prosecutors from Texas, came and told New York prosecutors basically stop fear mongering. Early discovery, automatic discovery. Not leaving the blood in the streets, is actually leading to fair outcomes, and fairer pleas in some cases, and so if the law requires first of all prosecutors to turn everything over early, within 15 days of arraignments, they must turn over discovery
    before any plea deal, and importantly there’s a
    provision in the statute that does not allow prosecutors to condition that plea deal
    on waiver of that discovery, and so that is one thing. It’s a major legislative
    change that has happened that is going to transform,
    I believe, New York justice and ensure that everyone
    is at the very least on the same playing field
    in terms of information when those decisions are being made, but this legislative overhaul takes time. It’s very difficult. It took decades in New
    York and it certainly, while we were one of the
    worst in the country, it’s not perfect elsewhere. Prosecutors can step up, and we’re just requesting
    that information early on I don’t think that should be the best offer you ever get. I don’t think there should be a penalty. Even at that early stage. Not just for going to trial. For just requesting
    additional information. – Dan Sandberg before we go to questions, even if have open file,
    as we do in Washington, that’s only what’s in the file. It doesn’t mean you followed
    up with the witnesses, or the alibis, or the
    other things like that. How much can you figure out about a case very early on so that it really will shake the charging and the bargaining? – The pressure is in
    serious violent crime, I have 72 hours from the time
    of arrest to file that case and sometimes the police
    don’t get it to us until 48 hours have gone by or more and so we’re really relying on what the detectives have seen in the field or summaries of witness statements that were long taped recording statements that no one’s had a
    chance to listen to yet, but if you don’t file within 72 hours, that’s person’s released
    back on to the streets an often the crime is such that that’s not an acceptable alternative. Cases do change. They do change with age. Once in awhile we’ll have the luxury of being able to contact a target through their attorney and say we’re thinking about
    filing charge in this case, come tell us why we shouldn’t. Bring us more information,
    but most of the time, most major district attorney’s offices are responding to the violent crime from yesterday or the day before, and we have to act quickly. That’s where then we have to, then the early plea process
    can go on for some time, but we’re not gonna know
    anything about that defendant for many weeks. – We’ve got some time for some questions. Courtney will bring the mic over. Please identify yourself and keep it to two or three sentences. – [Leah] Keep the question
    to two or three sentences? (audience laughing) Good morning. My name is Leah Brown. I’m at the Southern Poverty Law Center now but I was a public defender
    in D.C. for a decade. The first comment is that, there still is this coerciveness, in the plea bargaining, even when there is a
    stellar public defender, that’s well trained and
    well resourced to try cases. My question is about the police, and to you Mr. D.A. You have more then 100 full cases coming into your offices able to try, and it seems like the
    emphasis is on individuals. Not defendants, but people
    who have to make decisions about efficiency, and I’m
    wondering if there’s a disconnect, if perhaps a solution
    might be to have police arrest less people. I challenge the notion that
    most of the plea bargaining isn’t serious violent offender cases. I don’t think that that’s
    really what we’re talking about. We’re talking about drug cases. We’re talking about deaths. We’re talking about robberies, where there was no gun and no wound. I guess the first part of it. I know it’s more than three sentences. – The question is, could we
    arrest and charge fewer people? Would that be a sufficient
    solution to the problem? – It would help a lot, and we have in Washington. We’ve legalized marijuana. We’re making $300 million dollars in taxes on it this year. I don’t file driving
    while license suspended in the third degree cases, because that criminalizes poverty. I don’t prosecute people for possessing under a gram of any drug at all. Those weren’t things that
    the police were happy about, but I’m the gatekeeper and
    I can turn the spigot down as I need to but at the end of the day, we’re still gonna have. We have fewer cases, than we used to, but they take longer, because
    they’re more complicated. There’s still that weight on the system, to go through 100% of
    the cases that are filed but only try three or four
    or maybe five percent of them and that’s what we’re talking about. How do we do that in a way that doesn’t deprive people of their
    constitutional rights, that doesn’t penalize them, at least if it does penalize them for exercising constitutional rights, let’s just say that it does, and put a fix a cap on that. – Scott do you want to respond? – I’d just say, thank you for the comment about the public defender offices. I think Brooklyn Defender
    Services and PS in DC is a good control. We have extraordinary resources. Investigators, immigration attorneys, collateral consequences attorneys. We have relatively low caseloads. I mean 100 is way too much still, but it’s not 400, 1,000 in other places, and the guilty plea percentage is still 95% of convictions
    come from guilty pleas. 99% of cases do not go to trial. Yes, of course there is a crisis in public defense funding,
    and lack of resources, which is a significant
    issue around the country, but the problem with
    pleas and guilty pleas and the people who it affects, goes far beyond just resources and public defender officers. – Other questions. – [Jett] Hi, I’m Jett Curr, and I have a question. You talked about some of the problems. Some possible solutions. There’s obviously an accepted percentage of people who have pled
    guilty who are innocent, factually innocent, and then obviously many other people who may have committed the crime, factually committed the crime. Do you see different solutions to try and address those problems or should the solutions
    you’re coming up with apply across the board, whether or not someone is
    factually innocent or not? – That’s a great question, and I stumbled on your
    first part of the question when you said there’s an accepted number of innocent people, and I think I agree. It’s sort of built into the system, that we have so many cases that yes, we’re going to need an innocence project, and we’re gonna need prosecutors who are sensitive to that. I don’t know how you
    treat them differently as they come in in the door, although I will say that it is unusual for a defense attorney to come
    in in a negotiating session and say my client absolutely wasn’t there. Here’s the alibi. Here’s this and that. Most of the time the evidence
    is there for us to go and so when someone
    says they didn’t do it, but maybe there should be a different line where that case goes and is
    handled by a different group, and that pleading should
    be for the guilty, and that maybe there
    should be a different line for people who insist on their innocence. That’s a tough question, because you’re right, right now, we just lump them all together and churn them through the machine and a person just has
    to make tough choices, and risk much greater punishment if they don’t plead guilty to something they didn’t do. – I think we can not
    lose sight of the guilty. People who actually did something, but just because they did it. First of all, they might have a defense. Might be constructive possession. They’re in a car with
    four other individuals. That’s a gun inside, or they’re charged based
    upon accomplice liability. They didn’t share specific intent, or they just did it, but they did it because of
    really complicated reasons that we need to be as prosecutors need to be thinking about more critically. It was driven by poverty. It was driven by crime. Even violent crimes are
    driven by violence and trauma and so I always hesitate, when we’re getting these conversations to really just only focus
    on those who are innocent, or might have just been stopping first unconstitutionally, and so therefore legally innocent, but this conversation’s really critical, for those who committed the crimes too and it’s really critical, that again negotiations,
    we be thinking about, the fact that even guilty people, maybe even especially guilty people, deserve leniency, and deserve
    more nuanced negotiation. – I would just add to that and say, that it would seem to be untenable to have two different tracks, and who is determining at that point who is innocent or guilty, and coming from the Innocence Project the reforms that we seek to implement throughout the system are not just designed for people who could potentially be innocent, but really to make the system fairer, and more just for everybody coming through the system. If you have a constitutional
    right to trial, it doesn’t, and the government is supposed to prove their case, it’s still untenable,
    even if you did the crime, to have a system where the prosecutor has extraordinary
    discretion to overcharge, and the government doesn’t
    have to prove their case and maybe they wouldn’t be
    able to if you went to trial, or your constitutional
    rights were violated in some other way. By no means is it the
    Innocence Project’s platform to say there should be
    two separate tracks. – We’ve got time for maybe
    two more questions over here. – [Man] I’ll keep it to pretty short. How much impact do you think it would have if prosecutors were required
    to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt to a grand jury and also present exculpatory evidence to grand juries before making plea offers? – Interesting, because in
    New York as I understand it they do have to present
    exculpatory evidence. That’s not your experience? – No, that’s not my experience. (audience laughing) It’s not. In fact, even when I request it, they often will refuse. – And we don’t have a grand jury system so I can’t answer your question. – But the answer would
    be enormous difference. (audience laughing) Enormous. Let’s talk later about how
    to institute that policy. – Can I just add that it’s
    kind of an interesting fact that the grand jury right
    is one of the few rights that hasn’t been incorporated
    against the states, and so a number of states
    do not require grand juries and that’s another injustice
    that we can think about. – All right, other questions? – [Man] Good morning. Conversation tends to focus on basically crimes in the streets, rather than crimes in the suites. I guess for professor Thomas, what about the agreements such as NDAs that go to those who are very rich, who would basically benefit from what we would call the hold it doctrine, where we try to recently
    get some money out of a deal and everybody goes free. What about those type of deals? – Yeah, I think across the board, plea bargaining is unconstitutional. It’s problematic. Regardless of who the defendant is. I certainly think and I had
    a conversation this weekend with someone’s whose representing people in that suite that you’re talking about and they certainly
    oftentimes, want that benefit. They want that benefit
    associated with the plea but problematic. All of this is problematic, because there shouldn’t be the penalty associated with the jury trial, and that benefit is a
    penalty to some people. To treat people the same. I think it’s problematic regardless. – I think we’ve got a minute or two. Is there a last one? Over here in the middle. – [Woman] And England they
    have statutory penalties. Statutory discounts. Simply because of when you. I know you wouldn’t like this. It goes too far on leniency, but we’re looking for places. We’re looking for judges. You can’t carry to another system. – I like that system, because it’s more transparent, and it’s more predictable, and it might change the way that the defense attorney counsels her client to say that this is gonna happen. You got another two weeks, and then this is gonna go up, and we make people make tough choices. That’s part of being
    charged with a serious crime is you have to make some tough choices, but I think by thinking about this and preparing for this conference, was just that what’s missing is any sort of transparency, any sort of accountability, and the unlimited amount of penalty that one might face if
    they end up going to trial, and I think that’s an area
    where criminal justice reform can be focused. Not getting rid of plea
    bargaining entirely, because I can’t. That’s my water. I don’t know how we
    would swim without that, but make it obvious and
    transparent and cap it so that we don’t get
    these grotesque outcomes. – I’ll just say I’m not at all sympathetic to the idea of prosecutors
    having to work harder over time and putting in time, balanced against a person’s right to trial or right to due process and information. Okay, you have to put in some more time. You need to prepare for your hearing. The worst that happens is you lose, and you might have lost a weekend. The worst that happens for my client, is they wind up pleading guilty either to something they didn’t do, or pleading guilty to a
    worse crime and more time or face mandatory minimum sentences. I just do not like the idea of early pleas and there being one time offers, because we’re gonna put in all
    this time. Put in the time. I’m sorry. Make the system waste
    more on the front end, decriminalize, decline to prosecute. The majority of crimes that shouldn’t be in the system to begin with. Focus attention on maybe the crimes that should be on the books. Think more critically about
    alternatives to incarceration, but don’t penalize my clients, for exercising their
    constitutional rights. – Just to pick up on that, I’ve always thought it’s
    a great idea in theory, but in practice the problem is, with prosecutorial charging discretion, so much can be done, in terms of setting what the baseline is, the discount comes off. Maybe this constrains the size
    of the discount after charge and maybe that’s not such a big deal if you’re really charging within 72 hours, but if we want to talk about
    the white collar cases, where there’s lots of
    precharge negotiation, that still remains malleable, and you can’t really address it by a post charge reduction discount. Please join me in thanking my panelists for a wonderful panel. (audience applause)

    How Overnight Shipping Works
    Articles, Blog

    How Overnight Shipping Works

    August 11, 2019


    This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your website for 10% off at
    Squarespace.com/Wendover. Overnight shipping is an absolute masterpiece
    of logistics that happens every single night. It may not be cheap, but you can get a package
    shipped from Miami, Florida on a Monday night to Anchorage, Alaska, by 8:30 AM on
    Tuesday. In fact, you can even ship a package, for
    example, from Edinburgh, Scotland on a Tuesday and have the package arrive in Anchorage,
    Alaska by 9am on Wednesday. The speed and efficiency of these worldwide
    delivery networks is mind-blowing and it all happens while we sleep. The three major consumer courier companies
    are FedEx, DHL, and UPS and each is as impressive as the last. FedEx has more planes than Emirates, Etihad,
    and Qatar Airways combined; DHL delivers to every country in
    the world including North Korea; and UPS flies to
    more than double as many destinations as the largest passenger airline. Each has a global
    network that allows for lightning fast shipping at relatively low prices. Behind all this speed are
    enormous air networks that connect the entire world daily. Each of these three operates hundreds
    of flights nightly, but FedEx is the best example since their operations make them the
    largest cargo airline in the world. They have 650 planes flying to 400 destinations
    carrying 6 million packages every single day and the vast majority
    of these flights operate to or from one of their
    hub airports. FedEx’s hub airports are spread out all
    across the world and serve as sorting points where
    packages are transferred from one plane to another. They has hubs in Singapore, Guangzhou,
    Shanghai, Seoul, Osaka, Anchorage, Oakland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Greensboro, Miami, Newark,
    Toronto, Paris, Cologne, Milan, and Dubai, but the most important hub of all is the one
    in Memphis, Tennessee because that’s their
    SuperHub. Memphis is not a huge city—only about 650,000
    people live there—but the reason FedEx centers their worldwide operations in this
    city is because of it’s location. Memphis is not actually
    in the geographic center of the US as might make sense, but it is central. You see, only about 200
    miles away in Wright County, Missouri is the mean population center of the US. This is the
    average location of every resident in the US meaning that the FedEx SuperHub in Memphis
    is the best location to reach the most people
    in the shortest amount of time. For similar reasons,
    UPS has their equivalent global hub, Worldport, nearby in Louisville, Kentucky. The scale of
    FedEx and UPS’ operations in these relatively small cities is staggering. This is the size of the
    commercial terminal at Memphis Airport while this is the size of FedEx’s Superhub. The
    difference at Louisville airport is even more pronounced where this is the commercial terminal
    and this is UPS’ worldport. You can’t even fly to the west coast non-stop
    on a commercial airline from Louisville and yet UPS flies from this
    small city to five different continents. FedEx’s
    operations in Memphis, meanwhile, make this airport the second busiest cargo airport in
    the world above those of enormous cities like
    Tokyo, Paris, Dubai, Shanghai, and falling short only
    to Hong Kong. How the FedEx superhub really works is that
    every night, about 150 planes fly in from all
    around the world between the hours of 10pm and 1am. Immediately upon arrival, the planes are
    unloaded and their packages are put into the hub’s automated sorting system. Within only 15
    minutes, each package arrives at a staging area for its next flight where it’s loaded
    into containers. Planes therefore can start taking off again
    at 2am and continue to until 4am which means that everywhere in the US can have a
    FedEx plane arriving by 6am, but there are some
    destinations that don’t ship enough packages to need a non-stop flight to Memphis. To get to
    small towns fast, FedEx runs flights in small propeller aircraft from the destinations of
    their larger jets. Presque Isle, Maine, for example, is far too
    small of a town at about 10,000 residents to fill a full-size plane so, every morning,
    once the larger planes from Memphis arrive in
    Manchester, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine, packages bound for Presque Isle are sorted
    into smaller prop planes that continue north. With this system, even small towns like Presque
    Isle get their packages by 9am as every spoke in
    the system essentially functions as a mini-hub. Packages are transferred from planes, to smaller
    planes, to trucks to reach their destination as fast
    as possible. Now, it’s important to note that not every
    FedEx package runs through Memphis. That
    would be incredibly inefficient if a customer wanted to, for example, ship a package from
    Phoenix, Arizona to Seattle, Washington. While only 1,100 miles separate Seattle from
    Phoenix, a routing through Memphis would total over
    3,000 miles and six hours in flight. The package
    would still make it overnight, but FedEx would be wasting fuel carrying that package an extra
    1,900 miles, so that’s why they have secondary hubs. In this case, FedEx’s Oakland hub has
    flights to both Phoenix and Seattle so the package would take a relatively efficient
    1,300 mile routing. Memphis essentially serves as the backup hub
    in case there’s not a more efficient routing. The secondary hubs, such as Oakland, in general
    have flights to destinations that are already served by flights to Memphis, but
    the destinations from Oakland are high demand destinations that will ship enough packages
    solely to the west coast to fill entire planes to
    Oakland. Some destinations, such as Albuquerque, New
    Mexico, ship enough packages to fill entire planes to Memphis, but not enough to
    fill flights to Oakland with west coast bound packages so a package shipped from here to
    the west coast would likely take a rather inefficient
    routing backtracking to Memphis. But FedEx’s most ingenious hub is here in
    Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage, with fewer
    than 300,000 residents, is home to the forth busiest cargo airport in the world. This is, once
    again, thanks to geography. If you draw a straight line from FedEx’s
    Memphis hub to the one in Osaka, taking into account earth’s curvature,
    it goes directly over Anchorage, Alaska. This
    airport is just the perfect stop-over point for flights from the US to Asia. Now, dozens of cargo
    airlines operate in Anchorage but most of them just use the airport as a refueling and
    crew swap spot. Modern airplanes can fly non-stop from the
    contiguous United States to Asia, but doing so
    requires taking more fuel which requires taking less cargo. It’s just cheaper to stop in Anchorage,
    but FedEx and UPS use the stop for something else—sorting. If FedEx wanted to maintain
    current shipping times without the Anchorage hub, they would likely have to run non-stop
    flights from each of their Asian hubs to each of their
    American hubs, but they just don’t have the
    demand to fill this many planes. Instead, they run flights from their Asian
    hubs to Anchorage then flights from Anchorage many of their
    American hubs. While stopped in Anchorage,
    packages from Asia are processed through customs and sorted to be put on the plane bound
    closest to their destination. This helps cuts down on shipping time and
    cost. Shipping is an incredibly price-sensitive
    business. These courier companies rely on
    enormous contracts with retailers and, when some of these retailers are shipping millions
    of packages per day, every cent matters. In a lot of ways, however, the express shipping
    model is inherently expensive largely because of how
    couriers use their most expensive assets—planes. So much is centered around those few sorting
    hours at the big hubs so FedEx’s planes all have to
    wait around to arrive at the exact right moment. Some FedEx hubs, such as Memphis, do sort
    packages during the day, but the overwhelming majority of their business happens overnight. FedEx’s flight from Memphis to Oklahoma
    City, for example, leaves at 4am and arrives at
    5:20am, but then the plane waits around until 10:10pm to fly back to Memphis. That’s over 17
    hours sitting in Oklahoma City and, on that route, the plane is only flying for about
    two hours per day. Meanwhile, commercial airlines regularly fly
    their planes for more than 12 hours per day meaning they have six times higher aircraft
    utilization. FedEx would never be profitable if they
    bought all new multi-hundred million dollar aircraft to use for mere hours per day, so
    they don’t. Overwhelmingly, FedEx and other cargo airlines
    use old aircraft at the end of their lives. You’ll
    almost never see Airbus a300’s flying for passenger airlines anymore, yet FedEx, UPS,
    and DHL collectively own hundreds of them because
    they’re cheap. They didn’t spend much purchasing
    these aircraft, so they don’t have to worry about using them enough to offset their cost. UPS does
    have some brand new 747-800 aircraft, which are highly efficient, but they specifically
    schedule these planes on their longest routes so that
    they can recuperate their high purchase price through
    lower fuel costs. With older aircraft, fuel costs might be higher
    since the planes are less efficient, but overall it’s worth it since it allows
    FedEx to profitably leave their planes sitting for all but a
    few hours each day. Some passenger airlines, such as Allegiant
    Airlines in the US, uses the same strategy purchasing cheaper planes to allow
    them to fly fewer hours per day profitably and its
    now a tested and proven business strategy. Express shipping is one of those businesses
    that requires enormous networks to make work which is why you don’t see small shipping
    companies. It’s almost impossible to get started
    in this business unless, of course, you can make your own demand. Amazon, which ships more
    than a million packages per day, is getting into the delivery business. They’ve established a fleet
    of 32 aircraft and are building out their logistics network. When shipping so many packages,
    Amazon is operating at a scale where they can profit by taking the shipping companies
    out of the equation. FedEx, UPS, and DHL, meanwhile, are continuously
    focusing on further increasing the efficiency of their networks since in this
    business more than any, time is money. As you may have noticed, Wendover Productions
    has a new logo and with that I’ve redesigned the website with Squarespace. To be honest, I hadn’t used the website
    builder in a while but this process reminded me of why
    I’m such a fan of Squarespace. It was super simple to
    completely overhaul the site and, in my opinion, it looks great. I didn’t have any issues, but if
    you ever do they have award winning 24/7 customer support that I have used in the past and can
    vouch for. If you run a business, a youtube channel,
    a podcast, or anything else, you want to have a professional web presence like I do with
    my site since that’s how people find you, and you can
    get started building your website with Squarespace for 10% off at squarespace.com/wendover. Squarespace is a great supporter of the show
    so make sure to show them your appreciation by at
    least checking them out at squarespace.com/Wendover. And just one more thing, if you’re like
    me and the first reaction you had to seeing this new logo is wanting a t-shirt of it,
    you’re in luck because they’re now available for pre-order
    at DFTBA. The link is in the description.

    Down At The Station | Train song for toddlers | Toddler Fun Learning
    Articles, Blog

    Down At The Station | Train song for toddlers | Toddler Fun Learning

    August 11, 2019


    Down at the station, early in the morning,
    See the little puffer trains, all in a row. Here comes the driver to start up the engine,
    PUFF! PUFF! PEEP! PEEP! Off we go! PUFF! PUFF! PEEP! PEEP! Off we go!
    PUFF! PUFF! PEEP! PEEP! Off we go! Down at the station, early in the morning,
    See the little puffer trains, all in a row. Here comes the driver to start up the engine,
    CHUFF! CHUFF! TOOT! TOOT! Off we go! CHUFF! CHUFF! TOOT! TOOT! Off we go!
    CHUFF! CHUFF! TOOT! TOOT! Off we go! Down at the station, early in the morning,
    See the little puffer trains, all in a row. Here comes the driver to start up the engine,
    CLICKETY CLACK! CLICKETY CLACK! Off we go! CLICKETY CLACK! CLICKETY CLACK! Off we go!
    CLICKETY CLACK! CLICKETY CLACK! Off we go! How many trains did you count in the video? One Two Three What colour are the trains? Freddie is red Teddy is pink Eddie is Green Did you spot the orange cat? Click Subscribe for more great videos

    I’ve Been Working on the Railroad | Favorite Children’s Nursery Rhymes | Baby Genius
    Articles, Blog

    I’ve Been Working on the Railroad | Favorite Children’s Nursery Rhymes | Baby Genius

    August 10, 2019


    I’ve been workin’ on the railroad. All the
    livelong day. I’ve been workin’ on the railroad. Just
    to pass the time away. Can’t you hear the whistle blowing? Rise up
    so early in the morn. Can’t you hear the captain shouting. “Dinah,
    blow your horn?” Dinah, won’t you blow. Dinah, won’t you blow.
    Dinah, won’t you blow your horn? Dinah, won’t you blow. Dinah, won’t you blow.
    Dinah, won’t you blow horn. Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.
    Someone’s in the kitchen, I know. Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.
    Strumming on the old banjo. I’m singin’ Fee, fie, fiddle-e-I-o.
    Fee, fie, fiddle-e-I-o-o-o-o. Fee, fie, fiddle-e-I-o.
    Strumming on the old banjo.

    ABC Sound Song | Learning Street With Bob The Train | Sight Words | Cartoons For Babies by Kids Tv
    Articles, Blog

    ABC Sound Song | Learning Street With Bob The Train | Sight Words | Cartoons For Babies by Kids Tv

    August 10, 2019


    Hi kids! Guess who’s here Yes its me bob.. Join me for learning with bob.. “Hey Kids welcome to Bob Learning Street!” Let me tell you about the sounds letters make A aaaaaaa B bbbbbbb C ccccccc D ddddddd These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake E eeeeeee F fffffff G ggggg H hhhhhhh These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake I iiiiiiii J jjjjjjjj K kkkkkkkk L llllllll These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake M mmmmmmmm N nnnnnnnn O oooooooo P pppppppp These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake Q qqqqqqqq R rrrrrrrr S ssssssss T tttttttt These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake U uuuuuuuu V vvvvvvvv W wwwwwwww X xxxxxxxx These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake Y yyyyyyyy Z zzzzzzzz Y yyyyyyyy Z zzzzzzzz These are the sounds the letters make
    Sing with me it’s a piece of cake “Wasn’t that fun?”

    Creating a job-ready hiring pool
    Articles, Blog

    Creating a job-ready hiring pool

    August 10, 2019


    Time management is very different in a company.
    You can’t just start the thing the night before and get it done. That’s not going to work
    here. Being able to see references I think is huge. If they’ve worked at a co-op term
    and I can get a reference from someone that’s managed them, that’s huge. That gives me more
    confidence in their abilities than an interview does, than a resume does because I know someone
    that’s worked with them has enjoyed working with them and knows they can do the job. Just
    having a reference base is huge.

    Controlling Trains – Network Rail engineering education (3 of 15)
    Articles, Blog

    Controlling Trains – Network Rail engineering education (3 of 15)

    August 10, 2019


    [train passing] ♪ pizzicato background music ♪ (Narrator)
    Britain’s rail network transports 3 million passengers and 400,000 tonnes of freight a day. With hundreds of trains using it at any one time. All this traffic presents us with a safety challenge. Trains are guided by rails, so it’s impossible for them to swerve or pull over. Trains are heavy, can’t stop quickly and frequently operate at speeds which do not enable them to halt within sighting distance of the driver. Under these circumstances, one might assume that trains are prone to collision. In fact, rail is the safest mode of transport in Britain. And that’s because trains are carefully controlled. Hence our responsibility at Network Rail to control them. Signalling is the control process Network Rail uses to operate trains safely, over the correct route and to the proper time-table. The two key features of this process are line-side signals and the block system. Trains can’t collide if they’re not permitted to occupy the same section of track at the same time. So the network is divided into sections known as “blocks”. Normally, only one train is permitted in each block at any one time. The British rail network uses line-side signals to advise the driver of the status of the section of track ahead. Most line-side signals are in colour light form, but a significant number of semaphore signals remain on secondary lines. The semaphore consists of a mechanical arm that raises to signify go or lowers into the horizontal to signify stop. The most modern signals have 4 colour aspects. A green light indicates clear. A double yellow indicates that the next signal will be a caution. The yellow signal indicates caution, and that the next signal will be red. And a red means stop, otherwise known as danger. It’s prohibited to pass a signal at danger. The British rail network was originally controlled by thousands of manned signal boxes located at regular intervals along the lines. ♪ guitar background music ♪ (Stewart)
    My name’s Stewart Sentence, I’m the signaller at Uttoxeter signal box. This is the most traditional form of system on the railway as it is at the moment. A lot of this, as you see, goes back to when the original railway started. As far as we’re concerned the universe begins at Caverswall over to the right and Sudbury there and we’re in the middle. This set of blocks tells me where the train is between myself and Caverswall, and this set of blocks tell me where the train is between Sudbury and myself. These levers here will operate the points for the crossings into the loops and sidings. They’ll also work the semaphore signals. (Narrator)
    To prevent a collision caused by human error, the safety system called “interlocking” protects the railway network. Interlocking is a series of mechanical devices that prevents the signaller operating appliances in an unsafe sequence. (Stewart)
    What you have here is what looks like a simple lever system but is actually, if you looked underneath the box, is quite a complicated interlocking system. The interlocking system prevents me giving a green signal to an approaching train unless I set that route in that interlocking system safely first. It sounds simple and it basically works simple but the action what it does is very good. (Narrator)
    Level frame signal boxes, while effective, aren’t efficient. They only cover a short section of line and manning them with skilled operators is expensive. (Stewart)
    Now I can pull the signals off No. 2. [loud click] Some of these you’ll see me pulling quite ‘ard; that’s because there’s a lot of gape on these. Some people can’t actually pull ’em at all. Well a lot of it’s fairly hands on. You see the trains, you’ve got control over the trains and the job itself. It’s a good job; a better job as I’ve ever ‘ad. Without a doubt. [clank] [train passes rapidly] (Narrator)
    The next big leap in rail signalling control came with the electronic age and the advent of Power Signal control Boxes like this one in Derby. ♪ 60s electronic background music ♪ (Signaller)
    This location opened in 1969, and when it did open it represented a massive step forward to the railways in the way that trains are signalled. Well, these lines represent mainly the Derby to Birmingham main lines. This signal box actually took over 84 mechanical signal boxes, making it a far more efficient way of carrying out signalling. (Narrator)
    Routes are set by pressing buttons on a large control panel. Each section between buttons represents a stretch of line formerly controlled by a lever framed signal box. (Signaller)
    It’s very easy to work around. The signalling system is very user friendly and very easy to see the layout of the trains and where they’re coming from and going to. The presence of a train is indicated by these red lights on the panel. They’re activated by the completion of an electrical circuit when the train’s wheels pass over the track circuit. The operation of the signalling equipment is carried out by pulling and pushing the actual buttons that are set in the panel. To set a route you press the entrance button, you press the exit button and the signalling system between detects all equipment that’s located between the two signals. Once that’s in the correct position, the signal will clear for the train to proceed. To take the route out, we simply pull the exit button and the route will drop out. (Narrator)
    Power Signal Boxes are regulated by a relay room, a little like a giant mechanical computer. (Signaller)
    This is the interlocking room, underneath the operating floor of the Power Signal Box. And in ‘ere are all the banks of relays. And these relays relay all of the information from the touches of the buttons upstairs from the signaller outside to the points and the track circuits and the level crossings. (Narrator)
    Relays are interlocking electro-mechanical switches. When the signaller sets a route in the upstairs control room, you can hear the switches clicking, working out how to set the signals and switches and crossings and whether the set route is safe. [clicking] (Signaller)
    These cabinets are where the equipment in Derby PSB reach the modern era. These allow transmission of the train head code, the four-digit running number that we saw on the panels upstairs to be transmitted to adjacent signal boxes to give them advanced notification of that train coming so that train can be routed further down the line. (Narrator)
    Powered Signal Boxes are effective and safe. But at Network Rail we’re now introducing an even more efficient form of signalling control. ♪ rapid piano background music ♪ (Jason)
    Compared to the oldest lever box signal boxes, this is a world apart. It’s like an Air Traffic Control Centre basically, but controlling trains instead of aeroplanes. My name’s Jason Jones, I’m a signaller and I work at Ashford IECC in Kent. The IECC stands for “Integrated Electronic Control Centre”. All the signalling in this signalling centre is controlled by computers. A timetable is downloaded every day and any alterations etc. are all programmed into the computer. When everything’s running on-time and all the trains are in their correct place and there’s nothing else going on, the computers are all running the job and I am literally just sitting here monitoring. Hello John, yeah it’s sitting on area 83 Ashford, over. At any time there could be an emergency of any description and that’s when I will then step in and take over from the computer. I will turn the computer off and then run the trains manually using the keyboard or the tracker-ball system that we’ve got. On this screen here I can see the exact layout of the stations and the tracks. I can see where the trains are – where the red line is. Each red line indicates the location of the train. I can see where the trains are heading for (what route they’re taking) by the white line. That’s what the computer has set up for that train to use. We can also see the signals what the driver sees out on the track. The red dots indicate a signal that’s red, we’ve got a single yellow, we’ve also got a double yellow. And obviously we’ve got the green signals which means then he can proceed at line speed. ♪ slower piano background music ♪ The computers that Network Rail uses in this type of location are specifically designed for this type of system. They use various safety protocols, various fail-safes. You get three computers working in tandem with one another and before any decisions are made, two of the computers have to agree with one another. Ashford covers a huge area, right from the Kent coast at Folkstone right the way into Central London. That is the equivalent, yeah, of hundreds of the old style lever frame signal boxes. [train horn] We don’t just deal with standard trains here. As well as the commuter trains that we run we also run the high-speed trains into St. Pancras and the Eurostar trains that come from Paris and Brussels. The high speed trains are run using a totally different way of signalling trains than the old-style and conventional signals. The high-speed line is signalled using cab-signalling where the driver gets a display in the cab and that tells him when to stop his train, start his train and what speed he must run at. The trains travel up to 186 mph, and that’s just too fast for the driver to be able to see signals out on the track. All the systems, whether you’re in a lever box or you’re in this type of modern technology it’s all designed to fail safe and that is any failures, the signals go back to red. This job carries a lot of responsibility. You are responsible for people’s lives on the trains, the public, drivers, track workers. You do have a fair bit of responsibility. No matter how much the technology changes, the one thing that remains the same is the safety and the security of the trains out on the track.

    Every Country in the World (Part 1)
    Articles, Blog

    Every Country in the World (Part 1)

    August 9, 2019


    This is every country in the world… by Wendover
    Productions. We’ll start with
    Afghanistan, the first country alphabetically. Afghanistan is one of the few countries worldwide
    to be offset from Greenwich Mean Time by a 30 minute interval, its at GMT +4:30, while
    China is one of the many countries to only have
    one timezone… except its ginormous. It aligns to GMT
    + 8 so that means that stepping over the 47 mile long Afghanistan-China border jumps you
    forward by 3.5 hours. That’s the largest single time zone jump
    on earth. China in all its craziness
    has rather ambitious plans to build a high-speed railroad from Beijing, up across the Bering
    Strait, and down into the United States, which happens to be the home of 41% of Wendover
    Productions viewers. Up in the north-west of the US, Point Roberts,
    a part of the mainland US, is cut off from the US by Canada and since it
    doesn’t have a high-school, students have to cross
    into Canada then back into the US each day on their way to school. Canada happens to be the
    second largest country on earth and has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Its so
    huge, in fact, that its easternmost point is closer to Croatia than it is to Vancouver. One of
    Croatia’s thousands of islands is Rab, the birthplace of the sculptor Marinas who went
    on and founded San Marino, the fifth smallest country
    in the world and one of three to be completely surrounded by another country. One of the others is the Vatican—the smallest
    sovereign state in the world—and there’s also Lesotho, which
    is home to one of Africa’s seven ski resorts. Lesotho
    is of course surrounded by South Africa which is the only country in the world to have three
    capitals—Cape Town is the seat of the Parliament, Pretoria is the home of the president, and
    Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa also almost completely surrounds
    another country—Swaziland, where roads are so bad
    that two of the last four transport ministers died in
    car accidents. While mostly surrounded by South Africa, Swaziland’s
    eastern border is with Mozambique, whose name scores higher in scrabble
    than any other one-word country, but in second place for scrabble is Kyrgyzstan which
    is home to six enclaves, the smallest of which is
    part of Uzbekistan and is only 2 miles wide. In Uzbekistan, no river leads to the Ocean—they
    all drain into endorheic basins where all the
    water evaporates out. Uzbekistan is one of only two
    countries worldwide to be double-landlocked—as in, landlocked by landlocked countries. In this
    case, every surrounding country of Uzbekistan also ends in -stan—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
    Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan,and Turkmenistan. The other double-landlocked country is
    Liechtenstein—a tiny and historically neutral nation. In their last military engagement in 1886,
    none of the 80 soldiers were injured or killed, and they actually returned with 81 people
    since they made a “new italian friend.” Italy is home to the Breuil Cervinia ski resort
    where you can ski across the border into Switzerland. Switzerland is rather paranoid about war to
    the extent that 3,000 points of entry into the country are
    rigged to blow at an instant in case of invasion. Switzerland is also home to one end of the
    shortest regularly-scheduled commercial international flight in the world—a six minute, 10 mile
    jaunt over to Germany where its not actually illegal to
    escape prison. Seriously—they say its only human nature. Germany is home to half of one of the
    world’s few internationally divided islands, and the Polish side of this island, despite
    being only 200 feet from mainland Poland, is not connected
    by any bridges to Poland, so just like point Roberts, residents have to cross international
    borders to get to their own country. Poland also
    happens to have been a part of Sweden’s monarchy for a brief eight years in the 16th
    century. Sweden has an internationally divided island
    too, and this one is a mere 7 acres large. The border
    looks like this because Finland accidentally built a lighthouse in Swedish territory and
    so they just readjusted the border to make everyone
    happy. Finland has exactly 187,888 lakes, and its
    northernmost point is actually closer to Greenland than Poland due to the curvature of the earth. Greenland isn’t actually a country so I’m
    not allowed to talk about it—its a dependency of
    Denmark, where its impossible to be more than 30 miles from the ocean. The wife of Denmark’s Crown Prince, Crown
    Princess Mary, was born in Australia which is the 6th largest country on earth and is
    home to the longest fence in the world—a 3,500 mile structure to keep wild dogs out
    of the the fertile south-east region. The middle of Australia also has practically
    nobody and nothing in it except a 297 mile long precisely straight section of railroad
    track. Australia freed the country of Brunei from
    occupation back in WWII which is one of the few countries worldwide to be comprised of
    two comparably sized sections. St Kitts and Nevis is
    also split into two but that’s because its a two island nation and also the smallest
    country in the Americas. In Saint Kitts and Nevis you can gain citizenship
    by making a $400 thousand real estate investment much like Bulgaria, where people nod up and
    down to signify no and shake left and right to mean yes. Bulgaria is one of the few countries to have
    an embassy in North Korea which created its own time zone in 2015 for
    no real reason than to be different. North Korea is
    only separated by one country from Norway, where more than half the population lives
    below this line. Between Norway and North Korea is of course
    Russia—the largest country in the world. Its easternmost point is, in fact, closer
    to Mexico than Moscow. Mexico once had three
    different presidents in one hour during a military coup, but also accustomed to short
    regimes is Alsace-Lorraine in France which was an fully-recognized
    independent country for 12 short days between being part of Germany and France at
    the end of World War One. France, of course, had
    an enormous empire including Algeria which is the largest country in Africa and unlike
    some of its neighboring countries, is quite nice to
    women. 70% of the countries lawyers are female. Right
    next door to Algeria is Morocco which has de facto control of some of Western Sahara,
    a place thats not really part of any country. That’s why its always blank on data maps. Morocco
    surrounds two Spanish exclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, which are politically part of mainland
    Spain, rather than overseas territories, despite
    being in Northern Africa. Spain once had an enormous
    empire, part of which was Micronesia which is now a US associated state, meaning they’re
    an independent nation but the US covers defense
    and funding. Micronesian citizens can join the US
    military without becoming a US resident—a right only given to citizens of freely associated
    states. Their currency is also the US dollar. Palau is also a nearby US associated state
    which is often compared to Fiji since they’re both
    idillic pacific island destinations even though they’re
    over 3,500 miles apart. Fiji was a British colony up until 1970 and
    you have no idea how hard it was to avoid using this transition up until
    now. I could’ve used it with Nauru, St Kitts
    and Nevis, Brunei, Australia, South Africa, Canada, the
    United States, and Afghanistan but I kept it for now. The UK is home to the shortest regularly scheduled
    commercial flight in the world between Westray and Papa Westray in the Scottish isles. It costs 17 pounds, takes 53 seconds, and
    traverses only 1.7 miles. The UK has two exclaves—both of which are
    overseas territories. One
    is Gibraltar, right across from Ceuta, and the the other is Akrotiri and Dhekelia on
    the island of Cyprus. There are border control agents from three
    countries on Cyprus, the UK, Cyprus, and Turkey. Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state only
    recognized by Turkey who helps them keep control of the territory with a heavy military
    presence and border control agents. Istanbul,
    Turkey, is the only city on the planet to span two continents—Europe and Asia—although
    there are plenty of countries on two continents. In Egypt, the Sinai peninsula sits in Asia
    while the rest is in Africa. Just past the southern border of Egypt is
    Bir Tawil, a piece of land claimed by no country since Egypt and Sudan disagree on
    where their borders are. Sudan recently split into two
    and created South Sudan—the world’s youngest UN recognized country. The second youngest
    country is Serbia which, up until 2006, was called Serbia and Montenegro but split after
    a referendum. Montenegro also happens to be a town in Costa
    Rica where about 100 people live. The capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, only
    allows car owners to drive 6 days a week to fight
    pollution and congestion, so the last digit of license plates correspond to their banned
    day. Costa
    Rica’s southern border is with Panama, home to the Panama Canal which, counterintuitively,
    has its Atlantic end, the ocean to the east, to
    the west, and its Pacific end, the ocean to the west, to the
    east. Panama’s southern border is with Colombia
    but there’s not one road crossing this 50 mile
    jungle which means its impossible to drive between North and South America. You probably
    know that Colombia was once part of Spain but so was the Netherlands. It was called the Spanish
    Netherlands. The Netherlands is also home to Baarle-Nassau,
    one of the most messed up borders in the world. Belgium is well known for having a UN headquarters,
    and so does Nairobi, Kenya —the suspected birthplace of the human race. Kenya’s northern neighbor is Somalia, which
    received its first ATM machine in 2014. Somalia has had three separate wars with Ethiopia
    in the last century, and Ethiopia national airline
    was the second in the world to receive the 787
    Dreamliner despite being the 13th poorest country. Ethiopia also has another one of those
    internationally divided islands, this one with Djibouti, which is home to the lowest
    point in Africa, Lake Assal, at 509 feet below sea
    level. Djibouti also hosts the only US military base
    in Africa, and Israel hosts one of the smallest
    ones, Dimona Radar Base. Despite being a middle eastern country, Israel
    competes in Eurovision and many European sports leagues since they’re
    culturally much closer to Europe than the middle-east. Israel has one of the weirder international
    borders with Palestine which is only a country depending on who you ask. The largest
    Palestinian community outside the Arab world is in Chile which is one of the only countries
    to have a government sponsored UFO research organization. Chile is the southernmost mainland
    country in the world but doesn’t have the southernmost commercial airport. That title goes to
    Argentina with their Ushuaia – Malvinas International Airport. This (Iguazu Falls) spectacular
    waterfall is the border between Argentina and Brazil which is home to the Amazon River,
    which doesn’t have a single bridge over it. Not one—its just in an area where practically
    nobody lives. Recife, Brazil is closer to Dakar, Senegal
    than to Porte Alegre in South-western Brazil. Just off
    the coast of Senegal is Cape Verde which is pretty much paradise. They have a high human
    development index score, high GDP, high literacy rate, and the lowest recorded temperature
    in history there was 50 degrees fahrenheit. As a former Portuguese colony, Cape Verde
    speaks Portuguese which is the 6th most spoken language
    in the world even though its origin country, Portugal, is smaller than Kentucky. They just had an enormous empire, which for
    a while included Indonesia, which has another one
    of those internationally divided islands with Papau
    New Guinea, similar to Hispaniola island which is divided between Haiti and the Dominican
    Republic. Hispaniola is the 22nd largest island in the
    world but Madagascar is number four. Its
    also the largest single-island-country. 85 million years ago Madagascar was connected
    to India before the continents shifted but Sri Lanka
    was connected to India as recently as 1480 via a land
    bridge that has since eroded. Sri Lanka is just north of the equator but
    right on the equator is Ecuador. Its capital, Quito, is only 20 miles from
    the equator so its day length varies by only 15
    minutes between winter and summer. Although, since the country is split by the
    equator, winter and summer happens at the same time in the
    same country. Ecuador is one of 30 countries to have an
    antarctic research base and right next door to
    Ecuador’s base is Peru’s. Copacabana, not that one, this one, in Bolivia,
    can only be reached by driving through Peru. Bolivia, despite being a landlocked country,
    maintains a 5,000 person Navy, although Mongolia, also a landlocked
    country, maintains a navy that has one ship—a tugboat—and seven total sailors. Mongolia is also the least dense country on
    the planet with only 5 people per square mile. While they may seem un-intimidating now, the
    Mongolian empire was once, the largest contiguous land empire in
    history. Part of that empire was Cambodia, which has
    changed its name six times in the last 65 years. 95% of Cambodia’s population is Theravada
    Buddhist. The other major branch of buddhism is Mahayana
    Buddhism which is practiced in Japan where, out of its total population of
    126 million, they had three gun murders in 2012. Iceland, however, can top that, because they
    had one murder total in 2012. Of course, Iceland
    doesn’t have a huge population which makes it less impressive until you consider that
    30% of Iceland’s residents own guns. 60% of that population, however, lives in
    this circle. Iceland was
    also the first country to recognize Armenia’s independence, and Armenia separates Azerbaijan
    from its Nakhchivan exclave and since the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is closed, residents
    of Nakhchivan have to go all the way around Armenia
    to get to to their own country. Azerbaijan’s
    national soccer team has played Andorra’s five times in the past few decades and four
    of those games have ended in a 0-0 tie. Andorra is the largest country in the world
    to not have an airport which is less impressive when you consider
    that they’re the 19th smallest in the world. The
    smallest country in the world to have a major international airport is the Maldives, the
    8th smallest country. This airport has dozens of destinations and
    is on a small island with no land connections to other islands which means once
    you land you have to either take a boat or seaplane to your destination. One of the airport’s destinations is Kuala
    Lumpur in Malaysia which is home to world’s largest roundabout
    in Putrajaya at 2 miles in diameter. Malaysia is the
    only country connected by road to Singapore, the largest surviving city-state in the world. Despite having hundreds of skyscrapers, Singapore
    is not the densest country in the world. That
    title goes to Monaco which is less than one square mile large. Monaco has no income tax, much
    like the Bahamas, which is one of two countries whose official name starts with the word
    “the”, the other one being the Gambia. The Gambia’s interesting shape comes from
    the flow of the river Gambia whose watershed reaches all
    the way to Guinea which is one of three countries to have the word Guinea in its name. The other two are Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial
    Guinea. Guinea was once the word for the entire west-african
    region so when these countries became independent from their colonizers many chose
    to include “guinea” in their names. Equatorial
    Guinea’s capital actually isn’t on the mainland—its on an offshore island—and,
    despite its name, the equator doesn’t intersect Equatorial
    Guinea but the country is on both sides of the equator
    since they have sovereignty over Annobón island to the south of the equator. This is similar to
    Kiribati—a nation comprising of a few dozen islands in the Pacific. Kiribati is the first place on
    earth to experience New Year’s since their time zone is UTC +14—a time zone exclusive
    to these islands. Kiribati is close friends with Cuba since
    Cuba sent doctors to the islands who reduced the child mortality rate by 80%. Cuba—the only Caribbean island to have a
    commercial railroad—is one of the few remaining communist
    states. One of the others is Laos—the only
    landlocked country in south-east Asia—which borders Vietnam—also communist and the 14th
    most populous country in the world despite having the size of about New Mexico. Vietnam is
    good political friends with Venezuela who is not great friends with bordering Guyana
    since Guyana thinks the border looks like this and
    Venezuela thinks the border looks like this. Guyana
    —the only English-speaking country in South America—borders Suriname—the smallest
    country in South America and the only country other than the Netherlands whose sole primary
    language is Dutch. Suriname was our 98th country so that means
    that we’re halfway through and that that’s the end of part one of Every Country in the
    World, however, part two will be out on Tuesday, December 13th so make sure you’re subscribed
    to catch that right when it comes out. If you enjoyed this and other Wendover Productions
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    every country in the world.