In Oso, reporters break out their toolboxes

More than a week after the March 22 mudslide in Oso, Wash., which destroyed dozens of homes and killed more than two dozen people, it's still remarkable to see how reporters are covering the story.

A package in The New York Times today uses video to show the scope of the damage; it's another example of the skills reporters are expected to bring to the field. Graphic artists are also telling the story. Check out this breathtaking before and after graphic in The Seattle Times.

It's getting harder to hitch a ride—unless you're shipping crude

Writing in Food Business News, Ron Sterk talks about challenges agricultural shippers face after a brutal winter and stiff competition for rail capacity

At what may have been the peak of the logistics problems in January, several flour mills and sugar refineries were forced to slow operations or temporarily close during a period of extremely cold and snowy weather. Severe cold slows switching activity and reduces the effectiveness of air brakes, forcing railroads to run more but shorter trains, which may add to congestion. While the most severe of those conditions appear to have eased, in part as grain millers and sugar factories added trucks to supplement slow rail shipments, the problems are far from over, and in some cases may have continued to worsen.

Teamsters score a win with PAC 9

Here's a solid summary in The Washington Post about a deal between the NLRB and PAC 9 Transportation, a drayage hauler at the Post of Los Angeles. The company is required to post a notice saying its 130 drivers have the right to unionize. It's a victory in the Teamsters' efforts to make independent contractors into employees, but one former union organizer says it's "like emptying the ocean with a 5-gallon bucket."

Nissan's smart rear-view mirror

Now this is clever. From Nissan:

The Smart rearview mirror is housed within the structure of the rear-view mirror, with a built-in LCD monitor that can be activated in place of the conventional mirror. A high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle provides the driver with a clear unobstructed view of the rear flanks, allowing the ability to check blind spots and other traffic conditions. The camera projects a clear image onto the monitor to provide the driver with a better view for a more comfortable driving experience.

Leo Babuata: What I've learned as a writer

Robert De Niro’s intro to the best screenplay award last night was spot-on:

“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.”

All the more reason to read Leo Babuata's essay on what he's learned as a writer. Lesson No. 13 is the best of the bunch: 

When you put something with good intention out in the world, you have no idea what kind of impact it might have on others. It might do nothing, but it could have a profound effect on someone’s life. That’s truly powerful. That’s truly a reason to get up and write.

The potential for life-changing writing is enormous in the B2B world, especially in trucking.