A sure sign that confusion lies ahead

Local government is often said to be superior in many respects to state and federal government because it can respond more quickly, is said to be in better tune with the needs of its constituents and usually comes in personal contact with constituents on a far more regular basis. 

However, local government is just as capable as its bigger counterparts of entangling residents in bureaucratic red tape that leaves people confused, irritated and, often, unwittingly in violation of the law.

Take the above sign, near an elementary school in White Lake, Mich., which is in the Detroit metro area.

Instead of simply installing a flashing light when the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour, or having wording to the effect that the speed limit is 25 miles per hour from, say, 6 a.m.-9 a.m. and again from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., officials have detailed five 30-minute periods and one 26-minute period in which the limit drops to 25 mph.

And, as one can see, they’re all oddball segments, rather than, say, 7:00 a.m.-7:30 a.m., further enhancing befuddlement.

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Tiny songbird makes remarkable migration

The Northern Wheatear weighs no more than 10 US pennies, yet it the first songbird proven to migrate from the New World to the Old World.

The small bird, about six inches in length, flies from the Arctic region of the Western Hemisphere all the way to sub-Saharan Africa and back, according to a new study published in Biology Letters.

The study proves that the Northern Wheatear regularly travels some 18,000 miles roundtrip, venturing over ocean and desert.

“Scaled for body size, this is one of the longest round-trip migratory journeys by any bird in the world,” according to The Royal Society.

“They are incredible migratory journeys, particularly for a bird this size,” said Professor Ryan Norris of the University of Guelph. “Think of something smaller than a robin but a little larger than a finch raising young in the Arctic tundra and then a few months later foraging for food in Africa for the winter.”

Until recently, details about songbird migration remained unknown because geo-locators were too big or heavy to attach to such small birds. New smaller devices now allow scientists to track flights over several months and over long distances, according to The Royal Society.

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