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Thursday Flakes: Real ID, Hydrogen-Powered Trains and Mystery Mounds

Hydrogen is making a comeback in Germany

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Photo by Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images

The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament is down to 16 teams. The matchups continue this morning. The World Cup is down to eight teams. Quarterfinals start tomorrow. Army-Navy Game is on Saturday. The NFL Playoff race is tightening up. There is lots of exciting things happening in sports over the next few days. Meanwhile in the travel world, holiday travel is ramping up, facial recognition is being expanded and my Guadalajara adventures continue.

Here’s some questions to spark some discussion in the comments. What are your World Cup predictions? Can Nebraska volleyball win it all this season? Thoughts on facial recognition being used in an airport? Would you rather take a four-hour train ride or a one-hour flight?

Anyways onto Flakes...


Nebraska Flops On The Road Against Indiana 65-81 | Basketball | Corn Nation

IU came out strong and honestly make the Huskers struggle for most of the evening. One they lead they never looked back as the Huskers limped to a 65-81 loss. The home crowd was in to it and you could easily tell that it fed the team as they ran circles around the Huskers as the night went on.

Nebraska WBB vs Wisconsin Recap | Basketball | Corn Nation

Nebraska should have dominated this team and they did. They needed to get their star players to “star” and they did. Jaz Shelley scored 31 points. Let that sink in. She has taken over games and still helped her teammates do what they need to do. Other Huskers in double digits were Allison Weidner with 13 and Anni Stewart with 10. Alexis Markowski pulled down 12 rebounds.

Reaction: Donovan Raiola to return as Nebraska’s offensive line coach | Football | Corn Nation

To be fair to Raiola, everything that happened this past season was a shitshow. Frost left the program a decimated shell of itself, and perhaps to hold that against Raiola is unfair to him. I know that if I were him I’d hate the idea that my one year as a P5 offensive line coach was tied to Scott Frost’s abysmal failure as a P5 head coach.

Wrestling: Labriola Earns WOW Honors; Huskers Making Big Moves in Rankings | Wrestling | Corn Nation

The Husker wrestling team went to Vegas this past weekend and won its third straight Cliff Keen Invitational team title. Almost every one of Nebraska’s wrestlers either met or exceeded expectations, led by Mikey Labriola. Labriola moved up in the rankings to No. 2 after beating NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech 3-1 in sudden victory. For his effort, he was named the Wrestler of the Week by USA Wrestling.

Film session with John Cook: Nebraska hitter Madi Kubik’s ‘Toolbox’ of Shots | Volleyall | Lincoln Journal Star Nation

Cook says Kubik is one of the top-five players he’s coached at Nebraska at hitting shots off the block. Also on that list would be Jordan Larson, Gina Mancuso and Jazz Sweet. Cook notes that some players, like Mikaela Foecke and Sarah Pavan, weren’t trying to tool the block because they could just go over it.

Huskers Ready for Early Start, High-Powered Oregon Attack in Louisville | Volleyball | Hail Varsity

This year’s Sweet 16 will be a little different than past years’, however. Nebraska and Oregon will get the party started bright and early on Thursday with a 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. local) start time, something Cook wasn’t thrilled about as he expressed on Sports Nightly Monday. Happ or not, the Huskers have been preparing for the early start by holding morning practices this week and Cook said the players have handled it well.

Matt Rhule’s Nebraska Coaching Staff Taking Form Following His Introduction | Football | Hail Varsity

“This group of coaches will be great representatives of the University of Nebraska and are ready to play a key role in building our program,” Rhule said in a statement. “These are high-energy men with great passion for coaching and teaching, who have a history of developing outstanding college players and preparing them for the next level. This is a group that will relate well to prospective student-athletes from all parts of the country and sell Nebraska Football.”

Padding the Stats: A Trajectory-Changing Win? | Basketball | Hail Varsity

Nebraska secured arguably the most impressive and important win of the Fred Hoiberg era on Sunday, but what does that mean for Hoiberg and the Huskers moving forward?


US Delays Real ID Implementation Until 2025 | Travel | Travel Pulse

In 2005, congress passed legislation requiring Americans to get the new REAL ID cards, but it took years for departments to coordinate a plan, and previous enforcement start dates have all been pushed back.

Visa Applicant Wait Times for International Arrivals to US Could Deter Travel | Travel | Travel Pulse

At this rate, the U.S. tourism economy is projected to recover fully from the effects of the pandemic in 2025. One of the reasons for this decrease in international arrivals is the country’s long interview wait times for first-time visitor visa applicants, which in countries like Brazil, India and Mexico can be as long as 400 to 800 days.

TSA Plans to Expand Facial Recognition Technology at US Airports | Travel | Travel Pulse

To use the facial recognition technology, travelers entering airports equipped with the system will step up to the machine, insert their identification cards and scan their faces. The device will confirm that the person being examined is the same on the ID card, possibly eliminating the need for a TSA agent to check each traveler’s identification manually.

Where to Find Rio de Janeiro’s African American Roots | Travel | Lonely Planet

The Rio neighborhood of Madureira is 70% Black and situated 40 minutes from Copacabana in the city’s North Zone. It rarely tops any “must-see” tourist lists, but I came to the city on a mission to uncover Rio’s African roots, so I made like the Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro) and acted unbothered by the sweltering temperatures.

Best Time to Visit the Caribbean | Travel | Lonely Planet

Aside from the threat of heavy rains during hurricane season, the region is generally blessed with consistently tropical temperatures, clear yet impossibly blue seas, infinite stretches of white sand, verdant rain forests and flavorful cuisine.

Spain Adds Long-Distance Buses to Its Free Train and Transit Journeys | Travel | Lonely Planet

Transport and mobility minister Raquel Sánchez confirmed on Tuesday that the program will expand again, this time to include long-distance coaches that are part of the state concession network. As well as cutting commuters’ costs in the cost of living crisis, the minister said the bus scheme would save more than 350 million liters of fuel, potentially preventing the emission of one million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere during 2023.

How Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Trains Are Transforming Rail Travel | Travel | Conde Nast Traveler

In August, the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains debuted outside of Hamburg, Germany. Manufactured by French mobility company Alstom in a 93 million euro ($96.4 million) deal, the trains run on hydrogen fuel-cell technology that generates electrical energy propulsion for the engines, eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

France Bans Certain Domestic Flights Where There’s a Train Route Available | Travel | Travel + Leisure

The ban will apply to routes when there is a train available that will take less than 2 and a half hours, according to French Transport Minister Clément Beaune. To qualify, there would need to be several direct, high-speed rail connections available each day, according to the European Commission. Currently, three routes will be affected between Paris Orly Airport and Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon. All carriers will now be “prohibited” from flying between those destinations.

America’s 2000-year-old Mystery Mounds | Travel | BBC

Constructed by a mysterious civilization that left no written records, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks are a testament to indigenous sophistication.

Japan’s Most Remote Ski Destination | Travel | BBC

Buffeted by wild winds and blanketed in deep powdery snow throughout winter, the remote island of Rishiri off Japan’s north-western tip is a self-powered skier’s paradise.