Cowboy State Daily Video News: Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Wednesday's headlines include: * Giant Cheyenne Supercomputer Sells At Auction for $480K * Cheyenne Parents Concerned About Sexual Identity Survey At South High School * Starving Orphaned Black Bear Cub “Alice” Healthy and Almost Ready To Return To the Wild

Wendy Corr

May 08, 20246 min read

Mix Collage 07 May 2024 08 11 PM 4587
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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It’s time to take a look at what’s happening around Wyoming! I’m Wendy Corr, bringing you headlines from the Cowboy State Daily newsroom, for Wednesday, May 8th.

A 47-ton supercomputer in Cheyenne that can do 5.3 quadrillion calculations per second and was once one of the top 20 most powerful computers in the world has been sold to a mystery buyer for $480,000.

Cowboy State Daily’s Renee Jean reports that the supercomputer that’s housed at the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Atmospheric Research in Cheyenne was sold in a recently closed U.S. General Services Administration auction after seven years in service.

“The Cheyenne supercomputer is like 144,000 laptops all working at the same time. … So it's really quite a powerful machine. It's also very, very fast. It can do 5.3 quadrillion calculations a second. So that's one heck of a super math test.

Now, the Cheyenne was sold at auction because it's being replaced by an even better, more powerful supercomputer. The Derecho is three and a half times more powerful than the Cheyenne. It can do more than 19 quadrillion calculations a second. It's like 500,000 laptop computers working all at once.”

About 134 universities involved in atmospheric research have used the Cheyenne supercomputer for the last seven years on a wide range of projects, including the study of wildfires and hurricanes on earth on out to solar flares in space.

Gaming in Wyoming has grown fast - it’s now a $1 billion a year industry, coming in the form of skill-based games, parimutuel gambling, live horse racing and sports betting. 

How big gaming gets and how much oversight might be necessary is now the focus of a Gaming Expansion Study discussed at a Joint Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday. Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports.

“Many of the increasing growth that has occurred over the last few years, in the last decade, has not been matched with hardly any increased regulation. They've kind of legalized things and kind of put their hands off, for the most part. So that's kind of the big issue that legislators are trying to tackle with this industry. The Wyoming Gaming Commission is going to be conducting a study this summer to look at the possibility of what it would look like if Wyoming's gaming industry expanded. And the benefits of that and the costs, the social costs and things like that.” 

The current structure of the Gaming Commission and its relationship would be analyzed under the study, as would regulation of all wagering activities in Wyoming.

A Colorado-based company says it’s preparing to ramp up its uranium mine near Kaycee and develop rare earths production that will, quote, “be globally competitive.” 

Cowboy State Daily’s Pat Maio reports that the company is aiming for production of 2 million pounds of uranium next year.

“All these uranium companies that are kind of doing this rush to Wyoming to get in on the mining of uranium, this is yet another one. It's called Energy Fuels, and it's based out of Colorado. And it's got its fingers in a lot of different places, and in Wyoming. And the one that it's going to be starting up, or at least increasing its capacity pretty significantly, is up in Nichols Ranch, which is up around Kaycee, in the Powder River Basin area.” 

The rare earth minerals bonanza is the result of consumers starved for magnet metals integral to the green transition to electric vehicles, wind turbines, consumer goods, robots and military drones, missiles and chips needed for sophisticated computing power.

A sexual identity survey was reportedly made available to Cheyenne high school students, but not made available to parents.

Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland reports that the issue prompted an animated turnout of parents, substitute teachers and others at a Laramie County School District 1 board meeting Monday night.

“Parents converged on the school board meeting Monday night to say what the heck, you know, why is there this survey on the school walls asking our students about their sexual identity? Their main concern, it seemed, was not that the survey exists or that it asked questions, but that the parents reportedly couldn't access it, they didn't have a school email address. So that was the main concern. And they referenced the Parental Rights In Education Act, which mandates a certain level of transparency between the school and parents about changes to these students’ identification.” 

In a post-publication comment to Cowboy State Daily, the school district confirmed it learned of the flier last week, and has since removed it from the wall of South High School.

And an orphaned Wyoming black bear cub seemed almost certain to starve to death last winter, but after several months at an Idaho bear rescue facility, she’s almost ready to come home to the Cowboy State.

The cub, named Alice, was down to a mere 15 pounds when she arrived at the Idaho Black Bear Rehab last December. But Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz reports that since then, Alice has bounced back remarkably.

“If folks recall, Cowboy State Daily reported in December that a really tiny black bear cub had been found stuck in a cottonwood tree over in a tiny community kind of south of Jackson. Game and Fish went ahead and released the bear from that predicament, hoping it would go find its mother. Mother Bear didn't show up for several more days, so Game and Fish decided at that point, this bear must be orphaned. So they captured it and they sent it to the Idaho Black Bear Rehab center… happy to report that she's doing very well, she's up to about 60-70 pounds, which is a perfectly normal and healthy weight for a female black bear of her age. She's about 15 months, which means she's about right at the age of the cub would be kicked out on their own in the wild anyway. And that's the plan.” 

Late June is the target date to return her to natural surroundings, and Alice will be released in the general vicinity of where she was found.

And that’s today’s news. Get your free digital subscription to Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper by hitting the subscribe button on And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel! I’m Wendy Corr, for Cowboy State Daily.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter