Archive for March, 2009
Science and environmental edition: Bizarre caterpillars, space photography on the cheap, the evolution of human color vision, art and light from junk, the consolidation and corporatization of the organic food industry, oil still available at abandoned sites in the Amazon, Indian islands disappearing under rising water, Honda offers a new–and affordable–hybrid, greenwashing, photographing the melt, unique orcas doomed by the Exxon Valdez, an unusually large gathering of right whales, sweeping land and water conservation legislation passes, cleaning products creating superbugs, and studying the ties between particulate air pollution and heart disease.
For some reason, Susan didn’t seem to like me very much. I have no clue as to why not. I was as agreeable as a kid as I am now as an adult. Whenever we would go into her restaurant, she would smile at my friends and then give me a disapproving glance. It didn’t seem to matter how nice I was. It might have had something to do with some mischief my cousin had created, or perhaps my older brother. I had certainly never skipped out on a meal without paying for it.
Minnesota edition: News on the flooding from the Red River Valley, Franken-Coleman recount updates, Coleman donor investigation news, immigrants (and a Minnesota-born citizen) held illegally, RNC8 informant convicted, exploring the state’s alternative energy options.
As I explained to someone the other day, I thought that after the election, we’d be able to retire the Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival. Even though she squeaked through her reelection with a slim plurality, I was among the people who still considered the Republicans capable of learning what hadn’t worked for them in this election. One of those things being Bachmann, I thought she’d end up in some congressional broom closet somewhere, in a straitjacket with a duct tape gag. Not that I spent any time dwelling on this image or anything.
Alas, it was not to be.
Economics edition: Why talking about the top marginal tax rate is too simplistic, how current labor organization law is failing workers, how our views of government translate to our views of health care, ignoring the economic “distractions,” why the Obama administration’s centrist views on the economy are bad for us.
The reason people think that Robin Red Breast is a sign of spring is that we believe that robins fly south for the winter and north for the summer, so when we see them, it must be getting near summer. The fact that many robins don’t migrate at all, but simply become reclusive for the winter, is not widely known.
Red River Valley flood preparations move into high gear as storm approaches, Norm Coleman’s attorney says they’ll lose this round, did MPR soften unflattering Coleman headline, Michele Bachmann makes headlines of her own with call for armed revolution, and Minnesota offers solutions to curb emissions.
This was a simple assignment. I worked for an independent auto damage appraisal company, writing estimates for auto repair. My boss’s guidelines were clear. If the floodwaters had reached the bottom of the seat, the car would be declared a total loss. I didn’t need to continue to write the estimate up until the damage reached 70% of the value of the car. I would only need to note the level of water damage.
The Red River in Minnesota flows backwards in its channel, in a northerly direction. Its course is backwards not because it’s going north (many people in America do think that rivers flow south), but rather, because its channel is part of a larger channel that historically carried more water than any other river on this planet has ever carried. This was the Warren River, which emptied Lake Agassiz (the largest fresh water lake ever) via the Red River Valley, then on to the Minnesota River Valley, then to the Mighty Mississippi. Much mightier then.
In times of relative economic prosperity, it’s easier for a worker to forget how many of our countries laws and protections apply to capital and how few apply to production. Sure, a job may not be a certain thing, but there are more. And barring skills restricted to a few industries that are always in trouble, aren’t we all at least above average in our ability to out-compete if the time comes to find a new job?
When the recession hits, it becomes much harder to remain blinded by our optimism. When an economic event of the magnitude of the one we’re experiencing now comes along, it’s impossible to miss the fact that the people who have no say in deciding the future of a company suffer the worst in the decisions that are made.
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