Posted at 7:30 AM on July 9, 2010
by Elliot deBruyn
1. LeBron James, during a live, hour-long broadcast, has announced his decision to go to the Miami Heat to join the ranks of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Let the onslaught begin.
He's an honest guy... all he wants to do is win! Well, with a crew like that in South Beach, winning is the appetizer, entree and dessert.
2. The suburban and largely ineffective Russian spies apprehended this past week are going to be part of a deal to retrieve four individuals accused in Russia of having contacts in Western intelligence agencies. From the New York Times article:
The 10 long-term sleeper agents pleaded guilty to conspiracy before a federal judge in Manhattan after revealing their true identities. All 10 were sentenced to time served and were to be transferred to Russian custody as part of a deal in which Moscow will release the four Russian prisoners, three of whom were serving long sentences after being convicted of treason for spying.
Well, yeah, they're letting them go because they didn't have any valuable information... of course, there is the possibility they'll bring the top-secret hydrangea-growing skills back to the Motherland and the Western flower-selling business will be ruined.
3. Humor -- tell you where to go Yoda will, crash you might...
4. Mosquitoes have returned with a vengeance this year, it seems, so Lifehacker editor Adam Pash has compiled a few tips on how to get rid of the inevitable bite:
If the itching is more than you can stand and you don't have itch cream on hand, check your drawers for nail polish or Scotch tape.
Scotch tape? Nail polish? Wow... well why don't we just put anything we find around the house on bites and see what happens?
The best way to treat a mosquito bite: lick the end of your finger to wet it then pour salt on it. Rub this onto the bite.
Ah. Ouch. I'll stick with scratching and complaining, I think.
5. Finally, look at the party The Current and The Walker Art Center can throw -- absolutely incredible.
Three out of five college students admit to cheating on tests and assignments. Is trying to catch cheaters a worthwhile use of college resources?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Professors and college administration are using technology to crack down on cheating, and yet it still persists in most fields of study. Do students cheat because of ignorance, desperation or malicious intent? Midmorning speaks with researchers about why students aren't playing fair.
Second hour: Hollywood keeps cranking out blockbusters for the summer movie season, but fewer people are going to see them. Have the movie makers lost their mojo, or are audience tastes simply changing?
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Jon Gordon, MPR's Social Media and Mobile News Editor answers questions about these technologies and their role at MPR.
Second hour: A speaker from the Aspen Ideas Festival. Topic: TBA
Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Scientists are cutting and pasting genes to create engineered organisms, but what are the ethical implications of toying with DNA?
Second hour: A performance by scientist-rockers "The Amygdaloids." Plus, swimming pool chemistry and summer plant diseases.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.)
(Bob Collins is not writing today. Today's 5x8 is assembled by Elliot deBruyn)(1 Comments)
Posted at 11:08 AM on July 9, 2010
by Eric Ringham
Filed under: News
This morning's spy swap can make a guy long for the good old days of the Cold War, when the enemy was Russian and John le Carré novels were easier to follow. Le Carré warned us not to expect secret agents to be ideological purists, but even he might be surprised by the likes of Anna Chapman. What motivates these people? An early Le Carré character, Alec Leamas, suggested that spies are "seedy, squalid bastards ... playing Cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives." Here's a moment from the movie made out of Le Carré's breakthrough novel, "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold:"
A note for younger readers: Before Matt Damon, there was an actor named Richard Burton.
DFL gubernatorial contender Margaret Anderson Kelliher is making hay, understandably, out of Republican candidate Tom Emmer's remarks this week about tips and the minimum wage. She told Cathy Wurzer this morning that Emmer's proposal to cut the minimum wage for people who earn tips was akin to "stealing" their tip money.
What's lower than stealing somebody's tip money?
A couple of years ago, a young woman -- OK, the No. 1 daughter of the No. 5 substitute for Mr. News Cut -- was working as a barista at a well-known local mall. Yes, that mall. One day she called the No. 5 substitute to complain that none of her customers was putting money in the tip jar.
"Is there anything in the jar?" asked the No. 5 substitute.
"No, Dad," she said. "It's empty."
Ah -- a rare moment when the older generation actually has useful advice for the younger generation! Eagerly, the No. 5 substitute told the No. 1 daughter about the well-known stratagem of putting a few bucks in the jar as seed money. When they saw the bills in there, customers would get the idea. The No. 1 daughter said "Thanks, Dad," and hung up.
A little while later she called back.
"I did what you said," she said. "I put three dollars in the jar."
"Did it work?"
"No. Somebody took 'em."(2 Comments)
Tom Bodett would not be happy with Brainerd, Minn.
The City Council there voted to keep about a quarter of the city's 1,600 street lights dark, despite complaints from many residents.
The city would save $74,100 a year by keeping the lights off, according to a city official.
According to the Brainerd Dispatch:
Council members who toured the city on June 29 and June 30 with [Brainerd Public Utilities] officials said they found several areas where lights can be turned back on.
"Most of the areas were OK," said council member Lucy Nesheim. "Some were definitely, what some people would call ... spooky."
In 2009 Northfield, Minn. looked at adding a streetlight utility fee (pdf) to help address smaller amounts of local government aid from the state.
Other cities across the country have also flipped off the switch on their street ights, according to USA Today.
"Streetlights are more expensive than people realize," Northfield Mayor Mary Rossing says. Her city spends about $230,000 a year on street lights.
Would you mind if your city turned off your street lights to save money?
Brainerd and Northfield are not the only Minnesota city looking for ways to trim expenses.
The Royalton City Council voted to reduce the number of its meetings to once a month (having met twice a month for more than 30 years). That would save about $5,600 a year, according to council members.
But so far, nothing I've found has topped Edina's cost-saving effort of ending its free doggie-bag program -- which cost about $12,000 a year.
What has your city done to save money recently?