This week's Monday Morning Rouser.
1) Have we peaked? Newsweek examines our creativity -- based on a study of Minneapolis kids in the '50s -- and determines it peaked around 1990. A researcher has tracked the kids since then and found that the "creativity index" that predicted their success (or not, as the case may be) was remarkably accurate.
That index was used to determine that we're nothing like what we used to be. It's a familiar story; our schools aren't stressing creativity, and other countries are. And as usual, video games are given as a reason, even though there's no solid (as in "scientific") evidence:
It's too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it's left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there's no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.
Around the world, though, other countries are making creativity development a national priority. In 2008 British secondary-school curricula--from science to foreign language--was revamped to emphasize idea generation, and pilot programs have begun using Torrance's test to assess their progress. The European Union designated 2009 as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, holding conferences on the neuroscience of creativity, financing teacher training, and instituting problem-based learning programs--curricula driven by real-world inquiry--for both children and adults. In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.
The researchers said creativity should be taken out of the art room, and put in the homeroom.
(h/t: Bring Me The News)
2) Here's your time waste for the day. Forbes has put together an interactive map showing every county in the country. Click on a county and see where "wealthy" people are going when they leave your county (chances are: Florida) and where they come from when they arrive. Not surprisingly, the rich head for income-tax-free states.
Here's Hennepin County. The red lines indicate outflow, the black lines indicate inflow. The darker the line for each shade, the more money. Click the images for a larger version.
Here's Wayne County, Michigan -- Detroit:
(h/t: David Erickson)
Meanwhile, two million people are losing their jobless benefits. How did this happen? The Associated Press analyzes Congress' (in)action and finds (a) Democrats turned away from a bipartisan bill and loaded theirs up with billions for governors to keep state workers employed and (b) Republicans are really good at listening to their puppeteers.
Department of Hope: Sometimes, people who lose their jobs end up doing work they like better.
3) Bob Sheppard is one of the few people who could make you love something about the New York Yankees, because that "something" was Bob Sheppard. The Yankees have announced that Sheppard, their longtime public address announcer , has died. "Babe Ruth gave Yankee Stadium its nickname," the New York Times said, "but Bob Sheppard gave it its sound." He wasn't like today's announcers with their gutteral "and...now....YOUR..... Minnesota Timberwolves." He was cut from the mold when announcers started their messages with, "ladies and gentlemen."
More sports: World Cup? We don't need no World Cup, not when there's the bean-bag-throwing championships out in Marshall.
4) National Public Radio focuses on interracial marriages with a visit with a Cleveland couple -- she's from Minnesota. In 1970, not long after the Supreme Court struck down laws that prohibited interracial marriages, less than 2 percent of marriages in the United States were interracial. Today, that number is almost 6 percent.
5) It was Minnesota day on NPR yesterday, apparently. Weekend Edition Sunday featured Minnesota musician Steve Tibbetts.
Bonus: Remember this 10-year old video?
There's new research out based on the famous video:
Only 17 percent of those who were familiar with the old video noticed one or both of the other unexpected events in the new video. More here.
PHOTO OF THE DAY (SO FAR)
The big-sky country of the Red River Valley. This was taken by Nate Minor last evening just outside of Moorhead.
A Somali business owner finds graffiti on his storefront. A Hmong farmer is confronted by a neighbor with a shotgun. Do you witness episodes of racial intolerance in your own life?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: With President Obama receiving some of his lowest approval ratings since he came to office, some Democrats are distancing themselves ahead of the midterm elections. Meantime, Republicans are struggling with an unpopular party chairman and how to corral the growing Tea Party movement.
Second hour: Journalist Sarah Gabriel was a teenager when she lost her mother to ovarian cancer, and found through genetic testing that she might suffer the same fate. She writes of her experience fighting the disease that her mother was powerless against.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Todd Rapp and Maureen Shaver analyze the race for governor.
Second hour: TBA
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Ten people accused of spying for Russia have been released in the biggest US-Russia spy swap in decades, while new arrests of suspected terrorists in Norway have shed new light on al-Qaida operations around the globe. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston is the guest for a discussion on counteterorrorism efforts in the U.S. Presumably the Minneapolis investigation into the recruitment of Somali teens by terrorist organizations will come as. Temple-Raston has been out front on the story for more than a year.
Meanwhile, at least one terrorism expert thinks al Shabab, the organization believed to have been recruiting the Minneapolis Somalis, is behind the bombing in Uganda yesterday.
Second hour: The relationship between humans and animals is at its most concentrated at the zoo, but most of us don't think much about the tigers behind those bars -- until they get out. Reporter Thomas French went behind the walls of a Tampa zoo, and found a paradox. Do they rescue animals enslave them, or both?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - This weekend officials with the Democratic National Committee will visit Minneapolis. Some city officials say Minneapolis is the best political and logistical site for the convention. But the city's bid has sparked backlash from some who worry about a repeat of problems from the Republican National Convention in 2008. MPR's Brandt Williams will have the story.(3 Comments)
Watching this video posted by some Minnesota sky diver enthusiasts today is a good way to think that maybe you didn't wring everything you could have out of the weekend.
That's Kristin Gast of Minneapolis checking an item off her bucket list.(1 Comments)
With just a month left until Primary Election Day and four months to go until the mid-term elections, a sad reality is making itself more obvious for people who use the Internet to follow political news: This campaign season is one of the worst for innovation in political coverage.
While use of previous ideas is providing plenty of campaign coverage value, we're hard-pressed to identify new significant apps, Web sites, or practices that could be a game-changer for political news coverage in 2010. Over the last ten years, the development of such tools was standard, possibly peaking in 2008. Many of those innovations have become so ingrained, that we don't think about them much anymore. But something has happened: innovation has slowed considerably and we may go through the entire campaign cycle without a significant new tool.
Twitter, perhaps, had the greatest possibility to change the relationship between candidate and voter, but it has yet to achieve anything close to its potential. Consider these typical tweets from gubernatorial candidates over the last week.
For a politician on Twitter, everyone is always happy and things are going great.
The dearth of political tools is most evident when you look at the history of the developing relationship between technology and politics.
The St. Petersburg Times debuts PolitiFact, which "examines more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters." It was so game-changing that it won a Pulitzer in 2009. Other media (including MPR with its PoliGraph) have copied the idea. That's a good thing.
Nate Silver, who made a name for himself analyzing baseball statistics, debuts fivethirtyeight.com, to use polling and other science to predict the election. It's a hit. In 2010, he agrees to be absorbed by the New York Times.
Barack Obama mobilizes an online team and creates an "Obama community" to rally support for his presidential bid. He announces his selection of Joe Biden as his vice president running mate via text messaging. Obama's free Obama08 app organized a person's iPhone contacts to enable supporters to call friends located in important electoral districts. After he's elected, some experts predict his large database of online supporters would change the way presidents seek support. The experts were wrong.
The Uptake provides citizen journalism with reports from Iowa. It would go on to become the go-to site for coverage of the Norm Coleman-Al Franken recount.
CNN hosts the first YouTube debate.
More candidates turn to online fundraising and add video capability to Web sites with the notion of removing the editorial filter of mainstream media.
But online video proves to be a two-edged sword for politicians as opponents begin following candidates. "Macaca moment" becomes a part of the language.
A host of political blogs sprout around the presidential election, many fueled by disputes over the military careers of John Kerry and George W. Bush. The experts say the blogs, perhaps more than mainstream media, will influence political thought. The experts were right. Powerline wins Time's Blog of the Year for its role in uncovering phony documents used by CBS News in examining President Bush's military record.
Electoral-vote.com begins providing daily predictions of the electoral vote in the November election based on individual state polls.
E*Democracy, an online-coordinated political community, harnesses a group of volunteers to work with the Minnesota Secretary of State to develop MyBallot.net, which allows people to enter their address and find out where they should vote, and provides them with links and sample ballots indicating what races are on the individual's ballot.
MPR unveils Select A Candidate, a tool which matches potential voters with candidates who most closely match their views. In 2008, MPR made Select A Candidate available to other Web sites in the nation.
DailyKos is created, which mobilizes liberal Democrats.
A group of former staffers at the Federal Elections Commission begins posting the campaign finance reports of candidates, making them searchable. The tool changes the game for monitoring money in politics. Other Web sites -- the Center for Responsive Politics, for example -- begin providing monitoring tools.
Candidates post their campaign ads online, which also inaugurates the "fact checking" of campaign ads. Within a few years, candidates respond by producing ads more quickly, and stress image more than facts.
The Minnesota Secretary of State's office provides online election results. Over the course of the next decade, this developing technology would transfer election results to other media sites, much of which is then used to provide analytical tools.
After last week's LeBronathon, there was a lot of kvetching that a focus on sports had no place in a world that should be more interested in real news. But here's a sports story that more than illuminates a real issue.
The World Lacrosse Championship tournament is opening in England, but a group of Native American players is -- so far -- being denied entry to England because they are members of a sovereign nation, one that's not being recognized by the UK. And they may be denied re-entry to the U.S. They're are Iroquois.
"It seems, as Native people, we always have to do several things to make it through to an objective. There are always hurdles. But this is different, in that we usually do this very quietly and now we feel we need to let people know what's going on. We're meeting every hurdle as it comes up," says Denise Waterman, a member of the Iroquois Nationals board of directors.
For two decades, they've traveled the earth on Haudenosaunee passports, but this year when they mailed them to the British Consulate in New York, they were told they had to travel on either U.S. or Canadian passports.
"We said we cannot do that," she told Indian Country Today. "We're our own people. We are a sovereign nation. We already have travel documents and we're participating in an international tournament, and to participate in an international tournament you have to be a country. We've been recognized by this organization as a country with our own citizens, our own sovereignty, our own land, and flag and anthem and we've belonged to this organization since around 1990 and we've been sending teams out since that time."
But not this time. The team's first scheduled game? England.
Indian Country's commentary, however, holds the Obama administration responsible:
The Haudenosaunee played a vital role in introducing lacrosse to the world. (For them lacrosse is ceremonial, for they consider it to be "the Creator's game.") How ironic, then, that the United States government may prevent the Haudenosaunee players from competing internationally in a world lacrosse championship.
(h/t: JP Rennquist)(2 Comments)