Football is the only way to tell the wind story, the bones of Lowertown, calling all nukes, it gets better at Facebook, and is it too soon to talk about after the election?
There's a little more out today about last month's near collision between two airplanes departing the airport in Minneapolis. Here's the initial report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
On September 16, 2010, about 6:49 a.m. CDT, an air traffic control operational error resulted in a near-midair-collision between US Airways flight 1848 (AWE 1848), an Airbus 320, operating as a scheduled 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 121 passenger flight en route to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, carrying five crewmembers and 90 passengers, and Bemidji Aviation Services flight 46 (BMJ46), a Beech 99 cargo flight with only the pilot aboard,operating as a 14 CFR part 135 cargo flight en route ro LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Weather conditions at the time were reported ceiling 900 feet and visibility 10 miles.
Immediately after departure, the tower instructed AWE1848 to turn left heading 260 degrees, which caused the aircraft to cross paths with BMJ on the extended centerline of runway 30L, approximately 1/2 mile past the end of the runway approximately 1,500 feet above the ground. Neither pilot saw the other aircraft because they were operating in instrument meteorological conditions. However, the captain of the US Airways flight reported hearing the Beech 99 pass nearby. Estimates based on recorded radar data indicate that the two aircraft had 50 to 100 feet of vertical separation as they passed each other.
The US Airways aircraft was equipped with a Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) that issued climb instructions to the crew to avert collision. The Beech 99 was not equipped with TCAS and the pilot was unaware of the proximity of the Airbus. There were no reports of damage or injuries as a result of the incident.
I wrote extensively about the incident here.
The Star Tribune and Associated Press, however, are characterizing the preliminary report as indicating the cause of the near-miss was a controller issuing an instruction to turn left.
"The reporter is pulling information from our preliminary report," an NTSB spokesman told me late this morning.
Perhaps the source of the problem was the single instruction to the US Air jet to turn left, but the NTSB report doesn't exactly say that.
For example, it does not mention the failure of the smaller Bemidji Aviation plane to comply with an instruction to turn left, thus setting it on a potential collision course with the US Air jet who did comply with similar instructions from another controller. And it doesn't mention the lack of communication between two controllers taking care of different aircraft on different frequencies. Technically, that could be part of an operational error, too.
An NTSB spokeswoman says all the details will be in a report to be issued in several months. That's called a "probable cause" report. Today's is a "preliminary report," which sounds conclusive, but is usually just a restating of facts already in evidence.
The issue of voter fraud has surfaced again, as it usually does near an election.
Slate wades into the fray today, thanks primarily to a group in St. Paul, which is offering a bounty for those who are voting illegally.
In 2002, the Bush administration made cracking down on voter fraud a top priority. Five years later, the effort had yielded 86 convictions. About 30 convictions were linked to vote-buying schemes in races for small offices like sheriff or judge. Only 26 were attributable to individual voters, and most of those were misunderstandings about voter eligibility, such as felons who voted without knowing it was illegal. The prosecutions provided little evidence of organized fraud.
A 2007 study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University reached a similar conclusion. The vast majority of "fraud" cases, it found, were due to typographical errors in poll books and registration records, bad matches between voter databases (for example, you could be listed as John Smith in one database and John T. Smith in another), and voters registering at new addresses without deleting old registrations. Much of the alleged "voter fraud," it turns out, is just poorly filled out registration cards. And even if someone purposely files a fraudulent form by writing the name "Mickey Mouse," it doesn't affect the election. "Mickey Mouse doesn't vote," says Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Institute. Actual voter fraud--a voter pretending to be someone he's not--is, according to the study, less common than getting struck by lightning.
But there is a lingering question left over from the infamous 2008 Senate election, which, of course, was dominated by the recount between Al Franken and Norm Coleman: Are there more people voting who shouldn't, or more people not being allowed to vote who should.
On Election Day in 2008, we had little trouble finding people who were registered to vote, but were turned away. Fortunately, Minnesota's same-day registration allowed them to re-register. Still, we don't know how many people turned away, gave up and went home without voting.
Under Minnesota law, voters can be declared inactive if they haven't voted in the last four years. Not sure if you're registered? Go here. You might save yourself some trouble on Tuesday.
By the way, allegations of voter fraud aren't limited to Republicans. At the Democratic National Convention in 2008, I met Don Shaffer of Ottumwa, Iowa, a Democratic activist (and also the real Radar O'Reilly,he said). He was a Hillary Clinton supporter who said he wouldn't support Barack Obama, insisting that he saw Obama forces bringing in non-residents to vote in the Iowa caucuses, although nothing to that effect was proven.
This year, those who allege voter fraud have more tools. American Majority Action is providing a downloadable app to report such allegations, and take pictures of the alleged perpetrators.(3 Comments)
What would happen if the actors, actresses, models, and marketing people who make the political advertising we've been subjected to, refused to participate in anything that wasn't a real issue?
This site -- it's really AARP -- creates the fantasy.
(h/t: Jason Barnett)(1 Comments)
Scientists may have discovered actual evidence of dark matter.
Up to now, the notion that "dark matter" is the glue that holds the universe together has been only a theory, but Space.com is reporting today that two Illinois researchers -- one of them a mere grad student -- have discovered evidence of dark matter in several explosions.
What does it matter? We know that atoms are a big part of matter, but it's also believed that they only make
us up 20% of matter.
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which has scanned the heavens in high-energy gamma-ray light since it was launched in 2008, has observed a signal of gamma-rays at the very center of the galaxy that was brighter than expected. Hooper and Goodenough tested many models to explain what could be creating this light. They ultimately concluded it must be caused by dark matter particles that are packed in so densely that they are destroying each other and releasing energy in the form of light.
Physicists have theorized that dark matter particles might be their own antimatter partners, and thus when two dark matter particles meet under the right circumstances, they would destroy each other. Alternatively, dark matter particles might be meeting anti-dark matter particles at the galactic center.
The search for the very secret of the universe has a definite Minnesota connection. One of the biggest projects is based in the
Souhan Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota. Another is based in Rome. Both have previously reported some measure of particles that may be evidence of dark matter.
A week ago, Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who has become the poster child for upstart, anti-incumbent candidates, lectured her opponent on the meaning of the First Amendment. Today, she threatened to sue a Delaware radio station if a video of an interview with her was posted online.
It was posted online (available only on Facebook, however)
Things were going well for O'Donnell until the show host, who up to then had seemed to be a sympathetic interviewer for O'Donnell, asked for specifics of where she'd cut a county budget. (Scroll to 11:30). When things got tense, a campaign manager and other campaign officials entered the studio (a no-no for most radio stations), and began writing notes to her. As the show ended, he allegedly told the station the campaign would "crush" the station if the video aired.
Says the radio station:
WDEL's attorney asserted that the interview and video were in compliance with all applicable laws, was clearly protected free speech under the First Amendment, and that the campaign had no grounds to demand the station withhold it from the public.
After seeing the video the attorney for the O'Donnell campaign contacted WDEL's counsel again to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager. The attorney agreed that there was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident.
For the record, MPR does not allow campaign staff to be in the studio when show hosts interview candidates.(2 Comments)
A nationwide survey has found that 45 percent of Americans favored continued U.S. government NPR funding, while 39 percent called for a halt to funding, with the remainder saying they had no opinion. The poll comes from Poll Position, using an automated dialing system. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.
The poll found men are more likely to favor NPR funding than women.
The same survey found that Democrats are more likely to be comfortable aboard an airplane with Muslim men.
It is not, however, proven that the more comfortable people are with Muslim men on an airplane, the more likely they are to support funding for NPR. But it might make a good guess.(5 Comments)