Is there now a link between climate change and weather, when people do good, words to adimpleate your life, studying cricket testicles, and the law of unintended consequences for airline passengers.
Posted at 2:21 PM on November 10, 2010
by Jon Gordon
Here's one way to generate an idea for a blog post: Enter the first word that pops into your mind into Google News. For reasons I care not to examine deeply, the word today was "raccoon." So, let's look at raccoons-in-the-news, shall we?
In Alameda, California this week, raccoons descended upon a woman walking her dog in a park. Excerpt:
An Alameda woman was receiving rabies shots as a precaution after being attacked by five raccoons over the weekend during an ordeal she described as like something out of a horror movie.
The Sunday night raccoon attack in Alameda's Washington Park was not the first such incident, according to wildlife officials.
The attack on Rachel Campos was the ninth since June and the worst so far as the victim found herself fighting off five raccoons while she walked her dog.
"I knew it was a bite, but I don't remember pain," remembered Campos. "I was just screaming bloody murder: 'Help me! Help me! Help me!'"
In Kentucky yesterday, a driver flipped his car trying to avoid a raccoon, sending two adults and one child to the hospital.
Raccoons have taken up residence in a posh Staten Island neighborhood.
Last week, raccoons mauled a north Georgia infant:
Raccoon attacks are rarer than this Google News search makes them look. According to the Wikipedia entry on raccoons, "Serious attacks on humans by groups of non-rabid raccoons are extremely rare and are almost always the result of the raccoon feeling threatened..." And says the Minnesota DNR:
Here are some raccoon-related things you may not know:
1. Estes Kefauver often wore a coonskin hat during his 1948 campaign for U.S. Senate.
2. The first edition of Joy of Cooking included a raccoon recipe.
3. Dakota people believed raccoons had spirit power.
4. Due to intentional and unintentional acts, the North American native raccoons are now spread across much of Europe and Asia.
5. Bobcats, coyotes, and owls are among the top raccoon predators.
Posted at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2010
by Jon Gordon
By 2025, a whopping one in five licensed drivers will be 65 years of age or older, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Advancing technology will probably help make older Americans better drivers, but at some point many of us will lose the ability to drive safely.
On Today's Question we asked this: "Should older drivers have to take extra tests or exams?" The answers, both on MPRnews.org and our Facebook page, were mostly along the lines of yes, heck yes, dang straight. Here is a sampling of the answers:
"My 85-year-old Grampa won't listen to any of his children or grandchildren when we tell him he really shouldn't be driving anymore. His vision is fine, but his mind and reaction time aren't as sharp as they once were. His pride is stronger than his self-awareness. My grandmother with Alzheimer's didn't lose her license until a cop spotted her absentmindedly circling a parking lot for 20 minutes, and followed her home. This was months after she drove right through her own garage door."
"I live by a retirement community. Their driveway intersects the sidewalk. Can't count how many close calls I've had while running and riding my bike by there. I constantly preach to my son to be extra extra careful riding by the retirement community."
Some people feel like targeting older drivers for more tests is discriminatory, however. Deb says,
"Just like younger drivers there are older drivers of all abilities and alertness. I'm not sure extra driving tests for only older drivers will be anything other than a method to target them."(4 Comments)
Posted at 3:15 PM on November 10, 2010
by Eric Ringham
Our friend Paul Huttner has already posted the obvious music selection for the day: Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The anniversary of the most famous Lake Superior shipwreck remains poignant to those of us old enough to remember the sinking, and apparently to younger folks too. The raised bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald is the prized attraction of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Mich., where the annual memorial service takes place this evening.
The Edmund Fitzgerald story has a couple of irresistible hooks: First, it's the last time people were killed in a Lake Superior shipwreck. Second, as this story from the Duluth News Tribune notes, the sinking 35 years ago remains freighted with mystery. No one knows just why the vessel sank. Ten years ago, Hugh Bishop explored the available theories, including this one about the fabled "Three Sisters":
"Perhaps the most romantic theory about the wreck of the Fitzgerald is that the ship succumbed to the forces of the Three Sisters, a Lake Superior phenomenon described as a combination of two large waves inundating the decks of a boat and a third, slightly later monster wave that boards the vessel as it struggles to shrug off the effects of the first two."
If the theory intrigues you, check out Susan Casey's book, "The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean." I haven't read it yet, but a friend is engrossed by the story of rogue waves that come out of nowhere and kill ships. Not a book to take on a cruise, mind you, but anywhere else it's supposed to be a great read.