The end of free TV, the Vikes' new man, the Tea Party illusion, when summer stinks, and how the economy really works.
How hot and unpleasant does it have to get for you to consider swimming in this muck?
This is Qingdao China, where algae is continuing to spread along China's coast (h/t: Boing Boing)
When the algae dies, it will create a dead zone in which plants and fish will not exist.
Minnesota officials report algae blooms in lakes here are a problem, too, although not nearly as dramatic as the ocean in China. Not yet, anyway.
There are two big items on my wish list for Minnesota: (a) A Dunkin' Doughnuts shop and (b) a good tomato fight. "A" isn't going to happen; probably ever. "B" is.
Organizers in Hastings have announced they're putting together a tomato festival, the highlight of which is a tomato fight modeled after a famous one in Spain. Twenty-thousand pounds of overripe tomatoes have already been ordered, the Hastings Star Gazette reports. They'll be dumped in a pit at Afton Alps and then it's every Minnesotan for him/herself.
It happens this Sunday. Tip: Bring goggles.
Who'd like to volunteer to send me some pictures and/or video for Monday morning?
It's International Sinkhole Day, apparently. A happy one to you and yours.
In Burnsville today, a water main break has triggered a large sinkhole on County Road 11. It's 30 feet deep and crews are trying to fill it and reopen the road. Of course, you never know with sinkholes. Is it the only one in the area? And where does all the dirt go that got washed away?
It's reminiscent of one that appeared on a Saint Paul street last year.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala City, a woman awoke recently to discover a sinkhole in her bedroom. She was just inches from a 40 foot drop. "Thanks to God and the holy Mary that nothing bad happened," she said, a comment that raises questions for another day.
Guatemala is particularly susceptible to these things because it sits on volcanic ash. Remember this baby from last year?
Usually, crews fill the Guatemala sinkholes with cement, although I've been unable so far to find and updated photograph of the location.
What is the cost of having a hub airport? About $57 a ticket in Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to data released today by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. MSP is one of the most expensive places from which to fly. It's 11th among the 100 major cities -- and it's #1 as the most expensive hub for Delta, the local behemoth.
The average domestic fare here is $413.21, not including all the nickel-and-diming included in airline tickets. Houston is the most expensive ($476.60). The average fare in the country (domestic) is $356.
While the fares are pretty high at MSP, they haven't changed that much over the last year, when compared to other cities. MSP ranks 49th on the list of airfare changes; fares are up about 11 percent from a year ago.
Of the top 100 airports in the country, Madison Wisconsin had the highest increase in fares -- a 17.5 percent increase in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period a year ago.
The average airline fares in the country in the first quarter, by the way, are the highest they've been since 1995.(3 Comments)
We've often referred to the standoff between Minnesota -- and now, national -- politicians as "a game of chicken," but what's the psychology behind playing this game?
The Associated Press has gone to the scientists to figure it out. The most interesting observation in the article -- which you can find here -- is it helps if one size is crazy. I'll leave it to you determine if we should check that off of our list of requirements met.
Another way to win: throw the steering wheel out the window and make sure the other side knows it and will be forced to flinch. Shapiro thinks that's happened in Washington, but American University international studies professor Joshua Goldstein disagrees.
Goldstein, who has written a book chapter about the chicken game in diplomacy, said the side that has the least to lose is more believable when it threatens to ditch the steering wheel and go for broke: "It gives the weaker party more negotiating power."
In this situation, tea party followers have more credibility in their throw-the-wheel-out threats and President Barack Obama, who wants to be re-elected, can't play consequences-be-damned, he said.
The game of chicken "has to be dangerous in order to give people the incentive to cooperate. It helps if you are crazy or if you pretend to be crazy," Goldstein said.
Now, if anyone knows of an expert in the science of "kick the can," let me know.(2 Comments)