1) TO BE AN ICON
There are a million places to get more informed coverage of the death of Steve Jobs than here (might I recommend this article? And also, this one.), and I'm just smart enough not to try to outdo people smarter than me on the subject.
So just one question for discussion: Who else could generate the kind of outpouring that Jobs' death elicited last night? The death of a president? Obviously so, but who else? John Lennon certainly did, but that was then; there doesn't seem to be anyone in popular culture to whom people felt an emotional connection because of their connection with the gadgets he created.
Andrew Phelps made this video showing what his twitter feed was doing after Jobs' death last night:
In Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported, "29-year-old Wang Xi, bought lilacs for her husband to place at the door. He kneeled down in front of them for a few minutes after propping them against the glass building, just outside a large iPhone display. The card read: 'Thanks, Steve!'"
One question: Who else?
(Photo: Sticky notes left on the windows of an Apple store in San Francisco overnight. Via Instagram)
2) HOCKEY'S LITTLE SECRET
Our enjoyment of some sports is killing the people who play them. That much can no longer be denied as more information comes out daily, it seems, about brain injuries to athletes.
Today, the CBC is reporting, Boston University researchers have determined that former Buffalo Sabres star Rick Martin, who died at a young age in March, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) -- a disease that causes cognitive decline, behavioral abnormalities and ultimately dementia.
BU has been studying the brains of dead athletes and has found that all three former NHL players who agreed to have their brains studied post-mortem -- Martin, Bob Probert and Reggie Fleming -- all had CTE.
In the recent past, apologists noted that goons -- enforcers for those who don't like the term -- are the ones with brain injuries from fighting. But Martin, unlike Probert and Fleming, wasn't an enforcer.
Martin also had only one concussion in his career.
"But when we look at this most recent case of Mr. Martin, that's a problem because he wasn't a fighter, he'd only had perhaps one concussion," neurosurgeon Robert Cantu told the CBC. "And so we've got to be concerned that the jostling of the brain just from the skills of the sport of playing in the National Hockey League led to him having chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he died."
Not fighting. Not hitting his head. Just playing the sport can cause brain damage, if the neurosurgeon is correct.
Watch the documentary that aired on the CBC last night.
As you might expect, this is big news in hockey-crazed Canada. This comment added to the report's website was typical:
My nephew turns eleven today, and he is becoming quite the little hockey star. Watching your report worries me, though. As a teacher, I know that children are highly motivated to please others. They will go back on the ice to gain approval from their parents, their coaches, their teammates... pretty much anyone, really. Boys do not like to look weak, and they don't see their role models going off the ice when they get hit, so they think that they should try and be tough. It is very worrying. My little guy is only four, but I don't know if I will ever let him play this sport. It makes you think twice. I'm going to share your findings with my sister, that's for sure.
Related: An introduction to hockey:
3) A FIRING AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW
The manager of a St. Paul Rainbow Foods store was fired after he was stabbed by an irate customer, the Pioneer Press reports today. Scott Ostrom told the paper he was fired for "job abandonment," because he had to take frequent breaks after the attack because of post traumatic stress disorder.
"I worked hard for the company," Ostrom said after the sentencing hearing of his attacker in Ramsey County District Court. "I guess I was just another number to them." He gave a victim's impact statement to the court:
The stabbing had "altered my life in a huge way," Ostrom said in the statement. He found it difficult to work in the same Midway-area store, but the company refused to relocate him, he said. So he would leave the floor or go outside for breaks, trying to quell his anxiety.
Anytime he heard someone begin to raise their voice, Ostrom said, it brought back the trauma of the attack.
Asked later if he was offered a different position in the company that would not involve dealing with customers, he said no.
He was fired in July, "one week after the (Johnson) trial ended," Ostrom said.
"It's the first time in my life I've been out of work," said the father of two sons in college. "I've always been a good provider for my family."
Ostrom says he was fired a week after the trial ended, then Rainbow (Roundy's) contested his unemployment claim.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says this sort of thing -- PTSD -- often happens to crime victims after an attack.
4) HELL AND BACK AGAIN
The war films spawned by America's longest war aren't anything like the post World War II, or even the post-Vietnam war flicks, which focused primarily on battle. The BBC looks at a Marine's journey after the war in the latest film, Hell and Back Again. The film was released to American audiences yesterday:
"By focusing on one US marine's journey to hell and back again, (Photojournalist Danfung Dennis) says he hopes to shake viewers from their apathy towards complex events in distant lands - and show that for some veterans, their tour of duty does not end when they finally come home," the BBC reviewer says.
Dennis says the long war has desensitized people to war. He's probably right. 2008 was the first time a major U.S. war was barely a blip in a presidential campaign. 2012 is the second.
Related: A study out today says 44 percent of returning vets report having trouble readjusting to civilian life.
5) LOVE AT FIRST CLICK
"If you think online dating is the domain of the young, maybe it's time to check in with your mother," the New York Times says. People 55 and older are visiting American dating sites more than any other age group. The No. 2 group? Singles 45 to 54.
Related: A woman is suing match.com because a picture of her is being used in its advertising. She says she's happily married.
In a recent interview, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asked Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison whether America was "on the skids." Ellison replied, "No way. America's best days are ahead of her." Today's Question: Do you believe that America's best days are ahead?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Journalists often strive to get more than one side to a story in an effort to be fair and objective, but how well does that serve the audience? One press critic says "he said/she said" stories are among the lowest forms of journalism, and leave the audience more confused than informed.
Second hour: Geologist and climatologist Richard Alley has been known to break into song to explain how the orbital variations of earth influence climate.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: The Wall Street protest comes to Minnesota on Friday. Guests: Metro State historian, social science professor Tom O'Connell and Osha Karow of "Occupy Minnesota."
Second hour: An MPR Forum moderated by Stephen Smith, about the skills college graduates need to succeed in life and work. Guests included two college presidents and an economist, among others.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: This past spring, record floods rolled down the Mississippi basin, from South Dakota to Louisiana. The water overwhelmed levies, flood gates and dams and destroyed billions in property. Is there a better way?
Second hour: The protests to occupy Wall Street.
Speaking of which...
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Parks and Demonstration|
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Radiohead is arguably among the most influential bands making music today. But their sound nowadays differs greatly from when the British group emerged in the early '90s. NPR provides a conversation with Radiohead on their latest sound from the new album "The King Of Limbs."
I'll be the first to admit I'm not a head-over-heels high school football sports fan that a lot of people are, so I don't keep up to date on the latest in booster club fashion, and my colleague -- Ted Canova -- tells me this has been a tradition in at least the southwestern Twin Cities suburbs for some time, but this is the first time I've seen lawn signs in my neck of the woods -- Woodbury -- to mark the homes of high school football players.
It struck me as a little bit of Dillon, Texas right here in flyover country.
The obvious question is who'll be the first to put up a sign at the home of a National Honor Society student?
Woodbury hosts Roseville tonight. Good luck, kids.(4 Comments)
There has been -- and rightly so -- plenty of observations about the change that Steve Jobs brought to the world through his products that allowed people to be connected in ways previously unimaginable.
But you have to take the good with the bad, especially if you're a kid growing up today. Technology has made it easy for parents to invade the privacy of young people.
And by "not spying," they actually mean... spying.
The firm provides an example of it on its website. Enter your child's e-mail address and see what they're posting online. Does it work? Not really, at least by my experience. I entered my own email address and it found a Facebook account that doesn't exist, and a Flickr account I don't use.
It missed my Twitter account (to which I post about every 45 seconds), my YouTube account, this blog, two other blogs I write, two other websites I've created and maintained, and a Picasa account where I upload pictures.
But that's the "free" account meant to entice you to throwing down $10 a month.
It's not very impressive but the Washington Post reporter doesn't mind...
I can almost hear the collective gasp from a generation of parents for whom social life begins and ends at the Germantown Soccerplex; parents who rebelled against their parents' strictures and who want nothing more than to be Little Johnny's confidant and friend. "What about trust?" comes the collective cry.
In the words of onetime liberal Ronald Reagan: Trust but verify.
The words of P.T. Barnum would also work. You might just want to rifle through the underwear drawer and check under the mattress.(1 Comments)
Warm temperatures in October is pretty fun, as long as you don't think too much about the wrongness of it all. It's hit near 90 this week, which is simply not natural.
Check the current temperatures around the country:
New Orleans 82
St. Paul 81
San Diego 65
The natives in Arizona hate the congestion caused by all the Minnesotans who seek refuge from the cold every winter. Maybe this winter, they'll be coming here.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that scientists are trying to figure out why autumn's colors seem to be arriving later and later.
Scientists caution that heavy rain, drought-like conditions or temperature extremes can cause dramatic year-to-year fluctuations that don't establish a long-term trend. For example, heavy rainfall in New England this spring, followed by a deluge caused by Irene, is causing fungal growth that's causing some trees' leaves to turn brown and drop earlier than normal.
William Ostrofsky, forest pathologist with the Maine Forest Service, is skeptical about whether there's a proven link between fall foliage and climate change.
"I just don't know that there's any evidence to indicate there's a trend one way or the other," said Ostrofsky, who points out that year-to-year fluctuations make it difficult to discern long-term trends. "I really don't think we've seen any long-term trend, as far as I can tell."
The New York Times reported last week, however, that warmer-than-usual temperatures are wreaking havoc on trees, making them more susceptible to disease.
The writer of that story has a blog post online today in which he relays the half empty/half full nature of his observation:
When I was flying over Montana in a small plane with the scientist Steven W. Running, I was awed by the devastation we were seeing across one mountainside after another, and kept saying so. At one point, yelling over the engine roar, Dr. Running shut me up with a simple observation: "Look how much is left!"
His point was that the situation is not hopeless, and I came to see that he was right. I emphasize again, as I said in the article, that the forests of the world are continuing to take up a large amount of carbon. Even given all the problems we are seeing in the American West and in other affected regions, the healthy forests still outnumber the sick ones. Policies and action are needed to help them stay healthy, scientists say. So my answer to your question is: I just can't bring myself to be that pessimistic.
True enough. But here in Minnesota, this scene, shot from the luxury of my couch this morning, accompanies a touch of sadness:
That's an ash tree. If the experts are right, it's only a matter of time before the emerald ash borer takes it and ends what passes for fall around many east metro suburbs, which are dominated by ash trees planted in the '80s.
Nobody knows for sure how soon. Some residents aren't waiting. They're cutting down the trees now to get it over with. Some of us just sit on couches and wonder if this is the last time we'll see such splendor, and silently think we'd gladly give up 80-degrees in October if an old-fashioned, kill-all-the-invasive-bugs, starting-early-never-ending winter would help keep the trees around awhile longer.(4 Comments)
I posted earlier today about those signs on lawns announcing that a high school football player lives in the house and wondered when non-sports activities will follow suit.
This afternoon, my colleague, Ted Canova, got the answer.
Chess club? Are you going to take this?