The Koch affair, fantasy election, the danger of Twitter, the best pictures of 2011, and Minnesota's mascots.
I've been in house confinement for more than a week now, growing more frustrated each day that for all of its accomplishments, science still hasn't beaten the common cold virus.
But maybe it's about to.
The BBC reports today that Todd Rider, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing an antiviral drug that's proven it works against 15 viruses -- including the common cold -- to which it has been applied in mice.
But other scientists are skeptical because the research was published in a journal that doesn't have a peer-review system. They also note a breakthrough could be years away from being tested on humans.
In the meantime, the rest of us will continue to be smitten by viruses passed to us, no doubt, by the colleague who came to work sick to show what a team player he/she is.
Brian Rosenberg, the president of Macalester, stars in this Christmas video released this week.
"They're building a Lego bust of Koffi Annan." Bring your Macalester trivia to this one! Shenanigans, yeah!
(h/t: Jeff Conrod)
About a month ago I asked whether a city -- in this case, Duluth -- can assign away First Amendment rights in a public space by renting it to a private organization which then seeks to ban certain expression. Now we know. It won't be able to this year.
The Star Tribune reports that Judge Michael Davis has barred officials -- at least temporarily -- from preventing street preachers at Duluth's Bentleyville Tour of Lights.
Steve Jankowski of Duluth and Peter Scott of Hibbing were kicked out of Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park last year -- a public park leased to a private organization -- for preaching. The city has given the festival organizers "exclusive rights" to the park and the city administrator says that gives the organization the right to ban the preachers.
"Bentleyville is not a public forum, and the nonprofit is not a state actor," Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson said last week. "The plaintiffs do not have First Amendment rights in Bentleyville."
But a federal magistrate last week recommended a temporary restraining order against the city, a recommendation Judge Davis has apparently upheld.
The full suit will go to trial next year. Until then, this what the freedom of speech looks like:
This latest controversy follows one in Minneapolis in 2010 in which an evangelist from Wisconsin sought to distribute Bibles and discuss sin at the gay pride festival in Minneapolis. Organizers of the festival sought to bar Brian Johnson, but federal Judge John Tunheim ruled the exclusion would have violated Johnson's rights.(4 Comments)
Ruth Anderson has died at 112, the Marshall Independent reports this afternoon. She was the oldest person in Minnesota. She's been profiled many times over the last few years, partly because of her love of Scrabble, the last game of which she reportedly played on Thursday.
According to the list of living supercentenarians, the oldest Minnesotan is now Anna Stoehr, who is just a little more than 111, and lives in Elgin.(5 Comments)