The discipline gap, was the Saints' intentional injury system really so bad, a gun bill veto at night, the misery of the long-distance runner, and the science of ear worms.
Is it a problem that the average age of a visitor to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is approaching twice that of the average age in the 1960s?
That's a question arising from the release of a study of BWCA use today by the U.S. Forest Service.
A 1969 survey found the average age of a visitor to the wilderness was 26. That increased to 36 in 1991 and 45 in the latest survey, based on data obtained in 2007.
More troubling, perhaps, is that people who have only a high school education don't visit the BWCA much. Ninety-three percent of visitors have some college, have graduated from college, or have advanced degrees. That compares to 49 percent in the 1969 survey.
Nearly three-quarters of surveyed overnight visitors in 2007 were male, the survey says. "While this number is high, it has not increased significantly. The proportion of females appears to have remained stable at the BWCAW over time, with fluctuation over the past 40 years remaining between 25 and 30 percent of the overnight visitors," it said.
People visiting the BWCA saw, on average, about four other groups per day in the wilderness. In the 1991 survey visitors felt the BWCA was "crowded" in at least a few places "Visitors in 1991 were also more likely to find it unpleasant to meet more than two paddle groups per day and increasing encounters affected them more negatively than 1969 visitors," the previous survey indicated.
But maybe we're more tolerant of "crowds" now.
A significant change in response to this question was found, with fewer than 40% saying they did not experience crowded conditions in 2007, decreasing from 44% in 1991 and from 72% in 1969. Over half felt it was crowded in at least a few places in 2007, a big change from 1969 when only 24% reported crowding in at least a few places. Consistently, fewer than 10%
in all three studies reporting crowding in most places they visited on their trips, though it went up from 2% in 1969 to 9% in 2007. Of the individuals who felt it was crowded at least in some places in 2007, 81% were either a little or moderately bothered by the amount of people (compared to 56% in 1991 and 84% in 1969). Only 12% were bothered a lot in 2007. Only 2% reported in 2007 that they changed the length of their trip due to crowding, while 17% changed the route of their trip. Finally, 28% of all overnight visitors in 2007 reported crowding would affect their plans to visit the BWCAW.
The latest survey also shows the changing nature of Minnesota and the U.S. Visitors today are half as likely to have grown up on a farm, "much more likely to have grown up in a major city or metro area and are also more likely to live in a major city or metro area of over 1 million people," it said.
The most common complaint about the BWCA is litter and the difficulty of obtaining a day use permit.
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Do you know these guys?
The attempt to identify them might be one of the biggest Hail Mary pass of crowdsourcing attempts ever.
Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries released reconstructions of the faces of two crew members of the Monitor, the submarine that sank in a New Year's Eve storm 150 years ago.
The skeletal remains of both sailors were discovered inside the Monitor's gun turret after it was raised from the ocean floor in 2002. While much has been learned about the physical characteristics of the men, their identities remain a mystery. By releasing images of the reconstructed faces, NOAA hopes the public will be able to assist in the ongoing effort to identify the sailors.
The Monitor site was discovered in 1973. The skeleton remains were used to reconstruct the men's faces.
We don't know all the answers about their lives but the reconstruction is a way to bring the past to life, to create something as similar as possible to the original," said Mary H. Manhein, director of the FACES lab. "To see the faces take shape, to go from bone to flesh is very exciting. Our hope is that someone seeing the sculptures may recognize the face as an ancestor."
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Sports Illustrated today published a little more about the New Orleans Saints "bounty" program that paid defensive players money for injuring the opposition.
Minnesota Vikings fans, who watched cheap shot after cheap shot in the NFC Championship game in 2010 might want to look away:
Over four quarters that Sunday at the Superdome, Favre was hit repeatedly and hard. The league later fined Saints defensive linemen Bobby McCray and Anthony Hargrove a total of $25,000 for three separate improper hits, and NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said the Saints should have been flagged for a brutal high-low mashing by McCray and defensive lineman Remi Ayodele in the third quarter. Favre suffered a badly sprained left ankle on that play and had to be helped off the field. On the New Orleans sideline, Hargrove excitedly slapped hands with teammates, saying, "Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!"
An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, "Pay me my money!"
The Saints, of course, won 31-28 in overtime, giving Vikings fans more impetus for their self-flagellation ritual.
As a commenter on this morning's 5x8 pointed out, the bounty program doesn't explain why the refs were so bad that day.
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Though I've been in the news business for over 35 years, the connections and coincidences in the news -- especially in times of turmoil -- never fail to amaze me.
This woman has become the "poster child" for those connections
She's Marta Righthouse of Marysville, Indiana, whose house was demolished by last Friday's tornado.
As I mentioned on yesterday's 5x8, I posted another picture of her on NewsCut on Saturday morning. And on Saturday evening I received this e-mail from Nita Putterbaugh of Burlington, Kentucky:
We were showered yesterday with lots of debris from the storm. I found items with "Mae Righthouse, R1, Marysville, IN", Mike Montgomery on Henryville Otisco Rd, and a phone bill for Charles Troncin in Henryville...and lots of other items that apparently came from the schools.
Then yesterday, Jim Vice, a mailman in northern Kentucky, posted, "I found an 1978 electric bill from a George T Righthouse." Related? Maybe.
But it was this comment attached to a NewsCut post which has gotten additional attention:
Yesterday, Sunday, I found a picture of Bob Righthouse, taken at Christmas 1995 at the age of 80. It was found at Sharon Woods, a Hamilton County park in Sharonville, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati, I have reason to believe he was living in Marysville or New Washington, Indiana. I would like to return the picture to him or his family. If anyone knows a contact, please get in touch.
It came from Balther Van Dierendonck in suburban Cincinnati.
Bob Righthouse was Marta Righthouse's husband and we know that because we heard today from Erica Thompson, who is friends with Debbie Gilbert, the woman hugging Marta in the above photo. Today, she's been helping her friend dig out from the tornado and -- somehow -- found the original NewsCut post.
"We are a very small town so everyone pretty much knows everyone," she wrote this afternoon and reported that Marta is doing OK. "They are all so excited I found this post. It is truly amazing that things have traveled that far away. We are just very busy with the clean up process now."
We're pretty sure that nobody in Marysville, Indiana is a regular (or even occasional) NewsCut reader, but we presume that people have Googled names in the aftermath of the tornado and found the original NewsCut post.
If anything, it speaks to the need for an efficient site to be used in the aftermath of disasters, that would help match people who found someone's valuable photos and treasures, with the people who once held them dear.
Once a few weeks pass and the telephone system is restored, we'll get the picture of Marta's husband back in her hands.
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