Treating breast cancer. Or not. Also: Scrambling the young brain, GI Bill blues in Mankato, the dawn of the flying car, and a visit from Beasley.
There are many reasons why regional air carriers are in such financial trouble. One fourth of them are in bankruptcy with yesterday's filing by Pinnacle Airlines.
Labor contracts, bloated management and high energy prices are most often cited. But many carriers also fly to places few people want to go.
In the case of Pierre, South Dakota and Great Lakes Airlines, one of those places apparently is Minneapolis.
The airline added a second flight from Pierre to the Twin Cities this week and the 6 a.m. flight took off on time yesterday and arrived on schedule. With no passengers.
Great Lakes has taken over air service in several markets from which Delta bolted. In one of those communities, Jamestown, N.D., the first thing many people noticed was a much higher ticket price.
Delta, with flights operated by Mesaba and Pinnacle, left because it couldn't make money in smaller markets where its planes flew only half full. That included markets in Minnesota such as Thief River Falls and Bemidji.
For years, airlines serving Pierre, for example, got money from the federal government under the Essential Air Service program. Now, the airlines serving the airport are unsubsidized. And, judging from the Monday 6 a.m. flight, not very essential.
It is climate change. It isn't climate change.
Welcome to another day of science trying to explain March and the recently expired winter.
"Clearly, this is outstanding and well outside any expectation under an unchanging climate. The magnitude and duration of the events in March certainly indicate that some unusual factors are afoot," Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the independent National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., tells LiveScience today about a March that broke heat records in 7,755 locations in the U.S.
Is that a lot? There are 175,000 observing stations in the country. Still, the webiste says only one other March -- 2007 -- broke more than 7,000 records.
Certain extremes related to heating are becoming more evident, according to Trenberth.
So it's climate change, then?
"Climate change was certainly a factor, but it was certainly a minor factor," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist Martin Hoerling says.
His analysis of March says a persistent warm wind sent warm air north from the Gulf of Mexico. It's freaky wind and little more, he suggests.
"''Why wouldn't we embrace it as a darn good outcome," Hoerling tells the Associated Press. "This was not the wicked wind of the east. This was the good wind of the south."
In his analysis -- available here -- Mr. Hoerling observes that if the March heat wave were pinned primarily to climate change, meteorologists would've predicted it:
In sum, the initialized forecasts possess many of the essential attributes of what crime scene investigators would look for in pinning a crime (the heatwave, in this case) to an individual (a physical cause, in this case). The forecast models give probable cause, namely that a particular atmospheric initial condition - emergent sometime in early February - led to a high probability outcome in the form of a large magnitude March heatwave. The sequence of forecasts allows one to largely reject other probable and immeditate causes for such a large magnitude event. For example, the GHG conditions that were known to be operative in prior months, had failed to predict or project an outcome of the magnitiude that was eventually observed. The forecasts further identify this particular culprit because those evolving internal atmospheric initial conditions yielded the precise location of the heatwave, at precisely the particular time of its occurrence, and with a high confidence of exceeding prior record heatwave magnitudes.
He also says the fact it was so warm in March, doesn't mean we'll bake in July. That's something comforting to think about while you mow your lawn in Minnesota in the first week of April.(14 Comments)
We're a people who want to be connected to the people who came before. The fact that the 1940 Census website crashed yesterday under the crush of 37 million requests shows that we're looking for something. But what?
The National Archives said today that 1940 census pages are again available for viewing.
"We expected a flood and we got a tsunami," Archives.com, the private company that's hosting the website, said in a statement.
All the confidentiality guaranteed for 72 years has expired, and we're free to snoop on the neighbors of our past.
Plan on spending plenty of time and try to check your frustration in 2012.
In order to find the records you're looking for, you have to search for an enumeration district. It's simple enough: Just enter the state, county, city, and street and browse through the district boundaries listed.
If you still live in the neighborhood, no problem. If you haven't lived in your hometown since 1978 -- bowing -- you've got to remember the location of streets whose names you've long forgotten but can still place if your mind is of a mind to do so. It can be like a walk home from school.
Once you find your enumeration district, you start browsing the forms the enumerator filled out. One form, then another, then another. I could tell the route the census taker was walking -- Westminster Hill Road, Phillips Street, Sanborn Street and just as I was about to find the form on my street, the site stalled. Again. The navigation buttons stopped working, so I chose to download all the images of the forms instead.
In order to download the images, you have to pass a "security check." That is, you have to enter the words shown via the Captcha app.
Tell me: What word is that last one?
This security check will fail many times, so you'll want to leave extra time.
Once I did, however, it was easy to find my street. But not before I found some fascinating elements of 1940 Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
I knew it was an immigrant city, but the forms made clear how so:
It's still an immigrant city, although I'm pretty sure today's census would not list "Eire" in any column as a birthplace.
The factories are mostly gone from town now. But not then. Check out some of the occupations and salaries:
I never did find my 1940 family. The forms got close to where I think they lived then, but then they skipped into another side of town. Maybe the census worker went to lunch and got bored with the people on Ashburnham Street. It happened a lot in my hometown.
Give it a shot, and tell me what you find about your family in the comments section below.(8 Comments)
Twenty years ago tomorrow, the war in Bosnia started with the siege in Sarajevo. It's an anniversary that's mostly being ignored by many news organizations. The CBC is not one of them.
Today, it's presenting a compelling documentary about the effects of the war, forgotten by many, but not forgotten by many women. They can't forget. Their children are the result of a campaign of rape.
Warning: This is not easy listening.
But no embellishment was needed in the story of what happened after 81-year-old John Collins lost consciousness. His wife, Helen, who was a passenger, began to fly the plane around the Sturgeon Bay area.
She's not a pilot, but her son today revealed she knew how to take off and land a plane because her now-late husband taught her how 30 years ago just in case something happened to him.
It's an assessment another son didn't give to MSNBC:
Somehow, in what Richard describes as "a miracle," Helen managed to touch down safely at Cherryland.
"She didn't even know how to drop the landing gear," Richard said. "I can't even tell my mom how to run a computer!"
Amazingly, Helen didn't suffer any major injuries, Richard said. While the plane landed nose-first, and Helen got some bruises in the process, she is expected to be OK.
That's a different sort of story than another son offered to the Associated Press today
Collins' son James said his mother knew her husband had died after he fell unconscious, yet she remained calm. He said his mother had learned to take off and land about 30 years ago at her husband's urging, in case something happened to him. She has flown hundreds of hours by his side.
Talking to the Associated Press exclusively in a telephone interview Tuesday, James Collins said he's also a pilot and that he helped his mother Collins via radio from the ground as the other pilot helped her out in the air.
"At one point she didn't even want the wingman to go up," he said. "She said, `Don't you guys think I could do this on my own? Don't you have confidence in me?' She was calmer than everybody on the ground. She had it totally under control."
That's a much more intriguing story than the one originally told.
(Photo: Door County Sheriff's Office)