The Monday Morning Rouser:
1) CROWDSOURCING A DAY IN THE LIFE
I've always been a huge fan of specific-time media from multiple locations that shows us the breathtaking diversity of life at a single moment. One Day on Earth premiered at the U.N. and other locales around the world yesterday afternoon. It was entirely crowdsourced project based on the experiences of volunteer filmmakers on November 11, 2011.
Using the map at the website, you can choose anyplace in the world, and see the produced video for that date, at that location. A few were produced in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, none were produced outside of the metro area. What's wrong with you, outstate? Does nothing interesting happen there?
2) KID CAINE
A few weeks ago, I posted the video of Caine Monroy and the game arcade made out of cardboard in East LA. You've probably seen it; it's been everywhere (if not, go here). The Los Angeles Times follows up with a look at how the dad who watched it unfold ended up with a great kid.
There's a lesson of some sort in the answer:
"I didn't have a baby sitter," Monroy said. His wife works at a restaurant; his two older sons are teenagers. "So Caine goes where I go." And while Dad works, the boy has to amuse himself.
What grabs me in the video is a single tale: Caine asks his dad to buy a mini arcade game, where a claw is maneuvered on a chain through a slot to pluck a prize from a toy-filled box.
That request would have had me reaching for my wallet, feeling guilty that my child was hanging around my work yard, stuck in such an uninspiring environment.
But Caine's father waved him off: Build it yourself. So Caine did -- with a hook, a piece of yarn and a cardboard box, and a track cut through the top.
It's amazing what our children can do when we let them think for themselves.
3) WHO ARE THE NEW POOR?
Grab six people and the odds are one is using food stamps. Fifty million Americans need food assistance, which is has now eclipsed cash assistance -- by 10 times -- as the most common form of welfare assistance.
"Some people would say it is bad because dependency is on the rise because people are on food stamps," New York Times reporter Jason DeParle tells NPR. "I think there's also a strong case to be made in the opposite direction, that this is a safety net program that has responded to the worst economy since the great depression."
4) THROWING IDENTITY AWAY
There's a sign on the garbage cans at Carlos Car Wash and Laundromat i n Alexandria that's pretty clear: "No household garbage." People toss bags of trash there anyway, and if the owner wanted to, he says, he could easily steal the identity of the evil-doers, the Alexandria Echo Press says.
One man's H&R Block income tax return documents, his Progressive insurance card and motor vehicle registration card were recovered from the garbage at Carlos Car Wash and Laundromat. Other days it's bank statements, phone records and hospital bills - all complete with names, addresses and account numbers.
"People are always complaining that people are stealing their identity," said Greg Dropik, co-owner of Carlos Car Wash and Laundromat. "They're giving it away."
5) SMELT HEAVEN
The smelt are running at the mouth of the Lester River along Lake Superior.
Duluth held its smelt festival over the weekend, culminating in last night's naming of the smelt queen.
(h/t: Duluth Outdoors)
Bonus I:Some people's Mondays are more interesting than others'.
Bonus II: We cut the cable at my house last year. We watch less TV now and life seems just fine. A Wired.com reporter tried the same thing five months ago and has been providing updates. Today, he posts another.
Bonus III: In southeast Minnesota -- Zumbrota, specifically -- artists have taken the work of local poets, and created a visual medium around it. What happens when one artist interprets another's?
The Twin Cities population is expected to grow larger, older and more diverse over the next three decades. A new report from the Metropolitan Council forecasts growth of nearly 900,000 residents and a population that is more than 40 percent people of color. Today's Question: How will a larger, older and more diverse population affect life in the Twin Cities?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: The cost of ending a presidential campaign.
Second hour: Using the arts to develop community.
Third hour: Rebecca Skloot, author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." It's the story of a collision between ethics, race, medicine, and faith.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Westminster Town Hall Forum, featuring Parker Palmer, author of "Healing the Heart of Democracy."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Egyptians elect a president next month, for the first time since the Arab spring. And it's already a messy affair.
Second hour: TBA
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The Sibley County commissioners will vote tomorrow on whether to join what could end up being a $70 million publicly-owned broadband project. Many residents in central Minnesota and other rural parts of the state, deal with less-than-modern Internet speeds. MPR's Dan Wilson will have the story.
In politics, campaigns often need unflattering footage of their rivals. Enter: the political operative with a camera in hand -- the video-tracker. Some hide and ambush candidates. Others make no secret of their presence. Wherever there are politicians, video-trackers are not far behind. NPR reports on the dangers and rewards of stalking the opposition.(5 Comments)
Early reports (by way of the Star Tribune) say the amount of media coverage in the Amy Senser case was the focus today as jury selection got underway.
As the trial got underway at about 9:20 Monday morning, Hennepin County District Judge Daniel Mabley told potential jurors that there has been a lot of media coverage of the case. He then mentioned a questionnaire that had been sent to the jurors last week about that coverage.
In court, he asked how many people had seen or heard news coverage of the case since the questionnaire was sent out. Mabley took note of the ones who raised their hands.
Jury selection is tough on people whose careers involve telling people what's going on because the answer to the judge's question usually confirms that many people -- sometimes most people -- aren't paying attention.
Of the people who raised their hand in answer to the judge's question, most said they hadn't seen much media coverage.
One who had acknowledged seeing a lot of coverage is still in the jury pool, after promising he could make a fair decision on the facts. We'll see if someone who pays attention to the news is judged worthy or whether the ones who don't know much about the biggest criminal story of 2011 make it.
Either way, the question of who makes a good juror is the stuff science is made of, or --as one lawyer puts it -- "speed dating for justice."
In most cases, lawyers look for the basics: people who are smart, can understand what's going on in court and can make decisions. They have their eye out for people who will be able to control things when deliberations start. After that, it's often a free-for-all, and many lawyers have their own preferences.
"I love mailmen. I don't know what it is. They are all nice, friendly, talkative souls. They just seem to be happy, warm human beings," says Keith Mitnik, of Morgan & Morgan, P.A., who has selected some 100 juries in his career. He has received multiple verdicts over $1 million and teaches the art of jury selection.
Engineers? Teachers? Military? Young? Old? Men? Women?
"I like engineers," Mansbach said. "They tend to think logically and won't be swayed by emotion."
Some lawyers see teachers as more liberal and lenient because they deal with children. Military folks are sometimes favored because they know how to follow instructions and the law. Young people might be easily swayed by older jurors. Older people may be more conservative. Men might be good for a female client, but in general older men may be grouchier than younger men. Women may be good for clients suffering from breast cancer but may be tougher on a female rape victim who may appear to them to have acted inappropriately.
Jamie Harrison, who writes a blog at the University of Maryland, argues the system is antiquated.
Who is the perfect juror? Lawyers search for jurors who are so dimly aware of, and participate so infrequently in, their society that they have never come into contact with anything that might have provided them with information that they might use to form an intelligent and informed decision. This is because the attorneys want the jurors to only be conscious of information provided to them in court. A perfect juror, in their eyes, is a blank slate who can be effectively swayed by the words of lawyers. It makes no difference that adults who are "blank slates" are in this condition for a reason. So, by the process of negative selection, we arrive at a jury that is populated with individuals who are the least likely to employ complicated, nuanced reasoning when presented with evidence in court.
Having a jury of simple folk may have been workable in an age where the Cotton Gin represented the height of ingenuity, but is simply inadequate in modern times. Much of the physical evidence that jurors are expected to interpret today is highly technical, and many of the terms that will eventually decide guilt or innocence have definitions with multiple layers that require a depth of understanding to apply in real life. If the jury, during deliberations, recognizes this dilemma and asks for clarification or explanation of terms, they are usually told that this assistance would be inappropriate. This leaves them to grope about for a verdict with the same utter ignorance with which they first came to the courtroom. Confused jurors tend to ignore evidence, which favors the defendant
Question: Do you think you could sit on the Senser jury?
Images from the last 24 hours of protests around the world:
American Airlines and American Eagle employees march to U.S. Bankruptcy Court to protest against American's plans to cut jobs and labor costs . (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Demonstrators in London protest at the proposed site of a new Abercrombie & Fitch childrens clothing store on Savile Row. They claim that the chain store's presence would signal the demise of a street dedicated to the bespoke tailoring trade. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
In Mumbai, Indian Bollywood actress and model Rozlyn Khan bathes in red water to protest animal testing. The event was held to mark the eve of World Day for Animals in Laboratories. (Photo STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman holds a portrait of a jailed loved one at a protest outside the Red Cross offices in Gaza City. She's calling for the released of Palestlinian prisoners held in Israel.(Photo: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
An activist wearing a bull mask holds a sign reading "We are the voice of those who do not have one. Abolition!" as she takes part in protest against bullfighting in Mexico City. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
In South Korea, a man takes a picture of the sign of a Christian protester who is calling for the cancellation a Lady Gaga concert in Seoul. Church groups say she promotes homosexuality. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
This handout photo provided by NationalADAPT shows handcuffed actor Noah Wyle arrested during a protest at the Capitol in Washington. The group ADAPT protested proposed cuts in Medicaid. (AP Photo/NationalADAPT)(3 Comments)
We're generally loathe to pass along any details of the latest Facebook app, but we're making a NewsCut exception in this case:
The campaign, however, is only underway in Australia. Mashable reports:
Users, both men and women, can send these replacement messages to their friends using the Facebook application. We're not exactly sure how the app works -- namely, we're not sure how the app is able to buy up ad space for specific users. Dove nor its agency, Ogilvy UK, could not be reached for clarification on the matter.
Update 5:15 p.m. 4/25/12 - An update and correction from Facebook. The ads do not actually replace or cover other ads.
According to ClickZ:
Though a video describing the app suggests it "lets you replace those feel-bad ads with messages designed to make women feel good instead," it doesn't actually obscure other ads from being seen. Rather, the more people who download the app and create ads, the more Facebook ad impressions are used to promote the Dove-branded messages.
Colleague Julia Schrenkler and I came across this sign at the Hamm Building branch of the Post Office today (the best Post Office branch in the country by the way).
Everybody's got a "cellphone guy (or woman)" story. What's yours?
(Photo: Julia Schrenkler)(4 Comments)