The Monday Morning Rouser:
1) I BUILT AN AIRPLANE
I try not to write much about me but it's a Monday, it's a slow news day, and for this event I'm making an exception. For the last 11 years, you may have heard if you listened to Mary Lucia and me talking on The Current the other day, I've been building an airplane. It started in my garage. I delivered newspapers every morning before going to work at MPR in the '90s to raise the money. Some neighborhood kids worked on it, and so did a lot of other people. All of them signed their name somewhere in the innards of the plane.
When you build an airplane, especially if you flunked shop in junior high school as I did, you never know if it's going to fly. So you have to marvel at a test pilot -- in this case, Tom Berge of Plymouth -- who got into a plane built by a radio guy who flunked shop in junior high school yesterday morning in South Saint Paul, and went careening down the runway with every intention of ending up in the sky, just as many people who failed also had intended to do.
Caution: Some minor language occurs after he immediately succeeds.
N614EF is so named to honor my parents -- Eileen and Fred -- who were married on June 14, 1942, just before he shipped off to the war. They stayed married until the day he died in 2004 and 10 days from now would be their 70th anniversary.
The Twin Cities, you may wish to know, is one of the country's hotbeds of airplane building. The the other two are Texas and the Pacific Northwest.
Related: Skydiver Aims to Smash Record, Sound Barrier in 23-Mile Jump (Wired.com)
2) WHO HELPED KILL DEREK BOOGAARD?
In the dark and unseemly world that was exposed by the death of former Minnesota Wild hockey player Derek Boogaard, no organization comes off with more to answer for than the local NHL team, which has kept its head down since the New York Times blew the whistle.
Now, the Times is back with more damning evidence against the Wild and the New York Rangers. Boogaard received more than 100 prescriptions from team doctors for over 1,000 pills, even after he entered the league's substance abuse program.
The records reveal the ease with which Boogaard received prescription drugs -- often shortly after sending a text message to a team doctor's cellphone and without a notation made in team medical files. They also show the breadth of the drugs being prescribed, from flu medications and decongestants to antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills.
Most striking, though, are the narcotic painkillers and sleeping pills, which Boogaard had a history of abusing.
"To see him have all that access to those doctors and all those prescriptions, that is mind boggling," said Dr. Louis Baxter Sr., the executive medical director of the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey and immediate past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. "He had such easy access to prescription medicines."
Predictably, the Wild, along with everyone else in the league, refused to answer questions.
Boogaard died last year of an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol.
3) MATT'S RACE
How about a heapin' helping of inspiration to start the week? Workplace warning: Turn away now if you don't want your co-workers to see you crying in your cubicle.
This is Matt Woodrum from central Ohio. He has cerebral palsy and had every intention of competing in his elementary school's traditional Field Day.
He was given the option of sitting the race out but he would have none of that.
4) A CELEBRATION AT PRAIRIE ISLAND
It didn't take long for the Prairie Island Indian Community's high school graduates to make a difference in the world. Shown yesterday at the front of this celebration, the kids wanted to wear eagle feathers with their graduation caps and gowns Friday night, and for the last several weeks, there was dispute between the community and the Red Wing High School officials who had banned them. The dispute was never allowed to escalate into public view, but on Friday, the school district not only relented, but made it part of permanent policy that Native American graduates will be allowed to wear an eagle feather.
Well done! I may have more on the story later.
5) BLOOMBERG'S BLUE EARTH BUMBLE
Political legend Al Eisele recently invited New York Mayor Mayor Michael Bloomberg to visit his hometown of Blue Earth on June 16 for the big doings there. They're installing art deco lampposts designed by New York industrial designer and Blue Earth native Donald Deskey. The lamposts come from New York, where they're being replaced.
And while I noted that my hometown doesn't have any skyscrapers, I promised that if the mayor found time in his busy schedule to honor Donald Deskey and Blue Earth with his presence, I'd show him the 60-foot statue of the Green Giant on the edge of town on Interstate 90.
But the mayor's office just informed me that he can't come to Minnesota in mid-June because he'll be dealing with budget problems. Too bad. I could see the headline, "From the Big Apple to Blue Earth," instead of "Mayor Bloomberg to Blue Earth: Drop Dead."
Pity. The town could've toasted him with giant cups of sugary drinks.
More dispatches from exotic lands: A pedestrian explores the suburbs. (streets.mn)
Bonus I: Grand Old Days in 60 seconds...
Bonus II: Is the brain hardwired for religion? (h/t: Nick Young)
Target is taking criticism for selling T-shirts in support of a marriage equality group. JC Penney has faced boycott threats over its gay-friendly marketing strategies. Today's Question: Are your choices as a consumer influenced by a retailer's involvement in gay-rights issues?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Anita Hill.
Second hour: The rise and fall of elite athletes.
Third hour: Do business leaders make a good presidents?
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Live broadcast from the National Press Club featuring the Gerald Ford Journalism awards for coverage of the presidency and national defense. With MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The president's choices on Syria.
Second hour: TBA
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Trying on clothes in a store dressing room could become old-fashioned. What if lasers and 3D cameras took your measurements and made a virtual model of you? Digital fitting room technology could make for a precision fit and change the way we buy and wear clothing. NPR will have the story.
"The harmony between poor mathematics and science has never been more perfect than our study of the transit of Venus."
Considering all of the scientific achievements in the history of us, that's a compelling invitation to an event tomorrow.
Venus will make a nearly seven-hour voyage across the face of the sun tomorrow.
Scientists will calibrate the instruments they use to hunt for planets with atmospheres. That's a step ahead of the last few times transits occurred, in which scientist used them to calculate the distance to the sun. One can only wonder, of course, what the next Venus transit -- in 2117 -- will be useful for.
Here's the schedule for the Saint Paul area:
Go here to find the schedule in your area.(2 Comments)
When the news broke last week that the Flame computer virus was probably built by the same nation (or nations) that commissioned the worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010, it was only a matter of time before everything led back to the usual unwitting accomplice in these things: Microsoft.
That happened late yesterday when Microsoft acknowledged that a flaw in its software could be responsible for broader attacks. Writing on his blog, Mike Reavey, the senior director of Microsoft Security Response Center says:
We recently became aware of a complex piece of targeted malware known as "Flame" and immediately began examining the issue. As many reports assert, Flame has been used in highly sophisticated and targeted attacks and, as a result, the vast majority of customers are not at risk. Additionally, most antivirus products will detect and remove this malware. That said, our investigation has discovered some techniques used by this malware that could also be leveraged by less sophisticated attackers to launch more widespread attacks. Therefore, to help protect both targeted customers and those that may be at risk in the future, we are sharing our discoveries and taking steps to mitigate the risk to customers.
We have discovered through our analysis that some components of the malware have been signed by certificates that allow software to appear as if it was produced by Microsoft. We identified that an older cryptography algorithm could be exploited and then be used to sign code as if it originated from Microsoft. Specifically, our Terminal Server Licensing Service, which allowed customers to authorize Remote Desktop services in their enterprise, used that older algorithm and provided certificates with the ability to sign code, thus permitting code to be signed as if it came from Microsoft.
As with most of these stories, it's clear we need a more modern term for closing the barn door after the horse has left.(1 Comments)
Let's resurrect an old NewsCut category for this story out of the Europe today: Art or abomination?
Dutch artist Bart Jansen loved his cat so much, The Daily Mail reports, that he had it stuffed when it died. Then he turned it into a radio-controlled helicopter
(h/t: Ken Paulman)
You may have to strain to see the young man that is still probably inside these old men, who were honored today. Bill Roy (2nd R) and Henry Kudzik (4th R) were escorted after commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
The battle of Midway took place in the south Pacific, six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the most important naval battle of the Pacific campaign, and spanned two days.
Richard Fleming of Saint Paul was one of those young men. The St. Thomas Military Academy and University of Minnesota graduate enlisted in the Marines and, after his flight training, flew to Midway Island from Pearl Harbor 10 days after the war began.
His Medal of Honor citation picks up the story from there.
When his Squadron Commander was shot down during the initial attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, Capt. Fleming led the remainder of the division with such fearless determination that he dived his own plane to the perilously low altitude of 400 feet before releasing his bomb. Although his craft was riddled by 179 hits in the blistering hail of fire that burst upon him from Japanese fighter guns and antiaircraft batteries, he pulled out with only 2 minor wounds inflicted upon himself.
On the night of 4 June, when the squadron commander lost his way and became separated from the others, Capt. Fleming brought his own plane in for a safe landing at its base despite hazardous weather conditions and total darkness. The following day, after less than 4 hours' sleep, he led the second division of his squadron in a coordinated glide-bombing and dive-bombing assault upon a Japanese battleship. Undeterred by a fateful approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his attack to an altitude of 500 feet, released his bomb to score a near miss on the stern of his target, then crashed to the sea in flames.
On 24 November 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented the Medal of Honor to Capt Fleming's mother.
Fleming Field in South Saint Paul is named in his honor.(1 Comments)