Now this message from reality, live from the hungry, the Serial Stackers, how to close the achievement gap, and the light-rail shuffle.
Where were you when the last of the Arctic ice melted?
Just a few years ago -- eight, actually -- the odds of you being alive to answer the question weren't very good. Now, it appears the odds of you not being alive to answer the question are pretty bad.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center has released this daily snapshot of the state of the Arctic sea ice, showing a massive melting in just the last few years.
Over three days this month, sea ice "extent" dropped by nearly 77,220 square miles.
It'll come back slightly over the coming winter, but scientists say that's not unexpected and there's only one possible reason for the rapid melt.
In 2000, a United Nations report on climate change predicted the Arctic would be ice-free by 2100. In 2007, the prediction was changed to between 2030 and 2040. The World's environmental editor, Peter Thomson, says it may now be the end of this decade.
One of the great mysteries of politics is why the news media continues to present public opinion polls showing the state of the presidential race, based on a model of electing a president that we don't use in the United States.
Poll shows White House race still tight, the Associated Press headline says.
In fact, it's a statistical dead heat with most people having already made up their minds.
The problem, as I've mentioned before, is we don't elect presidents based on a general majority election. So while the person in Pennsylvania supporting Obama appears to be offset by the person in Georgia backing Romney, that's not reflective of anything. Neither is the voter in California. California is going to go Obama's way; there's hardly much of a reason to even make the call to California to see what a voter thinks.
Pennsylvania is more important than Georgia. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes; Georgia has 16. What makes the race close -- or not -- is states, and it wouldn't be hard for the media to present a more detailed picture of the race; it's not like most of the boys on the bus are busy covering issues.
More than likely, in fact, they're in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, or North Carolina -- the largest states that could go either way.
Electoral-Vote.com calculates all the individual state polls and says as of today, Obama likely has 297 votes; Romney has 241. A person needs 270 electoral votes. Is it close? Sure, nobody's voted yet and a few -- very few, really -- states are up for grabs.
The news in the Associated Press story isn't the popular vote, it's that the race hasn't statistically changed in two months. But what kind of sexy headline is, "Nothing much new in presidential race"?
Look at it this way, under the Associated Press' method of assessing the race, Al Gore was elected president (I know what you're thinking; don't even bother saying it.) based on the number of votes cast. But that's not how we elect presidents.
By the way, if you're looking for an important legislative branch that's really close, look no further than the Senate. Again, according to Electoral-vote.com, based on state polling, Republicans look to be poised to take control from the Democrats.
Now, that's a story.(4 Comments)
The Oakland A's turned a triple play last night against the Twins. So what?
There are triple plays and there are triple plays. This one was an around-the-horn double play -- nobody gets all excited about around-the-horn double plays -- except that a guy just happened to be on second and the thirdbaseman came down on the bag shortly before almost throwing the ball into rightfield.
So what are the rarest plays in baseball? How about turning two triple plays in one game? And losing? It's on this list.
Take a guess what team did it.(4 Comments)
Let's get started with the run of State Fair-related posts. I'll be looking for your personal anecdotes, observations, and pictures. You know the blog, so you know the type of things I'm looking for. Use this form.
We admit, though, we're concerned, people.
We're concerned that the Fair starts tomorrow and the best State Fair bingo cards -- the ones from the website Lazy Lightning -- have not been updated.
We'll have to use last year's. Bill Roehl and his wife had a baby this summer and it's hard to do new cards when you've got a new baby. You understand, right?
We'll be looking for your images from the Fair. Here's how to take some decent pictures at night...
The good news is they've dusted off MyProntoPup.com and it's operating again.
I'll be selling the merchandise next Friday from 9 to 5. Stop by and tell me your story.
And colleague Julia Schrenkler is doing all the heavy MPR lifting for the State Fair web page here.(6 Comments)