Best of News Cut 5x8
A lot of people have been sending me links to this video of a plane crash, filmed from the inside of the plane that occurred recently in the high country of Idaho.
When a plane crashes, it's rarely the plane's fault; it's just doing what the laws of physics tell it to do. The pilot is usually the culprit and so it is in this case, too.
Most of the news stories have said the plane hit "an air pocket" and then crashed. That's not what happened.
Pilots are required to calculate the weight and distribution of the weight in any aircraft before they fly, and cross check the results with the temperature and barometric pressure and other factors, including the condition of the runway. A plane that might be able to fly in the cool weather of the morning, might not make it in the heat of midday. This is especially true at high altitudes where the air is already less dense and less capable of lifting a plane into the air.
The :14 mark of the film reveals another culprit...
That red knob is the fuel mixture, which helps regulate the ratio of air to fuel in the carburetor. On a normal takeoff, the knob is fully in, as is the case here. But in high country, and in hot conditions, the engine requires less fuel in the mixture, not more. This configuration would've robbed the engine of some power, likely enough to guarantee the plane wouldn't fly.
And finally, the pilot didn't listen to what the plane was telling him. After 20 seconds of the takeoff roll, it was clear the airplane was struggling to get off the ground. He didn't listen. He didn't listen after 30 seconds. Or one minute. Or two minutes.
From subsequent news reports, it's clear the pilot had plenty of experience in the air, which reveals another truism: No matter how smart we are, sometimes we do stupid things.
On the TV news shows, the survivors said it was a miracle that no one was killed. There was nothing about the incident that comes close to miracle. It's considered bad form for pilots to criticize other pilots, but there's no reason in this story for any claim of superior airmanship worth admiration.
Shakopee Mdewakanton leader Stanley Crook's "quote of the day" in the New York Times is bound to grate the thousands of Minnesota families decimated by unemployment.
"We have 99.2 percent unemployment," he told the Times in an article today. "It's entirely voluntary."
Crooks doesn't do interviews very often. I'd guess MPR has been trying to interview him for over 20 years. In 1997, his cousin responded to a story about disputes over the limited tribal "membership" by telling us, "it's just nobody's business what we do with our money. Somebody wins a lottery out there, we don't go to their house and say, 'Well, how do you spend your money?'"
Crooks opened up to the Times a bit more in the article portraying the future of Indian casinos as threatened by states that want a piece of the action.
But it's the effect of all the casino money -- tribal members get $1 million a year -- that pervaded the article.
Despite its wealth, however, the Shakopee reservation has few mansion-size homes, although most families have at least one high-end car in the driveway. Many tribal members own large second homes off the reservation and nearly everyone sends children to private schools. Expensive hobbies like thoroughbred breeding, big game hunting and elaborate trips -- which sometimes last for months -- are common.
Families say it is difficult to teach children the value of money when everyone knows no one will likely ever need to work.
"Why dig a hole when you don't need to dig it -- when you can pay someone to dig a hole?" said Keith B. Anderson, the tribe's secretary and treasurer, who once worked for Target as an industrial designer. "Instead of budgeting a dinner and movie, you can go to dinner and a movie and have dinner again and see another movie, but you can't see enough movies and dinners to spend all your money." Related: The top federal prosecutor in South Dakota is reopening homicide investigations that led to the Pine Ridge uprisings in the 1970s (Los Angeles Times).
3) HAPPINESS AND THE GEEKY (posted Wednesday, Aug. 8)
If we want our kids to be well adults, it may fall to us to give them a swift kick in the social pants, Wired.com concludes today on a study about what in childhood leads to well-being as an adult.
The New Zealand study has hope for those defined as 'geeks' in childhood. Popularity in childhood is not necessarily a predictor, but social connectedness is...
But social connectedness and liking school in no way implies that a kid has to be popular in order to become a well adult. More important than being the star quarterback is "having someone to talk to if they had a problem or felt upset about something," the authors write. And participation in clubs and groups in no way implies sports. Band is just as good as football. It's group membership and not necessarily athletic worship that builds wellbeing.
Finally and importantly, no matter the objective facts of a teen's life, how a teen evaluates and values their life predicts wellbeing as a 32-year-old. Are they optimistic about the future, independent, and generally busy? If so, A) you have a teen that smushes every popular stereotype of Western culture, and B) you have a teen who's likely to grow into a very well adult.
4) REUNITING BROTHERS (posted Tuesday, Aug. 7)
Kenneth Corcoran and Edward Muir were born in Chicago to a woman who died after giving birth to her fifth child in five years. Their father dropped them off at a Catholic orphanage and -- at age 4 and 6 -- they were split up. That was 80 years ago. In North Dakota, Kenneth's daughter started searching for her uncle to reunite the brothers but she was getting nowhere in her computer search.
That's when she turned it over to her son, the Fargo Forum reports...
"He said, 'Mom, you need a break. Just go away and let me play with this.' And within 15 minutes, he's yelling 'Mom, get in here, I think I found Edward.' And he did!" she said.
The brothers have now been reunited.
5) DULUTH TO DULUTH VIA THE LAKES (posted Monday, Aug. 6)
Kris McNeal, 25, and Zach Chase, 25, have become the first to complete a bike ride around the Great Lakes in one season. They returned to Duluth on Sunday, from where they left in May on a 5,300-mile ride.