Whack-a-flood, a cost-benefit analysis of religion, life on a string, the final haircut, and saving the world with video games.
The Monday Morning Rouser:
1) WHACK A FLOOD
Defeat a flood in one location and it’ll pop up somewhere else.
When I was driving around the rural parts of North Dakota and Minnesota south of Fargo on Saturday (video here), I had this revelation: “There’s no river here.” And yet, check out this video from the Fargo Forum, taken north of the cities, along I-29.
In many cases, the rivers are several miles away (in some cases, too, they’re not), but the snow-bloated farm fields can’t drain into the river and, as the rivers rise, the water backs up until you’re left with overland flooding from tributaries (mere ditches, in many cases).
The flood fight in the region is shifting to the rural areas now. The focus on Fargo Moorhead’s successful flood preparations masked the reality that outside of the cities, small communities were heading for big trouble.
Meanwhile, a new “reporters standing in water” watch has been posted for the entire region.
On ABC’s Good Morning America today, a reporter got a ride with a homeowner on an ATV through the water of a flooded street. “The water’s pretty high here!” she exclaimed. Yes, ma’am, it is. Floods are funny like that.
2) A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF RELIGION
What makes people religious? The threat of dying, a new study says. LiveScience.com reports on an economic study of religion which found that people’s religious attendance and likelihood of describing themselves as “religious” went down as life expectancy went up. Ten extra years of life expectancy correlated to an 8.4 percent drop in people’s likelihood to call themselves religious, the study said.
“We show that higher life expectancy discounts [the] expected benefits in the afterlife and is therefore likely to lead to postponement of religiosity,” study researcher Elissaios Papyrakis at the University of East Anglia said in a statement. In other words, young people who expect to live a long time put off worrying about what will happen to them after they die. Thus, they don’t feel the need to visit a church, mosque or temple until they get older and closer to death. (Another recent study found that being close to death increases belief in intelligent design.)
3) LIFE ON A STRING
What’s not to love about John Brewer’s Pioneer Press story about the Roseville String Ensemble? It had everything : Great music and a lovable 92-year-old.
4) FINAL CUT
Lawrence Tolliver II, a barber by trade, wasn’t sure he could do it at first. But now he thinks he’s ready. The tools are in his backpack, and he is preparing to travel to a funeral home to cut the hair of his deceased son (LA Times).
5) VIDEO GAMES ROT YOUR BRAIN…. AND SAVE THE WORLD
“If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity,” she said, “I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade,” Jane McGonigal says.
It’s not the games your kids might be playing, though. Take her “World Without Oil” game, for example:
Bonus: Take me out to the war zone…
Although the overall employment picture is improving, the job market remains tight for young people. High school students especially are having a hard time finding summer jobs. What was your first job?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The government shutdown debate: now what?
Second hour: Why many people love the ’80s.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: House GOP Speaker Kurt Zellers and House DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen discuss the state budget and major legislation this year.
Second hour: David Rubenstein, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the Emancipation Proclamation. Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA
Second hour: Children, tradition, and love in interfaith families.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A small town just north of Fargo-Moorhead is dealing with flooding without the volunteers and support the larger cities get. MPR’s Tom Robertson will report from Georgetown. (I wrote about this town here)
Twin Cities real estate numbers are out today. MPR’s Annie Baxter will have them.
The job market for new college graduates is going to be tough this spring, as it has been for the last two years, MPR’s Tim Post will report. But some say there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for young job seekers.