What war really looks like (5×8 – 4/21/11)

The people who won’t let us turn away, Oslo flooding by air, when will drivers start slowing down, the pop-top-powered car, and Kevin Love’s big day.

It’s National High-Five Day.


It’s true, of course, that journalists are no better than anyone else and it’s easy — trust me — to get indignant when people like me make a big deal when journalists are killed covering a war, while remaining relatively silent while non-journalists die all around. Guilty, and I’m certainly not going to argue that journalists are more important.

But journalists leave a record behind that remind us that the reason they cover war is because we turn away from it. Their mission is not only to intentionally go into a war where they have a good chance of dying and have no means of defending themselves, it’s to then find something that will make us not turn away and consider the cost of a war. It’s more than yellow ribbon magnets on our cars, signs on the lawns, or applause lines in speeches — it’s where people die for no good reason.

Tim Hetherington, one of two photojournalists killed in Libya yesterday, left this behind for you:

Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

Chris Hondros, a New York-based, award-winning staff photographer for Getty Images, was also killed in Misrata, Libya. He left these behind.

Photojournalist Andrea Bruce remembered Hondros’ gift:

People may not understand life in Iraq or Libya, but most know what its like to hurt. Or to lose someone they love. Crossing the language and cultural barriers of the world, photos point out the similarities of human nature. We have a visceral reaction when we see a little girl cry because her parents were shot in front of her. They are not just numbers or names. They are people. We want to reach inside the frame and help her.

And this is well worth your time to read. It describes the process of just getting dead photojournalists back to their families.


Hang on. We’re going for a ride…

This is the ScanEagle, an unmanned aircraft that took video of flooding in the Oslo area yesterday, the Grand Forks Herald reports.

Mark Hastings, the on-the-ground pilot for Wednesday’s exercise, said that the aircraft and its camera are ideal for flood monitoring, perhaps even better than manned flight.

“It can stay up for 20 hours, staring at the same thing without getting bored,” he said.

Mike Nelson, a UAS manager with the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace (at the University of North Dakota), said it’s an effective tool for flood research and for flood search-and-rescue “spotting people who are stranded.”


A few gas stations in the Twin Cities are now selling gasoline for more than $4 a gallon, and people are saying the kind of things you’d expect them to say, but are you seeing any changes in the way people drive that would confirm that what they’re saying matches what they’re doing.

Driving 55 on I-94 these days is still — at least for one blogger I know — a great way to see almost all cars on the road approach from behind at a high speed, and whiz by at an even higher one, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the driving shooting you a glimpse in return. Driving 55 is a solitary — and fairly dangerous — experience.

MPR’s Sasha Aslanian couldn’t experience this when she went for a ride with some long-distance commuters recently; the traffic was mostly stalled. MPR listeners called in to tell us their sad commuting stories. One guy spends $200 a month on gas, can’t move (he’s underwater on his mortgage), and a new car is pricey.

We did not hear, apparently, from the people who drive when I’m on my commute to work.

Oh, by the way, plan for $6-a-gallon gasoline soon. You might want to consider these apps to save a few dollars.


We’re trying to calculate how many cases of beer or soda you’d have to drink to make this idea of a car powered by aluminum pop-tops a legit fuel source. A professor in Barcelona developed the idea using an remote-controlled car, which turns the pop-tops into hydrogen.

dAlH2Orean H2 R/C Car powered by Aluminium from Aleix Llovet on Vimeo.

(h/t: Wired)


Kevin Love is going to be awarded the most-improved-player award today. Let’s enjoy the lad while we can.

Maestro Knows – Special Edition (Kevin Love) from Maestro Knows on Vimeo.

Bonus: From the ain’t-technology-grand folder: You can now track your checked bag on Delta.


For Christians, this is Holy Week. For Jews, it’s Passover. It is a time when people of faith, of lapsed faith or of no faith might contemplate their religious and spiritual practices. Today’s Question: Do you pray?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Is how we treat heart disease good enough?

Second hour: Stanley Fish on the art of the sentence.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

Second hour: Westminster Town Hall Forum broadcastm featuring religious philosopher Marcus Borg. His newest book is “Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The siege of Misrata, and the way ahead in Libya.

Second hour: The cultures of war: from Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – When Congress passed the federal health care law, it included a provision designed to cut down on Medicare fraud and improve care for patients. That rule just took effect April 1. It requires doctors to meet face-to-face with patients who need home health care. But doctors may not be ready to comply with the change, according to MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki.