1) LESSONS FROM A DOT IN THE SKY
We had a great time last night on Twitter as we waited for the International Space Station to fly directly overhead. Twitter friends from all over searched for it — and most of them spied it — around the same time. One friend was watching on her rooftop in Chicago, seeing it and tweeting as we stood in our driveways here. A shared experience, indeed.
It’s been in orbit for 4,589 days now. There was no Twitter then. The hot start-ups were Yahoo and America Online when it was born. We hadn’t reached the millennium yet. But this thing — this old thing that’s been going around and around since the late ’90s — occasionally captures our wonder when we stop to notice that it’s up there.
I tweeted 12 minutes before it was to arrive overhead, that in the time it takes a landing jet at MSP to taxi to the gate, the space station will travel from Hawaii to Minnesota. To which Eric Hall provided a wonderful gift: The invitation to learn something new:
Time dilation? You mean Twitter isn’t just for telling everyone what you had for breakfast? So I went back in time — again with the help of technology — and found a teacher who isn’t even alive anymore:
It was just a bright light in the sky, and it allowed us to travel through time in a way not imaginable just a few years ago. We were together, even though most of us have never met.
Ain’t life and science grand?
2) CONAN’S COMMENCEMENT SPEECH
It’s been a very quiet year in the commencement address category. There’s been nothing remarkable — or interesting — imparted to our soon-to-be-unemployed sons and daughters. The closest was Billie Jean King, who hit tennis balls to graduates at a college in Vermont. But the big schools are holding their commencements now and Conan O’Brien was the big star of last weekend’s activities.
“You now have a crushing advantage over 8 percent of the workforce,” he told Dartmouth grads.
In her MPR commentary today, S.J. Schwaidelson has a commencement speech of her own: You’re not so special, she says:
We do all our children a disservice by reinforcing the idea that they are the center of the universe and that their personal joy, satisfaction and passion trump those of anyone else. We are not teaching them how to be part of a collective effort and we’re not teaching them that work done well can bring both personal and salary growth in the future — that one has to strive to reach those goals. Instead, we are teaching how to set themselves apart and to concentrate solely on their desires, which must be met now. We are teaching them to think so inside their own little boxes that the outside walls could collapse around them with little notice.
3) THE CATERPILLAR ASSAULT
A fairly ugly caterpillar — I figured it was a gypsy moth — dropped on my head the other day. So I squished it in the driveway. That night, I watched The Butterfly (Le Papillon) and felt guilty that I’d executed a soon-to-be-beautiful creature…
Last night’s story on WCCO has assuaged my guilt…
4) A NIGHT FOR GEEZERS
It’s prom season. In Duluth, it’s “geezer prom” season. Lloyd Mattson got to date Barb Halligan again — 72 years since they dated in high school, the Duluth News Tribune reports. “I have a heart for the old people,” Mattson said. “Especially now that I am one.”
5) THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE
Zane Whitmore of Seattle was pierced through the flesh on his shoulder blades four times, and then hung from these piercings onto a hot air balloon. He floated around California’s Long Valley Caldera for seventy-five minutes, suspended 10,000 feet over the ground, Neatorama reports:
But let’s update more normal — and thrilling — accounts. We told you yesterday about Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren, who are trying to become the first women to paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Colleague Nate Minor alerted us to this video from UpNorthica.
Bonus: Is the media making too big of a deal out of the coming state shutdown? In its editorial this morning, the Fargo Forum seems to think so:
Unless both sides take a few more steps toward genuine compromise – and do so soon – a shutdown is all but certain. Meanwhile, Minnesota will muddle through the political paralysis more embarrassed by their state leaders than hurt by temporary loss of a few government services.
A psychologist appearing on Midmorning today argues that parents try too hard to shield their children from misfortune. She says that overprotected children are underprepared for life. Today’s Question: Would you rather protect kids too much, or too little?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: . When a private organization invests in a public institution, how much influence does the funder have on the fundee?
Second hour: . When a private organization invests in a public institution, how much influence does the funder have on the fundee?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: TBA
Second hour: Last night’s Republican presidential debate from New Hampshire.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The first hour is pre-empted for the continuation of last night’s presidential debate.
Second hour: Morning Edition?s Steve Inskeep spent two weeks in Pakistan, and found many
willing to talk with an American reporter. Inskeep talks to host Neal Conan about what he called a nightmare moment for Pakistan.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The state’s Campaign Finance board holds a hearing today to decide whether groups that lobby for or against constitutional ballot questions need to disclose the names of their large donors. MPR’s Sasha Aslanian is monitoring.
Bob Mould is the co-founder of the seminal Twin Cities punk band Husker Du, which along with the Replacements and Prince brought global attention to the local music scene in the ’80s. He’s written an autobiography about his life, “See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody,” in which he chronicles the formation and heyday of Husker Du, and his gradual, at times painful, acceptance of his homosexuality. Chris Roberts will interview him.