The things we do right (5×8 – 8/6/12)

The lure of human achievement, special education, the headache that won’t go away, Duluth to Duluth via the Great Lakes, and the MP3 olympics.


The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) THE LURE OF HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT

August 6th is well known as the day a country obliterated another with an atomic weapon, but it would be cool if it was known as the day a species figured out how to land the huge Curiosity rover on Mars. It won’t be — the New York Times morning newsletter, for example, didn’t mention the feat — but it would be nice if the things we do right get a little attention from time to time.

After the touchdown, we got this…

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Here are some more images.

There were no guarantees that any of the years-long planning would pay off, so it’s understandable that we’d get a picture like this when it did.

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The website, Gizmodo, provided the live commentary (language warning). Even now that we know how it came up, it’s worth the read.

“It’s just absolutely incredible, and it’s a huge day for the American people,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden on NASA TV. “Everybody in the morning should be sticking their chest out and saying, ‘That’s my rover on Mars,’ because it belongs to everyone.”

The rover project cost about $2.5 billion or about $7 per person in the U.S.

Rather than this achievement, the worst-of-us led the the morning TV news shows. If the Curiosity had crashed on Mars, it probably would’ve been the top story.

2) SPECIAL ED

Ira Glass took a lot of well-deserved hits in the wake of the phony reports of life at the Apple factory in China, but this weekend’s segment — Special Ed — is everything you want in public radio — giving voice to those who are usually shunted to the shadows. The segment on the group of developmentally disabled people who were given the opportunity to make a documentary was particularly compelling.

Do yourself a favor and spend an hour listening.

3) HEALTH AND THE HEADACHE

What must it be like to have a headache that never goes away? The Brainerd Dispatch tells us in its profile of Makayla Kassa of Pequot Lakes. It’s been two years since they appeared and specialists still haven’t figured out why.

I think of it as a competition, that I can conquer them,” Makayla said. “I don’t want to sulk in the corner and say, ‘I have headaches.

Her family has no health insurance. Medical bills for the last two months have been over $100,000 and the insurance companies have denied coverage, according to her family.

4) DULUTH TO DULUTH VIA THE LAKES

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.

5) THE MP3 OLYMPICS

Bonus I: Ira Glass made a movie…

Bonus II: Here it is, your moment of Minnesota zen.

Rain in Minnesota from Lundefilmer on Vimeo.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Lake Pepin, as seen from above Red Wing yesterday…

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TODAY’S QUESTION

The Mars rover Curiosity reached its destination this morning. It’s charged with determining whether Mars could support life. Today’s Question: Will humans ever live on Mars? Should they?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Caterpillar labor dispute

Second hour: The Mars landing.

Third hour: New developments in political polling

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the Pen Pals lecture series: MPR’s Stephen Smith interviews theoretical physicist Brian Greene.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - If you visit the small town of Milan, Ohio, on a warm Tuesday night, you’ll see quite the line up of classic cars and trucks. It’s called the “Classic Car Cruise-In.” NPR provides a sound portrait.

  • Kassie

    I stayed up last night to watch the landing. I’m feeling it this morning, but well worth it. Watching the NASA scientists and engineers cheer and celebrate was what was worth it. I wish we could all have jobs with that sense of accomplishment. I’ve never had a moment at work when a whole group of people cheered and hugged each other and was that happy.

  • Tyler

    And *already* my friends on Facebook are complaining about the cost. They have no souls.