Five at 8 – 2/12/10: At a ‘glacial’ pace

1) If glaciers are melting at a fairly rapid clip, do we have to redefine the meaning of the phrase, “at a glacial pace”? Is ‘grammar change’ a coming reality? says there may be less time to adjust to global warming than previously thought.

But one of the biggest gaps in climate science is our understanding of how the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica will respond to warming temperatures. The science is so foggy that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which recently came under attack for hyping the impacts of global warming — has refrained from estimating how fast those ice sheets could melt and contribute to sea level rise. Dorale’s paper suggests the possibility that ice sheets may respond much more dynamically to changes in temperature, forming and melting at rates that are quicker than previously thought. “There might be a feedback with regards to ice melting,” says Dorale. “This is speculation, but it might point at some sort of catastrophic ice sheet dynamic.”

Let’s go for a ride…

2) I admit it. I’ve never heard of Baldwin Township, Minnesota. But for the last few weeks, some of my colleagues have spent a lot of time there learning about it. It’s an area, apparently, not unlike other areas. People moved there to get away from the city, in some cases, and now are worried about more people moving there from the city. You probably didn’t wake up today needing — or wanting — to learn everything you can about Baldwin Township. But look at it this way: this project from MPR is going to be like peeking in people’s windows.

3) Talk about your good question. How do actors remember all their lines? “In the thespian-saturated Twin Cities, you can’t swing a stick without hitting an actor learning their lines,” MPRs Chris Roberts says.

4) The other night, my son and I went to the Timberwolves game. At one point, the family of about 6 people in front of us all had their heads stuck in their iPhones and smart phones, oblivious to the game in front of them (in fairness, the Wolves were losing by 20 and appeared equally disinterested in the game).

Are the smartphones/Web the new opium? The New York Times leads with a story today about a “wiFi bus” in Arizona. It’s quiet. Too quiet?

One recent afternoon, with a wintry rain pelting the bus, 18-year-old Jeanette Roelke used her laptop to finish and send in an assignment on tax policy for her American government class.

Students were not just doing homework, of course. Even though Dylan Powell, a freshman, had vowed to devote the ride home to an algebra assignment, he instead called up a digital keyboard using GarageBand, a music-making program, and spent the next half-hour with earphones on, pretending to be a rock star, banging on the keys of his laptop and swaying back and forth in his seat.

Two seats to the rear, Jerod Reyes, another freshman, was playing SAS, an online shooting game in which players fire a machine gun at attacking zombies.

Vail’s superintendent, Calvin Baker, says he knew from the start that some students would play computer games.

“That’s a whole lot better than having them bugging each other,” Mr. Baker said.

Somewhat related: Your computer may soon be able to do some of your listening for you, and give you a summary of conversations.

5) You are here:


It was 20 years ago this week that a Canadian researcher was sitting in her darkened office looking at some images coming from a space probe. “It was just a little dot, about two pixels big, three pixels big,” she says. “So not very large.”

But this was the Earth — seen as no human had ever seen it before. National Public Radio has a great story today on the story behind the photo and how it changed how we see us.

Bonus: Is this piece from The Daily Show a commentary on health care, or an exposition of what happens when you ask someone with “talk radio” talking points for actual details?

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Apparent Trap
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Following up on yesterday’s post about being a “business friendly” state: The Tax Foundation ranks Hawaii, which has mandatory health care, number 24..

Related: The BBC Magazine reports that the disinterest of young people leads to government by “speed dating.” The irony here is that we have access to more information and context than ever before, and yet information and context are becoming more and more irrelevant.


More than 1,200 members of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division are back home after nearly a year in Iraq. Generations of soldiers and their families have their own stories of returning home from war. What’s your story of a soldier’s homecoming?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The head of the International Olympic Committee says the games are getting cleaner. He says he’s confident that cheaters will be caught in Vancouver. But some critics suggest efforts to stop doping are becoming heavy handed and may be infringing on athletes civil liberties.

Second hour: Single at age 40, writer Lori Gottlieb started to wonder if looking for the perfect mate was the best approach to dating. Her new book chronicles her attempts to find Mr. “good enough.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Retiring school superintendent and former Minnesota House Speaker David Jennings discusses the education proposals in the governor’s State of the State address, education issues generally, and leadership and negotiation at the Capitol.

Second hour: “The Guide to Coming Home,” the final part of MPR’s “The Red Bulls, Beyond Deployment” series.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A look at a proposal for a

climate-centered version of the National Weather Service.

Second hour: A with Jane Goodall. It’s been 50 years since she first set foot in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – There are a few companies with Olympic ties and we’ll hear about their connections and some of the history and future to the Games of the XXI Olympiad.

MPR’s Euan Kerr talks with Peter Hessler. The former Beijing bureau chief of the New Yorker comes to town to read from “Country Driving,” his book about the changes he saw in China during the decade he lived there

Steroid-free greatness. Some athletes say playing for the New York fans is tough. Not Willie Mays. He lived up to the home crowd’s expectations, and he gave them the most famous catch in baseball history. NPR talks with legend Willie Mays.

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