Five by 8 – 6/4/10: How much publicity should one bear get?

1) Duluth News Tribune columnist Sam Cook asks some serious questions in the wake of the publicity surrounding Hope and Lily, the baby and mama bears who have been Internet stars since Hope’s birth via Webcam.

It’s a debatable practice, this matter of naming wild critters and using them to promote a nonprofit organization. So, for that matter, is feeding them and following them around the woods, which Rogers does under permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

When does a bear become less a subject of research than a creature exploited for its marketability?

When is a wild animal no longer truly wild?

Hope has taken off again and the North American Bear Center is leaving bottles of formula around for the cub.

The best way to tell if it’s Hope is with a trail cam. We mentioned that this morning on Facebook and discovered again the power of Lily and Hope’s fans. A caring couple purchased seven trail cameras and a volunteer drove an hour each way to get them to us. We configured and deployed 4 of them this evening. Hopefully we have them set up right and will have some answers to the identity of the formula-slurpers tomorrow. When we went out to set them up we found the same 2 containers had again been disturbed. One had been licked clean and the other had been pulled out of its hole and tipped over. We filled them with fresh formula and added pecans and banana chips.

2) The second-biggest thorn in the side of BP has come forward. The @bpGlobalPR Twitter account has been a sharp stick on the sunny-days Twitter account of the real BP. The oil company has been almost as interested in shutting him up as shutting the oil off. He says his name is Leroy Stick.

You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand? Have a respectable brand. Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions. Lead the pack! Evolve! Don’t send hundreds of temp workers to the gulf to put on a show for the President. Hire those workers to actually work! Don’t dump toxic dispersant into the ocean just so the surface looks better. Collect the oil and get it out of the water! Don’t tell your employees that they can’t wear respirators while they work because it makes for a bad picture. Take a picture of those employees working safely to fix the problem. Lastly, don’t keep the press and the people trying to help you away from the disaster, open it up so people can see it and help fix it. This isn’t just your disaster, this is a human tragedy. Allow us to mourn so that we can stop being angry.

Here’s some raw video just posted from the beaches:

Now, back to a live view of the scene of the crime:

Stream videos at Ustream

A News Cut reader commented last evening that the disaster could propel alternative energy into the mainstream. Maybe this will be the impetus for more electric cars. But the BBC has a story today about one such car that, as it turns out, isn’t ready for prime time, but it doesn’t matter:

“I never used to consider how far my journey would be,” he says. “I now reckon my average journey is five to 10 miles. I guess people think they drive more miles than they actually do.

“Clearly, if you do 90 miles per day, then this is probably not the car for you, but how often do you drive more than 90 miles in one stretch? And how often do you have sub-zero temperatures in Britain?”

3) The secret power of time.

(h/t: Open Culture)

4) A Wisconsin woman tried to start a movement to convince people to send in extra money to the government to help pay down the national debt. She figured if everyone paid about 3 percent of their income every year for 10 years, the country could pay off the existing debt (currently $13 trillion). She figured wrong.

5) Who sets the media agenda online? Tech heads. As information consumption shifts online, is this a good thing. The Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism compares the top “story” on social vs. mainstream media.

On Twitter, for example, 51 percent of the Tweets related to Apple. In the stodgy media, it was the oil spill in the Gulf.


The birth control pill turns 50 years old this year. How would society be different without the pill?


I’ll be on the couch tonight on TPT’s Almanac with David Brauer and McKenna Ewen as part of the “media panel.”

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: “The pill” promised freedom from unwanted pregnancy and, some feared, a total breakdown in morality. University of Minnesota professor Elaine Tyler May writes in her new book that oral contraceptives changed the lives of women, but not in ways people predicted 50 years ago.

Second hour: A college education has become increasingly unaffordable for many Americans, and some would argue that a college degree has less meaning that it used to. Will technology, and a re-envisioning of the college experience, make higher education more accessible, and more meaningful?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: MPR’s Dale Connelly will talk about his 34-year career on the radio,-first as a reporter, then as a popular music program host and writer.

Second hour: Historian Mark Stoler speaks about Gen. George C. Marshall, who 63 years ago Saturday announced his “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Europe after WW II. Stoler spoke at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Researchers at Cleveland Clinic say their new vaccine “will someday be used to prevent breast cancer.” What does this mean for cancer prevention?

Second hour: Hundreds of thousands of gallons of dispersant have been dumped into the Gulf. Ocean expert Sylvia Earle discusses the risks of this cleanup technique, and the latest on the leak. Plus, a psychologist shares tips for avoiding bad-news burnout.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Chevron faces a multi-billion dollar lawsuit for its alleged role in polluting the Amazon. A filmmaker produced a documentary about the suit… and Chevron wants his raw footage that was left out. All 600 hours of it. Is he shielded by journalistic privilege?

  • Aaron

    I am glad they are inviting Dale on Midday!

  • Joanna

    Elaine Tyler May is truly a pioneer in studies of broad changes in American society. I can’t wait to read her new book.

  • “A News Cut reader commented last evening that the disaster could propel alternative energy into the mainstream.”

    I would be remiss if I did not point out to News Cut readers that alternative-powered vehicles have been around Minnesota for more than a decade. I drove one last night — a Chevy Impala running on E85.

    From an op/ed in today’s Star Tribune (which also recomends flex fuel vehicles as one of 10 ways toward a smaller footprint): We’ve got to thoughtfully, gradually and inexorably kick our oil habit.”

    Using cleaner-burning E85 and biodiesel fuels is one (but not the only) way to do just that.

  • Bonnie

    As for the bears, there is also a pair of nesting loons who have an angel named Larry watching over them on a nest of his making, equipped with a webcam, including sound and infrared night vision. Many of the same folks are watching the bears, and the loons, I imagine. Last night one of the loon eggs rolled off the nest into the lake. Larry went out and fished it out and put it back on the nest. Thousands applauded. Are these loons wild? They float among sounds of cabins being torn down, water skiers, and all kinds of human activity. But there are fascinating behavioral things to be learned, thousands have learned what to do, and what not to do, if they see a loon now. With the oil “spill”, the loons will need all the help they can get. What is our role as humans with respect to wildlife?

  • Henny

    On the bears:

    The Duluth article says Rogers hoped to locate the cub and fit her with a tiny radio collar. How heartwarming.

    Except for the story from a few years ago about Rogers trying to locate a bear he’d fitted with a collar who would soon be outgrowing her collar and would subsequently strangle. I don’t think the bear was ever located. Or, wait, wasn’t she shot by hunters? Of course, that was it. How convenient that wild animals are “shot by hunters” rather than have the truth revealed.

    It’s one thing to do research and it’s another to endanger what you’re supposedly trying to “protect”.