Discussion points to ponder (Five by 8 – 8/30/10)

Good morning, I’m Julia Schrenkler in for Bob Collins. Without Bob we’ll have to make our own conversation, so you’ll find “wonder” statements attached to the discussion-worthy links throughout today’s Five by 8. Your answers – or your own questions – are most welcome.

Since it is a Monday, a rouser is imperative. Here we have Trampled by Turtles performing “Feet and Bones” for The Current’s Local Show:

Not exactly the most uplifting lyrics, but contentment inspires precious little art. Let the local players (the band formed in Duluth) work blow your mind here online or come visit us at the fair on Wednesday, 9/1 to see them live. For free. Besides, Bob Collins will be cashiering.

Contentment, that makes a good transition.

1) Someone somewhere studies that elusive something.

[Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California] says he conducted a preliminary experiment indicating that posting messages on Twitter caused the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that evokes feelings of contentment and is thought to help induce a sense of positive social bonding. He is now testing those ideas in research on a group of 40 people.

Granted, the piece (Neighborly Borrowing, Over the Online Fence, New York Times) is less about Twitter giving us a hit of pleasure as it is about our social selves, and concludes that our online reputation will continue to be more important in real life.

I wonder…Do you feel socially bonded to people online? Bonus wonder… How exactly did Zak conduct that experiment?

2) Geese flying high in state. Well, based on population, anyway. Star Tribune outdoors editor and columnist Dennis Anderson delivers good news for hunters and perhaps unsurprising news for residents near water or fields.

From a breeding population of almost none — zero — resident Canada geese in the late 1960s, Minnesota’s flock has grown to about 300,000 of these fowl.

Quite the turn around. I wonder…How this species’ success impacts the rest of the ecosystem.

3) How panhandlers use free credit cards:

What would happen if, instead of spare change, you handed a person in need the means to shop for whatever they needed? What would they buy? Can you spare your credit card, sir?

I found this piece (which mentions The New York Post’s A Bum you can trust, honest!) from the Toronto Star via Fark.com.

I wonder… Would you trust an absolute stranger with your credit card?

4) Label Those Vacation Photos! Not because Facebook asks you to, but because Shannon Thomas Perich, an associate curator of the Photographic History Collection, from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History begs you to do so:

Despite all of these great images that are culturally and historically valuable in and of themselves, the one thing missing from the albums is personal history: there are few, if any, dates, names, or locations, and certainly no written stories. Do give your family and friends (and, potentially, future historians) something to go on by putting some words down and letting your memories linger a little when you aren’t there to regale us with your stories.

I wonder… If you can’t determine the facts or details behind a personal photo, how do you handle the picture?

5) HBO’s biopic “Temple Grandin” took the Outstanding Made For Television Movie Emmy. Emmys: The live blog from CNN. Grandin has been a guest on Midmorning and draws dozens of questions seeking advice or her particular perspective.

This is a leap but based on caller reaction to Grandin I wonder…How do we recognize the remarkable istories of people around us?

Bonus: Last Friday’s Dinner Party Download included a bit about an illegal grilled cheese dealer in New York City. I wonder… if that bread butter cheese delivery would fly here in Minnesota.

Extra credit (and extra thanks) go to Bob Collins for making sure these next listings are good to go:


Each Monday from now until the election, we’ll pose a question on an issue that’s pertinent to the race for Minnesota governor. Today’s Question: Do you support an expansion of gambling to generate revenue for the state?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: President Obama will mark his self-imposed deadline to draw down U.S. combat troops from Iraq with a speech from the Oval Office tomorrow night. How has the deadline shaped the last days of the war?

Second hour: Once a month, in a Victorian dining room in Philadelphia, the members of the Vidocq Society, a collection of detectives and forensic specialists, gather to examine cold case murders. Writer Michael Capuzzo, author of a new book on the group, calls it a CSI to the 10th power, only real.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Live from the State Fair. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Second hour: MPR political commentators Todd Rapp and Maureen Shaver.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: Family doctors are in short supply- a problem that’s likely to grow worse. Why?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – TBA