Picture of a good teacher (5×8 – 11/12/10)

Teachers on tape, when people do good, when religion and farming don’t mix, what does Rothsay know that you should, and the myster of the one-clue answer revealed.


What makes a good teacher? Is it the one-to-one relationships between teacher and student? The ability to stand in front of a class and lecture? News Cut has a lot of readers who either are teachers or want to be teachers. So tell us if this is a good idea. People who want to teach in Minnesota will have to submit videotapes of them teaching, according to the Star Tribune.

“This is a way to really capture what teaching should look like,” said Mistilina Sato, a University of Minnesota researcher who helped design the program.

Independent evaluators will grade the videos and help determine whether the prospective teacher is any good. At the very least, it should open up a new industry with jobs for people who want to make “teacher tapes.” Teachers/prospective teachers: Tell us what would go on your tape.

More making video: The presidential videographer at work:


Kyle Lafontaine was tending to his broken-down car near Waseca the other night when he spotted something shiny in the gravel. It was a Purple Heart, belonging to a man who was killed in Korea in 1950. It’s been missing for 60 years. The soldier’s family met the young man in Owatonna yesterday to thank him for going to the trouble of tracking them down.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been split over the last year because of its decision to allow homosexuals to serve in the clergy. Now a new split is developing over an entirely different issue: genetic crops. Some farmers in North Dakota think the church is anti-farmer.


Rothsay, home of the largest prairie chicken, is taking the challenge to reduce its energy consumption. MPR’s Dan Gunderson has the whole story, a portion of which includes this line:

Since some of those savings will come from students turning out lights and shutting down computers, students will get to help decide how some of the savings are spent.

Want to have a big debate in the workplace? Suggest that shutting down your computer at the end of the day saves energy.

The Department of Energy is typically wishy-washy on the subject. It says shutting off the computer may save time, but…

For cost effectiveness, you also need to consider how much your time is worth. If it takes a long time to shut down the computer and then restart it later, the value of your time will probably be much greater than the value of the amount of electricity you will save by turning off the computer multiple times per day.

PlanetGreen.com says turning a computer off will save electricity, but you’ll have to unplug it, too.

Turning gadgets and appliances off when they’re not needed will save energy. However, it doesn’t mean that you’re saving 100% of your energy. Leaving things off but still plugged in subjects you to vampire power–they’re still sucking electricity from the wall socket. This is especially true with things that actually go into standby mode when turned off, such as a television, computer monitor, gadget charger, microwave and most definitely anything that has a lit display even when supposedly off. These items are still using energy to keep running, even when you think they’re shut down.

A Colorado State University study claimed that configuring your computer to shut itself off — sleep — is more efficient than depending on you to turn it off and unplug it, but these other links I’ve provided suggest a “sleeping” computer doesn’t save that much energy. Let the debate continue!


How’d the woman get a Wheel of Fortune puzzle right after just one letter?

Esquire tracked her down and tells all.

Sometimes, people who don’t understand any better confuse the mundane with the divine, mistake hard work for lightning bolts. They couldn’t pull off that same stunt, and so they convince themselves that nobody else could, either. Her brain can’t possibly work that way, that fast. There’s no way she solved that puzzle on her own. The game must be rigged.

Or Burke has a gift, and she improved it with study. She practiced. She found the little edges and secrets that make large-size success possible; she did every last bit of the math. She earned her way to her place behind the wheel, and then, on that fateful day, in that particular pattern of rectangles and lights, she saw all that she needed to beat it.

It was the apostrophe.

Bonus: It’s getting so a country can’t have its heroes anymore. Bed-bug-sniffing dogs are frauds.


Abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans. (h/t: Roger Ebert)


A White House commission on reducing the deficit has issued a draft proposal that calls for widely shared sacrifice. Is it politically possible to choose deep cuts in popular programs?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Rebroadcasts of conversations with Davis Guggenheim about his new documentary on public education “Waiting for Superman,” and with author Sebastian Junger about “Restrepo,” a documentary he directed on the war in Afghanistan.

Second hour: Songwriter and musician Adam Levy explores the great American Songbook through the lens of Jazz. He performs some classics of the jazz canon live in the Maude Mood Weyerhauser studios with musical guests.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Chief economist Diane Lim Rogers of the Concord Coalition answers questions about the proposals from the Simpson-Bowles commission on ways to reduce the deficit.

Second hour: Stephen Smith talks to Lois Quam about the prospects for a “green economy.”

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Climate science: What constitutes advocacy, and why are some scientists wary?

Second hour: Self, mind, and why humans evolved consciousness. Plus, the practical side of quantum mechanics.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR Tim Post will look at the list of finalists for the presidency of the University of Minnesota. Possibly, he’ll answer the most important question: What does it mean for football?

The Mountain Lion, one of North America’s top predators is being sighted more often in Minnesota. The DNR says mountain lions, also known as cougars and pumas, have turned up in increasing numbers in the past two years. However, wildlife officials say there’s still no evidence the big cats are settling down in Minnesota, although they might in the future. Bob Kelleher will have more.