On persistence (5×8 – 4/27/11)

Just keep going, Congress’ insult to the 9/11 rescuers, does time slow down when you’re scared, what can you do about the PlayStation hack, and an end to the search for intelligence life in the universe.


VitzthumCurio370.jpg An Iowa woman is going to graduate from Iowa State University in May. She’s been taking courses — one per semester — since 1992. She started taking accounting courses after her boss suggested she take a few. Then her dad got sick with cancer.

“He said to me, ‘You know Kathy, you’re this far, why don’t you just keep going and get your degree?'” Kathy Vitzthum said.

She lamented to him that she could be 50 years old when she finishes. Her dad said, “You’re going to be 50 anyway, so you might as well keep going.”

She kept going, the university news service reports.

Vitzthum is one of eight siblings in the Doughan family of Algona. Their parents, Dale and Marcie, had a tradition of giving their child a major gift — something they really wanted — upon graduation from college. Vitzthum had had her eye on an antique, lighted curio cabinet for some time.

“I thought it was gorgeous. But I knew we couldn’t afford it, with little kids and my going to college,” she said.

So Vitzthum’s parents bought the cabinet. When they presented it, her father said, “I’m not going to be around when you graduate, so I’ll give this to you on loan now.”

For 11 years, Vitzthum’s curio cabinet has loomed large in the living room, a memorial to the promise she made to her father.

“After that, it wasn’t an option to quit school,” she said. “Every time I looked at the cabinet, I was reminded.”

Somewhat related: For the first time, women outnumber men in college degrees.


It took Daily Show host Jon Stewart to shame Congress into passing legislation to help New York firefighters, who got sick while sifting through the remains of the World Trade Center almost 10 years ago. It’s what earned Stewart comparisons with Edward R. Murrow. The legislation has advanced, but it’s come too late for several of them. And it contains a provision — make sure they’re not terrorists first — that some find insulting. (Video may not be suitable for workplace)3) TIME AND FEAR WAIT FOR NO MAN

Does time move faster when you’re scared? No, according to a researcher who, according to Discover blog, “tied subjects very carefully into harnesses, and threw them from a very tall platform.”


If you have a PlayStation and are connected to its network, there’s a good chance your credit card and/or personal information has been stolen. That’s 77 million identities. Here’s what to do about it.


Scientists in California are shutting down the array that searches for signs of intelligent — or any other — life among the galaxies. There isn’t enough money to keep it going. It’s a matter of priorities, some say. But what if on some distant planet, there’s a balanced budget and people have political arguments that aren’t dumb?

Maybe it’s just as well…

Bonus: Carlson School flash mob.


Republicans at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday announced attempts to put before voters a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Should we amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: What does education reform look like?

Second hour: What the future will look like?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former Ambassador to NATO Robert Hunter discusses events in Syria and Libya.

Second hour: Former Supreme Court correspondent for the Wall Street Journal Stephen Wermiel, author of “Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion.” He spoke recently at the Univ. of Minnesota’s Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: (pre-empted for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference.

Second hour: The record number of people who rely on the federal government.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Soon after Pope John Paul the Second died, many of his followers clamored for him to be quickly made a saint. And this weekend, the Vatican moves him one step further along the fast-track. Many other Catholics, though, are unhappy with the Church’s sped-up process, which they say could lead to a bad decision. Faith and doubt on the road to sainthood on All Things Considered from NPR News.

(Top photo: Bob Elbert, Iowa State University)

  • Tyler

    Can someone explain to me why Congress has a grudge against the 9/11 responders? Or am I looking for logic in an illogical place?

  • Ben Chorn

    Cutting funding for science research?

    Questioning first responders at Ground Zero?

    Needing proof that Obama was born in America?

    Obsessing over the Royal Wedding?

    I’m only 23 and I am deeply worried about the state of this country…

  • Betty

    //I’m only 23 and I am deeply worried about the state of this country…

    as you should be Ben. It all amounts to the money and power that controls all political parties.

    This is the dawning of the age of conspiracy.

    Hackers retrieving credit card information via video games! What’s next Human Resource departments *misplacing* vital and confidential employee information every other day?

  • Jim Shapiro

    Dear Bob – Thanks for Time and Fear Waits For No Man. Fascinating stuff. Keep the brain info coming! 🙂

  • Kassie

    I’m against the first responders getting extra medical benefits just because they got sick on the job. They were doing their job. Many Americans do their job and get sick and they don’t get extra benefits. They are “heroes,” but so are teachers, do we have federal laws making sure teachers who get sick on the job get extra medical benefits? My dad, while not a “hero” to most people, has ruined his knees doing his job, and he gets no health insurance at all.

    Congress needs to focus on making sure all Americans get medical benefits regardless of their position in life instead of carving out special benefits for special groups.

  • Bob Collins

    9/11 was a different beast and it’s not a question of whether some people are heroes and some are not.

    The fact is that they ran in one direction that day when everyone else was running the other day, that they volunteered in the rescue on their off-hours, and that they were subjected to cancer-causing substances while the officials were maintaining the air quality was satisfactory.

    We owe them. That’s what this is about.

  • bsimon

    It is an interesting question.

    How do we properly account for what we owe to whom?

  • Bob Collins

    It becomes an overriding sense of right and wrong.

    It’s not our strong suit these days.

  • c

    //It becomes an overriding sense of right and wrong.

    It’s not our strong suit these days.

    You got that right Bob-

    A society that Isn’t playing with a full deck.

    An economy that sellsout to the highest bidder.

    Where I come from you do things for other people because it is in your heart

    and nothing is expected in return.