You’re a cop who discovers hungry scavengers, the cost of cool, let the robots do the dying, requiem for a funeral in Mille Lacs County, and the lyrics to the Morning Edition theme revealed.
1) YOU ARE: A COP WHO DISCOVERS SCAVENGERS
One of the most fascinating elements of the community newspaper is the local police log. Many of the calls are mildly serious — the woman who heard her garage door opening, for example. Police found no criminal activity. But this entry in the Woodbury Bulletin is worth discussing.
Two Twin Cities women learned the hard way that Woodbury doesn’t allow so-called Dumpster diving.
An officer on patrol Jan. 6 outside of Trader Joe’s, 8960 Hudson Road, spotted a car parked behind the store near a Dumpster. The officer located two women inside the gated Dumpster area collecting food that had been discarded by Trader Joe’s.
The women – one from Minneapolis, the other from Fridley – were informed that scavenging is illegal in Woodbury. The officer took the scavenged food and returned it to the Dumpster.
Both women were released with verbal warnings.
The scavenging ordinance is pretty clear:
It is unlawful for any person or business to scavenge or otherwise collect garbage, other refuse, recyclables, white goods, or yard waste at the curb or from recyclable containers without a license therefor from the city and an account relationship with the owner of the premises.
We don’t know further details. The women could’ve been looking for expired food to resell, for example. Or they could have been hungry. If it’s the latter, it’s hard to imagine a cop taking food away from hungry people and tossing it back in the dumpster. So we prefer to think it’s the former.
You are: the police officer. What do you do?
Dumpster diving tips, by the way, are available at Do It Green Minnesota:
The tools that I recommend bringing are a flashlight, a backpack and possibly gloves (depends on what you’re dumpstering). When a dumpster needs to be liberated, bolt cutters or lock picks are a must. If you’re shopping for clothes or furniture the best place to find them is in University areas. College students throw out tons of good stuff, especially at the end of semesters. Call each college to find out specific dates.
I’ve heard of people finding computers and I knew a woman who found a pair of pants with a hundred dollar bill in it! Furniture can also be found on curbs and alleys all over in residential areas. Building materials can be found at construction sites, especially in residential areas also. People are fairly laid back about taking scraps from construction dumpsters, because it’s not as socially deviant as taking food out of the dumpsters. But for all of you social deviants out there, food can be found at bakeries, co-ops and non-chain grocery stores.
The other issue here, of course, is the amount of food thrown away in the first place:
(h/t: Jen Keavy)
2) THE COST OF COOL
What’s in your iPad? A lot of human misery, the New York Times reports. It investigated the conditions under which workers labor, assembling the products favored by a demographic that’s generally sensitive to human struggles.
Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.
More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.
Earlier this month, Ira Glass jumped into this on This American Life when he talked to a self-described “Mac cult” worshiper who learned a little more about the birthing process of his favorite gadgets:
3) “LET THE ROBOTS DO THE DYING”
Will eliminating human casualties of war make war more likely? That’s the crux of the ethical debate that naturally follows word (via the Los Angeles Times today) that the U.S. military is testing a drone that isn’t under the control of anybody. Current drones use a “pilot” in a far-off, safe location. But the X-47B is, basically, a robot.
“Lethal actions should have a clear chain of accountability,” said Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist and robotics expert. “This is difficult with a robot weapon. The robot cannot be held accountable. So is it the commander who used it? The politician who authorized it? The military’s acquisition process? The manufacturer, for faulty equipment?”
Next year the X-47B will land on an aircraft carrier for the first time… by itself. Experts say humans might “monitor” the killing decisions of the drone over a battlefield, but not actually make them.
4) REQUIEM FOR A FUNERAL
True or false: Taxpayers have to pay the burial expenses of people who don’t have the money for the final trip? True, and that’s causing a problem for at least one funeral home in Mille Lacs County. The Mille Lacs Messenger reports on one funeral home director who asked the county board to increase the reimbursement for embalming and burials from the current $920. The commissioners refused. Die poor in the county now, the funeral home director said, and there’ll no longer be any funeral services and embalming required for public viewings. And the hour-long visitation and burial service is out, too.
5) MORNING EDITION LYRICS
Who knew? There are lyrics to the Morning Edition theme song. They’ve been posted on NPR’s Tumblr page:
Oh I hate to get up in the morning
Please don’t wake me up this morning
Let me stay in bed … and … sleep (I don’t like to daydream)
The world can turn without me today
And if you wake me up I can say
That we will not be friends… for… long
Remember when… we used to sleep forever?
Dreams… floating as light as feathers
When… will those delightful dreams
Come back again?
Tell me when!!!
For crying out loud, please would you shut up
No news, no features, I’ve had enough …
But, say, who wrote your great … theme … song???
Bonus I: Confirmed by mathematics. SpongeBob Squarepants does not live in a pineapple house under the sea. It’s a mathematical impossibility:
Bonus II: Behind the scenes at WCCO. Doesn’t anyone there have a messy desk?
Google has announced that it will begin tracking the web-surfing habits of users across all of its many services, and not give users the chance to opt out. Technology watchers say the change will allow Google to target ads more precisely to individual consumers. Today’s Question: How have your perceptions of Google changed over the years?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Can the GOP appeal to Hispanics in Florida?
Second hour: Do you have destination you’ve always wanted to visit? If you do, travel writer Patricia Schultz can probably tell where to go and what to do when you finally get there.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Political analysis with Susan MacManus.
Second hour:American RadioWorks’ “The President Calling”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The crisis in Nigeria. The New year has seen mounting tensions in Nigeria. A series of coordinated bomb blasts, hundreds killed, entrenched corruption, and massive labor strikes. The country is a huge oil producer, yet still imports its gas.
Second hour: What happens when multiple generations live under the same roof?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – How debates have shaped the GOP race for president.