Something for nothing (5×8 – 3/23/12)

Nerdy deeds done cheap, the power of a pink tutu, the butt sketch guy, cameras in the courtroom, and should the workplace be segregated?


What if every company donated a night’s work for something good?

Starting Saturday afternoon, The Nerdery is hosting the fifth annual Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge. Teams of website developers will build complete websites for area nonprofit organizations that could use one. The volunteers show up without knowing what nonprofit they’ll serve for 24 hours.

Here’s a video from last year:

The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge: An Overview from The Nerdery on Vimeo.


You have to love a guy who wears pink. You have to love him more if he wears a pink tutu. Bob Carey photographed himself in a tutu once while working on a photo shoot. He’s a commercial photographer. Shortly after moving to New York, his wife developed breast cancer and now he photographs himself, wearing a pink tutu, in various locales.

“Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing–no, the only thing–we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others,” he writes on his website.

He’s about to publish a book of the photos and accompanying stories to raise money for cancer organizations.

(h/t: Ben Chorn)


Krandel Lee Newton was a bigshot engineer in Texas when he decided to quit and pursue his passion as a sidewalk artist instead. Now, he paints people’s “butts.”

“In this business, every butt’s a good butt,” he said this week when he visited Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead.


The verdict came back yesterday in the Mattapan Massacre, the killing of four people in Boston, including a 2-year-old boy and his mother, when thugs stormed their home looking for money and drugs: Not guilty. The trial had gone on for five weeks. The jury deliberated for seven days. The family of the victims say they did not get justice.

But that’s not why I’m mentioning it today. This video is.

We don’t get to see what a murder trial — and its aftermath — looks like in Minnesota because the state’s judges don’t think we should. A pilot project authorized by the Minnesota Supreme Court is barely dipping a toe in the water. Massachusetts allowed cameras in the courtroom starting about 30 years ago. It’s not pretty, but it’s a part of life that is sanitized for us. Should it be?


Is an old idea one whose time has come again? Women are responsible for only 7.5 percent of patents that are filed, Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner reports. According to research, women don’t take risks as much as men do…

There’s a lot of research showing that men are bigger risk takers than women. Now, I talked to an economics professor in Britain. Her name is Alison Booth. She had cooked up an experiment to look at this male-female risk gap. She randomly assigned a bunch of first-year economic students to either single-sex classes or co-ed classes. So there were all female groups, all male groups, and mixed — all randomly selected. Then she had each student take a test to determine risk aversion. And then after eight weeks of class, she gave all the students the same test.

She found that women in the single-sex groups performed the same as men in single-sex groups.

Listen in:

Related or maybe not: A new study suggests that it’s tougher for a woman to start a Twin Cities company than it was five years ago, the Star Tribune reports today.

Bonus: What happens when we start running out of water?


The shooting death last month of an unarmed black teenager in Florida has sparked conversations about racial profiling, neighborhood watch groups, gated communities and equal justice. Today’s Question: What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Presidential candidate Rick Santorum set off a firestorm of criticism when he called universities “indoctrination mills” and called President Obama a “snob” for encouraging all Americans to go to college. Is this part of a larger trend toward GOP anti-intellectualism, and what will the impact be?

Second hour: The issue of fairness is the cornerstone of our judicial system. Multiple studies show that if litigants or members of the public perceived that the courts provided fair treatment, they had a more positive attitude toward and were more confident in the court system as a whole. What are the issues that affect fairness in the courts? What’s being done to overcome them?

Third hour: This week on the Friday Roundtable, we’ll discuss the growing protests over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, whether mandatory life sentences should be imposed on juveniles who commit murders, and if it’s right for some employers to ask job candidates for their Facebook passwords. Guests: Bob Collins writes the Newscut blog for MPR News; : Lars Leafblad, principal with Keystone Search, an executive search firm;: Kyle Tran Myhre, also known as “Guante,” a hip-hop performer and two-time national poetry slam champion.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Health and Human Services official Joel Ario, speaking at a University of Minnesota forum about the Affordable Care Act, followed by comments from Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: When will Americans fill up at the plug, not at the pump?

Second hour: Alan Alda on communicating science without the jargon. Plus, an archaeologist returns to Iraq.