The solar dud (5×8 – 3/9/12)

Clarification: A commenter on NewsCut overnight writes:

How come I can’t scroll down to the next story? What is going on? Please fix this Mr. News Cut!

This is a change from MPR’s New Media division off the MPR News front page. In the past, the link from the front page went to the NewsCut homepage, allowing you to see the mix of stories for the day. Now, the link goes to the latest post. To get back to the main page, click the NewsCut logo at the top of the page.


A commenter on NewsCut yesterday turned out to be right. The biggest solar storm in years turned out to be a dud. Why? National Geographic has it figured out:

The solar storm’s gentler-than-expected treatment of Earth so far has a lot to do with the direction the storm was traveling when it hit our planet’s magnetic field, explained Young, who works on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory project.

“The Earth’s magnetic field has a northward direction to it,” he said. There’s also a magnetic direction to each solar storm, or coronal mass ejection (CME)–a burst of charged solar particles expelled from the sun the sun by the “snapping” of magnetic fields.

If, as with the current sun storm, a CME’s magnetic field flows northward, its interaction with Earth’s magnetic field can be weakened–“the two are both pointed in the same direction,” Young said.

“But if they’re opposite each other–if the [storm’s] magnetic field is southward–then there’s a much stronger interaction. It allows much more energy to be pumped into Earth’s magnetosphere.”

The solar storm blinded a probe currently on its way to Venus, reports.

There were a few Northern Lights observed in the usual locations — Finland, in this case — but nothing special in our neck of the woods. There are a few pictures on the Duluth News Tribune weather blog.


Another icon of Minnesota radio is calling it quits. Bruce Hagevik has delivered the news on WCCO for 39 years and is nearing retirement age, the Pioneer Press reports.

Two things – “nearing the normal retirement age” and the fact that Hagevik and his wife, Marvette, work in two different states – were the main reasons behind his retiring. Marvette is a physical education teacher in Miami and even though Hagevik says the two see each other often – summers, holidays, spring breaks and vacations – they want to spend more time together. When he’s done at WCCO (his last day is Wednesday), Hagevik says he’ll go to Miami for the rest of the school year and then the couple will return to Minnesota in June.


The responses to Rush Limbaugh calling a woman a “slut” turn to the arts…

Related: Washington Post blogger apologizes to Limbaugh. There aren’t that many online topics that can garner 1,159 comments.


Law school was once considered a pathway to riches. Now it’s a pathway to being a waiter in a pizza joint, partly because law schools fake how many of their students get jobs. Insert your own lawyer joke here.


A newspaper columnist in Grand Forks, ND has become a national favorite after she wrote a restaurant review in the local newspaper about the new Olive Garden restaurant there. “I’ve been doing this for 30 to 40 years. Why all of a sudden now?” Marilyn Hagerty wonders. Probably because she wrote a review about a restaurant aimed toward average people, a commentary that might be more about us than her.

“In the coastal United States, restaurant reviews try to be as uptight as possible. I hate it when they try to be so pretentious. You can never please food critics,” one reader told the Grand Forks Herald.

Watch a charming video of Marilyn here. The TV station wanted to interview her at the Olive Garden, but the restaurant wouldn’t let them in with cameras. They went to Ground Round instead.

Related: Village Voice Q&A with Marilyn Hagerty.

Bonus I: Before and after. NPR’s Picture Show blog looks at the recovery from the tsunami in Japan.

Bonus II: MPR’s Public Insight Network has been producing videos of people in the network who have decided how they’ll vote on the same-sex marriage ban on November’s ballot. Here are two new vids.

Find more videos here.


A bill in the Legislature is intended to discourage state government from shutting down as it did last summer. The bill would require mediation before a shutdown and stop legislators from being paid while the government is closed. Today’s Question: Does Minnesota need a law discouraging state government shutdowns?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: This week on the Friday Roundtable, the panel looks at an unlikely and controversial viral video and intrigue at the University of Minnesota. Guests: Guest: Stephanie Curtis, social media editor for The Daily Circuit; Mike Zipko, vice president of strategic development at Goff Public. He was press secretary for St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman; Peter Bell, former head of the Metropolitan Council.

Second hour: All about your mid-life years.

Third hour: America in the age of descent. Guest: Edward Luce, Chief U.S. commentator for the Financial Times.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From MPR’s “Voices of Minnesota” series, a Dan Olson interview with Minnesota anti-war activist Marv Davidov, who died in January. Dan also interviews the author of a new book about Minnesota’s protest tradition, Rhoda Gilman.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A look at the science of taste and how to get more from your next bite. Plus, why we’re more closely related to gorillas than we thought.

Second hour: How an early spring affects flower buds and bees. Plus, dark matter just got more mysterious. And planet or not, should Pluto get its own stamp?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Director Mike Nichols. For 7 year old Mike Nichols, just off the boat after fleeing Nazi Germany, Rice Crispies and Coca Cola were revelations, food that made noise! The famed director is now dealing with some bigger American themes figure in the play he’s now directing — Death of A Salesman.