Cars v. people (cont’d), a good hurricane could end a bad drought, ugly poverty in beautiful pictures, when predictions of doom don’t come true, and Minnesota moments from the BWCA.
Robbinsdale and other cities are cracking down on cars who blow through crosswalks, the Star Tribune reports today. “People are driving aggressively, they’re not paying attention. … It’s not safe,” the city’s police chief says. He’s right and, of course, it doesn’t just apply to Robbinsdale, as anyone driving through downtown Saint Paul can attest.
Robert Street is ground zero for everything that’s wrong in the relationship between cars and drivers. Few people — the ones who are walking — pay attention to crosswalks, opting to run across the street between intersections as they see fit. And many of the ones who cross at the intersection are unable to understand what the flashing red hand on the light pole means.
And the drivers? Clueless.
Further south, across the river, the average driver constantly has a decision to make about stopping for someone in the crosswalk. Here’s a typical scenario: A driver in the left lane stops for someone crossing left to right in the crosswalk. In an era of large SUVs, a driver in the right lane can’t see the person crossing and continues driving in the open right lane, often nearly killing the person in the crosswalk. I see it every day. Every day.
Says the Strib:
In the blame game, crashes are often attributed to actions by both drivers and pedestrians. In the 857 cases last year of Minnesota pedestrians killed or injured — a rise of nearly 50 from the year before — 35 percent of drivers had failed to yield to the pedestrians. The next biggest cause: distraction or inattention. Of the 40 pedestrians killed, 11 were trying to cross a road without a crosswalk or signal and 12 had consumed alcohol.
MnDOT is about to start a campaign that every intersection is to be treated as a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or not.
Here’s a suggestion for a campaign for the crossers…
The National Weather Service yesterday released this map showing how much rainfall is needed to alleviate the nationwide drought…
.. which brings up quite a dilemma. One hurricane coming ashore in Texas would seem a perfect solution.
Paul Huttner has everything you want to know about droughts on the Updraft blog.
Related: With the drought easing, Minnesota is sending its firefighters and equipment to western states. (Duluth News Tribune)
Welcome to the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. In 2005, photographer Aaron Huey started a project on poverty in America, but it ended up being a seven-year documentary about the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
It’s a story about genocide, he tells NPR.
Predictions for the “end of” times — the planet, the environment, oil, birds — never seem to come true, Matt Ridley points out on Wired.com today.
Over the past half century, none of our threatened eco-pocalypses have played out as predicted. Some came partly true; some were averted by action; some were wholly chimerical. This raises a question that many find discomforting: With a track record like this, why should people accept the cataclysmic claims now being made about climate change? After all, 2012 marks the apocalyptic deadline of not just the Mayans but also a prominent figure in our own time: Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who said in 2007 that “if there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late … This is the defining moment.”
So, should we worry or not about the warming climate? It is far too binary a question. The lesson of failed past predictions of ecological apocalypse is not that nothing was happening but that the middle-ground possibilities were too frequently excluded from consideration. In the climate debate, we hear a lot from those who think disaster is inexorable if not inevitable, and a lot from those who think it is all a hoax. We hardly ever allow the moderate “lukewarmers” a voice: those who suspect that the net positive feedbacks from water vapor in the atmosphere are low, so that we face only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius of warming this century; that the Greenland ice sheet may melt but no faster than its current rate of less than 1 percent per century; that net increases in rainfall (and carbon dioxide concentration) may improve agricultural productivity; that ecosystems have survived sudden temperature lurches before; and that adaptation to gradual change may be both cheaper and less ecologically damaging than a rapid and brutal decision to give up fossil fuels cold turkey.
Summer is fleeting, people…
Bonus I: Is there anything better in the local community newspapers than the police blotters? In Woodbury, the police department has one heck of a great writer and storyteller. From this week’s Woodbury Bulletin:
Police were called July 27 to Dick’s Sporting Goods, 8293 Tamarack Village, for suspicious subjects. Three males were witnessed getting out of a car. All three were wearing full spandex body suits that covered their entire bodies and heads. Police caught up with the males as they left the store. The males said they usually get positive attention when they wear the outfits in South St. Paul. Police advised them that in Woodbury “they were freaking people out.”
From the archive: Remembering the Streets of Bovey.
Bonus II: The horrifying truth about the Jetsons.
The Horrifying Truth About Life in ‘The Jetsons’ Universe — powered by Cracked.com
In other news: the carbon dioxide emissions are at a 20-year low, apparently forestalling the great dinosaur uprising.
Bonus III: Should people with autism have the same right to a heart transplant as anyone else? “He just needs a fighting chance and the same rights to medical care as others his age,” the mother of a man with autism said after her son was rejected. “Autism is not a terminal disease and we cannot allow it to become one.”
A report released Thursday finds that the cost of child care in Minnesota is among the highest in the country. For infants, child care can be more expensive than college tuition. Today’s Question: How has the cost of child care affected other decisions in the life of your family?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Friday roundtable on finding the truth in political ads.
Second hour: Calvin Trillin (rebroadcast)
Third hour: Best music of the summer and a preview of fall releases.
Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – You turn on the faucet, and water comes out. But how does it getthere? Flora Lichtman hosts a look at the leaky old pipes that deliver our water.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – William Lass, emeritus profess of history at Minnesota State University Mankato reviewed 13 historical accounts of the U. S. – Dakota War from the very first ones to one published a couple years ago. He has a favorite he recommends, and he explains the prevailing views that guided the authors and how the accounts changed over the decades from the “frontier view” – Indians as savages, to the post frontier view – Indians as oppressed minority.
A New Hope-based firearms training company is offering participants the chance to re-enact the killing of Osama bin Laden. Participants join a small platoon, don Navy Seal garb and storm into a replica bin Laden compound where they re-enact the mission, complete with a real person playing bin Laden. The company is part of a fast-growing craze for simulated military experiences, that range from these high-end role-playing reenactments to popular first-person shooter video games. Meanwhile the New Hope company is marketing itself as a place to train people to defend themselves against violent threats in real life.