5 x 8: We know what you did today


Since the Star Tribune revealed the extent to which Minneapolis and a few other police departments are monitoring our movements, the reaction from the monitored — us — has mostly been a shrug of the shoulders.

But in the wake of the NSA domestic spying leak, the American Civil Liberties Union is trying again, releasing a report on the license plate readers that police are using.

In its report — You Are Being Tracked — the ACLU says it doesn’t object when the tracking devices are “used to identify people who are driving stolen cars or are subject to an arrest warrant. But they should not become tools for tracking where each of us has driven.” ACLU attorney Catherine Crump writes:

What can location data reveal about people? Trips to places of worship, political protests, or gun ranges can be powerful indicators of people’s beliefs. Is it really the government’s business how often you go to the drug store or liquor store, what doctors you visit, and the identities of your friends?

I’m sure all of us can remember something from our past that could embarrass us. If the government comes to suspect you of something in 2020, should it have access to databases stretching back years that could dig up facts about you that previously went unnoticed?

Minnesota has tightened the rules on the data, limiting its availability to the public and the length of time authorities can hold it. The Minnesota State Patrol, for example, holds the data for only 48 hours, among the lowest of any police department surveyed.

But it’s another step in the surveillance society, the ACLU’s Crump writes. “As electric companies convert to ‘smart grids’ that provide them data about the patterns of your electricity usage, it could well become apparent when you take a shower and whether you run your dishwasher more frequently than others.”


An NPR blog post this week, combined with the response to the Cheerios ad I told you about two days ago, rekindles an old question: When exactly do people learn to hate people who aren’t just like them?

This is the photo that got the attention of the Code Switch blog, the NPR project on race:

Joseph Crachiola/Macomb Daily. 1973

Photographer Joseph Crachiola posted the picture, which he took in Michigan in 1973, on his Facebook page. He wants to find the kids and find out what happened to them.

Crachiola says he was reminded of the photo upon learning of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

I shot this photograph forty years ago in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – July 31, 1973 – while working for a suburban Detroit newspaper. It was a seemingly insignificant moment. I was walking down a side street and saw some children playing. They saw me and said, “Hey mister, take our picture!” The pose was completely spontaneous. I shot several frames and moved on.

The picture ran somewhere inside the paper and was probably forgotten about, but for me it still stands as one of my most meaningful pictures. It makes me wonder. When is innocence lost? At what point do we begin to mistrust one another? When do we begin to judge one another based on gender or race?

I have always wondered what happened to these children. I wonder if they are still friends. In light of the current state of affairs in this country I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t all learn something from them. ©Joseph Crachiola.

“Kids naturally love each other. They have to be taught by adults to do otherwise,” a commenter said.

(h/t: Kate Moos)


It has been more than a year since Seth Collins’ younger brother Aaron died and left behind a wish for his family to leave a large tip for some unsuspecting server.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the mission was accomplished in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Seth, who is from Kentucky, is traveling the country and intends to leave a big tip in every state in honor of his brother. Videos of each tip are posted on the website.


Dylan Masone posted on Twitter the other night that if he got 1,000 retweets, he’d jump on the field at the All Star Game. He got 1,000 retweets and jumped on the field and headed for second base. Click the image to see what happened.

Fan on field body slammed #allstargame #bodyslam #citifield

He’s a Yankees fan. Of course.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

That wasn’t even the most pathetic human display on All Star Night. This was. Fox Sports phonied up the Sweet Caroline segment to create a reality that didn’t exist. The crowd was actually disinterested in Neil Diamond.

Take a note, Minnesota, because you get this nonsense next year.

Related: Glen Perkins, the Minnesota Twins All Star, made a movie of his experience at the game.


NPR has the backstory:

In a new episode, TED Radio Hour explored the idea of collaboration. The kind of collaboration that has led to game-changing advancements like Wikipedia and CAPTCHAs , which capitalize on internet-security puzzles to digitize books and teach foreign languages for free.

In his TED Talk, Clay Shirky, a leader in studying the effects of new technologies, explains how small moments of free time for individuals around the world – “cognitive surplus” he calls it – have made way for these mass collaborations that are changing the world. He told TED Radio Hour Host Guy Raz that people in the United States have an average 30-35 hours of free time a week, and people, especially the younger generation, are not just watching television.

Bonus I: The Current volunteer suffers severe head injury in bike accident (City Pages).

Bonus II: Why Is Netflix Secretly Cropping Movies? (Flavorwire) h/t: Ben Chorn

Bonus III:
You’re following Win Borden on Facebook, right? Because there’s no one else in Minnesota writing more poignant essays on life .

Last night at the farm, the temperature never dropped below 70 and today the humidity is high and the heat is on with a high projected in the 90’s. Oh my.

I know some bemoan the heat and humidity. And some wonder how I can live comfortably in a old farm house with a wood furnace and a wood stove in the kitchen and no A/C, I guess it is what you get used to. People lived well for centuries without air conditioning. And the heat will pass. I thought about that at sunset last night. The wonderus moon was looking down on me and seemed to say, “Don’t complain about the heat–in just two months I will be shining down on you and you will worry about the coming frost.” Oh my. She’s right. Minnesota weather–constantly changing. I love it.

And the plants, for the most part, love it as well. Sure the crop of shell peas and pea pods were cut short by the heat, but the zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn love the heat. They seem to say, just give me water and watch me grow. I laugh. The few folks who complained last week that the zucchini were too small will be able to purchase baseball bat sized zucchini this week. Funny–at least to me.

Now the old farm truck is loaded with produce and off to the farmers market in Nisswa (American Legion from 8 to 12:30) and at 10 AM the farm will open to the public.

Oh I could bemoan the heat and frankly I do not like my daily trip from the farm for my radiation therapy, but I am standing up good under the heat and the radiation. And while I have a couple of hours of free time I will not bemoan my fate. The sales stand needs to be organized–even if I can’t organize myself. I laugh as I go at it.

And in my spare time I am going to make some simple flower arrangements of black eyed susans, and oriental lilies–simple country arrangements. The flowers stuff inside a cloud of the best baby’s breath I have every grown. Such fun.

My goal today is to think cool and extract as much pleasure from the day as possible. I trust you will do the same. Because? This day will soon be gone–never to again return. Enjoy it to the ultimate I hope you will. It will be good for you and those close to you.

Bonus IV: The homecoming.

Should foie gras be banned in Minnesota?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: How Minnesota is ending the use of restraints in state institutions.

Second hour: The life of a foreign aid worker.

Third hour: Graduation testing in Minnesota.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about innovations in transportation for the 21st century.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Sen. Rand Paul on Sexual Assault in the Military | Mandela Day In South Africa and the U.S. | Radical New Therapy Developed for Down’s Syndrome

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Dan Olson meets Otis Zanders and the work he does as head of an organization aimed at helping young African American men. Zanders is a native of Mississippi and the retired director of the Red Wing correctional facility for juveniles.

The All Things Considered tour of grills around the world nibbles its way to Japan. Japanese grilling doesnt involve huge flames or giant slabs of meat. Its a quieter, bite-sized approach to the summer barbeque. NPR blows the lid of Yakitori, a Japanese style of grilling.