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Uniquely Minnesota
The Long, Long Good-bye
September 22, 2017

During a late-night dinner at a restaurant, I noticed a group of people standing outside the window. I smiled knowingly, after realizing they were the same people who had left the restaurant five or six minutes earlier.

I recognized their roles by their body language. Some of them just liked standing there, feet planted solidly, breathing in the mild evening air, satisfied to continue to endlessly prompt the conversation with new subjects worthy of another whole evening. Some of them were moderating and responding and being polite, trying not to end a pleasant evening on a bad note. Some of them were in the road, doing the Let's Go dance, popular with people easily chilled or of weak bladder. They would rather be hit by traffic than stay because at least then they would get somewhere.

The long, torturously-long good-bye is uniquely Minnesota, defined and sung about.

I like to think it has to do with blizzards and long distances. It probably started here before there were cars and highways. Maybe it was inherited from the Dakota or the Ojibwe. It's part of this place.

And I can laugh at the group outside the restaurant because I've been there. I've played all the roles. I know them like a Shakespearian performer knows Hamlet or Macbeth. I've been reluctant to end conversations and reluctant to start conversations. I have dialed the number for the ambulance and started paddling the canoe. I know these people.

So... let me describe for you -- in detail -- what's been going on in the Twin Cities this past year. The US Bank Stadium hosted U2 and discovered glass stadiums provide echoing acoustics. Every major road and highway is or was and will be again under construction. The Sculpture Gardens were just renovated. The Minnesota Capitol was just renovated. The Target Center was just renovated. Saint Paul just hiked property taxes an additional five percent beyond their excuse for raising property taxes, so they will be able to afford next year's Ice Castle, even if it will be too warm in February for an ice castle. All of this means the Super Bowl preparation year is starting its fourth quarter.

Next February, I'm hoping some 70,000 people will get to witness the long, long Minnesota Good-bye first hand.

Music Association: Julian Lennon - Much Too Late For Good-byes
“Okay, now we wave until they're out of sight.”

bear waves back

Mind Games
Angry and Right
September 10, 2017

People tend to become more economically and politically conservative when angry, according to researchers.

A combination of four studies discovered the angry - rightward shift, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by University of Cincinnati assistant professor of marketing Anthony Salerno and University of Manitoba assistant professor Keri Kettle. The researchers pissed people off and then asked them to rate their views. “We got people angry... and then we asked them, ‘Oh by the way, we want to ask you a few basic personality questions,’” says Salerno.

Then the researchers added to the anger study problems related to resource scarcity versus resource abundance. The economic views of those who were influenced to believe that resources were scarce shifted more than those influenced to believe they were abundant.

The researchers also tested gratitude, asking what makes respondents grateful before asking them about their political beliefs, and found a more economically liberal response.

Music Associations: Arthur Crudup - That's All Right & Climax - Couldn't Get It Right & Free - All Right Now
& John Lennon - Mind Games & The Beatles - All You Need Is Love & Alanis Morrisette - Thank You

Hopes and Dreams

Weakest LinksHurricane Irma on September 5, 2017
Insecurity Blanket
September 8, 2017

Even if hurricane winds of Harvey or Irma or Katia are swirling around you, there are expectations of stability. 

Your heart will keep beating. No one can stop that.

Power lines might fall, but the power grid itself is unstoppable, right?

And nothing will stop Capital One and American Express from sending credit card offers to the modest scores from the credit rating services.

Cough - cough - hack!

Heart A Hackheart stops
Six types of pacemakers for 465,000 patients have been recalled due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The St. Jude Medical brand by Abbott, radio-controlled implantable cardiac pacemakers, fitted to patients with slow or irregular heartbeats, or patients recovering from heart failure, could be hacked to run the batteries down or alter the patient’s heartbeat. No heart hack has happened yet, and such a hack would require a complex set of circumstances for Columbo to unravel but still, oops.

Symantec detected operations-level, power grid intrusions in the United States and Europe this past spring and summer, allowing hackers to control circuit breakers and shut off power. Symantec did not say where the power grid hackers were from, but... the blackouts would be similar to Russian-hacks of Ukraine power plants in 2015 and 2016. Russian hackers have been also tied to the July attack on the Palmetto Fusion nuclear facility in Kansas.

The U.S. power grid intrusions did not cause any switches to be thrown... yet. What could  Russia  the hackers be waiting for, some big event next year?
U.S. blackout
National Identity Theft
One of the big consumer credit rating services, Equifax, discovered on July 29th that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, it was announced yesterday. It could easily be one of the largest data breaches in the United States. A website application vulnerability enabled the hackers to waltz in and take personal identifying information:  names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver's license numbers, about 209,000 credit card numbers, and 182,000 “dispute documents.” Oops, again.

Music Associations: Meghan Trainor - Credit
& Billy Joel - Movin' Out

“Working too hard can give you a heart attack -hack -hack.”

Hopes and Dreams

Otters Copy Each Otter
September 5, 2017

Cornwall researchers have discovered otters may learn by watching each other and copying behaviors.

Using puzzles baited with fishheads and peanuts, University of Exeter at Penryn researchers tested smooth-coated otter parents. Then, the otter offspring solved the puzzles more than six times faster than their parents.

The results may suggest smooth-coated otters adopt a “copy when young” strategy.

Isn't that interesting?

otters are copy cats

Mmmmm, fishheads and peanuts...

Music Associations: Fixx - One Thing Leads To An Otter
& Phil Collins - An Otter Day In Paradise

Climate Change Solutions

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