- Since we’re talking about texting and driving, here’s a story about a report on which drivers act so recklessly. I didn’t include it in my story today because I didn’t have time to look at the report, but, if the reporter did his homework, it appears that the guilty party is more often adults than the usual teenage and college-age suspects. It was amusing to hear Grand Forks Council President Hal Gershman talk last night about how a ban on texting and driving would send a message to the kids when this study indicates maybe it’s their parents he needs to reach.
Note that I found a brief mention of another report that does put the blame on younger drivers.
- Here’s an interesting blog post from The Atlantic about national opinions regarding the economic stimulus package. The hed says it all: "Americans think stimulus didn’t work, want more."
Paradoxical behavior by voters no longer surprise me much. The one example around here that stands out for me is the vote to keep Grand Forks’ Riverside Pool open. For years prior to that, I’d heard residents complain about city taxes and city spending; it’s not uncommon for people to suspect waste without being able to put their finger on what is wasteful. Then residents vote to keep a pool that would be on the wet side of a dike system we’re spending millions to build. Emotions are weird that way.
- I fanned the Chronicle of Higher Education on Facebook and found a link to this blog post the other day. The author argues that students today are lazier, but get higher grades because the practice of having students evaluate faculty has pushed professors to be more lenient. I wonder if this is true. I can’t imagine the evaluations are in regular use by administrations to determine promotions for faculty. That would really be stupid.
I was a colle ge student once and I remember having what now appears to be an idiotic and pointless obsession with grades, but I never graded a professor badly for giving out bad grades. Those are usually the frighteningly good ones.
- Popular Science has a fun story about cities and countries ambitious about carbon neutrality. We’ve got a Green Grand Forks initiative of our own here, though, it’s relatively conservative and cautious just as you might expect from a small Midwestern city.
Imagine my surprise to find that there’s another small Midwestern city that’s thrown itself wholeheartedly into the green movement: Greensburg, Kansas, the town destroyed by a 2007 tornado. Note that, like us, they took advantage of a disaster to reinvigorate themselves.
- Here’s a link to a month-old CNN Money story featuring the most affordable U.S. cities in which to buy a house. I saved it for a quickie post because the house prices in some of the Midwestern cities listed were way, way better than in Grand Forks. I know our housing prices put a crimp in our cost-of-living indicators, but didn’t realize that we were so high.
I did a check for the last time we reported housing prices and found an April story where we reported the average price was $147,000 in Grand Forks and more than $162,000 in East Grand Forks. The CNN story says the median price in Indianapolis was $96,000. I realize median and average are different, but they’re often not too far apart. In Youngstown, Ohio, the median was $69,000.
- We ran this AP story a while back and I forgot to mention it here. It’s about efforts to get the Federal Aviation Administration to open up civilian airspace to unmanned aircraft. There wasn’t anything new that I hadn’t reported or heard about except this stuff:
Texas officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, have been leaning on the FAA to approve requests to use unmanned aircraft along the Texas-Mexico border.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has told lawmakers that safety concerns are behind the delays. Cornyn is blocking a Senate confirmation vote on President Barack Obama‘s nominee for the No. 2 FAA job, Michael Huerta, to keep the pressure on.
Other lawmakers want an overall plan to speed up use of the planes beyond the border. A bill approved by the Senate gives FAA a year to come up with a plan; a House version extends the deadline until Sept. 30, 2013, but directs the transportation secretary to give unmanned aircraft permission to fly before the plan is complete, if that can be done safely.
I didn’t realize so many other powerful interests were putting the squeeze on the FAA on this matter.