Justice, Revenge, And The Tragedy Of Robert Champion

Another Floridian’s untimely death. But this article isn’t about the tragedy. It’s about the response to it. And in regards to this one word comes to mind: revenge. On the USA Today website, the story of Robert Champion’s hazing death was what you’d expect: details about the event (him being beaten by hazers in his…
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Are Older People Happier?

When I was a Junior in high school, I remember our psychology teacher, Mr Sonnek, asking how our class thought happiness changes with age. Our slowly downward diagram just made our close-to-retirement teacher laugh. As high schoolers, it was easy to spot the physical deterioration with growing old. (And indeed, sometimes older folks aren’t happy…
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Little, Bitty Earth

I know we’ve all seen illustrations revealing how tiny our place in the universe is. But it’s always nice to be reminded. 🙂 What thoughts come to you when you start wrapping your mind around the vastness of space and the insignificant portion of it taken up by Earth and the humans that reside on…
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Vikings Stadium Kerfuffle

On April 10th, I attended a community forum where Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak made his pitch to citizens about the Viking stadium proposal. I use the word pitch, but it was more like a declaration. The mayor and the council had approved the measure with its $150 million price tag for the city. (Since this…
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New Plateaus Geography Spotlight #1: Moldova

I like geography–how about you? I got a big map on my bedroom wall that I study from time to time and say things like, “Hmmm, I didn’t know Somalia was east of Israel.” And more than looking at all the countries and cities and seas, is thinking about all the people living in these…
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Is Copying The Same As Theft?

Recently, a Rutgers professor wrote a New York Times article saying that copying–as in downloading a song for free–is not the same thing as stealing. This is significant, because it helps validate the hesitation people had when being spoon-fed the notion of online “piracy”. I mean, how can you “take” a song, anyway? It’s an…
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Penny-wise?

A penny saved may be a penny earned. But today, a penny made is 1.6 cents spent. Who could promote such foolish money flushing? Well, many people like the penny and don’t want to see it go away. Plus, the concern of having to spend in 5 cent increments sounds  a little fishy. But more…
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I Made It On MPR: )

A couple weeks ago many of you read my take on the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Well, Minnesota Public Radio enjoyed it and featured it on their site today: ) Check it out:  http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/04/10/ferdig/ thanks to all of you who read and enjoy my articles, -Brandon

The Witches Next Door

When I told my housemates I was interviewing random residents in our neighborhood, one spoke up saying, “Oh, you gotta talk to the pagan house.” That phrase, “pagan house”, along with some description given by that housemate, Tom, conjured up images of young adult women living in a secluded, nocturnal, spell-bound lifestyle. Other neighbors, though,…
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The Divisive Creative

On one hand, we all like a creative person. We like their music and art and books and movies. We like their sense of humor and marvel at “how they came up with that” so-and-so invention or idea. But on another level, we don’t like creative people. My boss at a restaurant didn’t like creative…
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