New Plateaus Geography Spotlight #2: Guyana

Okay, smarty pants. Where’s the country Guyana located? South America? Africa? Perhaps by all those little islands north of Australia? Woop, should’ve stuck with your first guess. Little-known Guyana is in South America. And here’s the first fun fact about this place: it’s the only country in South America with English as its official language. How about that?…
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Unknown Ordinances: Why Fines Aren’t Fine For Budget Use

Pop quiz: In the city of Minneapolis how far from a driveway should your bumper be when you park on the street? Four feet, two feet, five feet, one inch, ten feet? I asked this question to ten residents walking around the St. Anthony Main neighborhood. If they are indicative of most, then few of…
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Penny-wise Part 2: The Canadian State-mint

Well, well. I wrote a month ago about the issue we Americans have with our one cent piece–that it’s practically worthless, costly to make, and cumbersome. Lo’ and behold, the Canadians had already made the decision in March to phase out their own copper-colored currency. And on May 4th the Winnipeg mint pumped out it’s…
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Problem Solved? #1 Organ Donor Shortage

There are a host of issues in our world that we are nowhere near solving. Take drunk driving, we try to find that sweet spot between how to punish the problem, and prevent the problem, and even outsmart the problem. For all that we do, though, people still drink and then drive. But what if…
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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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