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July 21, 2012
Politics: Campaigns Take Hiatus
The political campaigns took the day off yesterday to mourn the victims of Colorado’s latest mass shooting and the largest in history. The deaths of at least fifteen people and the wounding of dozens more prompted the two presidential candidates to urge national unity. The tragedy is the State’s second public mass murder in 13 years and the worst in the country since the 2009 Ft. Hood massacre.
So far, authorities have released no information on a possible motive for the shootings. While we have become a culture of violence, not even that seems to explain this episode. Flags will be flown at half-staff on government buildings and facilities until sunset on July 25. The campaigns are expected to return to full rhetorical bombast before the end of the weekend.
Check our sources: Washington Post
Economy: Towns Wise Up
Almost acting with the efficiency of solvent businesses, cities across the country are outsourcing local government jobs to other regional governmental entities. Almost. Cities hit hard by tax revenue reductions are paying other governments, mainly counties, to perform their bureaucratic duties.
The counties, in better financial condition, take over property valuation, tax collection, traffic patrols, 911 calls, and other jobs. Begun in the past decade, this bureaucratic outsourcing has accelerated with the economic downturn. The cities save money by laying off employees and the counties make some money while keeping their employees busy. It’s hard to believe that local governments, being governments, make this work. But, they are small which is probably why they do.
Check our sources: Wall Street Journal
Science: Smart Suit Improves Endurance
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded $2.6 million to Harvard University to develop a smart suit for the military. The suit will improve the physical endurance of soldiers in the field. Using technology developed by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, the suit will delay the onset of fatigue and improve resistance to injury. It will also be lightweight.
While the initial use is for the Defense Department, the suit can be adapted for use by seniors and those with physical disabilities. Seniors can benefit from increased endurance and the disabled can experience the increased mobility that the technology provides. Runners also like the idea of delayed fatigue. With the suit, everyone can be a marathoner.
Check our sources: Science Tech Daily
Health: So You Want To Be Wise
If you want to become wise, you need to strengthen the six habits that the wisest people all have in common. First, work at being social. Wise people stay connected to others. Join a club, take a friend to lunch and actually go to parties rather than begging off. Second, as difficult as it is, be open-minded. Understand all sides of an issue without letting emotions get in the way. Third, admit when you’re wrong. After all, you are from time to time.
Fourth, variety is the spice of life and the spice of wisdom as well. Vary the type of books you read like histories, biographies, fiction, health and science, politics, etc. Fifth, reflect on your own accomplishments and failures. The lessons they teach enrich life. And sixth, don't live in the past. Keep up with current events. Good luck with getting wise.
Check our sources: Reader's Digest Health
Life: The Worst
The tragedy in Colorado this week prompted a review of the worst mass shootings in recent U.S. history. That history begins in 1966 when Charles Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 31 from the University of Texas clock tower in Austin. Ten years later, Edward Allaway killed seven fellow employees in the library of California State University, Fullerton.
From 1984 to 2009, 135 more people were killed in 8 incidences in as many states. The 1986 episode triggered by a postal worker at a post office in Oklahoma prompted the phrase “going postal”. The 2007 incident on the campus of Virginia Tech resulted in 32 dead, the highest body count among those reported. The mass shootings in Colorado this week are considered the largest because of the total of dead and wounded.
Check our sources: USA Today
While most dogs seem to love “kissing” their human companions others keep their licks to themselves. This puzzles their humans who interpret the lack of licks as rejection. But, according to experts, the feeling of rejection is simply a faulty projection of human feelings onto the canine population.
In fact, puppies lick their mother’s mouth to get her to regurgitate her stomach contents for them to consume. Yuck. While that may be true of puppies, dogs that grow up with human families can’t possibly give licks for that reason since they don’t prompt that result. Or at least we can pretend they don't do it for that reason...
Check our sources: MSNBC
Past Issues: Spotlight On The Swirl Archive