Minnesota Best Place When Climate Change Wreaks Havoc Upon Us All

On Wednesday, I noted Minnesota’s not-so-encouraging demographic destiny but today I bring you good news: When climate change slowly does us all in, we Minnesotans will be sitting on the real estate least susceptible to its ravages. Of course, we’ll probably have to raise an army to defend ourselves against everyone else who wants to move in. But hey, we’ve got time.

This map shows local vulnerability of human populations to climate change based on ecological and demographic models is depicted by regions in red which are expected to be most negatively affected by climate change. White regions correspond to human density values of zero in the global population database. Read all about it at Futurity.

Climate Change Global Map
Climate Change Global Map

Fixed-Income Minnesota

Wanna see something scary? The Atlantic created an interactive map that displays how median income has changed during the past 30 years, by county.

This is what Minnesota looks like with regard to Empty Nesters, an older and less diverse population than average, with plenty of retirees on fixed incomes. That means they don’t spend a whole lot and they account for a huge percentage of health care costs. Demographics is destiny:

Fixed Income Minnesota Map
Fixed Income Minnesota Map

Twin Cities Bicycling Up 33%

Twin Cities bicycling increased by 33 percent and walking increased 17 percent between 2007 to 2010, according to new data released by Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC), a program of Transit for Livable Communities.

These are the High Volume Increase areas:

High Volume Twin Cities Bicycle Ridership Increases

The BWTC report is based on an official count of bicyclists and pedestrians passing designated locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul in fall 2010 and comparing this data with an identical count in fall 2007. [DETAILS.]

University Of Minnesota Scientists Create Breathing Lungs

Futurity reports: As a follow-up to the beating heart, researchers at the University of Minnesota have used a similar technique to create breathing lungs in the lab.

The process called whole organ decellularization is used to remove cells from the lungs of dead adult mice and implant healthy stem cells derived from unborn mice into the decellularized matrix, the natural framework of the lungs.

After about seven days in an incubator, the infused cells attached themselves to the matrix while breathing with the aid of a tiny, make-shift ventilator. The work is reported in the journal Tissue Engineering.

Pretty amazing. Here are the scientists talking about it. Found at YouTube from UofMAHC.

The Winners In The War On Drugs

Last week, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak blamed white, middle-class, pot-smoking Minnesotans for murders in his city. He told MPR’s Cathy Wurzer:

This assertion is, of course, ridiculous on its face and smacks of a politician grasping at straws, looking for a someone to blame. He’s not the first politician to take the easy excuse rather than having the guts to admit the obvious: The War on Drugs is a miserable failure that creates more problems than it solves.

The first thing you have to come to terms with is that you will never eliminate human beings’ desire to alter their consciousness. We’ve been doing that throughout our history and we will continue to do so (see Prohibition). Then you need to look at who has won during our decades-long effort to fight drug use.

Jim Gray, a conservative judge in conservative Orange County, California, has changed his mind with regard to the War on Drugs. In 1992, he held a press conference during which he recommended that we rethink our drug laws. He is the author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed & What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs
. In this interview, he discusses the six groups who benefit from drug prohibition. Found at YouTube from ReasonTV.

FutureShock: Synthetic Life

This is a profound development. I wonder whether society is ready for it: Craig Venter and team make a historic announcement: they’ve created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science. Found at TED.