Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - July 6, 2015
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
(4:00 pm) An oasis in the food desert
Aubrey Alvarez is the director of Eat Greater Des Moines, the group behind a plan to install what you might call a robo-grocery at the Polk County Health Department on Carpenter Avenue. Some questions:
- Whose idea was this?
- How will it be funded? (Costs about $175,000 for the equipment, but a discounted price may be available)
- Who makes the equipment for the robogrocery?
- How much are the public and private sectors each committing to this? ($30,000 grant from Greater Des Moines Partnership)
- How much funding is still required? (Answer: About $200,000 for the full project, including management)
- Is the site special for a reason other than that it's on public property?
- Is this supposed to address a "food desert" problem?
- Is labor the main obstacle to resolving "food desert" issues? Capital investment? Distribution? Demand?
- What is the intended payback?
- Could something like this turn self-sustaining or even potentially profitable? (Ultimately, the hope is to get private-sector involvement and investment)
- Is there a dream of doing even more? (More sites in the city and sites in outlying rural areas)
- What kind of help can or should community members offer? (Planning and zoning meeting July 22)
(5:00 pm) A few reasons to worry
UN estimate: There are 60 million refugees worldwide
And half of them are children. If we are to have any hope of peace in the coming years, we're going to have to wrap our brains around this issue. In those places that are bound to be destinations for refugees, a sensible and humane approach must prevail. In those places producing refugees, changes are due. The number of refugees is thought to be almost 10 million larger than just the year before. That means the odds of being a refugee are now 1 in 122 worldwide.
Speaking of all-out panic...
China is entering panic mode: "The central government, securities regulator and financial institutions have launched a joint effort to support the country's plummetingstock market amid fears that a market crash could threaten the country's entire financial system," says the state-run media.
(5:45 pm) And some lighter nonsense
Tennessee state representative wants refund over new state logo
They paid $46,000 for a logo, and he wants all but $10,000 of it returned in part because the US PTO rejected the application for a trademark
Michael Eisner holds some rather depressing views of women
The former Disney chief thinks that "the number of beautiful, really beautiful women...that are funny, is impossible to find". Supposing he really believed that to be true, and that he really wished to find some, then why wouldn't he have invested in developing that kind of talent?
(6:00 pm) Man the lifeboats
A few notes on the recent weather:
- May was wet in Iowa, but record-settingly so for neighbors in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas
- June was again wet in Iowa, but again record-settingly so for neighbors -- this time, in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and (again) South Dakota
- Fires in Canada have put smoke in our skies in a big way, contributing to unusual sunsets and Moon views
- We got absolutely soaked on June 25th, with record-breaking rainfall at Perry, and lots of sites well over 4" of rain (some places exceeded 8" in 24 hours). This followed measured storm totals of more than 5" in Ankeny on June 14/15, and other heavy storms on June 22.
All of this knowledge is courtesy of the work of Daryl Herzmann, assistant scientist at the Iowa Environmental Mesonet at Iowa State University. It's his job to collect weather-related data and turn it into stuff that we can actually use in everything from public safety to agriculture. Daryl does some great work on these topics and explores the data in some very compelling ways. A few questions for him:
- Everyone has an opinion about the weather, but facts are another thing. Are you noticing any interesting trends taking place?
- There's lots of weather data available, but not a lot of people take the deep dives into it that you do. Are you on some kind of vanguard of a new way to look at the weather?
- What surprises you most about the information people have, don't have, or want about weather and climate?
- If you could put everyone you know through a crash course in understanding weather data, what would you want them to learn?