Five by 8 – 5/18/10: Speed dating with your doc

I’m back after four days away. Thanks for checking back today to be sure there still is a News Cut. There is.

1) I’m the first to admit, I don’t get Texas, scene of an NPR story today where patients and doctors engage in “speed dating.”

Physicians and parents pair off for five minutes, then rotate into new conversations.

“How far along?” Dr. James Wheeler asks Kim Gage, a 36-year-old computer programmer pregnant with her third child, as she approaches his table. “I usually am not too cavalier about that question, but I thought I was safe here.”

“You are safe here,” Gage replies with a laugh. The two seem at ease, and Gage peppers him with questions. How accessible would he be as a doctor? How does he feel about medications for attention deficit disorder? And what does the office look like?

2) Our mission today is to figure out what we’re supposed to do with research out of the UK today that says men are bigger liars than women. The survey studied 3,000 people and found that men tell lies twice as often as women. Didn’t we really already know this? What are most lies about? Whether they’ve been drinking. Women’s top lie is “Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.” What researchers don’t know, however, is whether the lying habits of men are the result of upbringing or genetics.

3) Do numbers lie? The anti climate-change crowd probably will say so, but it’s hard to dismiss the statistics MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner dispensed to All Things Considered host Tom Crann last evening. The planet is on a pace to have its hottest year ever, and April was the 302nd consecutive month with a temperature higher than the 20th century average. He’s posted all the numbers on his blog.

Meanwhile, the United Nations will investigate its own climate change panel, the New York Times reports:

As you may recall, the panel found itself in hot water about six months ago when critics accused it of scientific sloppiness. They also accused the panel’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, of conflicts of interest because he served on some corporate boards.

Yet many noted that the most serious charges originated with a camp that denies that global warming is even under way, even though mainstream scientists agree that human-caused climate change is a reality.

Still, the climate panel has apologized for a significant error in its latest report, issued in 2007: an errant figure on the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers that was not supported by scientific research.

4) You really can’t go wrong learning your biology from Julia Sweeney. Don’t leave a book around for your ready-to-learn kids. Just show ’em this:

5) Here’s something you’ve never seen before, in all probability. And it’s something you probably won’t see again. Yesterday afternoon at South St. Paul, the last remaining 1929 Hamilton airplane flew for the first time in decades, and the last time around here:

This is a real part of history in the upper Midwest. The Hamilton, built in Milwaukee, is how people used to get the mail in these parts. Here’s some background:

I wrote more about it on my aviation blog.

Bonus: In order to save downtown St. Paul, we have to kill it.


It sometimes seems that Minnesota’s political debate centers on one choice: whether to raise taxes or cut services. Can you name a government service you’d be willing to do without?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Insomnia from a patient’s perspective.

Second hour: Lee Child, author of more than a dozen novels. His latest in the Jack Reacher series is “61 Hours.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Second hour: MPR’s Stephen Smith interviews best-selling author Hampton Sides about his new book, “Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The next steps for the new health care law.

Second hour: From Islam to America.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – How many times have we seen this movie, anyway? The legislative season ends, and both sides fly around the state or head for the talk shows to proclaim victory. We’ll have a report or two tonight, which will sounds vaguely similar.

The University of Minnesota’s David Kittelson is among a batch of researchers investigating lower carbon alternatives to gasoline. Part of the reason is because of the remarkably energy intensive and dirty nature of creating a gallon of gas. MPR’s Dan Olson will have the story.

Along Mexico’s border with Texas, two drug cartels battled for control. One of them managed to gain the upper hand, but was that because of help from the country’s army? NPR investigates the role of the military in Mexico’s fight against the drug cartels.