The things that stink (5×8 – 11/16/11)

Invasion of the stink bug, war toys for therapy, death of a Munchkin, what now Occupy, and the vanishing Minnesota native.


Why can’t we ever get a swell invasive species that minds its manners and makes life easier? And no, this isn’t a continuation of yesterday’s top item on 5×8. The Department of Natural Resources has issued a press release warning that the stink bug, a native of Asia, has been found in Plymouth:

Native to Asia, brown marmorated stink bug is a relatively new invasive insect pest that has spread to 33 states since it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2001. While not yet common in Minnesota, it previously has been found in Ramsey, Anoka, Washington and Winona counties. The adult bugs are a half-inch long, mottled brown, and shaped like a shield. The species is distinguished from other brown bugs by an alternating black-and-white color pattern on the margins of its abdomen, and dark antennae with light-colored bands.

And they sneak in your house through cracks and then when they’re disturbed they — get this — stink.

On the other hand, it offers the opportunity for mindless, scientific research:

Why can’t the stink bug feed off Eurasian Milfoil, and the Emerald Ash borer? Or chew on buckthorn?


The WAR-TOYS project explores war from the perspective of children in the path of war. “Because cognitive ability is often ahead of language development, children typically share their experiences and cope with associated feelings through indirect methods of communication, such as art and play,” Brian McCarty says. Their accounts of war are often lost in studies. But ask a kid to play with toys, as he does with kids in Israel, and the stories are shared in their language — toys. (h/t: Julia Schrenkler)


Karl Slover has died. He was the lead trumpeter in the Munchkin band in the Wizard of Oz. There are only three left.


Was the “homeland” threatened by the Occupy protests? Wonkette suggests that the organizing agency for the simultaneous crackdown on the two-month-old campaign was the Department of Homeland Security.

Rick Ellis, of the Minneapolis, is the source for the assertion:

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

“Occupy demonstrated a successful tactic,” David Meyer, author of The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America, tells NPR. “The success of a tactic is always going to be limited in time either because people get bored or authorities find a way to deal with it.”


What are the odds the person you’re talking to in Minnesota is actually from Minnesota? New census data says 60 percent of people in Minnesota were actually born here, MPR’s Brandt Williams reports.

Bonus: An actual deer in headlights:

This happened Friday night in Huron County, Michigan. (h/t: Neatorama)


Gov. Mark Dayton ordered Tuesday that the state give child-care providers who receive a state subsidy the chance to vote on whether to form a union. Today’s Question: Do you think unionized child care is a good idea?


The Big Story Blog will look at Gov. Mark Dayton’s order that the state give child-care providers who receive a state subsidy the chance to vote on whether to form a union, and will explore other issues related to child care in Minnesota.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Recent polls report Americans aren’t as interested in foreign policy as they are in domestic economic issues. But defense spending is on the chopping block and GOP Presidential candidates are going public with their foreign policy ideas. We explore the defense and diplomacy issues facing the United States on the world stage.

Second hour: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Audrey Betcher of Rochester libraries and Kit Hadley of St. Paul libraries discuss the future and purpose of libraries.

Second hour: From the “Times Talks Series,” New York Times political reporters Matt Bai and Nate Silver on the current political climate.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with NPR political editor Ken Rudin.

Second hour: Robert Frank says that the super rich are so rich they need yachts for their yachts. Now, Frank says that kind of spending is making the rich the most unstable force in the economy…the high-beta rich.