Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Sunday Paper: October 3, 2010

Confess. C'mon, you know you want to. Many people did just that on this ArtPrize entry on display in the UICA building in downtown Grand Rapids, but for whatever reason, interactive and performance art pieces didn't do very well with the voters in this year's competition. Want to see what did? Check out the ArtPrize Top Ten slideshow for the winners. Some are kitsch, some are very cool, and you have until the 10th to see them all in person.

Stories that deserve your attention, especially the first one:

  • The 2010 World Stem Cell Summit comes to the RenCen in Detroit Oct. 4-6th. The summit is the "largest multi-track stem cell conference produced to date, featuring more than 150 speakers and 50 hours of in-depth science, business and society presentations", and kicks off with a Public Education Day event running from 10AM - 5PM at the Detroit Science Center today. Why Michigan? Our universities and research centers, public support as witnessed by Prop 2, the life sciences investment from Gov. Granholm and MEDC, and private donors such as A. Alfred Taubman, have positioned our state to be a leader in the nation, if not the world, on stem cell research. And if you recall...

  • The Michigan GOP fought very hard to stop this investment and life-saving research from happening here. Just another example of what's at stake this fall, as the "less government" Republicans are still to this day trying to overturn the intent of Prop 2 with onerous regulations that will handcuff this business and drive it away to other states. They failed in the latest budget; we need to make sure they can't try it again next year.

  • While we are on the research subject, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced this week that the U of M is first in the nation in research and development spending at public universities. And, if you remove the $978 million federally funded Applied Physics Laboratory from John Hopkins, Michigan would be first amongst public and private universities. Very impressive.

  • The Asian Carp may find that Lake Michigan is not the paradise they dreamed of, as another invasive species has already cleaned out the food supply. The quagga mussel has "devoured so much plankton in southern Lake Michigan that the entire food chain is being altered", the population of prey fish such as salmon and trout falling dramatically in the past few years. Other scientists warn the carp can and will find other things to eat though.

  • Drilling for natural gas in our state is on the verge of a "boom", according to the fine folks at Michigan Public Radio. A series of reports this week explored the record prices for leases on drilling rights in the northern LP, and also looks at the nasty little process called "horizontal hydraulic fracturing" that uses obscene amounts of water and leaves it contaminated after they are through using it to drill. Makes turbines and solar panels look better and better all the time, doesn't it?

  • How close did we come to losing Chrysler and 300,000 jobs(!) "almost immediately"? According to Steven Rattner, pretty damn close. A matter of hours. What was even more disturbing was the fact that apparently White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee was pushing to let them die. Did you guys want a Depression on your hands? We all have had our doubts about Chrysler, but the ripple effect from that would have been devastating to a reeling economy that was already hemorrhaging jobs. Glad we made the right call - Chrysler sales boomed last month, and they appear to be headed in the right direction with a strong product line-up. Whew.

  • Heads up! Dick DeVos tells Carol Cain that he "loved running" for office in 2006 and would consider it again "if the situation was right." You now have been officially warned. My guess is he goes after Stabenow in '12 if the Repubs do well this November. The DeVos family has been taking great steps to rehabilitate the Amway name and raise their profile over here in the West lately, and that's gotta be leading to something.

  • Wolverines. Spartans. Undefeated. Wowza. Get ready for a good old-fashioned college football rivalry slugfest this week, as MSU travels to Michigan Stadium next Saturday in the battle for state bragging rights and position in the Big Ten and national standings. I've never really had a strong preference either way - just as long as someone beats the Buckeyes, I'm happy.

    What else is going on? Drop a comment, write a diary, better yet - call all your friends, neighbors and relatives to make sure they are registered to vote, as tomorrow is the deadline for November's election. Just remember, if you don't vote, you can't whine. It's the law. Right, Uncle Joe?