Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Instant replay has become ubiquitous in all refereed sports. Coaches and managers can challenge calls by referees and umpires, and the number of calls subject to challenge is expanding. Technology can show us the outline of a baseball strike zone, allowing viewers to judge for themselves if the umpire called a pitch correctly. Football passes can be ruled a catch or a no-catch based on reviewing numerous videotaped camera shots. Sensors in tennis are used on the court lines to prove if a shot was in or out. Because of the money involved in winning or losing games, tournaments, and championships, it’s logical to want biased or inconsistent officiating to have as small an impact as possible on the outcome of the game. Continue reading
Will self-driving cars ever be 100% safe, as most manufacturers claim them to be?
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Self-driving cars (SDC) seem to be an inevitable development in automobile technology. I hope the technology improves to the point where driving in a car is even safer than airline travel, which is currently the safest form of mechanical transportation. But I don’t believe SDCs will ever become 100% safe and remain practical and affordable. Continue reading
Considering the growing power and influence of technology companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, are we at risk of becoming a Big Brother society where our every move is observed, and every detail of our private lives is accessible to those who wish to manipulate or exploit us in some way?
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I don’t think we’re at risk of becoming a Big Brother society, I think we’re already there. Big Data has infiltrated every part of our lives, and the ability of hackers to take over smart devices in our homes, listen in our baby monitors and even turn on the cameras in our computers and cellphones remotely has made an illusion of privacy. It’s the price of being part of the digital world. Unless you want to live in a yurt and burn cow dung for heat, you’re going to have to surrender some of your privacy in exchange for entrée into the modern world. Continue reading
Will Californians succeed in dividing the current state into three separate states?
Owatonna, NC Correspondent-A ballot referendum in California this fall will decide if Californians will be able to petition the Federal government to split the state into three separate states: (new) California, Northern California, and Southern California. Polls show that a large majority of California voters oppose the referendum (an April 2018 poll by SurveyUSA.com showed that 72% are opposed). Even if the referendum miraculously passes, I strongly doubt the Feds will allow California to split itself into three smaller states.
Is it time for legislators to adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in the United States?
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Taken at face value, an animal bill of rights sounds like a good, humane, decent idea. Most of us like animals of one kind or another. Most American households have a pet. And if a bill of rights is good for people, shouldn’t it be good for animals too?
My primary reservation about implementing an animal bill of rights is whether all animals found in this country would be included. An animal is defined in simple terms as any living organism that is not a plant. Will this bill of rights include dust mites? Mosquitos? Protozoans? Jellyfish? Earthworms? Probably not, but where do we draw the line? Will society waste time and money with endless debates, lobbying, and lawsuits about which animals will be included in the bill of rights? Continue reading
Should the US work to stop or at least reduce urban sprawl in its major cities? Why or why not?
Cartwright- I’m not sure that is feasible. How are we going to stop urban sprawl? Tell people they can’t move to this city or that city? Tell the people in those cities that you can’t move to the suburbs? We can’t stop development and progress. That’s not productive or logical. Urban sprawl is going to happen, and there’s little we can or should do to stop it. Continue reading
Do large wind farms with huge turbines have a net positive or net negative impact on the environment?
Cartwright-I haven’t done any type of research into wind farms to be able to say whether there’s a net positive or net negative impact. As long as the economics work, I think wind farms have tremendous potential and merit. I have long thought that we should have windmills along the coasts and offshore where you seem to always have a breeze. In addition, I would love to see smaller windmills placed on the roofs of buildings on somewhere on the property to help generate power for the facility. Wind is a great renewable energy source and has been used throughout history. Continue reading
Would capitalism survive if the majority of manufacturers turned away from planned obsolescence and focused on making only the highest-quality, longest-lasting products possible?
Cartwright-There was a day when manufacturers here in the United States made high quality, long lasting products, and it wasn’t that long ago. About three years ago, I renovated a property that was originally built in the early 1970s. When I acquired this property, it still had the original appliances, all of which were in working order and were of good quality. It would be unthinkable that current stoves, ovens, or refrigerators would last over forty years. You’re lucky to get a quarter of that time out of them and that’s if you give it little use. Capitalism seemed to do just fine back in the days when manufacturers made products that would last for forty years in a time when I’m not sure that manufacturers were thinking of planned obsolescence. They were more expensive products, yes, but they were built to last. Continue reading
As concussions in pro sports rise (especially in football), attendance seems to be falling across the board. Will football lose its rank as America’s favorite spectator sport because of the increasing violence and subsequent injuries?
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Even though declining attendance at football games isn’t currently caused by fans not caring to watch an increasingly violent sport which causes too many severe injuries, fan interest may eventually decrease faster because of the injury issue. Because football athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever, it’s a given that injuries will become more frequent and more severe. There is also a growing trend in sports toward more awareness about injuries, especially head injuries like concussions. In the forefront of that awareness is the discovery that many retired footballers from past generations are reporting severe brain issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Continue reading
According to experts, the US faces a massive infrastructure crisis that will require significant repairs and upgrades to our current infrastructure. How can this be achieved without crippling the economy with severe tax increases?
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Remember the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis a few years back? An interstate bridge, something most of us drive over every day, simply…went away. The dead and injured were numerous, and it took months for traffic flow to be restored. Similar disasters are coming, and will become almost a commonplace occurrence if we don’t do something NOW about our crumbling infrastructure. Our rail system is a complete joke, our roads are crumbling and our water, sewer and electric systems are pitifully vulnerable to not only natural disasters but terrorist attack. Continue reading