Today is Park(ing) Day, when city dwellers across the country put parking spaces to new use - ideally a green and park-like use. WFPL set up a streetside studio outside of our headquarters at 619 S. 4th Street.Throughout the morning, we hosted the radio equivalent of a photo booth. Two microphones were set up, and a WFPL reporter armed with a stack of questions asked passing pedestrians one question at random, which they had 15 seconds to answer.We presented this audio montage of our visitors today on Byline.
The Louisville Cardinals begin a string of three straight road games tomorrow. The first stop for coach Charlie Strong’s team is Miami, where U of L faces the Florida International Panthers. "I just told them this team came in here last year and beat us, so we’re going to respect this football team," Strong said this week. "This is a good team. They returned 18 starters, so you guys know what you’re up against and you’re on the road, now you’re going to their place." The 3-0 Cards are ranked 18th and 20th in the latest polls. Tomorrow’s kickoff is 7:00pm. The Kentucky Wildcats hope to pull off a huge upset tomorrow. UK (1-2) travels to Gainesville for the annual showdown with the Florida Gators. A victory would snap a 25 game losing streak to Florida. It could also generate some goodwill for UK coach Joker Phillips, who’s been on the hot seat since the start of the season. It’s only grown hotter since last week’s upset loss to Western Kentucky. Phillips says he’s trying to keep his players focused. "We’ve got to prepare them for all the things that are involved when you’re down a little bit. We’ve got to get them prepared for this hostile environment that we’re about to go in," Phillips said this week. "We have to continue to talk to our kids. This is the time they need us the most as coaches." Kickoff in Gainesville is 12:20pm. Indiana is idle this weekend. The Hoosiers resume play on September 29 at Northwestern.
An influential Indiana lawmaker says he'll introduce legislation that would reduce penalties on people found in possession of small amounts of marijuana.Republican state Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford plans to introduce a bill next session that would make possession of 10 grams or less an infraction, rather than a criminal misdemeanor. Ten grams is equivalent to about one-third of an ounce or roughly enough to make 20 to 30 marijuana cigarettes.Many other states and college campuses already treat possession of small amounts of pot as an infraction, which means the offender is ticketed, not arrested. In Kentucky, the General Assembly passed a bill last year to give police more discretion over whether or not to arrest anyone caught with marijuana.Steele tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that in those states "society didn't melt down" or "turn into a drug-crazed culture."Steele chairs the Senate committee on corrections, criminal and civil matters.
The Kentucky Department of Education is preparing the media this week for its new accountability data expected to be released next month.The new system is meant to simplify accountability by using five main data sets to provide each district and school a score.The data includes some the state was already using like achievement gaps, graduation rates and state test scores, but it will also include growth and new college-and-career ready standards.These will then generate a score, said Terry Holliday, education commission for the Kentucky Department of Education.“We have simplified the system so that it’s on a scale that everyone is familiar with, 0 to 100. Then we will rank order every school and every district in Kentucky and you will see a percentile rank," he said.The scores will let the public know if a school or district is "distinguished", "proficient" or "needs improvement."These labels will help determine which schools or districts receive financial support and interventions from the state.To see more on the new Unbridled Learning system visit the Kentucky Department of Education website.Officials have been telling the media and parents for the past year that the number of students deemed proficient under the state's new accountability measures will likely drop significantly--we're told over 30 percentage points--but Holliday said that’s only because the bar is set so much higher.Parents will be able to track whether their child is meeting the college-and-career ready standards by the third grade and can track that progress until they graduate.Here is a parents guide to testing in Kentucky.Here is a parents guide to school accountability.
Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker has launched his first ad of the general election campaign, and it attacks Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth over the country's increasing debt under President Obama.The online ad features Yarmuth at a town hall meeting three years ago at Central High School discussing the president's pending health care overhaul. Yarmuth faced a series of questions from constituents, many of whom opposed the legislation.It criticizes the congressman for saying he didn't know how the government would pay for the rising cost to entitlement programs on top of the Affordable Care Act.Check it out:Wicker campaign manager Michael Wray says Yarmuth needs to be held accountable for the poor economy and that he voted for bills that added to the debt."When John Yarmuth took office unemployment nationally was barely over 4.5 percent and Louisville was barely over 5 percent. When Republicans took control, Democrats and their leadership under President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and John Yarmuth, they added $5.6 trillion to the national debt," he says.The Yarmuth camp argues that the "I don't know" quote in the video taken is out of context and that the congressman did answer the question about how to pay for health care reform. In another YouTube video of the town hall forum, Yarmuth says tax surcharges and Medicare reforms would help pay for the president's health care overhaul.Watch:"They're going to make whatever excuses they can make to justify Congressman Yarmuth's abysmal economic record," says Wray. "The truth comes down to Congressman Yarmuth has continually voted for programs that there was not funding for."
WFPL is participating in this year's Park(ing) Day. We've claimed a spot in front of our building on the 600 block of S. 4th Street. We're recording 15-second interviews with anyone who wants to sit down and we'll broadcast Byline live from the space at 1:00 today. Stop by to talk, eat lunch or see the show.
Louisville will block off parts of Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue from Broadway to the Douglass Loop on one Sunday in October to encourage walking and biking.It’s called CycLOUvia, after a weekly event in Bogota, Colombia called Ciclovia. In Bogota, miles of streets are closed to vehicular traffic and opened to pedestrians, bicyclists and skaters every week. When Gil Penalosa, the city’s former parks commissioner, visited Louisville in March, he spoke about the ways the event benefited the city.“And we actually get over one million people every single Sunday of the year, which is something that is very interesting,” he said. “And similar programs have been set up. Because this is something that works in cities of 50,000 people of 5 million people or 10 million people, it works equally well.”This isn’t a new idea in the United States—places like Los Angeles, Portland and New York have been doing it for years. Sometimes it’s called some variation on “Ciclovia,” and sometimes it’s called “Open Streets.” In Kentucky, a similar event has happened in Lexington.Metro Government is calling on citizens to help fund the first CycLOUvia. A campaign that went up today on the popular crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter says its goal is to raise $3,000 to pay for signage, bagging parking meters and “creating exciting nodes of activity.” The actual cost of the event will be more than $15,000.Spokeswoman Rebecca Fleischaker says Metro Government has designated $10,000 to the event from federal money that goes to decreasing congestion and improving air quality, and Councilman Tom Owen has contributed $2,500. Fleischaker says she's confident the Kickstarter campaign--launched by Broken Sidewalk blogger Branden Klayko--will raise the additional $3,000.CycLOUvia is October 14 from 2 to 6pm.
When she was a child, Cynthia Lowen was painfully shy. She avoided clubs and sports, to her parents’ disappointment. She was most comfortable around books and horses—maybe most comfortable sitting quietly by herself reading books about horses. Lowen spent her childhood and teen years at a farm, mucking out stables and riding horses. The horses didn’t call her “giraffe neck,” she says, like her peers did.It’s hard to believe that anyone would have made fun of Lowen’s appearance. She’s an exceptionally tall and striking woman. When I was a kid, I probably would have envied her long neck. I was a ballerina, and we coveted long necks; we called them “dancers’ necks.”In April of 2009, Carl Walker Hoover, an eleven-year old Massachusetts boy hung himself after enduring daily anti-gay bullying from his peers. A few days later, Jaheem Herrera, also an eleven-year old from Georgia, also hung himself after suffering chronic anti-gay bullying at school.Shortly thereafter, Lowen started work on the documentary that would become “Bully” with Emmy award winner Lee Hirsch, who directed the film. They chronicled a year in the life of America’s bullying crisis, following the stories of five kids and families over the course of the 2009-2010 school year. The trailer for 'Bully'In her presentation at this year's IdeaFestival, Lowen focused on one of the children, Alex, a seventh-grader from Sioux City, Iowa. Alex is the very picture of the awkward stages of youth—all arms and legs, thick-lipped overbite, naive and with desperate to be accepted.He has Asperger syndrome. He has trouble reading other people. In a film clip, he’s shown accepting brutal, violent, and scary bullying on the bus with an “aw shucks” attitude. The film shows kids punching Alex, stabbing him with a pencil. One kid threatens Alex by saying, “I’m gonna knock your fishlips off.” Another threatens to rape him with a stick.All of this happens in full view of adults. The bus driver is aware. There are no hidden cameras; the filmmakers are filming in person on the bus. Most people would assume that kids would behave better in front of adults, but these kids have never been held accountable for their actions—secret or out in the open.Alex tells the filmmakers, “I like school, but I don't know how to make friends.”He’s persecuted, but he doesn’t understand that he is.Lowen said the assistant principal, who in the film is portrayed as a tragically inept Pollyanna, just assumed that the bullying was inevitable in Alex's case. No one at school empathized with Alex.When the filmmakers captured Alex’s brutal experience on the bus, they stepped away from the traditional role of documentarians and intervened. They showed the footage to the school and to Alex’s parents.When Alex’s parents confronted the assistant principal, she said, “Buses are notoriously bad places for some kids...I've been on that route, and they were just as good as gold.”She concluded the meeting by saying, “I'm not going to lie to you, I can't make it stop.”According to Lowen, Alex’s school, East Middle School, had a strong bullying culture that began at the top. Lowen said that the reason the principal never appeared in the documentary was that he spent the year in his office. The staff, she said, was terrified of him. Students and faculty alike respected a certain kind of power and dominance in the school culture. The middle school’s sports team were called the Spartans. The favored students were the ones that showed this kind of dominance.Alex was moved to a bus for disabled kids, furthering his isolation. When Lowen sought releases from the bullies’ parents for the film, she learned that the bullies suffered no consequences. The parents who saw the footage were appalled—not just at their kids' behavior but at the fact that the school had never contacted them. How were they supposed to be part of the solution?Thirteen million kids are bullied in the United States every year, Lowen said. But there’s a deep and pervasive culture that dismisses bullying to varying degrees. People say that there has always been bullying and there always will be. Bullying is human nature. It’s Darwinian. Survival of the Fittest.Lowen decided to study Darwinian theory and even visited the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin first began to develop the concepts that made him famous. Lowen was trying to answer the question: Are we hardwired to bully?Some stats:Every day, 160,000 kids miss school because of bullying.29 percent of unemployed adults report having been bullied as a kid70 percent of all bullying behavior focuses on only three targets: appearance, sexual orientation/perceived sexual orientation and not conforming to gender stereotypes46 percent of kids on the autism spectrum are bullied, compared to 10 percent of the average populationBut Darwin suggested that sympathetic communities produced more offspring. It's a theory that doesn't support institutional or hard-wired bullying.Lowen concluded her presentation by giving some advice about what others can do to curb bullying and encourage victims to report abuse and recover.She said we need to be teaching our kids social-emotional skills, not just academic skills. These include: curiosity, impulse control, critical thinking, self-confidence, resilience, creativity and problem-solving. These skills will help bullied kids bounce back and be strong, and will help kids that would normally be bystanders (kids who look the other way when their peers are bullied) become what Lowen calls “upstanders”—kids who stand up for the victims and who report bullying to adults.From adults, we need strong leaders, said Lowen. All adults in a school community, from teachers to bus drivers to coaches to the lunchroom workers, need to be equipped to deal with bullying. School cultures must value all students. And of course, teachers and administrators can't do it all. Positive parenting is equally important.Currently Lowen is spearheading an effort called “One Million Kids to See ‘Bully’”—an outreach program to help bring the movie to schools and youth programs across the country.A post-script on Alex: he’s now 16, and he’s been touring with the filmmakers speaking about his experience. He’s a well-adjusted kid, says Lowen. Confident. Happy. Social. Some of his bullies have even apologized to him. And Lowen got to spend some time around horses during her visit to Louisville. She stopped by Taste of Innovation at Churchill Downs Thursday night.
Nikky Finney established herself as one of America's preeminent poets after winning the National Book Award last year and delivering a rousing speech that paid tributes to her forebears. (Watch it here, read it here)An endowed English professor at the University of Kentucky, Finney will be speaking at IdeaFestival this afternoon at 4:30.She spoke with WFPL's Jonathan Bastian, about her award-winning collection, entitled, “Head Off and Split.”
When the organizers for IdeaFestival said that most events were sold out, they truly meant it. All of Thursday’s presentations were standing-room only.Some highlights:Peter Sims—Little BetsWhen Kris Kimel introduced Sims, a best-selling author and entrepreneur, he said, “[Sims has] used the words ‘cool’ and ‘I love it’ and ‘awesome’ hundreds of times since he arrived in Louisville.” And indeed, Sims led his presentation with a discussion of Wednesday night’s dinner at Smoketown USA with Kevin Colleran, formerly of Facebook.The concept of “Little Bets” comes from Sim’s book 'Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries' in which he posits that we need to do more to foster the idea of “affordable losses” in the workplace, in education, and in entrepreneurship.Make “little bets” with your decisions, says Sims, ones that you can stand to lose. Fail with these bets, lose on these bets, and use them to discover the problems with your ideas. Once you’ve discovered the issues and discovered what works, that’s when you bet big. This is “experimental innovation.” Sims suggests that education needs reform because we are teaching students that anything less than perfect is unacceptable. Failures, even little failures, are stigmatized.He suggests even the most risk-averse organizations can reform their thinking. Sims used the State Department as an example of an organization “which has 12 manuals for everything, manuals that answer every question.” That might have been okay during the Cold War, says Sims, but it’s not anymore because in our current climate, we don't even know what the problems are going to be.Entrepreneurs, especially, should think about failure the way most people think about learning. For every 100 small bets you place, you might get 6 breakthroughs. And that’s so fine. Some people are natural conceptual innovators—they don’t need to work through trial and error. These people are often prodigies, and some do their best work when they're young. Mozart could create on the fly without trial or revision. But most of us are more like Beethoven—experimental innovators. Beethoven’s transcripts were a mess with loads of corrections and scribble marks so violent he often put his quill through the paper.Other examples of experimental innovators included The Onion. The satirical paper's creative team suggests up to 600 possibilities for 18 weekly headlines; Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, who test out comedy routines on small clubs extensively before touring bigger venues; and Frank Gehry, the architect, who revises his plans continuously and secures and trusts feedback from his team.Sims showed clips of the documentary “Sketches with Frank Gehry” to illustrate that last point. Sims suggests that, unlike Gehry’s team, most teams default to the HiPPO model: that final decisions are made according to the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. We need to get rid of that hierarchical creative model, says Sims, need to take the HiPPO's power away from him.Instead of HiPPOs, Sims said we should be stressing a culture championed by Pixar, one that values “Black Sheep.” Black Sheep think differently and are not afraid of failure. They are, as Sims said, people who will make little bets until the time comes to lay all of their money down.David Kaiser—How the Hippies Saved PhysicsDavid Kaiser is the Department Head of MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and a Senior Lecturer in the school's Department of Physics. The title of his most recent book, 'How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival' is a play on another popular title, Thomas Cahill’s 1996 bestseller 'How the Irish Saved Civilization.' His speech told the history of how the right kind of thinkers in the right kind of environment can revive a dying field.Physics grew twice as fast as other sciences post WWII largely due to the needs of the Defense Department. In the mid-1960’s there were significantly more jobs in the field than students of Physics. But the bubble burst in the 1970’s.When the bottom fell out of the physics market, hundreds of graduates entered a market that could no longer employ them. By the mid-70’s, Kaiser said, there were Physics PhDs from Stanford who had to go on welfare and unemployed PhDs from MIT.A group that came to call themselves the Fundamental Fysiks Group (FFG) entered the field at the bottom of the crash and met up in Berkeley in 1975. They had a common interest in quantum mechanics and in asking the kind of questions that weren’t covered in their schooling.The FFG was seated in the hotbed of the U.S. counterculture. This was a time when even prestigious scientific journals were publishing articles about studies of telepathy, precognition, remote viewing and psychokinesis. Bell's Theorem of quantum mechanics opens the door to this. And people who understood and embraced these more theoretical aspects of Physics were suddenly “cool,” if not in demand.The FFG became the darling of the counterculture. They transformed the field of Physics from one that was perceived as being an instrument of the Defense Department to one that was really "with it." Physicists began doing experiments into the subconscious. Physics became a study about the big questions in life.They were wrong more often than they were right, said Kaiser. But they made productive mistakes. These men and women were the right people at the right time to “save” the study of Physics by essentially making it hip. They had an unbreakable passion for quantum theory, were incredibly trained and had very open minds. And these hippy physicists helped bring foundational physics back into American classrooms.Kevin ColleranColleran’s speech didn’t have a title. But the first thing that we learned about him might have served well as a title. He took the stage and told us, “I was the seventh employee of Facebook.”Colleran joined Facebook as the first advertising executive. He worked for the company for more than six years, and by the time he left, he was the second-most tenured employee after Mark Zuckerberg.Colleran initially joined Facebook without ever meeting the West Coast-based crew. He was living in New York and basing his work out of his apartment. Because the company considered his apartment the “East Coast HQ” of Facebook, the HR rep sent him minimum wage and non-discrimination policy posters to hang in his living room.He tells a story about how Zuckerberg and the other West-Coasters thought he was black because his Facebook profile picture was one of him and the rapper 50 Cent that he’d snapped on Spring Break in Mexico. When he finally went out to California for a meeting, he says, “I totally trashed their diversity plan as soon as they saw me.”Colleran says about the earliest iterations of Facebook, “I don’t know why people loved this thing when it first came out.” It was a single page. Users were only allowed a single picture.Colleran addressed the differences between how people use Facebook and how the Facebook team intends it to be used. For example, the fairly recent addition of the “Timeline” component was met with wild disapproval from users. More than a third of users, he estimates, hated or still actively hate the Timeline function. But Zuckerberg intended Timeline to serve as a digital archive of the most important moments of our lives. Colleran talked about losing his grandparents at a young age and only having a couple of pictures of them, but no other sources of information.Timelines, says Colleran, is in place to assure that those kinds of things never happen again. No one’s story will be forgotten. It’s the Facebook team’s hope that current users go back and upload baby pictures and life events that pre-date Timeline, so we can all have a digital, permanent archive of our stories. A very sentimental intent.Colleran left the company last year and is now part of The Facebook Mafia, a group of former Facebook employees who formed a venture capital firm that invests in social media.
The Indiana Department of Health is again offering a monetary incentive for smokers and other tobacco users to kick the habit. The Quit Now Contest challenges users to give up tobacco during the month of October, making them eligible for cash prizes of up to $2,500 Danese Pease with the Harrison County Tobacco Prevention Consortium says participants will have to prove they abided by the rules. "If you’re chosen, you would be verified that you were actually tobacco-free, and by doing so that includes having two people verify that you hadn’t smoked or used tobacco during the month of October, as well as you would have to submit yourself to a saliva test," she said. This is the third year for the Indiana Quit Now contest. Pease says 4,500Hoosiers took part in last year’s event. Indiana’s statewide smoking ban took effect in July. It prohibits smoking in many public buildings, but there are exemptions for casinos, bars, private clubs and other sites. Pease says there have been only three complaints filed in Harrison County alleging violation of the new law.
Indiana is bringing unmanned drones to the state for testing, as a part of a plan to market the state’s defense operations more aggressively throughout the U.S.Indiana’s National Center for Complex Operation, which was established at the beginning of this year,uses the state’s military bases to test military equipment and technology that before it is put into practice.The NCCO announced Tuesday it is pairing up with its first customer, BAE Systems. The company says it intends to use Indiana airspace to test the unmanned drones it produces. It will also use the state’s academic resources to create safety plans for its equipment.NCCO Executive Director of Matthew Konkle says BAE chose Indiana because the state’s urban training centers can replicate real-life scenarios, and it’s cost efficient.“The NCCO creates greater efficiencies for our customers in ways of testing training and evaluation which makes our cost some of the lowest in the nation,” he says.Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman says partnerships like the one with BEA could boost the state’s economy and make Indiana a larger player in the nation’s defense industry.“This is the first real contract that the NCCO has landed so I think we’ve only just scratched the surface of the opportunity we have in the future,” she says.Konkle says unmanned systems and robotics are predicted to become a $95 billion industry in the next eight years. He says Indiana has the potential to gain about 10 percent of that market.This story first appeared on the Indiana Public Media website.