Offbeat

Offbeat

texting with a cell phone
Alton / Creative Commons

"Sexting," the act of sending racy messages or photos using a mobile phone, isn't a sign of moral turpitude, according to researchers from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. They say the act is just a part of normal dating for young people.

Researchers surveyed respondents for their study, which will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

From a UM press release:

University of Michigan researchers looked at the sexting behavior of 3,447 men and women ages 18-24 and found that while sexting is very common, sexting isn't associated with sexually risky behaviors or with psychological problems.

The findings contradict the public perception of sexting, which is often portrayed in the media and elsewhere as unsavory, deviant or even criminal behavior, said Jose Bauermeister, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health and co-principal investigator of the study.

Previous research has been done to identify who is "sexting," but the UM researchers say this "is the first known study to connect sexting with a behavioral outcome."

They found nearly half of the respondents said they took part in sexting, and most people who said they received "sexts" also said they sent them. The results, researchers say, suggests sexting likely happens between romantic partners.

And it's not just young people, more older adults are participating as well.

From Sarah Gates of the Huffington Post:

A recent Harris Interactive poll found that one in five Americans sext or share racy text messages with others on their smartphones.

Sponsored by Lookout Mobile Security, the results of the 2,097 adults surveyed focused on a particular rising trend -- adult sexting. While the convention may be popular among text-savvy teens, sexting has become more prevalent among older generations, as one in 10 baby boomers surveyed admitted to sending or receiving explicit photos.

While sexting might be risqué, it's also risky (to which Anthony Wiener, Kwame Kilpatrick and several other politicians can attest).

No doubt, there are, or there will soon be, privacy apps for the behavior.

Check out what MyNorth.com thinks are the top-ten best Leelanau Peninsula beaches the state has to offer. An up north escape from this heat sounds pretty good right about now...

Scale of the Universe 2
screen grab / Scale of the Universe 2

Cary Huang (with a little help from his twin brother, Michael) built the interactive web page "The Scale of the Universe 2." It's their second pass at the concept, according to Discover Magazine.

With it, you can scroll down to see a representation of the microscopic (i.e. E. coli bacteria), and scroll back out to see the galactic.

ABCNews.com writes the ninth graders from Moraga, California were inspired by a teacher to create the page: 

"My seventh grade science teacher showed us a size comparison video on cells, and I thought it was fascinating. I decided to make my own interactive version that included a much larger range of sizes," said Cary in an email forwarded by his mother. "It was not a school project -- just for fun. However, my science teacher loved it so much she showed [it] to the class! My brother, Michael, helped me put it on the internet."

Cary said he worked on the project, on and off, for a year and a half, getting information from Wikipedia and astronomy books. It is now spreading virally online.

H/T to the A2Chronicle

Lake Michigan Sunset
User acrylicartist / MorgueFile.com

Earlier today, Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris posted a story about Michiganders’ love of traveling north of their hometowns for an in-state getaway.  On our facebook page, we asked fans to join the conversation:

“Ok, let's hear your favorite thing about going ‘up north.’”

Followers posted comments detailing the perks of their favorite spots up north.

Several answered that the drive north is the best part of the experience.

Gary: Crossing the tension line (or "ecotone") between southern and northern forests. The pines and sand sneak in so slowly you barely notice, until they seem suddenly to dominate.

Cathrin: Not only do the trees change, but the landscape begins to rise and fall in drastic contrast to the flat plains of the center of the mitten. So beautiful!

Dani: crossing the bridge to the u.p ...being so close to 3 of the great lakes the beautiful scenery the falls the fudge in mackinaw smoked fish in st ignance and most of all being away from the big city

The ArduCopter from DIY Drones can take pictures in the sky.
DIY Drones

This drone doesn't shoot missiles, like the military's multi-million dollar flying death machines.

It just takes some amazing pictures (and can cost in the neighborhood of $500 to $1,000).

The video from the four rotor hobbyist helicopter was posted by YouTube user "Tretch5000."

Bill McGraw of Deadline Detroit reposted on the video late last night. He writes:

Tretch5000's drone buzzes over the green lawns and trees of Belle Isle. 

It glides between floors of an abandoned factory and out over a meadow of discarded tires. 

It zig-zags among the pillars of an old church that looks like a Roman ruin. 

It soars up the back, over the top and down the front of the Michigan Central Station in a dizzying trip that gives the viewer the sensation of falling -- or flying -- off the roof.

Here's the video, flying to the sounds of Ruby Frost and Mt. Eden's "Oh That I Had":

Remotely controlled flying machines are nothing new, but their capabilities are significantly increasing while their costs are significantly decreasing.

Wired Magazine's Editor in Chief Chris Anderson attributes the "drone" boom to burgeoning smart phone technology in his self-promoting piece "How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom." (One poster commented, "Next up: How I kickstarted the Internet, by Al Gore.")

Anderson writes:

—sensors, optics, batteries, and embedded processors—all of them growing smaller and faster each year. Just as the 1970s saw the birth and rise of the personal computer, this decade will see the ascendance of the personal drone. We’re entering the Drone Age.

And Anderson and his company hope to be there to capitalize on it.

Right now, these "drones" can't really be drone-like unless the Federal Aviation Administration steps in.

FAA rules require that UAS (or unmanned aircraft systems) have to be within the operator's line of sight, have to stay under 400 feet, have to be flown during the day and have to be away from airports.

To be a "drone" implies that it flies somewhere either far from the person controlling it, or on some type of pre-programmed auto-pilot course.

With increasing pressure mounting (the government says in the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing over 155 unmanned aircraft designs), the FAA is looking into how it can regulate the coming "Drone Age" safely. They expect to have new rules by 2015.

Who knows? In 2015, Michigan Radio might finally be able to afford its first news chopper.

user cohdra / MorgueFile.com

If you get an email from President Obama, saying he wants to pay your electric bill, it's best to delete it.

A countrywide email and text message scam in which the sender offers to pay the recipient's utility bills through a new federal program in exchange for sensitive identity information has hit metro Detroit.

And some are taking the bait, reports The Detroit News' Charles E. Ramirez:

DETROIT (AP) - Utility workers are battling high temperatures as they work to restore electricity to tens of thousands of Michigan homes and businesses without power following thunderstorms this week.

DTE Energy said early Saturday about 45,000 of its customers were without power, mostly in Oakland and Wayne counties. Consumers Energy reported about 23,700 of its customers without power.

Most of those without electricity lost service after storms late Wednesday and Thursday. DTE says most of its customers should have power back by Saturday night.

... And you thought you were hot this week!

user Coolcaesar / wikimedia commons

Nearly 150,000 Michiganders are sweating through today without electricity.

Severe storms earlier this week knocked out power to more than 400,000 Michigan utility customers.

Spokesmen for DTE and Consumers Energy say it may be late Saturday or early Sunday before all the electricity is restored.

Dan Bishop is a spokesman for Consumers Energy. He says utility crews expect to make a lot of progress today, despite having to work in temperatures around 100 degrees.

“The heat is obviously the story of the day,” says Bishop. “The most important concern for us is to make sure our crews are well hydrated and working safely.”

Consumers Energy is getting some extra help from linemen from Missouri and Indiana.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The hot weather is not stopping most Michiganders from getting out and enjoying Independence Day.  

But organizers of many of today’s events are concerned.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The National Weather Service has put much of southwest and lower mid-Michigan under an “excessive heat warning” through Saturday. With the humidity factored in, it could feel as hot as 110-degrees in some places later this week.

Chapters of The American Red Cross are prepared for the heat wave. Chip Kraght directs emergency services for the west Michigan district.

“It can become a disaster, however, with some really easy preventative stuff and some careful monitoring people can really prevent any sort of side effects,” Kraght said.

http://www.indiegogo.com/zworlddetroit

People have come up with a lot of ideas about how to repurpose the large swaths of vacant land and abandoned buildings in Detroit, but turning them over to the undead is probably a first.

No, the zombie apocalypse isn't finally upon us, at least as far as we here at Michigan Radio know. The "zombies" in this case would be "professionals" there to chase paying customers as they flee through derelict neighborhoods and crumbling warehouses.

The zombie-themed "game zone" is the brainchild of Clawson's Marc Siwak who told Detroit's WWJ-AM that he envisions a structured game where an initial group of professional zombies catches participants and assimilates them, while the remaining "living" players try to avoid the growing horde.

Siwak is currently trying to raise funding through online crowd-sourcing.  WWJ reports that while he has failed to secure any sort of permission from the city, he thinks Z World Detroit would fit in well alongside urban farms and other projects aimed at transforming blighted areas.

From Siwak's website:

“There are formal proposals to essentially abandon some of Detroit’s neighborhoods. That’s not a solution.  Collectively we must be more creative than that. Let’s do something fun and unique that will revitalize an area while creating some jobs for Detroiters.”

Siwak told WWJ-AM that he's already received resumes from brain-hungry potential employees.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

user Jonathunder / Wikimedia Commons

In a recent Michigan Radio Facebook post, we asked followers:

If you could only eat three basic foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Responses filled up our wall, ranging from the responsible:

Alison- Kale, eggs, and nuts...if I had to chose one I would say almonds

...to the indulgent:

Kyle- Pizza, Donuts, and McDonalds

...to the bizarre:

Paul- Bacon, wrapped in ham, wrapped in bacon

Bacon, it turns out, was the most popular food item with 13 votes.

Michigan Radio would like your participation in a brief survey we're conducting about public radio and local programming. 

As always, your responses will be kept completely confidential, and we will not share your personal information with anyone. We'll only use the information you provide to enhance our service.

To participate in the survey, please click here.

We appreciate your time and your participation in this survey.

 Marquette Park on Mackinac Island
user Notorious4Life / Wikimedia Commons

Detroit Free Press columnist Ron Dzwonkowski offers 10 ways we can tell another Michigan summer is upon us.

Here's the list:

Pete Markham / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State University researchers found that vacationers are increasingly staying connected to the office and social media with cell phones, laptops and tablets while away.

From MSU News:

The study showed that people using smart phones have tripled. The study also revealed that wireless use was higher on vacation (40 percent) than at home (25 percent). Also telling, were figures that show that people used the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).

Yesterday, we posted this question to the Michigan Radio Facebook community:

“When you go on vacation, do you stay connected to work?”

Responses show the wide range of readers' feelings towards technology-filled vacations.

This little blurb appeared in USA Today... today.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played a concert in Columbus, Ohio on June 4.

Drummer Chad Smith lingered on stage as the crowd was heaping praise on Smith.

Then they weren't. Take a look:

How many people do you know who really love politics? I don’t necessarily mean those politically active or intense about the issues. I know lots of people like that, conservative and liberal. But I don’t sense that many of them are having a good time.

A message from a visitor in shelter #10 on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

When you camp on Isle Royale, you don't necessarily have to sleep in tents.

You can sleep in a "camping shelter," which is basically an elevated, screened-in, wooden structure.

It can protect you from the elements and the bugs.

And based on our experience, it seems people have had some time on their hands waiting out storms in these shelters.

Park visitors have left messages on the walls - something we humans love to do - even long before we had Facebook walls to write on.

We were expecting profane, but we found inspiring, humorous, artistic, and messages describing their experiences while on Isle Royale. (O.k., there was a little profanity here and there. It is graffiti, after all.)

To see the messages, take a look at the slideshow above.

Some of our favorites:

  • "45 miles 8 days all w/diabetes! 2010"
  • A diagram showing you where to "BANG HEAD." It was surprisingly accurate. I hit my head on that low beam 5 or 6 times.
  • "Flight over for 3 - $625.00 - Gear and food - $300.00 - Spending my 50th birthday hiking with my daughter and son - priceless (50 miles) - JMR 8/2007"
  • "...My girlfriend says everything is my fault (it is)..."
  • "...Lots of rain, no bugs, probably going to have tapeworm. LIVING THE DREAM!"
  • "we came, we saw, we got eaten by giant, rabid, mutant squirrels! Help..."

Write on our walls! Tell us about your camping experiences around Michigan. The good. The bad. The unforgettable.

user FatMandy / flickr

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law recently launched an online database containing an updated list of exonerations in the United States since 1989. The goal of the project is to prevent wrongful convictions or improve the process of identifying and correcting them should they occur.

So far, the National Registry of Exoneration lists more than 890 wrongfully convicted individuals.

Ifmuth / Flickr

On Mondays Christina Shockley speaks with someone who is trying to change their community for the better. This morning, as part of our Seeking Change series, Shockley spoke to Amy Kaherl. Kanerl is with Detroit SOUP, a group that gathers money to support small projects that benefit the city of Detroit.

user jurvetson / flickr

When you think of a jewel heist, you probably imagine a cat-like thief dressed in all black slinking around a bank vault or dark mansion with a set of lock picks. On the trail is a clever police detective who needs quick wits to make the bust.

But a recent caper in Windsor is proving to be a bit more irregular.

According to CBC News, Windsor police have a man in custody after he allegedly not only stole a diamond from a jewelry store, but swallowed it in a effort to dispose of the evidence. Now they're playing the waiting game.

A clerk at the jewelry store became suspicious when the man fumbled the $20,000 stone, the CBC reports, and the jeweler determined that it had been switched with a fake. They managed to stall the suspect until police arrived.

More from the CBC:

Sgt. Brett Corey said the man is being kept in a special cell, without a toilet.

"We are monitoring his bowel movements, if you will. Our forensic identification people are the lucky ones who have to go through the waste to obtain the diamond once it passes," Corey said.

But things aren't coming out exactly as planned.

The suspected thief was arrested last Thursday, but as of this morning, he was still holding back the evidence police need to clinch their case.

Here's the report from the CBC:

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Tray / Flickr

Last week in our Seeking Change series we heard about the kindness journal, an effort to get kids to write about being kind. One of the effects was fewer incidents of bullying among the kids who took part.Today we’re going to talk about cyber bullying. Paul McMullen is a father and he’s come up with a smartphone app, called Parenting Pride, to help combat cyber bullying among kids. It records text messages, but also aims to respect a teen’s desire for privacy. Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with McMullen about how he hopes to decrease bullying.

This story was informed by the Public Insight Network.

Every Monday Christina Shockley talks with someone who’s trying to make change in their community, and find out why they’re doing it.

In January, each elementary school student in Muskegon County received a journal. In that journal, they wrote about their daily acts of kindness. Bill Page came up with the idea.  He’s a children’s book author and former superintendent. Page spoke with Christina Shockley as part of our, "Seeking Change" series.

WLUC-TV / YouTube

I remember making little chains out of Starburst wrappers when I was a kid, but building an entire garment with them?

That's what Diane McNease of Ishpeming High School has done.

WLUC-TV produced a short piece on McNease and her dress. Here it is (I like the host's reaction to the lead of the story):

McNease definitely has some artistic flair. She said she strung wrappers in the dress below the corset to "give the illusion that the dress is, kind of like, falling apart."

She said friends donated around 18,000 wrappers for the corset, matching hair bands, and purse. It took her around 5 months to make.

More evidence that young kids today are far from slackers. We stopped after stringing 10 Starburst wrappers together.

Andrea Smith

Organizers of Holland’s Tulip Time festival are having a little fun with the fact the usual draw - million of blooming tulips - will be missing this year.

In Holland, you hear some worries about it almost every year. But this year it was especially bad.

“The weather’s been so warm. When tulips were blooming on St. Patrick’s Day we all looked at each other and said 'we’ll have nothing by the festival.”

Luckily there are some tulip blooms left; about 30-percent Auwerda estimates.

 “The locals have always called it a stemfest when there’s not a lot of tulips. And so we thought, let’s just do a little tongue in check and have a little fun with it.”

They made official “Stemfest 2012” t-shirts and buttons. Demand was so high for the original 300 stemfest t-shirts, they had to stop taking online orders shortly after they hit the shelves Thursday. 

Auwerda says they’ve reordered the shirts. They're expected to restock Tuesday, but she can't promise they'll have enough to sell online. (I read other businesses are selling unofficial versions.) 

Scorpians and Centaurs / Flickr

Being married to someone in the news business isn’t easy. Our spouses deal with our long hours and travel, our preoccupation with news when we’re at home, unexpected interruptions on holidays and weekends, and our refusal to accept those free family tickets offered by the nearby theme park.

Lots of families have to deal with long hours and work that follows you home, but that theme park ticket example separates journalists from many other professions. We have an ethics code to follow.

YouTube

Last week, the identity of "real-life superhero Bee Sting" was revealed at an arraignment.

Now we know that "Bee Sting" is actually Adam Besso of Sterling Heights. 

Besso was arrested after pulling a shotgun on a motorcyclist in a trailer park in Burton, Michigan.

Besso approached the man saying the man's motorcycle was too loud. A struggle ensued and Besso's shotgun discharged. Thankfully, no one was injured.

MLive spoke with Tom Carter, the man who was approached by Besso. Carter told MLive he was surprised when the masked man confronted him in the trailer park:

"I couldn't hear him, so I started to approach him and that's when the gun came out," said Carter, 38, about the incident with Bee Sting.
"As soon as I saw the gun I was thinking I didn't want my kids to get shot."

The use of a gun has not only offended law enforcement, it offended another real-life superhero.

BBC

According to the BBC, a sea-lamprey pie made for the monarchs in England by chefs in the city of Gloucester was a Christmas tradition that dated back to the Middle Ages.

The custom stalled in the 19th century, but has been revived of late for special occasions.

This year, Gloucester chefs plan to cook up a lamprey pie for Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee in June - marking 60 years of her reign.

And this time around, the lampreys in the pie will come from the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Free Press reports the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Marc Gaden will gladly make an official delivery of the lampreys while vacationing in England this May.

Here, the lampreys are an invasive species that continue to threaten the sport fishing industry. But that's not the case in England:

Although lamprey used to be abundant in the Severn River near Gloucester, the creatures are now endangered and protected.

"It would be like us making a pie out of piping plover," an endangered shorebird in Michigan, Gaden said.

Gaden already has shipped 2 pounds of slimy Lake Huron lamprey, frozen, to Gloucester, but he is vacationing in England and will put on a tie and officially present the fish to the mayor May 4.

The Free Press reports chefs will consult an old recipe for the occasion:

One traditional 15th-Century recipe calls for the creature to be cooked in a sauce of wine, vinegar, cinnamon and its own blood, then baked in a tall crust...

[Marc]Gaden said he doesn't plan to eat any.

The BBC and the Free Press both report that no one can predict whether the Queen will partake in a piece of lamprey pie, or simply quietly admire it.

The BBC has a video about the Gloucester tradition of lamprey pie baking.

For more on how the sea lamprey snuck into the Lakes, check out "The Earliest Invader," a piece David Sommerstein did for the Environment Report's Ten Threats to the Great Lakes series.

screen grab / michiganprotectors.weebly.com/members.html

Another Michigan superhero has drawn the attention of local police.

Just as Petoskey Batman is wrapping up his probation, Bee Sting turns up in Burton, Michigan with a little shotgun mishap.

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