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1 What would you do if you found a package with a nice note and a blue plaster foot?
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · News | April 27th, 2017

Last week, Max Ostby of Iowa City was at the Devonian Fossil Gorge in Coralville with his four-year-old son when he spotted a mysterious package wrapped in blue cellophane.
   
2 Fly the friendly skies of United - ladies and gents, this is going to get bumpy
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | April 20th, 2017

Last Monday, United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked and four passengers were asked to take a later flight. No one wanted to, so United picked four "volunteers." Three accepted the $800 in compensation, but one passenger refused. The 69-year-old Asian physician explained he could not give up his seat because he had to see patients in Louisville the next morning. United politely asked him to reconsider, then called in three Chicago cops who dragged him off the plane, banging his head on an armrest, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. The other passengers screamed, children cried, and, yes, somebody recorded the whole thing on video and distributed it to every major news network.
   
3 He can't tell a joke, but won't stop trying
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | April 13th, 2017

Donald Trump's approval rating is 35 percent. Of course, there is a learning curve and, in all fairness, President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. But I suspect that Trump's biggest challenge is he can't tell a joke.
   
4 Hi, this is Emily - I'm having trouble with my headset and I'm about to rob you blind
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | April 6th, 2017

"Hello. Oh, hi there. Oh, I am so sorry about that - I was having a little trouble with my headset. Anyway, my name is Emily. Can you hear me?"
   
5 The sad tale of the giant turtle: You just can't give some people money
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 30th, 2017

Capitalism isn't for everybody. Sure, it may work fine for some people. But others might not find the ravenous pursuit of wealth quite so, well, nourishing. Take Omsin, for example. She was a 25-year-old from Sri Rachia in Eastern Thailand for whom capitalism led to a painful and untimely death.
   
6 Living in Iowa: Longest-running satellite has big Iowa roots
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 23rd, 2017

Last Friday was the 50th birthday of one of America's greatest explorers, now largely forgotten. This unique pioneer has traveled more than six billion miles and shows no sign of slowing down, despite being officially retired. Vanguard 1 was launched on St. Patrick's Day 1958 to become Earth's fourth and longest continuously orbiting artificial satellite. The six-inch diameter scientific instrument, which Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev mocked as a "grapefruit satellite," has now completed more than 197,000 Earth orbits and was the first satellite powered by solar cells. And its creation and success is due in no small part to Iowa's own genius rocket scientist James Van Allen.
   
7 The fact of the matter is, Americans don't trust anyone
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 16th, 2017

Americans don't much trust the news media. According to the latest Gallup poll, the proportion of Americans who approve "quite a lot" of television and print media news is around 13 percent. That sounds pretty low until you consider that only 21 percent approve of the Supreme Court, 16 percent approve of banks and only about six percent like Congress quite a lot. (That six percent must be on some very effective medication.) So, maybe it's not so much that we don't trust the media. We don't trust anybody. And for good reason.
   
8 Iowa has outgrown its old 'bottle bill' as we struggle to put a new value on trash
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 9th, 2017

Iowa's "bottle bill" was enacted in 1978 to encourage recycling by requiring a five-cent deposit on certain beverage cans and bottles. Soon, aluminum and glass containers that used to litter ditches and roadsides were now recycled. These days, 86 percent of these containers are recycled, with more than 82,352 tons kept from the waste stream every year. The energy savings alone could heat 42,845 average Iowa homes because that original bottle bill turned trash into cash.
   
9 Iowa has outgrown its old 'bottle bill' as we struggle to put a new value on trash
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Robins | March 9th, 2017

Iowa's "bottle bill" was enacted in 1978 to encourage recycling by requiring a five-cent deposit on certain beverage cans and bottles. Soon, aluminum and glass containers that used to litter ditches and roadsides were now recycled. These days, 86 percent of these containers are recycled, with more than 82,352 tons kept from the waste stream every year. The energy savings alone could heat 42,845 average Iowa homes because that original bottle bill turned trash into cash.
   
10 Hanging with eagles and seagulls - in February in Iowa
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 2nd, 2017

I don't care that they claim this is February. Our crocuses are coming up. When I open the front door to check for snow, I have to close it again quickly to keep the flies from coming in. If I have to mow the lawn next week, I'm going to be really annoyed.
   
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