Columns

Thu
22
Aug
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Alaimo: What changes and works better stays more

My lady and I were arguing about genetically modified food this week. She is against them and I am (mostly) in favor of their continued development. I wrote about this in June and if you think this is an odd topic to continue to argue, let me tell you, arguing about genetically modified food beats arguing about visual impact regulations or (worse yet) who was supposed to put the garbage out and didn’t. But the funny thing about discussing genetically modified foods (GMFs) is that even though 34 percent of Americans polled (in 2010) were concerned about the development of GMFs, most of those polled as concerned did not have a clear understanding about what genetically modified organisms actually are or what their use as food is. So this week (just so we can all argue better) I will take some time to write about the basics of natural genetics. Then next week, I will visit some more about the pros and cons of GMFs.

Fri
16
Aug
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Slow ideas in turbulent times and a fast-changing world

Browsing through a magazine recently I came across an article with an irresistible title: “Slow Ideas.” Now that’s something I can relate to. All my ideas fall into the slow category—few and far between, and speed-wise more like a snail than a gazelle.
It turns out that the guy who wrote the article, Atul Gawande, is a surgeon and a staff writer for The New Yorker. In his spare time, he’s the director of Ariadne Labs at the Harvard School of Public Health. His major research interest lies in the field of health system innovation.
Gawande takes two seminal ideas from the history of modern medical science—anesthesia and antisepsis—to illustrate his theory. Both date back to the 19th century. One—anesthesia—caught on quickly despite resistance. (Some naysayers considered it a “needless luxury!”) Ether was first used experimentally in 1846 and by the early 1850s nearly every hospital in America and Britain was using it routinely.

Thu
01
Aug
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Todd: The dichotomy of marijuana

Feeling lonely? Write a column about about your views on whether or not to approve retail marijuana in the county. The phone calls, office visits and emails will make you feel like you're everyone's long lost rich uncle.
It's been over a week of "attaboy" and "you missed the point" and "it is people like you that are ruining this country."
There are three aspects to marijuana in Colorado. One is illegal trafficking. Another is the legal personal growing, possession, use and gifting. The third is medical use of marijuana.
We have not commented or levied an opinion on marijuana as medicine. To be clear, any drug that is regulated and beneficial to people with medical needs, including marijuana, should be made available to patients.
What does a Colorado medical marijuana patient look like?

Thu
01
Aug
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Billings: Letting loose of head full of ideas

In an effort to clean house, I was perusing my book shelves to see what I can donate to the school or library. On the shelf where all my big art books are, most of which I inherited from my father, was a book entitled “Silhoutte 1000.” I naturally assumed that it was about silhouettes and I thought, “Hmm, that would make an interesting metaphor for life.” So I pulled it from the shelf and discovered that it wasn’t that at all. It was my mother’s college yearbook from 1969, when after my brother and I were out of the house, she went back to college to get her accounting degree. So you can imagine what road that book took me down. Mom graduated from college two years after I did.

Thu
18
Jul
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Magstadt - Edward Snowden: The “Tinker” who went out in the cold

Edward Snowden:  The “Tinker” who went out in the cold

Thu
11
Jul
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TODD: Cost of pot outweighs benefits

When Amendment 64 was passed by Colorado voters making it part of the constitution, it virtually put the new laws related to regulation and taxation of marijuana in stone. Only a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly can bring the amendment to the fore for voters to alter.
Approved retail stores can begin selling marijuana as early as Jan. 1. Localities must decide whether or not to permit retail sales of the product. Ouray's city council is grappling with the decision on how to handle the sale of this legal recreational drug.
Is "drug" even the correct word? In some respects, marijuana is quite an anomaly. It is a drug, as seen by the growing number of medical marijuana growers and dispensaries across the state. In six months, it will also be treated and taxed similarly to alcohol: you will be able to buy it, you just won't be able to consume it in public places.

Thu
11
Jul
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Johnson: Male Mental-Pause on Mount Abram

I was reminded to count blessings while wedged in a long line of vacation traffic trying to squeeze into Lovely Ouray. Who could blame them; it doesn’t get any better than July to come drool at our eye-candy and play in our bountiful “backyard.” Through bug-crusted windshields appeared Mount Abram, a Great Pyramid that fills a prime notch of skyline above our humble crevice-town…between lesser mountain knaves who in a heartbeat would pilfer its eye-commanding center of attention.
I've studied Abram's moods from the comfort of my living room, from alpenglow to surly, to shimmering light wars between double rainbows. There is an exquisite symmetry to its north face; chiseled features, ruggedly handsome, like a young Kirk Douglas. Abram is there to be adored and wandered, and I am here to bid its calling.

Fri
28
Jun
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Todd: Grandstanding for the BOCC

The Board of County Commissioners is holding a special public meeting today at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a few items, one of which is their plan to rectify the grandstands situation at the Fairgrounds in time for the Labor Rodeo.
This is not an easy fix.
We were at the grandstands a few weeks ago when the BOCC held a meeting to inspect the stands. Cracks in the structure run full length. Support within the back wall is probably not adequate. And when County Commissioner Don Batchelder climbed atop the stands and wiggled portions of the wall, it was clear that the BOCC's decision to condemn the stands was a correct one. The grandstands were so dilapidated you wouldn't let your children play around them. And if you wouldn't let your children play around them, why would anyone berate the BOCC not allowing entire families to use them?

Fri
28
Jun
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Alaimo: Studying the speed of progress

Sitting on my deck in Trail Town I notice the traffic going through the light. Some are looking upset at the slow pace and others seem overwhelmed by even 30 miles per hour. From my deck I can also see a couple of dogs playing on the grass. My employee’s rat terrier type dog of dubious pedigree, Jude, can comfortably sit on one leg of my lap—conversely the Soggy Doggy lady’s dog Midnight Blue can, if we are ever over run by the Hun, double as a war pony. Watching the traffic and the dogs play is just the sort of thing to make me think about this month’s science.

Sat
22
Jun
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Todd: An ode to prospecting

With news of layoffs at Camp Bird this week, we’re reminded of how the fortunes of mining in western Colorado have ebbed and flowed for over 100 years. The hopes and dreams of early prospectors still flicker in today’s mines like oil lamps in a dark passage. As mine employees wait out these 39 days without a job—many of whom gave up steady jobs for the promise of Camp Bird—we are reminded that we’re told this is just a hiccup, and we are reminded that the Revenue-Virginius is doing well.
Our economy, albeit still slowed by the lingering recession, is diverse enough to withstand a hiccup.
Historically, mining is a business marked by interruption. To not expect a hiccup at either mine is to ignore the history of the industry on the Western Slope. As we support those who have recently been laid off for the strange sum of 39 days, we offer this tribute to our local miners, written by a Western Slope newsman, not long ago and not far from here:

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