No prison for mortgage fraud, hungry planet, Scoville scale and civil disobediance

Closer in TJ Waconia mortgage fraud gets probation

A Rosemount man who had a role in one of the Twin Cities most notorious mortgage fraud cases avoided a prison sentence at sentencing this week (Pioneer Press).

U study: Global food demand could double by 2050

That's despite the fact the world's population is forecast to grow by less than 30 percent. Jason Hill, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, said as people in developing countries get wealthier and eat more meat, demand for grain to feed livestock will continue to rise (MPR News).

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State report says costs of shutdown were minimal

State finance officials say the cost of last summer's 20-day government shutdown was minimal."In broad terms, immediate shutdown costs were offset by estimated compensation savings," the report by Minnesota Management and Budget said (Capitol View).

Duluth unemployment hits lowest point in more than 3 years

The drop is part of declines recorded throughout the Northland, according to state data released today (Duluth News Tribune).

Some child care providers call for expanded union election

Opponents of an effort to unionize Minnesota in-home child care providers say the vote they wanted to stop should now be expanded, to include thousands of more participants (MPR News).

High-frequency radio system moving forward

A new, high-frequency radio system will likely be operational for Winona County first responders early next year, according to city and county officials (Winona Daily News).

Mayo Clinic considers move against downtown crows

They don't know it yet, but Rochester's crows may soon be under attack. Mayo Clinic is considering hiring a company that would bring in "attack birds," including peregrine falcons and hawks, to scare off the crows (Rochester Post Bulletin).

Saint Anyway coming home, will release new album over Thanksgiving

Cloquet's own "stomp-grass" trio will release their third studio album this month with a string of shows over Thanksgiving weekend (Duluth News Tribune).

By the numbers

I've heard of the Scoville scale, which measures the potency of spicy peppers. Those boring green bell peppers get a 0; habaneros get a score of 350,000. The stuff those UC Davis police officers so casually hosed into the faces of peacefully demonstrating students? between 2,000,000 and 5,300,000 Scoville units (Pharyngula).