DEAR READER: Archived stories shouldn't be deleted

Saturday, March 23, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:15 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dear Reader,

Archives don’t change. People do. They aren’t always happy with the reminders.


Related Media

Last week, the Missourian's Vox magazine received a request to remove an article because it quoted a woman who was a smoker at the time and didn’t think much of Columbia’s proposed smoking ban for restaurants. I didn’t ask, but I assume she has since quit. Take me out of the article, she asked, or please take the story off the Web.

The piece ran eight years ago, when smoking in restaurants was the issue de rigueur.

I could, but won’t, link to the article in question, out of respect for the woman’s request. However, I couldn’t and wouldn’t change or remove the story.

The Missourian’s editorial policy on this point is pretty simple: Articles, photos, graphics or any other published works shouldn’t be removed and shouldn’t be changed unless there are errors to be corrected.

I’ve been asked to take down stories involving arrests for drunken driving and for marijuana possession. More innocent stories can baffle me. My all-time favorite “huh?” reaction came from the alpaca farmer who wanted me to remove a beautiful feature about his business. I’m thinking, what, he doesn’t want free advertising? Turns out he didn’t: He had moved to Great Britain three years after the story ran, and on those islands, there is a vocal, semi-militant group of anti-alpaca protesters. (Who knew?)

I get it. The public-ness of public information changed with the ubiquity of the Internet. Today you can find out an amazing and disturbing amount about individuals. That’s why we see the uproar about publishing names of gun owners – even though the information has been publicly available at government offices.

Social media sleuth and Missourian reporter Samantha Sunne can find details about your family photos. “I looked up this picture of somebody’s cat,” she wrote. “They took it with a Kodak Easyshare C433 zoom digital camera on Dec. 29, 2006, at 12:02 p.m, with their camera settings on Auto. Sometimes you can see their location when they took the photo, the program they used to edit it, and other stuff nobody realizes they’re putting out there on the Internet.”

She calls the software “creepy.”

In light of the new possibilities of “public,” should the Missourian reconsider its policy?

As I think through it, I stop at the fundamental nature of a newspaper. Its public service and its business model derive from the notion of creating a public record, a daybook of the lives and activities of the people of its community.

If a newspaper archives are a town’s biggest database, why would you destroy parts of that data? If journalism still serves as that first cut of history, why would you alter it?

Why would a business kill one of its greatest assets? Old stories have value. That’s why the Missourian launched a system in which everything on the website is free for the first 24 hours but anything older requires a paid membership.

The reach of a photo or article no longer is defined by geography. Editors can’t rationalize and say, well, no one in Walla Walla, Wash., will ever read this. But they can’t become paralyzed, either. Reporting on the human condition is as messy as humans can be.


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Mark Foecking March 24, 2013 | 6:36 a.m.

Archives are history, and we should preserve history as best we can. Not preserving history means that it's easier for unscrupulous or self-interested parties to create their own, which is always to be avoided.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 24, 2013 | 10:00 a.m.

"What has once happened will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it shall again combine in the same way." - Abraham Lincoln (1839)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 24, 2013 | 10:20 a.m.

A wonderful radio 1400 roundtable discussion this morning...a discussion of media bias.

And our own "world's best journalism school" was discussed.

I can only imagine how many journalists listening to that program either (1) threw up, (2) pitched their radios through the wall, or (3) both.

It remains to be seen if our local journalists/editors respond to the allegation that media bias is indeed liberal, and that this liberal position is manifested by tone, grammar, choice of words, and stories that are and are not reported (ie., bias by omission).

Or, will they remain silent........

PS: As for " Old stories have value. That’s why the Missourian launched a system in which everything on the website is free for the first 24 hours but anything older requires a paid membership."

Get real. You JUST NOW discovered value in your archives like some bolt from the blue???? Face it: You put in the paywall because you needed a new revenue stream and, just like banks and their fees, figured out how to get it. So why were you NOT mining this "value" long before now? Did your journalistic ethics change, that all the past "responsibility to society" pales in the face of a cash crunch?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 25, 2013 | 12:11 a.m.

Eh, the roundtable geezers are media bias of their own making as well.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2013 | 8:07 a.m.

JohnS: You're right.

But, they freely admit it.

And that makes all the difference.

PS: Liberal journalism is like being an alcoholic. First, you have to admit it outloud. Only then can you begin to re-accumulate respect and confidence.

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover March 25, 2013 | 9:59 a.m.

Sorry I missed the Sunday Morning Roundtable. Perhaps one of my j-school colleagues will have heard and will take up whatever challenge was issued.

As to archives: Newspapers have for a long time undervalued them, in my opinion. When your bread and butter revenue shrinks, however, you begin to look harder at your business model. I plead guilty -- we are looking for new revenue streams. I also plead guilty to charging for print subscriptions and charging for advertising.

That's not a change in journalistic ethics. It's a change in the business model.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2013 | 10:36 a.m.

TomW: That's not a change in journalistic ethics. It's a change in the business model.


I guess these statements beg the question of why, when state and "other" cash was readily available, an asset was not better utilized....that is, why were all assets not utilized to give taxpayers better bang for their buck? Executives at private corporations get fired for such inefficiencies and misuse of assets. One gripe many of us hoi polloi have about public entities is, so long as cash is flush, there seems little need for efficiency and wise use of assets.

Of course, the answer is that you wouldn't have been able to sell access to the archives until all other newspapers were forced off the same cash cliff. You wouldn't have been able to compete. The Missourian is a lemming, too.

But, the "excuse" to your readers is the sudden realization that "old stories have value"? Stories that once were considered a "gift" to society, part of your social conscience, now have to be mined for cash?

And, the truth is that I understand completely from a business standpoint.

But when you print, "That’s why the Missourian launched a system in which everything on the website is free for the first 24 hours but anything older requires a paid membership", I'm gonna call you on it. You shaded the truth. You would have been better served if you had instead printed the words of your last post: "When your bread and butter revenue shrinks, however, you begin to look harder at your business model. I plead guilty -- we are looking for new revenue streams."

A great example of the misuse of words to obfuscate and bias the readership, hiding the real reason and agenda.

You goofed up.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 25, 2013 | 11:24 a.m.

Tom & Michael:

I find it refreshing that Tom believes a public university MIGHT somehow have SOMETHING in common with businesses and business models.

It is strange that subject universities eshew being called businesses while at the same time having an inflow of large sums of money* from their "customers." That's particularly fascinating when it appears that more and more of those customers are going well into debt (student loans) in order to become customers.

I could go on, but why bother. Besides, I don't feel overly sarcastic today.

*- "Accounts receivable," but must be paid in ADVANCE of services received.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2013 | 4:06 p.m.

Ellis: I would have no problems with a university department running itself like a business. And I think their portion of expenses for buildings/land/utilities should be carried on their books.

I can make a case that the Missourian, a tax-supported entity, has no business charging for anything...especially their archives. Such a case would be based upon the fact that the journalism school IS a tax-supported entity; while some funds do come from tuition and newspaper sales, the fact is that salaries, buildings, and land come from taxpayers...hence, the taxpayers own the journalism school. I'm especially sore that anything/everything submitted to the Missourian, including posts and submitted articles (unpaid), becomes the property of the Missourian and unavailable to the original writer unless dollars exchange hands. I feel the same way with new technologies discovered by university personnel; patents belong to tax-payers, although I would not object if the researcher receives some royalties as a salary bonus.

Back to paywall/archives objections go away for an entity like the Tribune, which is a private business. They can do what they want.

I'm unhappy with Tom's missive because he did something that I see politicians do all the time: Obfuscate motives/actions with word choices. I'm fairly confident that Tom doesn't like such things when interviewees do that to him; I don't like it when he (and his newspaper) does the same to me. Journalists of all stripes, news hounds and editors alike, should call a spade a spade.

I depend upon them to do that. The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution depends upon that, too.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 25, 2013 | 6:20 p.m.

For the record, the "Missourian" is owned by a private foundation, not by MU or University of Missouri System. (System? SYSTEM? WHAT system?) Operating personnel at the newspaper are from MU.

Ownership has been brought up several times, and the answer continues to be the same. Tom can cite the details.

The ownership situation for KOMU is different.

(Report Comment)
David Rosman March 27, 2013 | 9:47 a.m.

My basic argument against a pay-wall is well stated by Tom - things are archived and should be explored. By forcing one to buy a subscription to read one story from 2002 is silly. Maybe a per view charge would be better.

Tom is right about keeping a working archive of material, of our history, as Mark Foecking states in the first post. But unless that history is available to access, it may be as lost as not posting at all.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 27, 2013 | 10:39 a.m.

Some people seem to be confused about funding issues. Only 10% of the MU budget comes from the state and that amount decreases every year. The J-School runs on even less than 10%.

Revenues (in millions), FY2013

Patient Care: $812.6 (39.5 percent)
Tuition: $332.8 (16.2 percent)
Enterprise Operations: $279.9 (13.6 percent)
Grants and Contracts: $264.5 (12.9 percent)
State Appropriations: $205.8 (10 percent)
Gifts and Endowment Income: $66 (3.3 percent)
Extension, Course and Other Fees: $85.3 (4.1 percent)
Gifts & endowment income $62.2 (3 percent)
Federal appropriations $14.7 (0.7 percent)

While there is definitely a responsibility to use state funds (MO Tax payer funds) responsibly and efficiently it is more than a leap to make the claim that:

“Such a case would be based upon the fact that the journalism school IS a tax-supported entity; while some funds do come from tuition and newspaper sales, the fact is that salaries, buildings, and land come from taxpayers...hence, the taxpayers own the journalism school.”

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2013 | 10:52 a.m.

Speaking of ownership, last time we had a foot-washing here about journalistic revenues someone [not me] posited that it is unfair that KOMU, which derives substantial advertising revenue, shouldn't contribute to, or more to [don't recall which it was], assisting in solving financial problems with publishing the newspaper. Since both the TV and newspaper have some connection with the Journalism Department, this seems a rational suggestion.

Perhaps we can find that prior comment in the newspaper archives. :)

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 27, 2013 | 11:28 a.m.

I hear you Ellis but unfortunately University politics and faculty who have no business experience often get in the way. Take the University Press for example. A department that should be turning a profit is instead costing the University $400k+ per year. Wolfe tries to do something about it and he is rebuffed by a group who have no idea about running a business. We have brought in plenty of business minded administrators like Tim Wolfe; it is about time that faculty and the good ole by staff cohort get out of their way so Mizzou can become the efficient machine the tuition payers and taxpayers deserve.

I for one am pleased that Tom Warhover is taking a business minded approach. It may not be the best approach but he is at least going on the right direction when it comes to mindset.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2013 | 1:15 p.m.

@ Jack Hamm:

"...unfortunately University politics and faculty who have no business experience..."


No excuse. Where's the management?

We have combined some of our departments that have similar curricula, while maintaining faculty and ABET accredition (ABET = a non-governmental organization that establishes and audits engineering education). This has been done to save students and taxpayers money, and it has increased research dollars coming from contracts. It has decidedly cut red tape and delays in decision-making.

But we've been "business-oriented" since our charter in 1870.

Have there been "knock down, drag out" fights? You bet there have, but that's the way it now is.

Old Military Saying: "Either lead, follow, or get out of the way!" Which is it to be?

Nothin' personal, Jack.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2013 | 1:47 p.m.

Well, Jack...I certainly agree with your 11:28 am post.

However, I still think that if the journalism school is on University (state) property, it has obligations to taxpayers (and some ownership). We've seen this before in this community where folks on both sides of the spectrum (depending upon the gored ox) decry the lack of accountability of an organization supported by even a shade of taxpayer money.

I also think Tom is taking a more businesslike approach to the Missourian and I agree it might not be the best approach. I'm also in the unusual position with agreeing with Rosman's point expressed at 9:47. Praise the agreement twofer in one day!

I think the Missourian's posture on the paywall really comes into question in situations like the upcoming election; there is history for both Skala and Kespohl and for those of us who did not take and save notes, our ability to access that history is betrayed by the paywall. Scott Swofford did link two Missourian stories but, as Rosman said, "...unless that history is available to access, it may be as lost as not posting at all."

Such a Missourian posture can sway an election...especially when it is NEWS stories that are behind that paywall (in contrast to an editorial or somesuch). The fact is that the only way such information would be assessable is if a reporter (or poster) wrote a news-story in the form of a letter to the editor!

Who wants that?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 27, 2013 | 3:16 p.m.

Michael as far as ownership goes its tricky logic you use. Many oil and gas companies for example extract resources on government owned land and receive large subsidies. Are they tax payer owned?

A private school, Liberty University, has received over half a billion in direct government allocations (A much larger percentage of their total revenue than the vast majority of public schools). Are they taxpayer owned?

I'm not here to say that public institutions do not have a vested interest or duty to tax payers but it is not as black and white as it seems. Additionally, most people have no real understanding of how their financing really works, contributing to the often held idea that the vast majority of their operations are funded through taxpayer funds.

Personally, I can envision a Mizzou that gets no state funding and succeeds for several reasons;

1. It will force them to invest in research that will lead to patents, copyrights etc.

2. It will force them to cut the fat that there among the staff, many of whom are relics from the days before the CPU

3. They won't be beholden to Jeff City bureaucrats who often make incredibly idiotic decisions when it comes to education and research.


"No excuse. Where's the management?"

Faculty often has the ability to override the administration as seen in the University Press situation.

I think you are looking at this with a very narrow view due to your profession which is understandable. Engineers tend to be very analytical thinkers and often make good businessmen; this is not true however for the more liberal arts leaning faculty who often dominate a Universities landscape.

You don't have these business policy issues in the Engineering School or Business School as often as you do in departments like English or Psychology for obvious reasons.

"Old Military Saying: "Either lead, follow, or get out of the way!" Which is it to be?"

My second job out of the army was at Mizzou and I can tell you first hand that the leaders at Mizzou do not enjoy the same authority as the leaders in our various military branches. If they did I might still be working there

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2013 | 4:21 p.m.


Perhaps the solution involving campuses is a DIVORCE. The last time a serious effort was made was in the 1949 Missouri Legislature, when a separation attempt was made that did receive a simple majority in the House but required more than a simple majority to pass.

We no longer, of the four campuses, have the words "University of Missouri" as part of our name. That change was not accidental, nor did it eminate from system management (although system management approval was needed).

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2013 | 6:44 p.m.

Jack: Your post does give pause for thought.

I'm unable to comment on Liberty University. I need to find info on what those "direct allocations" are. My first uninformed inclination is to say they are not a private university by my current definition.

I went to college/grad school towards the end of when universities were "truly" land-grant institutions where money came almost completely from gov'ts (taxpayers) except, of course, for student tuition. My own grad school TA grant was NDAA....a federal one. It is for this reason that I have a different view of "What should a university be?" than many others. That is, my views are ancient history....well, ok, 40 y/o history which is ancient to someone 39-or-less. Specifically, I view a public university as just that....public....just as I view Hickman High School, Rock Bridge High School and libraries and the Boone County Court House.

There's another reason I'm sore about such things; as a businessman who once owned a laboratory, I found myself competing with university entities for certain projects....projects that would, at times, be worth well in excess of $100K. I got out-competed on price EVERY TIME and it didn't matter which university I'm talking about. Further, those universities did not have to follow Federal Good Laboratory Practices, a procedure that added from 30-40% to project costs (they were designed to prevent fraud and ensure proper study documentation). The problem also occurred with so-called private labs/think tanks that received gov't subsidies. It got to the point where, when I would receive an RFP from one of those entities, I just round filed it. It simply wasn't worth my time. Is that a good public thing for an industry generating human and environmental safety data for pesticides and veterinary pharmaceuticals??????

If universities wish to compete with private businesses, then they should account for ALL expenses on their books...including property and utilities. I want a level playing field. I hate it when a business comes to town with a tax abatement while existing and competing businesses get doodly-squat.

Should the Trib be upset with the Missourian?

The Missourian is very much a public institution. It uses cheap labor for stories (students) and uses university property and land. This is done in the name of education rather than "business", and I do see the difference. That is not to say its finances/assets should not be managed like a business; in fact, it should. But, it does have the blessings of the public to be public in its dealings with educating young journalists, and that makes it accountable to taxpayers.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2013 | 6:47 p.m.

Oh, I forgot to mention:

This ancient dinosaur would certainly enjoy a good, statewide discussion on whether there should even BE public universities.

INO, I'm agreeing with

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 27, 2013 | 7:21 p.m.


As a small business owner myself I understand your pain. I feel there is plenty of research that can be done that does not have immediate and obvious financial gains; this is where public universities should be focused. The research that is profitable in an obvious way should be the domain of profit seeking entities. Essentially, universities should be conducting research that allows the private sector to grow and thrive instead of stifling it; of course that is often easier said than done.

As far as Trib v Missourians, I highly doubt Andy Waters is too worried. The Trib is the go to source for local news and politics as far as print media goes. We are a few days away from a big local election (mayor and two council members- Vote McDavid!) and you would hardly know if you read the Missourians while the Trib offers a ton of info. With that said though I can appreciate your thought on a macro level.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2013 | 7:46 p.m.

Jack: I think either Waters or Robertson has written negatively on the topic in the past, but I have no "link" to substantiate that. Perhaps someone else with a better memory?????

Geez, we keep agreeing like this, we'll end up engaged.

Sorry about the jab yesterday. Why, you ask?

Well, it's because you are interesting to argue with and lucid in your comments, much like SteveS and Ellis and JonH and a few others, most of whom post no more and some with whom I agree and some I don't.

Preaching to the choir gets boring.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2013 | 8:07 p.m.

Jack: As far as work done by research institutions vs private entities goes, I'm in complete agreement.

Since I'm 63 and no longer have a lab, and no hope of doing the work anymore, here's one idea I think should be explored at the university level:

Back when I was in grad school, a guy down the hall did a weird thing: He deliberately gave a sheep ammonia toxicity by putting a relatively large amount of ammoniacal salt directly into the sheep's rumen (Sheep sometimes get ammonia toxicity from their diet, and it can kill). The sheep got sick quite rapidly, but after a while, the grad student dumped in some dialdehyde starch, a relatively new chemical (at the time) made by the Northern Regional Research Lab in Peoria, IL. Within a very short time, the toxicity went away and the sheep recovered.


Because, dialdehyde starch reacts rapidly with ammonia, removing it from solution.

The university owned the patent on this, but it's probably expired by now.

Now, keeping that info in mind and knowing that one of the HUGE pollutants with concentrated animal facilities is ammonia release.....dialdehyde starch is a solid that can probably be formulated into a paper-like filter product. Is is really possible that you could make a HUGE cylindrical filter and run the waste air through it, thus capturing the ammonia before it gets into the atmosphere?

Even more, nitrogen is quite costly for producers. Is it possible that the ammonia-starch solid product can be re-cycled via feed back to animals? That would be a huge cost saver.

I have no answers to these questions. I don't even know if gaseous ammonia will react with the modified starch, but I'm betting....yes. Fact is...I only know about that one sheep.

But I wish I could have been the one to try it. Needs an engineer. Where the hell is Ellis when you need him?

PS: Y'all saw it here, first. Too bad I won't have access to the archives to prove it...

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 1:04 a.m.


You called?

It's past midnight as I start this, so here's a bedtime story.

Peppers are a crop that's normally hand-picked. They are grown in southern New Mexico, among other places. It costs more to harvest them in New Mexico than in Old Mexico, due to a differential in labor rates.

For some years Ag Engineers at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces) have been trying to come up with a harvesting machine to pick peppers. No machine yet devised will do so without rendering the picked peppers an ugly mess (Peter Piper picked...). That's not a problem if the ugly peppers are used to make something requiring diced or ground peppers, but otherwise they won't sell as produce.

Enter OUR HEROES, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology (aka New Mexico Tech): their chemists and chemical engineers came up with a process to emulsify the mangled peppers and then concentrate the emulsion. This is really potent stuff!

The result is a concoction rats and mice refuse to go near and even Formosan termites (reputed to be the worlds worst) won't eat, when painted, dipped or sprayed on wood. As you might expect, some field tests were conducted in New Orleans (which was being consumed by termites even before the flooding).

The product has been licensed to a private firm for production, promotion and sale. President Lopez of NMIM&T made the announcement a few years ago. (Got that, guys? It's PRESIDENT Lopez, not Chancellor Lopez, and the institute wasn't chartered until 1889 and has far less students than MS&T.)

So, more of the pepper crop is being picked mechanically, growers get a better price for the peppers than when they're sold as food, and the situation has been handed over to private enterprise.

Tomorrow we can discuss a similar situation with Mo-Sci Corporation in Rolla (custom glass melting, with international sales), but that has already been lavishly covered by both Columbia newspapers and KOMU, right? :)

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 28, 2013 | 7:16 a.m.


Could not agree more, dialog even when heated is better than no dialog at all. Its the only way we grow as a community. Additionally, the more we communicate the more we learn that we have more common ground to build on than divisions to fight over.

Hopefully, On April 2nd we maintain a diverse council so that all ideas can be heard.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 28, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.

Ellis: "It costs more to harvest them in New Mexico than in Old Mexico, due to a differential in labor rates."

That's no excuse. Everyone should be paid the same.

I've been cooking a lot of Mexican the stuff....using anchos and another type I can't pronounce. I saved the seeds and will plant some of them this spring if it ever gets here. Since I will only have 10-12 plants, should I pick them by hand....or buy that machine? If the machine is costly, I believe the cost should be reduced so I can compete........

Jack: I'm all for a diverse council. I'm rather fond of gridlock.

The main problem is I think Columbia should start growing up...I mean that figuratively and practically. We have all these arguments about in-fill and suburbia and spreading out and "why should I pay for roads on the edge of Columbia?....and then have this big fight about the Niedermeyer and a tall building under the guise of "historical". It's as tho folks are afraid of losing their roots rather than growing new ones.

Now, I'm off to ruminate on whether I should vote for the new 911 thingie. Three-eights of a percent and no sunset.....ugh.

Plus play with grandkids. I'll let y'all know which I enjoy more.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 28, 2013 | 8:18 a.m.

I saw Michael's post of 8:07 and can add something to it. Ammonia (or amines in general) reacts with aldehydes to form what are called Schiff bases. They are equilibrium reactions, which means that to remove most of the ammonia from an air stream (or rumen) the aldehydes have to be present in considerable excess. That's fine, and the reversibility of the reaction means that the filters could likely be regenerated at least a few times until the aldehydes oxidized or dimerized. So I suspect your idea would work.

BTW, dialdehyde starches can be made out of pretty much any polysaccharide by treating it with periodic acid. I've prepared many antigenic complexes with peptides as haptens by oxidizing the cellulose that way.

However, ammonia is really only a local pollutant, and is not stable in the environment. It rains out easily, and once in the soil is a nutrient for plants (if it doesn't get broken down into water and gaseous nitrogen). Plus, natural emissions of ammonia are ENORMOUS, far greater than anything man does. So, local concentrations of ammonia are usually dealt with by simple dilution, rather than treating the air.

Some people advocate its use as a motor fuel, and I'd hate to be in a house with an attached garage if the tank ever developed a leak.


(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 28, 2013 | 9:18 a.m.

MarkF: Thanks for your comments.

It's true that ammonia isn't the main "stink" of a CAFO hog house, but ammonia is one of the gaseous pollutants of concern from such facilities. I'm very interested to know if the dialdehyde starch/ammonia complex could be fed back with decent nutritional content. Nitrogen is quite expensive to farmers (usually fed as protein) but, if the entire carbohydrate/nitrogen complex was bioavailable, this could be a way to reduce feed costs. Otherwise, as you say, it just goes up the stack.

Glyoxal reacts with H2S. I wonder if dialdehyde starch does, too? That would be even better.........

PS: Of course, from an engineering pov, we'd have to know the total binding capacity for a given mass of dialdehyde starch (DAS). Hell, it could be that the total ammonia from a CAFO would overwhelm 5 tons of DAS filter in a real hurry.

Oh well, just musin'. One of several ideas I've always wanted to get back to, but life and business got in the way.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks March 28, 2013 | 10:09 a.m.

Couldn't one argue that all public universities are tax payer funded as it would not be a stretch to assume that over half of the students receive some sort of pell grant or loan from the Fed Govt? Even if the school is funded by 10% state money that would mean a substantial amount comes from the Fed who in its very nature has no money all as it comes from tax payers as a loan.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 28, 2013 | 10:18 a.m.

Corey: Yes, I think that is a good argument.

And, because of all that "loan" money, college will get even more expensive. Prices follow available money.

Increased student debt is one negative consequence of the belief that everyone has the right to go to college.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 10:43 a.m.

Michael says, "Everyone should be paid the same."

No argument, but they aren't paid the same, and that's one reason why Latin Americans, legally or illegally, cross the border to pick crops which cannot be mechanically harvested (which includes fruits as well as vegetables). It is also the reason engineers will continue to work on other means of harvesting those crops.

There have been articles and network TV blurbs recently to the effect that some American firms which had sent manufacturung operations overseas now anticipate repatrioting those operations. That should have positive effects economically for certain American communities, but it will in no way bring back the NUMBER of jobs present at the time the operations were moved overseas: the repatriated operations won't need many live bodies to run them. If they did, their owners COULD NOT AFFORD to repatriate them.

We seem to exist in two worlds: the one we would like see and the one THAT ACTUALLY IS.

I am presently reading the book "Hidden America," by Jeanne Marie Laskas (G. P Putnnam's Sons, 2102). One chapter addresses the migrant agricultural worker situation; another chapter addresses the state of aviation air control. Reading the latter chapter could cause you to reconsider using airlines as a means of transportation. Of course there's a chapter on coal mining. The one I'd like to have seen included would be pyrometallurgy workers (steel, etc.).

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 11:51 a.m.

Man! I really messed up: the publisher/publication date should be "G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2012." Putnams' may be a forward-looking publisher, but hardly 2102. :)

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 28, 2013 | 3:05 p.m.

Mike says:
"The main problem is I think Columbia should start growing up...I mean that figuratively and practically."

Agreeing yet again; of course we already talked about this during the Niedermeyer situation. Although that particular situation ended up okay (hopefully no public money involved, the city didn't buy it like the Blind Boone home, and the developer is still going to build) I still think it set a dangerous precedent.

To me Columbia is a town that is on the verge of a huge boom if certain local cohorts would get out of the way (Hoppe, the "urban farmers" etc). Columbia is a young town (average age 26), an educated town (13th most in the US according to Wikipedia), and obviously developers are very interested in investing in our community as seen by the ever changing downtown landscape.

I find it funny that the very people who constantly complain about not enough alternative transportation (biking really) and efficient local economy are the same ones who stop the growth of our downtown. How are students living in high rises within walking distance of downtown not exponentially more efficient than urban sprawl in the south side of town like the Bearfield duplexes?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 28, 2013 | 3:08 p.m.

Meant within walking distance of campus not downtown

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 3:50 p.m.

I resided in Columbia for 23 years. In certain respects the suburban city (~50,000) where I now live resembles Columbia when I moved there in 1989. We here have a young population, due in part to our very large public junior college as well as the general population. The percentage of residents over 65 is only about HALF our national average. We just opened our second public high school, and in February voted a bond issue for our tenth public grade school. There are also several middle schools.

Well, Smith, you dummy, why did you move to a community where you can bet your school taxes are bound to be high*? I don't care; others paid school taxes to put me through public schools.

I can recall that as late as 1960 during the summer months Columbia retail stores closed about noon on Saturdays. I'll bet some of you recall that too.

In my opinion, and I've stated this before, Columbia has grown rapidly from, say, 60,000 to 100,000 but the THINKING necessary to run a city that's 100,000 hasn't matched that growth. That's not intended as criticism of any specific individual(s), nor do I think that present problems can't be corrected.

I'll close by mentioning what some of you already know: my re-location has not had anything to do with Columbia.

*- I knew long before I moved that buyung in ANY of the suburban cities here would mean high school taxes. BTW we just received word that our present 44-home "retirement ghetto" will be expanded to 68 homes, a nice-sized community.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 28, 2013 | 5:09 p.m.

I'll close by mentioning what some of you already know: my re-location has not had anything to do with Columbia.

It was me, wasn't it......

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 28, 2013 | 5:17 p.m.

Jack: "...Columbia is a town that is on the verge of a huge boom"

Not long ago on another topic, I said sumpin' like, "Why do you choose to be left behind? Why not join us as we move forward?" I think the topic was education and career advancement or something like that.

But, I think that sentiment applies in this situation, too.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 7:10 p.m.


Sorry, but if I were to compile a list of such folks, you wouldn't make the list. Lucky you!

I would not, believe me, have resided in Columbia for 23 years if I had disliked it. I was only a corporate employee for the first 9 of those years, and for the following 10 years I was doing part-time contract work, largely outside the United States. At age 75 I decided to follow my late father's example and hang it up.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 28, 2013 | 10:15 p.m.

One of the things that drives me nuts about working within the MU system is the way the funding works. In a nutshell, I can't borrow, or save, in any meaningful manner. The volume and velocity of money must be predicted a year and a half ahead of time, and then that prediction strictly adhered to. No matter what.

My experience is that the real world is a lot more dynamic than that, and without the flexibility of savings/credit, resources and opportunities get squandered sometimes. Score one for capitalism! The administrative overview processes originally designed to prevent fraud end up growing to the point they become the fraud. Drives me nuts.

But otherwise, I mostly love the work I do.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 29, 2013 | 3:13 a.m.

Derrick (and also Jack Hamm):

I received my first lesson in what you describe during the early 1950s, right here here in what is now called University of Missouri System*. They were tearing up perfectly good sections of sidewalk on the north-south mall of the "little campus" (the university only had two campuses from 1870 to 1963) and putting down new concrete.

Being young and stupid (today I am most decidedly not young), I asked my department chairman why they were doing something I thought was incredibly dumb and wasteful.

Dr. Theodore Planje smiled broadly, shook his head, and explained that the maintenance department must have over-budgeted expenses for the fiscal year, and if they didn't spend those funds now they'd have their funds reduced in a future year.

BTW, at that time the undergraduate enrollment at the "little campus" was about 1,200, and at the "big campus," a hulking 6,000-7,000. In 1955 the little campus actually granted a BS degree to a WOMAN, Ellen Hardebeck. When you go for several years at a stretch without a female receiving a degree, it's not difficult to remember her name.

*- As previously posted on several occasions, there is in fact NO system. It's a taudry version of "The Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf," except that the combined enrollments of the three Pig campuses now exceed that of the Wolf campus, and the wolf is delusional, BELIEVING ITSELF TO BE A TIGER.

(Report Comment)

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