Hot Air: Big Brains, Bigger B-town

How ’bout that punk kid Sean Buehler? The majordomo behind Bloomington’s Science on Tap, he’s now planning to expand his monthly geek bashes into Indy. Target date: August or September. The IUPUI med, dentistry, and nursing schools are up there, as are the depts. of biology, chemistry, IT, earth sciences, math, physics, psychology and neuroscience. So Buehler and Co. will have a huge new pool of brains-on-two-legs from which to draw their clientele.

As I type this, Buehler’s looking for some appropriate brewpubs in the big town 60 miles N of us.

You worry about the dumbing down of America? Don’t. Not so long as there are squirts like Buehler and his fellow females and males sprouting up in the STEM world.

BTW: In case you missed my Big Talk w/ Buehler on Feb. 2, go here or here.

Bigger & Better

A couple of arguments for Mayor John Hamilton’s annexation plan:

  1. If you’re a homeowner, your property is at least twice — and prob. more — valuable than a similar structure and land spread down in, say, Bedford. You’re already benefitting handsomely just by having plopped down in the collar precincts surrounding our town.
  2. The coming development around the under-construction I-69 interchange on the west side will dump scads of dough into city coffers, allowing the mayor and the city council to gussy up services and infrastructure all over town.

Inasmuch as a large swath of the area population lives outside the city limits yet still enjoys everything the town his to offer, Hamilton et al are operating under the moral assumption that we all ought to kick in to the kitty.

As far as I can tell, the primo argument against annexation is the inevitable tax increase. Yeah, it’s true, property taxes’ll go up in annexed areas but the counter question would be Do you feel good about coasting on all Bloomington’s benefits w/o ponying up your share to maintain them?


Saturday’s was the last info session at City Hall for citizens in the sections in question to chat with B-ton officials about the plan. Now the city council will go to work drawing up its ordinances with a possible June target for voting. And keep in mind any annex ordinances will be followed by the state-mandated 90-day remonstrance period, so if you still want to shriek to high heaven you’ll get your chance then.

More Science

Speaking of the Aristotelian/Einsteinian arts, the venerable Science Cafe is meeting again this week, Wednesday, at Bear’s Place. The top organizer of SC, Alex Straiker, is no longer part of the Bloomington scene. He scored a fab deal down at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Straiker studies cannabinoids (in civilian terms, pot) and their effect on the brain and the eyes. He’d been part of Ken Mackie‘s Gill Center lab in Indiana University’s Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences for the last decade.

Straiker now will run his own lab at the UTSW campus just outside of Dallas.

Bloomington’s Science Cafe, though, will carry on. This month’s session deals with the political divide that’s exploded in this holy land over the last couple of decades. Gerald Wright, chair of the IU Poli Sci Dept., has been studying the divide that turned into a chasm and now can be described as an abyss. He’ll lay out his findings beginning at 6:30pm the evening after tomorrow.

Like Science on Tap, the Science Cafe is free and open to the public. You only pay for what you eat and drink (and if you’re a cheapskate you can get away with not ordering anything). Both orgs. attempt to bring the arcana of science to the general public, presenting topics in clear, concise, accessible language. Questions are welcomed from the audience. Both SoT and SC are examples of why it’s so dyn-o-mite living in a college town.

Here, BTW, is SC’s emeritus Straiker giving a talk on the Science of Marijuana way back in early 2013.

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