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The curious process of demand-side innovation

My dad was a railroad safety officer who spoke to groups of men involved in dangerous work. It was dark, dry content so he would open safety meetings with a joke. One of his favorites was about the Boy Scout who took nearly 15 minutes to help an elderly lady across the street—because she really didn’t want to go!

  • icon Posted: July 27

Recent Headlines

Tuesday 07/21/2015
OUR VIEW/Nonprofits: Free money is waiting
Posted: July 21, 2015

Want free money? It’s ready and waiting for schools and nonprofits in Iredell and northern Mecklenburg counties.

Monday 06/29/2015
Hydrail Noon
Posted: June 29, 2015

Will Kane, the U.S. Marshal played by Gary Cooper in the classic 1952 film, “High Noon,” should have lived in Mooresville. On May 15, I learned I had a problem which, though not lethal like Kane’s, was daunting enough to give me the shakes.

Friday 06/19/2015
COLUMN: Praying for Charleston
Posted: June 19, 2015

Charleston is home.

Thursday 06/18/2015
Praying for Charleston
Posted: June 18, 2015

Charleston is home.

Wednesday 06/17/2015
Victimizing our elders
Updated: June 18, 2015 - 3:59 pm

If there are older people in your life – family, neighbors, friends – two serious issues need your attention.

Monday 06/15/2015
The where and why of hydrail
Posted: June 15, 2015

If you read Tribune reporter Megan Sprague’s story in Wednesday’s newspaper, you know that next week (June 22-23), Mooresville will host scientists, engineers, government officials, legislators and even one corporate CEO from Austria, Canada, Germany and from across the USA – from San Francisco to Atlanta.

Sunday 06/14/2015
Scoring points for his passion
Posted: June 14, 2015

You have to admire passion. On the subject of hydrail, the very real concept of hydrogen fuel-powered passenger trains, perhaps nobody has more than Mooresville’s Stan Thompson.

Wednesday 05/27/2015
Grading myself after 32 years
Updated: May 27, 2015 - 9:03 am

The writer will retire July 1 after 32 years in education and nine years as principal of South Elementary School.

Monday 05/25/2015
It’s morning in Moscow
Posted: May 25, 2015

Back in March I had the good fortune of dining with George Friedman, the international affairs consultant whose analyses are followed closely by the US intelligence community. Later I downloaded an audio copy of his new book “Flashpoints” onto my iPod. I’m going though it for the second or third time.

Thursday 05/21/2015
A hole in our town’s soul
Updated: May 21, 2015 - 6:05 pm

We’re all still shaking our heads in disbelief after the deaths of two highly respected community leaders. We’re trying to make sense of it, but we’re not having much success.

Wednesday 05/20/2015
LETTER TO THE EDITOR/Let’s remember: Freedom isn’t free
Updated: May 20, 2015 - 11:55 am

The writer is a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran of the Korean War.

Tuesday 05/19/2015
Mooresville had his love, loyalty
Updated: May 21, 2015 - 1:57 pm

Not long after he won an at-large seat on the Mooresville Board of Commissioners in 2005, Frank Rader dropped by the Tribune, pulled up a chair and said, “I will be a one-term commissioner. They won’t re-elect me.”

Monday 05/04/2015
Bringing up China
Updated: May 04, 2015 - 11:22 am

The idea of any country presuming to “parent” one of the most ancient civilizations in the world is presumptuous and bizarre. But a case can be made that China’s antiquity has also been iterative and phoenix-like. Over the millennia she has self-immolated time after time and risen from her ashes.

Monday 04/13/2015
Traveling the Inland Sea
Posted: April 13, 2015

When the dogwoods come out each year, their ever more modest annual explosion brings back images of the 1960s and 1970s around Lake Norman. The forest understory was then a mass of white, and snowy splendor radiated out of the dark woods, catching the spring sun a few weeks before the tall canopy leafed-out.

Thursday 04/09/2015
Charlotte area's fight against toll lanes
Updated: April 09, 2015 - 5:31 pm

The writer is a freshman at the University of North Carolina and a graduate of Lake Norman High School.

Sunday 03/29/2015
Too big to flail?
Posted: March 29, 2015

The death of Lee Kuan Yew (Sept., 16, 1923-March 23, 2015), an enigmatic giant among politicians, reminded the world that city-states still exist. If George Washington was the Father of our Country, Lee Kuan Yew was the sculptor and general contractor of Singapore.

Monday 03/16/2015
Homecoming … via China
Posted: March 16, 2015

Last week I had a strange and delightful homecoming to my college alma mater, Pfeiffer University. You might say I took the long way home -- via Beijing.

Monday 03/02/2015
Custer’s posthumous rematch
Posted: March 02, 2015

A couple of years ago, I came across a fascinating book by Dr. John. W. Baer, a retired economist: The Pledge of Allegiance: A Revised History and Analysis (1892-2007).

Sunday 03/01/2015
Parents must be responsible for support of children
Updated: March 01, 2015 - 9:04 am

The writer is Iredell County Sheriff

Monday 02/16/2015
Mama Merkel’s reluctant reich
Posted: February 16, 2015

“Reich” is German for “kingdom” or “empire.” English speakers tend to associate the word with Hitler, who famously called the conquered aggregation of Germany’s neighborhood, “The Third Reich.”

Why charters? Because parents want a choice
Updated: February 16, 2015 - 3:21 pm

In a recent Tribune article about the annual Mooresville Graded School District Legislative Breakfast, educators and parents made comments that I wish to address in my role as chairman of the board of the North Carolina Charter Educational Foundation -- which governs both Langtree Charter Academy in Mooresville and Cabarrus Charter Academy in Concord.

Wednesday 02/11/2015
COMMENTARY: Obama needs authorization for war against Islamic State
Updated: February 11, 2015 - 4:10 pm

President Barack Obama is about to ask Congress to authorize a war he has been waging for six months. It's about time -- and Congress shouldn't waste any as it takes up the question.

Tuesday 02/10/2015
COLUMN: Obama's war authorization limits U.S. ground forces
Updated: February 11, 2015 - 4:10 pm

President Barack Obama will soon give Congress his proposal for authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State fighters, and it will place strict limits on the types of U.S. ground forces that can be deployed, according to congressional sources.

Monday 02/09/2015
Letters to the Editor
Posted: February 09, 2015

We don’t want unity and consensus? That’s arrogant

Monday 02/02/2015
Terrorist: An inappropriate word
Posted: February 02, 2015

It bugs me that the word “terrorist” makes it sound like the foul behavior the word describes constitutes a profession (like, say, a dentist). The word presumes something degrading about the harmed parties while being noncommittal about the perpetrator.

Tuesday 01/27/2015
Downtown business icon Bob Atwell dies
Updated: January 27, 2015 - 3:42 pm

For nearly 24 years, one of downtown Mooresville’s constants was Bob Atwell standing in front of the big stove at Bob’s Grill, flipping burgers and hotdogs.

Wednesday 01/21/2015
OUR VIEW/A place for vets to pause, recharge
Posted: January 21, 2015

It seems safe to say that few communities do more to promote the welfare of their military veterans than Mooresville.

LETTER/Congress’ ire should be with the Saudis
Posted: January 21, 2015

With the Middle East on fire and the fire threatening to spread to Europe, the last thing we need is for Congress to pick a fight with Iran by increasing sanctions.

Wednesday 01/14/2015
Homeless in Mooresville
Updated: January 14, 2015 - 10:22 am

Nobody should freeze to death for lack of a warm room in which to spend the night. And fortunately, such extreme situations are thought to be rare in Mooresville.

Here's what's on your mind...
Posted: January 14, 2015

Assaults on press freedoms are an issue in the U.S., too

OUR VIEW/Homeless in Mooresville
Posted: January 14, 2015

Nobody should freeze to death for lack of a warm room in which to spend the night. And fortunately, such extreme situations are thought to be rare in Mooresville.

Monday 01/12/2015
Another sad chapter ends for retail in Statesville
Updated: January 12, 2015 - 11:34 am

There's no way to put it nicely. News that J.C. Penney will be closing its Statesville store in April feels like another nail in Signal Hill Mall's coffin.

Monday 01/05/2015
Something old, something new
Posted: January 05, 2015

Our annual celebration of the New Year is the accumulation of an odd string of natural and societal events. In this festive season it might be fun to look back on them—way back!

Sunday 12/21/2014
Marley’s Mideast chain
Updated: December 29, 2014 - 8:58 am

In this festive season of the year, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” uses Ebenezer Scrooge to make the point that we feel a lot better when we do good to our fellow man than when we do evil. Because of its staying power, its intuitive truths and its universal familiarity in Western culture, a case might be made that “A Christmas Carol” has become something of a secular gospel, making the case for values that that are central (though not unique) to Christianity.

Sunday 12/07/2014
Miffed Motorists
Updated: December 08, 2014 - 9:39 am

There is no love lost right now between Mooresville residents and Norfolk Southern. The railroad company is in the process up tearing up and rebuilding its railroad crossings in Mooresville, and the process has produced huge potholes, gravel piles that scrape the underside of short cars and hot tempers among drivers.

Schools’ digital growth needs more e-rate funding
Updated: December 08, 2014 - 9:39 am

The writer is superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District.

Saturday 12/06/2014
Toward a ‘bicameral’ Fed
Posted: December 06, 2014

Charles I. Plosser, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, came to Charlotte last week to make an important point: the nation needs “a longer-term view of the U.S. economy and monetary policy.”

Wednesday 12/03/2014
A Leafy Assault
Posted: December 03, 2014

Tired of blowing leaves? So are we. Seems like the more we blow and rake, the faster the leaves fall.

Monday 11/24/2014
Info rich
Posted: November 24, 2014

Every now and then we hear long-faced pundits observing that America’s Baby Boomer generation was the last to have a reasonable expectation that their standard of living would be better than that of their parents.

Tuesday 11/11/2014
'No Labels,' just vision
Posted: November 11, 2014

Long ago The New Yorker Magazine ran a cartoon showing a frosty old matron saying, “Someone ought to write a sex manual for people who don’t want to.” A few days ago I discovered an organization (or an initiative or a movement) that might be characterized as a political party for people who are turned off by party politics.

Monday 10/27/2014
Bringing advanced railway tech to UNCC
Posted: October 27, 2014

In January 2005, Dean Robert E. Johnson of the William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte, received a presentation about the Mooresville Hydrail Initiative. The basic proposal was to make the track connecting Charlotte with Mooresville become world’s first rail line to operate hydrogen fuel cell-powered trains -- hydrail.

Monday 10/20/2014
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Oct. 19
Posted: October 20, 2014

Falling-down schools are failing students, so please vote for bonds

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Oct. 15
Posted: October 20, 2014

Bonds will help school facilities match our educational standards

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Oct. 12
Posted: October 20, 2014

To me (and this lucky dog), my dad is certainly a hero

Monday 10/13/2014
Vote for mistletoe
Posted: October 13, 2014

To my delight this week, I saw a candidate’s TV ad boasting she’d been voted the “most moderate” senator in Washington!

Monday 09/29/2014
TV: The candidate’s casting couch
Posted: September 29, 2014

As someone whose career revolved around examining trends and describing their probable effects, I just had to snag former VP Al Gore’s recent opus, The Future, off the Mooresville Public Library shelf. It was in the Non-Fiction section, which says something about the independent-mindedness of librarians in Iredell, this most Republican of counties.

Monday 09/15/2014
Solacaust deniers
Posted: September 15, 2014

It’s overly dramatic, I admit, to conflate denial of the impact of industrial civilization on Earth’s climate—the “solacaust”— with absurd and nefarious claims that the genocide of Jews in the 1940s —the Holocaust—never really happened. Yet there are sad similarities.

Wednesday 09/10/2014
THE READERS WRITE: What's on your mind?
Updated: September 10, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Progress? Maybe, but all of

Wednesday 09/03/2014
Barber Junction, back when
Posted: September 03, 2014

Once upon a time the United States resembled today’s Europe in an interesting way. You could get to most places by train and very often did.

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