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Thursday, April 24,2014

In case you missed it

COLORADO 12TH IN THE NATION FOR INCREASING STUDENT DEBT 

In what is sure to be unsurprising news to our readers currently in college, a new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association places Colorado 12th in the nation for rising student debt burden. The Centennial State spent 32 percent less per student in 2013 than in 2008 — and we’re not alone. Only three states — North Dakota, Illinois and Wyoming — made increases to their spending per student in the five-year period between reports. For the most part, tuition increases helped colleges offset the cuts, with nationwide out-of-pocket costs for tuition and fees going up by 29 percent since 2008. The University of Colorado Board of Regents recently approved a 3.3 percent tuition hike for the 2014-15 academic year, the smallest increase since 2006-07 (however, CU students across the system bore the weight of a 27.8 percent hike the previous academic year). In the past decade, the CU system has increased tuition by an average of 10 percent each academic year.

TWITTER BUYS GNIP 

Microblogging site Twitter purchased Boulder-based social media data company Gnip, Inc. this month. Gnip offers its clients data from dozens of social media websites including Facebook, Google , Instagram and flickr, all of which can provide valuable data about market trends and public opinion about products and services. We’re not sure about you, but we have a sudden desire to pour through our past tweets to see what kind of picture we’d paint of ourselves… Twitter went public last last year on the New York Stock Exchange, but even with a net worth of more than $18 billion (revenue from advertising sales), the social media site has been searching for a way to turn a consistent profit. Gnip, which spelled backwards is “ping,” might just be the answer, Twitter hopes. Twitter has confirmed that the deal will lead to the social media giant’s first official presence in Colorado.

BOULDER CRACKS CODE FOR HUMOR, BUT NOT TOP 50 

We’re not exactly sure why the city of Boulder didn’t crack the list of the top 50 funniest cities and why Tulsa, Oklahoma, for instance, did. Maybe Boulder’s periodic episodes of dourness and occasional tendency to rain on parades led University of Colorado Boulder associate professor of marketing and psychology Peter McGraw to head up his investigation of what makes us laugh. Using an algorithm at his Humor Research Lab, McGraw and his crack team claim to have found the funniest cities in America. Topping the list were Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Portland. Denver came in at No. 8, just after New York and Los Angeles. And, it turns out, senses of humor vary from place to place. “We found humor often has a local flavor,” said McGraw in a CU press release. “The jokes that get laughs at comedy clubs in Denver seem unlikely to fly with a cartoon editor at The New Yorker, for example. The kind of torturous game shows that some Japanese find amusing would likely fall flat to a sitcom producer in Los Angeles.” McGraw has lately been making rounds for his book, a collaboration with former Boulder Weekly journo Joel Warner: The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny.

ROBOTS GO TO WORK ON FLOOD 

The city of Boulder’s Public Works Department employed a robot to assess how much damage last year’s flooding caused to infrastructure and how to make any repairs. The robot possess all the capabilities of a river dolphin armed with a waterproof camera: “It just floats down and there is a sonar out front that is basically taking instantaneous readings of what’s below the water surface elevation and then the camera is taking a picture of what’s above,” Public Works spokesman Douglas Sullivan told CBS4 News. The city hired Red Zone Robotics for $175,000 to explore six miles of sewer pipes and to assess how much flooding took place underground.

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