A little Friday afternoon Florida reading from Tim Dorsey

The Florida Humanities Council staged a micro-fiction challenge. The task was to tell a Florida story in 250 words. And it had to start like this: "They named the gator ..." Here's what Dorsey wrote in the magazine called Forum: …

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National Geographic liked the Times' Octavio Jones' picture of the recent sinkhole in Spring Hill

The other day in Hernando County.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

The other day in Hernando County.

Kathryn Varn was also there. Nearly 300 sinkholes have opened up in the Sunshine State since 2010 and thousands over the past century. The Florida Speleological Society has likened the state's geology to "Swiss cheese coated with soil."

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Learning about our particular brand of lobster

Nine things I underlined in what Terry Tomalin put in this morning's sports section:

1. "The problem is that lobsters are notoriously hard to count," said Tom Matthews, who works in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's field office in Marathon. "If you took all of the lobsters and put them in one room, they would all gather together in one corner."

2. So with the two-day lobster sport season running next Wednesday and Thursday, Matthews couldn't really tell me where to go in the Florida Keys to get my limit.

3. "... lobsters are natural nomads. They can walk one or two kilometers in a day looking for food. In a couple of weeks, they can move 20 or 30 kilometers."

4. A Florida lobster looks a little like a crawfish. It doesn't have the large claws for hunting and defense like its cousins off the coast of Maine.

5. The spiny lobster's main defense is its speed.

6. ... it is possible to see long lines of lobsters walking across the ocean bottom. "When a low pressure — a cold front or a hurricane — approaches, lobsters will queue up or form a line and walk to deeper water where it is safer."

7. ... the regular lobster season opens Aug. 6 and runs through March 31 ... …

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On the inevitability of marriage equality in Florida

Here yesterday: Because this is the biggest issue facing Florida and America right now? From the Times' editorial page today: Jolly recognizes the difference between religious beliefs and government-sanctioned discrimination. He probably also sees that the courts, public opinion and the political winds are trending toward tolerance, fairness and legally recognizing same-sex marriages. Rubio, Scott and Bondi have yet to see the light. It will be up to the courts and the voters to help them along.

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Sunshine

This is Gerald McCoy. He plays for the Bucs. He showed up for the first day of practice in his robe.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

This is Gerald McCoy. He plays for the Bucs. He showed up for the first day of practice in his robe.

Friday. Seven and then some.

1. I can't find this anywhere here on tampabay.com, but I definitely underlined the following paragraph in today's paper: Peacocks are once again rampaging through the northern part of Pinellas Park, prompting officials to hire a trapper to remove the birds. City officials earlier this month hired Vernon Yates' Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation to trap, tranquilize and remove "nuisance peacocks" in the area around Helen Howarth Park. Background. On the topic of rampaging birds.

2. Best places for business and careers? Not in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay was No. 72 on the annual Forbes list. Florida metros ranking higher than that: at No. 54, West Palm Beach; at No. 67, Orlando; and at No. 69 ... North Port. Tallahassee was No. 165. Yikes.

3. Next week Rick Scott and Pam Bondi will go for a ride in Tampa in a driverless car. …

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Rick Scott, All Aboard Florida, the Sabal Trail Transmission, and linking the personal to the political

Rick Scott.

Times

Rick Scott.

Time's Michael Grunwald:

The Florida governor has been questioned about his investment in a natural gas company and his aide's involvement in a rail project.

A few months ago, I wrote about an epidemic of fake Republican scandals that Democrats were hyping for 2014, starting with a nothingburger of a whatever-gate involving Florida Governor Rick Scott. My point was that political scandals rarely get traction, and shouldn't get traction, without a semi-plausible link to significant public policies. Let me put it a different way: Damaging scandals look more like the two latest messes involving Governor Scott.

The first involves Scott's support for a controversial Miami-to-Orlando rail project known as All Aboard Florida, when the company pushing it had financial ties to his chief of staff. The second involves Scott's support for a controversial natural gas pipeline to North Florida, when he owned a stake in the company building it. You probably haven't heard about these messes, because they're pretty obscure. They're also mini-messes, especially for Scott, who was once CEO of a hospital chain that paid a record $1.7 billion fine for fraud committed on his watch. Keep reading.

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John Romano on Dunedin Elementary and school grades and what's really the problem

In his column today, which you should read, here are the three most important points he makes:

1. One small problem with school grades: They're a sham.

2. The single most predictive factor in a school's grade is the poverty level of the student body. You tell me how many students are eligible for the free/reduced lunch program, and I can usually tell you a school's grade.

3. Dunedin Elementary was once a highly regarded school with the test scores to prove it. Back in 2005, Dunedin scored a coveted A in the state grading system. At the time, its free/reduced lunch rate was 53 percent. As that rate increased to 59, 62, 63 and then 67 percent, Dunedin clung to a B grade. By 2010, the rate was up to 78 percent and Dunedin dropped to a C. By 2012, it was 83 and the school was down to a D.

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Because this is the biggest issue facing Florida and America right now?

You saw this on 1A of today's Times?

What Marco Rubio says: "Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change state laws. But Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing that overturned by a judge. ... I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot or someone who is anti-gay. This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage. And if support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election." …

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A twist to the story about the 'dork' from Jupiter who was said to have taught scientists something new about invasive lionfish

Lionfish!

SUJIT KUMAR | Creative Commons

Lionfish!

The Lauren Arrington story? Turns out it was too good to be true. Some highlights from io9:

A marine biologist is now claiming that the project was based on published work he did back in 2011 — and that the girl is the daughter of his former supervisor's best friend.

Since the story broke a couple of days ago it's been picked up by numerous media outlets. The news eventually got the attention of Jud, who claims that his many years of groundbreaking work on lionfish in low salinity estuarine habitats is being completely and intentionally ignored.

"At this stage in my career, this type of national exposure would be invaluable ... if only my name was included in the stories," Jud wrote on his Facebook page. "I feel like my hands are tied. Anything I say will come off as an attempt to steal a little girl's thunder, but it's unethical for her and her father to continue to claim the discovery of lionfish in estuaries as her own." …

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Marco Rubio on the J.C. Newman cigar factory in Tampa's Ybor City

A Tampa institution.

New York Times

A Tampa institution.

Remember this from the other day? Here's what Rubio had in this morning's paper:

When my grandfather was a young boy growing up in Cuba, he was afflicted by polio that permanently disabled his legs and rendered him incapable of working in the tobacco or sugarcane fields like most boys his age. Instead he was sent to school, where he learned to read and write and developed a lifelong passion for learning.

The opportunity to learn in Cuba opened doors for my grandfather that were closed to most, including one at a local cigar factory. Since he couldn't work in the fields but was able to read, he landed a job keeping the cigar rollers entertained during the workday by reading to them.

For more than 150 years, Tampa has been home to dozens of cigar factories just like the one my grandfather worked at in Cuba. This industry helped turn Ybor City into an enduring symbol of the cultural links between Tampa and Cuba while providing thousands of jobs to people trying to live the American Dream. So synonymous is this area with cigars that one of the rising stars of the city's emerging craft beer industry, Cigar City Brewing Co., pays homage to this identity with its name. Keep reading.

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Charm, vim and 'swagger,' thanks to fancy boxes in city centers

This is Adrienne Hatch. She's paying $1,330 for a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. In St. Pete!

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

This is Adrienne Hatch. She's paying $1,330 for a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. In St. Pete!

Three things I underlined in Drew Harwell's important story today on 1A:

1. "The younger generation, under 35, they don't want to own homes. They don't want a yard. ... They watched what happened (during the recession), watched their parents lose their houses," said John Stone, a managing director of multifamily housing for Colliers International, a real estate brokerage. "They have a different taste, a different value system. ... These kids are more than happy to pay $1,200 in rent to walk out their door and immediately go to their favorite bar, their favorite restaurant."

2. ... adding to what U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan called "the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known." Tampa Bay renters are now spending more of their income toward rent than at almost any point in the past 30 years, a Zillow index found.

3. Rents here in June, real estate data site Trulia said, climbed 4.6 percent over the last year, a jump even higher than Portland or New York.

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Sunshine

Morning. Thursday already? Seven and then some.

1. ... possible cheating on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test at an elementary magnet school in St. Petersburg. Click.

2. From Forbes: Florida has crawled back from the depths of the recession and the  employment outlook is bright, particularly for the retirement enclaves in the southern part of the state. Leading the way is Naples, which is expected to have the fastest job growth rate among the 200 largest metro areas with an annual rate of 4.1% through 2016, according to Moody's Analytics.

3. Via the Washington Post's new Storyline: Florida has the most properties vulnerable to surging sea levels — nearly half of the country's at-risk roads and buildings.

4. So ... Miami Beach (ground zero of ground zero!) is proposing an 84 percent increase in storm water fees — the cost of keeping rising seas at bay — with more rises in the future.

5. Watch a rare corpse flower bloom in Loxahatchee.

6. Did you see the cover of Weekend in this morning's paper? Cameron Cottrill strikes again.

7. A new reality show about buying an RV? Really? Is that a good use of anybody's precious and finite time on this planet?

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'Such a mixed multitude,' Florida

Five things I underlined in Rollins College English professor Maurice J. O'Sullivan's piece in the current issue of the magazine of the Florida Humanities Council:

1. It may seem surprising that Florida's first poem was written in French -- as was our first novel, Atala (1801), by Francois-Rene, the vicomte de Chateaubriand -- but our state has always been both multilingual and multicultural.

2. When Rachel Jackson visited Pensacola to witness her husband Andrew take possession of Florida for the United States in 1821, she expressed her surprise about the residents in a letter to her friend Eliza Kingsley: "The inhabitants all speak Spanish and French. Some speak four or five languages. Such a mixed multitude, you, nor any of us, ever had an idea of."

3. ... today education professionals claim that students speak 301 languages in the state's schools.

4. That extraordinarily complex heritage has provided Florida with the oldest, most diverse, and, arguably, richest literary tradition in the United States ...

5. ... we should recognize that when England finally established its first permanent North American settlement, Florida already had a flourishing multilingual literary heritage ...

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Daily Beast sponsored content says it's 'Tampa Time' this summer but uses a photo of St. Pete

Not Tampa.

LARA CERRI | Times

Not Tampa.

Melissa Lyttle noted the flub. Here's the ... piece of content:

Heat is an inescapable part of Tampa's essence, and while visitors this summer will sweat profusely, they'll also be out experiencing the rich, understated history, natural beauty, and one-of-a-kind food and drink of this fast-rising Southeastern metropolis. These suggestions will help you wring every last drop out of the season, guaranteeing you'll fall into autumn bursting with more knowledge about a place that is much more than the cigars and outrageous pirate parties that the rest of the world seems to know it by. Keep reading.

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Sunshine

Wednesday now. Seven and then some.

1. The news today on 1A: An estimated 931,000 Floridians could lose $4.8 billion in subsidies to buy health insurance if a federal appeals court decision Tuesday striking down a major part of President Obama's signature health care law is upheld. …

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