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Check out this handy link, especially if you live in the southeast U.S. The Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State has compiled tons of demographic information for every southeastern county. Plug in your county and the information pops up. 

You can also see how the rural areas of your state compare to urban counties. 

• The Federal Communications Commission is ready to release “white spaces,” the unused airspace used by television channels. The space could be put to use for any number of wireless purposes, including spreading broadband to across small towns or to low populations areas. 

Release of white spaces has come under criticism by users of wireless microphones — such as Broadway shows and the Grand Old Opry. They fear that crowded airwaves will interfere with their mics. The FCC has talked about reserving two channels in each market for wireless microphones.

• The West Virginia coal mine that exploded in April, killing 29 miners, had continuing problems controlling coal dust. Coal dust is explosive. Log books released to the Associated Press show that miners reported excessive accumulations of coal dust the day of the explosion and in the weeks before the blast. The explosion is believed to have started when an accumulation of methane gas was ignited.

• The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger reports on the decline in the number of black farmers. The Census found a five percent increase in black farmers from 2002 and 2007, but researchers say that increase may reflect only better techniques used in counting. 

Meanwhile, the New York Times Magazine Sunday ran its umpteenth story about young, white kids who are “interning” at farms. Getting an internship at an organic farm is now as hard as finding a slot at the White House (or something like that), according to the Times. 

The weather is idyllic and all the kids are good looking. (Photo above.) We hope these kids graduate and come to work. It’s a welcome change from all those finance majors rushing to the lower end of Manhattan. 

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