Thursday, December 20, 2012

Student of the Month-November: Mary Ghahreman

Mary has been an SSS participant since the summer  of 2011. She is currently working towards completing the pre-requisites for Anoka-Ramsey’s RN program and doing very well, as her 4.0 GPA indicates.

Aside from her studies, Mary leads a busy home life, taking care of two children while her husband works and attends college.

Mary always has a positive attitude regardless of what roadblocks arise and she frequently comes in for help when needed.

Congratulations, Mary!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Skidding In a Winter Wonderland

It looks like winter is here to stay. Here are some tips to help you stay safe...

Be careful when burning those great-smelling candles...and get a carbon monoxide detector......
  • Home fires are more prevalent in the winter months than any other season. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter residential building fires. Other winter fire hazards include space heaters, fireplaces and candles.
To see a startling video of how fast a (real) Christmas tree can burn, watch this video---the tree is completely engulfed in 30 seconds---
  • The cold weather increases your chances of getting frostbite or hypothermia. Between  the years of 1999-2004, an average of 647 people died each year from hypothermia.
  • In 2009, over 16,000 Americans were treated for head injuries in emergency rooms because of accidents while playing winter sports (skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowmobiling). 
  • Fatal crashes were 14% more likely to happen on the first snowy day of the season than on days following. It takes drivers a few days to regain their sense of driving in this weather. 
  • According to the CDC, most carbon monoxide poisonings happen in January; the second most in December. Carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed.

Drinking does not warm you up; in fact, it will make your body colder. If you have been drinking and/or using, have someone sober walk with you or drive you home. Every year we hear stories of college students wandering off and dying needlessly in the snow or in a lake or river, because they got disoriented and fell asleep outside.

It's said all the time, but we'll say it again: Be absolutely sure the ice is safe before you walk on it, skate on it, and of course when you drive on it. If you're in doubt, don't go out.

Even ice that looks perfectly fine can be deceptively thin:

And now to safety in your car in the winter.......

Avoid letting your car run close to Empty. Cars use more gas in the cold weather, and you may find yourself stuck in traffic, which will also cause the car to use gas-- even though it's idling. 

Be sure your windshield washer fluid is full, and get new wiper blades if you need them. Have a scraper and brush with you and when it snows, clean all your windows and lights off thoroughly, as well as your license plate. It will take a little extra time, but you need to see as well as possible on the road.

It's always good to carry jumper cables with you, especially in winter weather. Ask someone to show you how to use them, too. Here's a video showing you how--but READ all the instructions as well).

Consider checking the charge on your car battery: Do you need a new one? Better to get it before you need it!

Leave extra cold-weather gear in the car: extra gloves or mittens, hat, scarf, weather-type snow boots, even socks. You may be caught on a fashion-forward day without these items. A blanket, some snacks, and water for drinking is also smart. A bright bandanna or a piece of bright cloth will be good to tie on your antenna if you're stuck. Keep your cell phone charged, especially in winter.

If you are taking a longer trip, let someone know your planned route and when you expect to get there. That way, they will know where to look if you don't show up.

Consider having some cheap kitty litter or a couple of old floor mats in your trunk. You might be able to place these under your tires to get enough traction to get out of your situation. If someone offers to push your car, thank them, get in, and keep on driving once you get going---don't stop to say thank you again.

What if you get stranded in your car?
The National Safety Council gives this advice: 
Do not leave your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help and are certain you will improve your situation
  • To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the vehicle a safe distance away
  • Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna
  • If you are sure the vehicle's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending on the amount of gas in the tank
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia; use woolen items and blankets to keep warm
  • Keep at least one window open slightly as heavy snow and ice can seal a vehicle shut.

    Stay safe and warm this winter!!!

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    TRIO SSS Student of the Month: Jayme Pronger

    Jayme is pursuing a career in the field of rejuvenation therapy and cosmology. Currently, she is focusing her efforts on completing the admission requirements for the 2-year Associate of Science degree program in Nursing at Anoka Ramsey Community College.  The primary reasons she has been selected for recognition by TRIO are her commitment to achievement, her ability to embrace responsibility and the resilience and strength she has shown when faced with difficult life challenges. Her dedication and drive to achieve have earned her a 3.68 GPA.  She currently holds a responsible position in the health care field, and has been recognized and promoted at work for her efforts. Jayme became a TRIO program participant in August of 2010 and has used TRiO’s program resources and advising services to navigate through college.  In order to enhance her success, she has taken advantage of college and TRiO tutoring services. Consistently, Jayme has demonstrated problem solving skills and a positive mindset that are so necessary when effectively balancing the demanding roles of holding a professional position, raising a young daughter as her sole parent and mastering college level courses. We have been impressed with her caring and engaging personality, strong personal initiative and willingness to embrace responsibility in all arenas of her life.  Jayme highly deserves this recognition.                                      

                              CONGRATULATIONS, JAYME !!!

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Psst...What's the Password?

    I would imagine you've heard it before, but it bears repeating: How secure are your passwords?

    We need passwords, it seems, for virtually everything: ATM, voice mail, logging in to your computer, visiting some websites, online shopping, shopping in person, opening your email....and the list goes on. Every time you open any sort of new 'account,' even if it's just to receive advertisements or information about  your health insurance, you need a new password.

    What kinds of passwords are easily guessed by hackers? Below are some examples of commonly used passwords that are a hacker's bread and butter, so to speak:

    123abc --even if you like the Jackson 5 song, bad choice
    Qwerty (the top left row of a keyboard)
    Repeated words, such as kittykitty.
    Spelling your name backwards, such as htims instead of Smith or auhsoj instead of Joshua
    Using your birthdate such as susieapril2593
    Consecutive letters on a keyboard, such as asdfghjkl or wertyuio
    Using your actual name and birthdate (Yes, some people do that. Not good!)

    You get the idea.... simple to remember for you, but also simple to guess.

    Some sites don't require you to make up an especially secure password: they just want to start sending you email and they're not going to bother making it difficult. However, to be really secure, passwords should:

    • Have at least 8 characters--letters, numbers, and/or symbols-and don't forget underlines, periods, commas, semicolons, and colons can be used
    • Contain upper and lowercase letters
    • Never be the same for multiple purposes-use different ones for each.
    • The symbols should not be at the beginning or end of the password: zquroe*ff9Now is going to be harder to hack than  !Furrydog2.
    • Be a made-up word, not one you can find in the dictionary, such as prastical, bendelay, or drofows
    • Be something you can remember, but still obscure. Try the first letters of the first line of a favorite song: rrr7ybgDts is "Row, row, row, your boat gently down the stream" with a 7, three characters in.
    • Instead of "Love2playHalo" use L2pHen/wf+sNx (Love to play Halo every night with friends plus snacks)
    • Even if the site isn't asking for a longer and more complex password, make yours that way.
    • Some people create new passwords more often by going to the website and pretending they've forgotten their password. They then let the site send them an email to re-set it with a random one to make it harder to hack.
    • Deliberately spell words wrong.
    The next one is not commonly known:
    • When the site asks you to set up security questions, remember: the site doesn't know the answers---and you're 'talking' to a computer, not a person. If the question is, 'What was your favorite pet?' you can answer anything you want, such as "aardvark," or "cream of wheat" or "Harlem Globetrotters." As long as you know you did that, you can answer the question if asked and unlock your account. If hackers have gotten partway into hacking your account and run into a security question such as What's your father's middle name?, and you answered your security questions with the right answer, that information is not hard to find online. The site doesn't care-and won't correct you- if you say your father's middle name was "Cranberrysauce," anyway.
    • Use a life event such as your wedding: groom20minlate or myMILcrazy, then add a number, a symbol, and an uppercase letter: groom20Min$late or my+MILcra7zy.  How about school-related: toomanyteststhisweek becomes 2many2tests2thisweE)k  or ihatebiology becomes iHate4biology)(#  --something you can remember but not too simple.
    • Make your password very long-this makes it hard to hack, also. Just remember the rules about not using consecutive numbers or letters. Some people just hit random keys on the keyboard, copy it and paste it to a word document or somewhere else where they can retrieve it, and enter that as the password. Example:wpof[ghj3e9t=-sjdeoowpfdjgoeperlgfj . Take that, hackers.
    • Again: Super Important: Never use the same password for multiple purposes.
    And what are those wavy words you are sometimes asked to type in, to access an account?

    This is called a 'captcha,' which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".  Hacking is usually done by someone who has set up a way for his computer to 'read' your passwords in automated fashion. Words printed in this wavy fashion are usually impossible for a computer program to 'read.' In the above case, the line through the words also makes it hard for a computer to scan. Although we find sometimes the wavy words are hard for humans to read, also, it is a tool that can be used to try and prevent someone from getting into your account.

    There are mixed reviews as to writing down any passwords. You might write them down, putting letters or numbers every three letters for instance, so you know to remove them in order to get the actual password. Alternately, you could use a made-up word that you write down, but don't write down the numbers you use with it. The hackers are highly unlikely to come to your house looking for a document with your passwords, but it doesn't hurt to keep this in a secure place. Don't put a title at the top, "Joe Jones's password list," though.

    If you have a trusted friend, print a copy and give it to him or her so in a dire emergency, you could call and retrieve your passwords that way. There are online 'vaults' in which to keep passwords, but it seems like a less than intelligent place to have them, since the whole point is online security.

    Review your passwords and change some of them today. Make it harder for hackers!

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Stupid Things People Say To Diabetics

    2nd of a 2 part series: November is Diabetes Awareness Month. How much do you know about Diabetes?

    You’re Diabetic? You’re not fat!!  -Diabetics are not all overweight, they come in all shapes and sizes. Being overweight may increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, but heredity plays a big role, too.

    You don’t look like a diabetic.  -Really? What should I look like?

    You shouldn’t eat that, or You can’t have that, or Should you eat that?  -Please, do not give yourself the mission of telling a diabetic what to eat. They know what they should or should not eat.

    Your solution: you can just eat sugar-free foods. -Sure, except that they taste terrible and are full of questionable additives that can upset your stomach. Actually, people with diabetes can eat almost anything, in moderation. Really.

    At least a cure is close.    --Maybe, maybe not. They say that about cancer, too. Does that make it less serious?

    I could never give myself shots. I could never stick my fingers for blood tests-Sure you could, if that was how you stayed alive.

    Is it contagious? No. It is not.

    (Referring to meter) You can’t get service for that in here.   -This is just a meter to measure blood glucose. It’s not a cell phone or an I-pad, and it has no use for the internet.

    Diabetic, that means you want to eat all the time, right?         -What??

    Are you going to/When are you going to go blind?     -When are you going to go smart?

    Well, at least it’s just diabetes.     -Um, excuse me??? This is a serious disease. In your line of thinking, it will “just” damage your cardiovascular system and potentially cause nerve damage and kidney damage, if left untreated. No big deal.

    • People wearing insulin pumps are also sometimes laughed at because others think they're wearing a pager or have their cell phone clipped to their pocket.
    • If you happen to observe someone injecting something in a restaurant, you should assume it's insulin and not stare
    • Please be considerate and offer treats like fruit and nuts at parties
    • Keep in mind there is no day off from having Diabetes

    So, there you have it: share this info with your friends so they’re informed, too.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Thank Your Farmer

    With Thanksgiving coming up this week, Triogenius wondered what it was like to be a farmer who produces the food we eat...Have you ever thought about farming or something related as a career?

    Farming can be anything from a small family farm to a major conglomerate involving several million-acre locations. If you grew up on a farm, you already know most of what's involved in running the place. You may have participated in 4-H in middle and high school. 4-H students often will raise an animal, such as a calf, lamb, or pig, and present it at the annual State Fair.

    So how could more education be helpful?

    Think of all the things involved in farming:

    Farming crops--           Plant Science
                                        Soil Science and Irrigation
                                        Farm Inspectors

    Farming with animals--Animal Maintenance
                                       Veterinary Science/Farm related
                                       Dairy Science
                                       Aquafarming--growing fish for food
    Both crop and animal farms require you to have knowledge of:

                                         Machine Repair
                                         General building and maintenance skills
                                         Field Maintenance (fields needed for grazing)
                                         Biomedical Science
                                         Stock Market (what is your product
                                                            selling for-- varies day to day)

    There are also careers in Agricultural Law, which deals not only with land and ownership issues, but also with pollution, price fixing, and corporate liabilities--what if an outbreak of food poisoning was traced back to food grown on your farm or by your company?

    There is a constant stream of research being done on how to make plants disease-proof and yield more, as well as developing new plants (hybrids) and healthier animals, which includes genetic engineering and statistics.

    You might focus on only dairy products (or, only milk); only turkeys, only certain vegetables like corn and soybeans, or products like honey, apples, or plants to be used in landscaping, including sod, trees, shrubs, and garden plants.

    You may want to pursue organic farming--farming done with no pesticides or engineered growth chemicals. These farms tend to be smaller and require a lot more hands-on maintenance.

    You may want to work as a county extension agent, who is someone who helps advise and guide farmers.

    Last, while farming is a very valuable career, many times farmers find they need a second job to provide a steady income. Their income level varies year to year and is not only dependent on good weather, but also the risk of diseases in plants and animals. It is very physical, demanding, tiring work. However, most farmers will tell you they find their jobs very rewarding: Working the land and/or with animals, producing food, and enjoying the outdoors, are reasons they love what they do.

    Take a few minutes to consider how your Thanksgiving feast arrived at your table and give thanks for those farmers this year.

    Check out the Extension News from the University of Minnesota:

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Thank A Vet

    This essay, written by Sgt Denis O'Brien, USMC-retired, was found online and it speaks very well about what it means to be a veteran. Let's keep it in mind today, Veterans Day 2012.

    What is a Vet?

    Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

    Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: The soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

    Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

    What is a vet?

    He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

    He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

    She or he is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Danang.

    He is the POW who went away one person and came back another.. or didn't come back at all.

    He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

    He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

    He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

    He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor remains unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

    He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket with palsied hands, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

    He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being: a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

    He is a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman, and also a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

    So remember each time you see someone who has served our country. When you see one, just lean over and say Thank You.

    That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

    Two little words that mean a lot: "THANK YOU".

    Please also see this video about wounded vets finding healing through music:

    The Minnesota American Legion has some wonderful stories on its website:

    To see other ways you could volunteer in some way to help our veterans, visit:

    Remember to support the families of our service members as well.

    If you are a vet reading this,

                       THANK YOU!!!!

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Diabetes Awareness Part I

    November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Let's learn something about Diabetes in order to understand it better.

    Did you know there are three kinds of Diabetes? There is Type 1 or Juvenile, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. Gestational type occurs during pregnancy, so it affects less people, and usually stops after the birth of the baby. We're going to share information here about Type 2 and Type 1.

                                                             Type 2

    90% of people who have Diabetes, have Type 2. Whether you develop Type 2 is mostly dependent on lifestyle and heredity: If you have a close blood relative that has it, you are at higher risk as well. Being overweight increases this risk. However, many Type 2 Diabetics are of average or slender build.

    Here's where the pancreas is.....ugly thing, isn't it.........

    With Type 2, your pancreas is still functioning, but not at 100% efficiency. If you closely monitor the foods you eat, with Type 2 you can still keep diabetes under control to some extent. Type 2 involves an insulin resistance and sometimes a reduction in insulin production. Your body's cells do not use insulin the way they are supposed to. Sometimes people with Type 2 Diabetes are able to control their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels with diet and exercise, but often treatment requires medication. Often, medication in a pill form will help cells use insulin more efficiently, and so insulin is not necessary. However, sometimes people with Type 2 Diabetes aren't able to achieve good control of their blood glucose levels and begin to use insulin injections. When taking the pill form of medication, it's necessary to check blood glucose levels (finger sticks) before meals and at bedtime, so about 4 times each day. When taking insulin, much more frequent checks are needed.

    Here is someone checking her blood glucose using a meter: The drop of blood is put on a test strip, and the test strip is inserted into the meter, which gives the blood glucose reading:

                                                             Type 1
    Type 1, or Juvenile Diabetes, occurs when your pancreas isn't functioning at all. In this case, you will need to give yourself insulin when you need it and monitor your food intake much more closely than with Type 2.

    Feeling adventurous? Take this challenge: Try being a Type 1 Diabetic for a day using this app: text T1D4ADAY to 63566, or visit

    You will be texted many times in a 24 hour period to simulate a day in the life for a person with Type 1.
    It was originally called 'Juvenile Diabetes' because it usually shows up in people under the age of 20-including newborns and toddlers-but can appear at any age. Type 1 is considered an autoimmune disease, or an attack from within. It does not have a connection to your lifestyle but may have one to heredity.

    People with Type 1 must rely on insulin injections for treatment. Your body requires insulin at all times. Insulin works as a type of "key" that lets glucose into all your cells. Glucose is needed by your cells in order for the cells to function. Without it, glucose can't enter cells, so the cells don't have fuel to work, and your system shuts down. In Type 1, insulin must be injected so that the glucose can always enter your cells and your body can function. 

    Insulin can be carried with a person in a device that looks like a fat pen and is pre-loaded with insulin. It has a needle on the end that needs to be changed after every use.  Insulin needs to be refrigerated until it is opened. Once opened, it can be out of the fridge for 28 days and then must be thrown away. 

    When you have Type 1 Diabetes, your life is much more influenced by the disease than with Type 2 (usually). A typical day for a Type 1 Diabetic includes up to 12 finger sticks/meter readings per day, with injected insulin (shots) occurring with each meal as well as long-acting insulin to get through the day. Activities that lower or raise your glucose mean more testing, as does illness (it tends to run high while fighting off an illness) while exercise usually lowers the glucose level. Running too high can cause nerve damage if it's left uncontrolled, and running too low of a glucose level can result in the person going into a coma.

    Insulin can be carried with a person in a device that looks like a fat pen and is pre-loaded with insulin. Carried in a small nylon case with the meter, this makes it easier to test and inject the insulin when a person is 'out and about.'

    Another option for someone with Type 1 Diabetes is an insulin pump. Here is what it looks like:

    The pump, as you can see, looks somewhat like a pager. It has a tendency to make security alarms go off, and can be a bother to allow for if you're wearing certain clothing; however, it does save you from several injections every day. You can take it off completely for an hour to shower or take a swim, but the pump cannot get wet.

    With the pump, insulin is constantly being administered to the person, 24/7. This provides the person with a steady supply of insulin, since their body isn't making any insulin, and the body's cells always need it ready to dispense. The person does a blood test (finger stick) and based on that, tells the pump to deliver a "bolus" (dose) of extra insulin when they eat or when their blood sugar is running high. Since the tubing is already sitting under the skin, the pump eliminates the need for several insulin shots per day. Every 3 days a new 'set' is inserted, using  a needle and a little tool. Once the new set is inserted, the needle is then removed, leaving behind a cannula, which is a very small hollow plastic tube, underneath the skin. This connects to the insulin pump via a small plastic tube that's about 12 inches long. The pump is typically worn on the front of pocket of your pants. The needle is attached to your skin in the abdomen area with a large round bandage patch. The pump needs to be refilled and the infusion site (the place where the tubing was connected to the body) changed every two to three days. The insulin needs only to be infused into the fatty layer of tissue just beneath the skin. From there, it is absorbed into the body and dispersed to the cells that need it. 

    How do you know if someone with diabetes might need your help? A person whose glucose level is running very low will become disoriented, may not make sense, will seem a little drowsy or shaky. If you know the person is diabetic, offer some juice or a small piece of soft candy-you don't want him or her to choke. A very small amount of soda will work, but is extremely high in sugar so don't give a large amount. Even a little milk will probably provide enough sugar to stabilize the person so he/she can decide what to do. Do not pour something down the person's throat! Your aim is only to bring the blood glucose (sugar) level up enough so the person becomes fully alert. Stay calm so the person will also stay calm. Once the blood glucose level comes back up, the person will be fine and probably will not need medical intervention. However, if you are not having success, call 911 right away.

    There's your tutorial about Diabetes. Hope it enlightened you, and remember: you may develop it yourself, and you almost certainly know someone who has it. Look for Part 2 later this month.

    Please also visit to learn more about Diabetes, including help for Hurricane Sandy victims who may be in need of help with diabetic supplies.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    TRIO SSS Student of the Month-September 2012

      Congrats to our Student of the Month for September 2012, Valentina Pop!

         Valentina was chosen for  Trio’s Student of the Month because of her extremely hard work in the classroom and her dedication to Trio and other students outside of the classroom.
         Valentina is currently completing her prerequisites for Anoka-Ramsey’s Registered Nursing program.  After obtaining her AS-RN, she plans on transferring to the University of Minnesota to obtain her Bachelors degree in Spanish.  After that, she will continue her education at Augsburg College in pursuit of  their Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  Her ultimate goal is to become a Physician's  Assistant.
          Valentina is always coming in to meet with her advisor for questions regarding current items and also future planning.  She attends social/cultural events when available as well as workshops to help further her success in college. 
         Along with all of Valentina’s educational pursuits, she has been very involved in Trio.  Valentina is one of Trio’s Peer Mentors and Ambassadors.  As a Peer Mentor, she meets with students that are new to Anoka-Ramsey and helps them through the beginning of their educational journey here.  As an Ambassador, Valentina works at events and represents Trio Student Support Services and lets potential new students know about all that Trio has to offer them.
         It is for all of these reasons that we have chosen Valentina to be Trio Student Support Service’s Student of the Month.  We wish her nothing but continued success in all of her endeavors. 

                                           Congratulations, Valentina!

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Do You Need A Costume For These Courses??

    With Halloween coming up, Triogenius thought it might be interesting to see what kind of odd courses you can actually take in college---for credit!

    Check these out:

    The Living and Undead: An Inquiry
           into Zombies in Cinema and Literature    Ole Miss
    Harry Potter in Literature                                Ohio State
    Elvish: The Language of Lord of the Rings      University of Wisconsin
    The Vampire in Literature and Cinema        University of Wisconsin
    Things that Go Bump In The Night              Hampshire College
    Zombies in Popular Media               Columbia College of Chicago
    Invented Languages:
                  Klingon and Beyond            University of Texas-Austin
    Star Trek and Religion                              University of Indiana
    European Witchcraft                                    Oneona College
    The Age of Piracy                                     Arizona State University
    The End of the World As We Know It          Alfred University
    UFOs in American Society                          Temple University

    And if you're just looking for something odd..............

    The Amazing World of Bubbles                    Cal Tech
    Learning from YouTube                                Pitzer College
    Underwater Basketweaving         Reed College (Triogenius is unsure if this was a joke)
    Circus Stunts                                          Triton College
    Scrabble                                               Berkeley
    Tree Climbing                                          Cornell
    How To Watch TV                              Montclair College
    Lego Robotics                                      MIT (No surprise there)
    Street Fighting Math                                 MIT
    The Joy of Garbage                          Santa Clara University
     The Simpsons and Philosophy      University of California Berkeley
    Introduction to Turntablism (OK, this is about being a DJ)    Oberlin

    One questions the abilities of those taking.....

    How To Learn Almost Anything          MIT
    Getting Dressed                                  Princeton (Princeton???)
    Stupidity                                             Occidental College

    Just for fun: Check out the videos:

    If you prefer Gangnam Style:

    Happy Halloween!! Celebrate all things strange!!

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    I Want To Go To Electoral College

    OK, what's the deal with voting, anyway?

    Why aren't the candidates busily visiting all 50 states? Why the emphasis on Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida?

    And what the hayfever is the Electoral College? Why do they decide who wins an election rather than how many votes are cast by the people of the United States?

    The short answer is: that's the way the Constitution was written.

    The popular vote 'counts' because that is supposed to determine how the electoral representative votes. So, if Utah votes for Candidate A, then its electoral representative is supposed to vote for Candidate A.

    There are 538 total electoral representatives. The word used for this group of people is a "College." There are 535 electors for the 50 states plus 3 for Washington, D.C.

    And Triogenius says what??

    One has to wonder why a single city gets 3, the same amount as the states of Vermont or Wyoming. This is the result of the 23rd Amendment. Did you know that Washington, D.C., has tried numerous times to be considered a state? True. However, it has never been successful in that effort. Therefore, even though it doesn't have any separate state representatives, that city is allowed its 3 electoral votes, unless that 23rd amendment is repealed.

    How do people become electoral representatives? Usually, they are nominated for it by the parties they work for; so someone who has been a dedicated member of the Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, or other party may get the job, and are chosen at the state convention of that party. An electoral representative cannot be a Representative or Senator or a high-ranking United States official of any kind. He or she can't have 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion,' according to the Constitution. This person then pledges to vote according to the results of the election held the November before.

    But not always. Rarely, but it has happened, an electoral representative can vote against the popular votes. Having done that, the person is usually banished from his or her party. This is called a 'faithless vote.' Check this out: There is no law that requires the elector to vote according to his/her pledge. When this happens they are called "Faithless Electors." Some, but not all, states have laws to enforce that pledge to cast their votes according to the popular results-in North Carolina, for example, the fine is $10,000 for this offense

    Each state gets 2 electoral votes to match the number of senators (2 per state). They get additional electoral votes based on their population.  Since the number of electoral votes is so important, you will notice the candidates campaign much more in those states. Such as:

    Wisconsin              10
    Indiana                   11
    Virginia                   13
    North Carolina        15
    Ohio                       20
    Pennsylvania            21
    Florida                    29

    And what happens with the electoral votes after the election is over? On the Monday following the 2nd Wednesday in December (who thinks these things up???) the electoral college meets at each of their state capitols and casts their votes. The votes are sealed and sent to the president of the Senate.

    Who is the president of the Senate? Anyone? I hear crickets........

    Hint: the president of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States. Please tell me you know who that is.

    The ballots are opened on January 6 and read in the presence of both  houses, the Senate and Congress.

    For more confusion ...or possibly clarification, try:

    Election Day is November 6 Two weeks from today.......Find your polling place and cast your vote!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Sky Dreams

    Have you ever considered a career as a pilot?

    Here are some basics about the requirements:

    You may take flying lessons at age 18, and with 40-60 hours of flight time obtain a pilot's license; however, if you plan to become a pilot as a career, flying passenger planes or other types of planes, the requirements become more stringent:

    You must have a 4 year degree, preferably but not exclusively in Aviation. You must also.....

    • Obtain a 1st Class Medical Certificate from an FAA medical center
    • You must get your private pilot's license first
    • Then you must be certified in commercial and instrumentation flight
    • Complete the certified flight instructor rating
    • Then, begin working at a flight school
    • Work on your multi-engine Certified Flight Instructor rating
    • Airlines that fly passengers typically require you to have 3000 hours or more of flying experience
    • The first 1 to 5 years you will be a flight engineer
    • After flight engineer, you may advance to 1st Officer
    • After 5 to 15 years as a 1st Officer, you may be promoted to Captain, also depends on seniority
    • Captains must be experienced in night flying as well as 'instrument flying' (to be prepared for flight in bad weather)
    • You must pass psychological tests to prove you can handle the stress
    • You must pass an eye examination (if your vision can be corrected to 20/20, you can be a commercial pilot. If you needed glasses, however, you cannot be a pilot in the military-check with your choice of school to be sure)
    The different types of piloting include:
    -Private, where people simply fly for convenience and no money is exchanged
    -Recreational, where planes fly for fun and do stunts
    -Agricultural, planes flown to spray crops or to help put out fires
    -Flight Instructor
    -Charter-This includes 'hiring' a plane and pilot for a specific trip
    -Medical/airlift (a type of charter)-This includes transporting people to medical centers, and also human organs for transplants
    -Corporate-When companies own planes to fly clients and staff
    -Commercial-planes used for business, such as FedEx

    -and the 'top of the line' job: Airline Transport Pilot, which is someone who works for a major passenger  airline. This pilot has passed the most demanding training and certifications.

    What schools offer degrees in Aviation?
    Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University in Florida
    Ohio State                                                   
    St Cloud State University, St Cloud, Minnesota  

    Check out the FAA (Federal Aviation) website for more job info:

    After obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, pilots can also be trained in the Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard. This training typically takes a little over 12 months. There is quite a variety of different planes and helicopters used in the Armed Forces, and pilots will often specialize in one particular type, including: Trainers, Transport, Fighters, Reconnaissance, and bombers.

    Here is the Air Force website for more information:

    If you're into planes but don't necessarily want to be a pilot, here are some other careers that are related:
    Air Traffic Controller
    Flight Attendant
    Airplane Mechanic or Engineer (may design planes)
    Computer Technology with an emphasis on aeronautics
    Airline Security

    If this is something you're interested in, do some more exploring. You might find a good the sky.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Is the FBI Your Most Wanted Career?

    So, you think you want to bring down the bad guys on a national level? Think about a career in the FBI.

    You must be an American citizen, between the ages of 23 and 37, and have a bachelors degree. You must also have 3 years work experience. While a degree in law enforcement or psychology is the obvious major, you may also be employed by the FBI with a degree in:

    Biology (forensic science)
    Accounting/CPA (useful in tax fraud)
    Computer Science
    -Or if you have a military background

    Once accepted to the FBI training program, you will spend 21 weeks training at their facility in Quantico, Virginia. You will have to pass a rigorous physical, and will have random drug testing throughout your career with the FBI, once permanently hired. You will also be required to take a lie detector test before you are offered a position. Anyone and everyone you know will be profiled (checked out) by the FBI: parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, friends--everyone. Should one of them not have a clean background, you may be rejected as a candidate because you have associated with them. This background checking will likely not be known to the people it involves. Out of 10,000 applicants received, typically 500-750 of those people will be hired.

    As an FBI agent,you may be in danger some or all of the time during your work. There can be high demands on your time and involvement, so it can be difficult to maintain a 'personal life' while you are an agent. However, you would be working with the most qualified in your field, and would use the most sophisticated technology. You would likely travel  in the U.S. and overseas. You'd be constantly challenged and always be learning on the job. 

    The FBI is charged with investigating ..

    tax fraud
    bank fraud
    online scams
    threats to national security
    election fraud
    espionage (spying)
    terrorism, both domestic and international
    serial killers
    kidnapping, especially children under age 12
    cyber crimes
    organized crime
    drug trafficking

    Here is the government's website:

    *Note: The CIA is a separate department from the FBI; the FBI has an enforcement component that the CIA does not have (the CIA is for gathering intelligence).

    Think about whether you have what it takes to work at the FBI, and if you do--Go for it!

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Are You A Bully?

    Are you a bully? How would you know?

    See how you answer these questions:

    Do you enjoy teasing someone to see how far you can go?
    Do you pick on people smaller, shyer, quieter than you are?
    Have you ever bothered someone who is new in school?
    Do you like to threaten people just to get a reaction, even though you don’t intend to follow through?
    Do you like to pull tricks on someone that involves his being embarrassed?
    Do you do things like trip people, take a book or something they are carrying and refuse to return it, or show something personal like a note that person has written, to a big group of people?
    Do you like to get in someone’s personal space because it bothers her?
    Have you ever gone into someone’s locker, desk, backpack, or personal items to find something you can use to make fun of him?
    Is someone who cannot afford the things you have, a person you would make fun of?
    Do you look forward to lunch time because you can really mess with someone then?
    Do you make it a point to pick a fight in a bathroom where you can corner the person?
    Did you ever decide someone just looked weird, so you picked on her or on him?
    How about someone you don’t even know, you just felt like teasing that person?
    Do you think it’s harmless fun to be mean to a person—just a part of growing up?
    Have you made fun of someone’s name?
    Have you made fun of someone’s sibling or parent?
    Have you mocked someone with a foreign accent or with a speech problem?
    Do you think it's funny to tease someone with a disability?
    Have you ever gotten several other people to join you in picking on someone?
    Have you been overly pushy or rude with someone who is elderly?
    Do you feel like it's natural for a boy to intimidate a girl?
    What about someone who is very tall, short, skinny, or overweight?
    Do you think it’s funny when someone insecure or shy has other people laugh at him or her?
    Do you join in the laughing when it’s happening, although you didn’t start it?
    Do you ever pick on someone that you actually envy or are jealous of?
    Did you ever set up or visit a website that was created just to pick on someone?
    Have you been a bully using Facebook or Myspace?
    Did you ever send someone a text message just to be mean, or to scare someone?
    Have you ever followed someone, or stalked someone, to scare or annoy him?
    Did you ever give out someone’s phone number or email address when you shouldn’t have?
    Did you ever spread a bad rumor about someone?
    Do you think all the above are just examples of harmless teasing?

    If you see yourself in any of these situations, you are a bully. You are a bully even if you don’t actively participate, but stand by, watch, and do nothing.

    Has someone been a bully to you? Is that why you think it’s OK to do it? 

    What if other people in your group of friends are doing it? The next time you see a bullying situation starting up, if you’re not feeling brave enough to say anything, then you still have a good option: Get away from it; that is, go elsewhere. At least you are leading by example, if not by words. And consider whether these are the kind of people you want to be friends with.

    If you feel you have the power to bully, then you also have the power to stop. Bullying is a BIG deal for the victim. You probably don't realize just how hurtful the situation is, if it hasn't happened to you. Try to imagine yourself in the other person's situation. How would you feel?

    Want to really show some integrity, compassion, intelligence? Befriend someone who looks isolated. You don’t have to be together constantly: just say hi to this person every time you see him. Offer help with something like getting a locker open or finding a classroom. See if she has someone to sit with at lunch. Something small like that can make a big difference in a person’s day.

    Keep this in mind: A bully thinks he or she shows power when being cruel to someone else. Does that sound like the person you want to be?

    “He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
                                    -Lao Tzu,  Tao Philosopher