Monday, March 31, 2014

The United Nations: What Is It? And, Donating Rice By Clicking

Most of us have heard of the United Nations, but what exactly is it, and what does it do?

Here is a map of where the UN sits:

This is the island of Manhattan. The UN is on the bottom coast in this picture. It faces the East River. You can see the rectangular building on a patch of green about in the bottom middle of the picture, with Central Park to the north of it and the Statue of Liberty to the south (on Ellis Island). Across from the Statue of Liberty is the World Trade Center. Towards the middle of this picture, the tall building is the Empire State Building.

The United Nations was founded in 1945 following World War II. Its goal was to avoid another world war. In the beginning, it included 51 countries, but today there are 192 countries represented. It is sort of like a 'World Parliament' in that the members meet to discuss world issues and vote when  they feel a resolution needs to be passed. Each country gets 1 vote regardless of its size or wealth.

The United Nations, although headquartered in New York City, is considered to be on international ground; that is, it doesn't belong to the United States.

Here is a link to the countries who participate in the United Nations:

What's the purpose of the UN?

  • Peace-Keeping
  • Sustainable development/care for the earth's ecology
  • Protection of refugees
  • Education
  • Human Rights, including children, women, and racial equality
  • Programs for Youth

Read about the problem of child soldiers:

                          General Assembly of the United Nations

****Donate  rice simply by answering  questions---it's easy---when you answer correctly, you will see the amount of rice increase in the bowl on your right. You can change categories of questions at the top right corner:  *****

There are ongoing exhibits to see at the UN. Here is a link to what is on exhibit now: 

Here is a video tour of the UN:

Here is another look at the knotted gun sculpture outside the building: The sculpture was created by Swedish artist Carl Reutersward and was inspired by the death of his friend, John Lennon. It was given to the UN by Luxembourg in 1988.   What do you think this sculpture means?


There is also a Japanese Peace Bell on the grounds of the UN. It was created using melted coins from 60 countries. it is only rung twice each year, on the 1st day of Spring and on the opening day of the UN General Assembly. It is protected by a traditional Japanese shrine.

Would you like to see a live feed of what's happening right now at the UN?? Click here:

Careers at the UN

Here are just a few examples of those who have careers at the UN:

Translators and Interpreters
Tour Guides
Administrative and Clerical
Technical and Computer Professionals
Travel organizers/Hospitality

Here is a link to careers available at the UN, as well as stories of people who currently work there:

Investigate an internship at the UN here:  

Did You Know.....?
  • The symbol for the UN is the world with olive branches embracing it. Olive branches are a universal symbol of peace.
  • The UN has its own post office and its own stamp-you must mail your item from the UN to use the stamp.
  • The UN has its own flag.
  • The UN also has its own security force and fire department.
  • The UN Visitors Centre has a Facebook page:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Save Calories, Eat Bison

Lots of people want to lose weight, but like most things, it seems that it needs to be simple in order for us to do it. Keep in mind that an average adult needs about 2000 calories, including 50 grams fat, and 200 carbs on a daily basis. This varies according to your weight and whether you are trying to drop some pounds.

Try these ideas:

Drink diet soda instead of regular-did you know a can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar? That means 54 grams of sugar and 54 carbs.
If you have skim milk instead of whole, you will save 100 calories per cup.

Use smaller plates-they will hold less but it will look like more.
Walk! Walking at a brisk pace for an hour burns 300 calories.
Did you know that your body will continue to burn calories for up to 20 hours after you are done with your exercise?
Have a frozen yogurt instead of ice cream and save 70 calories.
Eat breakfast. Obviously, it should be something other than I-Hop.
Have a meatless meal now and then.
Speaking of meats, try ground turkey instead of ground beef.
Increase the amount of whole grains and green vegetables you're eating, as well as fruits.
When you visit a fast food place, order a kid's meal to get smaller portions.
Be mindful of salt intake: ideally, we should only consume about 2400 milligrams per day. That comes to a teaspoon. A day--including all salt in all things, not just 'visible' salt or that which we shake on our food.
Usually, a food labeled 'lite' or 'low fat' is high in sugar or something else to make the food taste good. So, while it is 'lite' in terms of fat, it contains sugar that will convert into fat in the body.
Read labels on foods in containers. You may be shocked to see the amount of salt, sugar, fat, or corn syrup in so many of our foods. Try to choose items that are the lowest in those things.


We're very fond of fast food here in America...Did you know...

A Starbucks mocha latte with whipped cream has 490 calories??
Dunkin' Donuts 'reduced fat' blueberry muffin has 450 calories? They reduced the fat but increased the sugar. Remember, sugar converts to....
A Burger King Veggie Burger has 390 calories and 16 grams of fat.
Burger King Chili Cheese Fries have 530 calories and 28 grams of fat.
Burger King Chili, on the other hand, has just 190 calories and 8 grams of fat.
A Dairy Queen yogurt cone has 260 calories, only 1 gram of fat, but 56 carbs.
A piece of Papa Murphy's thin crust Pepperoni pizza has 160 calories and 9 grams of fat.
A Papa Murphy's calzone, however, has 480 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 43 carbs.
At Subway, a 6" cold cut sandwich has 415 calories, 20 grams fat, and 40 carbs.
A Subway Chicken Teriyaki sandwich has 370 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 59 carbs.
A Taco Bell Cantina Burrito has 760 calories, 27 grams of fat and....96 carbs!!
A Taco Bell Mexican Pizza has 390 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 28 carbs.

Not to leave you discouraged, Triogenius has perused some interesting calorie counters and come up with a variety of unusual foods that might tempt you, but will save you many calories. You're welcome!
  • Rhinocerous meat--you can have 3 Cups for 100 calories..... but you will feel very guilty about eating it
  • Horse-this is a little higher at 148 calories per serving. 
  • Swamp Cabbage--I have no idea what this is, but doesn't it sound disgusting?? Only 22 calories per serving..could it possibly smell worse than regular cabbage?
  • You can have a healthy helping of gizzards for only 22 calories. I think that's turkey gizzards. Also, Triogenius would like to know where the word "Gizzard" came from.
  • Tofu has 54 calories a serving. A serving is about 3/4 of a serving more than anyone can eat.
  • You can have 1/2 cup of eppaw for only 75 calories. Triogenius does not know what Eppaw is.
  • Or Feijoa?? What's that? Plain or pureed??
  • Water Buffalo has only 111 calories per serving. Is this because of a high water  content?
  • Bison, on the other hand, has 122.
  • Alligator tail is 143 calories per serving. We don't know about Alligator nose, however.
  • Great news! One ounce of fresh kelp (seaweed) is only 14 calories!!
You can find out more about nutrition by using online search engines. Let's at least start paying more attention to what we're eating, so we can be healthier. Triogenius isn't quite ready for a diet of seaweed and tofu.

Monday, March 17, 2014


What if you could travel while you work and be paid to visit other countries?

Cruise ships often hold 3,000-4,000 guests plus another 1,500 or so in staff and crew.

You can if you'd like to work on a cruise ship. Cruise ships are like cities: there is quite a variety of staff required. 

Careers in the cruise ship industry:

Bachelor's Degree:

Accounting/Business Administration
Human Resources
Health Care/Nurse/Physician

                                             Ship's Control Room

Other Careers:

Deck Crew and Captain
Food Service
Cruise Director
Disc Jockey
Activity Leaders
Tour Leaders                                                           
Most ships, ironically, have several pools and offer swim lessons and water games
Host/Hostess at a restaurant
Fitness Trainer
Swim Instructor/Lifeguard
Beautician or Barber
Golf Pro
Massage Therapist
Dance Instructor
Casino workers

                        On Board: Fine dining with a view of....the ocean. Lots and lots of ocean.

Working for a cruise line means, of course, that you will live and work on the ship, probably for months at a time, as you work one cruise after another. You may prefer that type of life----no homeowner issues, and you really don't need a car. You will have activities to do in your off-duty time, and access to the same amenities offered to the passengers.

However, you may find that being constantly 'away' does not suit you. It depends on how independent you are and if you like to keep moving from port to port. If this sounds like your 'thing,' then think about living a life on a ship.

Here is more information about what it's like to work on a cruise ship:

                  A guest bedroom onboard. With a view guessed it:   The Ocean.

    Ship staff, except the officers, sleep in bunks like this: smaller than some college dorms   

Personal Stories:

Think about a life of travel and learning by working on a ship. It might float your boat!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Did You Say? Careers in Translating and Interpreting

Do you like learning languages? You might choose a career as an interpreter or translator.

To clarify: An Interpreter listens to someone speaking one language and then speaks in another, such as, one person speaks German, another listens and interprets to English.

A Translator is one who translates one language into another in writing, on paper.

Where are translators and interpreters used?

  • In the military, where we have troops stationed in a non-English speaking country-- to communicate with people so they understand what our troops are trying to do
  • Military-to translate for purposes of national security
  • You might work for the government in roles at national embassies or at the United Nations
  • You may interpret for visiting world leaders or businessmen in Washington D.C.
  • Reporting the news: interviewing people who do not speak English, whether here or in other countries
  • Businesses may need interpreters and translators when they do business with other countries
  • Matters concerning the law in one country vs. another may require interpretation
  • Medical---doctors may want to confer with others in another country, or patients may need an interpreter to explain what a doctor is telling them. Be aware that frequently, this type of interpretation requires an advanced degree due to the need to understand many medical conditions.

  • Financial--translating may be used for investors in other countries
  • Social services need interpreters to assist new immigrants
  • Police may need interpreters to investigate crimes
  • Interpreters for the deaf are always in demand
 An interpreter for the deaf will tend to wear a solid color shirt so it is easier for the deaf to see the hand movements

*Did you know: there are many versions of sign language for the deaf in other countries. Ironically, even though the 'language' is still English, British Sign Language is not the same as American Sign Language. Here is the alphabet in BSL:

For more signs in BSL, go to:
  • Translators can also work with historical documents and objects. An example would be Egyptian hieroglyphics, which would involve education not only in ancient languages but in the cultures of ancient times.

  • You may find a niche as an interpreter or translator of obscure and rarely-spoken languages.
  • You may find a dialect or a language that people want to keep alive, such as Native American languages.
 Many, but probably not all, Native American tribes that lived here before the European great migration, are shown. Tribes have their own languages, and not all have a written version. Some Native American language includes hand gestures.

What kind of person would work well as a translator or interpreter? Someone who has....

  • Knowledge about, respect for, and interest in other cultures
  • Interest in travel to other countries
  • Great intuition when interpreting/translating
  • An ability to recognize and 'weed out' accents in peoples' speech
  • An approachable and friendly manner
  • A sense of calm in possibly tense situations
  • Keen listening skills
  • An ability to translate 'purely,' not to embellish with your own opinion
  • A quality of tactfulness
  • Respect for confidentiality when necessary
  • Qualities such as maturity, reliability, and integrity
  • Flexibility

What education would be required to be a translator or interpreter?

You will likely need a bachelors or masters degree in another language, such as Spanish, French, Chinese; a minor in the history of that country would also be helpful. Of course, it would be an advantage if you are bilingual, that is, you have spoken two languages your whole life, but you would still benefit from obtaining a degree. If you can interpret or translate several languages, you will be in higher demand.

A Masters in Translation is offered at some colleges, and study abroad that immerses you in a language and culture will be a great opportunity to improve your translating/interpreting skills.

Most major universities offer degrees in languages and studies of the cultures of other countries, but here are some to check out:

North Dakota State University:   :
University of Arizona:   
College of Arts & Sciences, American University:

You will want to obtain a certification from the American Translators Association:

While you are learning the language(s), you will also learn about the culture of the people who speak the language. Another thing to remember is the range of vocabulary even within one country. In Germany, for example, there   are several different dialects spoken depending on where in Germany you live. In France, there are formal versions and less formal versions of the language, depending on how familiar with someone you are.

Look at the different languages spoken around the world: black areas indicate local dialects, red are people who speak English. This map doesn't indicate the number of people speaking a given language, just where the languages are spoken.

The greatest number of people in the world speak:

1. Mandarin (Chinese dialect)
2. Spanish
3. English
4. Hindi, spoken in India and Nepal
5. Arabic
6. Portugese
7. Bengali, also spoken in India
8. Russian
9. Japanese
10. Punjab, spoken in India

Many interpreters work free-lance. This means they are self-employed, and people approach them to ask for interpreting or translating. They may work for an agency of translators which will field requests and contact you to ask if you want an assignment. In either case, this career is 'portable,' since you don't need to have an office to do the work. You can be a translator or interpreter virtually anywhere, and with the Internet, you can turn in your written assignments no matter where you are.

Of course, being self-employed also means you need to stay motivated to pursue clients. This means networking, attending conferences, being known in your community, and taking as many jobs as you can, at least to start. You will become known by word of mouth, so you want to be 'out there' as often as possible.

Do you want to work with others and be helpful in your community, or travel to interesting places and work with a variety of people? Consider a job interpreting or translating.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Red Cross

March is Red Cross month. What do you know about the Red Cross?

This is truly a story of one person making a difference.

Clara Barton originally saw men who had suffered greatly as they returned from the Civil War while she was working in Washington, D.C.: many soldiers arriving in the city after serving had great needs: wound care, food, clothing, shelter, help in recuperating, and reuniting with their families. Her compassionate nature urged her to help them in the city, and she then traveled out to army outposts and battlegrounds to give any kind of aid she could. With the help of other volunteers, eventually she developed these services into the Red Cross, which was officially founded in 1881, when Clara was 60 years old. Clara Barton was the head of the American Red Cross for 23 years, until she was 83 years old. Read the story of this remarkable woman at:

Whenever there is a disaster, whether it is on a large or small scale, the Red Cross can be dispatched to help. It may be a house fire, a wildfire, or it may be a tornado ripping through a large area. It may be a hurricane, a flood, or any other situation where help is needed.  Red Cross workers quickly show up when there are other situations that call for caring, such as the shootings at Sandy Hook School and the ruin created on 9/11 in New York City, and the organization has a plan for chemical disaster situations. The Red Cross brings food, clean water, and blankets, takes part in rescue operations, helps with disaster cleanup, and helps provide shelter for people who have lost their homes. They offer compassionate caring to those who have lost hope.

Here's a video showing some recent situations where the Red Cross came to help:

The Red Cross responded quickly to help victims of the 9/11 bombings

Red Cross volunteers are a great help with communications: typically, they are a good contact point to relay messages from those in a disaster area to their loved ones. They may provide phones or phone banks or take down names and try to locate people considered missing when a disaster strikes. This was part of the role Clara Barton played when she began the Red Cross. During the Civil War, she and her volunteers identified 22,000 missing people--without any modern technology.

The Red Cross is a global project: Kenya, Cyprus, China, Canada, Cambodia, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Switzerland, are a small number of countries who have Red Cross chapters. When natural disaster strikes, the Red Cross will be there.

People who live in countries where they do not feel safe and need to leave, will typically find the Red Cross providing services for them in refugee camps and possibly helping them to relocate.

These workers have always been of service to military veterans and their families.

                   The Red Cross helped prisoners of war communicate during WWII.

                        A Red Cross coffee truck in Korea, serving coffee to soldiers
Here is a page with personal stories about how the Red Cross has affected peoples' lives-including an excellent short video:

The Red Cross is a large provider of blood and blood products: More than 40% of the country's blood supply comes from the Red Cross. This is one way almost everyone can donate to the Red Cross.

                  A great deal of organizing is needed to get the Red Cross where it's needed.

Part of what the Red Cross offers is training, whether it's teaching individuals life-saving skills or to prepare communities to be ready for an expected problem.

The Red Cross offers courses in, among other things:

  • CPR certification
  • Lifeguard and swimming/water safety certification
  • Babysitting certification
  • First Aid certification
  • You can also be Red Cross-certified in pet first aid
                                                        Lifeguards in training
  • The Red Cross has an initiative to vaccinate people for measles. Worldwide, they have seen to it that over 1 billion, or 78% of all people, have been vaccinated.

You may be able to become a Certified Nursing Assistant with training from the Red Cross:

If you are a student nurse, the Red Cross welcomes your volunteer time, and may be able to offer you employment once you have graduated:

Here is the Twin Cities chapter of the Red Cross: 

Imagine: One person's compassion for others has grown into the Red Cross of today. Still think you can't make a difference?