Monday, July 27, 2015

Top Ten List, Freshman Year

10. Do not spend a ton of money trying to make your dorm look cool.
Simple is easiest and cheapest.

9.  Join something, anything....maybe several somethings. There are literally all kinds of clubs and groups available. This is the easiest way to meet a friend. Even one friend can make a huge difference in your adjustment to being a college student.

8.  Along those lines, you may not necessarily stay best friends with your BFF from high school. You may or may not stay in touch, so go ahead and make some new friends.

7.  And while we're at it, don't be surprised if your romantic-interest person and you do not stay together. Talk about what you expect once college begins. You might not be on the same wavelength about it---better to know than to be disappointed. See #8.

6.  Preferably before the start of classes, locate and print out the syllabus for each class. It will clearly spell out what's going to happen and what's expected of you, and will also indicate your instructor's contact information such as office hours.

5. Have you heard of the Freshman 15? It's no lie: When you can eat anything, you'll eat anything. Fifteen pounds is going to be tough to take back off. Try not to put it on in the first place-think fruits, veggies, whole grain, not fast food, fries, and Cheetos. Get out and move, too: exercise will help keep you balanced and healthy.

4.  Before classes start, walk through your schedule, that is, find where the rooms are before the first day. Walk it a couple of times. You'll feel a lot better on the first day with some clue where you're going. You can even write it down in your phone or on a piece of paper.

3.  It's OK to change your major, but if you are undecided (be honest with yourself), then don't take classes that aren't going to transfer. Speak to an advisor to be sure.

2.  Get familiar with the campus library. Not only does it have great references for reports (and help from librarians), it's also a quiet, well-lit place to study. This is going to be key in doing well.

and, last but not least:

1.  Enjoy your time in college. You hear it all the time, but just think how fast high school went by and you get the picture. Everybody's low on funds, everybody hates tests and studying, everybody is sleep-deprived. Talk about fun!

Monday, July 20, 2015

How Did The Food Get To Your Table?? Farming

What is it 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. Did you know 4H partners with land-grant universities to provide their programs? Did you know they are present in 50 countries, not just the US? Read more about 4H here:

So how could more education be helpful to a farmer?

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
                Did you know there are farms this large?

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.

Check out the Extension News from the University of Minnesota:

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Too Hot, Let's Find a Cool Corner and Read!!

I can’t believe how many people never go to the public library!!
Did you know all of the following are available at your local public library?
·        CDs-every genre plus things like sound effects CDs 
·        DVDs—some are FREE for 3 weeks and some are a $1 fee for 7 days
·        Magazines (there are currently well over 100 different subscriptions available to you)
·        How-to videos (DVDs) on everything from plumbing to salsa dancing
·        Books on CD—you can listen to someone read a book while you’re in the car
·         Reference books such as local history, world maps, immigration records, and government
·        Newspapers--local and from other cities
·        Meeting rooms for the use of the public
·        Online resources-some of which you can access from home-including:

o   Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and local newspapers
o   Alternative health articles
o   Science journals
o   Legal forms
o   Grzimek’s Animal Life—pictures and videos of all sorts of animals
o   Historical newspapers
o   The New York Times newspaper
o   Biographies (life stories) of assorted interesting people
o   Online book club
o   Novelist, a place to look up reviews of books
o   If your library doesn’t have an item, you can request it from another library
o   Online homework help!!

They also offer homebound service for people unable to leave their homes---if you are disabled, you can have books delivered to your door.
If you have an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, or if you get an app for another can ‘check out’ books to your device. These are also no charge to you.

The library has free Wi-Fi, too: if you are on library grounds, you can use their Wi-Fi.
You can request books, DVDs, or CDs online using your card barcode and a PIN. When it’s available, the library will pull it for you and have it waiting, and they’ll email you to let you know it’s in.

And of course…books!! Thousands of books!
·        Non-fiction books….Here’s a quick rundown of where to find books about….
000 Generalities      *you can find books about using your computer and software here
100 Philosophy & psychology     *books about why people think what they think
200 Religion       *learn about yours or someone else’s religion
300 Social Science   *why do people act like they do?  And, 362: Crime investigations
400 Language        *how did a language develop, and where?
500 Natural science & mathematics       * do you like animals? Check out the 599s
600 Technology (applied sciences)     *cookbooks—641;  Car repair: 629.
700 The arts            *760 – graphic arts. And--ballet, theater, painting, sculpture
800 Literature & rhetoric          *poetry
       900 Geography & history       *Travel—914; 917; Biography—920

Fiction (not true) stories are classified also by different kinds of fiction: Mystery, Science Fiction, Romance, etc. You can look for books from home or in person at the library computers. Take note of the call letters and you'll be able to quickly find your book on the shelf.

***Remember: When you search for something at the library, you search either by the title, or by the author or artist's last name, not by first name like you do in I-Tunes!!
Search for Johnson, Mary---not 'Mary Johnson'. ***

There are always librarians on hand to help with any questions you have. Ask them!

Need I remind you, all of the above (except the rental DVDs) are available for the very very low price of …

Absolutely NOTHING.  Nada. Zilch. Zero.

So how can that be boring??

If you don’t have a library card, stop in and get one. You will need a driver’s license or other form of ID.

And then: visit often and see what’s new. If you’re not careful, you might learn something.

Here's the website for Anoka County Libraries:

And for Hennepin County Libraries:

Monday, July 6, 2015

What's Your Tornado IQ??

What do you know about tornadoes?

Did you know....
  • A professor at the University of Chicago, Ted Fujita, created the F scale to rate the strength of tornadoes; they used to be called F-1 to F-5. The scale was recently enhanced to show the extent of damage typical of certain winds instead of just the speed of the winds, so now it is the "Enhanced Fujita" or "EF" rating..

EF 1 Wind=65-85 mph
EF 2 Wind=86-110 mph
EF 3 Wind=111-135 mph
EF 4 Wind=136-165 mph
EF 5 Wind=166-200 mph
EF 6 Wind=over 200 mph
  • Every tornado has a unique shape, color, and sound.
  • Tornadoes can be 'skinny' or 'massive' and still do a lot of damage.
  • Tornadoes are usually only on the ground for 10 minutes or more.
  • They usually occur between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Tornadoes have happened in all 50 states, and occur in the U.S. more than in any other country
  • The most powerful tornadoes occur in the U.S.

Here is how a tornado forms:
They start from a 'super cell' thunderstorm:

And once the conditions are right, a tornado begins:

'Tornado Alley' refers to the central area of the U.S. where conditions are most often perfect for tornadoes to form: The warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with the dry polar air from Canada:

They look like a hook on radar: you will hear the meteorologists talking about a 'hook echo'...This system had multiple hook echoes, here outlined in purple:

Talk about a super cell! Or two or three or......

Here is a radar image of tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area of Oklahoma in 2013: you can see two distinct hook echoes-south of Mustang and just to the west of Kingfisher:
Read more about this tornado system here:

What do you do if you have been told or have reason to think there is a tornado on its way?
This giant twister is almost ready to touch down. What exactly are the people in cars waiting for? Something more obvious?

If you are caught in your car and see a tornado approaching, do NOT stay in the car. Park it. Get out. Run to the nearest building, and if there is no building, find a depression in the land such as a ditch or a low spot. Lay down on your stomach and cover your head against flying debris. Do not take cover under a bridge. Be aware that drainage ditches may fill with water when it is raining heavily. Keep in mind that even if it looks like it is moving away from you, a tornado can change direction unexpectedly.

Here is why you should not stay in your car:

....because your car may become an airplane.

Here is a twister that has touched down in a field; notice the debris at the bottom--

Again, don't get out of the car to stand and stare. Take cover!

                               A neighborhood before and after.

And tornadoes do weird things:
Rock, paper, scissors, wood through cement...

We are definitely not in Kansas anymore...

Granaries folded in on themselves....

the "Dollhouse" effect...
Have you ever heard meteorologists debate whether a storm was a tornado or straight-line winds? Here's a good explanation of which is which:
  • If you live in an apartment and there is a tornado imminent: If you know someone on the first level of the building, go to that apartment. Otherwise, choose a room in your apartment with no windows if possible. The bathtub is a good idea; if you have time, cover yourselves with a mattress or cushions to avoid flying debris. The hallways of a building can also be more stable than being in an apartment.

  • If your house does not have a basement, you can also get into your tub and cover up with cushions. The reasoning is that you have a solid framed-in refuge away from a lot of objects you would have in most other rooms that will go flying, and if there are no windows in the bathroom, so much the better.

  • Think in terms of what might fall on top of you, and choose a spot with less of that risk if possible-near a bookcase is probably not a good idea, for example.

  • If you live in a mobile home, go to the shelter provided. If there is no shelter, you are probably better off to go outside and lay down in a low spot, rather than stay in the home.

  • If you do have a basement, head for it: any spot downstairs is going to be safer than upstairs. Again, stay away from windows. There is no particular corner that will be better than others.

  • Know where your bicycle helmets are and put them on when the storm is imminent and while you are taking cover. They can protect you from flying debris as well as a certain amount of crushing head injuries.

  • It isn't going to matter if you capture a great video or picture of a tornado....if you're not alive to show it to anyone afterwards. Let others take pictures and videos if they want. You need to get to safety.

  • It is an old myth that you should open your windows a crack to avoid the house imploding. Tornadoes do not work that way: they are basically super-strong winds, and if they hit your house, the windows will be shattered, not 'blown out' from the inside. It isn't worth the time it would take for you to run to each window and open it a little.

  • Keep fresh batteries on hand and know where your flashlights are. A battery-operated radio is an excellent way to keep track of whether the storm has passed. If you seldom use it, tune it to a weather station so it is ready when you turn it on.

  • Emergencies are the best reason to keep your phone charged. Your electricity will probably be cut off for a while after the storm.

Here are excellent websites with tornado information: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association FEMA site (Federal Emergency Management)
'Tis the season---let's be prepared.
*Also see the Triogenius 4-29-13 post on Meteorology as a career.