Archive for September, 2012

Banned Books Week!

September 30, 2012

Today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week (September 30th to October 6th), an annual celebration of our freedom to read which highlights the value of free and open access to information and draws national attention to the harms of censorship.  As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our freedom to read, let’s all check out and read a banned/challenged book this week.

For more information, visit the website of the American Library Association.  You can also access a wealth of resources from http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

The ten most challenged titles of 2011 were:

  • ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  • Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Reasons: offensive language; racism
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Men Pay Attention!

September 29, 2012

Men’s Health magazine has done it again — they have compiled the list of the best and worst cities for men (for 2011).  Based upon data from the usual assortment of alphabet agencies (CDC, FBI, EPA), and looking into 38 different criteria from man killers (heart disease, cancer, and so forth)  to man thrillers (ratio of single men to single women), here are the top ten (and bottom ten) places for men.  Tulsa finished at #83 (hmm).

At the top (best cities for men):
1. Madison, WI
2. Fargo, ND
3. Plano, TX
4. Burlington, VT
5. San Jose, CA
6. Lincoln, NE
7. Austin, TX
8. Aurora, CO
9. Virginia Beach, VA
10. Seattle, WA

At the bottom (worst cities for men):
91. Toledo, OH
92. New Orleans, LA
93. Charleston, WV
94. Baltimore, MD
95. St. Petersburg, FL
96. Memphis, TN
97. Detroit, MI
98. Birmingham, AL
99. Philadelphia, PA
100. St. Louis, MO

Check out the entire article here.

New Artist in My Collection!

September 28, 2012

Last month I was privileged and delighted to enjoy the artwork of Janice Wright.  Janice had an exhibition in the Visitor’s Center Gallery on the Broken Arrow campus of Northeastern State University.  By the end of the month, I had fallen in love with numerous pieces and have now added several of Janice’s pieces to my growing collection.  Here’s the first one (in honor of fall and for the rich and vibrant fall colors — especially the orange).  The artist: Janice Wright.  The title: Elements of Autumn, #4.  The medium: acryllic.  The end result: a fabulous painting decorating my office wall.

The Votes Are In!

September 27, 2012

With election season in full swing, would you be interested in knowing what percentage of citizens (age 18+) voted in the 2008 presidential election?  Well, wonder no more.  Here is the breakdown.  Of the 50 states (and DC as well), seven (7) had a rate above 70% (highlighted in blue in the below table) while ten (10) had a rate below 60% (highlighted in red in the below table).  The state with the highest percentage: Minnesota (75%); the state with the lowest percentage: Hawaii (51.8%).

AL 62.4% KY 63.1% ND 67.5%
AK 65.0% LA 70.3% OH 65.5%
AZ 59.9% ME 71.2% OK 58.7%
AR 53.8% MD 68.3% OR 67.6%
CA 63.4% MA 67.1% PA 62.4%
CO 68.4% MI 67.8% RI 67.4%
CT 67.2% MN 75.0% SC 65.6%
DE 67.3% MS 69.7% SD 67.8%
DC 74.1% MO 65.8% TN 55.5%
FL 63.8% MT 65.4% TX 56.1%
GA 64.2% NE 67.3% UT 53.1%
HI 51.8% NV 59.9% VT 64.7%
ID 61.4% NH 71.2% VA 68.7%
IL 62.6% NJ 64.1% WA 66.8%
IN 60.5% NM 62.6% WV 53.4%
IO 70.2% NY 58.8% WI 71.2%
KS 63.3% NC 67.5% WY 64.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (and the September 2012 issue, www.aarp.org/bulletin).

Remote Areas, Number Two!

September 26, 2012

This week we travel to the bottom of the world (Antarctica).  McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island (New Zealand) on the shore of the McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.  It is the largest community in Antarctica and can support up to 1,258 residents.  The McMurdo Station is located 2,415 miles south of Christchurch, New Zealand, and 850 miles north of the South Pole.  The climate is definitely not for the faint of heart — every month has an average temperature below freezing!  Brrr.  And, if you are interested in seeing what’s going on there right now, check out the live video feed.

Risky Investing?

September 25, 2012

Here is a word that was the title of a recently released movie starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.  I had no idea what this word meant (and the movie did not seem to really clear up this confusion at all — but it was a good movie regardless).  So following the movie, I looked it up!  It all seems a bit risky to me and you’d really have to time your purchases and sales perfectly.  In addition, it sounds like a lot of work and effort for very little payoff — I can’t imagine the different markets would have differing rates high enough to make this worth your while.  I guess this is why I’m not employed in the field of finance or investing.

arbitrage

\ahr-bi-trahzh\, noun;
1.  Finance . the simultaneous purchase and sale of the same securities, commodities, or foreign exchange in different markets to profit from unequal prices.
2.  Archaic . arbitration.

verb(used without object)
3.  Finance . to engage in arbitrage.

Character and Reputation!

September 24, 2012

Here is some really good advice courtesy of legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”
 
Additionally, here is John Wooden’s seven-point creed:
  • Be true to yourself.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others.
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Wooden authored a book about the Pyramid of Success.  At the top of the pyramid was what he called “competitive greatness” which he defined as “Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”  All in all, between his quotations, his creed, and his definition of competitive greatness, these are all great principles to live by.

College Football 2012, Week Four!

September 23, 2012

Okay, the non-conference schedule has come to a close and Michigan State performed slightly better this week against Eastern Michigan.  The sting of last week’s loss to Notre Dame is hopefully a distant memory as the Spartans gear up for the Big Ten schedule — we get Ohio State and Nebraska at home this year, but will have to travel on the road for back-to-back games against Michigan and Wisconsin.  It’s time to get serious now.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Oklahoma (#6) losing to Kansas State (#15) by five points.
UCLA (#19) losing to unranked Oregon State by a touchdown.

Some of the close calls this week included (won by a touchdown or less):
LSU (#2) defeating unranked Auburn by only two points.
Notre Dame (#11) defeating Michigan (#18) by only five points.
Louisville (#20) defeating unranked Florida International by just a touchdown.
Boise State (#24) defeating unranked Brigham Young by a single point (BYU had a failed two-point conversion).

Other ranked teams that were defeated this week (by a higher ranked team) included:
Clemson (#10) losing to Florida State (#4).
Arizona (#22) losing to Oregon (#3).

Next up for the Spartans: the Buckeye of Ohio State.  Go Green!  Let’s start the Big Ten conference season with a resounding victory!

Social Media and Public Officials!

September 22, 2012

In the September issue of Government Technology magazine (inside the back cover) with a great graphic (with statistics — don’t you love statistics?) on the extent to which public officials have gone “social.”  And, while most elected officials and senior managers in government are starting to pay more attention to social media (including time spent in social networks), they still seem to have a long way to go.  Here are some of the reported statistics:

  • More than half say their organization struggles to use social media effectively.
  • 17% have someone else manage their accounts.
  • 43% have used social media for 3-5 years.
  • 19% have used social media for more than 5 years.
  • 70% say their organization needs more effective social media users.

More specifically,
Facebook: 45% use for business, 85% personal use, 8% don’t use at all.
Twitter: 35% use for business, 33% personal use, 50% don’t use at all.
LinkedIn: 42% use for business, 51% personal use, 22% don’t use at all.
Pinterest: 1% use for business, 21% personal use, 92% don’t use at all.

Here’s a link to the September issue.

National Preparedness Month!

September 22, 2012

Even though we are already more than two-thirds of the way through September, but did you know that September is National Preparedness Month?  The purpose of a designated month on National Preparedness is to raise awareness about the importance of emergency and disaster preparedness; to encourage all Americans to better prepare their homes and communities for  emergencies and to volunteer their time and service; and to recognize the contributions made by our nation’s police, firefighters, and emergency response personnel.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) has put together some informative resources and publications to assist you in your preparedness efforts.