Archive for December, 2013

The Seventh Day of Christmas!

December 31, 2013

SwanOn the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . .

. . . seven swans a swimming (in this case, a Cygnus olor or Mute swan).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Cygnus
  • Species: Cygnus, Chenopis, Sthenelides, or Olor

Photo by Marek Szczepanek, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Last Day of the Year!

December 31, 2013

As National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month comes to a close, and as you prepare to ring in the New Year later this evening, bear in mind that there were over 1 million arrests (1,156,944 to be exact) for DUI (driving under the influence) in 2012.  So, if your evening includes revelry . . . drink responsibly, and do not drive if you have been drinking . . . walk, take a cab, or arrange for a designated driver . . . or you may find yourself spending New Year’s Day in jail.

So, before you go out and celebrate tonight, here is some information, as well as some statistics, that will hopefully make you think twice about drinking and driving.

DUI Arrests per State (2012)

Drunk Driving by the Numbers (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Drunk Driving Fatality Accident Statistics (The Century Council)

State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America (The Century Council)

 

The Sixth Day of Christmas!

December 30, 2013

Canada_gooseOn the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . .

. . . six geese a laying (in this case, a Branta canadensis or Canadian goose).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Superorder: Galloanserae
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Subfamily: Anserinae
  • Tribe: Anserini
  • Genera: Anser, Branta, or Chen

Photo by Image taken bu Alan D. Wilson, and modified by Diliff (cropped and noise reduction applied).  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Abandoned But Not Forgotten, Number Thirty-Two!

December 30, 2013

tunnel_of_loveI’m not sure why this one made the “abandoned” list, for by all outward appearances, it certainly stills seems to be in use.  The Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine, is a simply gorgeous natural tunnel of trees and foliage.  The tunnel contains a private railway section (approximately 1.8 miles) that is being used to make daily runs (three trips a day) to deliver wood to the nearby fiberboard factory.  An amazing example of nature growing around a manmade infrastructure.  Rumor has it that the tunnel is used by lovers to make a wish – it is said that if they are sincere in their love, their wishes will come true.

The Fifth Day of Christmas!

December 29, 2013

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . .

. . . five gold rings.  It has been suggested that the presents sent on the first seven days were all birds and that the “Five gold rings” were not actually gold rings, but instead refer to the five golden rings of the ringed pheasant. Others suggest the gold rings refer to “five goldspinks” (an old name for a Goldfinch); or even canaries. However, there is a publication (dated 1780) with an illustration that clearly depicts the “five gold rings” as being jewelry.

Living on Less!

December 29, 2013

As retirement approaches, are you financially prepared for the reality of less income?  After reaching age 65, most people’s income drops drastically.  Here is a breakdown by state of the median household income (for 2012) for individuals between 45-64 years of age compared to those 65 years of age or more.  The states where retirees bring home the least are highlighted in red, the states where retirees bring home the most are highlighted in green.

45-64 65+ 45-64 65+
AL  $50,583  $32,287 MT  $52,080  $34,941
AK  $80,208  $46,666 NE  $65,509  $35,655
AZ  $56,242  $39,083 NV  $56,218  $40,181
AR  $46,767  $30,891 NH  $77,833  $41,445
CA  $70,182  $42,406 NJ  $84,227  $43,254
CO  $68,891  $41,985 NM  $51,416  $34,727
CT  $85,472  $41,947 NY  $66,980  $37,246
DC  $65,365  $46,926 NC  $53,487  $33,749
DE  $67,439  $42,211 ND  $67,356  $34,462
FL  $52,960  $36,415 OH  $57,396  $33,901
GA  $56,749  $35,371 OK  $52,881  $33,397
HI  $75,924  $59,378 OR  $57,448  $38,428
ID  $55,721  $34,040 PA  $63,394  $33,942
IL  $67,510  $37,161 RI  $68,994  $35,510
IN  $57,662  $34,636 SC  $50,521  $34,541
IA  $61,484  $34,731 SD  $60,247  $34,913
KS  $61,740  $36,516 TN  $61,040  $32,963
KY  $50,280  $30,023 TX  $61,330  $36,675
LA  $51,206  $30,935 UT  $72,437  $42,491
ME  $56,035  $33,358 VT  $62,278  $36,848
MD  $87,178  $47,949 VA  $75,977  $41,982
MA  $79,754  $38,233 WA  $70,251  $41,474
MI  $57,665  $35,504 WV  $46,865  $29,897
MN  $71,902  $37,428 WI  $62,757  $34,652
MS  $34,250  $38,388 WY  $68,925  $36,362
MO  $54,578  $33,906

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (AARP Bulletin, December 2013).

The Fourth Day of Christmas!

December 28, 2013

Common_BlackbirdOn the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . .

. . . four Colly birds (in this case, a Turdus merula or common blackbird).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Genus: Turdus
  • Species: Terdus merula

Photo by Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Knowledge Management in the Kitchen!

December 28, 2013

While my holiday baking regimine includes numerous varieties of cookies and candies, my favorite candy has always been peanut brittle.  I have been making peanut brittle at Christmas for nearly forty years.  This week I was asked to share my peanut brittle recipe (i.e., my mom’s recipe).  As I was copied the recipe onto an index card, I realized that this particular recipe required quite a bit of “judgment” in the cooking process (I don’t own a candy thermometer, nor does this recipe reference one).  Phrases like “until the mixture spins a thread,” or “until it begins to color” take on a rather vague and undefined quality unless you have actually experienced the process and have acquired the knowledge through trial and error.

Ingredients
3 cups white sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
2/3 cup cold water
Dash of salt
2 cups Spanish raw peanuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
butter the size of a hulled walnut
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine and boil the first four ingredients until the mixture spins a thread.

{KNOWLEDGE: continue boiling until the thread develops instantly and continuously. A common mistake is to think that the first production of a thread is sufficient.}

Add the 2 cups of Spanish raw peanuts. Boil the peanuts until they being to color (very light brown), stirring frequently.

{KNOWLEDGE: focus on the color of the syrup and strive for a light brown. The mixture will eventually leech the color from the peanut skins, but it can take 20 minutes or more.}

Once you’ve obtained the light brown color to the syrup, remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and butter the size of a hulled walnut . . .

{KNOWLEDGE: a hulled walnut is about 1-1/2 tablespoons, but no more than 2 tablespoons.}

Make sure the butter and vanilla are completely incorporated before adding the 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of baking soda. Beat this mixture well, but not too long.

{KNOWLEDGE: beat just long enough to ensure that the baking soda has been blended, 15-20 seconds.}

Pour the mixture into greased pans and cool.  Once the mixture cools, break into pieces and enjoy!

The Third Day of Christmas!

December 27, 2013

FaverollesOn the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . .

. . . three French hens (Favorelles).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Genus: Gallus
  • Species: Gallus gallus

Photo by stephen jones, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Library Science 101!

December 27, 2013

Here’s an infographic, courtesy of the University of Southern California’s Online Master of Management in Library and Information Science, that describes what library science is, what librarians do, and why these services are so important to communities.  Enjoy!

LibSci101

Source: USC Online Master of Management in Library and Information Science