Thursday, June 28, 2007

Good News Concerning Endangered Species

Believe it or not, the bald eagle is now off the endangered species list! How often do we hear good news concerning endangered species? In 1963 there were only about 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states! Today there are around 10,000 pairs! I would say that is a success story.

Again, some of you younger readers may not know the cause of these low numbers in the '60s. The rapid decrease in population was due mainly to the pesticide DDT. The DDT built up in the eagles and that caused them to lay eggs that had weak shells. The eagles were placed under protection in 1967 (The year I was born!).

Hopefully more species will follow in the footsteps of the bald eagle! Wouldn't it be great to have more positive news concerning our national wildlife?

"I'll be back."

For those young readers of mine that don't know what the title quote means, it is a famous quote used by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in some of his more famous movies (Terminator, etc.). Yes, he was an actor in many famous action flicks! Anyway, to my point; There is a new device called a robot soldier, Robocop (another movie), or Terminator, that I think is a great idea! It will take police out of harms way. The device is a robot that is armed with a taser. This way, the person that is out of control could be subdued without putting police officers in danger. The device itself does not make the decisions on when to fire, and such, but a human with a remote like control, would be. Having something that can keep a human from getting injured or killed is, in my opinion, a very important step in the development of civilization.

The robot soldiers could be set up to use more dangerous weapons. They mentioned in the article, that down the road, "Robocops" could be hi-tech enough to be able to make the decision on whether or not to use lethal force. I am not sold on this idea yet but the current robot is a definite improvement on what we have now. How many lives could be saved?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another Tragedy

First, let me tell you that I am currently not a pro wrestling fan. I used to be when I was younger. I did know of Chris Benoit. In my opinion, he was a very entertaining wrestler. What happened in his house on June25th is very weird and I am not sure if authorities will ever be able to tell what exactly happened over that previous weekend. All that is known is that three people are dead. Chris was found downstairs hanging by a pulley. His son (Daniel), 7, was found in his bed and it seems that he was choked to death. His wife, Nancy, was found upstairs in the family room with her feet and wrists bounds and there was blood underneath her head. Could steroids have been the cause of this gruesome crime? It is being considered. Could something else have triggered this?

Once again, the saddest part of this story is another child not getting to enjoy growing up. Another child won't get to know what it feels like to drive for the first time with his new license. He won't get to have that feeling you get when you have your first kiss, your first best friend, your senior prom, the day you get married, or the day your children are born. What could possibly be so wrong that death is the only solution that you can think of? I will never understand crimes like this! No child deserves to die like this.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Family Vacation

My family and I just got back from a mini family vacation. It was a blast! We went to Fun City in Burlington, IA. We went for three days and two nights. They had a ton of stuff to do and it is only about two hours from Quincy, IL. Our family's favorite activity was the go-carts. They were electric and I was thinking "they can't be that fast"; wrong. They go up to 35 mph. Not too bad. They had and indoor and outdoor water park that included some killer water slides. They had bowling. They had a great arcade that had many virtual rides. My son and I went on a virtual roller coaster that was called the Haunted Mine. The seats moved and it was 3d. My son got to drive a Dale Jr. replica car and really started to get the hang of it. They had a great free breakfast for all the guests. It consisted of french toast sticks, eggs, bagels, toast, yogurt, OJ, cereal, and milk one day and hash browns, eggs, bagels, toast, yogurt, OJ, cereal, and milk the next. The rooms were clean and included a mini fridge and a microwave. The motel was fairly priced and included the price to get into the water parks. We were all wiped out by the end of the three days. My kids slept twelve hours last night! I would recommend Fun City to anybody that loves water parks and a good priced get-away!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's A Heat Wave!

Yeah, it's hot! Are most of us spoiled? I am sure that most of you out there, under 30 I'm guessing, grew up with air conditioning. My wife did and I did not. Yes, it is more comfortable in the the air but I really think it cut's down on our all around tolerance for the heat. I mean if I start the day out in the heat I sure don't notice it in the afternoon as much as I do if I have something to do inside in the morning and try to get going outside in the afternoon. There are only a few days, growing up, that I can remember that it was just unbearable. Those were some pretty memorable nights. I remember sitting in the living room late at night with a couple of fans blowing on my family and I. We didn't have any lights on and we were just trying to get a few zzzs, but my brother and I always managed to get a conversation started with our parents so we could stay up later and pretty soon we forgot all about the heat. I admit, I have become soft since I was younger. I have become spoiled; or maybe just old. My mom and dad just got central air around four years ago or so. I am glad they got air. I am not glad for me, but for their health. They are not spring chickens anymore and I really think it helps them cope with the summer heat. My mom still doesn't like to turn it on but she will if it gets hot enough (like today!). I think my dad benefits the most. He works in an office all day and is used to the air. It would be really hard to work in the air all day and come home to a hot-box of a house. I don't think it used to bother him much, but now I think it really drains him.

This week's temperatures are a little early! As stated on the average weather page for where I live, the average temp for June is supposed to be around 84. It was around 94 today. At least it didn't get record hot today (102!). With temperatures like this in June what do you think July and August hold for us in the Midwest. Like they say, "If you don't like the weather in the Midwest, just wait fifteen minutes."

What do you do to stay cool during hot weeks like this?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Getting Back To The Way Things Should Be

My son and I just got back from camping. The weather was perfect and so was the company. We went with one of my friends and his son. It was his son's first time camping. We had an extremely good time and we had time to discuss kids today and their busy schedules. In a recent article, we had both read in the paper, the author wrote about how kids today have their schedules planned out to a "T" by their parents so they can fit everything in. The author also talked about how many parents feel the need to entertain their kids all the time. We both agreed that this was not good. We did agree that kids need time to be kids and learn to use their imagination. My friend and I both recalled our mothers forbidding us to come inside during many summer days and using the phrase "Find something to do!". We did, and most of the time ended up playing ball with the neighbor kids or brothers or sisters. Camping sure got all of us back to occupying our time when we didn't have a schedule to keep. My son rode his scooter for a long time and pretended to be fighting in "Star Wars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean". The boys later that night got a chance to play "flashlight" tag and run around in the dark. They had a blast! The next day my friend suggested we get a boat and row for awhile out on the lake. We (mostly my friend because my steering was less than perfect) rowed out to an island and the boys had a great time playing, and wondering, if pirates had ever been on the island. We found a couple of wild blackberry bushes and enjoyed getting "stained" and tasting summer. The meals we had consisted of basic camp food. We had hot dogs, chips, and smores for supper and bacon and eggs, cooked right over the campfire, for breakfast. There is nothing like campfire food to get you reminiscing about your childhood. My friend and I stayed up until midnight talking about other camping outings and growing up in general. I hope to camp a few more times this summer, and fall, and enjoy the no-schedule activities.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What Do Teachers Do In The Summer?

What do teachers do in the summer? That is a question that is always asked. Some of us go back to school. Some of us travel. Some of us work another job. Those of us that have kids usually spend the summer dropping off and picking up our kids from summer activities (summer ball, camps, etc.). I thought I would tell you a little about my summer.

I usually go to bed later than usual but I still usually get up around 6:30 so I can do my morning walk (about 2 1/2 miles). I do the walk that early so I can get back before my wife leaves for work. The "regular" things I do around the house are pretty mundane. I do yard work, clean, cook, and run the kids around. This year my daughter is in her second year of T-ball and my son just finished up football camp at QND. The kids are also taking swimming lessons this summer again. My son will also be attending "Kid's College" for his third consecutive year. I always have projects that I like to get done during the summer. This year I have already painted the trim on the front porch and I am working on painting the trim on the garage. Every summer I try to clean out the garage and the basement. I camp, fish, go to movies, and play ball with my kids as often as I can. By the way, my son and I just got back from Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End and I thought it was great! I thoroughly enjoy the kids!...most days. I really consider myself lucky to be able to spend this time with my kids and watch them grow and mature during the summer months. This summer, like most summers, I have to get ahead on Powerpoints for my new book in Physical Science. Next year it will hopefully be Life Science. I also try to take the kids to my parents for 4-5 days during the summer. We always spend those 4-5 days running, trying to get all the fun we can get packed into those 4-5 days.

Some of you might say that I should get another job during the summer. First of all, does this not sound like a job! Secondly, any job I would get during the summer would not even pay for daycare costs for the summer. So to all of you that are angry or jealous of the summers that teachers have, you should be. This is a special time especially when you have kids.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Global Warming IS Happening!

A couple of people that I have talked to have either said that we, the human population, are not responsible for global warming or they have told me that global warming is not happening at all. Well for about the last month or so I have been starring articles on Google reader concerning global warming. Guess what? None of them even bring up the possibility that global warming is not occurring and most of them say that we are contributing to it. Here are the articles: Confirmed: Deforestation Plays Critical Climate Change Role, Build Parks To Climate Proof Our Cities, Dirty Windows In Urban Areas May Be Hidden Contributors To Air Pollution, Bush orders rules meant to curb greenhouse gases, Vast Regions Of West Antarctica Melted In Recent Past, NASA Finds, Permanent Ice Fields Are Resisting Global Warming, Study: Southern Ocean saturated with CO2, Polar bears at risk as warming thaws icy home, Study: Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions soar, California's Clean Car Program Would Cut Pollution, Save Drivers Money, Scientists Concerned About Effects Of Global Warming On Infectious Diseases, Whales In Hot Water: Global Warming's Effect On World's Largest Creatures, NYC's taxi fleet will be green by 2012, Climate Change Signal Detected In The Indian Ocean, Days Of Snow Melting On The Rise In Greenland, Greenland: A Hot New Stop to See Global Climate Change, Bush urges 15 nations to set global emissions goal, Plant a tree, drive a big SUV?, and Scientists Study Impact Of Asian Dust On Weather, Climate. Obviously these are not all the articles in the world concerning global warming, but as you can see, there are many articles concerning this subject. If you believe that global warming is not occurring then you must be living with your head in the sand! It is a problem on many levels and should be addressed by everyone. Every little bit helps! As I put at the bottom of my last blog: "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." - Edmund Burke. Please read at least some of these articles and post any comments about your feelings, or ideas, concerning global warming.