Although the amount of homework assigned to American students has fluctuated over the years (for example, it increased in 1957 after Russia launched Sputnik, then in the mid 80's and once again in recent years), no one can agree whether or not there's been an overall increase -- or if hours spent on homework equal a better education.
Some people collect bottles or baseball cards. Denver author Joseph Nigg collects mythical beasts, such as the sea swine, the ziphius, giant worms and other creatures lurking in his new book Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World's Most Beguiling Map.
The earliest accurate map of the Scandinavian countries, the Carta Marina, or "sea map," was created in the 16th century by Swedish clergyman Olaus Magnus (1490–1557). It's fancifully illustrated with humans performing every day tasks on land -- and chimerical sea creatures showing their big teeth and humongous tails out in the forbidding waters. Magnus created the map in Rome while visiting his brother Johannes; copies of the map were printed from 9 woodblock panels, and were produced from 1539 to 1551.
Earlier this summer, my veterinarian invited me to a screening of The Paw Project, a documentary about the practice of declawing cats.
Although it's considered inhumane and is illegal in most countries, it's a procedure that's still commonly performed in the United States. This heartening new documentary chronicles veterinarian (and now filmmaker) Jennifer Conrad as she leads a courageous grassroots movement to enact legislation in California to ban the procedure, city by city. She started out big, doing corrective surgery and rehabilitation on Hollywood lions and tigers who were maimed after being de-clawed so that they would be less dangerous while making films.
And when the heavens open I saw
I heard her say "Asucar turn this on."
Tito Puente's dressed in white
Playing timbales while the angels
Sing with Selena
Ay Mamma. Is you carnival shoes on.
--Wyclef Jean, "Selena"
As a depression-era child in New York's Spanish Harlem, Ernesto Antonio (Tito) Puente enjoyed banging on pots and pans so much that the neighbors convinced his parents to give him music lessons.
His Puerto Rican immigrant parents obliged, with lessons for piano, percussion, saxophone, vibraphone and timbales, and Tito became a professional musician at 13. Following an apprenticeship in the Machito Orchestra, he served in the Navy during World War II.
After doing extensive research for last week's blog, Craft Beer: Good for What Ales You, my thoughts turned to Lucky Jim, the cultish, post-war novel written by Kingsley Amis (pictured) in 1954, and its iconic description of a hangover.
Jim Dixon, aspiring academic in medieval literature, tries to further his career at a weekend faculty party, but instead creates romantic entanglements and drinks far too much: "Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning.
A year ago, the Research Blog reported that, according to the Colorado Brewers Guild, our state had 139 licensed breweries and ranked third in number of breweries per capita. The industry is still hopping; we now boast 188 breweries and a ranking of number 2 in number per capita.
Jonathan Shikes, Westword's "Beer Man," explains, "As for why Colorado is so beery, my theory (which has absolutely no grounding in research) is the presence of the Coors plant in Golden, the single largest brewing facility in the world. Boulder and Longmont became high-tech centers because of IBM being there and attracting many tech-minded people to the state. Coors may have done the same for beer, attracting people who are focused on beer or focused on making beer better."
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
--George Santayana, squash grower and part-time philosopher
I knew there would be consequences, but I went ahead and planted seven squash seeds in my backyard. Then, a perfect storm of hot weather and monsoon rains resulted in plants as fast-growing and unruly as a teenage boy. So read on, friends, family and colleagues, since there may be a squash or two in your future.
First, you got a financial tip; pork bellies are out, beans are in. You'll have to access your managed futures portfolio right away or you're ruined. Also, your mother-in-law's birthday is coming up, and she wants a new Ikea milk frother. Worst of all, your library book, The World's Strongest Librarian, is overdue.
Do you want to attend the ukulele festival, but lack funds? Although foundations don't generally offer grant money to individuals, the Foundation Center can help you find those that do.
Funding opportunities for students, professionals, researchers and artistic types are available through the FC's Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, a database of nearly 10,000 foundation and public charity programs including:
I was in college in the late 1970s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and selecting a major was relatively simple - there were no exotic degrees available such as Casino Management, Biosystems Engineering, Culinary Science or Digital Arts.
The stakes weren't as high, either. The average cost of tuition alone in 1980 for a 4-year public institution was about $10,000 total, compared to today's price tag of $64,000. That, coupled with the challenge of finding a job, any job, in our current economy can make choosing a degree that is marketable yet intellectually stimulating a challenge.