Barb Keleher

The 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Tomorrow, the United States prepares to honor the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack. Over 3,000 lives were lost. Hopefully, Americans will spend some time reflecting on the people who died. Also, a special tribute to the first responders who gave their lives while attempting to save others.

What’s Going On?

This weekend I read the book All We Can Save. This is the “One Book, One College” selection for the MVCC 2021-2022 school year. The book examines climate change. Ironically, hours after I finished the book on Sunday, a tornado ripped through my neighborhood. Suddenly some of the facts in the book became a startling reality for me.

This storm was calculated as a EF-3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Some climate experts believe the frequency of tornadoes in the United States is stable but not their patterns.

I highly recommend this book. The authors’ perspective of climate change is interesting and the book is well written and persuasive. I have always championed respect for our world and its inhabitants. The June 20 tornado added to my resolve to continue educating myself about climate change.

Ticks

This summer certainly is more enjoyable than the Covid-19 summer of 2020. We can finally enjoy outdoor activities like biking, walking, and barbecuing. There are several things that health experts warn us to avoid during the summer months: too much sun, dehydration, and certain insects and arachnids. “When disease-carrying mosquitoes reach a new area in the U.S., there are standard public health responses, including population control methods, with cities, towns, and counties conducting mosquito abatement campaigns.” While there are other disease carrying creatures, they are unfortunately not handled with the same urgency as mosquitoes.

One arachnid that carries dangerous diseases is the tick. Ticks can spread more than 65 diseases, many of them serious. They include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever and other tick borne diseases. Ticks are not relegated to woodlands or farmlands, they also proliferate in urban and suburban areas. The Cook Country Forest Preserve wants people to visit their beautiful forests and fields but warns against the dangers of tick bites. Their website also includes information about removing ticks from humans and pets.

Up close and personal pictures of a tick bite victim.

Fill It Up!

The United States is no stranger to fuel crises. The most recent disaster centered on the Colonial Pipeline, which is located in the southeastern part of the country. “It is the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the U.S. The pipeline is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York.” The company stopped transporting oil after its system was hacked (May 7) by a ransomware attack. This pipeline supplies 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast. The vulnerability of fuel lines, government installations, companies, hospitals, etc. has many cyber security experts concerned. The gas line has resumed service after the company paid $5 million to the hackers.

The 1970s experienced two major gasoline shortages. Conflict in the Middle East caused a gas shortage in 1973. OPEC initiated an oil embargo in response to the United States siding with Israel during the Yom Kippur War. “At the time, OPEC accounted for an average of two-thirds of American oil imports in the 70s. ” Long lines, limited hours, and increased costs were just some of the problems that consumers faced. The second fuel shortage took place in 1979. The Shah of Iran was deposed and replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini who used Iran’s oil as a tool to restrain the economy of the West.

Hopefully, future fuel sources will not depend on any specific countries or leaders to move cars or planes. Hybrid and electric cars are becoming more the norm but they still have issues that must be addressed. Researchers are studying hydrogen, which is another potential source of fuel. Conceivably, scientists will be able to discover a cheaper and cleaner source of energy.

Be Kind to Bees

It’s time to enjoy the warmer weather and all the pleasures that this time of the year provides. Flowers, fruits, and vegetables are some of of these gifts. The humble bee plays an important role in all of these products.

Bees are divided into two classes, cultivated bees (honeybees who produce honey and pollinate crops) and native bees (those who have no human interaction who also pollinate many of our plants and crops). We take bees and pollination for granted, but entomologists warn that some species of bees “who are vital for their role as pollinators are imperiled by temperature extremes, habitat loss, disease and pesticides have all contributed to the decline of many species of pollinators.” Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce. Our food supply depends on pollinators. We can help alleviate this situation with one or two simple steps.

More information on this topic can be found in the MVCC library Science Databases

Smoke on the Prairie

MVCC Campus 4/12/21

The Moraine Valley campus is surrounded by Cook County Forest Preserves. Most of us drive by without much appreciation of the open land. The amount of work that goes into sustaining these green spaces is staggering, not only financially but also the amount of strategic planning to keep these spaces viable for future generations.

You may have recently noticed the smoke billowing out of the Preserves that surround the college. During the spring and fall, the Cook County Forest Preserve conducts a prescribed burn. This procedure “helps to stimulate the growth of native plants and hinder invasive vegetation. Simply put, native plants in this area evolve alongside periodic fires, while most invasive species introduced to this area later did not.” View this short video on A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew.

Check out the MVCC catalog or the science databases for more information on this topic

Pandemic Poster Art

“A poster is a temporary promotion of an idea, product, or event put up in a public space for mass consumption. Typically, posters include both textual and graphic elements, although a poster may be either wholly graphical or wholly text.” With our current technology, posters are not a necessary tool to help spread information but perhaps because of the overload of information that comes across our computer screens, a simple visual sign just might be an effective attention-getter. Covid 19 posters are found in public building like libraries, hospitals, and schools. By comparison, the 1918 Pandemic posters were pasted on buildings, bars, theaters, and train stations.

Regardless of 2021 technology, “the work of artists has been a central platform of how society responds to times of great social change.” Check out some interesting links on the use of poster art during pandemic crises.

Pandemic Posters Through the Years

The posters created by Wisconsin artists during the COVID-19 pandemic will become part of the collections at the Society where they can be used by future generations.

Canadian Poster Art

Poster Art from Underserved Communities (Click on PDF version)

“NASA Works”!

That sentence was jubilantly proclaimed as the Perseverance rover landed on Mars today at 2:56 (CST). After a year of doom and gloom news, a ray of sunshine burst through the world with the announcement that the NASA Perseverance rover touched down on the red planet. The rover will collect samples of rocks and soil. The samples will be wrapped and be brought back to earth at a future date. The rover will also examine potential oxygen sources that could be used for breathing and fuel. A drone type helicopter along with numerous scientific equipment accompanied the Perseverance on the seven month trip to Mars. The helicopter will be used to collect information that will be helpful to future exploration of Mars.

National Geographic put together a riveting video on the role that map-making played on the relationship between Earth and Mars.

Kudos to NASA and to the project team that spent many years working on this project. Meet the Martians.

Image result for nasa mage of mars
https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/timeline/approach/
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