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Got Lab?

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No, not a dog, a research lab for testing large structures.  South Dakota State University opened the Jerome Lohr Structures Laboratory on March 15th.  From the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader:
The lab is the only one in the state and unique to the upper Midwest for testing large structural pieces of material for strength and endurance. A 24,000-square-foot addition was built onto Crothers’ southeast corner for the lab.
Like Jerry Lohr, I'm a proud graduate in civil engineering from SDSU.  Unlike him, I don't own an award-winning winery.

Busy in the real world

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All quiet here at Medary.com . . . I've been busy over at the sdsufans.com site, and on the road between Kansas City and Brookings keeping up with the South Dakota State women's basketball team.  The Jackrabbits are making unprecedented noise in the Women's NIT tournament, having defeated Illinois State in front of a near-sellout crowd, and will host the Indiana Hoosiers this Thursday in a game that was sold out in about four hours after tickets went on sale on Monday.  SDSU is in the third year of the five-year transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.  A transitioning team has never played in an NIT tournament, let alone win a game.  (Transitioning teams are not eligible to play in the NCAA tournament).

Plus, I'm making pizza tonight . . .

Inside the supermarket business

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The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader has a story about Filbert's favorite grocery store--HyVee, and its success:
Hy-Vee's success can in part be attributed to its flexibility. Despite the company's size, Hy-Vee has been nimble enough to change with its environment, said Marcia Mogelonsky, senior research analyst for Mintel.

"They've made a targeted effort to find out what the community needs and then provide it," she said.

Each Hy-Vee manager tailors his or her store to the market by deciding which products the store will carry, determining how those stocks will evolve and setting the prices.

Hy-Vee's proximity and customer service are important factors for Julie Ver Steeg, a Sioux Falls customer, but selection and the overall appearance of Hy-Vee stores keeps her loyal.

"I think Hy-Vee is a little bit cleaner than other stores, which is important to me with my son," she said. "I think its just an overall appearance of a store and the food. The food there looks fresher, and the shelves appear to be cleaner."

The RIAA Shakedown

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The Recording Industry Association of America is demanding that 50 students at Ohio University pay $3,000 each to the industry group to avoid being sued for illegal downloading.
A letter to one Ohio University student told her that she distributed 787 audio files, putting her total minimum potential liability at more than $590,000. The minimum damages under the law is $750 for each copyright recording that had been shared, the letter said.
This is a big reason I simply don't buy music any more.  I don't care to support an industry that uses strongarm tactics, even when the shakedown is in the form of a letter from a lawyer.  The current intellectual properties legal system is broken.  Extracting thousands of dollars from college students won't fix it.

Captain America is dead

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Killed by a sniper while emerging from a courthouse.  He was 66.
Yahoo News:

According to the comic, the superhero was spawned when a scrawny arts student named Steve Rogers, ineligible for the army because of his poor health but eager to serve his country, agreed to a "Super Soldier Serum" injection. The substance made him a paragon of physical perfection, armed only with his shield, his strength, his smarts and a command of martial arts.

In the comic-book universe, death is not always final. But even if Captain America turns out to have met his end in print, he may not disappear entirely: Marvel has said it is developing a Captain America movie.

So the body says, hey, there's plenty of food . . .

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Let's start cranking out babies . . .

The report from the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital said a multiyear study following a group of 354 girls found that those who were fatter at age 3 and who gained weight during the next three years reached puberty, as defined by breast development, by age 9.

"Our finding that increased body fatness is associated with the earlier onset of puberty provides additional evidence that growing rates of obesity among children in this country may be contributing to the trend of early maturation in girls," said Dr. Joyce Lee, the lead author.

A Gathering of Eagles

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A rally is planned for Saturday, March 17, 2007 in Washington, DC.  I'm tempted to participate.

Their web site is here.

Their mission statement:

1. Gathering of Eagles is non-partisan. While each member has his or her own political beliefs, our common love and respect for America and her heroes is what brings us together.

2. We are a non-violent, non-confrontational group. We look to defend, not attack. Our focus is guarding our memorials and their grounds.

3. We believe that the war memorials are sacred ground; as such, we will not allow them to be desecrated, used as props for political statements, or treated with anything less than the solemn and heartfelt respect they–and the heroes they honor–deserve.

4. We are wholly and forever committed to our brothers and sisters in uniform. As veterans, we understand their incredible and noble sacrifices, made of their own accord for a nation they love more than life itself. As family members, we stand by them, and as Americans, we thank God for them.

5. We believe in and would give our lives for the precious freedoms found in our Constitution. We believe that our freedom of speech is one of the greatest things our country espouses, and we absolutely hold that any American citizen has the right to express his or her approval or disapproval with any policy, law, or action of our nation and her government in a peaceful manner as afforded by the laws of our land.

6. However, we are adamantly opposed to the use of violence, vandalism, physical or verbal assaults on our veterans, and the destruction or desecration of our memorials. By defending and honoring these sacred places, we defend and honor those whose blood gave all of us the right to speak as freely as our minds think.

7. We vehemently oppose the notion that it is possible to “support the troops but not the war.” We are opposed to those groups who would claim support for the troops yet engage in behavior that is demeaning and abusive to the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.

8. We believe in freedom at all costs, including our own lives. We served to protect the freedoms Americans enjoy, and we agree with Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that “From time to time, the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

9. We will accept nothing less than total, unqualified victory in the current conflict. Surrender is not an option, nor is defeat.

10. We stand to challenge any group that seeks the destruction of our nation, its founding precepts of liberty and freedom, or those who have given of themselves to secure those things for another generation. We will be silent no more.

I am not personally a veteran, but I sympathize with, agree with, and support each and every one of those statements.

If we're causing global warming, what about Mars?

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A story at the National Geographic site:

Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.

Naturally, much of the story attempts to rebut (mainly via argument from authority rather than by rational, logical means) Abdussamatov's contention.