The end of snow?

Did you know that Sochi wasn’t able to hold test skiing events in February 2013 because the ski trails were brown and bare in certain areas?  (Sochi stored last winter’s snow under insulated blankets until this year just to make sure there would be enough snow for the Olympics.) Or that only about half of …

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A Crock

We’re sitting underneath a ton of snow and cold weather here in Michigan this February. It’s a good idea to fill up the calendar with annual events to tick off during the long wait for Spring. Punxsutawny Phil, the wonderfully-fantastic excrescent bowl, the North Michigan Small Farm Conference that we talked about last week, Valentine’s …

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The 24 Hour Deadline

I’ve always believed that my best work comes when I’m pressed for time and my paper is due tomorrow and I haven’t started it at all so I have to furiously type away at the keyboard until it’s done. That worked well in high school when I produced an entirety of a 36-page research paper …

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Lessons from the Maker Movement

Making things is fun. The Maker movement, as it’s commonly known, is centered on the idea that when it comes to technology especially, it’s better and more fun to do-it-yourself than rely on off-the-shelf products. Here on GradHacker, we’ve discussed different ways we’ve gone about doing this to varying degrees. It’s true that GradHackers as …

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The Presidents

President Obama toured the Michigan Biotechnology Institute today before signing the Farm Bill on the MSU campus. I’ll post a photo of us together when I get it from the White House photographer. I had a brief chat with the soldier carrying the football, and discussed Crossfit with the secret service guys. Favorite film: To …

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Neanderthals leave their mark on us

Neanderthals shared a common ancestor with humans about 600,000 years ago, and didn’t go extinct until 30,000 years ago.  Scientists have been able to reconstruct most of the Neanderthal genome using fossil fragments, and found that humans must have interbred with them in the past, since some DNA is similar between Neanderthals and modern-day Europeans …

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How to Be Benedict Cumberbatch

As much as we’d all like to be Benedict Cumberbatch’s cunning version of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s show Sherlock, we haven’t spent our entire life training ourselves to notice every tiny detail. However, all is not lost. You still have Holmes-potential. It may take some time, but you can retrain your brain to become …

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Reality

I’m checking in this week from the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference in Traverse City. The theme of this year’s conference is “Small Farms Are Real Farms.” I’m a bit put off that they didn’t ask me to speak at the conference because after all who would be better equipped to speak on the subject …

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Expresso (not espresso)

Stop that eye twitch, it’s not misspelled. I’m talking Expresso – the writer’s style tool, not espresso (the writer’s coping tool). Forging an honest, unique voice is one of the biggest struggles for many writers. Unfortunately, outside of a trusted editor, available tools can be noticeably lacking. Expresso is great because it admits upfront that style …

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The sloth’s busy inner life

Three-toed sloths are not just unusual animals for moving so slowly.  Their fur actually contains an entire ecosystem of organisms! Sloths have algae that grow in their fur (specifically, in grooves and channels in their hair) and a species of moth that burrows in its hair (perhaps up to 100 moths on a single sloth!). …

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Meta-spam

WTF?! A spam email advertisement for spam! Here’s an unsolicited email I’ve just received offering bulk email solutions. I hope this is a sign that the business is floundering, though I have my doubts. The Best way of busi​ness promotion : Bul​k Email​ From: Naveen Rajput To: Bjørn Østman Received: Feb 1, 2014, 02:26 PM …

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A Modest Terminology Proposal

I just finished shoveling snow, an exercise I will have to repeat later today and possibly tomorrow, as we enjoy the first of multiple winter storms queued up all the way from mid-Michigan (where I live) to the central Pacific, each patiently awaiting its turn to annoy me. With that in mind, I would like …

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