Journey to the edge of the universe

journey-factsAn excellent presentation of what’s out there beyond the stars, a breathtaking panorama of nature’s engineering:


Beyond the comforts of our home planet Earth, is a vast and mysterious world. Learn more about our galaxy and the secrets it holds.

  • Venus, the goddess of love, is the solar system’s brightest planet.
  • Although similar in size and gravity as Earth, Venus’ atmosphere is full of deadly sulphuric acid.
  • Covered with a thin veneer of rock, Mercury is a huge ball of iron and has a powerful gravitational pull for its size.
  • The strongest magnet known in the universe is a magnetar, a rare type of neutron star. To date, there have only been about ten discoveries of a magnetar.
  • The sun is so far away that if it burned out we wouldn’t know about it for eight minutes.
  • The red planet, Mars, has no ozone layer and has nothing to protect against the sun’s ultra-violet rays. This makes it unlivable for humans.
  • By dating the meteorites found on Earth, we can tell the planets were born 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Jupiter is spinning at an incredible rate, whipping up winds to hundreds of miles an hour.
  • Saturn is a giant ball of gas; so light it would float on water.

Restoring the Earth helps veterans heal

I enjoy reading feel good stories like these. Vets returning from war need an outlet to help them heal from the mental and physical wounds received while deployed. Though the program faced budget cuts I hope it continues and the idea spreads nationwide:

…a program in Washington state helps military veterans learn marketable job skills and make sense of their experiences in combat. Program managers say the Veterans Conservation Corps initiative helps hundreds of vets study and train to enter the growing “green” jobs field.

In return, the veterans work on projects that help restore the environment in state parks.

The VCC, though, is much more than job training for Grisham and many of the other vets. It’s a form of therapy.

“Sometimes it feels really good. When we take invasive weeds off a tree that’s being suffocated and we free something. I feel a bit lighter inside,” Grisham says.

Vets who contact the VCC are helped by its small staff to enroll in a local community college and become part of a network of recently returned vets and older veterans who volunteer on the community projects. Fischer says the vets — most of who have never met before the program — almost immediately form “a new platoon” to support one another.

Graduates from the program, Fischer says, have gone on to work for the state division of forestry, the park system, and have created their own companies working on environmental projects.


Summer Classes at the Saint Louis Zoo

hmmm…(I LIKE!):

Too cute!

Too cute!

Summer Classes at the Saint Louis Zoo

Come hop like a toad, solve animal mysteries, or trek through the Zoo at night while learning about nocturnal animals.  The Saint Louis Zoo offers education programs for all ages!  Summer registration is available for young children, youth, family, adult, teacher and scouts.  Advance registration is required for all programs. The Early Bird Mail-In Registration Deadline for Zoo Friends members is February 13 at 4:00 p.m.

Check out our new program offerings, including Zoo Clues 2, Fantastic Felines, A Day With the Rays and other fascinating programs.  Campers can leap into action this summer by attending Camp KangaZoo!  Camp Joey is available for children ages 4 – entering Kindergarten.  Campers entering grades 1st – 6th can double their fun by choosing to attend two different Camp KangaZoo sessions:  We Care- WildCare or Super Survivors.
For the first time, all summer programs will be available for online registration!  Zoo Friends members can register online starting at 12 noon, February 16 until 12 noon, February 20.  For a complete program listing and registration information, visit our website or call (314) 646-4544.

The Honor of the Native American

From childhood on I have always held a deep resounding romanticism of the native tribes of America.

There’s a quiet honor about them.  Centuries established.

I admire how they viewed the land and her resources.  The following excerpts are from a conservation movement which I applaud:


“Honor the Earth is not just another environmental cause. The basic issues of human rights, justice and our own survival are at stake.” – Amy Ray

There are organizations out there which continue to strive making ground in preserving America and Her History:

“We are a part of everything that is beneath us, above us, and around us. Our past is our present, our present is our future, and our future is seven generations past and present.” – Haudenosaunee teaching


Update on my enlistment

Contacted my recruiter on the status and this is what he had to say:




God! The wait is unbearable!  But am glad that I made it through the initial hurtle! Glad that I stuck this through after what…a year and a half of pursuing this goal despite all the setbacks.

Since I am planning to enlist 8 years I should automatically qualify for the Military College Loan Repayment Program. Since am going National Guard I can receive up to $20,000 (hope I get the full amount).  Will come in handy and alleviate one issue I have with college:


  • For active duty, must have no prior military experience
  • In the Air Force and Navy active duty, must enlist for a minimum of four years. For the Army active duty, must enlist for a minimum of three years.
  • For the Army and Navy Reserves, and Army and Air National Guard, must enlist for a minimum of six years
  • For the Army, must have a high school diploma, and must have an overall score of 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
  • For the Army active duty, Army Reserves, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard, must enlist in a specific shortage MOS/AFSC (job) that qualifies for the program (Note: MOS’s/AFSC’s that qualify can change overnight, depending on the current needs of the service. See your local Recruiter for the latest information about jobs that qualify).
  • For the Army Reserves/Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, the maximum amount repayable (up to $20,000) varies according to the MOS/AFSC (job) and unit assigned to.
  • Active Duty must give up Montgomery GI Bill Eligibility (but, see info on the next page about this)
  • For the Army and Navy Reserves, those with prior military service are eligible.
  • The CLRP must be annotated on the enlistment contract.


Payments are made directly to the lender. The first payment is not made until after the member has completed one year of service, assuming that all initial entry training (basic training and job-training) has been completed.

Active Duty. The military repays 33 1/3 percent of the outstanding principle balance of the loan annually, or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service.

Reserves. The Army and Navy Reserves will repay 15 percent of the outstanding principle balance of the loan annually, or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service.  The Air National Guard will pay 15 percent, or $5,000 (whichever is greater) annually against the outstanding principle balance.


Not to mention any cash bonuses I can receive for 8 years.

Moving on up

Knowing that I have a nice plan in place as far as upward mobility at NARA does my heart good.  Because I have stagnated where I am currently at, knowing I have the resources and power to better myself and move forward gives me plenty peace of mind.

I don’t like math, as stated earlier, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth…but instead of being a chronic complainer about the situation I realized I simply need to get going and get MOVING.

No more whining about my situation, I understand now WHY I am having a difficult time leaving my current position. I fought going back to school tooth and nail because I was burnt out from the textbooks, droning professors and long endless hours of lectures…but I know, I know it’s for my own good.

So……..time to buckle and move on up.

A New Approach to World Peace…

Wow….imagine belonging to an organization such as this one…being able to create change through Peace.  I love that this organization is NON-religious and NON-political…exactly the kind of organization I would desire to be a part of:


With the humblest of beginnings, Friends Without Borders has remained an all-volunteer project funded mostly by the volunteers themselves.  FWB is a non-religious, non-political organization and is an impressive demonstration of just how much a small group of truly dedicated people with enough heart can accomplish.  With a fairly small core team, our volunteers have numbered in the thousands, and we are particularly thankful to all the love the children have put into this project, which is really what keeps us going.

Memories of another life

I was surfing the net for an item and came upon this article regarding the International Student Organization and how I co-founded this innovative way of bringing together diverse mixture of international students under the academic umbrella:

People gathered for International Night, presented by the International Student Organization, on Friday in Dede I and II to experience through speakers, food, a fashion show and dance the ethnic diversity that exists on campus.

“The biggest reason for having an International Night is to show how diverse ISU is,” said Timur Mirzoev, president of ISO.

Mirzoev said another reason for having such a night was to educate people.
“They can learn something from this night just by interacting and talking with all these people coming from different countries,” he said.

Steve Chao, associate director of the International Affairs Center and special guest of the night, also spoke to the audience. He said it was great to see so many people from so many different ethnic groups.

“This night helps to understand and interact with the aspect of different cultures,” he said. “It also teaches to be respectful.”

…ISO was created two years ago to help international students cope with any problems they may face. The organization has grown since then under the presidency of Mirzoev, elected a year ago.
I haven’t seen too many articles regarding ISO since its inception and subsequent year after we left it in the hands of another student…and hope that this innovative way of bringing different cultures together within the university is still thriving.

Indiana State among ‘Best in the Midwest’ for fifth straight year

Nice to hear some good news coming out of my Alumni:

The Princeton Review has once again named Indiana State University as one of the best colleges in a 12-state region.

In its online feature “2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” the New York City-based education services company selected Indiana State as one of 159 institutions it recommends as among the “Best in the Midwest,” a region the company defines as extending from the Dakotas south to Kansas and east through Ohio.

The selections are based on data submitted by colleges and universities and surveys of students and high school advisors.

“This marks the fifth straight year Indiana State has been named among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest. This ongoing recognition is a direct reflection on the work that our outstanding faculty and staff are doing to give students a unique and meaningful educational experience,” said ISU President Daniel Bradley.

Students responding to Princeton Review surveys consistently rate their Indiana State professors as knowledgeable in their fields and comment that they feel closer to their professors than they would at a larger school and that faculty members are “exceptional, down-to-earth and approachable.” Students stated ISU helps them “to grow personally, intellectually and socially.”

ISU helped me spread my intellectual wings in a variety of pursuits….and I became more involved with social causes, non-profits. I enjoyed my professors and they took their time to sit with me, go over my research, and to simply chat or to network. It was a large campus for me but the people made it seem well “homey.”