Issue: 483

College News

Spring Convocation Set for Feb. 15
The College's spring semester convocation will begin at 4:15 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Curtiss Hall Auditorium, 127 Curtiss. It will begin with President Geoffroy presenting a medallion for an endowed professorship. The annual presentation of College awards will follow. Dean Wendy Wintersteen will make brief remarks and the event will conclude with refreshments about 5 p.m.

Institute for Good Safety & Security Affiliated Faculty Begin Blog
The Iowa State Food Safety Project is launching a blog for those interested in safe food. Bloggers include experts representing various departments: Joe Sebranek and Jim Dickson, animal science; Sam Beattie, food science and human nutrition; Catherine Strohbehn, hotel, restaurant and institution management; Dr. James McKean, veterinary medicine.

Beginning Farmers Conference to be Jan. 26
The third annual Beginning Farmers Conference will be held Jan. 26 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames, hosted by the Beginning Farmers Network (BFN) at Iowa State University.

ISU and NRCS Offers Plan Development Course Feb. 25-27
The agricultural and biosystems engineering department at Iowa State and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will offer the national Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Development Course Feb. 25-27 in Louisville, Ky. Completion of this course is required to become certified as a technical service provider in the CNMP Development area by Iowa State's national certification program. Technical service providers provide technical assistance including conservation planning and design, installation and inspection of approved conservation practices.

Palle Pedersen Interview Part of Extension Podcasts

Palle Pedersen, extension soybean agronomist, is from Denmark a country that doesn't produce any soybeans. He talked to Doug Cooper, extension communications and marketing, about his background and how he came to Iowa State in a podcast interview. DEADLINES AND REMINDERS Jan. 18: Women Impacting ISU calendar reception, which honors Dean Wintersteen and College student Rachael Cox among students, faculty and staff whose accomplishments have positively affected the university, 3:30 p.m., Campanile Room, Memorial Union

Communications Kiosk

Informal Spelling May Have Its Place
Thanks to the advertising industry, banks and fast-food restaurants now have "drive-thru" windows and we can drink "lite" beer and watch "late-nite" TV. Ellen Crawford _information specialist at North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication, said these words even have found their way into the dictionary, although they are described as the informal, simplified spelling of "through," "light" and "night." The description "informal" means you shouldn't use "thru," "lite" or "nite" in formal writing or business correspondence. As one grammarian put it, using "thru" is like dotting your i's with little hearts; readers know what you mean, but they won't take you very seriously. Do these abbreviations have a place in writing? This is where grammarians disagree. Some say no. They argue that "thru," "lite" and "nite" are words marketing executives made up to catch the buyer's eye and have no place in the written language. Others say yes. Those in the latter category say "thru," "lite" and "nite" are OK in ad copy; in informal writing, such as memos and e-mail; and in places where space is extremely tight, such as on road signs. The bottom line: Let the usage be your guide. (Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Live and Human Sciences Grammar Hint)


4-H Youth Conference Workshop Proposals Due Jan. 9
Organizers of the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference are seeking proposals for workshops to offer this June to the more than 1,000 expected for the event. The deadline for proposals is Jan. 9.

Lighten up Iowa to Begin Jan. 16
Lighten Up Iowa has been shortened to a 100-day fitness challenge, running from Jan. 16 to April 24. Teams of two to 10 people can participate. The cost is $15 per person, but Hy-Vee will offer a $5 discount code during early January. The ISU benefits office has offered some prizes for teams that are the most active. Iowa State and ISU Extension are among the program's sponsors.

External Voices

Ethanol Target in Food Price Debate
"For years, cheap food and feed were taken for granted in the United States. But now the price of some foods is rising sharply, and from the corridors of Washington to the aisles of neighborhood supermarkets, a blame alert is under way. Among the favorite targets is ethanol, especially for food manufacturers and livestock farmers who seethe at government mandates for ethanol production. ... In a study completed in May, researchers at Iowa State University concluded that retail food prices had already increased by $47 per person in the previous year or so as a result of higher corn prices. If corn prices near $4.50 a bushel next year, as many people expect, the research suggests that retail food prices for meat will increase about 7.5 percent and egg prices will go up 13.5 percent. But researchers for the Renewable Fuels Association dispute that math and contend that the link between corn prices and grocery prices is weak." --Food and Fuel Compete for Land, New York Times, Dec. 18, 2007


Harvard Students Seek Science Makeover
Harvard University students on winter break have launched a campus club called The Zing to improve science's public image. The group's goal is "to make science friendly, accessible and digestible for everyone." The Harvard Crimson reported the organization plans to officially begin with a Valentine's Day "LoveFest" detailing the science of attraction and a $100 T-shirt contest for the best design using the words, "Science Is Sexy." The group chose Feb. 14 hoping the science of love and sex would generate new enthusiasm for a discipline some worried was "too geeky." More in Harvard Crimson, Jan. 3

Ag and Life Sciences Online

Ed Adcock,
Phone: (515) 294-5616

Ag and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is e-mailed every Monday. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Ag and Life Sciences Online subscribe" to To unsubscribe, send "Ag and Life Sciences Online unsubscribe."

University Nondiscrimination Statement