Issue: 534

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COLLEGE NEWS
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DISCOVERY CHANNEL TO FEATURE COLLEGE FACULTY
Iowa State experts will be highlighted in the Discovery Channel network show "How Things Work: Corn," which will air at noon on Saturday, Jan. 10, on Mediacom channel 39 in Ames and Des Moines. More: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/2009/jan/discovery.shtml

GRADUATE STUDENT PRESENTED AGRONOMY FELLOWSHIP
The 2008 C. R. Weber Award for Excellence in Plant Science has been given to Paola Perez, an agronomy graduate student. The award is given to outstanding doctoral candidates studying plant breeding and is named for C.R. Weber, a soybean breeder with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a former faculty member at Iowa State.

PROJECT TO LOOK AT IMMIGRANTS IN THE MIDWEST
A new multistate project is bringing together researchers and extension/outreach specialists with common interests and research agendas related to Latinos and immigrants in Midwestern communities. The effort began at a meeting sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, based at ISU. The meeting identified a network of interstate research and outreach working groups that in turn, formalized the plans for the project, called “Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities.” Jan Flora, sociology, and Rubén Martínez at Michigan State are committee co-chairs.

CROP PERFORMANCE REPORTS ON THE WEB
Crop performance tests from ISU and the Iowa Crop Improvement Association are available online through ISU Extension. PDF reports can be downloaded from the Web for corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, triticale, oats and barley. More: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/store/ListCategories.aspx?TopicID=2

COLLEGE A SPONSOR OF LIVE HEALTHY WELLNESS CHALLENGE
Iowa State is participating in a wellness challenge that will be run in conjunction with the Live Healthy Iowa, formerly Lighten Up Iowa. The College is a sponsor of the project in which teams of ISU employees will be competing against those at the other state universities to see which can have the greatest percentage participating. The Live Healthy Iowa State 100 Day Wellness Challenge will run from Jan. 14 to April 23. ISU and HyVee are offering incentives to reduce the registration fee. More: http://www.livehealthyiowa.org/

EXTENSION HELPS DESIGN COURSE FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
ISU Extension's Pest Management and the Environment Program and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) present a new course titled, “Worker Protection Standard: Train the Trainer,” is available online. The course was developed by ISU Extension with funding support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and IDALS. More: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/WorkerProtection

DEADLINES AND REMINDERS
Jan. 9-10: Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems, http://www.public.iastate.edu/~jschrade
Feb. 2: "A Dream Fulfilled: The Saga of George Washington Carver," 8 p.m., Great Hall, Memorial Union

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COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK
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TECH TERMS TO AVOID
Clear writing is one of the goals that David Pogue promoted in his Oct. 16 Circuits column in the New York Times. He lists several technical terms that should be avoided when describing web pages or any technical device. Here's a sample:
- Content. As in, "Web content." If you mean "Web pages," say "Web pages." If you mean "music," say "music." Nobody outside the tech industry says "content" when they mean "what's on your player" or "what's on your Web site."
- Display. "Display" can be a noun ("a display of fireworks"). It can also be a verb that takes a direct object ("He displayed emotion"). It is not, however, a verb without a direct object, except in magazines like PC World: "Shows filmed in high-definition end up displaying in letterbox format." Displaying what in letterbox format? Fireworks? Emotions? The word this writer was looking for is "appearing."
- RAM. Here again, there's a plain-English word that does the same job without the intimidation: memory.
- User. There are two industries that refer to their customers as "users" -- technology and illegal drugs. When you're writing about computers, there's almost never a sentence where you couldn't substitute "you" or, worst case, "the customer" as the noun and thereby improve the sentence. Instead of saying, "The user can, at his or her option, elect to remove this functionality," say, "You can turn this feature off." It's not only clearer, but it gets you out of the awkward "his or her" bit.
More: http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2008/10/16/technology/circuitsemail/index...

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INFOGRAZING
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ISU'S OFFICE OF BIOTECHNOLOGY CELEBRATING 25TH
Iowa State's Office of Biotechnology will celebrate its 25th anniversary throughout 2009. It was established in 1984 to develop a biotechnology initiative with the College and four others. More: http://www.biotech.iastate.edu/news/Jan-05-2009.html

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EXTERNAL VOICES
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JACKSON AND BERRY ON NEED FOR A 50-YEAR FARM BILL
“Thoughtful farmers and consumers everywhere are already making many necessary changes in the production and marketing of food. But we also need a national agricultural policy that is based upon ecological principles. We need a 50-year farm bill that addresses forthrightly the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities.”
--Wes Jackson president of The Land Institute, and Wendell Berry, Kentucky farmer and writer, in a New York Times commentary (New York Times, Jan. 4, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/opinion/05berry.html?th&emc=th)

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MARGINALIA
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ECONOMICS PROFESSOR TRIES STAND-UP
Peter Orazem, economics, was one of three economists who presented Jan. 3 at the first humor session of the American Economic Association's annual conference. The performance was noted in a New York Times economics blog by Catherine Rampell, who described it as “a more standard stand-up routine, though one loosely based on economic humor (and airline jokes, etc.).” She wrote that Orazen got one of his bigger laughs with: “I liked high gas prices. I mean, you could fill up your tank and double the value of your car.” (New York Times, Jan. 4, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/economic-humor-no-longer-an...)

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AG AND LIFE SCIENCES ONLINE
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EDITOR
Ed Adcock, edadcock@iastate.edu
Phone: (515) 294-5616 Web site: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/

SUBSCRIBE
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