Use this guide to find obituaries and articles in Iowa City area newspapers. To access the premium databases listed here, you must reside in Iowa City or one of the library’s contracted service areas. You will want to have your library card number and password ready. Call 356-5200 if you need assistance.
I rode the last day of RAGBRAI this year. The route was from Coralville to Davenport—68 miles—and I absolutely loved it! The best part was the people. The small towns celebrated our arrival. In Atalissa, a row of kids along the road gave riders hi-fives. People in several towns sat at the end of their driveways with hoses and offered to spray riders down to cool them off. About 10 miles away from Davenport, I had to rest, so I stopped and laid down in someone’s lawn. A little girl walked up and asked if I wanted a popsicle. All of this made me smile the biggest smile.
The people riding RAGBRAI were also great. Several times I saw bicyclists with flat tires pulled off to the side of the road. Other riders always stopped to offer assistance or would ask if they needed help. I took comfort in this because I have no idea how to fix a tire. If I had gotten a flat, I would’ve had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get back on the road. I had the thought that I should try to remedy that, and the Library has plenty of books to help teach you how to handle common repairs. One that I really liked was Bike Repair & Maintenance by Christopher Wiggins
. It has big pictures and simple instructions that even I could follow. We have a lot of other titles that you can check out here.
I still feel like a bit of a casual rider. There’s a culture around biking that I don’t quite get yet. I’ve been reading two digital magazines that the Library offers through Zinio*– Bicycling and Bicycle Times – to help figure it out. Also, there are a lot of blogs around cycling that I’ve been checking out. One of them, Fat Cyclist, is really good. The author started his blog after he noticed that he had put on some weight and decided to shed the pounds by biking (sounds familiar, right?). He now posts stories about races and bike trips that he goes on. His writing is affable and humorous. He’s also really into mountain biking, and it’s hard not to get excited about it too. Maybe that will be the next thing I’ll try
I can’t wait for next year’s RAGBRAI. I need to train more, and I should get some common sense gear (like gloves!) to make the ride more manageable. I want to take more rides around the state. The Library has books about that too. You can find those here. I’ll see you on the trails!
*Magazines through Zinio are available to patrons who live in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree, or rural Johnson County.
This annual celestial event occurs each year in late Summer, with peak viewing near the 2nd week of August. In 2015, the peak will be August 9-13 when up to 60 meteors an hour should be visible in the night sky, especially in the hours between midnight and dawn.
The Perseid Meteor shower is what we see when the Earth passes through the orbital path of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Swift Tuttle orbits the Sun every 133 years, and each time it gets close to the Sun, small pieces break off and join the cloud of debris in the comet’s orbit. Each year when the Earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle’s debris field, the debris bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere creating the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The Perseids appear to originate from the top of the constellation Perseus. During August, Perseus will be found in the Northeastern part of the sky, left of the Big Dipper. The point in space where the shower seems to originate is called a “Radiant”. The map to the left, from Sky & Telescope, the radiant is shown in yellow text. All the Perseid meteors will appear fly outwards from that point in the sky.
There are many great Astronomy websites with information about the Perseids.
University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s web site “StarDate” has a lot of information for people new to star gazing and astronomy. Clicking on the “Stargazing” tab on their homepage will give you a list of the things visible in the night sky this week. This is also where you’ll find a link to their Meteor Shower page.
The Earth Sky website managed by Deborah Byrd, the host of the long running public radio series EarthSky: A Clear Voice for Science, is a great science web site for non-scientists. The information about the Perseids section of their website is easy to read and has lots of information about the origins of the Perseids as well as how and when to find them and general tips on viewing.
To learn more about Comets, Meteors and meteor showers, the NASA website is a great place to start. Plantes, asteroids, meteors, and comets – there are all sorts of neat things at NASA.
There are many other regular meteor showers throughout the year if you can’t make the Perseids. Some of the most common can be found on this table, from the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s StarDate website mentioned above.
Recently I wanted to take a new cookbook home with me, but I was on my bike and didn’t want the extra weight. The answer to my woes? Finding an e-book cookbook!
I wound up checking out the Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker and found an excellent (and easy!) recipe for slow cooker risotto. And I am excited for leftovers tonight.
Here’s how to browse what cookbooks we have available through Digital Johnson County on OverDrive. Read the rest of this entry »
Independence Day is two short days away and one of the best parts of the holiday is fireworks. Fireworks at home or the neighbor’s house or in a park or campground are not legal, with the exception of sparklers and snakes. A bill in the Iowa House this past session would have expanded the sale and use of fireworks in the state to include cone fountains, bottle rockets and Roman candles, among others. It passed the House, but did not advance in the Senate. So you will have to wait until next year if you want to legally explode a cherry bomb or bottle rocket.
For a safe, fun and communal way to view fireworks, your can watch fireworks in Iowa City or a nearby town. On Friday, July 3 you can view them in Kalona: dusk at Shiloh Amphitheater or in Oxford: dusk at Creekside Park, but the majority of the fireworks take place on July 4. Here are the locations and times: Coralville: dark at S.T. Morrison Park, Hills: 9:05 p.m. at the Ballpark, Iowa City: 9:30-9:45 p.m. Hubbard Park (next to the University of Iowa Memorial Union), North Liberty: No display planned, but will have a hot air balloon glow at 8:30 p.m. July 11 as part of North Liberty Blues & BBQ and Solon: dusk over Lake McBride.
Have a great Fourth of July and if you do decide to shot off a bottle rocket or two, be safe out there.
You might be familiar with the Park@201 building downtown. It’s the new building on the ped mall with the glass exterior. Take a look at the top of building, the southwest and northwest corners in particular, and you will notice two protrusions. No, they are not gargoyles. They are video cameras that provide a giant’s-eye view of Iowa City courtesy of MetaCommunications. Here’s the website: http://www.metacommunications.com/webcam.
Clicking on the icon to which the green arrow is pointing will give you a fullscreen view. The icon to the right of that will let you control the camera. From there you can choose the camera’s orientation and you can zoom in or out.
Here are views from both cameras:
My favorite view is Ped Mall South. What’s yours?
Sometimes a simple question gets a not-so-simple answer. The question was “Does the Library have a slide projector? I found some old slides and I want to see what they are.” The quick answer was No, the Library no longer has a slide projector. But we do have a powerful new archival scanner that is equipped to view and scan slides. It is available to patrons whenever the Library is open, first-come, first-served.
The Epson Expression is a large-format flatbed scanner funded by a generous gift from the Iowa City Noon Host Lions Club. It can be used to scan photographs or documents up to 12 x 17 inches, and with a simple attachment can be converted to view or scan negatives and slides. Some basic instructions are available at the Reference Desk, where the slide tray also is stored.
The scanner software allows you to preview the slides first. You can then choose to scan some or all of the images. If you wish to save the scanned images, please bring a flash drive, or you can email the scans to yourself using a web-based email program such as gmail. Please note: scanning slides and negatives requires a higher resolution setting than you would use for a photograph, and so takes longer to scan and uses more space on your storage device.
If you want to go beyond simply viewing and begin to preserve and organize your old photos, you will find a book on our new nonfiction shelves most helpful. How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally, by Denise May Levenick assumes you are a beginner and starts at the first step, instructing you on what equipment you will need and how to set up a filing system for your digital images. It also contains advice on what scanning settings to use for different media, tips such as scanning the reverse side of a photo to save what was written about it, and has workflows for various projects. It’s an excellent resource if you have been intending to take on that shoebox full of old family pictures. Or slides.
I’ve been commuting to work on my bike for the last three years. I started because my doctor said that I wasn’t exercising enough. My grandma has Type 2 diabetes and my dad is pre-diabetic, and my doctor said I was traveling down that same path. It shook me up enough to do something about it. Riding my bike to work seemed like a good solution. I got some exercise, and I didn’t have to sacrifice any of my precious free time. At first, I was a little anxious to ride on the road. The Iowa DOT has great resources for bicyclists including safety information for both motorists and bicyclists–
I’ve internalized the safety tips for bicyclists, especially this one–Make eye contact with motorists.
Never assume a motorist sees you or that you have the right-of-way. Expect the unexpected such as: parked vehicles pulling into traffic; vehicle doors opening into your path; and debris on the road
I can’t count how many times I’ve thought, “They see me, right? Nope, they totally don’t see me.” Also, motorists, I feel your pain, because you read that “Obey traffic signs and signals” in the bicyclists column and thought, “Yeah, they totally don’t do that.” I do! I wish more of my fellow bicyclists did too.
I didn’t expect to like riding my bike so much. Now I go on longer rides. I even bought some bike shorts. Not the super tight spandex kind, but the baggy kind (this Amazon review that said they were like “wearing a fully loaded diaper” is what won me over). I recently took a ride to North Liberty and back. Again, the DOT website is great for planning rides like that, because they have an interactive bike map. I know what you’re thinking, “Brian, I use Google Maps!” Google Maps is the best, but have you ever used it to plan a bike ride? It’s awful for that! If you plug in the ride I just went on, this is the route it tells you to take:
For some reason it doesn’t want you to use the awesome Clear Creek Trail, which makes for a prettier and safer ride. That trail is easily found on the DOT map. Also, Google Maps considers Mormon Trek a “bicycle-friendly road” which is completely bonkers.
I’m going to make an effort to take part in more local bike events and rides. ThinkBicyles.org has a good page listing the cycling events in Johnson County, and Bike Iowa has a comprehensive and searchable list of events across the state. The big one, of course, is RAGBRAI. I’ve never gone on it before, but this year I’m riding the last day from Coralville to Davenport. I’m really excited!