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The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science

by on June 30th, 2016
The Sting of the Wild : the Story of the Man who got Stung for Science Cover Image

Ouch, ouch, ouch! That hurts, that really really hurts!  Do you want to know why stings and bites hurt and why some insect stings are worse than others?  Then look no further than “The Sting of the Wild”. Schmidt, the “the King of the Sting” and”the Connoisseur of Pain”,  is an entomologist at  Southwestern Biological Institute and is affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and he has written a bitingly good book about insects that inflict pain.  I am attractive to flying insects; mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies – all those annoying little creatures of the air, so I was very interested in why me and not others.  Mosquitoes are attracted to certain blood types more than others, those with Type O being bitten the most frequently.  If you want to know what other factors make a mosquito pick you or ignore you, you’ll have to read the book.

His research area of expertise is insect venom and he is the creator of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.   The Schmidt sting pain index is a 5yellowjacket1-point pain scale, numbered from 0 to 4. An insect that can’t penetrate human skin ranks 0. The most painful stings rank 4 on the index.  I guess five must be death, which is possible with a sting.  Schmidt includes his pain scale as an appendix and it’s fascinating and funny, truly funny.  He gives the name, the range, the description and the pain level of each stinging insect.  There is only one level 4 in North America – the tarantula hawk, but there are many lower pain level insects.  But don’t think it is a tiny tingle if the level is lower, it’s not.  His descriptions read like entries in the “Wine Enthusiast” – Western yellow jacket – Pain Level 2 – Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.  Honey wasp – Pain Level 2 – Spice, blistering. A cotton swab dipped in habanero sauce has been pushed up your nose.

And get this, he based his pain index on experimentation with himself as the subject.    I have been stung by a paper wasp before and it is excrutiatingly painful.  I cannot imagine inflicting all of that agony on myself, but I am glad he was curious and strong enough to do it.  He was interviewed recently on Science Friday and he is in funny in person as he is in writing.

Dave Hicks and Old Time Music

by on June 30th, 2016

A good friend of the Iowa City Public Library passed away earlier this week.  Dave Hicks played music and told storiesdave hicks for many events at the library, often with with Guy Drollinger and Mike Haverkamp.   Dave, Mike and Guy played Civil War era music for a program on transcribing Civil War diaries at the University of Iowa Special Collections and they performed more recently at the 175th anniversary celebration of the founding of Iowa City.  Or come in a borrow a copy of Stones in the Field’s Come Singing, Come Dancing and listen Dave play the fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar, and bodhran.

Get your grill on!

by on June 29th, 2016

grill-878001_960_720Grilling season is well under way and we are having perfect weather here in Iowa City. Not too hot, not too cold, lovely evenings and mornings for walking the dog, taking a jog, or hunting for frogs in the creek.

With this blissful weather upon us, I’ve been on the lookout for digital magazine articles on grilling and outdoor cooking. Here are a few I’d like to share with you today: Read the rest of this entry »

Arts & Crafts Bazaar is only 156 days away!

by on June 29th, 2016
Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

Shoppers at the 2015 Arts & Crafts Bazaar

On those summer days when the sun beats down, the humidity goes up, and it’s just not pleasant outside consider starting your crafting project for the Library’s annual Arts & Crafts Bazaar fundraiser (December 3, 2016).  We accept donations of a wide variety items that are handmade (no food or living plants).  In the past donations have included hats and scarves, quilts and pillows, holiday decorations and pictures, cards and ceramics, aprons and bags, toys and shelves.  These are just some of the many wonderful items that you can contribute.  The purpose of the bazaar is primarily a fundraiser (raising over $5,000 last year for the Friends Foundation), but also to showcase the great talents of library lovers.  So, checkout out some inspirational books, break out the hammers, sewing machines, knitting needles, paint brushes…your tools of choice, and get crafting!  Watch the library website for the donation form that will be available soon.

Children’s titles added to ICPL’s digital magazine collection

by on June 29th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library recently added children’s titles to its Zinio Digital Magazines collection, bringing the number of magazines patrons can read on digital devices to nearly 200.

With titles that appeal to all ages – from Babybug for babies and toddlers to American Girl and Dig for older elementary through middle school students – parents now have more options to keep their children entertained on the go.

“Our digital magazine collection gives patrons the opportunity to read the magazines they enjoy without having to pay subscription prices,” said Anne Mangano, the Library’s coordinator of collection services.

Zinio is available to Iowa City Public Library cardholders who reside in Iowa City, rural Johnson County, Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights, as well as North Liberty residents. The service requires an ICPL Library Card and password. North Liberty residents need a valid North Liberty Community Library card and password.

To sign up for Zinio, visit icpl.org/zinio and follow the instructions on the screen. Once a magazine is downloaded onto your smartphone or tablet, it’s yours forever. There’s no limit on the amount of titles you can choose.

For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200, stop by the Info Desk, or attend one of our drop-in Tech Help sessions, held from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays in the second floor Computer Lab.

New local biography series – Iowa City People: Steve Bridges

by on June 28th, 2016

The first episode of our new biography series, “Iowa City People” has made its debut online and on Library Channel 20. Our guinea pig guest, “Captain” Steve Bridges, has a fascinating story. Most people in Iowa City know him as the morning co-host on KCJJ 1630, but there’s a lot more to his tale.

Bob Sessions to Give Photography Presentation at ICPL

by on June 28th, 2016

Author Gary Snyder is quoted as saying, “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” Local photographer and author Bob Sessions makes his living showcasing the many ways nature serves as our home, from flora and fauna to the mountains and rivers.

Sessions will discuss his career as a nature photographer and how he uses Instagram to share his work during Explore Nature Photography with Bob Sessions from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, in Meeting Room A at the Library.

A native of South Dakota, Sessions earned a B.A. from Drake University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan. Before focusing on photography, he taught at Kirkwood Community College, Grinnell College, Luther College, and the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

As a freelance photographer, he works frequently with his wife, travel writer Lori Erickson. Together they produce Spiritual Travels, a website describing holy sites around the world, and Holy Rover, a blog hosted by Patheos. He is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

This free event is part of the Adult Summer Reading Program and is open to the general public. It will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, cable channel 20.

For more information about Bob Sessions, including a link to his Instagram account, visit robertsessions.com.

For more information about the program, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy and I want to see fireworks

by on June 27th, 2016

FireworksMonday is July 4th and there are fireworks all over Iowa.  In fact, if you want to want to get a head start on your holiday fireworks, the City of Iowa will be hosting a fireworks display on Sunday, July 3rd.  It’s Jazz Fest weekend, a not-to-be-missed, multi-day event in the Summer of the Arts calendar.  The three-day event culminates with fireworks. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and take in the fireworks  from the University of Iowa Pentacrest lawn. The west lawn provides the best view, although the display will also be visible from the east side of the Old Capitol building and Downtown.Fireworks will be launched from Hubbard Park, at the intersection of Madison Street and Iowa Avenue, and will get underway sometime between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Inclement weather may call for flexibility in the start time. Rain date for fireworks is Monday, July 4, same time, same place.

On July 4th there are several opportunities for viewing fireworks in Johnson County.  Coralville’s fireworks start at dusk and are the final event in Coral4thFest!  Their fireworks take place at S.T. Morrison Park, between 7th and 8th Streets.   Coralville also has a parade on July 4.  The 4thFest parade begins at 10:00 am on Monday, July 4. The 4thFest parade is the area’s largest Independence Day parade.  It’s a really big parade and lots of fun.

Hills has activities planned for both Sunday and Monday with a parade starting at 5:30 on Monday and  fireworks at dusk.  Oxford has a whole weekend of activities beginning with a street dance on Saturday night and a parade at 3 pm on July 4th. Oxford, like Iowa City,  will have its fireworks on Sunday at dusk.

If you know of other fireworks in the area, please share.  And if you use fireworks at home, please be careful.

Birds of a Feather

by on June 27th, 2016

Flora is at it again in the latest installment of Molly Idle’s wordless series. Flora and the Peacocks is a beautifully wrought sequel to Flora and the Flamingo and Flora and the Penguin. In this latest iterance, Flora continues dancing through life and lessons with two new friends who just happen to be peacocks.

Characteristic of her style, Idle has dressed Flora with matching colors and accoutrements that mimic the body type of her avian dance partner: a fan with peacocks, flippers for the flamingo and ice skates for the penguin. Beautiful, delightful and humorous, audience members should prepare for this pas de trois to turn a little fowl before the bold finish. Idle  has continued to impress with this series and remains an enduring contender for the Caldecott.

For a book trailer from Chronicle Books visit: Flora Book Trailer

 

Rocketing down to Lone Tree

by on June 27th, 2016

We’re about halfway through this year’s summertime outreach, and I took my fourth trip to Lone Tree this morning.

The City of Lone Tree contracts with ICPL for library service, and the 4-H on Wheels group in Lone Tree’s North Park is a good place to find kids eager to check out books.

flightbooks2The students were still shooting paper rockets from various contraptions and measuring their results when I got there.  Knowing that flight was their topic this week, I brought about 30 books on that STEM subject as well as perennial favorites like Ripley’s Believe it or Not and some DIY creativity guides.  With a laptop and a wifi hotspot, I got everyone checked out from my pop-up library on a picnic table and then headed back to ICPL!





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