Putting things in perspective by CRAIG JAMES Technology has developed some wonderful tools that truly boggle the mind. One of them is a new satellite system called GRACE, which stands for Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment. It is composed of two satellites flying in formation. Measuring the distance between the two satellites to the nearest micron (a hundredth of the width of a hair) allows scientists to calculate the weight of things on the earth very accurately. To get an idea of how this works, you can find an article about it at www.grist.org/article/2010-05-13-weighing-greenland/. One of the things being calculated is the ice loss from the Greenland Ice Cap. The article states: “the island has been losing weight, an average of 183 gigatons (or 200 cubic kilometers)—in ice—annually during the past six years. That’s one-third the volume of water in Lake Erie every year. Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet offers some of the most powerful evidence of global warming.” Sounds pretty scary doesn’t it? But to get a proper perspective of just how much ice is melting and how significant the ice loss is, a scientist by the name of Willis Eschenbach has written an article, which can be found at wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/23/on-being-the-wrong-size/. He first determined the total mass of the ice on Greenland from a fascinating book called “The Physics Handbook” and found there are approximately three million cubic kilometers of ice covering Greenland. So the annual loss of 200 cubic kilometers represents just 0.007% of the total mass each year. That is just seven thousandths of one percent each year. Which means, of course, if that terrifying rate of loss continues unabated it will all be gone in a mere 15,000 years—by the year 17,010! What is occurring is actually a trivial change in a huge block of ice made to sound like an imminent catastrophe. If this is “some of the most powerful evidence of global warming,” I think we can sit back and relax a bit. There is another item of perspective I want to mention. You’ve probably seen a graphic like the one here of how much carbon dioxide has been increasing in the atmosphere. However, let’s change the graphic just a little. Since carbon dioxide represents about 0.0039% of the atmosphere, […]
June 17 2010
After some worrisome weather on Friday, June 11, the rest of Rockford’s Start of Summer Celebration took place under perfect sunny conditions. This year’s festivities included a giant cake in honor of the City’s 75th anniversary. It was made by Rockford Police Officer Jason Bradley’s mother, Denise. The cake was unveiled while the Scottville Clown Band performed in the Lions’ beverage tent on Saturday. If you missed the weekend fun, or couldn’t make it to every event, here are a few snapshots of Rockford’s 42nd annual Start of Summer Celebration.
Take time for trailer safety Land offers towing tips as boating, camping seasons begin Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds Michigan residents to ensure they are towing their trailers safely as they get their campers or boats ready for a trip. “Michigan summers are made for fun getaways to your favorite lake or campsite with a boat or camper in tow,” Land said. “You can help keep your vacation carefree by properly securing your trailer so it’s ready to hit the road.” Land reminds people that the law requires trailers or pop-up campers weighing 3,000 pounds or less to have two reflectors, one on each side, as well as safety chains that connect the tow vehicle to the trailer. The chains should be loose enough to allow sharp turns but not drag on the road. Additionally, before people head out, Land advises them to: check tire pressure on the trailer and tow vehicle; ensure the wiring is loose enough to make turns without disconnecting or touching the ground; verify their vehicle and hitch setup is able to pull the size of trailer they have; check all turn signals, and running, hazard and brake lights to see if they’re in working order; make sure all items on the trailer are properly secured; position side- and rear-view mirrors for good visibility; raise the trailer jack, tongue support and any stabilizers and lock in place. “Make sure your vacation memories are about summer fun, and not roadside repairs or worse,” Land said. “Take a few extra minutes before you leave to look over your trailer so you and your loved ones reach your destination safely. When you’re on the road, use extra caution and allow more stopping time and distance between vehicles.” Once on the road, people should: give themselves a much greater stopping distance than they would need without the trailer; signal well in advance when passing a slower vehicle and allow extra distance to clear the vehicle; use the automatic gear setting that the vehicle manufacturer recommends for pulling a trailer; avoid sudden starts or stops that can cause skidding, sliding or jackknifing; make wider turns at corners so the trailer doesn’t hit the curb; have another person assist when backing up the vehicle and […]
Closing thoughts… by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent, Rockford Public Schools With the end of the 2009-10 school year rapidly approaching, I would like to make a few observations. Senior Class of 2010 Congratulations to the 625 Rockford High School and River Valley Academy seniors who are receiving a guaranteed diploma from the Rockford Public Schools (RPS). I wish you the very best that life has to offer, and I encourage you to use the skills you have acquired at RPS to further your life-long learning. Losses RPS students, staff and community have experienced several heart-wrenching losses this year. Beyond the pain that we have all experienced, I continue to be humbled by the overwhelming outreach, love and support demonstrated by our community for the families and friends of the loved ones who have passed. God bless you! More Recognition for RPS As many of you already know, RPS is one of only a few school districts throughout Michigan that has all of its schools recognized by the state board of education as Blue Ribbon Exemplary Schools. Also, all of our schools are accredited by the North Central Association of Schools. Just recently, educators from Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan visited our district and conducted a comprehensive evaluation of our students’ test scores, educational and co-educational programs, preschool through adult education, curricula and staff, and they have recommended that RPS receive the AdvancED accreditation recognition, which is reserved for only a few school districts throughout the Midwest. May 2008 Bond Issue Progress Two years ago, our community voted to renew a one-mill debt retirement levy that was scheduled to be retired. That generous renewal created $45 million for capital improvement projects throughout the school district, including classroom additions to existing buildings, updated district-wide instructional technology, and recreation and athletic fields. To date, all of the projects have been completed on time and within budget. The only project which will require more work than originally anticipated is the renovation of the infrastructure of the North Rockford Middle School pool. Following a thorough evaluation of the facility, engineers determined more work was required, setting back the completion date to at least January 2011. Thank you for your patience and understanding during the past two years, as we have […]
Glenn Rounds was born July 8, 1891. He lived his entire life on the family farm at 9225 Courtland Drive in Rockford. His grandfather built the farm house, and Wolverine Worldwide corporate offices occupy this site today. Rounds attended Rounds School, the little red restored school house located in front of the North Rockford Middle School on Division. His sister Stella taught in this building. Rounds continued his education in the Rockford school system. On June 26, 1918, he married Kate Elsie Salman. To this union was born a son, Glenn William, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1957. Rounds was an active member of the Rockford Rotary Club. Upon his passing in 1962, Rounds left his estate of $75,000 to the Rockford schools to fund a scholarship program for qualified students with financial need. Since the inception of this scholarship program, approximately $843,000 has been awarded to Rockford graduates. As a result of Rounds’ vision and generosity, since 1965, an average of 28 Rockford graduates per year have received Glenn Rounds scholarships. In fact, on the front page of the April 8, 2010, issue of The Rockford Squire, there is an article about Burt DeWilde, Rockford’s 2003 salutatorian, who is working in Switzerland on the Atlas detector, a machine that atomizes protons. DeWilde was a recipient of the Glenn Rounds scholarship, attending Kalamazoo College. Glenn Rounds has made a difference in the lives of young people from Rockford for 45 years, and he is very deserving to be commemorated by the Rockford community.