Liz.Mebane's blog

Flying Squirrels Play Baseball?

Play ball! It’s Opening Day at the Diamond! Today Richmond welcomes its new baseball team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, with a sold-out Diamond! So why Flying Squirrels???
Well, flying squirrels are rather cute! And Virginia boasts 2 species: the Northern Flying Squirrel, whose range includes a few isolated high altitude locations (it is more common in states farther north) and the Southern Flying Squirrel, whose range includes the entire state except its westernmost tip.

Why are we having so many earthquakes?

Another earthquake – this time in Turkey. Earthquakes are certainly in the news. Fortunately, earthquakes are not a frequent occurrence in Virginia, but they do happen. Do you remember the one on December 9, 2003? It measured 4.5 on the Richter scale; its epicenter was just south of the James River in Powhatan County. I remember it well; it was quite an experience!

National Geographic’s Maps: Tools for Adventure - Now open!

Maps are invaluable tools whether you are looking for adventure or just trying to find the nearest fast food. Many of our original maps were produced by brave explorers who ventured beyond their known world. Think about it: would you want to board a small ship to sail across an ocean when you had no idea how big the ocean was, how dangerous the journey would be, how long it might take or what you might find? In honor of these intrepid explorers, let’s look at some adventurous Virginians who challenged the unknown and explored the world.

Winter Solstice *

At 12:47 pm today, December 21, 2009, winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of winter is called the Winter Solstice; likewise, the first day of summer is the Summer Solstice. The word solstice is derived from Latin and means “sun standing still.” On these two days of the year, the sun’s apparent position in the sky has reached its most southern or northern extreme. Today there will only be 9 hours and 33 minutes of daylight in Richmond, but tomorrow the number of daylight hours will once again begin to increase.

Turkey Trivia

1. Top 5 turkey-producing states: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia.
2. The average American consumed 13.8 pounds of turkey in 2007.
3. Turkey sales are estimated to be $3.8 billion in 2009.
4. Towns named for the bird: Turkey, TX (2008 pop. 456), Turkey Creek, LA (361) and Turkey, NC (272)

Data from the US Census Bureau.

Another helping of cranberries, please...

Did you know, of all fresh fruits, cranberries contain the most phenols, a type of disease-fighting antioxidant? Phenols and polyphenols are strong antioxidants and many scientists believe antioxidants protect the heart. Uncooked berries, dried berries and pure juice are best because processing, storage and heating reduces antioxidant levels, but cranberry sauce still contains lots of antioxidants. So enjoy your extra serving of cranberry sauce…

Which vegetable is #1?

Would you believe it’s the sweet potato? According to nutritionists at the Center for Science and Public Interest, the sweet potato ranked #1 in nutrition when compared to other vegetables. Foods were given points for their content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content, sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The sweet potato, with a score of 184, easily beat out the second place vegetable, the white potato, by more than 100 points.

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