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1 Living in Iowa: Longest-running satellite has big Iowa roots
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 23rd, 2017

Last Friday was the 50th birthday of one of America's greatest explorers, now largely forgotten. This unique pioneer has traveled more than six billion miles and shows no sign of slowing down, despite being officially retired. Vanguard 1 was launched on St. Patrick's Day 1958 to become Earth's fourth and longest continuously orbiting artificial satellite. The six-inch diameter scientific instrument, which Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev mocked as a "grapefruit satellite," has now completed more than 197,000 Earth orbits and was the first satellite powered by solar cells. And its creation and success is due in no small part to Iowa's own genius rocket scientist James Van Allen.
   
2 The fact of the matter is, Americans don't trust anyone
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 16th, 2017

Americans don't much trust the news media. According to the latest Gallup poll, the proportion of Americans who approve "quite a lot" of television and print media news is around 13 percent. That sounds pretty low until you consider that only 21 percent approve of the Supreme Court, 16 percent approve of banks and only about six percent like Congress quite a lot. (That six percent must be on some very effective medication.) So, maybe it's not so much that we don't trust the media. We don't trust anybody. And for good reason.
   
3 Iowa has outgrown its old 'bottle bill' as we struggle to put a new value on trash
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 9th, 2017

Iowa's "bottle bill" was enacted in 1978 to encourage recycling by requiring a five-cent deposit on certain beverage cans and bottles. Soon, aluminum and glass containers that used to litter ditches and roadsides were now recycled. These days, 86 percent of these containers are recycled, with more than 82,352 tons kept from the waste stream every year. The energy savings alone could heat 42,845 average Iowa homes because that original bottle bill turned trash into cash.
   
4 Iowa has outgrown its old 'bottle bill' as we struggle to put a new value on trash
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Robins | March 9th, 2017

Iowa's "bottle bill" was enacted in 1978 to encourage recycling by requiring a five-cent deposit on certain beverage cans and bottles. Soon, aluminum and glass containers that used to litter ditches and roadsides were now recycled. These days, 86 percent of these containers are recycled, with more than 82,352 tons kept from the waste stream every year. The energy savings alone could heat 42,845 average Iowa homes because that original bottle bill turned trash into cash.
   
5 Hanging with eagles and seagulls - in February in Iowa
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | March 2nd, 2017

I don't care that they claim this is February. Our crocuses are coming up. When I open the front door to check for snow, I have to close it again quickly to keep the flies from coming in. If I have to mow the lawn next week, I'm going to be really annoyed.
   
6 Can't decide where to retire? Congrats! You're already there
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | February 23rd, 2017

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? No? Well, there is probably still time to get ready. But you will need some money and a generous dose of paranoia.
   
7 Surviving Zombie Apocolypse may be expensive, but you can never be too careful
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | February 16th, 2017

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? No? Well, there is probably still time to get ready. But you will need some money and a generous dose of paranoia.
   
8 Time to deregulate fire hydrant-eating horses and winking at strange women
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | February 9th, 2017

There has been a lot of talk about deregulation lately. So now might be a good time to take a closer look at some of the strange laws still on the books.
   
9 Trump's world: The emperor has new clothes. And look - so do we!
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | February 2nd, 2017

A few days ago, an 18-wheeler carrying 38,000 pounds of marbles jack-knifed on southbound Interstate 465 near Pendleton Pike, Ind., and dumped its entire load. I sympathize with the driver. Lately, I've been feeling like I've lost all my marbles, too.
   
10 Seclusion rooms in schools: a safe place or solitary confinement for kids?
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · Opinions | January 19th, 2017

Iowa City Public Schools will soon be deciding whether or not to eliminate so-called "seclusion rooms." The rooms, generally measuring six feet by six feet, made of plywood, are intended to provide a safe space for elementary students to calm down if they are agitated or might harm another student. Such spaces are sometimes called a "safe seat," "time-out room" or "buddy room." In prisons, they are simply called, "the hole."
   
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