Looking for a relaxing, creative activity while social distancing? Does anyone in your household like to color? We have some of the best coloring pages around – and they are all FREE!!!
If you go to InfoHawk+ – the University of Iowa Libraries search engine – and search for coloring books, you’ll find you get over 400 results. But, on the left is a tab where you can sort your results by relevance and “full text online” – and voilà – you have a manageable list! The online resource link will take you to coloring book which you may then save and print!
We’re pretty much all working from home and wishing we had better office chairs. It’s no surprise that office chairs have patents – but did you know there are patent coloring books? Print a copy of your office chair and color it to be exactly the way you’d like it to be! Use your imagination! Fluorescent colors, smiley faces, cartoon characters – well, you get the idea! Go to “Selected Works of Paulina Borrego” where there is a drop down – “jump to category.” Click on that and select “Patent Coloring Books.” Have fun scrolling through the many collections of patents and get coloring!
You’ll also want to check out the Open Culture website. They have “free coloring books from world-class libraries & museums.” Their list includes coloring books from The Met, New York Public Library, Smithsonian, Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Royal College of Physicians, and SO many more!!
Maybe you and/or your kids are into the outdoors – there are coloring books for you, too!
The US Fish & Wildlife service has coloring books, too. Head to their website, search “coloring books” and you’ll come up with a whole list of available, downloadable pdfs.
Need a break from all the usual streaming channels? We have access to online music and videos you can explore and enjoy!
Interested in music and the performing arts? Head over to this Alexander Streetwebsite for free access to links for all sorts of music and performing arts! This website has videos of operas, dance (all kinds!), Broadway musicals, jazz music, world music, and, oh, so much more!! If you like music and performing arts of all types – this is an amazing site to get lost in! They also have a section of Smithsonian Global Music for Libraries – this includes books and songs for children. These links are fully searchable by genre, places, artists, film, theater and more!
Are you into silent films? Alexander Street also has a link for silent films – including The Great Train Robbery. The Great Train Robbery from 1903, is an American silent short western film written, produced, and directed by Edwin S. Porter, a former Edison Studios cameraman. This collection has silent films from Monkey Shines filmed in 1890 to Brandford City v Gainsborough Trinity filmed in 2016.
(Confession time – I may have found some fun steel drum music to listen to while writing this!)
Looking for educational videos and documentaries? Try Kanopy. This site has everything from the Criterion Collection, Political Documentaries, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, Italian Studies, the Great Courses, and many more! Check out the many, many videos available to watch for free!
Here’s another great website for movies! There is everything available from thrillers, westerns, sci-fi, romance, musicals, documentaries, and more, more, more! Check out the University of Iowa Academic Film Streaming! Hard to imagine you won’t find something there that you haven’t seen, but have always meant to watch!
Looking for academic video streaming? Swank is another great resource. It includes feature films, documentaries, foreign films, and TV shows!
We want you to stay safe!
So watch our free resources while you are social-distancing and self-isolating!
You may be far from the UI campus during the foreseeable future, but we here at the Engineering Library continue to support your study through thousands of online resources! Here are highlights some of our e-resources that you might want to check out!
If you need references and handbooks for mechanical engineering, chemical engineering etc. that help your self-learning, AccessEngineering is the best bet as it has thousands of ebooks, videos and tutorials.
You may know how to access IEEE journals and conference proceedings through the IEEE Xplore Digital Library. But do you know that you can also access thousands of ebooks through the same platform? If you’re studying bioengineering, computing & processing, power, energy & industry, robotics & control systems etc., you may want to check out the IEEE-Wiley ebooks and Foundations and Trends ebooks. If you’re studying internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, wearable technology etc., you may want to check out the IEEE/IET ebooks. When you get to the IEEE Xplore Digital Library (hawkid/password required if you do not use VPN), you may search for a topic or browse Books as below.
If you’re studying other engineering disciplinaries, no worries. We also have thousands of ebooks available through Springer ebook collection and UI Libraries catalog. If you search a subject/topic in SpringerLink or UI Libraries catalog, you would be able to find more e-resources.
Last but not the least, we would like to thank publishers (Wiley, JOVE, Royal Society, Elsevier, etc.) for offering free access to the parts of their collections that are closely relevant to COVID-19 research, and individuals for sharing a crowdsourced list of online instruction/lab simulation resources.
The Royal Society has made special collection that comprises the subject of research findings and data relevant to the coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.
256 textbooks currently on ScienceDirect (Elsevier) are freely available to all active ScienceDirect customers for a period of 90 days. Users accessing ScienceDirect through IP or remote access are able to use these books.
Creating Citations Quickly & Easily with Endnote
Tuesday, March 3rd; 5:00 PM
Engineering Library Creative Space
Please bring your laptop.
You need to write a research paper. You aren’t looking forward to it. You really want a way to make your research and writing more efficient – AND easily create a correctly formatted bibliography. It really is possible! Hard to believe? Come to this workshop and learn how easily it can be done!
This workshop introduces Endnote, a citation management tool that can help you import, organize, share, and manage your citations and documents. It will also create correctly formatted in-text citations and bibliographies in almost any style — in seconds!
This workshop will be taught by Marina Zhang, Engineering & Informatics Librarian.
It is a FREE workshop, but space is limited, so be sure to register today!! Visit our Learn & Create website to see what workshops are coming up! You don’t want to miss out!!
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Kari Kozak at email@example.com in advance of the event
It’s the holiday break. You’ve opened presents, eaten, napped, and now what? How about some fun DIY projects and crafts?
Maybe start out with something from The Star Wars Craft Book. Want to start with a holiday-themed craft? How about a Hanukkah Droidel? The appendix comes complete with the Droidel pattern (it also has patterns for many of the other crafts including Yoda finger puppet dolls and, yes, even a Jar Jar Binks Jedi Mind Trick Doll pattern!) There are instructions for a Ewok Fleece hat, an R2-D2 crocheted beanie, an AT-AT Herb Garden, and even a Jabba the Hutt body pillow!
Ever dreamed of being a pioneer? Make: Like the Pioneers will take you through a “typical” day for a pioneer would have been! From the morning, which might include a bow drill to help you master fire, or what could be more fun that making bacon soap? Or learn to make apple cider right at your kitchen table! Learn to turn your junk mail into home made paper – your own personal stationery! In the afternoon you could learn to do some woodworking and make a “fool’s stool.” (The Fool’s Stool instructions use table saws and wood glue – so you’ve got an advantage over the pioneers!) There is also a section of full-color photos to teach the art of lashing! With some practice you could make a lookout tower! Think the evening is for rest? Well, a pioneer would no doubt be pickling grapes and beets or roasting pumpkin seeds. So, night calls for making an oil lamp, to keep the darkness at bay!
Maybe you are more into LEGO® building and would like to try something more elaborate than usual…. The Art of LEGO Design : Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models can help you do just that! It has chapters that include inspiration, how to work with colors, shapes, sizes, and scales! It helps you make the perfect work space and takes you through the essential elements. The chapters include Wildlife & Foliage, Large-scale Figures, Cars, Wagons, & Watercraft, Buildings, and Science Fiction. You’ll certainly find something that will spark your creativity!
Are you spending your holidays at the beach? How about making some Sand Stampers? Make: Fun! : Create Your Own Toys, Games, and Amusements tells you how!! Want to make custom cookie cutters? Make an oven using a light bulb and a can? Thinking ahead to Halloween? How about making a Tiki Mask? Cereal Box Sound Racers? There are even instructions n hot to make a talking booby trap, or a personalized talking doll? You got it – Make: Fun! has all the instructions for these – and more fun ideas!!
Make: Easy 1+2+3 Projects also fun projects – from a mini-foosball game, a clothes folding board, a simple lightup hoodie to tattooing a banana!
These are just a few (very few!) of the fun DIY project books we’ve got! Check below for additional resources and find something to make this holiday break!!
The time when thoughts often turn to picnics and barbecues!
Yup, it is that time of year – the time for summer cookouts and get-togethers. And, hopefully, no food-borne illnesses!
Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,0o0 die, each year (emphasis mine).
There are things that can be done to keep you, your friends, and family from becoming one of those statistics. We have the resources to help you stay safe, although according to Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, there is “no such thing as 100% safe.”
Planning to marinate meat to grill? Potter warns: “… recipes that say that say to marinate at room temperature: don’t! Let it marinate in the fridge.” That is because of the “danger zone rule.” Bacteria which is related to foodborne illnesses begin to multiply above 40°F/4.4°C. The standard safety rule provided by the FDA says that food should not be held between the temperatures or 40°F/4.4°C and 140°F/60°C for more than 2 hours. Bacillus Cereus has the highest survival temperature, at 131°F/55°C. (Potter notes: “Who said scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Try saying B. Cereus out loud.”)
Here’s a Fun Fact: “hamburger” can have beef fat added to it; “ground beef” can’t!
Salmonella is one of the most well-known foodborne illnesses. But, the primary source of salmonella isn’t chicken or meat, but vegetables and fruits. So, be sure to wash those fruits and veggies!! A single bacterium of salmonella probably won’t cause a problem, but a few dozen cells will dramatically increase the chances of illness. Norovirus (from the family of caliciviruses) also receives a good deal of attention. The norovirus is contracted when a sick person prepares food for others. For more information and a list of pathogens and the foods which may be carriers head over to Wiley Online. (You’ll need to sign on with your Hawk ID and password).
Note: “… Salmonella is killed at 136°F only when held for a sufficient length of time…” Seeing your thermometer register a hotter temperature does not guarantee the food will be free of salmonella. For more information check out the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Bad Bug Book.
Did you know that serving spoons are supposed to stay in the food? This insures they stay above the 140°F temperature. “Otherwise, that mashed potato clinging to the serving spoon at room temperature will be a potential hangout spot for bacteria.”
When cooking meat, be aware that a change in the color is really not an accurate indicator of how done the meat is. “Myoglobin, oxymyoglobin, and metmyoglobin can begin to turn grey starting around 140°F/60°C, and they can also remain pink at 160°F/71°C if the pH is at or about 6.0.” It is important to use a thermometer when cooking ground meats and poultry!
Potato salad is notorious for spreading foodborne illnesses, but contrary to to what you might think, mayonnaise that isn’t the culprit! In fact, you could leave commercial mayonnaise out at room temperature and not worry about it making you ill. However, potato salad is often prepared and served at room temperature and it is often outside at a picnic or gathering at which there is no refrigerator. So, what does make potato salad so notorious? It takes 2-4 hours for staph or other pathogens to “get accustomed to their surroundings and really get ready to ramp up binary fission.” (Potato salad, food poisoning and contortionists). If the potato salad has been sitting for several hours at the right temperature, “trouble will ensue.”
If you are worried about bacteria multiplying and spreading in your food, remember this trick: FAT TOM.
F=Food: bacteria need proteins and carbohydrates to multiply, so obviously, no food, no bacterial multiplication!
A=Acidity: bacteria need certain pH ranges. Too acidic and proteins in the bacteria denature.
T=Temperature: Too cold – the bacteria sleep; too hot and they die.
T=Time: There needs to be enough time for the bacteria to multiply to a point where there enough to make a person ill.
O=Oxygen: Bacteria needs sufficient oxygen to multiply. (Note: Vacuum-packed bags ore not necessarily devoid of oxygen).
M=Moisture: Bacteria need water to reproduce. Bacteria need a water activity value of 0.85 or higher in order to multiply. (The water activity scae is used to measure the freely available water in a material – from 0 to 1).
Wondering how to accurately measure temperature? Head to our Tool Library webpage and explore the measuring devices that are available for you to check out! We have 2 thermal cameras, an infrared thermometer, environmental meter and more! Use our tools to help keep your food at safe temperatures!
Now that you are sure that your meats and potato salads will be safe for your outdoor party, you can think about what cold beverage you’d like to serve! How about making your own root beer? Homemade Root Beer, Soda, & Pop will explain the history and discuss the equipment needed to make them! It even includes recipes for ginger beer and cream soda!
Enjoy the summer grilling and picnic season! And, be safe!!
Can you imagine a life without tools? We can’t! And you don’t have to! We have approximately 233 tools in our Tool Library – and are always adding more!
We have all sorts of things! We have laptotps and iPads, chargers and cables, hammers and screwdrivers, 3D scanners and hot glue guns, GoPro cameras and Raspberry Pi – all available to check out! We also have an Occulus Rift for use in the library!
Need a video game screwdriver set? We’ve got that! Wire cutter/stripper? Yup, we’ve got that. Sound level meter? We have that, too! Multimeter? Projector? Heat Gun Kit? Oscilloscope? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! We have those!!
We have 3D scanners, cables and chargers (63!), 5 laptops, 12 iPads, calipers, a 25-foot tape measure, speed gun, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, socket set . . .
And, we have just added 2 Video Conference Meeting Cameras (Owls) and a vibration meter!
Check our Tool Library to see everything that is available!
Do you remember lying on your back on the grass and looking at the clouds – finding the shapes, marveling at all the differences? The types, the colors? Looking through old family slides and photos I discovered my father took a lot of pictures of clouds – as do I, my brother and my daughter. There is just something endlessly fascinating about them.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s clouds illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
– Joni Mitchell, 1967
Here in the library we have, not surprisingly, a lot of books on the physics and chemistry of clouds (for resources, check the list below). But for this blog, I’m going to draw on the appearance of clouds in arts and culture. Perhaps it is their beauty and majesty that has attracted scientists to the study of clouds, for that has what has drawn poets, painters, songwriters, and photographers throughout the ages. (Interesting fact: The art of seeing shapes in shapeless forms is pareidolia.)
An example of how far back clouds appear in literature, back in the fifth-century, the playwright Aristophanes, “cast a chorus of clouds as the source of ‘airy’ thinking. (pg 7, Clouds). Indeed, there are many sayings about clouds: “head in the clouds,” “nebulous,” “foggy,” and “cloud the issue.” Richard Hamblyn, author of Clouds, wonders if the saying “on cloud nine” might come from a story from the early life of Buddha. The story is that Buddha summoned a small cloud which ferried him over the Ganges, and “the Buddhist cosmology contains a tenfold cloud taxonomy whose stages mirror the tenfold ascent to enlightenment.” The 9th step is “the great bright clouds of refuge,” hence (perhaps) being on cloud nine! There are also frescoes and paintings as clouds from as far back as the 1200s. The fascination with clouds has a long history!
From the early days of photography, photos have been taken of clouds and storms. We may be used to taking cloud photos with our DSLR cameras, or our phones, but the technology in those early days made taking good photos very difficult. It took minutes, not seconds, to take a photo using the photographic plates, and those minutes often made the sky overexposed. One solution, used by many photographers, was to take extra, under-exposed photos and superimpose them over the overexposed plate. Superimposing one photo over another can be used in digital photo editing programs – there has been some controversy concerning the use – and overuse – of digitally edited photos. However, that practice has been going on a long time!
Talking about clouds and photography wouldn’t be complete with touching on clouds and storms in movies and videos. While we are talking tornadoes (see photo at left!), the famous tornado in The Wizard of Oz was constructed from a muslin wind-sock which was suspended from a metal gantry. It is still considered to be one of the most convincing tornadoes in Hollywood history!
And then there’s the music – see the Joni Mitchell quote above. Music and clouds just seem to go together. In 1867 the French astronomer and science writer Camille Flammarion was floating in his hot air balloon. He drifted into a high, thick cloud and could no longer tell in which direction he was traveling. Suddenly he heard instrumental music “which seem[ed] to come from the cloud itself and from a distance of a few yards only from us.” There was high humidity in the cloud and this helped funnel a band concert which was playing in a town square far below. Recently artists have begun to explore the acoustic resonance of the upper atmosphere. In 2004 Usman Haque launched Sky Ear – a cloud of 1,000 helium balloons with a payload of mobile phones, sensor circuits, and flashing LEDs. The phones picked up the whistles and hums that fill the sky – the phones were set to automatically answer therefore letting observers call the phones and listen to the “music of the spheres.”
Musicians and songwriters have long gotten their inspiration from clouds. Here’s a (very) short list (in no particular order)!
Get Off My Cloud; The Rolling Stones
Both Sides Now; Joni Mitchell
Cloud 9; George Harrison
Kickin’ the Clouds Away; George Gershwin
Small Dark Cloud; Kenny Rogers
Three Piano Pieces, EG 100: Storm Clouds
Floating Clouds; Rick Wakeman
Heavy Cloud No Rain; Sting
And the list goes on and on!!
If you are someone who goes around with your “head in the clouds” most of the time there is The Cloud Appreciation Society. Really! It now has over 40,00 members from nearly 120 countries! The society has recently teamed with NASA and have a Cloudspotter app. The information gathered submitted by the app users (from around the globe) will be used by NASA to help calibrate their CERES cloud-observing satellite instruments! You can continue to look up to the skies and help NASA at the same time!
If signing up with the Cloudspotter app isn’t your thing, but you still want to know which clouds are which and what differentiates one cloud from another, The Cloud Book : How to Understand the Skies, has a wealth of information about clouds accompanied by stunning, full-color photographs of each type of cloud.
Here’s a Sky Watcher Chart. Go out – look up! How many different types of clouds can you see?
How did Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, when a parsec is a unit of distance and not of time? Is it possible to build a podracer with our current technology? How about lightsabers – are they laser (i.e, light) or contained plasma? Could we possibly live in a cloud, like Cloud City on Bespin? And, in my mind at least, the ultimate question – is there actually a Force, a field what surrounds and penetrates all beings?
Author Patrick Johnson explores these and oh, so many more fascinating topics in The Physics of Star Wars. In sections ranging from Space, Planetary Science, Space Travel, Handheld Weaponry, Heavy Weaponry, the Force, Robotics, and other tech, Johnson provides a brief introduction, and then the backstory, before delving into the actual physics. He then progresses into “the physics of real life.”
Let’s look at the climates on various planets. For example, Hoth is an “ice planet.” The fact that Hoth is an ice planet is consistent with its distance from its star – that’s what we see in our own solar system. A big difference, however, is that Hoth has snow and frozen planets are generally made up of frozen nitrogen or methane, and not water. No water, no snow. Also, the temperatures would be so low that surviving in a tauntaun would be impossible…. Tatooine, on the other hand, is very hot and dry – consistent with having two suns. And that leads us to moisture farming. If an environment doesn’t provide easy access to water, organisms (in this case, humans) are inventive and find other ways to distribute the water necessary for life. Thus, moisture farming is developed on Tatooine. Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen’s moisture farm uses moisture vaporators. Basically, ambient air flows into the vaparator, the air comes into contact with a coiled pipe using some sort of coolant, which causes some of the moisture in the air to turn into water which is then collected and saved for later. Possible here on earth? Peru’s University of Engineering & Technology has combined atmospheric water generation and advertising. Yes, advertising. They designed a billboard which pulls water from the air, filters it, then delivers it to a cistern. Moisture farming on earth? Possible and happening!
Now. The Millennium Falcon. How can it make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs when a parsec is a unit of distance? Johnson explains it using an ant analogy. Two ants are walking at the same pace and moving from point A to point B. In the direct path is an antlion (think sarlacc). Ant 1 walks the long way around the antlion for safety. Ant 2 walks a bit closer to the antlion. Ant 2 will have traveled to point B in fewer parsecs than ant 1. Now add in varying speeds (because what would a race be if everyone was traveling at the same rate of speed?). So ant 2 is not only braver (by walking closer to the antlion) but also faster than ant 1. Voilà! The Millennium Falcon has now made the Kessel run in fewer than 12 parsecs!
How can twins, Luke and Leia, be different ages? In A New Hope, Luke is described as being 20 years old, while Leia is supposedly 18 years of age. What about Jedi mind tricks? Or the fascinating robotics of R2-D2, C-3PO, or BB-8?
For answers to these, and many other, fascinating facets of the Star Wars universe, you’ll have to check out The Physics of Star Wars! I shall share no more physics spoilers!