Mitch's Blog 7.0

Mitch's Blog


Monday, May 31, 2004

I finally have an update to mention regarding the Minnesota state quarter. In late-April, I remember reading an article in the newspaper that discussed what was going to be the final design for the quarter. This article stated that the fourth quarter design – scroll down this page to take another look at it – would most likely be the one selected to be minted in Washington D.C. to represent the state of Minnesota. It did state, however, that this was not official, and based primarily on reports from the governor’s office regarding the date and time that Governor Pawlenty would make the official announcement and unveiling of the state quarter.

Well, it turns out that the final design is not what I thought it was. On May 14th, during the annual Governor’s Fishing Opener – which was in Baudette this year – the final design for the state quarter was unveiled. The design is based on the second preliminary design for the quarter, but has a few modifications. Look at the preliminary and final design below to see for yourself.

Overall, the modified design really seems to work much better than the preliminary. Although I still like the fourth preliminary design better, this one isn’t that bad. The loon in the picture has been made to look more like an actual loon, and the anglers, because of the change in their positioning, no longer look as if they are trying to reel the outline of Minnesota in. I still don’t really like the shaded outline of Minnesota on the design, but I guess it’s absolutely necessary if we want all American citizens to be able to easily recognize the difference in shapes between Minnesota and other states, such as Alaska. Hopefully Colorado and Wyoming will also include useful outlines of their states on their quarters so everybody will be able to easily recognize them.

Even though I don’t care for the outline of the state on the design, I do like that the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” adage is on the final design. How very clever it was to place it right over the shaded outline of Minnesota.

Quarter 2 Preliminary

Final Design

In case you didn't click on the link included with this entry, here is the press release issued by the governor's office regarding the unveiling of the design:

Baudette — Using the Governor's Fishing Opener as a backdrop, Governor Pawlenty today unveiled the design that will represent Minnesota in the 50 State Quarters Program of the US Mint. The announcement was made during the community picnic in Baudette, Minnesota on the eve of the 2004 fishing opener.

Governor Pawlenty endorsed the recommendation of the Minnesota Quarter Dollar Commission and chose the design featuring a lake scene with a motorboat and two people fishing with trees in the background and a loon in the foreground. The words "Land of 10,000 Lakes" are also included in an outline of the state.

"The fishing opener is the perfect opportunity to unveil Minnesota's quarter," said Pawlenty. "When people from around the world see our quarter, they will immediately associate Minnesota with the beautiful woods and waters of our natural resources."

Before revealing the winning design, Governor Pawlenty unveiled several humorous quarter design concepts that are sure to have a place in the hearts of true Minnesotans but were not selected: the mosquito, the walleye, Snoopy, a can of SPAM and good old fashion hotdish.

The US Mint will begin production of Minnesota's quarter dollar later this year and will be available in proof sets starting in January 2005. More events will be planned next year to celebrate the beginning of circulation in March 2005.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

As I was going through the Excel spreadsheet with the climate data, I realized that I realize that I never wrote anything up about April’s weather. I also realized that I hadn’t made a post in quite a while, and didn’t really have anything better to talk about.

I did plant some seeds two weeks ago, however, and now that they have grown to a pretty good height, I am planning on planting them – and some other seeds still in the packets – into my garden either tomorrow, or, if the weather does not cooperate, sometime this week. I’m growing pretty much everything that I did last year – pumpkins, zucchini, green beans, carrots, broccoli, green peppers – I also have seeds for snow peas and sunflowers. I’m not really planning on extracting sunflower seeds form the plants, but it’s always a possibility for me to do so if I want, and if the birds don’t get to the seeds first. I wanted to take some pictures of my beauties – i.e. my seedlings – as they popped out of the soil, but I didn’t get around to it, and now, like I said, all of the plants are pretty tall in their little peat pots. Maybe I’ll just take some pictures after I get all of them into the ground.

Before I get to talking about what I wanted to, I found the schedule for this year’s AP Readings. All of the free-response questions from each one of the Advanced Placement tests will be arduously graded at sometime over a two week period in the beginning of June. Some subjects take longer to grade than others, due to the fact that some AP courses are more popular than others. The dates and subjects of the readings are as follows:

Calculus (AB & BC) – June 2-8 (Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO)

English Literature – June 2-8 (Ocean Center – Daytona Beach, FL)

Psychology – June 2-8 (Adam’s Mark Beach Resort – Daytona Beach, FL)

U.S. History – June 2-8 (Trinity University – San Antonio, TX)

Chemistry – June 3-9 (Clemson University – Clemson, SC)

Economics (Macro & Micro) – June 3-9 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

Environmental Science – June 3-9 (Clemson University – Clemson, SC)

European History – June 3-9 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

World History – June 3-9 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

Art History – June 11-17 (The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ)

Studio Art Portfolios – June 11-17 (The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ)

French (Language & Literature) – June 11-17 (The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ)

Latin (Literature & Vergil) – June 11-15 (The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ)

Music Theory – June 11-17 (The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ)

English Language – June 12-18 (Ocean Center – Daytona Beach, FL)

Government & Politics (U.S. & Comparative) – June 12-18 (Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO)

Biology – June 13-19 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

German – June 13-19 (Trinity University – San Antonio, TX)

Physics (B Ca & Cb) – June 13-19 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

Spanish (Language & Literature) – June 13-19 (Trinity University – San Antonio, TX)

Statistics – June 13-19 (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE)

Computer Science (A & AB) – June 14-20 (Clemson University – Clemson, SC)

Human Geography – June 15-20 (Clemson University – Clemson, SC)

I took the Advanced Placement examinations in English Literature, Chemistry, Psychology, and Government & Politics/Comparative this year. I always like to know when and where the free-response questions from my test are going to be read. Additionally, the free-response questions from this year’s tests are now available; a link has been posted with the subjects on the calendar above.

Back to the subject of this post, that being the weather for the month of April. Overall, the month turned out to be 1.7°F above normal, neither fulfilling nor debunking the National Weather Service’s claims of what April would be like (the NWS said that there would be “equal chances” for the month to be either above or below normal).

The warmest maximum temperature for the month, 87°F, was unquestionably quite an anomaly. The next warmest maximum temperature reached in April was 72°F. The 87° temperature occurred on the 28th of the month, after a warm front quickly passed through Minnesota, bringing strong winds from the south. The 87°F temperature was so warm, in fact, that it broke the record for the date. The old record had been 79°F, and had been set in 1970. This was the only record broken in the month, and continues a rather unusual trend of one record high or low temperature broken in each month so far in 2004.

The last time that the temperature had been anywhere near the 87°F recorded on April 28th was on October 7th, 2003, when the high temperature of the day reached 85°F.

The lowest maximum temperature in April was 37°F on the 11th of the month. This temperature was 15°F below the normal high for the date. The coldest minimum temperature of the month was 19°F, which was recorded on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 13th days of the month. This temperature was 3°, 4°, 5°, and 9° below average for the low on each one of those dates, respectively.

April did not do much to help Brainerd get out of its precipitation deficit, as only half of the normal amount of precipitation fell during the month. The normal amount of precipitation in the month of April is 2.00 inches. Brainerd ended up receiving 1.02 inches of precipitation during all of April. Without the normal amount of precipitation in April, the drought conditions currently being experienced in the Brainerd area – and much of Minnesota as well – were just made worse. Since May has also been a very dry month so far, it appears as if the area might be going into a long-term drought. The amount of rain that falls in what’s left of May and the beginning of June will certainly play a major role in determining how well the 2004 growing season progresses.

Snowfall during the month of April was virtually nonexistent. Officially, only 0.1 inches of snow were recorded in April, well below the average amount of snowfall in Brainerd during April. Actually, because there was so little snowfall during the month, April 2004 will go down as one of least snowiest Aprils in all of Brainerd’s history.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I was going to spend some time and write a lengthy entry about the new Google (GMail) Email service. Because of the required time that I really need to spend studying for AP tests this upcoming week, I decided that my time would probably be better spent doing that than taking too much time typing the entry that I wanted to (wow, I didn’t realize was typing so many words beginning with T).

Anyway, back to the GMail service. Google decided to officially announce the project on April 1, which led many people to believe that the entire concept was nothing but a big joke. Google is known to come out with fairly elaborate April Fool’s Day jokes from year to year, but GMail was not this year’s – this one was 2004’s joke.

Instead of discussing all of the nice features of GMail, I’ll just point a couple of websites: this one is a news release that discusses the new GMail service, and this one has some screenshots of the service.

Because Blogger, the free service that I use to maintain this blog, was taken over by Google in the last year, it was decided by Google to invite some of the Blogger users onto the beta test of GMail. All of the people who were previously a part of GMail had to have been invited by a family member or person who is employed at the Google headquarters.

Google is now ready to accept even more people for inclusion onto the GMail service, in order to make sure that everything is all right for the final release of GMail. All the people who have already signed up for the service, including those who were invited through Blogger, have been given the chance to invite one person to be a beta tester for the service. So, after reading through the features on that website that I posted, come back here and tell me on the Zonkboard if you want an invitation. The first person who tells me that they want one will get one sent to them.

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Four Years Have Passed
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The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of Mitch Wahlsten and the participants
Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001