Category Archives: Observations

Stuff we see that needs to be reported to the not-so-scientific community.

Is Coffee Healthy?

Considering all the past concern about possible health risks from drinking coffee, newer reports of coffee’s possible protective effects may leave many people confused.

Overall, recent studies suggest that coffee (regular and decaffeinated) may offer a variety of health benefits against diseases such as cancer and diabetes. However, coffee may not deserve a place in the same category with other healthful foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Laboratory studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds in coffee could help reduce risk of cancer. Coffee also has a tendency to speed the passage of waste through the digestive tract. Potentially, this may lessen the time that cancer-causing compounds spend in contact with the intestinal tract, which could reduce the risk of colon cancer. Population studies, however, tend to split between coffee intake having no effect on or reducing risk of breast and colon cancer.

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Iowa Payroll Law and Practice

he Iowa State Agency that oversees the collection and reporting of State income taxes deducted from payroll checks is:

Department of Revenue Income Tax Division Hoover State Office Bldg. P.O. Box 10457 Des Moines, IA 50306-0457 (515) 281-3114 (800) 367-3388 (in state)

Iowa requires that you use Iowa form “IA W-4, Centralized Employee Registry Reporting Form/Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate” instead of a Federal W-4 Form for Iowa State Income Tax Withholding.

Not all states allow salary reductions made under Section 125 cafeteria plans or 401(k) to be treated in the same manner as the IRS code allows. In Iowa cafeteria plans are not taxable for income tax calculation; taxable for unemployment insurance purposes. 401(k) plan deferrals are not taxable for income taxes; taxable for unemployment purposes.

In Iowa supplemental wages are taxed at a 6% flat rate.

State W-2s are not applicable in the state of Iowa.

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Worst Tornados Resulting in Massive Damage

April 11, 1965 is still remembered by many: that day a brutal string of tornados hit the states of Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan with wind gusts as high as 318 miles per hour, killing 250 people and injuring some 1500 others. The first funnel cloud hit the ground at 1 p.m. with others following at varying intervals, up to 5:30 pm. The storms intensified as they day progressed. An F4 storm hit Koontz Lake, Indiana and 2 other twisters hit Wakarusa, and Goshen, doing massive damage to homes, and local infrastructure.

More storms continued to develop over the course of that same day. The worst of the tornados, an F5 storm with winds reaching speeds of up to 318 miles per hour landed at Elkhart Indiana and destroyed the Sunnyside subdivision killing over 30 people. One of the funnel clouds was a colossal eight hundred yards wide, leaving a trail of devastation in its path. Telephone and electrical lines where knocked out by the high winds. The phone system was down and, as a result, local city officials where unable to warn others in the path of the storm of the severe danger. The day progressed and tornados hit many other counties. The damage from all these rapidly occurring storms was devastating.

The impact that these storms had on the area was huge. The U.S. weather bureau conducted a full investigation after the storm and established the need for better methods to communicate warnings to residents and officials in other areas of approaching storms. It was just a little while after this that the Weather Service started to put out announcements indicating that tornados where likely to form and where they were traveling once they had hit the ground.

Iowa Tornados

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He Might Be Like That Dude…

I wonder if Mr. President would be like that guy at your party that doesn’t leave, just hanging out on the couch, eating cheetos:

Bush Spends Day Feverishly Booby-Trapping Desk (from the Onion)

My favorite part is the last paragraph…

In what may turn out to be his greatest presidential prank, Bush also has spent the previous eight years damaging the American economy beyond repair and bogging the country down in an unwinnable war with a sovereign Middle Eastern nation.

Iowa is the Central Cornbelt State

Though not an extremely large state, at 56,000 square miles, Iowa is first in corn and soybean production and also is first in hog production. It is a flat state located between the great North American rivers, the Mississippi on the east, and the Missouri River on the west. The Iowa caucuses are an early political event in the quest for the presidency. That alone may give you an idea for your Iowa Incorporation. After all, billions of dollars go to political consultants each election year and the huge media impact of this event is well known.

Iowa is a strongly agricultural state, and also has historically and still to some extent presently, the production of farm implements, washing machines, refrigerators and processed foods. Its industrial outputs are food processing, machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, nd primary metals. Iowa produces the nation’s largest amount of ethanol for gasoline. Des Moines also serves as a center for the insurance industry.

Central Cornbelt State

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I don’t want to be probed!

Taken from a Mason City news site:

Mason City, IA–Mason City police found themselves dealing with the great unknown on Saturday morning.

Police reports suggest officers were summoned to a man’s home in the 300 block of 5th Street Northwest just before 7 a.m.

A caller at the address had informed a 911 dispatcher he had “aliens trapped in his closet and needed help getting them out.”

At least 7 officers responded to aid in the effort.

An initial incident report does not offer any information about what they found.

Of course you have to wonder if the police just might have thought there was an X-Files moment because at least 7 officers responded…

What do Olympic athletes earn?

How much money do Olympic athletes earn? I’ve been watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I’m totally hooked. But what about their lives beyond the Olympic events? I’ve always wondered how much money Olympic athletes make so I decided to do some searching. Financial support varies from country to country so I’ll take a look at Team USA because I’m from the United States of America.

I read this PDF file from that has a lot of information about stipends, bonuses, and reimbursement. Here are the main money makers once you reach the Olympics.

Gold Medal: $25,000
Silver Medal: $15,000
Bronze Medal: $10,000

Here’s a quick breakdown of what each Olympic Athlete from the U.S. gets for the Beijing 2008 Olympics :

  • Competition & Camp Expenses (airline – United VIK, room/board &
    accreditation fees)
  • Monthly Stipends
  • Performance Incentives
  • OTC Resident Program
  • Elite Athlete Health Insurance (EAHI)
  • NIKE Apparel

Monthly stipends range from $250-2000 per month, so I’m sure a lot of athletes have jobs while they’re training. This is only what the country is giving athletes, but there’s a lot more money to be made with endorsement deals and bonuses. Speedo, the swimming gear brand, awarded a $1 million bonus to Michael Phelps for breaking Mark Spitz’s 1972 gold medal record of seven gold medals in single Olympics events (from CNBC) and 21 year old Jamaican, Usain Bolt, received a $1.8 million bonus from his sponsor Digicel for breaking the 100 meter race world record back in May (picture).

Some related 2008 Olympic Posts:
That guy was always fast
Olympic quote of the year!
$$$ Top earning Beijin Olympics Athletes

Get more information about the Olympics Team USA at, see the final Beijing overall medal count here and here’s the count sorted by Gold medals. (Image above is courtesy of geckoam)

The Godfather of Modern Tattoo

Don Ed Hardy, fondly known as the “The Godfather of Modern Tattoo”, has undoubtedly revolutionized the way the world sees Tattoo Art. Over a decade ago, Tattoo Art seemed fit only for the skin of bikers and tough guys, but that is certainly no longer the case. Don Ed Hardy started out his career using traditional methods of painting before he became a Tattoo artist, and with the initiative of the impressive Frenchman Christian Audigier, Don Ed Hardy’s art is much sought after.

Don Ed Hardy was born in Iowa in 1945, but he and his family moved to Costa Mesa, California less than a year after he was born. He is known to be the first American tattoo artist to incorporate Japanese aesthetics and techniques to his designs. His love for tattooing was evident, even as a little boy. He would copy and design his own fake tattoos. It was only during his high school years that his interest in tattoo art took a backseat to his love for Kustom Kulture.

The Godfather of Modern Tattoo

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Baby Car Logos

Check out these cool car logos. I found it on a site in Portuguese. You can visit the site here. It’s saying (according to Google translator)…

I had not seen these forms created by Dentsu Brazil, for Minichamps (those miniature cars almost perfect). Neles, quatro logos de carros famosos (Masserati, Ferrari, Jaguar e Lamborghini) são apresentados nas suas formas “infantis”: In them, four cars of famous logos (Masserati, Ferrari, Jaguar and Lamborghini) are presented in their ways “children”

Great concept. Mas só lembrando que os Minichamps são mais para se colecionar do que para brincar, diferente dos Matchboxs da Mattell. But just remembering that Minichamps are more to collect than to play, different from Matchboxs of Mattell.

How To Tie A Tie

See these related posts: How to tie a tie (windsor knot), How to Tie a Tie Diagram, How to tie a scarf

Are you ready for your job interview? Did you know that tying your necktie is one of the important factors in applying for a job? If so, are you sure you tie it correctly? Check this out.

There are four ways to tie your tie; we have Four in hand knot, Bow tie knot, Windsor knot and half Windsor knot. But the most common used tie is the Windsor knot.

Let’s learn how to tie a tie:

  1. Place you neck tie under your collar. Make the right end of the color higher (the narrow one) at least 12 inches from the left (the wider side)
  2. Then, cross the left side going to the right.
  3. Then insert the wide part (left side) going up in the middle between the collar and the tie.
  4. Bring the wide one down in front. Then loop the wide one going to the right until the wide side reaches the front.
  5. From the front, pull the wide side again and loop it.
  6. Then bring the wide side down going to the knot in front.
  7. Make the wide side down and do a knot.
  8. Then lastly, you have to tighten the tie using your both hands going up to your collar.

Now, you’re done and ready to go for your interview. Good luck!

She really never had that much talent, did she?

As I tend to do at work, I listen to XM Radio Online, and a song by Hole came on. Was Courtney Love ever good? Ever?

I guess I wouldn’t seem to think the crap she sang would EVER make up for the crap she does all the time. The whole Nirvana royalties, Kurt Cobain auction, etc. Here is another “celebrity” we should all IGNORE.

Let’s hope Dave Grohl gets everything he should, cuz he’s cool, and Courtney Love sucks.

Iowa City One Year Later

One year after the tornado ripped through Iowa City, things have gotten back to near-normal. In the next week or so, I’ll be traveling around town, snapping shots of local stuff that has still been effected by this. Call it heart-warming if you will, but I like closure.

Edit – It’s been raining like mad out here for what seems like the last week. Once it dries up, photos will be taken…

Edit – Umm…. I’m lazy. And busy. I will take pics. I promise. Hopefully before the 2nd year anniversary.