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Ahoy, Matey!

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - A storm was brewing in the north, but there was nothing but peace and good cheer around our kitchen table last Thursday evening. My family and I had the privilege of hosting Nola Ochs and her great-granddaughter Janae Ochs for dinner.

I took an Old Testament class with Nola in the fall of 2006, where we first met. It was her first semester as an on-campus student. On the first day of class, we went around and introduced ourselves with a brief bit about why we were taking the class. Nola said that she was interested in the Bible. She tagged on at the end that she was 94.

There were no gasps or applause from the class; instead there were a few indulgent smiles. How quaint that this elderly woman wants to better understand the history of the Bible. Most likely the professor will go easy on her. After all, she's 94 years old. But we soon found out that Nola Ochs was no shrinking violet. She spoke up with thoughtful, relevant remarks, wrote papers and took exams.

Unsafe At Any Weight

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - In 1965 Ralph Nader wrote his earthshaking Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile, addressing the automobile industry's resistance to the introduction to safety features such as seat belts in designing cars.

Is football the new GM?

In an earlier article, I attempted to explain the physiology of repetitive hits to the head in football and the consequent brain damage. I mentioned the case of an eighteen year old. He died of other causes, but his brain upon examination showed evidence of tau neurofibrillary tangles; the same kind of tangles found in Alzheimer victims. The young man played only two years of high school football.

This evidence should be the source of concern for parents and young players. Is playing football at any age a potential threat to the brain?

The Way of the Brain

HAYS, Kan. - Lately, there has been a spate of media coverage on the connection of brain damage to the sport of football. The New York Times, NPR, and PBS have all weighed in. Congress held hearings about it, too. Probably the most influential piece of late is Malcolm Gladwell's "Offensive Play" (The New Yorker, Oct. 19, 2009.)

Mr. Gladwell focuses on the research associated with the football-brain damage connection. This brings up a big question: if repetitive hits to the head are causing brain damage in NFL players, could something similar be happening to younger players?

YOCEMENTO, Kan - The lesser prairie chicken may be threatened with extinction because of choices we are making.

Since European settlement of the Plains States began in the mid-1800's, we've been chipping away at the habitats of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC). As excessive grassland was plowed for crop production, LPC populations dwindled. Biologists estimate that about 90% of the LPC population was destroyed by the 1980's.

This species needs undisturbed open spaces to perform its famous mating dance. It is relatively intolerant of human structures and activity. Kansas is home to almost half of the world's LPC population. New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma also host this rare breed of prairie grouse.

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This is the main archives page for Jacinta Faber. To learn more about this author, you can also read a short biography of Jacinta Faber here.

Just a few of the most current posts by Jacinta Faber are excerpted in the center of this page. However, we have links to this author's complete archives, listed below.

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