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A blog of random musings from the Inside magazine staff

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March 10, 2014

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INvestigating IU Research: Zooarchaeology Lab

Posted by Sarah Whaley

Bison specimen A17, Dr. Laura Scheiber's favorite of the lab's collection.

A snake skeleton slithers between supportive metal pegs in the center of the table. A student is in the midst of preparing the display to return to Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health and Technology. The William R. Adams Zooarchaeology Laboratory, located in room 025 of the Student Building, regularly gets calls from local residents asking whether they would like to receive anything from a deer carcass found on the side of the road to the body of a hummingbird that hit a window. Other specimens come from sanctuaries and zoos.

Founded in 1945, the lab now has over 10,000 vertebrate specimens, according to lab director Dr. Laura Scheiber. Scheiber’s favorite specimen is a large bison skull so weathered it looks more like wood than bone. Its number is A17, indicating the skull as one of the first specimens of the collection. The records says it was collected in the 1950s, but lab legend holds the skull came from a bison shot by “Buffalo Bill” Cody in the 1880s.

Scheiber prefers the legend. Cody, Wyoming, named after Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, is one of Scheiber’s favorite places. When she was a teenager, Scheiber and her parents left Minnesota every summer for Cody. Now, Scheiber takes students to Cody every summer for professional archaeology field experience near Yellowstone.

Around 10 to 15 students make the trip. “There are so many different logistics for having a class that’s outside,” Scheiber said. “If I have more students it detracts from the quality of the experience for the students.” Students who go on the trip uncover artifacts such as stone tools and bring them back to Bloomington to study and work with them.

Aside from conducting their own research projects, the approximately 30 students who work in the Zooarchaeology Lab each semester prepare specimens by defleshing them, reconstructing skeletons using glue and wire, and rehousing specimens from shoeboxes into museum quality boxes.

“They have to know what all the bones are in the skeleton for identification,” Scheiber said. In addition to housing the lab, the room serves as Scheiber’s classroom for her Fauna Osteology class. In this class she shows students how to identify bones and analyze them to answer questions about past environmental conditions and cultural practices.

Besides being able to tell the type and age of the animal the bones came from, researchers can tell what time of year people were at the dig site, what kind of disturbances affected the site, whether the bones have always been buried or not, and the intensity of local forest fires. White sides of bones indicate sun exposure. Brown coloring and cracks may indicate the animal was cooked for a meal. If the bone was directly in a hot fire the color is bluish-white.

According to Scheiber, one can learn a lot about past cultural practices from what types of animal bones are found around the area where they lived. Some cultures did not eat certain animals for religious reasons. Cut, saw, and chop marks reveal what meat packages people preferred to eat and how they prepared them.

Until Scheiber saw Indiana Jones at 6 years old, she never  knew archaeology was something people did. “I was really interested in puzzles, putting things together, and history,” Sheiber said. After studying archaeology at the University of Wyoming and completing her graduate work in California, Scheiber began working as director of the lab at IU in 2002.

In 12 years, Scheiber said she still learns something new every semester. “You can never know anything about the whole animal community,” Scheiber said. She learns from students who have passions for certain animals such as raptors and turtles. Even though there is more to learn, the appeal of zooarchaeology remains constant for Scheiber. Unlike many other sciences, a zooarchaeology puzzle always has a solution. “You may not know the answer, but there is an answer,” Scheiber said.

Learn more about the William R. Adams Zooarchaeology Laboratory at their website.

March 6, 2014

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IN the Vault: Squirrels on campus

Posted by Rebecca Kimberly

Bloomington’s famous, adorable squirrel population has probably been here forever, but the earliest photographic documentation in the IU Archives is from 1996.
And according to this photo of a squirrel in winter, they’re still just as cute.

Photo courtesy of IU Archives

March 5, 2014

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Five things to do if you’re stuck in Bloomington for spring break

Posted by Avery Walts

You can always dream of the beach, right? | Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange

The spring 2014 semester is half over and your spring break plans never fell into place. Maybe you have a job in town holding you down, or that Panama City Beach trip looked better in theory than in your wallet. Bloomington will continue to be your home from March 17-21, but these five activities make the week seem better than you had anticipated.

1. Take advantage of the empty campus.

Freezing temperatures permitting (fingers crossed March brings warmer weather), go for a run on campus. The normally crowded sidewalks become empty and campus becomes a great running trail. The B-Line Trail also offers a 3.1 mile course if you want to explore some place new.

2. Do an “Open-to-Close” at KOK.

If you want to truly leave your mark on Bloomington, gather up your friends stuck in town and do an “Open-to-Close” at KOK from 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.. Call ahead to arrange the event with the staff and get your picture framed on the stairwell after braving the 14 hour shift.

3. Go hiking in Brown County.

If you’re craving the great outdoors, take a short 30-minute drive to Brown County State Park and go hiking. The abundance of trails will be a peaceful escape away from the four walls of your bedroom.

4. Go shopping in Edinburgh.

If nature isn’t your cup of tea, take a trip to the Edinburgh Premium Outlets to get some retail therapy. The hour drive will give you a taste of a road trip and the outdoor mall will remind you of the malls scattered across the coastal towns of Florida.

5. Bring the beach to your living room.

Compile a list of beach-themed movies, mix up a fruity cocktail, and maybe even buy luau party supplies, and you have brought the beach to Bloomington. We also recommend getting your hands on an ocean sound effects machine and and fan to really set the mood.

March 4, 2014

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Five beach-ready recipes for spring break

Posted by Kathryn Moody

Cancun is a popular Spring Break destination. Nice place for a picnic, right?

Whether you need easy ideas for your upcoming beach vacation (SB 2014!) or just want to pretend you’re in the tropics, these recipes will put a little sun in your life. And they’re healthy to boot.

1. Turkey and Cucumber Salad Wraps

Sandwiches are a popular beach picnic snack, but if you aren’t careful, they can be a pain. Regular bread can get soggy, and big sandwiches might get smothered in sand. Creative alternatives are a must.

Instead of loaf bread, why not mini-bagels, English muffins, or simple wraps? Try these turkey and cucumber salad wraps —easy to make and healthier than eating out. The recipe calls for some fancy ingredients, but it’s easy to pick and choose what you’d like in your wrap.

Pro tip: Be careful, if you choose to bring cheese to the beach for your sammie. Don’t bring hard cheeses like cheddar—they’ll just become oily messes in the heat.

2. Pasta Salad

This easy-to-make this classic is a springy, delicious picnic food, especially if you have access to a kitchen during spring break. Cook some pasta (this recipe suggests rotini, a pasta salad staple) and then throw in some tasty veggies, cheese, and Italian dressing. Throw it in the refrigerator, and voila—a couple of meals, ready to go. There are tons of different recipes online, if you need more ideas.

3. Fruit and Nut Trail Mix

Trail mix is a healthy, easy to carry snack good for the beach and stay-at-home vacations. Bonus: It’s simple to make and even simpler to customize to your own tastes. Check out this recipe for tips to make the tastiest trail mix you could carry.

4. Fruit Salad

Simplicity is king at the beach (and the college kitchen), so fruit salad is typically top of the list for any healthy snacker. Try some pineapple, kiwi, mango, some seedless grapes. Or maybe some frozen strawberries and blueberries and peach slices. Pack it all in a small Tupperware container and you are set for snacking on the beach. Just don’t forget the spoons.

5. Watermelon Whip

This drink is a great pick-me-up, especially for those of us trapped in less tropical climes. And, of course, it’s easy to make (so long as you have access to a blender). All you need is ice, seedless watermelon, and lemon-flavored herbal tea and you can create this summery smoothie. Check out the recipe here.

March 3, 2014

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Slice: Light at the end of winter

Posted by sboyum

This winter has been an arctic, conniving tease.

Just when you think it’s over and warmer weather is right around the corner, an ice storm hits Bloomington. Or a few inches of snow cover the ground. While there have been a few days sprinkled in the last month with some sunshine, it’s easy to forget what a few warm rays of sun can feel like. Or look like. What is the sun, again?

Even though temperatures are looking up in the coming weeks, this first week of March still looks like it will be brutal and chilly. Luckily, I’ve been able to document these few rare instances of sunshine in the wintertime. It’s almost like the light at the end of this eternal winter.

Dunn Meadow twilight.

Happy Hour in downtown Indianapolis.

Light through the tree branches by Dunn Woods.

Sunset over Lake Monroe.

Keep your head up Bloomington — spring is coming.

February 28, 2014

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IN 60 Seconds: Novel Artwork

Posted by Sarah Whaley

Recently I’ve become absolutely enamored with artwork that breaks the rules on what can be done with pen and paper, paint, and even video. Here are a few of my favorites to check out and be inspired by:

1. Li Hongbo creates art with paper … but no pencil.

2. Photograph or drawing? Emanuele Dascanio’s hyperrealism makes you look closely.

3. A severely unappreciated art form: stop-motion photography. In 2009 Oren Lavie’s music video “Her Morning Elegance” earned a Grammy award nomination and I never overcame my enchantment.

4. A random YouTube search had me wondering why I am not doing this instead of studying … Anyone want to grab some coffee cups and paint?

5. Art is hard and those who do it quickly never fail to shock. Erik Black speed-paints onstage.

February 27, 2014

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IN the vault: Mardi Gras

Posted by Claire Aronson

While we may be hundreds of miles away from New Orleans Tuesday, we can still have our share of Mardi Gras fun.

Dine at DATS, a cajun restaurant, located at 211 S. Grant St. to get your Fat Tuesday cajun cuisine fix.

At noon Tuesday, check out “The Matter of Mardi Gras: How People Use the Tangible Things of this World to Create the Intangible” at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave. This free event looks at how people manifest themselves in the world particularly during Mardi Gras.

And if you can’t wait until Tuesday to get into the Mardi Gras spirit, check out this photo from Mardi Gras 1946 of a stage decorated for the festivities. The stage is decorated in the style of the painting “Three Musicians” by Pablo Picasso.

February 25, 2014

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5 ways to beat the winter blues

Posted by Dianne Osland

Jordan Hall Greenhouse | photo courtesy of the IU Dept. of Biology

Spring still hasn’t sprung. Another polar vortex is headed our way. We blame Punxsutawney Phil for seeing his shadow this year, signifying six more weeks of never-ending, miserable cold weather. Add these five items to your to-do list to fight off those winter blues.

  1. Visit the Jordan Hall greenhouse.
    Open 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., the greenhouse connected to Jordan Hall offers a warm respite to the chill outside. Step inside its glass walls and visit the desert room, home to cactuses and other heat-loving plants. The best part? Inside this public greenhouse, the thermometer reads 80 degrees and above.
  2. Sip a smoothie at Soma.
    Get a vitamin-C boost with any of the E. Kirkwood Ave. coffee shop’s fruit-filled smoothies. We recommend the Farm Boy Tim, made with apple juice, rhubarb, peach, melon, and blueberry. Drink up!
  3. Try an up-beat workout class at the SRSC.
    It’s no secret that exercise gives you endorphins. Clear your evening schedule of Netflix and homework procrastination, and drop in to one of the SRSC’s group exercise classes. Check out the schedule here.
  4. Buy a light box.
    These natural light, mood-enhancing desk lamps mimic the sunshine often missing on gray, overcast days. Amazon sells them starting at $34 for this “Happy Energy Lamp.”
  5. Remember that spring break is only 18 days away.
    Or 17 days, if you don’t have Friday classes. Hang in there, winter warriors.

February 24, 2014

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24 Days Until Spring

Posted by Anna Teeter

The snow and ice have finally melted.  The temperature is slowly starting to rise and everyone is generally in a better mood.  Spring has almost arrived in Bloomington.

February 24, 2014

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Tweets of the Week: Feb. 17 – Feb. 24

Posted by Avery Walts

Following Valentine’s Day weekend, it seems as if more than a few single hearts were broken around IU.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the men’s basketball game against Iowa was postponed due to a large piece of the ceiling that fell from Assembly Hall. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the impact to fans could have been life-threatening.

The sudden “heat wave” also elevated the atmosphere around campus, until the 60 degree weather brought heavy downpours and wind causing campus bus services to delay on Thursday, Feb. 20. The best day was saved for Saturday, Feb. 22, when the sun was shining, winter coats were put away, and KOK opened the patio for drinking. Is it spring yet?

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