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Iowa Discoveries

I run into some pretty interesting things while putting together The Iowan that don’t make it into print. I thought I’d share some of them with you here each Friday morning.
 
If you don’t mind, I’ll also ask your opinions, advice, and suggestions from time to time about subjects and story ideas we’re considering. I’d love to get your feedback — leave a comment below, or email me at editor@iowan.com. Either way, I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Happy Friday!
 
Dan Weeks
Editor

July 31, 2015

Can you define what’s unique about Iowa in a sentence? Can anyone?  Some have tried. Those below were posted on various Web sites, discussion groups, and forums. According to a random sample of Iowans, ex-Iowans, returning Iowans, and visitors, Iowa is:    “Home to three million people, some really sweet...

July 24, 2015

A friend of mine drove out from New Hampshire for a visit a little while ago. He found Iowa astounding. Here are five things he still finds hard to believe about Iowa. 1. “It’s so big.” It takes about 7 hours and 447 miles to drive from Keokuk to Larchwood,...

July 17, 2015

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July 10, 2015

Here we go again. What do you call this critter, pictured?   I thought so! So do I.   They say we Iowans talk funny. I say they don’t understand plain English. So who’s right?   Back in January, we got quite a discussion going when we asked “Hey Buddy...

July 3, 2015

I’m a little late to the party here, but I’ve just got to say it: Bob Dorr, Iowa Public Radio’s voice of blues and rock for the past 4+ decades — and the leader of Iowa’s beloved The Blue Band — is a state treasure. You’d expect someone with a...

June 19, 2015

Hey, fellow Iowans. This place is for the birds. Or at least, so said the General Land Office surveyors who first came to Iowa in the 1800s. They declared the territory “fit only for waterfowl.” That’s because eighty-five percent or more of Iowa used to be soggy tallgrass prairie. That...

June 12, 2015

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June 5, 2015

Iowans have been called a lot of things, but as far as we know, this is the first time we’ve been called Scots. Estately.com blogger Ryan Nickum did just that when he put together a map of the United States, pictured, that he says pairs states with the country in the...

May 29, 2015

 After we posted “15 Unique Town Names in Iowa” on our The Iowan Facebook page last month, a reader alerted us to an even better story. He pointed us to this article, which we missed when it was published back in 2007. It says that “ ‘Moines’ is a French...

May 22, 2015

The tornado that ravaged Lake City earlier this month reminded us that tornado season is upon us. But at least one physicist thinks he’s come up with a way to eliminate tornados — not only in Iowa, in the entire Midwest.  According to an article last year in Motherboard, Temple...

May 15, 2015

 A couple years ago a Buzzfeed writer asked people to draw a map of the United States from memory. The map pictured was drawn by a woman with a Ph.D. Clearly, that degree wasn’t in geography. According to her, we live in Oklahoma, which is just south of — Michigan,...

May 8, 2015

Are you a Yankee or a Midlander? According to writer Colin Woodard, if your roots are in Iowa, you’re likely to be one or the other, depending on where in the state you’re from. So, which of the two paragraphs below describes you better? Yankees put great emphasis on perfecting...

May 1, 2015

Some might just call her a brown cow. But if you frequent a certain historic city in Iowa, you probably know her name. You might even know her creator.  This wholesome looking Guernsey’s name is Irene. She’s the creation of Northeast Iowa artist Valerie Miller, and showed up last year...

April 24, 2015

This time of year, everybody and their dog starts to think about camping. But where can you find a gorgeous lakeside site like this one? That’s a hard choice — in Iowa, there are more than 450 campgrounds to choose from — some of which have hundreds of individual campsites. ...

April 17, 2015

 What does a bloodthirsty South American fish have to do with Iowa? The Sullivan Brothers Veteran’s Museum in Waterloo’s Grout Museum District is an excellent place to find out. It’s one of Iowa’s foremost museums of military history. There you can walk right in to a recreated World War Two...

April 10, 2015

I’ve lived here going on four decades. That’s not forever, but it’s not like I got here yesterday, either. But there was a lot I didn’t know about the state until I became editor of The Iowan a couple years ago. Here are a few that come to mind: Iowa...

April 3, 2015

I’ve always wondered what was behind — or more properly, beneath — the Doctor Seuss-like stack of ever-smaller grain carts, pictured, that’s visible from I-80 near Williamsburg. This past Wednesday, I found out. It’s the Kinze factory that makes the things. Eleven semitrucks per day of castings and raw steel...

March 27, 2015

 In last week’s blog we offered the first person could most accurately guess what the graphic pictured represented a free Iowan T-shirt. Everyone saw the general outline of Iowa, but there were dozens of guesses as to what the lines represented. They included: stage coach, railroad, or RAGBRAI routes; scenic...

March 20, 2015

The first person to provide the most accurate guess (details count!) about what this abstraction represents by Thursday, March 26 gets a free Iowan T-shirt! Write your guess as a comment below! We’ll publish your guesses, announce the winner, and explain the image in next Friday’s blog post. Good luck!

March 13, 2015

1. That 5 Things Ex-Iowans Miss Most About Iowa would go viral. You’ve given it a 23,500% greater readership (and counting!) than either of THE IOWAN’s next two most-popular blog posts, Hey Buddy, Do You Speak Iowish? and Old-World Iowa. (And those two were pretty darn popular!) 2. That your...

March 6, 2015

A bunch of anonymous Iowans who now live elsewhere got to talking about Iowa here. Their conversation went on for pages, but these are five things they missed most about their home state. They’re in no particular order, but they all kind of go together, don’t you think? What are...

February 27, 2015

0 0 2015-02-19T18:08:00Z 1 260 1487 Pioneer Communications 12 3 1744 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-style-parent:""; font-size:12.0pt;} There have been three information revolutions, counting Guttenberg and his printing press. You’re looking at the second. It’s a 100 year...

February 20, 2015

You hear it all the time: It’s the people that make Iowa what it is. And that's true. But on April 28, 1925, it seems like the student body of what was then Iowa State College in Ames took the assertion literally. They arranged themselves in the shape of our...

February 13, 2015

10. Every snowbank is a bike rack. (See picture.) 9. It doesn’t matter if your spandex doesn’t fit. (You’re wearing 5 layers anyway.) 8. If you fall off, you’ll just bounce (see above).   7. Your water bottle stays cold. Sometimes too cold.   6. Handlebar Mittens!   5. You...

February 6, 2015

February is seed catalog month. What are your favorite Iowa seed sources? Which varieties are you planning to order this year? Be aware, however  as much as I like beets, heirloom tomatoes are the gateway drug to a gardening addiction! My wife, Randi, and I are now up to a...

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