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This Week's Facts:

-GIS Map Details Drought Conditions Throughout Indiana

-Homeland Security Asks Hoosiers to be Mindful of Extreme Heat

-Website Highlights Importance of Honeybees

-Let's Move! Initiative Promotes Healthy Lifestyles for All Ages

Muslim Holy Month of
Ramadan Begins Today

Today (July 20th) marks the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, in 2012. Based on a lunar cycle, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is determined by the appearance of the new moon. Because of this, there is generally some disagreement as to the official beginning: some Muslims begin observing Ramadan when they see the new moon, while others wait until it is observed in Mecca. While there are many ways to observe the holy month, one major aspect involves fasting; Muslims abstain from eating or drinking during the day and break their fast with a group dinner, known as an iftar, each night after sunset. The White House has a history of hosing iftar dinners; the first was held over two hundred years ago in 1805! President Thomas Jefferson hosted a sunset meal for Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, en envoy of the bey of Tunis. You can read more about this event from the Department of State.

In addition for being a time for prayer and reflection, many people use the holy month as a time to help others. Read this article from the US Embassy to find out some of the charitable activities that Washington DC-area Muslims promote during this time. 

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth Hedges
Federal Documents Librarian

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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GIS Map Details Drought Conditions Throughout Indiana

IGIC: Indiana Current Drought Map New data about the drought in Indiana is available in GIS. The Indiana Geographic Information Council’s blog for GIS News released a current ArcGIS map this week detailing the conditions in all Indiana counties. The Current Drought Map was contributed by Purdue University’s Terrestrial Observatory. Take a look and compare the two GIS maps of the state – one for this week and one for last week. You can zoom in to the county level and view the map’s key which helps indicate the level of drought. The Indiana GIS News blog is located on the IGIC website.

Homeland Security Asks Hoosiers to be Mindful of Extreme Heat 

Homeland Security: Extreme HeatIndiana and the rest of the United States have been breaking heat records this summer.  Most people try to adhere to weather warnings and advisories, but there are many others who don’t.  When temps reach 90 degrees or higher, overexposure to the heat can be extremely dangerous. Add the humid conditions in Indiana and that adds further danger. Extreme temps can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) would like to remind Indiana citizens just how dangerous extreme heat can be. If you must be outside during the extreme heat, please remember the following:  drink plenty of water, avoid long periods of high temps, slow down from your normal pace, spend time in air conditioning, and cool down with cool baths or showers.  These and many other tips can be found on the IDHS website or you can download and print the fact sheet.  Please remember to check on elderly neighbors and relatives as heat can be especially dangerous to them. Have a safe summer season!

Website Highlights Importance of Honeybees

HoneybeeNetLate July and early August often bring with them that scourge of children everywhere: the bee. While many people have bee-fear, we also realize the importance of bees. They pollinate flowers, not only ensuring the survival of existing species, but also helping to create new ones via cross-pollination. Of course, they also make honey, a favorite of people around the world. However, ecologists and other scientists are using them for other purposes, too: monitoring climate change. According to HoneyBeeNet, climate and land-use changes could disrupt important plant-pollinator relationships. They are studying colonies of honeybees in the Mid-Atlantic region to determine if pollination is happening earlier than in previous years. Be sure to check out the Site Data page to learn more about the project.

You can also use this website to learn more about honeybees! For example, did you know that a bee can fly about 20 miles per hour? Or that the average beehive holds nearly 50,000 bees? Visit Beekeeping 101 for these and more interesting facts. If you have young patrons concerned about “killer bees,” this site can also be used to provide some clarification. Officially known as Africanized honeybees, these hybrids of European honeybees and tropical African bees developed in South America in the 1950s. They are primarily found in the south, and although they do tend to sting in greater numbers than honeybees, they do not have stronger venom nor are they able to sting a person more than once.

Let's Move! Initiative Promotes Healthy Lifestyles for All Ages

Lets Move!When it comes to having a healthy lifestyle, eating fruits and vegetables is just one piece of the puzzle. For a long-term healthy lifestyle, you’ll need to find a balance between good eating habits and physical activity. That’s the message from the “Let’s move!” campaign, a nationwide initiative designed to fight the growing rate of childhood obesity, and promote a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages.

Here are a few simple tips to help you and your children live a healthier life:

  1. Eat five fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables are important sources of essential vitamins, regardless of your age. Plus, they also help you manage your weight. Serve fruits and vegetables to children by mixing them with other foods —such as adding broccoli to rice, or vegetables to a sandwich. You can also blend them and make a nutritious, flavorful and 100% natural fruit and vegetable juice.

  2. Prepare dishes that are low in fat and sugars. For a healthier diet, buy low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as cereals low in sugar. Also, try baking or grilling dishes like fish and poultry instead of frying them. If you do plan to fry food, use vegetable or olive oil instead of lard or butter.

  3. Serve healthy snacks. It’s always a good idea to have healthy snacks around, especially if you have children. You can serve something simple, healthy, and delicious by cutting up some carrots, strawberries or apples. Tell your children to ask you for permission before eating a snack that has too much sugar. That way it will be easier for you to decide how many sugary treats they get to eat.

  4. Keep an eye on portion sizes. Portion sizes can have an impact on how much you eat, even after you are full. You can avoid overeating at your kitchen table by serving smaller portions, particularly to children. If they want more, they can ask for a second portion. Also, avoid making them eat everything on the plate if they say they are full.

  5. Turn the TV off and go outside. Televisions are not the only devices that promote sedentary lifestyles. These days, computers, tablets and smart phones offer round-the-clock entertainment. Put these devices away for a moment and go to the park, ride a bike, run or walk. Children should engage in moderate physical activities for 60 minutes a day.

  6. Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle, particularly when it comes to children. A recent study found that a child is 9 percent less likely to be overweight or obese for every additional hour of sleep he or she gets each night. Children who are five years or younger need 11 hours of sleep per day; children between 5 and 10 need 10 hours per day; and children older than 10 need nine hours of sleep.

This article is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.


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