My latest Environmental Graffiti article is "5 Ibises Facing Different Levels of Threat". Of the 26 species in the Ibis family, some are endangered species but others are thriving successfully. This sample of 5 ibises includes the endangered Northern Bald Ibis and the successful Sacred Ibis.

"Eudocimus ruber or Scarlet Ibis" by OpenCage

I had written and submitted this article on April 24, but it took the editors until today to begin publishing the weekend's articles. That is why my Suite 101 article described in "The Sacred Ibis is a Pilgrim", below, was publicized first despite being submitted on the 26th.

Today my article, "The Sacred Ibis is an Unwelcome Pilgrim", was published in Suite 101.
"Sacred Ibis or Threskiornis aethiopica" by OpenCage

The Sacred Ibis was worshipped in ancient Egypt. A native of Africa, this successful wading bird still lives there but also thrives in Florida and Europe after escaping from captivity. But do its hosts welcome this pilgrim when it visits?

When I publicized this in my Xanga blog post, titled "A Suite for the Sacred Ibis", I realized that I could post an image on that site also. To do so, I had to "check" a check box to actually insert the image that I had uploaded.

That is the premise of "How Cloning Vanilla Could Cut its Price", my latest Environmental Graffiti article.

The expensive but very popular spice, Vanilla, is an orchid that needs help to reproduce in the countries that produce the most vanilla beans. A research project in Malaysia seeks a way to increase the vanilla orchid population by improving one of these techniques.

Image of "Vanilla planifolia Blossoms" by Michael Doss

My original thought was to highlight the "second rank" status of vanilla as a spice: it is second in popularity and second in price. Read the article to learn which spices beat out vanilla in those categories.

Some of the "bookmark" sites I use do not have a category like "agriculture" or "botany" or even "unusual facts". For those sites, I recommend this article to travelers who might take a side trip in a tropical country to see the vanilla orchid under cultivation.

I began writing some Squidoo Lenses several months ago. (A "Lens" is Squidoo's name for "article"; it is supposed to be "focussed" on a topic). Perhaps the most important feature of Squidoo is that it blatantly includes author-generated addition to whatever advertising the Squidoo site adds to each Lens.

Although it has a report page listing each of my Lenses, with its rank, number of visits, and earnings, I have never seen any earnings attached to a Lens. I believe this means that no-one has clicked through my self-authored Amazon advertising to buy goods.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed that I had earned 52 cents. Whoo-hoo! But it was completely unclear how this had occurred.

This month, the number more than doubled to $1.08. They also provide a breakdown of how the money was earned. In my case, half comes from the "ad pool", and most of the remainder from the "reserve hopper". Infolinks and Chitika trail the leaders.

So it seems that Squidoo does pay, even very minor authors, out of the advertising pool.

My second point of celebration: This week I had a record 19 visitors to the DeHaan Lens for Coat Racks. Come on over and check them out!

Image of a Coat Rack by jon_a_ross
In Feb. of 2011, H. Gardener presented a study linking drinking diet soda pop daily to a higher risk of stroke. Although the report was criticized and became the centre of a storm of controversy, it did show a meaningful statistical relationship.

Personal health is a very important topic, especially for Baby Boomers who are trying to stave off aging and its related diseases. Stroke, a "cardiovascular accident", interrupts the supply of blood to the brain. Long-term damage can be significant: partial paralysis, blindness and slurred speech all come to mind.

Meanwhile, many people are overweight and need to reduce their intake of calories. Diet soda seems like a way to keep the taste but lose the sugary calories.

My article, "Does Diet Soda Increase the Risk of Stroke? Yes, No and Maybe", asks whether diet soda is bad? Should people stop drinking diet pop? What are healthful ways to reduce the risk of stroke?
'Image of Bubbles of Diet Soda' by sippakorn yamkasikorn.
Today Environmental Graffiti published my "The Endangered Macaws of Central America and South America". These rainforest inhabitants are quite lovely birds, but some species are in danger.

The trigger for writing  this article was that I saw two advertisements for the upcoming movie "Rio". This cartoon deals with the last pair of blue macaws, apparently.

In truth, "blue macaw" is a family that includes the hyacinth macaw. So, does the movie present any scientific truth? Will people find my article when looking for a movie review? The passage of time may reveal more than it currently conceals. I would certainly appreciate knowing whether anyone found this blog entry while pursuing a cinematic experience...or when following up after seeing the film.
'Hyacinth Macaw in Foreground' by .
My article, "How Packaging Made from Mushrooms Could Benefit the Environment", was published today on Environmental Graffiti.

This new method grows the mushroom's mycelium in the desired shape...well, you will just have to read my original article to appreciate the cleverness.

Just a note about writing this article: it took longer than I expected, even though there were plenty of leads and enough "commercial reuse" images readily available.

Image of Branching Oyster Mushroom by Lairich Rig
My latest article at Environmental Graffiti is titled like an action thriller. "Tamarisk Leaf Beetle Battles Salt Cedars in the American West" explains why the United States is inviting a Eurasian beetle to fight the invasive tamarisk tree, otherwise known as the salt cedar. Let's note in passing that the tree itself was invited to North America in the 1800s.

Writing this article was fairly straightforward. There were quite a few images of the tamarisk beetle, and of the lovely flowers of the salt cedar. It was hard to find a good picture of the whole tree, however; that may be my biggest disappointment in the article.
Pink Tamarisk Flower' by miheco
Today my article, "How to Check the Status of Google Apps, Windows Live or Azure" was published on Suite 101. The interesting problem was that I had done the following for the images:
  • Capture a dashboard screen (eg Google Apps)
  • Paste into MS Paint
  • Annotate inside Paint
  • Save as a JPEG
  • Post on my DeHaan Services blog 
So I figured that I had the copyright to the images; after all, I had done actual work on them.

Not so, said my editor: I need permission to use the screen captures.

Rather than pursue Google and Microsoft...since they might never reply to a no-name freelance writer, for all I know...I mocked-up the main information from scratch in Excel worksheets and copied them into Paint. The three final steps merely repeated what I had done with the screen captures.

I also e-mailed my plan to the editor, so he would not think I was trying to pull one over on him.

TIP: Screen captures are not "commercial re-use with modification", as an image license might say. Either get explicit permission or work around it by making a recognizably-different image.

Mock-up of Google Apps Status Dashboard; original work by Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan began writing professionally in 2010 as the sole proprietor of DeHaan Services.To see this information with the best background image, please refer to "About.Me",  befriend me at Facebook, or circle me at Google+.


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