My home on the interwebs

May 9, 2018

Religion: upbringing, statistics, & identity

 

People have been evolving from their parental upbringing religion since the beginning of time, through force or by choice. The largest shift of belief between generations has been in the 19th century; the only difference between the 19th century conversion and today’s conversions is that today more people are converting. The conversion has mainly been from Judaism to Christianity, Christianity to Islam, and Christianity to Jewish. Usually, people convert their religion after the age of eighteen when they are mature and can be held accountable for their actions. There is also much better access to religious texts and supplementary research.  There are many reasons why people convert to other religions other than what they grew up in. The primary reason is the marriage when people of different religions decide to get married, one of them converts to the other’s religion; however, interfaith marriages have also been proven to work. Another common reason is changing religion because one does not believe in their religious doctrines.  People choose to convert to seek more significant spiritual experiences more prominent than their original religion. Evangelism is another key factor in converting people from one religion to another. This is where a group of people actively seek out and talk to people and convince them to change their religions, they believe they are doing so for the greater good and that you will connect more spiritually.

In the 19th century, over 2000 European Jews converted to Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and orthodox Christianity) each year and the number continued growing to 3000 per year by the 1890s. In the 19th century, more than 250,000 Jews converted to Christianity. According to data from the pew research center about 1.6 million adult American Jews had converted to Christianity by 2015. Most of these Christian Jews converted into Protestantism. These Jews now considering themselves as Christians are either of Jews ancestry or were raised as religious Jews. Data according to Johnson, Todd M.; Grim, Brian J. (2013) showed that 17% of all the Jews in Russia had converted to Christianity by the year 2012. In the United States of America Judaism, the religion practiced by the Jewish people is the next largest religious affiliation in the US, though this identification is not necessarily indicative of religious beliefs or practices. The Jewish population has grown in the recent years from the 1.7 % of the U.S population and had reached 1.9% of the total population in 2014. Among this percent 44% of them have since converted to Christianity, 22 % have remained conservative to Judaism.

It’s hard to find statistics of Muslims that convert to Christianity. This could be because most Muslim-majority countries have legal repercussions for the Muslim that converts to Christianity. These legal repercussions may include imprisonment, punishment, loss of children, seizure of property, annulment of marriage and many others. However, countries like Indonesia which is populous with the Muslim majority and also one of the most liberal still have a significant number of people that are slowly converting to Christianity. Christian based surveys give some almost 2 million in a year which I think is way off. People in these Muslim majority countries with stringent liberal laws like Indonesia hide their conversions because they fear social repercussions and discrimination (Speiser, Matthew 2015). It is also evident that these liberal laws are strict at the national levels and authorities at the local levels use their power actively and push back the growth of Christianity. Statistics may not be available, but it is evident that there is a vast number of Muslims who may be dissatisfied or disheartened by the Muslim ways and choose to leave their religion.

Beyond United States, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.  In 2015 Christianity was the largest religion in the world. It is made up to 31% of the total population. The earth population by then stood at 7.3 billion and so Christianity occupied a third of the population. Muslims followed with a 24% at 1.8 billion of the world’s population. The religious projections according to the already seen trend of earth’s population is expected to rise to 9.6 billion people making a 32% increase by 2060. In the same period, the population of the Islam religion is likely to grow by 70% while that of the Christians is expected to grow by 34%. By 2060 research by pew research center show that the Muslim population will stand at 31% with a head count of over 3 billion while that of the Christians will be at 32% with a head count of over 32%. This shows that the Muslim fraternity is growing at a very high rate and by the 2070s the Muslim population or rather Islam will have the highest majority in the world.

This population growth is not only attributed to Christian to Muslim converts but also because of the fertility levels and the presence of a substantial young generation in the Muslim fraternity. The fact that there are no legal repercussions in Christian dominated countries when Christians convert to Muslims gives the Muslim the go-ahead to convert many of the Christian members to their religion. Also the fact that Christians allow their children to be married into the Muslim fraternity and they end up converting is also a significant contribution as to why the Muslim population is growing at a fast rate. The kind of education where especially in developing and third world countries the Islam religion is offering to develop and build schools in return for building mosques in the schools. This allows the Christian children that attend these schools to freely convert to Islam.

In the United States, it is estimated that over 20,000 Americans are converting every year from Christianity to Islam. This is seen mostly in the African country-origin fraternities in the United States, and this growth is attributed to the fact that the fraternities are discriminated in various churches in the United States (Piatt, Christian. 2016). They then seek an alternative means of worship where human life is held sacred despite the differences in skin color. In the United Kingdom, there has been a rise in the number of converts per year to about 5200. This has been attributed to the many immigrants who enter the United Kingdom, and because of this the other members of the society are attracted by their ways and convert to their religion. In France, according to the Muslim converts association, there are about 4000-7000 Muslim converts every year. The attack on Charlie Hebdo seems to have aggravated the situation significantly increasing the conversion rates. There are between 150,000 -200,000 people that have converted to Muslim in France so far with 70,000 of these French citizens having converted in the recent past.

Germany has about 100,000 Islam converts with over 4000 Germans converting each year. In Spain, there are about 50,000 Muslim converts with 2000-4000 converting every year. In Ireland, Islam is their fastest growing religion with over 500 Irish people converting to Islam every year. In 2011 and according to Johnson, Todd M.; Grim, Brian J. (2013) the Islam population was at 4810 and is expected to grow to 100,000 people by the year 2020.

 

Having looked at the above statistics, we can then clearly conclude that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and shortly the Muslims will become the majority religion in the world. How will that change our life and our religious identities here in the states?

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

 

References

Pew Research Centre (2013) A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Chapter 1: Population Estimates

Johnson, Todd M.; Grim, Brian J. (2013). The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography

Johnson, Todd M.; Brian J. Grim (26 March 2013). “Global Religious Populations, 1910–2010″. The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography

Piatt, Christian. (2016)”The Real Reason Christianity is Still in Decline”

Speiser, Matthew (2015). “Christians are leaving the faith in droves, and the trend isn’t slowing down.”

April 2, 2018

Sega Pinball Machines

 

Sega pinball machines were a product of the Sega games company limited. Sega being the short form of the words: service games. Sega was a Japanese publisher and a video game developer whose headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan. Sega had multinational offices all over the world and  in the recent past had been developing and manufacturing home video games, that’s from 1983 up until 2001. They, however, started incurring financial losses from their DreamCast console and they decided to restructure and focused on the provision of soft wares as a third party developer. To date, Sega remains the world’s most renowned and prolific producer of the arcades. They pride themselves with over 70 franchises which host over 500 games and over 20 different arcade system boards since the year 1981. They are also known to have published and sold some franchises that were multimillion games franchises notably total war, yakuza and sonic the head hog. Sega is subordinate to Sega holdings which are a part of the greater Sega Sammy holdings the Sega of America has its headquarters in California while Sega European has its headquarters in London.

 

Now why am I interested in Sega? I own two pinball machines: Starship Troopers and Goldeneye, created by Sega. I wanted to research the history of the pinball machine and the Sega Company.

 

Let’s start at the very beginning! The first pinball machine was made by Martin Bromley, James Shumpert and Irving Bromberg in Honolulu Hawaii. The three men had formed a company called standard games which was coin-operated machine. These machines were made specifically for military bases where the military would play for amusement during their leisure time. As the military personnel increased so did the demand for more pinball machines.  This was during the First World War. After the wars, the founders sold the company and opened up a distributor called the service games whose main focus was on the military. Later in 1951, the United States government banned these slot machines in the U.S territories. Bromley sent to Tokyo, Japan two of his trusted employee’s ray Lemaire and Richard Stewart to establish a new distributor which was named service games of Japan, this was in 1953.

An officer of the united states David Rosen who was based in Japan launched a photo booth company that later became Rosen enterprise and started importing the pinball slot machines to Japan and service games shut its Japan doors in 1960.Rosen merged with Nihon Goraku and opened up Sega enterprises. Sega transitioned into a manufacturer from an importer band released its first pinball machine submarine simulator game called the periscope. It became a successful venture in Japan and was even exported to the United States and Europe and cost around 25 cents per play. Sega was sold off in 1969 to gulf and western industries which were an American conglomerate but Rosen continued to be the CEO. The company continued growing and in 1974 Sega enterprise ltd was created by the gulf and western allowing their stock to be taken public.

The years 1978-1983 were also referred to as the golden age of the pinball games. By now Sega had really prospered from the 1970s, pinball gaming boom. In 1979 the revenues were at $100million US dollars and by 1982 the revenue had surpassed $214 million dollars. That year marked the launch of the first isometric graphed game zaxxon, subroc 3D the first stereoscopic 3D game and Astron belt which was the first laserdisc video game. Other notable games that Sega came up with between 1979-1982 were the carnival, Monaco GP, heads on, space fury, turbo and pengo

Between1982-1989 Sega had published the attari 2600 versions of the arcade games and tapper from midway, space fury, cannibal, turbo, and zaxxon. Sega licensed these games and others under different companies. Due to the overabundance, video crash games crashed, this led to the fall in segas revenue up to $136 million. Looking for alternatives Sega decided to make and release the first home video game console. it was then that gulf and western sold Sega enterprise assets to bally manufacturing in 1984. Bally manufacturing made pinballs. The home video game console the SG-1000 was launched successfully but the Nintendo’s NES quickly obscured it. This happened because the Nintendo’s NES had greater support from the third parties and they also had the more advanced hardware. Robert Deith, Rosen and Hayao Nakayama purchased the Sega assets at $38millionj dollars and later sold it to a Japanese conglomerate CSK. It’s based its headquarters in Japan and later placed their stock at the Tokyo stock exchange and Isao Okawa who was a friend to David Rosen who was CSKs chairman became Sega’s chairman.

Sega now released the Sega master system featuring Alex Kidd. Alex was unofficially Sega’s mascot until when he was replaced in 1991 by the hedgehog, the master system was now of a superior quality than the NES, it, however, did not capture Japan and the north Americas market due to aggressive strategies that his competitor Nintendo had applied and the fact that Tonka who was the console marketer in the united states on behalf of Sega was ineffective in his marketing mandate. The master system ruled Australia, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand and their games were sold up to 1990. Their main competitors by this time were the Nintendo NES and SNES. The period of the 1980s afterburner and hang on arcade games were released and made use of the force feedback control and the hydraulic cabinet functionality. Sega released the R-360 which was the 360-degree rotating machine. Sega also released the super scaler and the system series tor the arcade system boards. In the 1980s UFO catcher, medal games and the craw crane games were also introduced.

Sega Genesis was introduced in North America in the year 1989 and at this time the Sega of America initiated the campaign that was anti-Nintendo. This campaign was meant to bring out the momentum for the new generational games and they had the slogan “Genesis does what Nintendont”. The president Michal Katz of the Sega of America initiated and implemented the campaign. Nintendo launched in North America their super Nintendo entertainment system and at this same time Sega adopted a new slogan that said “welcome to the next level”

In that same year’s leadership of the Sega of America changed and was passed down to tom Kalinski from Katz. The new leader escalated further the console war that had already kicked off and was developing. In the prevention of the launch of the SNES Sega rebranded by creating a new game with a new mascot sonic the hedgehog. This shift widened the genesis success and Sega now commanded at least 65% of the market in North America. Sega released the Sega CD in 1991 in Tokyo Japan and 1992 in North America to add on to the genesis. This greatly reduced the limitations on space on their games. In 1992 Sonic ul game that was produced.  Hedgehog 2 was released for Genesis and became the most success. This game sold over six million copies by now Sega in 1990 had established Sega technical institute, in 1992 Sega Midwest studio came up, Sega multimedia studio was also created in 1993 and in 1992 Sega acquired the interactive design

In 1990 game gear was launched as the newest Sega game which was meant to compete with the game boy from the Nintendo’s but since the game had a short battery life, Sega did not come up with original games and also did not really support the game gear, it did not surpass game boy. in 1995 the game gear was followed by the Sega Nomad and in 1997 it was discontinued.

Model series of the arcade hardware was introduced by Sega in 1092 it allowed for the release of Virtua Racing and Virtua fighter and this law the ground and the foundation of the fighting games in 3D. In 1994 Sega 32X was release, this was meant to upgrade the genesis to a more advanced standards of systems of that time. At the beginning, it did really well but it lacked the good software and there was so much hype about the upcoming Sony play station and Sega Saturn. It died off after a year of real struggle in the market.

Sega Saturn was finally released in Japan in 1994 and was utilizing the two 32 bit processors. In the west, it sold poorly and thus the console was abandoned in 1998. The established genesis franchise lacked strong games and the ones available were highly priced compared to the Sony play station and this led to the console’s downfall. The games that were notable in Japan included the panzer dragoon, sakura wars, Virtua fighter 2, house of the dead and the Sega rally championship. Sega soft was established in the PC markets in 1995. The Sega soft was meant to create PC games and create an original Saturn.

Sega in the mid-1990s began expanding from just the kids-oriented and whole family entertainment company to producing and publishing games that consisted of strong sexual themes and extreme violence. They introduced the deep water label that was the mark they gave to mature content to distinguish it from the rest. They also began a gaming channel which was delivered by time warmer cable a local cable company. It gathered around 250,000 subscribers when it was at its peak. In 1997 it started experiencing serious technical challenges which led to its closure in 1998.

Sega in 1996 operated several theme parks with joypolis in Japan and Sega world overseas and branded the pinball arcades in Australia and the UK. In 1998 Sega was able to obtain the puyopuyo series and its characters. Sega continued compiling, developing and publishing the puyopuyo games even on its competitor’s platforms and Sega was included in their copyright

Dreamcast was launched in 1998 in Japan by Sega. They competitively priced dream cast because it used the self-shelf components and used technology that could host games that were technically impressive than Nintendo and the play station. Action puzzle games such as Phantasy star online, chuchu rocket, alien front online and quake 3 arena. Dreamcast was an absolute failure may be due to the fact it was launched within a small library of software’s and play station 2 was upcoming.

The list of other pinball’s that existed between 1994 -1999 include the batman forever, Godzilla, golden cue, independence day, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, south park, star wars trilogy the lost world: Jurassic Park, Twister, Apollo 13, Baywatch, goldeneye, Harley Davidson, lost in space, maverick, space jam, starship troopers, the x files and viper night driving.

 

Pinball games on pinball machines were great amusement in the past, the games were depicted mostly from movies that children or mature generation liked and were as interesting as the movie if not more. Basically the reasons I own Starship Troopers and Goldeneye! The machines came in different colors and shades; they were decorated with characters in the game. They consisted of the pinball and the pinball saver that was used in the game. The demise of these pinball boxes was mostly due to ban in several states and countries. They were banned because the leadership felt that these games were not really using skills but were using luck to win. The authorities, therefore, considered them as gambling dens. The children in schools used their lunch money to play these games thus the education sector was being affected. The governments banned the pinball machines and this led to the closure of many businesses.

They pinball machines have also been overtaken by both time and technology; today people play games on their phones other than the pinball machines. Some of these games have also been modernized and installed in computers. Computer games are preferred more than the pinball machines because they are portable thus can move from place to place and are played according to one’s convenience. The pinball machines, on the other hand, are big and not easily portable.

The pinball machines still exist but in very low numbers and in licensed parks. They are not accessible to many people thus people look for alternative means to buy or play the games. And this is where smartphones and computers come into place. Despite all that pinball still remains the world’s most friendly game around the globe thus there is a group of ever-expanding gamers that still buy, sell, repair and ultimately discovers and rediscovers the allure of the wild silver ball.

Game on!

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

References

Sega Enterprises Ltd at the Internet Pinball Machine Database

Sega Pinball Inc at the Internet Pinball Machine Database

Rossignol, Marco. The Complete Pinball Book: Collecting the Game and Its History. Schiffer Publishing, Limited

March 26, 2018

Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington: History & Tour

The Microsoft Redmond campus is simply known as the Microsoft Campus, This campus is the headquarters of Microsoft (One Microsoft Way) in Washington’s Redmond. Microsoft established themselves in Redmond back in 1986, a few days before the company went public, after which it expanded to a 500-acre occupation by 2015 (Yu & Bass, 2015).The expansion of Microsoft has been in the adoption of more labor as well as more grounds for their companies. I had the honor of visiting the Redmond campus for the 25th anniversary of the Microsoft MVP summit! I was able to explore the vast buildings around Redmond and wondering about the history and growth of the area. Here is what I discovered:

The Redmond campus was part of Microsoft’s plan drawn by Wright Runstad consisting of six original buildings in 1986 (Romano, 2007). The land was initially designed to be a shopping Center, but the firm helped Microsoft establish their offices, employing less than 800 employees (Romano, 2007). Several years later, the campus developed into the biggest campus for the company covering over ten million feet square feet in 2016. The campus has been instrumental in the development of technology and Microsoft products.

Microsoft headquarters beam with the elegance of futuristic energy and optimism. The headquarters has many buildings scattered on the campus, which one must take a shuttle to navigate, as the parts meeting different needs are too vast to be covered on foot (Yarow, 2013). A peek into these buildings reveal the office 34, the office of the CEO, and office 33, which is where Microsoft plays its future of the home and the workplace, displaying the concepts that Microsoft is developing, how they envision the integration of their technology into the daily home and work ideas of the future (Yarow, 2013). This is part of the contribution of Microsoft into the designing of future space structures and planning.

Besides this, the campus headquarters provide the employees with restaurants and snacks, as well as open spaces where meetings can be organized and places where employees or visitors can share a snack (Yarow, 2013). The company ensures the provision of the sports fields for games like soccer and volleyball. The Commons room is home to magnificent sculptures, music band performances and ping pong games (Yarow, 2013). These provisions not only provide for the aesthetic condition of the campus but integrate with the work-life balance for the employees.

The offices at the campus are in varied shapes. A recent renovation seeks to increase the open space available for the offices so that more employees can work together (Levy, 2017).  Even then, the offices on the campus are varied from open offices to close offices, depending on the nature of work Yarow, 2013). The interiors of the company offices are laced with friendly colors, office plants and subtle pieces of art which make the offices an interesting place to work, with the company logos on the walls, the technology ideas exhibited in the hallways, all stimulate the workers to focus on the development projects that define Microsoft (Yarow, 2013).  The campus cares for the now for the employees, in that it provides them with conducive working environments. It cares for the future too, by being a think tank of innovation, exhibition point for new technology ideas, as well as the predictions of a technology revolution through their products.

The company, with the acceleration of production and sales, sought to begin a redevelopment program in 2005. The 1 billion dollars project was to add 1.1 million square feet, to the already existent 2 million square feet of the Safeco building (Dudley, 2006). The redevelopment was meant to create more space for employees who would join the company over the next three years, and the project was to run over a period of about ten years (Dudley, 2006). It also covered a plan to attract more millennial workers as employees for the company (Yu & Bass, 2015). This step was just one of the many phases that the campus has undergone, and is still undergoing to fit the needs of the employees and that of the technology world.

In 2006, the company announced that it would be redefining the buildings of the campus, with the addition of 3.1 million square feet for more than 12, 000 employees, plans which were delayed by the 2008 recession, leaving only the construction of one building running (Yu & Bass, 2015). Even then, this plan formed the basis of the major reconstruction of the campus declared in 2017.  The plan included the construction of one building on the main campus on the east of Highway 520, six buildings in the west, five buildings on the Safeco Redmond campus, the purchasing of a building from Eddie Bauer, and another building from state farm (Dudley, 2006).  These constructions formed the greatest transformations before the announcement of the 2017 renovation.

The place of the Microsoft Redmond campus in the growth of the Redmond city and the development of its international relations cannot be ignored. The campus has created a place in which the community can secure their future through the provision of employment opportunities. The company has been recognized for the environmental contributions that it makes towards the Redmond community, as well as the diversity it ensures Washington (Dudley, 2006). The campus has been instrumental in the establishment of the regional transportation lines that make it easy for the community to access materials and products, as well as participating in the education of the society by setting up schools that teach tech (Dudley, 2006). These ideas that support the development of the community have created the basis for peaceful a fruitful co-existence of the company in Washington.

The establishment of Redmond Microsoft campus in the 80s followed the basic construction plan that was trending back then. However, the trend of architecture towards the construction of tech offices has evolved over time, setting new designs into motion. For example, the company had a design that formed a ring of balconies whose working spaces were uniformly built over the spaces (Day, 2015).  With time, the mixture of office space designs became the dominant style, allowing for employees to work in spaces that suit their particular activities ( (Levy, 2017). Also, the new plan allows for the employees to participate in the designing of their workplace, forming a better environment for the comfort of the employees, and contributing to better rates of output (Day, 2015). In the end, the recognition of these needs has triggered the transformations of the Redmond campus, with the biggest reconstruction project announced in 2017.

In 2017, the company released news about a reconstruction of the site. The project seeks to increase the working space for 8, 000 more employers to be taken in into the company.This project has been defined as a mega redevelopment, seeing that the company plans to pull down the original buildings that have been established at the Redmond Campus, and make way for 18 new buildings  (Levy, 2017). While the Redmond campus has been through different series of redevelopment, this one is the most crucial of them all so far.

The project will see the rise of eighteen new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of workspace to be redone, and 150 million dollars in the renewing of infrastructure, green spaces, public and sports spaces as well as renovation of transportation infrastructure (Schroeder, 2017). This renovation is set to accommodate 47, 000 more people in employment, with the stretch as big as 8,000 people. On the outside, the campus will take the shape of open plazas over a 2 acre stretch of land, one that can accommodate as many as 12,000 people, among treehouses that allow the employees to connect with nature (Schroeder, 2017).  The company has hired one of the most respected architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill who designed the world’s tallest building in Dubai (Yu & Bass, 2015). This makeover will see the integration of the latest structural ideas both for the inside and the outside environment of the campus.

A change in structural strategy characterizes the planned redevelopment project of 2017. The earlier campus reconstructions have been horizontal constructions, a scheme that was adopted in 2015 after winning a zoning change from the city of Redmond which allows it to build buildings up to 10 stories, on the area lying to the east side of the Redmond Washington campus (Day, 2015). The plan is meant to have fewer employees working across the buildings scattered all over the Redmond campus, and to bring them into the story offices, where more people can work under the same roof.  This comes after the expansions that mostly had the company put up buildings on more acres of land.

The move has been seen to be in sync with the changes in preferences of the company employees, which have evolved over time. The putting up of more vertical than horizontal spaces allows the company to have the feel of an urban area, with open floor plans, spaces that allow meetings and places for people to eat together (Day, 2015). The plan would increase the feeling of community within the campus, as more employees work in the same building, emphasizing on the commonness of purpose and futuristic goals for the separate projects done by the company. (Day, 2015).  This project integrates the need for social amenities and the evolving design of workplace architecture to meet the demand of the employees as well as the consumers of Microsoft products.

The multi-billion project includes the demolition of the older buildings erected in 1980, to raise a more modern campus with an open plan, sports fields, with a sky bridge over state Route 520 (Levy, 2017).  This redesigning, which is to be done in phases will take advantage of the infrastructural developments in Seattle, signing a commitment to work in Washington for longer. Architectural designing will be needed to cater for the pedestrians, to ensure that the new structuring doesn’t get into the way of open spaces and walking areas, besides the soccer and cricket fields, the outdoor plazas for meetings and even musical performances (Levy, 2017). With the integration of the light rail, Microsoft will make it easier for the employees to commute from work and to work as well as ship equipment for the company (Levy, 2017). Microsoft is set to appreciate the different cultures alive in the company community, by catering for the moods of the employees, through setting up entertainment hubs in the campus as well as working for a conducive environment for them to be productive (Romano, 2007). This is the transformation of both the structural outlook as well as the community relationship of the Microsoft Redmond Campus community.

Since 1986, the campus has been a hub of development. The expansions have created more space for employees, therefore increasing the number of people that the company can hold. Also, the development of innovative ideas that challenge the existing ideas of technology has allowed for the world to tap into better lives through the use of technology.  The campus has existed as a positive contribution to its surrounding areas, through the development of infrastructural projects and a contribution to the economy. Its expansion is an increase of the research hours that will be put into technology, planning and even execution of new ideas that seek to redefine the future.

The multi-billion mega reconstruction seeks to account more of the future needs of the workplace, catching up with the trends of the workplace designs that over time have been discovered to favor the tech industry. With this reconstruction also, the campus allows for more employment opportunities, and more broad ways to interact with the community. The span that the construction takes will be another moment of growth not just for the campus, but for the corporation at large. Microsoft has a bright future on this campus and growing internationally, I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes!

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

 

References

Day, M. (2015, December 28). Microsoft’s next Redmond expansion expected to go vertical. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsofts-next-redmond-expansion-expected-to-go-vertical/

Dudley, B. (2006, February 9). Business & Technology | Microsoft speeding up plans for huge campus redevelopment | Seattle Times Newspaper. Retrieved from http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20060209&slug=webmmsftbuild09

Levy, N. (2017, November 28). Microsoft plans to knock down and rebuild original Redmond campus, creating room for 8K more workers in the historic redevelopment project. Retrieved from https://www.geekwire.com/2017/microsoft-plans-knock-rebuild-original-redmond-campus-creating-room-8k-workers-historic-redevelopment-project/

Romano, B. (2007, November 11). Microsoft campus expands, transforms, inside and out. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsoft-campus-expands-transforms-inside-and-out/

Schroeder, S. (2017, November 29). Microsoft plans a major overhaul of its Redmond campus. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/2017/11/29/microsoft-hq-overhaul/#F3nMDuIaziqS

Yarow, J. (2013, August 1). A Tour Of Microsoft’s Truly Gigantic, Sprawling Headquarters. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/a-tour-of-microsofts-truly-gigantic-sprawling-headquarters-2013-7?IR=T

Yarow, J. (2013, July 18). Take A Sneak Peek At Microsoft’s Vision Of The House Of The Future. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-microsofts-house-of-the-future-2013-7?IR=T

Yu, H., & Bass, D. (2015, September 4). Microsoft considers a multibillion-dollar overhaul to Redmond campus. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsoft-is-said-to-weigh-multibillion-campus-revamp/

March 26, 2018

Muskie (Muskellunge aka Musky)

The muskellunge is a lean fish and mean fighting machine and arguably one of the most sought-after and ultimate fishing trophies of Wisconsin. It is the largest in the pike family, long torpedo shaped with the anal fin and the dorsal fin close to the tail. They have an enormous mouth with long pointed teeth.  The marking and coloration vary from fish to the other. This species is recognized by sporty and vertical bars. The head, back, and upper sides are green gold to light brown and pearly white berries. The fins are rust colored and pointed, and the cheek and the lower grill have no scales. The great lake muskellunge is a known fighter who when hooked drags the line beneath the boat and wraps it on a submerged stump. It strips reel, cracks rods, bends hooks and also mutilates baits. Hooking and capturing a muskellunge is one thrill no angler can forget.

Historically, the Winnebago system had been home to a small population of the muskellunge. The Winnebago system was once inhabited by the Great Lakes strain of the muskellunge (Paul A. Smith,2017).  That strain was however extirpated in the 90s due to habitat degradation and overfishing. Stocking of the limited muskellunge was done in the 1970s, but the largest stocking in the effort to boost the muskellunge population took place between 2002-2007 when six adults, 589,643 fries,  22,397 large fingerlings, 40 yearlings and 1,162 small fingerlings totaling 613,248 Great Lakes spotted strain muskellunge was stocked all through the system. The main aim of the restocking strategy in the Winnebago system was to reintroduce the great lake strain muskellunge and potentially set up a natural reproducing system for the muskellunge.

The restocking program of the Great Lakes strain muskellunge, however, ceased in 2007 in the bay of Green Bay and the Winnebago system after the viral hemorrhagic septicemia fish virus (VHS) was detected. Up to now a protocol to disinfect cool water fish eggs from the viral hemorrhagic septicemia favorable waters have not been in place. The eggs taken from the green bay fish can therefore not be reared at the state hatcheries. This resulted in the availability of a small number of muskellunge fish for restocking since 2007. Three brood Lakes were established in the recent years for the Great Lakes strain muskellunge to serve as a probable source for future stocking. This will, however, take longer because the fish in those Lakes still need to reach reproductive age. (Joel K. Nohner & James S. Diana, 2015)

The DNR fisheries staff members have since the restocking worked hard to track the population of the muskellunge using the traditional sampling gears. This has been quite challenging considering the diversity of habitat and the broadness of the area of the Lakes system. As a result, the fisheries staff has come up with a new approach referred to as the outside the box approach that involves rough commercial fishers to sample the population of the muskellunge. This process involves commercial fishers bidding for a contract to seine for the coarse fish mainly the buffalo and the common carp that are commonly taken to the market. During the seining effort, game fish is also captured, and this provides an opportunity for the DNR staff to collect and save biological data from an assortment of game fish at a reasonably low sampling cost. This effort is limited to only one seine haul per year and is mostly takes place during the fall when the temperatures in the water are cooler. This minimizes the stress amounts to the game fish. However, if more data samples are required more hauls may be conducted. (Terry L. Margenau & Jordan B. Petchenik, 2014)

The seine span length is an impressive 8700 feet consisting of 5-5inches mesh panels. This large mesh size is used so that it can allow the small-sized non-target fish to go through, at the same time retaining the larger fish in the seine. The gear retains Muskellunge, northern pike and other fish larger than 30 inches. This allows the DNR staffs collect the biological data they needed. Other large game fish collected through the survey including the walleye, lake sturgeon, and flathead. The fishermen start by stringing the seine. They begin from Leonard’s point and stretch it north across the Lake Butte des Morts then loops it back to the east and back to Leonard’s point, the gear samples around 500 acres per haul.  The fishermen then pull the seine back to shore congregating the fish into a holding pen. DNR fisheries staffs monitor the operation and process the captured game fish in the seine. These surveys have been carried out on Lake Butte des Morts in 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014. The caught fish are weighed, measured, and their maxillary clip or fins are checked from the stocking events. (Paul A. Smith, 2017)

The right maxillary clip, the right ventral fin clip, and the left ventral fin clip are marks used in marking the stocked muskellunge. Different cohorts of stocked fish are characterized uniquely utilizing a combination of different marks. These marks make it possible for the fish to be tracked back to when they were stocked. The fish captured without clips indicate that the fish was either naturally produced or is from fry stockings. In addition to the fin checkup, the untagged fish get tagged, and they are checked for (PIT) passive integrated transponder. Every individual fish has a specific 10-15 digit alphanumerical code tag which allows for the evaluation of the fish movement patterns and growth.

The surveys done in 2008 and 2009 showed that 40 Great Lakes strain muskellunge were captured. 37 of the 40 fish were found to have been marked with ventral fin clips or the maxillary. This was an indication that they were either from the large or the small restocking carried out in 2002-2007. The other three fish were from the fry stocks. This showed that the fingerling stocking method was more efficient than the fry stocking method.  The survey also revealed that the stocked fish were growing very fast. A sample of four fish ranged from 41.2-44.6 inches and could be traced back to the 2002 restocking. This showed that in seven summers these fish would grow to 45 inches. It was also an indication that given more time the fish would top 50 inches size range in the Winnebago system. The seine survey of 2013-2014 of the Great Lakes strain muskellunge yielded 29 muskellunge, four of the fish sampled happened to be the four that had been measured in 2008 and 2009. These four now ranges from 48.3-51.2inches. This showed that in 12 years the fish were able to hit the 50 inches mark. Compared to the statewide average of 42.6 inches of growth for a 12-year-old muskellunge this was an excellent finding and an impressive growth for a fish that size. (Terry L. Margenau & Jordan B. Petchenik 2014).

Although the size of the muskellunge surveyed in the year 2013-2014 was impressive, there is a worry that the population stocked in 2002-2007 was aging. The seine could not capture the fish below 38inches and it is not yet known if the fish have been able to produce naturally. The DNR fisheries staff also conducted a young of year (YOY) electrofishing survey of the muskellunge in the fall of 2025. Unfortunately, they did not capture any YOY. Now only time will tell if natural reproduction is taking place. As for now the population of the Great Lakes strains muskellunge solely depend on stocking.

A study by Ted Peck (2017) in 2015 showed that a total of 628 yearlings of the great lake spotted muskellunge were stocked to the Upriver Lakes. Lake Poygan got 255, Upper Fox River 219 and Lake Butte des Mort 154. Those stocked in Lake Poygan and Upper Fox River received PIT tag and clipped on the right ventral fin. Those stocked in Butte des Mort received a clip on the right ventral fin. The stocking will help boost population numbers for an opportunity to angle in the future. The DNR fisheries staff plans to keep performing commercial seine, fyke net and YOY electrofishing surveys to obtain the status of the muskellunge population that will guide the management of the Winnebago system.

The muskellunge has impacted the community in a significant way. Tourism has boomed. Millions of dollars are being spent on resorts, lodgings, service stations, sporting goods store and even restaurants. Wisconsin according to Ted Peck (2017) offers the best muskellunge fishing on that side of the planet. This fish is very elusive, and so it takes an average of 50 hours for one to have caught this fish. Many locals have also had the chance to work with the contractors who bid to the highest thus providing employment. The introduction or the restocking of many muskellunge is an opportunity for the anglers to catch a giant muskellunge.

Many more locals have also had the chance to work in those hotels, restaurants service stations, etc. The Great Lakes giant muskellunge has become a big blessing to the people of Wisconsin, and that is why the DNR fisheries staff always persuades the anglers to take a quick picture and report when they fish them out before releasing them back in. This reports on the length the capture location and the strain mainly for the fish less than 38 inches long. The DNR fisheries staff has found it extremely difficult to sample the smaller immature fish using traditional gears and methods. It is, therefore, crucial for them that the anglers report when they see smaller muskellunge. The anglers also have a rough time trying to hook this fish because they keep up the fight and also could be 50 plus inches. Catch and release has become a sport in Wisconsin where the anglers are required to catch and take a photo then release so that the other anglers can also catch this trophy fish. Regulations and more regulations have been put to keep the sport going as well as maintain or even increase the muskellunge population. (Ted Peck, 2017)

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

References

Joel K. Nohner & James S. Diana (2015) Muskellunge Spawning Site Selection in Northern Wisconsin Lakes and a GIS-Based Predictive Habitat Model retrieved from http://csis.msu.edu/sites/csis.msu.edu/files/musky_spawn.pdf

Paul A. Smith, (2017) Smith: Wisconsin man reels in a fishing pole… and a 47-inch musky

Ted Peck (2017) Catching Wisconsin’s ‘Easy’ Muskies retrieved from http://www.gameandfishmag.com/fishing/catching-wisconsins-easy-muskies/#ixzz56qr3tA1q

Terry L. Margenau & Jordan B. Petchenik (2014) Social Aspects of Muskellunge Management in Wisconsin

March 26, 2018

Wisconsin’s involvement in the establishment of Israel

Wisconsin has been directly involved in the formation of modern Israel in various ways, in trade, bilateral grants, bilateral institutions, cooperative agreements, different government missions to Israel, partnering for change in various business industry/sectors: science and technology, agriculture and farming, and other cooperative programs between Wisconsin and Israel. This co-operation and partnerships have tightened ties between the two states and have shared resources and knowledge between the two countries. This has led primarily to the development and the growth of the Israel state. Milwaukee was also a home to Golda Meir, the 4th Prime Minister of Israel.

In 2016 the total exports to Israel from Wisconsin ranged from $82,839,665, the change in percent between  2015-2016 being  -41%. The total exports since 1996 till date has been over $1,264,469,258. Israel’s trade partner rank in 2016 was number 36, Wisconsin in 2012 made military contracts with Israel that were worth $12,089,933.65. Wisconsin shares some bilateral foundation grants that include agriculture research and development that started in 1979 to date and it’s worth 2, 715, 810, science and technology that began in 1996 to date and it’s worth 2,738.016, industrial research development from 1977 to date and it’s worth $810,300. The total number of Bi-national grants totals up to $6,264,126.

There are bilateral institutions that have been created in support of trade and ventures between the two states. These include department of commerce global ventures, Wisconsin and Israel. Plans had to be put up to build and also reinforce the mutual ties between these two states was announced in 2010. The DOC made this announcement through their global ventures office and later solicited for the formal request for proposals to implore researchers and companies interested in joint Wisconsin-Israel R&D partnership development.

Committee for economic growth Israel: this committee was founded by a Jewish philanthropist and entrepreneur Elmer Winter in 1976 at Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin s request. CECI was founded and established to assist in the growth and the expansion of Israel and the Wisconsin state. It dealt with promoting business as much as the other chambers of commerce. Then there are the memoranda of understanding which was a cooperative agreement: Benjamin Ben-Eliezer the Israeli industry, labor, and trade minister and Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin state in November 2009 signed a bilateral cooperative trade agreement and a memorandum of understanding with the hope to promote cooperation and a great working relationship involving Israel and Wisconsin development and research.  The department of commerce in Wisconsin in fostering this development has partnered closely Israeli economic mission in coordinating targeted investments that are attractive and other match made events in innovation and technology. There have been other government missions from Wisconsin to Israel from the latest in November 2017 Scott Walker, the governor Wisconsin took a trade mission trip to Israel and met with the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu where after talking and discussing issues relating to trade he also invited the Israelis prime minister Netanyahu to Wisconsin to visit. In August 2011, the then congresswoman Gwen Moore was in a convoy with a delegation  of 81 members sent by congress to Israel to discuss trade and also teach them on the United States of America’s relationships with Israel and regional politics.

On November 2009 the department of commerce secretary Aaron Olver and Governor Jim Doyle took a delegation from Wisconsin on a trade mission to Israel. The group had pre-arranged several meetings on specific investment with firms in Israeli. These firms upon agreement could expand their markets and resources into Wisconsin. The governor Jim Doyle also signed a cooperative conformity with the department of the trade from Israeli which was made possible by the DOCs global venture office. In 2005 the Congressman Paul Ryan visited Israeli; he was a member of the larger Republican congressional delegation on a trip that had been made possible by the American Israel Education Foundation. This is a charitable organization which was allied with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He met with the then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. They took a trip to some tourism sites in Jerusalem and Israelis northern boundaries of Lebanon and Syria.

These trips were important because of each of them in one way or another promoted Binational trade and continued to strengthen the relationship between Wisconsin and Israel. Also in their trips, the Americans would also promote tourism by visiting various sites like Jerusalem that were historically rich.  These trips also encouraged other Americans to visit Israel. Thus there was increase and growth in tourism.

The connection between the United States and Israel is based mutual interests and shared values. Given these pillars, beliefs, and commonality of interests, it’s therefore evident that the support the Unites States offers Israel is the most consistent and pronounced values in a foreign policy for the Americans. Although these programs exist, it’s very difficult to come up with programs that make the most of on Israel, and the United States shared values other than their interests in security. In fact, they have come up with shared value initiatives that cover a very wide range of common interests which include science, technology, the environment, health, and education.

Israel has a population of over eight million people; it’s very advanced and has a dynamic and robust economy that permitted it to join the (OECD) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the years 2005-2013 Israel had exported more goods to the United States than Saudi Arabia. All the eight million of the Israel citizenry only make 3% of the total population on that region it also accounts for 25 percent of all exports to the Middle East. Israel has also been in the top twenty foreign direct investor’s sinec2009 in the United States. The United States also gives Israel $3 billion in United States aid and out of this amount $2.25 comes back to the United States via Israelis purchase of the military equipment from the U.S. that represents 5% of their total bilateral trade every year. Wisconsin is just one of the 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In the year 2012, Wisconsin had exported manufacturing goods worth over $69 million. Since 1996 the total number of exports by Israel from Wisconsin has reached over $1.1 billion, and now Israel ranks 26 on Wisconsin’s trading partners list. In that same period from 2012 Wisconsin had delivered to Israel $12.1 million in (FMF) Foreign military financing as military aid from the united states to Israel. The companies that have so far received foreign military financing in Israel are twin disc Inc in Racin, Kearfott guidance and navigation in Milwaukee and Therma-Stor LLC Bounatic in Madison.

Israel is also good at innovating and developing ideas and programs that are used in addressing certain issues addressing citizens. They have for example developed education programs like no other like the peer tutoring program where students are taught to read together to increase fluency. This method is commonly used for grade two students and has become very useful to not only the students but also the teachers and tutors.  They have also come up with different methods and ways in which they can curb some social problems like the drug abuse, unemployment, and environmental protection. This program has worked well with the Israel citizens, and it’s expected to work for Wisconsin’s children when adopted and implemented.

Many firms in Wisconsin have found nit profitable to work and expand their businesses in Israel is the one country which has an agreement of free trade with both the European community and the United States. Israel is then in a position to fill the trade gap on the international trade between Europe and the United States. Israel is also a big pool of talent and especially on high technology. Israel then becomes an excellent opportunity for national companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Motorola, McDonald, and Intel to invest and earn profits from.  Other 180 companies from Wisconsin have also taken the chance to benefit by undertaking business in Israel they include GE medical systems, Nicolet, sunlight plastics Inc and workforce inc.

Manpower Inc is a recruitment business with its base in Wisconsin. So far the company has over 35 offices in the state of Israel. James Fromstein, workforce Inc senior vice president, says that their experience in Israel has been very positive and that the Israelis high level has attributed this to education and the way they structure their economy aggressively. A.O Smith Corporation based in Milwaukee got into business with chromagen, which deals with the manufacturing of solar water heating solution that’s found in Israel. They agreed to develop the water heating applications. In their agreement, A.O Smith becomes chromagens exclusive distributor and marketer in Canada and the USA for both commercial and residential collectors. Chromagens sales in 2009 were estimated at $50million and had two operations in manufacturing in Israel and distributed in over 35 countries. This partnership between A.Osmith and chromagen becomes a great powerhouse which could only mean more significant opportunities for both the United States and Israel.

In the medical field, Israel benefits both in importing and exporting. GE medical systems in Wisconsin exports diagnostic medical equipment like the x-rays, CTs, ultrasounds, and MRIs since 1950 to Israel. Israel on the other side has been exporting medical nuclear scanners to Wisconsin, and both countries believe that through this venture is quite expensive, it makes their hospitals the best there is in their regions.  Nicolet Instrument Corporation is a company that has been doing business in Israel for the last fifteen years. This company from Wisconsin sells spectrometers that are used in the material composition and chemical analysis. Jamison, the area manager in the middle and south-east, confesses that Israel is a reasonable market compared to other markets in the region and that it’s also an easy market.

The Wisconsin people realized that the best way of breaking into the Israelis market is by joint venturing with a company with Israel. These projects receive finding from (BIRD) Bi-National Industrial Research and Development Foundation. The bird was established in 1977 by Israel and the United States to jointly fund U.S-Israeli teams’ commercialization and subsequent development of non-defense, innovative technological products from which they can both get profits proportion with the risks and the investment. Most of these grants are received by small businesses that are involved in instrumental, software, communication, semiconductors and medical devices.

BIRD, since it was incepted, has given funding to more than 800 high tech joint ventures totaling up to $210 million through conditional grants. The products that these companies produce has since generate d $8 billion and more in both indirect and direct revenues for the two countries. These ventures have created excellent opportunities for the Israeli people by creation of jobs for their youth, and it is also a pillar for the Israeli-U.S industrial cooperation. The venture’s success has allowed Israel adopt similar R&D models with other countries. Four companies based in Wisconsin the Nicolet instruments corp., workforce current energy systems and Germania dairy automation inc. have all benefitted and taken advantage of the program BIRD and shared these grants with Israeli to a total of $700,000.

In 2010 BIRD gave out more than $4.2 million in grants to fund companies that had joint ventures both Israeli and the United States in wind energy, biofuels, and energy efficiency. These the five projects that were awarded these grants will help address the goals shared by both countries on bilateral energy this will also influence the private sectors to total projects to cost share value of $12,8millionone of the project award is a local company in Wisconsin, current energy systems which are based in Madison and HCL clean tech limited from Israel Tel Aviv will developing and testing jointly the procedure meant to make from cellulosic non-food sources biogasoline.

In 2011 Johnsons Controls, a technology company Milwaukee based, was offered BIRD financial support to partner with EnVerid systems and come up with a novel air handling technology that’s used in reducing HVAC the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and automotive comfort energy consumption. This project was among the nine others who were awarded a total of $8.1 million in grants in December throughout Israel and the United States.

Nicolet instrument corporation which leads the world in manufacturing, design, and the marketing of instrumentation for assessing muscle, nerve, sleep vestibular/hearing, brain blood flow disorder and epilepsy joined up with a company from Israel that builds up mid-infrared fiber-optic materials referred to as Isorad ltd. This grant was meant so that the two companies can develop sensors made using fiber-optic chemicals that identifies harmful chemical materials for safe performance and in the environment. These chemicals are also used in the analysis of safe quality control on toxic chemical products; after they completed developing fiber cell, both companies applied for a more significant grant to build up the complete fiber-optic sampling system integrated with spectrometers that are commercially infrared.

Nicolet created a partnership with Medoc ltd which is Israeli based. It manufactures, builds up and also markets small fiber devices for the peripheral nervous system. They created the thermal sensory analyzer which became the best of its kind. Through this mini project, the thermal sensory analyzer device became a necessary accessory for their diagnostic system and was named the Nicolet sensation. These two companies have since then strengthened their working conditions and invested in other diverse markets.

Wisconsin researchers are developing technologies that are cutting edge and have made scientific breakthroughs in joint ventures with the brilliant and creative Israelis. They do this with the assistance from Binational Science Foundation. The BSF began in 1972 and was meant to promote cooperation and scientific relations between the scientists from both Israel and the United States. That fund is intended to support the research projects that are in collaboration between the two countries, and they must also be from the basic and applied scientific field for non-profit and peaceful purposes. From the time it started BSF has so far awarded more than 4000 grants worth $ 48-0 million.

The BSF has since sponsored studies which all have been successful in attaining their two primary goals of promoting research that’s world-class to benefit the two countries and the world at large and also to strengthen the Partnership between the U.S-Israel through science. This grant helps in the resource extension so that the research may reach milestones they haven’t reached before. , introduce approaches that lead the Israel scientists and researchers into new broader directions, intensify, confirm and clarify the projects in research and also provide access that’s unmatched to the Israeli facilities, equipment and the research results that will enable them to go a mile more in the research. BSF has so far taken part in over 75 discoveries through research grants, and the 19 of these discoveries have been recognized and received the Lasker medical awards and 37 Nobel peace prize.

The University of Wisconsin and their counterparts in Israel medical school have benefited from a grant worth over $2.5 million since 1996. A professor john valley from the department of physics and geology at Wisconsin university was granted a grant to work with a professor Mathew at Hebrew university so that it facilitates their study of Greece rocks. They found out that  the alpine belt rocks were initially at the sea level and were later buried owing to the  tectonic movements and forces and today the same tocks are at the mountain surface. Such discoveries have helped the geologists and the historian better understand their history the two professors are still working together in a geochemistry lab at Hebrew University.

In 1996 Arthur Ellis a professor from the University of Wisconsin was granted a grant by BSF.  That grant was to research chemical sensoring in Weizmann Institute of science. Chemical sensors consist of placing a molecule of the semiconductor surface to come up with a sensor that determines other compounds presence and their concentration in liquid and gas phase. Professor Robert C. West from the University of Wisconsin was also given the grant and had been working together with Israel since then. He has been researching the different types of silicon bonds and worked with Israelis scientist.

Binational agricultural research and development fund (BARD) was established in 1978 by the two countries Israel and the United States to help scientific fund programs between them. These programs had to be jointly beneficial, strategic; applied research  and mission-oriented to the tribulations in agriculture. Since the start, BARD has managed to fund over 1000 projects, worth over $250million.  Most of these projects that are funded by the BARD were focused on plant and animal health, agricultural productivity good safety and quality, these researchers have then come up with new technologies like the use of pesticides, drip irrigation, livestock, poultry fish farming, farm equipment and disease controls. The products generated from these researches have so far generated more than $500 million in sales, $100million in tax revenue and has created jobs for over 500 people both in Israel and in Wisconsin.  The project is worth over $2million and has been in operation ever since 1979.

Gary splitter a professor of the Wisconsin university after receiving his grant and under joint research with Israeli Is very close to find a t-cell leukemia  cure and stops endemic Brucella melitensis. The grant he received has been to learn the virus bovine leukemia that’s relates to T-cell leukemia in peoples. This problem is a common menace to the two countries and splinter works in conjunction with the Israeli veterinarian institute which is a federal laboratory that’s concerned with disease monitoring in Israel.

Other collaborations include that of Mark Richardson, professor jess reed in collaboration with the Israeli scientists in investigating the red wines effects. This is because the wine has polyphenols found in vegetables, and fruits and is believed that it can counteract the ALES absorption and many other projects s in the agricultural research

Conclusion

Wisconsin has been integral in the creation and the development of the modern day Israel. This is because Wisconsin has played crucial roles in partnering with scientists who can come up with materials that could not only benefit Israel and the united stated nut also influence the world in general. In the future I see cyber security and defense being a major area of contribution between Wisconsin and Israel.

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

Source:

Jewish Virtual library: State-to-State Cooperation: Wisconsin and Israel –  retrieved from:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/wisconsin-israel-cooperation

March 17, 2018

Wisconsin’s Involvement in the Cold War

 

I find myself fascinated with the Cold War era and the impact Wisconsin has had on this time. I also see the impact as I work in IT Security for Master Lock. Wisconsin’s businesses today see the impact of cyber war second hand and that is largely stemmed from the political result of the build up from the cold war with Russia and China. How did we get here and how does it impact Wisconsin?

Following the end of World War II, the world experienced an era of severe political unrest. The fall of Nazi Germany, and the subsequent surrender of its allies allowed the United States to take a quick breath of victorious relief, but the national reassurance of winning the war proved to be short lived. Tensions began building elsewhere in the world. The Soviet Union established itself as a global superpower, and its political ideologies clashed heavily with those of the United States. As both of these entities strived to spread their influence, they opposed each other like oil and water. Both sides steeped themselves in a palpable fear that their opposition aimed at world-wide expansionism, leading to other combative wars, ideological implementation, and ultimately the lingering possibility of nuclear warfare.

This schism of beliefs did not pertain only to the US and the Soviet Union—it divided Europe and some parts of Asia as well. Shortly after the Truman Doctrine and the formation of NATO, the Korean War broke out, which was spurred on by North Korea’s spontaneous invasion of South Korea, aided by the USSR and China. Since South Korea held an alliance with America, the United States felt required to respond, however, it was done with hesitation. By the time war was declared on the US’s behalf, North Korea had almost engulfed the entirety of the South—America’s involvement was a necessary move in regards to actively subduing the spread of communism and saving South Korea’s freedom. On June 27, 1950, President Truman officially announced he would be ordering troops as a means of assistance. The number of US forces grew to an astonishing 5.7 million by the time the war concluded, of which 132,000 derived from Wisconsin. 801 of the 132,000 were killed in action in pursuit of freedom, and an additional 4286 were wounded. Several Wisconsinites became prisoners of war and perished due to North Korea’s inhumane treatment of captured soldiers. Although South Korea was able to push back North Korea’s advancements with the help of America—and an armistice was signed between the divided countries—the conclusion did not feel like a victory, as the enemy was not truly defeated. Tensions were still high. Europe still buzzed with uncertainty and political division, and this war would prove to be only the beginning of the nuclear era.

During this time, a familiar Wisconsin military division was prepping for the unknown. The 32D Red Arrow division, which consisted mostly of Wisconsin National Guardsmen, was mobilized for the first time since World War II, and their training began immediately in Fort Lewis. For several months, these men did not know what their destination would be, or if they would be sent overseas at all. Milwaukee resident Tony Eckenrod reminisced about his service during the Cold War saying, “We initially thought we were going to go to Vietnam and that changed. Supposedly we were going to go to Korea and that changed. And we stayed right where we were, training in case something else did come up.” Ultimately, the Red Arrow Division did not experience combat throughout the entirety of the Cold War, and after 10 months of training, they were allowed to return to their homes.

The war allowed dread to fester. The idea of communism for westerners at this time was enough to strike fear into their hearts. This mainstream fear even earned its own name which knitted itself into Cold War history—The Red Scare. This atmosphere shaped the minds of many people—especially those who were in positions of political power. The Red Scare gave rise to several staunch anticommunists who took matters to the extreme in the hopes of eradicating any form of communism in the west. Oftentimes, the means of going about this were not ethical or politically correct, but it did send a definite message. Communism was not, nor would it ever be, tolerated on American soil.

Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy was an archetypal example of staunch anticommunism during this era. In 1950, he was thrown into the spotlight when he gave a speech, in which he declared that he knew of hundreds of communists that were operating not only on US soil, but in the state departments themselves. The senate immediately launched an investigation in regards to his statement, but found that his words were baseless. There was no proof of this, but McCarthy continued accusing people of being involved in the communist party. This witch-hunt, in addition to his ideologies, became known as McCarthyism, and shed light on the sheer volume of toxic paranoia that was seeping into America’s political atmosphere. By the end of McCarthy’s personal investigations, over 2000 government employees had been terminated from their positions. His tactics and unsubstantiated claims continued for a period of five years, and led to the ruin of many professional careers. Anyone called before McCarthy’s committee during this time was publically black-listed, and connoted as untrustworthy, and a possible communist sympathizer. Eventually, the Senate voted to denounce McCarthy’s behavior, and that is when his power began to dry up. Soon, McCarthyism and his tactics were no more.

America’s general involvement in the Cold War dissipated to some degree in the following decade. From 1954-1961 most of the political conflict was occurring on European soil, and in a two year timespan, the Warsaw Pact, Hungarian Revolution, and Suez Crisis occurred. In 1957, the Soviet Union initiated the space race by launching a dog into space via Sputnik II, which captured the attention of the world as a whole. America developed a burning desire to keep pace with them. Manitowoc, Wisconsin experienced the space race first-hand when debris from the USSR’s Sputnik IV landed in the street after a controller malfunction. It is humorously noted as the only time in which America was “invaded” during the Cold War. Unfortunately, the space race was one of the more peaceful parallel events that was occurring during the buildup of something much more serious—the precarious dance with technologies that had the potential to initiate World War III, and decimate entire countries.

It was well known since the beginning of the cold war that both the US and the Soviet Union housed nuclear warheads, but as time progressed, the possibility of their use grew dangerously close. Many people responded by building fallout shelters to protect themselves in the event of an attack. Several of these shelters still exist, and many can be found dotted around Wisconsin. The fear of nuclear war was real, and justifiably so, but it was not until October 14th, 1962, that this fear began to materialize. On this day, a US spy plane took notice of a nuclear weapons facility that was being constructed in Cuba. This was due in part by the Soviet Union, who secretly deployed several warheads to Cuba in response to the Bay of Pigs (a failed attempt by the US to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist government). Upon this discovery, America set up naval blockades to prevent more warhead shipments from reaching Cuba, but this was seen as an act of aggression. The Soviet Union, as well as Cuba, insisted that these missiles were for defense purposes only, but the US still demanded their removal. Over the course of thirteen days, America and the USSR were at a standoff.

Defense became a primary focus for Wisconsin leading up to this point in time. Prior to the Cuban Missile altercation, the Milwaukee area was outfitted with eight different missile bases which housed SAMs known as AJAX Nike missiles. They were established as a means of intercepting enemy missiles and warheads, should their paths had found their way over Wisconsin territory. However, after much consideration, these eight bases were reduced to three, and the AJAX missiles were replaced with something a bit more capable—Nike Hercules Missiles, which were designed to carry nuclear-based payloads. Upon the ignition of the Cuban Missile crisis, Wisconsin was primed to utilize these missiles at a moment’s notice. These warheads existed quite literally in the backyards of Milwaukee residents—prepped to launch, and ready to defend. Ultimately, the Cuban Missile Crisis was averted when Nikita Khrushchev, representing the Soviet Union, publically announced that the missiles in Cuba would be removed, thus circumventing a nuclear war.

Unfortunately, the end of this event did not mean the end of the Cold War itself. The world’s playing field was still shifting platonically in regards to politics and ideologies. There was still unrest, even after the relief of a subverted nuclear war, and Just three years after the Missile Crisis, the decade-long Vietnam War was sparked as a consequence of America’s lingering belief that communism was continuing to spread. 57,000 men from the Badger State served in Vietnam, of which over one thousand lost their lives. Of course, the Vietnam War was met with disagreement even on behalf of American citizens. It was a divisive war in a time where many simply wanted peace. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is exemplary of this, as it became one of America’s most radical campuses in regards to the opposition of the war. Students protested the Vietnam War on a grand scale, and in some cases, these protests turned violent. There was even one instance of a bomb being detonated by a small group of students, which led to the death of a college physics professor. Although the Vietnam War did incite violence amongst America’s own people, the reasons were somewhat justified. The war was expensive, caused millions of deaths, and the US was fighting a losing war. The Vietnam War was finally concluded via the Paris Peace Accords, and on a verbal basis through Richard Nixon himself. It proved to be a devastating defeat for the US.

After the Vietnam War, the world began to self-regulate. Although there was still some residual tension left behind from the multitude of events that occurred in such a short period of time, the political unrest and general fear began to subside. There were still a few events which caused pockets of chaos—the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, and Tiananmen Square—but several countries began to realign. Gorbachev adhered to his policies of openness and freedom of speech, the Berlin Wall fell, and Czechoslovakia’s communist government was overthrown in a peaceful manner via the Velvet Revolution. In 1990, Eastern and Western Germany united as a single county, and one day after Gorbachev’s resignation, the Soviet Union has been officially dissolved. This marked the end of the world’s most potentially deadly era.

Although the Cold War was not classified as a World War, the entire globe was involved to some degree. From entire countries down to the state-level, nearly everyone played a role in this several decade-long period of time. Of course, every US state offered their unique support, but Wisconsin epitomized the various facets of the Cold War. From its involvement in Korea, to the chaotic protests during the Vietnam War, there is an abundance of Cold War history that can be derived from the Badger State.

Wisconsin had a major impact in the Cold War and we will continue to have influence in the current and upcoming Cyber Wars.

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

Sources Used

 

https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-039/?action=more_essay

 

https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS420

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy

 

http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/joseph-mccarthy

 

https://www.jsonline.com/story/life/green-sheet/2016/10/16/red-arrow-divisions-big-cold-war-call-up/91831200/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War

 

https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/waukesha/2017/08/23/nuclear-missiles-were-once-ready-launch-milwaukees-suburbs/574221001/

 

http://www.koreanmemorial.org/stats.html

 

https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS421

 

https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/vietnam-war/the-causes-of-the-vietnam-war/

 

https://www.historyonthenet.com/the-cold-war-timeline-2/

March 17, 2018

Microsoft Surface Products Decision

 

After visiting Microsoft’s headquarters for the first time two weeks ago (March 2018) and while on-site learning more about their product vision and goals, I found myself shopping for a Microsoft surface, this is the breakdown of their product line and how each style would apply to my life.

 

Surface products offer a series of various windows personal computers, touch screens and interactive whiteboards developed and designed by Microsoft. They are manufactured by Pegatron and are premium, intended as examples to Windows OEMs. The Microsoft surface device consists of 2-in 1 detachable notebooks, hybrid tablets, interactive whiteboard and all in one convertible desktop with their various accessories which are all unique in different ways. Other than the first generation devices the surface and surface two all other surface PCs are Windows ten operating system compatible and also use Intel processors.

This family consists of six main device lines. The surface line which has hybrid tablets with an optional stylus pen and detachable keyboard accessories whose latest model uses a SoC processor, and an Intel Atom. Its latest model is the surface 3. The surface pro has hybrid professional tablets and uses optional accessories like the detachable keyboard. Its latest devices are the surface pro: which is 7th generation does not use a stylus pen and uses an Intel Core series processor. The surface laptop: this is a 13.5-inch touchscreen notebook that runs on windows 10S but has room for the upgrade to windows 10 pro. The surface book: this is a notebook which has a detachable screen. Discrete graphics are configured with its base, and its display is independently operable and supports the stylus. The surface studio: this is an all in one desktop, 28inch that can adjust and become a digital drafting table with an on-screen surface dial support and a stylus. A surface hub: it’s an interactive touch screen whiteboard that’s designed to collaborate. The most recent surface lineup has four families that define their respective categories. They are the surface pro (2017) surface laptop, surface book, and surface studio

 

Surface Pro (2017)

Surface pro according to Foley, Mary Jo (2017) is a multi-mode device, that looks like its predecessor surface pro 4, its price ranges from $799 to $ 2699, its surface pen costs $100, and its type cover costs $ 160 and is both sold separately. Its name and shape are familiar, and despite losing its model number, it retains the signature and the dimensional features than surface pro 4. The pen, the kickstand, and the detachable type cover give complements the device distinctive look. The device m3 and the i5 models are fanless and thus will appeal to users that do not appreciate the occasional fan noise.  The surface pro is A PC that does act and functions as a tablet. The pen is crucial, and Microsoft advertises the ability of the surface pro to shapeshift from a laptop mode to a studio mode and finally to the tablet mode.

Surface Laptop

This according to Hardawar, Devindra (2017) is a highly mobile PC, and it doesn’t transform into a tablet. Its price ranges from $999 to % 2199. Its main competitors are the Dell XPS13, MacBook Air and Samsung notebook 9. It has an Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard and has multicolor options which range from cobalt blue to burgundy which make it stylish. This laptop is Microsoft’s first ever and it’s specially created for buyers that value mobility more than they value computing power. It runs on windows 10S and has better specs than its competitors. It weighs less, and its battery life can serve 2 and a half longer than its competitors. It has a full touchscreen, windows hello facial recognition and also supports the biometric signing in. the screen size is 13.5 inches although it has a lower resolution than the surface book

Surface Book

A surface book according to Ackerman, Dan (2017) is a convertible that feels like a professional grade laptop. Its price ranges from $1499 to $3299. Its main competitors are the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS15. It has discrete GPU option with a solid base. Its way bigger than the other surface devices more expensive and also performs better. It runs on windows, and it’s also a touchscreen. The surface book is like a laptop that feels like a tablet mainly because you can change it into the laptop mode sign up documents and mark up PDFs. The surface book is configured to the Nvidia GPU which is an option on some i5 configurations. This makes it perfect for the graphics professionals and anyone else using onboard graphics. Its base is stable and secure to type on. Its battery is hefty, and the updated performance base incorporates an upgraded Nvidia GPU and a more extended battery raising the battery life with at least four more hours. It weighs about 3.34 pounds heavier than its competitors but the added weight assists in the workability and the performance. It has a dynamic fulcrum hinge used in supporting its screen and uses the zero gravity hinge for rotation and also standing up at the 20-degree angle on the table position

Surface Studio

This according to Moynihan, Tim (2016)  is an all in one desktop PC. Its 28 inches and has the thinnest LCD ever created for an all in one device. A surround sound system and a processor are found it its compact base. The screen is mounted on the compact base using a flexible four-point hinge. This design allows for downward folding to a 20degree angel which ultimately helps the user to interact with the PC at their comfort physically. It runs on Windows 10, and its price ranges from $2999 to $4199

 

In the end, naturally, I want them all. I will continue to seek out which product best fits my lifestyle. Stay Tuned!

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

References

Hardawar, Devindra (2017). “Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is built to beat Apple’s MacBooks.”

Foley, Mary Jo (2017). Microsoft’s  Surface Pro launch marred by supply shortages.

Moynihan, Tim (2016). “Look at Microsoft’s Fancy Surface Studio All-in-One PC”

Ackerman, Dan (2017). “Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s $999 flagship for Windows 10 S”

March 10, 2018

Microsoft Security: Latest Updates

 

Microsoft security according Microsoft (2017) helps defend the computer against network threats including transmitted exploits like worms, viruses, Trojans and other malicious software’s. It also provides with free spyware protection. Microsoft security is vital because it protects the information on the PC and also caters for the general health of the computer ultimately assisting programs to run softly and smoothly. The most common computer threats come from installing freeware that they may have downloaded while downloading a free desktop application and people opening unknown emails, the email may contain links on their attachments that could potentially add malware and viruses into your system.

The method how Microsoft prepares its latest security is by updating the software. Different standard terminologies are used when describing software up to date. Critical update is a neither fix shared widely that concerns some particular problem that is neither security related nor critical bug. Definition update: this is a software update that is frequent and is commonly released. It contains database that is the products definition. These definition databases are used in the detection of specific attributes such as junk mails, phishing websites, malicious codes and a driver. A definition is software’s that are used in the control of the output and the input of the device (Microsoft 2017).

Feature pack: this is the functionality of a new product that is first distributed first outside the product release content, and later it’s included typically in the release of the next full product, this is done to make sure that it will function well before investing heavily in it. Security update:  this is a fix that’s widely released for a security-related product specific vulnerability these security vulnerabilities are rated by how severe they are, and it’s indicated on the security bulletin as either critical, moderate or low. These updates are made available by Microsoft to customers to download. The security updates contain the Microsoft knowledge base article and the security bulletin. Service pack: this is a cumulative set of all security updates, hotfixes, critical updates and updates that are all tested. It also contains fixes on internal problems after product release and could also carry the customer requested features and design changes.

Tool: this is a feature or a utility that helps in completing tasks. Update rollup: this is a pack of cumulative and tested security updates, hotfixes, updates and critical updates packed together for smooth deployment. It targets a particular area or a product’s component. Security only updates: this is an update that collects the monthly security updates of a specific product that addresses vulnerabilities that are security related and distributed through the system center configuration, windows server update services, and the Microsoft update.  It automatically downloads and installs in the windows update settings. Preview of the monthly roll-up. This is cumulative and also tested set of updates that are distributed through windows update system and others, this review is product specific, and it addresses non-security updates that are new which include fixes from the monthly roll up. It’s displayed under monthly quality preview roll up and when downloaded or installed its labeled optional update.

Microsoft continually updates its antimalware definitions to continually tweak detection logic and covers the latest threats. This enhances the antimalware solutions and its ability to identify threats accurately. There is need to use the latest definitions and set it automatically for updates. The windows defender antivirus receives an update as part of the windows update. If there is no option on automatic download one can manually trigger the download and apply all the latest definitions. With the windows 10, one must select check for updates to check for the newest definition s from the windows Defender Security Centre. The newest anti-malware definition is version1.263.457.0 released March 10, 2018, 6.32 AM UTC. Different Windows operating systems use different definitions it’s then necessary that one selects a version that matches their operating system or even an environment in which you can use the definitions.

Patch Tuesday is the day when Microsoft releases its security and patches for their software’s and their operating systems. It happens every second Tuesday of the month, and it’s also referred to as the update Tuesday. The last one occurred on February the 13th 2018 and consisted of thirty-three individual security updates and fifty-one issues that involved correcting issues on the Windows operating systems and their other software’s. The next patch will happen on the 13 March 2018. The updates given on patch Tuesday are critical since they update files they believe have bugs and could allow malicious acts to be carried out on your PC. Everyone that uses or their computers run on the Microsoft operating system the 32 or 64bit including windows 7, 8, 8.1.10 and the version of windows that is server supported.

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

References

Microsoft (2017) Microsoft Security Bulletin MS16-013 – Critical retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en…/security…/securitybulletins/…/ms1

Microsoft (2017) Microsoft Security Bulletin MS16-056 – Critical retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/security-updates/securitybulletins/2016/ms16-056

Microsoft (2017) Microsoft Security Bulletin MS16-061 – Important retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/security-updates/securitybulletins/2016/ms16-061

March 2, 2018

Wisconsin’s Rare and Endangered Fish

 

The Wisconsin basin consists of three main drainages; Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. It is home to over 160 fish species, most of which are rare and endangered. It is home to unique fish species and as a result, most of its species are listed in the natural heritage working list. These species have become rare because of a combination of several factors. The factors include habitat degradation, habitat loss, disturbance sensitivity, exploitation, genetic problems, predation, parasitism, and competition. Some of the rare species found in this basin are located along the edge of their main ranges. Climate change and invasive species also profoundly impact on the rare species and is expected to become even one of the most significant factors in the future. The reason why the fish species and other animals are unique to Wisconsin is the vibrant ecosystem that has diversity and availability of their food and the excellent climate that allows these animals to thrive.

Some of the rare fish species in the Wisconsin basin according to Dave Bosanko (2007), include the skipjack herring, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, catfish, pumpkinseed, salmon and trout, and smallmouth bass. Others include the white bass and rock bass bullheads, northern pike, wallet western sand darter, American eel, cisco, short jaw cisco, crystal darter, blue sucker and gravel chub. The lake chubsucker, mud darter, bluntnose darter, least darter, banded killifish, star head topminnow, goldeye, pallid shiner, black buffalo, longear sunfish, striped shiner, redfin shiner, shoal chub are also some of the unique species. The list also includes species such as the river redhorse, black redhorse, pugnose shiner, Ozark minnow, slender madtom, gilt darter, paddlefish and Pygmy whitefish among others. In this document, we will be discussing some of these rare fishes, their description, distribution, spawning, and angling.

Skipjack Herring

Scientifically referred to as Alosa chrysochloris, this unique fish species, according to Becker, George (1983), is very bright silver, but their backs are darker, and the tips of their jaws contain black pigments with around 1-9 black spots on their upper sides. The most visible of these spots are found just directly behind its gill opening. They have a long body and are laterally compressed. The mouth is large and terminal and extends below the middle of the eye. Their dorsal fins are placed directly above their pelvic fins, and just like all the other Alosa species, they lack the dorsal ray of the Dorosoma species. Their bellies’ single rows of scales are folded over the edge giving the belly a seemingly sharp saw-like edge. The only difference between the skipjack and the alewife is that it has a larger mouth and its body is more elongated. They belong to the Clupeidae family. The skipjack grows to between 12-16 inches in adulthood but can also reach 21 inches with 3.5pounds.

The skipjack herring are known to spawn between May and July and their spawning period can be prolonged. It is a freshwater fish mostly found in larger rivers. During high tide, they avoid high waters by congregating in the clearer waters and creek mouths, and they feed primarily on small fish channel shiners and mainly emerald. This fish has almost become extirpated in Wisconsin, and its re-establishment is underway. (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

Lake Sturgeon

It is scientifically referred to as Acipenser fulvescens and is one among the 25 sturgeon species (Dave Bosanko, 2007). The lake sturgeon’s taste buds are situated on the rubbery and the prehensile lips. These sensory organs help the lake sturgeon to locate its bottom-dwelling prey.  It has no teeth thus it vacuums up its food and swallows whole. It mostly feeds on live insect larvae, metazoan organisms, and worms including leeches. The lake sturgeon is an evolutionary bottom feeder. Its shape is streamlined, and its skin bears rows of bony plates on both the back and the sides. The fish has an elongated spade-like snout that it uses to stir up sediments and substrates at the lake bottoms and river beds while feeding. The lake sturgeon grows up to 7.25ft and weighs over 240lb.

Lake sturgeons live long; approximately 55 years and only reach sexual maturity after ten years. They reproduce by swimming in circles around each other and shaking vehemently. The male will only stop circling when he has released the fertilizer, and the female lays her eggs. In Wisconsin, the lake sturgeon is rare and has been going through an effort of restoration. The USFWS takes the following measures while restoring the lake sturgeon: distribution, recording abundance, age, the health of the species and growth. It, however, will take years to confirm if the fish has started to naturally produce due to its extended period before it reaches sexual maturity (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

The lake sturgeon were once targeted as a nuisance bay catch for damaging fishing gear and later targeted by commercial fishermen when their eggs and meat became prized. Their catch rates have faced many environmental challenges including flood measures, pollution and dam construction. The sturgeon upon returning to the lakes and rivers in which they were born in to spawn every spring found spawning shoals destroyed by deposition of silt from lumbering and agriculture as well as blocked tributaries thus threatening their existence.

Yellow Perch

Scientifically known as Perca flavescens, the yellow perch according to Becker, George (1983), is found in all the three drainage basins in Wisconsin; the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. It’s a glacier lakes species, widely distributed except in southwest Wisconsin. This is a native fish with two dorsal fins that are separated into soft-rayed and spiny portion; it has yellow sides, has no canine teeth and has seven blackish bars on the sides.

They are members of the perch or the Percidae family, and due to their reputation of having tasty meat, they have become the most frequently caught game fish in Michigan and precious addition to the products of the great lakes. They mostly prefer the shallow waters not more than 30 feet deep. Given a choice, they prefer to live at 66-70 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature. Perch adult average length is 10 inches with a weigh between four to ten ounces. Despite the varying adult size, the yellow perch is a prolific breeder. Its size and growth ultimately depend on habitat productivity and population density. Overcrowding causes stunted growth of the yellow perch, and they may not grow beyond 6 inches in adulthood thus a controlled harvest program is recommended. This benefits both the fish and the anglers. (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

The yellow perch reach their sexual maturity at four years for the female and three years for the male.  They usually spawn in April after ice out and early may when the water temperatures are between 45-52 degrees. The spawning coincides with that of the suckers and is closely followed by the walleyes spawning.  The yellow perch do not construct nests but lay their eggs in gelatinous strings over the fallen trees in the shallows, roots and dense vegetation.

The yellow perch are bottom feeders that bite slowly and deliberately. They eat almost everything although their favorites include planktons, minnows, insect larvae, and worms.  The yellow perch remain active all winter under ice offering the ice anglers great opportunity to catch them. Tackles used in capturing the yellow perch ranges from a fly rod or a simple hand line in summer to a short jigging and whippy rod in winter.  The yellow perch moves in schools numbering up to their hundreds. The spawning areas provide the ground for the best perch fishing (Slow Sprint, 2010).

Walleye

According to Slow Sprint (2010), the walleye is a freshwater fish, scientifically referred to as Sander vitreous. The walleye species was initially confined in the more extensive waterways and the vast lakes of Wisconsin. There was an excessive restocking of the walleye fingerlings and fry that occurred early in the Wisconsin waters and partly obscured the species original distribution.

The walleye spawning migration according to Dave Bosanko (2007), begins when the water temperatures hit between 38-44 degrees Fahrenheit soon after the ice goes out. Their spawning occurs between April and May. The breeding reaches its peak ordinarily when the water temperatures are between 42-50 degrees Fahrenheit. The walleye broadcasts its eggs and does not exercise any parental care making it a non-territorial fish during spawning.

Walleyes feed primarily on minnows although small bullheads, leaches, small plugs and night-crawlers fall in their favorite bait feeds. They stay in deep, clear waters during the day and move into the shallow waters at night. In turbid waters, walleye can be caught any time of day, and they are the most highly prized game fishes in Wisconsin. Even in murkier waters, the walleye is good at hunting small fish.

Walleyes are yellowish gold and dark olive. They have a spiny dorsal fin and many sharp teeth. The characteristic that most distinguishes them is their unusually large marble like eyes that help them efficiently locate their prey by reflecting light while hunting at night. They grow to about 35 inches and weigh 20 pounds in their adulthood. It is important to note that the walleyes grow much faster in warmer climates and their lifespan rarely exceeds ten years. In the cold waters, the walleyes grow much slower and can reach up to the age of 20 years. The bigger sized Muskies and the northern pike are the most probable walleye predator. Walleyes in Wisconsin are caught using the following fishing methods: jig and live bait combination, bottom bouncer and spinner combination, slow death, swim baits and casting crank baits onto windy, shallow rock structures. (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

Walleye fishing is fun, but the fight has not made it enjoyable, but it is the challenge of finding the best way to lure then and the presentation that makes them strike. Walleye is a wily fish and has tricks up its sleeve when hiding. The rewards of the search are worth it especially if you were looking to eat the catch since the walleye is one of the best tasting freshwater fish in Wisconsin. They are nocturnal and so fishing at dawn, dusk or night offers the best chances for landing a catch. The one thing that excites anglers about fishing the walleye in the fresh water is reeling up the walleye and seeing its eyes flash as it approaches the surface.

American Eel

The American eel according to Becker, George (1983), is also referred to as the Anguilla rostrata. It is a slender snakelike fish and is covered with a mucus layer making it appear slimy and naked despite it having minute scales. It has a long dorsal fin that continuously runs from the middle of the back. The dorsal fin is similar to the ventral fin. Its pectoral fin is located near the midline and is relatively small, and it has no pelvic fins.  The American eel varies in color from brown shading, olive green, greenish yellow and white or gray belly. Eels living in clear waters are often lighter than those residing in tannic, dark acid stream.

The American eel prevails in fresh water but enters the Atlantic Ocean for the spawning migration to the Sargasso Sea. The spawning takes place away from the shores where the eggs hatch. A female American eel lays up to 4million buoyant eggs and dies immediately after egg-laying.  The early stages larva develops into the leptocephali which move towards North America morphing into glass eels and reentering the fresh water system of the Wisconsin basin. Here they grow into yellow eels until they are old enough to begin the migration once more, (Slow Sprint, 2010).

American eels according to Schmidt, J. (1922), are bottom dwellers and hide in tubes, burrows, masses of plants and snags. During their freshwater stages, they are found in rivers, streams, silt-bottomed lakes, as well as coastal bays, oceanic waters, and estuaries during migration and spawning. They burrow themselves in mud during winter and enter into the torpor stage which is the stage of total inactivity when temperatures go below 5 degrees C. the American eels life cycle has six stages namely the eggs – leptocephali  -glass eels – elvers- yellow eel- silver eel. They have an excellent sense of smell, and they depend on it to find food.

Scientists have raised concerns on the dwindling American eel population which has dropped to dangerously low levels. Biologists are doing their best trying to unearth how specific factors are affecting the American eel’s population, but their elusive nature makes it hard for them to capture and get crucial life history information and data from the eels.

It is however evident that the complex life and most especially specific stages pose broad ranges of threats, for example, being a catadromous the productivity of the eel is solely dependent of free downstream passage for their spawning migration. Considering the dams and the human-made barriers erected on the rivers, we can then agree that this is no smooth sailing and it decreases diversity and habitat availability. Their productivity is also dependent on the availability of different habitations allowing growth and maturation, (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

The eel’s sex ratio in the population is also a big problem this is because the females and the males live in different habitats and an impact on one region can greatly affect the other regions numbers. They are also very sensitive to oxygen that is poorly dissolved, and contamination from heavy metals like dioxins and chlordane and also pollution can cause reduced productivity due to the serious toxicity. Construction of agricultural facilities and dams is detrimental to the habitats diversity and availability; dredging affects their population distribution, migration, and availability of prey. Excessive harvesting and overfishing of juvenile eels affect their local population. Other natural threats include interspecific competition, parasites, and pathogens and changes the oceanographic conditions, (Schmidt, J. 1922).

Cisco

Cisco is also known as lake herring and scientifically referred to as Coregonus artedi. It is a member of the salmon and the trout family. It inhabits the middle water regions in the great lakes and the inland lakes. Its body is long and elongated with two dorsal fins. The Cisco has a long lower jaw with a pointed snout, (Dave Bosanko, 2007), and the side view is decidedly elliptical. They have iridescence on their sides which are a faint purple to pink, blue-green to grey backs and their below is white. The color on the fins varies, and generally, the caudal and the dorsal fins are darkly pigmented.

The Cisco form spawning schools once the temperatures drop in the fall. This happens to be in the months of late November and early December. They begin to spawn once surface ice begins to form, and they spawn at a depth of three to ten feet deep or even more in-depth. The male gets to the spawning ground first and leaves before the females. Eggs are then deposited at the bottom and abandoned. They develop slowly in the low temperature and when spring breaks up the surface ice they hatch. The fry feed on zooplankton and small insects as well as algae. The male and the female then grow at the same rate with the females living longer and on average reaching a larger size than the males. The average weight an adult can achieve is less than a pound, but in some waters, the Cisco grows to larger sizes and may even reach and exceed five pounds.

Cisco is however preyed on by the larger northern pike, lake trout, walleyes and yellow perch. The Cisco’s are a crucial part of the great lakes ecosystem and its food chain. In the 19th and the 20th century, the ciscos were a significant part of the great lakes fishery, but the numbers have since then drastically dropped. They are mostly caught by the anglers in the fall when they gather in their spawning schools, (Slow Sprint, 2010).

The Cisco is a cold water fish and is likely to be found in the deep lakes with good water quality. The population may have declined due to biotic interaction by the invasion smelt, the loss of the oxy-thermal habitat by land use changes, climate variation and eutrophication and decline in the gillnet catch rates. Difficulty in modeling its extirpation and tan acute extirpation event can mark longtime environmental conditions, (Wisconsin DNR, 2007).

Goldeye

The Goldeye according to (Slow Sprint, 2010), is a unique fish with huge eyes and large sharp teeth. It’s a very bright silverfish, its large eyes have a gold coloration on the iris, and it has sharp teeth on its jaws and tongue. Its dorsal fin has around ten rays and starts just behind the anal fin front edge. The Goldeye has a pointed edge or a fleshy keel on their belly. The edge is found between the pectoral fins, and it goes all the way to the anus. The Goldeyes gold coloration on the iris, elongated body, the more extended keel on the body and the dorsal fin that starts behind the anal fins front are the only differences between a mooneye and a Goldeye. They are nocturnal, and their eyes are adapted to the dim lights of their turbid habitat, (Becker, George, 1983).

The Goldeye comes from the Hiodontidae family it’s also referred to as the bony tongue. Its scientific name is Hiodon alosoides. The adults grow up to an average 17 inches but can reach 20 in good waters. They averagely weigh between 1-2 pounds, but in good waters, and they can reach 3 pounds. The Goldeye prefers large rivers for habitat, and they are tolerant to the turbid waters and the clay silts. They cannot, however, tolerate chemical and industrial pollutants. They are either found below dams or in the areas with swift currents. Due to its tolerance to the turbid waters, it was found in abundance more than its close relation the mooneye. It feeds on small aquatic invertebrates and small fish like the grasshoppers, fireflies, moths, mollusks, crustaceans, shrews, frogs, trout perch, mice, perch, and darters

They are known to spawn in late March and early April min areas with swift currents allowing their eggs to keep drifting in water until they reach the hatching maturity. Research has shown that today. They are mostly found in the Mississippi River, lower Wisconsin, and lower Chippewa River. Their population has dramatically decreased in the recent years, and the main reason for this decline is the quality of water that has deteriorated in the upper Mississippi river due to chemical and industrial pollutants. They are also targeted and preyed on by the walleyes, the northern pike, mammals, and birds, (Dave Bosanko, 2007).

Longear Sunfish

The Longear, according to Slow Sprint (2010), is scientifically referred to as Lepomis megalotis, from the Centrarchidae family. It’s a deep bodied, thin sunfish, flexible with an opercula ear flap are more elongated as adults. They have a variety of coloration that includes black olive to rusty brown, and its belly and breast are yellow to orange-red, with lighter sides. Its sides and back have specks of orange, yellow, blue, and emerald. Breeding males are bright orange below and iridescent green above, and their pelvic fins are blue-black while the ventral fins are rusty orange. As adults, the Longear sunfish can grow between 2.8- 3.7 inches.

The Longear sunfish according to Wisconsin DNR (2007), prefers a habitat with moderate aquatic vegetation, clear, shallow and still stream waters, lakes, and rivers at average temperatures. They feed on aquatic insects, fish eggs microcrustaceans, mites, mollusks, small fish and filamentous algae extensively found at the water surfaces.  They are mostly located in the northeast, south-east and east-central Wisconsin mainly in Lake Michigan and Mississippi River drainage basins.

They spawn during peak water temperatures in June all through August. Their males build nests in hard mud or sand and defend the territory. Their eggs hatch within five days and the offspring reach sexual maturity within the second or third summer. Their population is too sparse to compete with other fishes or even become their prey. Their existence is mostly threatened by big agriculture projects going on in the area where water pollution is inevitable. They are also intolerant to turbid water. Young anglers love to keep them as pets. They resemble other sunfishes, and it’s hard to differentiate them, (Becker, George, 1983).

Redfin shiner

Scientifically known as the Lythrus umbratilis is a member of the minnow family (Cyprinidae).  According to Becker, George (1983), its coloration is light olive to steel blue with a reddish tint in breeding males and silvery sides. They have a small dark spot at the base of the back dorsal fin. They also have a blunt snout, and their eyes are large. Like all the other minnows, the redfin shiner is a crucial link in the freshwater ecosystem and its food web. They usually eat algae and insects, and they are in turn consumed by wading birds, larger fish, and turtles. They inhabit and can survive well in turbid waters that are laden with silt but not during the breeding season. Many people refer to any small fish as minnows. However, only the Cyprinidae family are real minnows. The members of this family include the shiner, dace, chub, and the stone-roller. The goldfish found in Asia are also members of this family. North America has 231 species of the minnows.

They reach their sexual maturity in the second or third summer after hatching. They spawn from the end of April all through to August. They nest their eggs on previously used sunfish nests and live for a maximum of three years. The scent of the fluids that had been released by the sunfish during their spawning attracts the redfin shiners that congregated in large schools near the surface. A male redfin shiner will then defend the territory until a female comes along and spawning occurs, (Becker, George, 1983).

Redfin shiners live in streams and rivers with gravel and sand bottoms and some little vegetation. They are found in Mississippi River and the larger great lakes region. They are used by anglers as bait in catching sports fish such as crappie and bass and are also used in freshwater aquariums.

Conclusion

Of the Wisconsin 160 species of rare and endangered fish, some species are great concerns to myself and organizations around me.  One of the primary duties of the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation is to offer authorization, permits, and licenses for activities that involve the unique and the endangered species. DNR programs have also been put in place to try and restock the fishes in their natural habitat. In the effort to boost their population the authorities are met with challenges that are beyond their powers to change. These are mostly the environmental and the climate variation like the change in water temperatures, oxy-thermal habitat loss, silting and eutrophication. Other challenges like water pollution by use of chemicals from agricultural farms, the building of dams that block the fish breeding programs and overfishing are solely human-made.

 

~Michael Goetzman

 

 

 

 

References

Becker, George (1983) Fishes of Wisconsin retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Fishes-Wisconsin-George-C-Becker/dp/0299087905

Becker, George (1983) Fishes of Wisconsin: walleye retrieved from https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Fishing/species/walleye.html

Dave Bosanko (2007) fish of Wisconsin Field Guide (Fish Identification Guides)

George C. Becker (1983) Fishes of Wisconsin

Schmidt, J. (1922). “The breeding places of the eel.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B

Slow Sprint (2010) Freshwater Fishing Know Before You Go

Wisconsin DNR (2007) Understanding Cisco Decline in Wisconsin’s Inland Lake https://www.uwsp.edu/…/TimParks_UnderstandingCiscoDeclineinWisconsin’sInlandL…

Wisconsin DNR (2007) Longear sunfish in Wisconsin retrieved from https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/EndangeredResources/Animals.asp?mode=detail…

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 20, 2018

Wisconsin Lawyer Fish

 

Wisconsin Lawyer (Burbot) is a little-known delicacy. Its white, firm flesh resembles that of the haddock or the cod is a favorite of the locals and tourists of Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin. The lawyer contains omega three fatty acids (EPA+DHA) at 45 gms in every eight ounces. The lawyer liver oil contains vitamin D potency that is just as high as the one acquired from the cod liver. The liver is also believed to contain high vitamin A and D. The liver of the lawyer is about 10% of its whole body and its six times bigger than the liver of the other freshwater fishes. The Burbot is considered a very rough fish. And its fishery is unregulated. This is because it has a low market demand and what is fished is used in local restaurants.

The low market demand is brought by the fact that most people do not know how to prepare the fish and its unattractive appearance also contributes to its under-utilization. The flavor, the texture and the appearance of the flesh resemble all the other codfishes. It has a white, firm, flaky flesh that’s mildly flavored. It’s very low in oil and also free from bones. It’s, therefore, the kind of meals that are relished by those that desire foods low in fats and high on proteins. The burbots large liver is hardly ever used mainly because the people lack knowledge of its health benefits. The liver contains quite a substantial amount of the easily digestible oil that is rich in vitamins A and D.( “10 fishy facts about burbots”, 2015).

Research by Rummykhan (2012) found that when a fisher gets back with his burbot catch, there are so many appetizing recipes that they could prepare. The most common recipes are frying the fish or roasting the chunks and then dipping them into butter. There are also other recipes that are hardly prepared that would help people appreciate further the fishery resources found in our lakes and rivers. The most common top of the stove recipe entails sprinkling prepared filets with pepper and salt. Roll them in cornmeal or flour or even in a mixture of the both. In a heated skillet place the fillets side skin facing down. Let it cook until brown then turn over and brown the other. Reduce the heathen cook for 15-20 min or until it’s done. The amount of time taken depends on the thickness of the fillet. Coating the fillet with cornmeal gives it a crispier crust than that of the flour. You could also deep fry, boil, steam, Creole, hash, and Cream with butter and vegetables. Burbots oven recipes include boiled fillets, soufflé. Dorothy’s casserole, roll with cheese sauce, stuffed tomatoes, sandwich and salad, molded salad, loaf, stuffed burbot roll, deviled burbot, burbot potato salad, broiled burbot sandwich. These are just a few of the recipes that could spice up and encourage more people to appreciate the lawyer’s fish delicacy

The lawyer according to Froese, Rainer, and Pauly, Daniel, (2006), is a mystery, an enigma and a freshwater fish like no other. It’s also known as the freshwater ling, burbot, the lawyer, lingcod, Coney fish, eelpout, and Mariah. The lawyer fish species is commonly related to the cusk and the common marine ling. It’s the sole member of genus lota. It is a member of the codfish family which are the essential food fish ever existing. Just like its saltwater cousins, the lawyer fish descended from the north. It is a fish of ice wracked stormy waters. The lawyer prefers cold water, deep, darkness and secret hiding places. The lawyer is a winter spawner; it moves in the shallows at the darkest in the night and spawns under the ice. They also spawn in streams and lakes, the smaller lawyer fish almost a foot long is found commonly in cool and cold streams. They are naturally nocturnal and feed during the dead of night.

Burbots live under ice for sometimes in the year, and they need these freezing temperatures to breed. The life of a lawyer fish is timed on a weird cycle: the winter, the wind, the outer darkness and finally the midnight sun. The lawyer fish is a devourer (“10 fishy facts about burbots” 2015).; it’s an ambush predator it attacks and swallows anything that comes its way whether living or dead. Typically, the burbot fish can live in either river or lakes as long as the temp is below seven degrees, the water is clean and oxygenated, and there is plenty of food. Their favorite hiding places are the shipwrecks, rock crevices, and logs. Where there is no cover, the burbots hide in circular, wide, crater-like depressions that have been excavated by generations of burbot. Many burbots survive all year round in the clean cold rivers south of the Arctic. The lawyer fish also thrives well in the lakes and rivers of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia.

The burbot appears like a cross between an eel and a catfish; it has a serpent-like body renowned by a single barbell on its chin. It has a long body laterally compressed with single tube-like projections from its nostrils and a flattened head. The mouth is quite wide with many small teeth on both the upper and the lower jaws.  It has two dorsal fins one being short and low while the other is much bigger. The anal fin is long and low. It has a rounded caudal fin, fan-shaped pectoral fins and finally, the pelvic fins are quite narrow with an extended second fin ray. The lawyer fish according to Froese, et al. (2006) has small fin relative to its body size which shows that the fish has a benthic lifestyle which is low endurance while swimming and the inability to endure strong water currents. As a benthic fish, the lawyer fish tolerates various substrate types which include sand, mud, rubble, silt boulder and gravel while feeding. They also create extensive burrows in the substrate for daytime shelter. The eyes of the burbot appear glassy white and reflective like the zombie eyes, other times the eyes look dark and alive.  From the lower jaw grows a single whisker-like barrel that it uses to probe the mud, the substrates and the scents of their next victim

The reason why burbot fish is also referred to as a lawyer fish is that it is as slippery as a lawyer. It has this odd habit where it wraps its slimy tails around the arm and hand of the unsuspecting anglers like a pseudo slimy lawyer who shakes your hand with his both hands. The lawyer fish takes four to seven years to reach sexual maturity. The spawning season starts in December and ends in March under extremely low temperatures or under ice between one and four degrees. The lawyer fish spawns multiple times though not every year. Like all codfishes, burbots spawn in winter. Some of them migrate out of the lake into the connecting tributaries streams just to spawn. The others spawn on shoals and rocky reef within their home lake. The migratory and the non-transient burbot population may be harbored by a single lake during the spawning period. (“10 fishy facts about burbots”, 2015).

The male lawyer fish rubs the sound producing muscles against their swim bladder producing a drumming noise that attracts their mates. The sound is exactly like that of the grouse drumming. It’s amazing how difficult it is to predict the time to spawn. The southern population spawns way earlier than those in the north. It’s not known what natural phenomena trigger the migration and the spawning but many believe that it could be the dark moons, the full moons, equinoxes the day length or even the water temperature. Establishing this timeline is vital to the mastery of your local burbot population. The smaller males start arriving at their spawning destination weeks before spawning time. The larger females are only visible a few days before and after spawning

The lawyer fish according to Froese, et al.(2006) doesn’t have a precise nesting site rather it releases its sperms and eggs into the water column to drift and just settle on their own. Many males during spawning gather around one or two females and form a spawning ball. Males and females simultaneously writhe in open water and release the eggs and the sperms. The incubation period is dependent on the water temperatures and could take between thirty and one hundred and twenty-eight days. The fertilized eggs drift away until they settle on the voids and the cracks of the substrate. Fertility or the productivity of a female burbot depends on the body size and ranges from 63,000 to 3,478,000 eggs per batch. The water temperatures also influence the longevity, rate of growth and the sexual maturity of the lawyer fish. The older and larger burbot fish produce more eggs than the younger and small individuals. Its eggs are young and contained in a large oil globule. The eggs optimally incubate at between one and seven degrees. When the eggs hatch, the larvae’s become pelagic. This means that they passively drift in the open water. Growth is rapid during the first and the second year where they gain around 12 and 10 centimeters respectively. When they reach adulthood the burbot translate from the pelagic habitat to the benthic environment. At maturity, the lawyer fish can have an average length of 40 cm and the weight ranges from 1-12kg.( Froese et al, 2006).

The small burbots in rivers and streams diet on an assortment of invertebrates including caddis flies, scuds, and mayflies. The larger burbot which is likely to be found in lakes diet on other fishes like the bloater, alewife, sculpin, and other small fish. The lawyer fish according to ( Froese, et. al. 2006) has in leech lake Minnesota become a fun sport where people from all over come for the burbot ice fishing contest commonly referred to as international eelpout festival. This tasty but unusual fish has also become a pivot for the winter festivities in Walker Minnesota. The best method used in fishing is the mowing at night. This method is believed to deliver twenty percent more than other methods. This fish may be considered ugly, but the truth is that burbot is a huge, abundant and delicious fish.

~Michael Goetzman

 

Sources/References

Annual International Eelpout Festival. (2008)Annual International Eelpout Festival.

Froese, Rainer, and Pauly, Daniel, eds.  (2006). “Lota lota” in Fish Base.

Rummykhan (2012) Poor-Man’s Lobster Eelpout/ Burbot Recipe

“10 fishy facts about burbots”(2015). bbc.co.uk. British Broadcasting Corporation.