For Advertising Call (260) 467-3394 SUGAR CANE
Sugar cane is actually a tropical grass, like bamboo, with some varieties growing up to 16 feet (5 m) high. Since it is tropical, you won’t find it in the northern United States or Canada. • Sugar is grown in 121 countries across the globe, and production exceeds 120 million tons (108,862,169 metric tons) per year. Approximately 70 percent of the production is from sugar cane, and the remaining 30 percent is from sugar beets, a root crop similar in appearance to parsnips that is mostly grown in northern temperate zones. • Sucrose is the type of sugar referred to as “table” sugar that comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. (It also occurs naturally in some fruit and vegetables.) The sugar from cane and beets is identical. After the juice is extracted from either plant, and the impurities are removed, it is crystallized into white sugar that is 99.95 percent sucrose. • Numerous societies are credited with the discovery of sugar cane and its sweet byproduct. It is said to have been first discovered by the Polynesians, although early writings mention it in Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the South Pacific. Darius the Great of Persia is credited as having called sugar cane: “the reed which gives honey without bees” when Persia invaded India in 510 BC. • According to the World Sugar Research Organization headquartered in England, India was the first country to extract cane juice to make the first crude sugar at around 500 BC. From India, the technology spread to the Middle East and then to Europe via the Christian Crusaders. Christopher Columbus is credited with taking sugar cane to the Caribbean. It came to the southern United States in the 15th and 16th centuries.
• When crushed, sugar cane produces cane juice and bagasse, the woody leftovers. When the sugar is removed from the juice there is a dark, thick liquid left called molasses. Molasses is used for making animal feed, alcohol, beverages, bakery products and pharmaceuticals. The bagasse is a valuable source of energy and is burned in steam generators to power the sugar mills, making them environmentally friendly. • Asia and South and Central America produce the most sugar cane with India and Brazil being the top countries. Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Hawaii are the top producing U.S. states. • The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum in Puunene, Maui, has a wealth of information about the April 18, 2011 importance of sugar to Hawaii. Sugar was the No. 1 industry until the 1960s when tourism moved ahead, and it was the No. 1 agricultural crop until the 1990s when pineapple took the top spot. The largest working sugar mill remaining is located next to the museum. Statistics for 2005 showed that the mill produced more than 190,000 tons of raw sugar, accounting for 5 percent of total sugar cane production in the United States. • Louisiana farmers cultivate over 400,000 acres of sugar cane annually. Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas are also known as prime farming areas for cane. One byproduct that is a treat in the South is “ribbon cane” syrup. Made from a type of sugar cane that looks like it has ribbons around it, the syrup is rich and dark. Mostly made in small family operations, ribbon cane is great on biscuits or cornbread! • A great place to try the syrup or chew a piece of raw sugar cane is at the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia, Louisiana, held every September. You’ll hear plenty of folks saying, “Hi, Sugar!”
KFWS • MindGym
VA Health System Software Upgrade It’s been called VistA, which stands for Veterans Integrated System Technology Architecture, and it is the backbone of the electronic health record system for the Department of Veterans Affairs. VistA has allowed health-care providers to read and update a patient’s records with just a few keystrokes. It can keep track of prescriptions and tests ordered by any VA medical facility, keep special diets straight, handle nursing notes and improve overall efficiency. Veterans who wish to sign up can get prescription refills ordered online, access their records and send messages to their health team. It’s part of the Open Source Electronic Health Record, and the VA wants to update it. Therefore the VA has taken the initial steps to award “custodial services” to put an open-source version of VistA in all its many facilities and to upgrade the software. In tech-talk, “open source” means that the software itself is out there in the public domain, and the VA is hoping that others will create complementary software that will work with VistA. The custodial agent will be the gatekeeper through which all new parts and pieces flow. Dr. Peter Levin, adviser to the secretary and chief technology officer of the VA, described in a long article the “13,000 kinds of medical diagnoses, 6,000 medicines, and 4,000 possible procedures” necessary for them to practice medicine. He says that opening up the source code can “ensure cyber security by exposing code to large communities of technical reviewers.” He concludes that “vendors will have a clear path to the enormous federal healthcare IT market.” Are you nervous yet?
Inquiring minds want to know how these “custodians” will be selected, and what criteria they’ll use to “ensure” the cyber security of the information that the software will handle. Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.
Read Issue #13 and have some fun with trivia!