Brainy Pleasures

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Keys In The Cities – Public Pianos

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Capital Area Blues Society, led by board member Larry Grudt, is developing a project that will place artistically decorated pianos in public spaces around East Lansing and Lansing. The project proposes to bring used pianos, local artists, business merchants, and the community together in a spontaneous, unique and entertaining manner. Donated pianos in working condition will be paired with local artists who will decorate them.

Friends of East Lansing Public Library to Hold Annual Used Book Sale

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Library Book Sale.  Image courtesy Friends of the East Lansing Public Libary

On Saturday, October 11, and Sunday, October 12, Friends of the East Lansing Public Library will hold its annual Fall Used Book Sale. Proceeds from the sale are used to buy materials that exceed the Library's regular budget, including books, computers, furniture, music, and programming.

East Lansing Info Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The ELi logo

East Lansing Info (Eli) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to help cover their first six months operating costs. Using the IndieGoGo platform, the campaign was launched this morning and gives contributors a wide choice of ‘perks’, based on donation level. Perks include coffee mugs, t-shirts, house concerts by Eli board member Michael Lawrence’s band Jackalope, local artwork, and an invitation to a swank party at board president Alice Dreger’s home. Eli needs to raise $20,000 during the 45 day duration of the campaign.

Coronal Mass Ejection Likely to Pass North of East Lansing

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Solar flare of September 10, 2014, courtesy of NASA

An X1.9 solar flare is likely to pass north of East Lansing . . . and the rest of earth . . . today, Friday, September 12. NASA observed a solar flare on September 10, with the space agency’s Solar Dynamic Observatory capturing video of it. This solar flare was classified as large and is expected to cause a sizable quantity of material to be ejected from the sun into space. The ejection of mass from the sun into space is called a coronal mass ejection.

Theatre Review: MSU's "Three Sisters" (playing through Sept. 29)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"...more clouds of grey, than any Russian play could guarantee."

The Three Sisters may not alone have inspired that line from George and Ira Gershwin's "Not for Me"—The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya come to mind—but the melancholic Russian soul is never far from the surface. These are not three happy sisters, and none of their friends and relations are happy either, not even Chebutykin, the aging, philosophical and paternal, regimental doctor, played with great panache by Tyler Gotch in the MSU Theater Department production that continues through Saturday, September 29, at the Arena Theater.

Up Early? See the Space Station in EL Skies

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I reported a few weeks ago the pleasure of seeing the International Space Station (ISS) over East Lansing skies in the evenings. Now comes a chance for you early morning risers to see it. From September 15 through September 22, the ISS will be vislble early in the morning.

What am I talking about?

International Friendship Program Seeks Volunteer Friends

Friday, September 7, 2012

The International Friendship Program at MSU is a fun program through which East Lansing residents can connect with individual international students at MSU. They are now seeking volunteers (single people, couples, and families) who are interested in experiencing cross-cultural friendships. My husband John and I have done this for many years and are still in contact with some of our students. The program does not require lots of time. Students like to see our homes, participate in family activities such as children's sporting events, concerts, etc., and sometimes participate in holiday events such as passing out candy on Halloween or sharing Thanksgiving dinner, or watching the homecoming parade.

You don't have to do anything special -- just include the student in your regular activities. There are always more students seeking friendship families than families so your volunteering would be really appreciated. More information is available at 353-1735 or

Photo credit: KWDS

See the Space Station in EL Skies

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mid-Michigan is not really known as a good place to observe the heavens. But this summer, the clear nights have been plentiful, especially when compared to this year's number of good local peaches, cherries, etc. Painfully, one of the few rainy nights was the smack in the middle of the best viewing times for the Perseid showers. But there is a simple viewing option this week: the International Space Station.

The ISS whips around the earth every 90 minutes or so, and if the orbit is just right, it shines like a star as a moves across the sky. The times and positions vary, but on Thursday, August 23rd, it will be visible for 3 minutes starting at 9:40 pm. It will start one third of the way up the sky in the northwest and head east. It is steadily the brightest thing in the sky other than the moon or Venus and moves about as quickly as an airplane, to the east (but without the flashing airplane lights). It's been easy to see from the Hannah Community Center parking lot (which has a lot of light pollution), does not invest a whole evening, and it's pretty cool to think people are in that thing. Find other times to see the ISS at the NASA site.

Whom You Love: The Biology of Sexual Orientation

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Marc Breedlove, East Lansing resident and MSU's Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience, has organized a series for the fall 2012 semester called "Whom you Love: The Biology of Sexual Orientation." Featuring sexologists from all over the United States, the series will explore how genes and prenatal environments can contribute to sexual orientation in humans and other mammals. As the series website explains, the title of the series "comes from an old saying, 'Tell me whom you love, and I'll tell you who you are.'"


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