Reference Blog Entries

September is Passport Awareness Month

Laura's picture

If you are planning a trip outside the country, you may want to consider getting your passport soon. The U. S. State Department is expecting that an unusually large number of people will request passports between now and 2018.Photo of US Passport, navy blue with gold lettering and insignia In January of this year the New York Times published an article warning of the coming upsurge, and explaining the reasons for it: passports are now expiring that were issued ten years ago, when travelling to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean first began to require a passport instead of just a driver's license. Spokespersons at the State Department are urging those who may need to apply for a passport to do it well in advance of their travel plans because the length of time needed for processing may increase significantly. Currently the average length of time it takes the State Department to process a passport is four to six weeks. 

If you are one of those people who will need to apply for a new passport read more by going to the links below:

Note: If your passport is valid but due to expire before you travel, you will only need to renew it. You can do that online; you do not need to go through a passport agent. 

Additional information for travelers outside the U. S:

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Dogs - How Smart Are They?

Laura's picture

Publicity photo for the tv show "Lassie"  showing the actor who played Timmy and the dog who played LassieDo you remember the tv show “Lassie” (1954 – 1973)?  Every week the charismatic collie would discover one of her human companions in a life-or-death struggle and she was the only one who could get help. But, no worries – this wonder dog would always save the day.  She would race back to the family farmhouse, then she would bark and bark until one of the humans realized that there was trouble and they should follow her. The suspense of each episode rested mainly on the fact that Lassie couldn’t speak. She was incredibly smart. She could understand humans, but she could not speak.

Little did we know when we were cheering Lassie on that these same issues would become the subject of research. In fact, researchers in Hungary announced last week that domestic dogs understand much more than we thought they did. We have long known that pet dogs have many words that they recognize (such as “squirrel”, “treat”, or “go”) but it is also true that they understand concepts in somewhat the same way humans do.  Previous research has shown that chimpanzees, gorillas, and dolphins may understand human speech beyond vocabulary, too.  

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