Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.
Now that the general election has passed, this is the last Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday that features the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having elections for federal or state office and stories from all research universities in major cities having municipal elections on November 5th as listed in The Green Papers. However, the series will continue to feature the research stories universities from states and cities holding elections through the end of the year as listed in the 2013 Daily Kos Elections Calendar. That written, tonight's edition features the science, space, health, environment, and energy stories from universities in the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia, and the cities of Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, and New York.
This week's featured story comes from the Chicago Tribune.
Philippines typhoon kills at least 10,000
Tribune wire reports
10:49 p.m. CST, November 9, 2013
Manila—One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte, a senior police official said on Sunday, with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves.
Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through the province on Friday, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director.
Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many described as similar to a tsunami, which leveled houses and drowned hundreds of people.
More stories after the jump.
Recent Science Diaries and Stories
Women in Science: Nellie Harris Rau 188?-1972
by Desert Scientist
This week in science: Super Typhoon
Universitas 21 on Vimeo: University of Virginia: Voted The People's Choice winner in the 2013 U21 3MT Competition
Also see the story under Science Education.
Virginia Tech: Fin Locomotion
Fish fins have a blend of rigidity and flexibility that allows fish to move through water in ways that vehicles with propellers cannot. Virginia Tech's Michael Philen, associate professor, and his research team in the College of Engineering are investigating the possibility of using synthetic fins to give vehicles the same versatility of motion that fish have.
Boston University has a four-part series on Trauma. Read the story that goes with this series under Science Crime Scenes.
Peter Burke discusses the methods his team uses to shave seconds off response time.
University of Massachusetts: Cranberry Research Station
The UMass Cranberry Station has been working with Massachusetts cranberry growers for more than a century to fight pests and improve yields of the fruit, an important crop for the state. The 2013 harvest took place in glorious autumn sunshine.
University of Cincinnati: UC Honors Neil Armstrong with Exhibit and Digital Collection
The University of Cincinnati announced on Nov. 6, 2013 the vision for a Neil Armstrong Space Science Institute and an important research partnership with NASA's Ames Research Center while also honoring the life of Neil Armstrong, who taught at UC from 1971 to 1979.
NASA Television: Kepler Conference on This Week @NASA
During the Kepler Science Conference at Ames Research Center, the science community discussed the latest news from the Kepler mission's hunt for exo-planets.... which are planets outside our solar system Among the findings -- 833 newly discovered candidate planets -- 10 of those orbiting in their sun's habitable zone -- a distance at which their surface temperature may be suitable for liquid water. Also, Full house on ISS, The New Chief & MAVEN, Russia Meteor Study and High School Satellite.
NASA Television: Administrator Bolden on Kepler Mission Findings
Scientists working on this mission both inside and outside government will continue to explore potential planets outside our solar system for years to come, based on the spacecraft's groundbreaking work.
Among the amazing findings, a stunning result that found that there may be many more Earth-like planets than previously thought in the Milky Way.
Science at NASA: ScienceCasts: What Happened to Mars? A Planetary Mystery
Mars was once on track to become a thriving Earth-like planet, yet today it is an apparently lifeless wasteland. A NASA spacecraft named MAVEN will soon journey to Mars to find out what went wrong on the Red Planet.
Space.com: European Satellite Is Falling from Space, But Where Will It Hit?
By Megan Gannon, News Editor
November 08, 2013 01:20pm ET
A European gravity-mapping satellite is expected to fall out of space in a few days, though no one knows exactly where its surviving fragments will land.
The fate of European Space Agency's falling GOCE satellite was sealed in October, when the spacecraft ran out of the fuel needed to keep it aloft in a very low orbit above Earth.
Now that the satellite's mission is over, its handlers at the European Space Agency (ESA) are closely tracking its ever-descending orbit to determine where it might fall.
University of Cincinnati: Honoring the Life of Neil Armstrong: UC Signs NASA Space Act Agreement
The University of Cincinnati has announced a forward-looking effort to promote space-based research while also looking back on the life of the first man on the moon.
By: John Bach
Date: 11/6/2013 1:00:00 PM
In honor of Armstrong, UC:
- Opened an on-campus exhibit
- Unveiled a bas-relief honoring Armstrong for Rhodes Hall
- Launched the vision for the Neil Armstrong Space Science Institute
- Signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Ames Research Center
- Revealed a commemorative website celebrating Armstrong’s career
- Started a new award and scholarship in his honor
"Although Neil Armstrong was a private and unassuming hero who preferred not to be in the spotlight, the University of Cincinnati community wanted to do something to honor his memory and his achievements,” said UC President Santa Ono. “We wanted to do it in a way that takes into account how we at the University of Cincinnati knew him best — as a teacher and an engineer, as a pilot and astronaut.
“The relief at Rhodes, the scholarships, our partnership with NASA and our other activities are all intended to carry on his legacy of probing new frontiers and inspiring the pursuit of scientific inquiry.”
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 4, 2013 – Microbes are everywhere – thousands of species are in your mouth, and thousands are in a glass of tap water. The ones in your mouth are mostly harmless – as long as you brush and floss so they don't form a biofilm that allows gum disease a path into the blood stream.
Microbes in the tap water delivered by modern water systems in a developed country are also mostly harmless – with some notable exceptions.
A team of Virginia Tech researchers is investigating the challenges presented by four often deadly pathogens that have been documented in household or hospital tap water. They propose fighting these opportunistic pathogens with harmless microbes – a probiotic approach for cleaning up plumbing.
Writing in the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers reviewed studies of opportunistic pathogens that have colonized water systems within buildings – between the delivery point and the tap. They define a probiotic approach as intentionally creating conditions that select for a desirable microbial community, or microbiome.
University of Cincinnati: Student Creates "Liquid App" to Advance and Increase Collection of Research Data in the Field
When UC environmental engineering graduate student Jacob Shidler traveled to the Comoros Islands last year to collect roof-harvested rainwater for his research, he also returned with an idea for an innovative mobile app to advance and increase data collection. He and a partner have now launched "Liquid Field Notes" software app for use by everyone from citizen scientists to academic researchers.
By: Desiré Bennett
Date: 11/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
In May 2012 environmental engineering graduate student Jacob Shidler took a self-funded trip to the Comoros Islands to conduct graduate research and returned with more than research results.
Shidler’s goal was to collect and analyze roof-harvested rainwater. “I gathered samples straight from the gutters of families living there,” he said. “I genuinely wanted to help the people of the Comoros in the best way possible, and I knew that meant producing the best data possible.”
Shidler is studying the impact that specific gutter material – aluminum, plastic, wood, or concrete – has on the quality of the rainwater that is collected and stored for drinking and cooking uses. “The samples I collected and brought back are being used to identify any ‘bio-indicators’ that could suggest a particular degree of water quality,” he explains. “These bio-indicators are based on the specific biologic life present in the gutter samples such as algae, diatoms and micro-invertebrates. All these organisms are being identified and compared to general water quality parameters, such as turbidity, conductivity, pH, and temperature, collected with the samples.”
Shidler hopes to provide two things from this research. “First, to conclude if gutter material does in fact have a significant impact on the quality of roof harvested rainwater and if so, what materials are best suited to produce the highest degree of water quality,” he said. “Second, we will provide an extensive list of all taxa discovered in the samples collected from gutters in Comoros. This will serve as a unique survey of flora and fauna (plant and wildlife) found in the rainwater gutters of the Comoros islands, which is a fundamental piece of biological documentation.”
Virginia Tech: Harold E. Burkhart named Forest Champion of the Year
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2013 – Harold E. Burkhart of Blacksburg, Va., University Distinguished Professor and the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forestry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, was named Forest Champion of the Year by the Forest Landowners Association.
The honor is bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant contribution to the private forest landowner community through research, legislative, or regulatory efforts at the local or national level.
Burkhart is considered by many forest scientists to be the father of forest biometrics, which explores the theory and applications of quantitative models of forest stands. His principal path-breaking achievement is the development of a comprehensive, integrated set of forest yield forecasting models for stands subjected to a wide variety of management treatments.
His contributions to the advancement of forest growth are unprecedented, and he has led the way in developing new methodology for tree and stand modeling and in elucidating the complex mathematical relationships between models of differing levels.
Boston University: What a Shark’s Nose Knows
BU prof says there’s much to respect, little to fear
By Susan Seligson
Sharks are the tabloid fodder of the animal kingdom. They dominate headlines, are the subject of overblown or fabricated claims, and inspire titillating biopics. In his 20 years of communing with sharks at laboratories in Boston and Woods Hole, Jelle Atema, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of biology and an adjunct scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has found much to respect about the creatures, and not so much to fear. Atema is weary of alarmist media coverage. While fatal shark attacks are extremely rare, he says, humans kill millions of sharks every year, and swimmers who venture near a pod of seals, which can attract sharks, should know better.
Much of Atema’s work has focused on the workings of sharks’ sense of smell, which is sophisticated, complex, and finely tuned to survival in a world where visibility is poor.
At his Woods Hole laboratory one broiling hot summer day, Atema hovers over an immense saltwater tank that serves as a kind of lap pool for odor-detecting experiments conducted by Ashley Jennings (GRS’14), who is working toward a master’s in biology, with a concentration in ecology, behavior, and evolution.
Rutgers University: Rise in Falls and Fractures Among Elderly After Superstorm Sandy
Rutgers researcher attributes increase in injuries in older New Jerseyans to power outages
By Lisa Intrabartola
Monday, November 11, 2013
Everyone knows Superstorm Sandy left many New Jersey homes and businesses battered and bruised.
But most are not aware of the considerable toll the storm and its aftermath took on our state’s residents.
“With disasters, there are things beyond the obvious,” said Rutgers’ Sue Shapses, a professor in the department of Nutrition and chair of the Interagency Council of Osteoporosis. “There are real health hazard risks, especially falling and fracturing. And it’s especially a problem for our elderly population.”
Based on a report Shapses wrote using data from the New Jersey Hospital Association that showed state hospitals experienced an 18 percent increase in visits related to falls and a 13 percent increase in visits related to fractures, during the week following the storm in comparison to the week prior. Of those who sought medical attention for falls and fractures after the hurricane, there was a 40 percent rise in falls and fractures in those who were 65 or older.
Rutgers University: From Death and Dying, to Caring for the Living
Rutgers addresses today's challenges of treating people living with HIV/AIDS
By Jeff Tolvin
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Peter Oates vividly recalled counseling a 28-year-old Newark woman with AIDS who refused to take her life-saving regimen of drugs – or “cocktail” – regularly.
The result: Her T-cell count – a key indicator of the body’s immune status – fell to a dangerously low level of six. “Finally, the light bulb went off,” said Oates, and she began following orders.
Today, 14 years later, her T-cell count today is about 800 – a level associated with health – and her outlook is bright for a near-normal life, though she remains infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that can lead to AIDS.
“Today, we have the medication to survive, to stop the destruction of the T-cells in the immune system,” said Oates, director of health care services at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center within the Rutgers School of Nursing. “But people who are infected must change their behavior and mindset, because they can become resistant to their medications if they don’t stick to the prescribed treatment regimen.”
Boston University: BU Researchers Work against Deadly, Disfiguring Disease
Pharmaceutical giant GSK chooses team in its new competition
By Rich Barlow
If a picture is worth a thousand words, photos of leishmaniasis patients speak volumes of suffering: a disease that leaves disfiguring skin lesions that scar for life, requiring painful, burning injections or IV infusions to cure. “They’re almost a form of torture,” Scott Schaus says of the treatments.
A team including Schaus (CAS’95), a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of chemistry and a School of Medicine associate professor of pharmacology, and Lauren Brown, a CAS research assistant professor of chemistry, has developed a process that a major pharmaceutical company says might yield better drugs against leishmaniasis, a sand fly–borne illness afflicting 12 million people worldwide, with 2 million new cases reported each year. Brown and Schaus are among eight winners of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) first Discovery Fast Track Competition, which seeks promising ideas for future drugs.
The team identified compounds, developed at BU’s Center for Molecular Discovery, that are effective against 2 of the 15 species of the leishmania parasite.
Boston University: Lessons from a Hot Zone
Ugandan Ebola outbreak reveals the soul of an SPH alum
11.07.2013 By Nancy Brady (SPH’13)
“Nancy, we have a problem.”
I looked squarely into the eyes of Bruno, our data manager, trying to gauge his concern. It was a phrase I was accustomed to hearing.
I was spending the summer of 2012 working in public health centers in Kibaale, a rural district 136 miles west of the Ugandan capital of Kampala. The Ugandan health system was plagued by frequent shortages of workers and supplies, so “having a problem” was not particularly alarming. Bruno’s tone, however, was. He was noticeably shaken. “There is a mysterious disease that has killed 14 people, including Dr. Claire,” he said. “Now her sister is sick.”
University of Virginia: Study Aims to Better Understand Concussions in High School, College Athletes
November 7, 2013
To better measure the effects and causes of sports concussions, researchers from the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine and Curry School of Education plan to track 130 student-athletes in three sports over the next year.
Neuroradiologist Dr. Jason Druzgal is leading the study’s multidisciplinary research team, which includes neuropsychologist Donna Broshek, pediatric neurologist Dr. Howard Goodkin and kinesiologist Susan Saliba. They will follow football, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s lacrosse student-athletes from U.Va.; the study will also track student-athletes in the same sports from St. Anne’s-Belfield, a Charlottesville-area high school.
The goal, Broshek said: “Can we figure out some steps to keep the players safe without drastically modifying their sports?”
New York University: Movshon Winner of “Golden Brain” Award for Research on the Neuroscience of Vision
Nov 6, 2013
Neuroscientist J. Anthony Movshon has been named the recipient of Minerva Foundation’s 2013 Golden Brain Award “for his foundational contributions to the field of visual neuroscience,” the Berkeley, Calif.-based organization said in announcing the honor.
The award, now in its 29th year, recognizes outstanding contributions in vision and brain research.
Movshon, a faculty member in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology, will receive the award on Nov. 9—during the Society for Neuroscience’s 43rd annual meeting in San Diego, California.
Director of NYU’s Center for Neural Science, Movshon predicted and discovered the existence of neurons in the brain that enable global motion perception, which is at work when we process the complex visual scenes that surround us.
New York University: NYU Steinhardt Researchers, Autistic Adults Aim to Bolster Self-Advocacy, Self-Esteem in Autistic Adolescents with New Web Site
Nov 5, 2013
Researchers at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development have teamed up with three autistic adults to launch a web site that provides resources aimed at instilling self-advocacy and self-esteem skills among adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.
The site, www.projectkeepitreal.com, is part of the “Keeping It Real” project, a partnership between NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Support Project and three autistic adults—Jesse Saperstein, Zosia Zaks, and Dr. Stephen Shore—working in the ASD community.
The site includes three modules, developed by Saperstein, Zaks, and Shore, that can be used in middle schools to nurture students’ self-esteem and foster critical self-advocacy skills. These modules are composed of videos, PowerPoint presentations, classroom lessons, and follow-up activities that highlight the presenters’ experiences and expertise with both students and their teachers.
The modules focus on three discrete areas: adopting measures to stand up to bullying; channeling interests into social and vocational opportunities; and articulating needs and problem-solving with members of their community.
Rutgers University: Violence in Jails and Prisons Can Inflict Lasting Trauma on Victims
A Rutgers researcher studies abused inmates’ psychological damage
By Carrie Stetler
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Ashley Schappell remembers hearing about the prisoner who was beaten and stomped by a fellow inmate in the cafeteria before his attacker poured a scalding pot of coffee on his head. Other inmates described random fights that culminated in stabbings.
Schappell, a Rutgers-Newark graduate student in the Department of Psychology, recently received a $25,000 National Science Foundation grant to research how violence during incarceration affects inmates. One questions she seeks to answer is whether it makes their re-entry into society more difficult.
“We know that being exposed to violence and being victimized increases depression, anxiety and incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Schappell, who once taught a psychology course in San Quentin prison. “Prisoners who tend to be victimized are people that I see over and over again. They get released and they come back. Some have been there their whole lives. Even though it’s scary, it’s all they know and they feel more comfortable there.”
University of Massachusetts: New Research from Sociologists Finds the Racial and Educational Preferences of Internet Daters
Study of nearly one million dating website users shows opportunities for white daters, hurdles for blacks
November 7, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. – New research from sociologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found specific racial patterns in the outreach and response habits of heterosexual men and women using online dating sites.
In a study published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Sociology, vol. 119, no. 1, UMass Amherst doctoral recipient Ken-Hou Lin and associate professor Jennifer Lundquist tracked the racial and educational characteristics of almost one million online daters searching for relationships from the 20 largest cities in the U.S. They then analyzed the inquiries sent and received by each dater, in order to gain an understanding of how members of each race interact with one another in an online dating setting.
Lin and Lundquist found that when Internet daters search for potential mates, they are more likely to approach those of the same racial identity as themselves, and a clear racial hierarchy dominates the response process. White daters’ messages are likely to elicit responses from daters of other groups, but white women respond mostly only to white men. Black daters, particularly black women, tend to be ignored when they contact non-black groups, even though they respond to other races no less frequently. Asian and Hispanic daters seem to be at the middle of the racial hierarchy; they are responsive to whites, members from their own respective races, and to some extent each other, but not to black daters. Their findings all hold true even after taking into account differing demographic, physical and personality characteristics among the daters.
“Simply stated, white women prefer white men over non-white men, while white men prefer non-black women over black women,” they write in their paper, Mate Selection in Cyberspace: the Intersection of Race, Gender and Education. “Being black on the dating market—particularly being a black female— means that one’s invitations are most likely to be ignored. The only group that responds regularly to black men and women are one another.”
LiveScience: Crashed and Burned: How King Tut Died
By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor
November 04, 2013 01:31pm ET
Though the famed Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun died more than 3,300 years ago, the mystery surrounding his death and mummification continues to haunt scientists.
Now, British researchers believe they've found evidence explaining how the boy king died and, in the process, made a shocking discovery: After King Tut was sealed in his tomb in 1323 B.C., his mummified body caught fire and burned.
Since Egyptologists Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter uncovered King Tut's tomb in 1922, their discovery has been shrouded in mystery and fear. A "curse of the mummy's tomb" entered the popular imagination after several members of the archaeological team died untimely deaths.
annetteboardman is taking the night off.
LiveScience: New 'King of Gore' Dinosaur Reveals T. Rex Lineage
By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer
November 06, 2013 01:00pm ET
A new narrow-snouted species of tyrannosaur discovered in Utah reveals that the isolation of an ancient island continent may have spurred incredible dinosaur diversity some 80 million years ago.
Lythronax argestes was discovered in 2009 in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. Paleontologists Mark Loewen and Randall Irmis, of the Natural History Museum of Utah, in Salt Lake City, were eating lunch together when they got the call about the discovery.
"Immediately, we were super-excited, because no fossils had been found in rocks quite that age, the 80-million-year-old rocks, so we knew there was a good chance it could be something new," Irmis told LiveScience.
LiveScience: Gas Injection Triggered Texas Earthquakes
By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer
November 06, 2013 04:56pm ET
Recent earthquakes that rattled the Cogdell oil field in northern Texas were triggered by gas-injection wells meant to boost oil production, a study finds.
People living in Snyder and other towns near the Cogdell drilling sites recall a similar earthquake swarm that shook homes between 1974 and 1982, which has been linked to fluid injection.
It turns out that several earthquakes from both the recent and 1970s swarms hit in about the same place, probably along pre-existing fault lines hidden underground, said study authors Wei Gan and Cliff Frohlich of the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics. The quakes clustered along several northeast-southwest lines, which might indicate the presence of previously unidentified faults, they said.
NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, Nov. 8, 2013 – A solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington is serving a three-fold purpose: It contributes to the LEED credentials of the 144,000-square-foot, seven-story building; lowers energy costs; and benefits graduate education by serving as a laboratory for engineering students.
“We are able to collect data about solar radiation, wind speed, and ambient and solar panel temperatures that allows us to create mathematical models for solar panel performance under various weather conditions and seasons. From this we can determine how much power can be generated from a certain number of solar panels in similar climates,” said Saifur Rahman, the Joseph R. Loring Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute.
“This project is an excellent way for our students to learn about the benefits of solar and wind power and how they can apply this technology to real-world situations,” said Rahman.
University of Cincinnati: UC's SmartLight More Than a Bright Idea, It's a Revolution in Interior Lighting Ready to Shine
The innovative solar technology "would change the equation for energy," according to UC researchers.
By: Tom Robinette
Date: 11/6/2013 2:07:00 PM
A pair of University of Cincinnati researchers has seen the light – a bright, powerful light – and it just might change the future of how building interiors are brightened.
In fact, that light comes directly from the sun. And with the help of tiny, electrofluidic cells and a series of open-air "ducts," sunlight can naturally illuminate windowless work spaces deep inside office buildings and excess energy can be harnessed, stored and directed to other applications.
This new technology is called SmartLight, and it's the result of an interdisciplinary research collaboration between UC's Anton Harfmann and Jason Heikenfeld. Their research paper "Smart Light – Enhancing Fenestration to Improve Solar Distribution in Buildings" was recently presented at Italy's CasaClima international energy forum.
Rutgers University: For Students Dreading Science Class, a Quantum Leap Forward
A physics course draws humanities and social science students
Written by John Chadwick| SAS Senior Writer
Kimberly Syvarth never saw science as her strong point.
She was a dedicated humanities student, majoring in Jewish studies, with a passion for probing the underlying meaning of scripture.
“I actually wrote my senior thesis on biblical interpretation,” said Syvarth, who graduated in 2013 from the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). “It was a literary interpretation.”
But last spring, needing a science course to fulfill graduation requirements, she signed up, with some trepidation, for an elective in physics. To her surprise, the course was her favorite for the semester, and left her curious about matter, energy, and the origins of the universe.
“I would never have thought that in my life,” she declared. “But I loved that class.”
Virginia Tech: Chemist working to help healing process
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 6, 2013 – The human body in all its complexity, sometimes is a little overzealous in making repairs. These repairs can, in some instances, lead to more problems.
For organic chemist Webster Santos, associate professor of chemistry, helping the body turn off its healing mechanisms in time to prevent fibrosis is a goal with an end in sight.
Building organic molecules in his lab, Santos, a native of Pampanga, Philippines, had been working on a compound he thought would be used to treat cancer.
“We’ve been working on this compound since around 2009,” he said, “and it basically boils down to the fact we found a structure that we modified for a target enzyme and we’re continuing to work on it with the eye toward it becoming a drug to fight fibrosis.”
Science Crime Scenes
Boston University: Trauma
Peter Burke spent 14 years building a surgical team that could handle the worst kind of emergencies. On April 15, that emergency arrived.
By Susan Seligson
Peter Burke had just finished the morning session of a medical conference at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas when the news flashed on a lobby TV: two bombs had exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, turning an annual celebration into a war zone.Boston University: Cons & the Connoisseur
Minutes later he received an emergency text message from Boston Medical Center (BMC), where he is chief trauma surgeon. The unit was inundated with the grievously injured from an attack that killed 3, among them BU graduate student Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), and wounded at least 260. Many of those rushed to BMC were battling for life, with mangled legs, collapsed lungs, and profound blood loss. Burke called his chief nurse to find out if there was any way he could help from a distance of nearly 3,000 miles. The answer was no.
When he arrived in Boston around midnight, Burke rushed from Logan Airport to BMC, one of the city’s five adult Level 1 trauma centers, all of which were scrambling to stabilize the injured. BMC received 28 bomb victims; 19 were admitted, 11 with critical injuries.
In his 14 years at BMC, Burke had dealt with hundreds of multiple admissions from car crashes or shootings. But Marathon day presented a scene more familiar to trauma program manager Joseph Blansfield, a nurse practitioner who has been at BMC since 1992. An active colonel in the US Army Reserve, Blansfield (SON’78) had run combat support hospitals in Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq. As BMC trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses mobilized, Blansfield was doing what had become second nature in those war-torn places: identifying the most critically injured and getting them to the trauma bays.
When the label on a 1928 Chateau Petrus looks a little funny, who you gonna call?
By Patrick L. Kennedy
In May 2012, with a decade of collecting under his belt, Blake (who requested that his real name not be used) went shopping online for some wines from France’s vaunted Bordeaux and Burgundy regions. He contacted a high-end Manhattan retailer, and began receiving emails from the owner about choice wines for sale. “He had all kinds of stuff that was really rare, old, and hard to find,” Blake recalls. “He claimed he got everything from restaurants he’d known for 25 years or from friends at the wineries. He told me great stories about where the wine came from.”
Blake was impressed. “I asked around New York, and it seemed like a legit operation,” he says. “I knew wealthy people in New York, and he’d helped them find wines and seemed like a good guy.”
He selected three bottles of 1928 Chateau Petrus, each priced at $3,000, one bottle of 1964 Henri Jayer that set him back $6,500, and dozens more. In a series of purchases that month, Blake spent nearly $300,000, plus shipping costs, on Bordeaux wines alone.
The cases arrived and Blake tore them open. But once his excitement died down, he had some doubts. One of the bottles struck him as odd-looking, but he couldn’t put his finger on why. He turned to rare and fine wine expert Maureen Downey, who, among other things, distinguishes truly fine wines from imposters.
Science, Space, Health, Environment, and Energy Policy
University of Virginia: High-Level Chinese Delegation Visits U.Va., Learns about Elite U.S. Public Schools
November 5, 2013
During a trip to Beijing in May 2012, University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan met with China’s vice minister of education, Hao Ping, who expressed interest in having her talk with Chinese university presidents about elite schools in the United States. That interest became reality last week with the visit of a 16-member delegation that included a high-level official from the Ministry of Education.
Speaking through an interpreter Wednesday at the Colonnade Club, Sullivan told the group what it is like to lead an American public university in the 21st century. During her speech, she focused on why public schools are important, how they are changing and how U.S. leaders are working to sustain and improve them.
Sullivan also emphasized Thomas Jefferson’s founding vision of academic freedom. “This means that professors can disagree and criticize each other – and they do. They can criticize our national leaders – and they do. Professors can criticize me – and they do,” she said to polite laughter.
Rutgers University: Finance Lab Providing Students with Real Market Insights for Fund Management
Friday, November 8, 2013
CAMDEN — With a few mouse clicks, financial news and information instantly pops up on Dan Farrell’s computer screen, where he can view real-time financial market data for companies around the globe. It’s like peering through a window on Wall Street without ever leaving the Rutgers–Camden campus.
Farrell is among the first cohort of MBA students using the technology in the brand new Finance Lab and Center for Investment Management, an authentic trading room at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden that was dedicated in April and is being used by students for the first time this semester.
In “Advanced Financial Management,” a course being taught by John Broussard, an associate professor of finance at Rutgers–Camden, Farrell and his nine MBA classmates are working on a corporate valuation of a real-world firm of their choice. Farrell has chosen to analyze Facebook.
University of Virginia: U.Va. Graduate Student Wins International ‘Three-Minute Thesis’ Competition
November 5, 2013
Lindsey Brinton, a graduate biomedical engineering student at the University of Virginia, won the People’s Choice Award in Universitas 21’s international Three-Minute Thesis Competition.
The event challenges students to communicate the significance of their research projects to a nonspecialist audience in just three minutes. Brinton’s presentation, explaining her research into new methods to detect pancreatic cancer before it is too late to save the patient, won the popular vote in October’s online balloting. She earned a $300 prize.
“As I worked on my three-minute thesis, I was surprised just how dependent on science jargon I had become,” said Brinton, who researches in the lab of Kim Kelly, associate professor of biomedical engineering. “This competition enabled me to break free of that and share my research with a broader audience. To have it be so well-received was awesome.”
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 8, 2013 – Earth’s biodiversity is like a kaleidoscope made up of distinct plants and animals; however, with each year’s turn, unique and irreplaceable species disappear.
Habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, disease, and climate change are all to blame for the current rate of extinction, which is 1,000 times higher now than before human dominance, according to Bill Hopkins, associate professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate.
Interfaces of Global Change, a new interdisciplinary graduate education program funded by the Virginia Tech Graduate School, directed by Hopkins, and partially supported by the Fralin Life Science Institute, confronts the problem of Earth’s dwindling biodiversity with a dynamic team of faculty members and doctoral students with diverse perspectives and areas of expertise.
University of Massachusetts: School of Public Health Wins National ‘Promising Practice’ Award for Public Health Worker Training Plans
November 4, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. – At the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual meeting in Boston this week, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will formally recognize public health educators from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) for their ground-breaking survey of public health needs in western Massachusetts and their creative plans to meet those needs.
Professors Stuart Chipkin and Dan Gerber, with Dawn Heffernan, director of the Western Massachusetts Public Health Training Center (WMPHTC), and several other UMass Amherst colleagues, recently received the national “Promising Practice” award from HRSA for their new 10-week, 60-hour pilot training plan and curriculum, expected to meet the requirements for the voluntary state certification program for community health workers in 2014.
Heffernan and others on the training center team will give a presentation at the APHA meeting, which attracts more than 13,000 physicians, nurses and other public health professionals. She says WMPHTC plans to become a recognized training center for community health workers and has developed workshops and trainers to meet this goal. SPHHS Dean Marjorie Aelion observes, “It’s very exciting for our school and the training center to be among the elite schools of public health in the country and to be acknowledged for excellence in teaching, research and community outreach.”
New York University: Educational Video Games Can Boost Motivation to Learn, NYU, CUNY Study Shows
Nov 6, 2013
Math video games can enhance students’ motivation to learn, but it may depend on how students play, researchers at NYU and the City University of New York have found in a study of middle-schoolers.
While playing a math video game either competitively or collaboratively with another player—as compared to playing alone—students adopted a mastery mindset that is highly conducive to learning. Moreover, students’ interest and enjoyment in playing the math video game increased when they played with another student.
Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Educational Psychology, point to new ways in which computer, console, or mobile educational games may yield learning benefits.
Science Writing and Reporting
University of Cincinnati: Public Intellectual Lee Smolin to Visit UC for Discussions of Time
Physicist, philosopher and author Lee Smolin will discuss the nature of time and sign books at events on Nov. 14 and 15.
By: Courtney Danser
Date: 11/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
What is time? Lee Smolin will present and discuss his take on this provocative scientific and philosophical question at the University of Cincinnati on Nov. 14 and 15.
Smolin is a founding and senior faculty member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and a member of the graduate faculty of the philosophy department at the University of Toronto. His research has been primarily in the area of quantum theory of gravity, and he has authored four books exploring philosophical issues raised by contemporary physics and cosmology. In 2008, Smolin was included among the 100 most influential public intellectuals by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines.
The McMicken College of Arts and Sciences departments of physics and philosophy will be hosting the events, co-sponsored with the Sigma Xi research society. The first event, titled “Time Reborn” after Smolin’s most recent book, will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, in 525 Old Chem. It will be preceded by refreshments at 3:30 p.m. in the Geology/Physics Atrium. The second event, titled “Temporal Naturalism,” will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in 53 McMicken Hall.
Science is Cool
Rutgers University: Mason Gross Professor Fuses Science and Art to Produce Probing Photographs
Gary Schneider encourages experimentation whether he's behind the lens or in front of a class
By Risa Barisch
At the intersection of science and art stands photographer Gary Schneider.
Like a scientist testing a hypothesis, he describes his particular field of work as “an attempt to problem-solve.” And sometimes he’s his own lab experiment.
Schneider’s Genetic Self-Portrait series, which he began in the late 1990s as a response to the Human Genome Project – a 13-year endeavor to unlock the secrets of human DNA – includes images of his hair, retinas and even his chromosomes. Working with scientists and doctors, Schneider created a catalog of forensic images using all manner of microscope technology. The resulting photographs, deeply personal and yet universal, are an exploration of Schneider’s identity.
“A scientist must always solve the problem,” says Schneider, an assistant professor of photography in the Mason Gross School’s Visual Arts Department. “But an artist need never arrive at a solution.”
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2013 – Sixteen Virginia Tech faculty, students, and alumni, joined by members of the local community will take the stage this Saturday at the newly opened Moss Arts Center for the second annual TEDxVirginiaTech.
The Nov. 9 event follows in the tradition of national TED events, with speakers sharing inspiring and thought-provoking ideas worth spreading. Each talk will focus on this year’s theme of moving “Beyond Boundaries.”
The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.., and include several videos of previous TED speakers and a technology hall known as the TEDxVirginiaTech Lab that will feature more than a dozen student teams, university organizations, and local businesses.
Virginia Tech: America Recycles Day to be celebrated Nov. 15
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2013 – On Friday, Nov. 15, Virginia Tech will celebrate America Recycles Day, a national campaign to raise awareness to schools, universities, and community groups on the importance of recycling.
Hosted on campus by the Office of Energy and Sustainability, the America Recycles Day celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Squires Student Center Plaza between Squires and the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.
Participants can learn easy recycling tips and see recycling demonstrations. Food, games, and prizes are also part of the event.