Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors ScottyUrb, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir and jlms qkw, guest editors maggiejean and 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, and the environment.
Between now and the end of the primary/caucus season, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having elections and caucuses during the week (or in the upcoming weeks if there is no primary or caucus that week). Tonight's edition features the science, space, environment, and energy stories from universities in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
This week's featured story comes from MSNBC.
Feeling down about spaceflight? Lift your spirits with Yuri's Night
By Alan Boyle
Yuri's Night has been celebrating space odysseys since 2001, on the 40th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's history-making launch into orbit — but it's much more challenging to find cause for celebration this year.
First of all, it's been just a year since the huge golden anniversary of the first human spaceflight, in 2011. To mark the occasion, Yuri's Night put on more than 600 events in 75 countries, and that's a hard act for anyone to follow. Perhaps more importantly, this year marks the first Yuri's Night since NASA retired the space shuttle fleet. For the next few years, there's no way to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.
"With the shuttle era coming to an end, there's going to be a lot of nostalgia this year," Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto, director of marketing for Yuri's Night 2012, told me this week. "It's going to be an interesting time to see how people bridge the gap."
For a schedule of events, see the Yuri's Night website
More stories after the jump.
Recent Science Diaries and Stories
Killing Cancer Cells One Nano Death Star At A Time.
Goslings 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Jumped Today
by jim in IA
This week in science: Sweet warm fuzzy Saturday
WISN: Mysterious Booms Return To Clintonville
USGS May Put Equipment In Town
POSTED: 7:20 am CDT March 28, 2012
UPDATED: 9:37 pm CDT March 28, 2012
CLINTONVILLE, Wis. -- The booming is back in Clintonville.
Police said they received 65 calls Tuesday night from residents awoken by some of the loudest booms yet.
The calls had dropped off since the U.S. Geological Survey determined a 1.5 magnitude earthquake hit last week.
There doesn't seem to be an explanation for the newest round of booms.
University of Connecticut: Science Olympiad Challenges High School Students
By: Ariel Dowski '14
April 3, 2012
More than 300 students from 18 high schools competed in the Connecticut Science Olympiad at UConn on March 31.
The teams of students faced a series of science challenges organized like an Olympic track meet, vying to win medals in laboratory-, writing- and construction-related events. The contests ranged from building a model helicopter to solving a crime using forensic evidence to recreating an object relying solely on a partner’s description of it.
“With today’s renewed emphasis on quality education for all students, the Science Olympiad is a great opportunity for students to challenge themselves and each other while enjoying the camaraderie of team competitions, just like athletes do,” says Brendan Herlihy, director of the Connecticut Science Olympiad.
Kowch737 on YouTube: This Week @NASA
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland was honored in her hometown of Baltimore when the Space Telescope Science Institute renamed its data archive center for the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress.
Leaders in government, industry, academia and entrepreneurship recently gathered at the annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium in Greenbelt, Maryland to discuss a wide range of topics, from the future of commercial spaceflight to protecting our home planet.
Mason Peck, NASA's Chief Technologist, walked the test section of the Langley Research Center's 8-Foot High-Temperature Tunnel -- a facility designed to mimic hypersonic flight conditions.
Penn State: Measurements to galaxies in faraway universe become more accurate
March 30, 2012
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) has announced the most accurate measurements yet of the distances to galaxies in the faraway universe, giving an unprecedented look at the time when the universe first began to expand at an ever-increasing rate.
The results, announced at a press conference in Manchester, England, are the culmination of more than two years of work by the team of scientists and engineers, including a Penn State astronomer, behind the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), one of the SDSS-III's four component surveys.
"These studies provide us with new insights about the evolutionary history of the universe," said Donald Schneider, distinguished professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, who also serves as the SDSS-III survey coordinator and scientific publications manager.
The Manitoban (Canada): Sloths of Ohio and their hunters
Collaboration between the University of Manitoba and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has shed light on prehistoric human life in the area of what is now Ohio. Published in the Feb. 22 issue of World Archaeology, the study “New evidence for Late Pleistocene human exploitation of Jefferson’s Ground Sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii) from northern Ohio, USA” produced the deduction that scratches found on the femur bone of a ground sloth were caused by rock-based tools of prehistoric hominids. This research provides the earliest evidence of prehistoric human activity within the Ohio area, as well as the first proof that the ice age sloth was a hunted animal in North America.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.
University of Delaware: Plant protection
UD grad student, local botanic gardens work to protect threatened plant species
7:53 a.m., March 28, 2012
Last spring, Raakel Toppila trekked through Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park and other wooded areas in Georgia and Alabama, collecting leaf samples from the Georgia oak, a scrappy little tree that grows on granite and sandstone outcroppings.
A student in the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program, Toppila’s intent was to discover how each leaf -- and the particular oak population that it came from -- differed in its DNA make-up. Armed with this information, Toppila says that botanic gardens and other natural areas will be able to better protect and revitalize the Georgia oak, which is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Ontario native is interested in the role that botanic gardens can play in cultivating tree species that are at risk of extinction. “Thousands of plant species world-wide are currently threatened with extinction,” says Toppila. “Just as zoos have been at the forefront of animal conservation, gardens can start to play a similar role.”
University of Delaware: Huntington's disease
UD researchers develop novel technique for early detection of misfolded protein
8:59 a.m., April 5, 2012
University of Delaware assistant professor David W. Colby is co-author of a paper in the March 23 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry that suggests protein misfolding may occur early in the pathogenesis, or development, of Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is one of several neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or prion disease, associated with proteins that fold into abnormal structures. HD is characterized by progressive motor impairment, cognitive decline and behavioral abnormalities, and ultimately death.
The researchers developed a novel technology, called an amyloid seeding assay (ASA), to detect the misfolded protein, huntingtin, in laboratory mice at 11 weeks of age, more sensitively than traditional histology methods which don’t reveal large inclusions until much later in the pathogenic process, about 78 weeks.
University of Delaware: Soy and menopause
Large-scale study finds soy may alleviate hot flashes in menopause
1:42 p.m., April 4, 2012
In the most comprehensive study to date to examine the effects of soy on menopause, researchers have found that two daily servings of soy can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes by up to 26 percent, compared to a placebo.
The findings, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Association, reviewed 19 previous studies that examined more than 1,200 women.
University of Wisconsin, Madison: One Compound Detects and Treats Malignant Tumors and Certain Cancer Stem Cells
April 3, 2012
Madison, Wisconsin - More than a decade of laboratory research at the University of Wisconsin has proven that a single chemical compound may both detect and treat malignant tumors and certain cancer stem cells.
In three posters presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago, March 31-April 4, UW-Madison researchers describe exciting advances involving CLR1404, described as a "diapeutic" agent that can both image and destroy a wide range of malignant tumors and the one type of cancer stem cells examined so far.
University of Wisconsin, Madison: County Health Rankings released: St. Croix is Wisconsin’s healthiest county
by Susan Lampert Smith
April 3, 2012
St. Croix County residents are the healthiest in Wisconsin, according to the 2012 County Health Rankings released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. This year’s rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast-food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents. Graphs illustrating premature death trends over 10 years are also new.
Wisconsin’s five healthiest counties are St. Croix, Ozaukee, Taylor, Iowa, and Vernon. The five counties in the poorest health are Menominee, Marquette, Milwaukee, Adams, and Jackson. The least healthy counties are primarily located in rural areas of central and northern Wisconsin with the exception of Milwaukee County, the state’s most urban county, in the southeast.
University of Connecticut: Graduate Student Helping Others Adapt to Climate Change
By: Sheila Foran
March 30, 2012
Climate change in Guatemala is making an already difficult existence even more so for people who struggle to make a living in rugged terrain thousands of feet above sea level. Rachel Shenyo, a master’s degree candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, has personally witnessed the change, and she has plans to do something about it.
“I’ve been working with a government agency and we’ve looked at 40 years of climate data,” she says, “and one of the things we’ve noticed is that wind directions have changed. Historically we’ve documented that Guatemala was rarely hit by hurricane winds, maybe a couple of direct hits in 100 years, but in the last seven years they’ve been battered by six major tropical systems. Last October, they had five feet of rain in 10 days.
“What’s happening in this fragile, mountainous environment,” Shenyo continues, “is that the infrastructure is becoming completely overwhelmed. We’re finding that not only is the climate changing, it’s changing with the altitude. This means that crops are affected in different ways and that growing conditions are dramatically different from farm to farm, depending on the altitude where it is located.”
University of Rhode Island: URI oceanographer leading effort to enlist commercial ships to collect ocean data
Proposal aims to unite oceanographers, shipping industry for science
April 5, 2012
A University of Rhode Island oceanographer is leading an effort to partner with the global shipping industry to systematically collect detailed data about the world’s oceans using equipment installed on commercial vessels.
H. Thomas Rossby, a professor at the Graduate School of Oceanography, said commercial ships on the high seas offer a cost-effective platform for collecting data that could be used to learn about currents, plankton, ocean chemistry, climate change and other topics.
According to a report written by Rossby and colleagues on a working group sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research and the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, “the ocean is vastly under-observed, particularly below the ocean surface, where satellites cannot measure the ocean’s properties. …Observations below the surface depend on getting platforms (ships, moored buoys, floats, gliders, etc.) to locations far beyond the coasts, which can be expensive.”
Rossby said ships are especially useful for collecting this data because they traverse the same routes on a regular basis, much like satellites orbiting the Earth.
University of Delaware: Sediment sleuthing
Radioactive medicine being tracked through rivers
10:56 a.m., March 22, 2012
A University of Delaware oceanographer has stumbled upon an unusual aid for studying local waterways: radioactive iodine. Trace amounts of the contaminant, which is used in medical treatments, are entering waterways via wastewater treatment systems and providing a new way to track where and how substances travel through rivers to the ocean.
“This is a really interesting convergence of medicine, public health and environmental science,” said Christopher Sommerfield, associate professor of oceanography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.
Sommerfield found small quantities of radioactive iodine, also called radioiodine or I-131, by accident while sampling the Delaware River, the main source of freshwater to Delaware Bay. The amounts were at low concentrations that do not pose a threat to humans or the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Early-life exposure to BPA affects adult learning
By Laura L. Hunt
April 3, 2012
In testing the effects of the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) on zebrafish, UWM scientist Daniel Weber found himself in familiar territory.
The results he observed were similar to those he’d seen when exposing the fish to mercury during their early development – profound behavioral changes occurred not only immediately after hatching, but also in adulthood.
Like developmental exposure to mercury, adult fish that had been exposed to tiny amounts of BPA as embryos had learning and memory problems, compared to fish that had not been exposed.
Boston University via WBUR: BU Archaeologists Discover Oldest Man-Made Fire
By BU Today
BOSTON — For many years it was believed that humans didn’t use fire until about 800,000 years ago. But two Boston University archaeologists have found evidence in South Africa of a man-made fire dating back 1.2 million years, the earliest such discovery. The finding by Francesco Berna and Paul Goldberg substantially pushes back the date that humans laid the first kindling. Berna and Goldberg’s research was published Monday in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Knowing when man first made fire has huge implications for understanding how our species evolved. Once early man had flames at his command, he not only had a source of heat, but a means to cook food. By unlocking nutrients in food, cooking made for a much better diet that not only boosted overall health, but may have contributed to other modern human traits, such as increased brain size and pair bonding, as the prominent primatologist Richard Wrangham has argued. Berna and Goldberg’s discovery bolsters Wrangham’s theory that our evolutionary predecessor, Homo erectus, was building fires and cooking far sooner than was previously thought.
The Guardian (UK): York Minster tantalises archaeologists with hints of Saxon church
What happened after the Romans left and the Vikings of Jorvik arrived? Two post holes and a jumble of bones may hold a clue
When the great west doors of York Minster swing open on Thursday and the Queen makes her way along the nave of the packed church for the ancient service of distributing Maundy Money, she will also be walking towards a small pit from which human bones have been pouring by the barrow load, the remains of some of the earliest Christians to worship on the site.
Tantalising finds include 30 skulls and a jumble of bones used to backfill a trench by the medieval builders of the present cathedral, and a man whose stone-lined and lidded grave was chopped off by Walter de Gray's 13th-century walls, leaving only his shins and feet in place.
The International Business Times: Dozens Of 550-Year-Old Tombstones Discovered At Tenochtitlan Ruins In Mexico City
By Sanskrity Sinha
March 31, 2012 4:55 AM EDT
About 23 tombstones dating back to 15th century have been excavated at the ancient site of Tenochtitlan in the central part of Mexico City, the UNESCO's World Heritage Centre said in a statement Friday.
Founded in 1325 in the Valley of Mexico, Tenochtitlan, the modern day Mexico City, served as the capital city of Aztec Empire that ruled the region from 1428 until they were defeated by Spain in 1521.
"The new finds highlight, without a doubt, two histories of two different cultures in Tenochtitlan," the World Heritage Centre added, pointing towards the effects of Aztec and Spanish cultures on Tenochtitlan.
The Charleston Gazette: Logan burial site's American Indian remains rise to 44
Seneca tribe representative chides state for not expecting discoveries
By Rick Steelhammer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The skeletal remains of at least 44 American Indians have been unearthed during construction of a new state office building in downtown Logan, and some people say West Virginia officials should have known they might be there.
News of the large number of remains, which were unearthed last year over a 10-month period, was first reported last week in Indian Country Today, a national weekly newspaper.
BBC: 'Ancient' Greek statue found in sheep pen is fake
An "ancient" Greek statue found in a sheep pen north-west of Athens last week has now been deemed a fake.
At first, archaeologists at Greece's Culture ministry thought the figure of a woman dated from the 6th century BC.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman, who sent in the above articles.
The A to Z of Materials: New Method to Detect Flaws and Measure Properties of Magnetic Materials
By Cameron Chai
Published on April 6, 2012 at 3:17 AM
A team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Royal Institute of Technology, and the University of Maryland Nanocenter has developed a new technique to identify flaws in nano-scale magnetic structures, even when they are buried beneath the surface of a multilayer electronic device.
The method tested at the NIST Center for Nanoscale Technology (CNST) is based on the research conducted by scientists at the Ohio State University. The concept is to confine and image a magnetic field’s oscillating perturbations called as spin waves in a thin film. These confined spin waves can be used as a tool to measure the magnetic material properties without causing damage and detect the nanoscale defects, which may or have produced memory failures.
University of Delaware: Pushing boundaries
UD undergraduate studies polymers for drug delivery applications
12:06 p.m., April 3, 2012
Imagine if doctors were able to target and treat tumors in the body based on biological signals. It is an attractive scientific idea but a difficult task for researchers focused on developing drug delivery systems due to the body’s natural immune system response.
Since the fall of 2010, University of Delaware senior Sarah Hann has been working to create new materials that will facilitate targeted drug delivery. Her research investigates how increased control over micelle structures using block copolymers impacts the efficiency of these delivery systems over time.
“If we can increase the drug delivery system efficiency through micelle structure control, site-specific targeting in the body becomes possible,” Hann, a chemical and biomolecular engineering major, explains.
University of Delaware: Bottling sunlight
Doctoral student's novel solar reactor may enable clean fuel derived from sunlight
9:18 a.m., April 3, 2012
Producing hydrogen from non-fossil fuel sources is a problem that continues to elude many scientists but University of Delaware’s Erik Koepf thinks he may have discovered a solution.
Hydrogen is traditionally made from natural gas. Unfortunately, natural gas is a fossil fuel that releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, when converted to hydrogen.
Koepf, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, has designed a novel reactor that employs highly concentrated sunlight and zinc oxide powder to produce solar hydrogen, a truly clean, sustainable fuel with zero emissions.
University of Connecticut: Developing the Next Generation of Fuel Cells
By: Colin Poitras
March 26, 2012
UConn’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering has developed a new manufacturing process for fuel cells that could make highly efficient, fuel cell-powered vehicles a viable commercial option in the next 10 years and possibly sooner.
Professor Radenka Maric developed the breakthrough process, which significantly lowers production costs while maintaining maximum efficiency. The process is not limited to hydrogen fuel cells. It can be applied in other industrial applications to extend the durability and efficiency of larger solid oxide fuel cells, used to heat and provide electricity to buildings, as well as lithium-ion batteries currently used in most battery-powered, plug-in, and hybrid cars.
Temple University: Researchers seek efficient, cost-effective renewable energy solutions
March 29, 2012
Nicholas C. Davatzes, assistant professor of earth and environmental science in the College of Science and Technology, is involved in about a dozen projects exploring the use of natural and abundant heat below the Earth’s surface to generate electricity.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, geothermal energy systems have potential to generate nearly 600,000 megawatts of electric of power generation, but the technology to tap these resources is still largely underdeveloped. Each megawatt of geothermal-generated electric can power approximately 1,000 U.S. households.
“Most of the technology for making electricity involves converting heat into work and then work into electricity,” said Davatzes. “Usually we burn things like fossil fuels to make the heat, but with geothermal, Mother Earth provides the heat.”
Science, Space, Environment, and Energy Policy
The Sunday Leader (Sri Lanka): A Temple Chief Running Amok
By Nirmala Kannangara - Pictures by Thusitha Kumara
Questions are been raised as to whether the necessary approvals have been obtained for new constructions taking place at the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) premises which is an archaeological reserve as well as a world heritage site.
According to the Antiquities Ordinance No: 9 of 1940 (revised in 1956 and 1998) no one is allowed to commence or carry out any work of restoration, repair alternation or addition in connection with any protected monument without the proper approval from the Director General Archaeology.
The Daily Star (Lebanon): Archaeology a burden on debt-stricken Greece
By Isabel Malsang
April 07, 2012 12:11 AM
ATHENS: Faced with massive public debt, Greece is finding that its fabled antiquity heritage is proving a growing burden – with licensed digs postponed, illegal ones proliferating, museum staff trimmed and valuable pieces stolen.
“Greece’s historic remains have become our curse,” whispered an archaeologist at a recent media event organized to protest spending cuts imposed on the country for the past two years as a condition for European Union and International Monetary Fund loans.
With Greece moving into a fifth year of recession, licensed archaeology digs are finding it ever harder to obtain public funds while antiquity smuggling is on the rise, archaeologists warned at the meeting.
Middle East Online (UK*): Experts sound alarm: Looters tear up Syria archeological treasures
Experts warn most vulnerable are strife-torn areas, where looters have already targeted museums, excavation sites, monuments.
By Jocelyne Zablit - BEIRUT
Middle East Online
Syria's year-long revolt has exposed to looting and destruction the country's archaeological treasures, including the ancient city of Palmyra and the Greco-Roman ruins of Apamea, experts warn.
Most vulnerable are strife-torn areas that have fallen outside the full control of the regime where looters have already targeted museums, excavation sites and monuments, they say.
"In the past three to four months there has been a lot of looting," said Hiba al-Sakhel, director of museums in Syria.
"In Apamea, we have a video showing looters removing mosaics with drills," she said. "And in Palmyra there is a lot of looting and clandestine digging."
*Yes, really. The snail mail address
is in London.
The Nation (Nigeria): Why looting of artefacts thrives’
By Ozolua Uhakheme
The controversy that trails the illegal excavation of Nigeria’s Nok terracotta, one of the oldest metallurgical technologies of the continent, was the thrust of a stakeholders’ meeting in Nok, Kaduna State. Museum authorities, local archaeologists and German partners reached a fragile truce on the allegations and the modus operandi of the MoU guiding the partnership, Assistant Editor (Arts) Ozolua Uhakheme reports.
The long standing partnership agreement between the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany on the archaeological project on Nok culture came under scrutiny recently following fresh allegations of ‘illegal large-scale looting’ of terracotta by German researchers.
The president of the Archaeological Association of Nigeria (AAN), Dr. Zacharys Anger Gundu of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had accused German researchers (Professor Peter Breunig and his team) of promoting ‘unethical archaeological practices in the Nok Valley in the name of ‘scientific’ archaeology. He also alleged that officials of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments connived with the foreigners in the ‘looting’.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Connecticut: Two UConn Faculty to Advise Nation’s Policymakers on Science Issues
By: Cindy Weiss, CLAS Today
April 4, 2012
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs science advice, she can turn to the State Department’s Science and Technology Advisor. When policymakers in one of the department’s many bureaus and offices need technical advice, they can call on a Jefferson Science Fellow.
Two faculty in CLAS will join 11 other scientists from around the country as Jefferson Science Fellows next year, serving the State Department or the USAID (Agency for International Development).
Sara Harkness, professor of human development and family studies, and David Benson, professor and department head of molecular and cell biology, were selected in a competitive process to provide science expertise for policymakers, to help them understand complex scientific issues and how they affect U.S. foreign policy.
University of Connecticut: The Affordable Care Act: Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right
By: Jeremy Paul
March 29, 2012
I haven’t had time to follow the historic Supreme Court arguments this week as closely as I would like. But something about the public discourse over the Affordable Care Act troubles me. Many journalists have missed how critics of the Act’s constitutionality, including some of the lawyers in the case, are rhetorically combining two weak arguments into one that has become potentially strong enough to move the Court. I don’t wish to write a brief on one side or the other, but general readers need to hear a bit more about the legal issues at stake.
Let’s start with some basics. The debate over the wisdom of the mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance has been resolved via an Act of Congress that has been signed into law by the President. Accordingly, this week’s argument over the mandate is about Congress’ power to act, not about whether Congress acted wisely.
Critics of the Act suggest Congress has exceeded its authority because it lacks the power to require individuals affirmatively to purchase health insurance as a means of shoring up the insurance market. But where exactly is the problem?
University of Wisconsin, Madison: UW-Madison research support continues growth arc
by Terry Devitt
April 3, 2012
The latest statistics from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) show that scholars at the University of Wisconsin-Madison continue to be among the nation's most successful at securing support for their research.
Ranked third among all U.S. universities, total fiscal year 2010 research expenditures at UW-Madison topped out at slightly more than $1 billion, showing an increase of about $15 million over the 2009 fiscal year.
Surveying 742 colleges and universities, the new NSF statistics show UW-Madison trailing only Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan. UW-Madison has consistently ranked among the top five universities reporting research expenditures since NSF began collecting statistics more than 20 years ago.
University of Maryland, College Park: Postpartum Depression Raises Healthcare Costs - UMD Study
Study urges workplace polices to prevent such depression, benefiting both women and their employers
April 2, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Employed mothers who suffer postpartum depression incur higher overall health care costs, according to a study led by Rada K. Dagher, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
Dagher suggests that employers should create programs to prevent and address postpartum mental health issues, as this could result in significant health care cost savings and a healthier workforce. The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
This is the first study to examine the link between postpartum depression and health services expenditures. Postpartum depression is the most common serious mental disorder after childbirth and affects at least 13 percent of women in the United States. Employed women are more likely to experience postpartum depression if they have lower job flexibility, lower social support, and higher total workload, according to Dagher's previous research.
University of Connecticut: Building a Smart Hospital that Stays Smart Well into the Future
By: Carolyn Pennington
April 3, 2012
The designers of the new hospital tower are being asked to not only build a state-of-the-art health care facility that satisfies the needs of patients, clinicians and staff – but to also predict the future. The latest technological advancement today will likely be quite different in 2016, when the building is estimated to be finished. Think iPad. Did you have one four years ago?
“We need to design an IT infrastructure that is extremely flexible so that regardless of what comes along in the next 10, 15, 20 years the infrastructure is already there and we can adopt the new technology,” explains Sandra Armstrong, chief information officer at the UConn Health Center.
“It’s like building an eight-lane highway. You might not need it now but if you grow later, you are prepared, you’re already there,” says Jonathan Carroll, assistant vice president of information.
University of Wisconsin, Stout: Madison West tops Menomonie for Science Olympiad state title
April 3, 2012
The top three teams remained the same, but this year there was a new champion in the Science Olympiad state high school tournament Saturday at University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Madison West totaled 54 points to top Menomonie, which had 57. Last year, Menomonie took first with Madison West second. Boyceville had 97 points to take third place for the second straight year.
Madison West advances to the national tournament in May at the University of Central Florida.
University of Wisconsin, Whitewater: Student research on display April 10
April 2, 2012
Student researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater spent the year exploring, analyzing, performing and creating.
Now, they'll get to show off their findings at the annual Undergraduate Research Day. The event is Tuesday, April 10, from noon to 3:15 p.m. in the James R. Connor University Center Hamilton Room, and is free and open to the public.
Students from every college and 25 academic departments conducted research this year. The result is a diverse research mosaic with topics ranging from bullying in public schools to environmental effects on pig DNA.
"Research is not limited to science," said Catherine Chan, interim director of UW-Whitewater's undergraduate research program. "Many people imagine students working in a lab mixing chemicals. While we have a strong foundation in the sciences, we're seeing more and more students from other majors participate."
University of Maryland, College Park: Two UMD Students Earn Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships
April 3, 2012
College Park, Md. -- Two University of Maryland students have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics.
UMD juniors Harley Katz, a double major in astronomy and physics (College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences), and Carlos Sebastian Casarez, a mechanical engineering (A. James Clark School of Engineering) major, were selected from 1,123 nominations for this award. Undergraduates Benjamyn Ward and Krzysztof Franaszek were recognized this year as honorable mentions.
"Maryland's winners already show distinguished achievement in academics and research. They join the ranks of 24 Goldwater winners from UMD over the last 10 years," said Robert L. Infantino, associate dean, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and Maryland's Goldwater faculty advisor. "These Goldwater alums have gone on to pursue doctorates at prestigious institutions such as CalTech, Cambridge, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, and UPenn."
A student at the University of Connecticut also won a Goldwater Scholarship, as detailed in UConn Students Win National Goldwater Scholarship and Honorable Mention
. Obviously, this scholarship reflects a time when Republicans still accepted science.
Science Writing and Reporting
L.A. Times: Editorial: Reality TV shoveling for show
As they raze the earth in search of pieces of treasure, artifact diggers popularized on TV reality shows may be destroying pieces of history.
April 03, 2012
Hunting for buried treasure - whether it's in the ground, in an abandoned storage locker or at the bottom of the ocean - seems to be a primal urge. But when does digging up your backyard cross the line into sullying the study of history and culture?
According to some archaeologists, two cable TV reality shows have done just that. National Geographic's "Diggers" and Spike TV's "American Digger" follow the exploits of the archaeological equivalent of bounty hunters who, with property owners' permission, dig and occasionally blast their way to underground artifacts, which they hope to sell to collectors for profit. The issue here isn't so much the legality of what the diggers are doing, but the ethics.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: From biologist to TV host
By Laura L. Hunt
April 6, 2012
Advice to undergrads: Doing is just as important as studying when you’re trying to prepare for a career.
That credo helped UWM alum Suzanne Rutishauser Yorke (’11 MS Biological Sciences) turn an enthusiasm for ecology and academic travel into a job with a nature TV series.
Rutishauser Yorke is a co-host of “Wild Scene Investigation,” which airs on Saturdays this month on the Nat Geo WILD channel. The show follows three hosts as they track “wildlife mysteries,” from haunted forests in Wales to missing jewelry in California and disappearing house cats in Vermont backyards. (You may even get to see what a coyote killed on the highway had for his last dinner.)
“When I was little, I never thought, ‘I want to be on television,’” says Rutishauser Yorke, although she admits being passionate about communicating science. “But when you’re in grad school and you’re teaching anyway, you focus on ways to get students’ attention and understanding.”
Science is Cool
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Top 40 + math concepts = Musical mathematics
By Kyle Stevens
April 5, 2012
Zach Steffes “hearts” the area.
Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education in 2011 with a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and mathematics concentration, Steffes has been creating math-related musical parodies that supplement his classroom instruction and lectures.
His most recent parody, “Area Hearts,” was made into a music video by the UWM School of Education. The song teaches students that the area means “space that fills up something.” Steffes sings out the steps for determining the area of a rectangle and other shapes: by multiplying length times the width. Lyrics were written to accompany the background track of the popular hit, “Stereo Hearts,” by Gym Class Heroes.
With the help of his wife Katrina, also a UWM graduate, Steffes has written, recorded and posted six math-related parodies to his You Tube account. The songs cover performers ranging from Katy Perry to Lupe Fiasco.
Bloomberg: Visions of a Cashless Society: Echoes
By Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, Thomas Haigh and David Stearns
Mar 29, 2012 9:51 AM ET
Many technological innovations surfaced first in science fiction and then became a reality.
Think of Jules Verne imagining a flight to the moon and long-range submarines decades before such things existed; H. G. Wells warning of aerial bombardments prior to World War I; or Arthur C. Clarke writing on geosynchronous communications satellites in 1945.
But literature foresaw only limited advances in the way we exchange money. Capitalism was the default social organization of American science fiction, and few authors put much energy into imagining its future. By the 1940s, many had adopted the term "credit" as the universal name for future currencies, including Isaac Asimov in his two main strands of work (the far-future "Foundation" saga and the near-future "Robot" stories). Usually, however, "credit" functioned as a simple linguistic substitution for "dollar," and one reads of credits being slapped onto counters, flung to parking attendants, drawn from pockets and the like.
Such examples tell how readers and writers of science fiction were more interested in the future of rockets, physics and social dynamics than they were in banking, economics or organizational innovation. Disregarding the functioning of the economy even led to notable inconsistencies, as in the Star Trek universe, where the Federation is supposed to have evolved beyond money, but dialog and plot elements continue to reference trading, gambling and the exchange of credits.
University of Delaware: By the numbers
Microbiologist David Smith wins national baseball research award
10:11 a.m., April 5, 2012
Today is Major League Baseball's Opening Day, but UD biology Prof. David W. Smith, a winner of this year's Henry Chadwick Award from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), fields hardball questions all year long.
The queries come by phone and email, from sportswriters, team managers, coaches and fans. Did the Dodgers set a record by having seven sons of Hall of Famers on their spring training roster this year? (Yes.) Has the modern use of designated closing pitchers made teams more likely to hold onto a lead in the final innings of a game? (No. "Closers are incredibly overrated.") Has there ever been a game in which only a single player got on base? (No, but there's been a game with only two baserunners, Sandy Koufax's perfect game, a 1-0 win over the Cubs in 1965.)
And then, there's the question that Smith is asked most often: When did your fascination—some would say obsession—with baseball statistics begin? (July 11, 1958, when his father took him to see Koufax pitch and bought him the big, red Dodgers almanac filled with pages of numbers compiled by Allan Roth, the first team statistician in the sport's history.)
"Other kids might have thought they'd grow up to be Koufax," says Smith, a diehard Dodgers fan who grew up in California. "I wanted to be Allan Roth."