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.
Between now and the weekend before Christmas, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having elections for federal or state office this year plus stories from all research universities in major cities having municipal elections as listed in the 2013 Daily Kos Elections Calendar. Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, and Wisconsin, and the city of San Diego.
This week's featured story comes from Science Magazine by way of annetteboardman.
Ancient DNA: Old Dogs Teach a New Lesson About Canine Origins
15 November 2013
The story of dogs began thousands of years ago, when gray wolves began sidling out of the shadows and into the company of humans. There's little argument about that scenario—but plenty about when and where it took place, with the leading theories suggesting dogs were domesticated either in the Middle East or in East Asia. A study on page 871 draws on a new source of evidence, DNA from the fossils of ancient dogs and wolves, and comes to a third conclusion: Dogs originated in Europe, from a now-extinct branch of gray wolves.
UCLA has a press release about the research that led to the Science article.
Dogs likely originated in Europe more than 18,000 years ago, UCLA biologists report
By Stuart Wolpert
November 14, 2013
Wolves likely were domesticated by European hunter–gatherers more than 18,000 years ago and gradually evolved into dogs that became household pets, UCLA life scientists report.
"We found that instead of recent wolves being closest to domestic dogs, ancient European wolves were directly related to them," said Robert Wayne, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in UCLA's College of Letters and Science and senior author of the research. "This brings the genetic record into agreement with the archaeological record. Europe is where the oldest dogs are found."
The UCLA researchers' genetic analysis is published Nov. 15 in the journal Science and featured on the journal's cover.
More stories after the jump.
Recent Science Diaries and Stories
Watch this space!
Green diary rescue: Residential solar in Arizona, climate conference in Warsaw, bad fish everywhere
by Meteor Blades
This week in science: Hot tropics
WSIL-TV: Historians Uncover Herrin Massacre Victims
By Matthew Searcy
HERRIN -- Excavations at the Herrin city cemetery have uncovered a mystery nearly 100 years in the making.
For the past two months a group of historians, geologists and anthropologists have been digging up old graves hoping to find the victims of the 1922 Herrin Massacre.
On Tuesday, they found what they were looking for.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of California, San Diego: Updated: SkySweeper Robot Makes Inspecting Power Lines Simple and Inexpensive
Mechanical engineers at the University of California, San Diego invented a robot designed to scoot along utility lines, searching for damage and other problems that require repairs. Made of off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed on an inexpensive 3D printer, the SkySweeper prototype could be scaled up for less than $1,000, making it significantly more economical than the two models of robots currently used to inspect power lines.
Also see the related story under Science Writing and Reporting.
University of California, San Diego: Nature's Glowing Slime
Parchment tube worms make the papery cylinders in which they spend their lives, but it's their bioluminescent mucus that draws the attention of Dr. Dimitri Deheyn, associate research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The worms can be found just off the coast of La Jolla, Calif.
Also see the related story under Biodiversity.
University of California, San Diego: MIDAS animation.
Single-cell genome sequencing with MIcrowell Displacement Amplification System (MIDAS).
Also see the related story under Health and Biotechnology.
University of Alabama, Birmingham: UAB's Michael Morrisey talks health care premiums
University of Alabama, Birmingham: Safety first at 30,000 feet or at 60 mph
Members of UAB's Critical Care Transport team — ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and physicians — participate in a drill about safety procedures in the event something goes wrong on a flight.
Iowa State University: Learning the mathematics behind juggling at Iowa State
Math 595: Mathematics of Juggling. It's a new course offered at Iowa State this semester and News Service Videographer Alex Murphy visited the class to see how students are learning the science and mathematics behind juggling.
Also see the related story under Science is Cool.
NASA Television: MAVEN Update on This Week @NASA
The MAVEN spacecraft is the latest NASA probe designed to help piece together a complete picture of The Red Planet's past. MAVEN's piece of the puzzle -- to understand what happened to Mars' upper atmosphere. Following its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station -- MAVEN is scheduled to reach Mars in September 2014. Also, Getting to deep space, A stunning new view of Saturn, Commercial success, Earth science satellite, Antarctica campaign, Tail wing technology and more!
NASA Television: LeVar Burton Shares MAVEN's Story in a New NASA PSA
NASA is returning to Mars!
This NASA Public Service Announcement regarding the MAVEN mission is presented by LeVar Burton in which he shares the story about NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission—or MAVEN—and how it will explore Mars' climate history and gather clues about the question scientists have been asking for decades. MAVEN will look at specific processes at Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere...and MAVEN data could tell scientists a lot about the history of climate change on the Red Planet.
When MAVEN arrives at Mars in September 2014, it will join ongoing NASA missions—Odyssey, Opportunity, MRO, and Curiosity—that continue to improve our understanding of Mars and the evolution of our Solar System. NASA is committed to a program of Mars exploration—with the goal of sending humans in the 2030s. The data from these missions, and those to come later this decade, will inform future human exploration as well as provide textbook-changing science.
NASA Television: Super-Typhoon Haiyan Seen From International Space Station
On Friday Nov. 8, external cameras on the International Space Station captured views of Super-Typhoon Haiyan which struck the central Philippines municipality of Guiuan at the southern tip of the province of Eastern Samar with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.
Science at NASA: ScienceCasts: Two Comets to Fly By Mercury on Nov 18 & 19
Consider it a cosmic coincidence: On Nov. 18-19, two comets (ISON and Encke) are going to fly by the planet Mercury in quick succession. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will have a front-row seat for the rare double flyby.
Louisiana State University: Researchers develop algorithm to identify individual grains of Mars soil
Researchers develop algorithm to identify individual grains in planetary regolith
by Dept. Research Comm. Dir.
November 15, 2013
Instruments on the Curiosity Mars rover not only measure the chemistry of rocks, elemental abundances of soils and wind speeds, but also take an incredible number of images from both mast-mounted cameras and up-close imaging systems mounted to robotic arms. The process of analyzing soil images can be daunting, particularly when there are thousands of images and when the particles can be on the order of only 5-10 pixels wide. A team of researchers, led by Suniti Karunatillake at LSU’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, and including Stony Brook University, USGS-Flagstaff AZ, and Rider University, developed an image analysis and segmentation algorithm specifically to aid planetary scientists with this very basic, but often difficult, task.
Planetary scientists use images to identify the distribution of grain sizes of large-scale (centimeter or larger diameter) rocks and small-scale (less than 1 cm) grains. These grain sizes tell scientists about the processes that distributed the particles from their source regions to where they are now. For example, were they derived from a water source, blown by wind, or show hydrodynamic sorting?
The algorithm, implemented in Mathematica, uses a variety of image processing steps to segment the image, first into coarser (foreground) and finer (background) grains. The image is then further segmented until most grains are outlined. The code processes a single image within 1 to 5 minutes.
Space.com via LiveScience: Mars Rover Curiosity Recovers from Software Glitch
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
November 13, 2013 01:56pm ET
NASA's Curiosity rover has bounced back from a glitch that put the 1-ton robot into a protective "safe mode" for three days over the weekend.
The car-size Curiosity rover went into safe mode Thursday (Nov. 7), a few hours after receiving a software update from its handlers on Earth. But mission engineers have identified and fixed the problem, allowing Curiosity to resume normal operations on Sunday (Nov. 10), NASA officials said.
"We returned to normal engineering operations," Rajeev Joshi, a mission software and systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement Tuesday (Nov. 12). "We are well into planning the next several days of surface operations and expect to resume our drive to Mount Sharp this week."
University of Iowa: Symposium addresses adapting to extreme weather in Iowa
December event will examine costs of climate change in the state
By: Leslie Gannon
2013.11.12 | 10:14 AM
Over the past few years, Iowa has been experiencing swings from one weather extreme to another. Scientists and others say the climactic fluctuations are expensive and impact Iowa agriculture, businesses, government, and people. A symposium next month will examine the challenges and costs the state faces in adapting to extreme weather.
The objectives of the symposium are to:
- Better understand the current and future challenges facing Iowa due to extreme weather.
- Identify leading challenges to key sectors of Iowa’s economy affected by extreme weather, the costs of these impacts, and how these sectors are mitigating and adapting to change.
- Facilitate productive discussions among government and business leaders, policy makers and citizens about strategies for mitigating and adapting to extreme weather.
- Generate policy options for adapting to weather extremes in Iowa.
University of Iowa: Typhoon Haiyan highlights disaster relief logistics
UI researcher looks at better ways of bringing relief to disaster sites like the Philippines
By: Tom Snee
2013.11.12 | 11:31 AM
Typhoon Haiyan’s trail of destruction in the Philippines last weekend is drawing attention to the difficulty of providing relief services in a place where roads, ports, and airports are all but destroyed.
Ann Campbell, a professor of management sciences in the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, is an expert on transportation logistics, and one of her research focuses is finding more efficient methods for governments, agencies, NGOs, and businesses to transport relief supplies to disaster areas.
Campbell is using the tools of her trade to find a better idea. Her specialty—vehicle routing—uses mathematical modeling and high-powered computing to develop quicker, more efficient ways to move something from one place to another.
Most of her research is aimed at helping businesses build supply chains that reduce transportation costs and increases profits. But few transportation logistics problems are as challenging as disaster logistics, which deal in many more unknown factors and turns the objective of supply chain management—maximizing profit—on its head.
Louisiana State University: LSU Geographers Launch Renewed Effort to Understand Community Resilience on the Gulf Coast
by Dept. Research Comm.
November 11, 2013
LSU geographers recently received a grant to enhance research on community resilience along the Gulf Coast. This effort will supplement an existing project funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or NIEHS, a division of the National Institutes of Health, for more than $25 million, carried out in collaboration with specialists from University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
For the past two years, these researchers have been investigating records to identify resilient practices. The new research will augment that work by bringing in commentary by coastal residents who can speak about their actual experiences, providing more depth and insight than records can share.
A major benefit of this work will be to document what coastal residents have done to cope with extreme events like oil spills and hurricanes.
University of California, San Diego: Nature’s Glowing Slime: Scientists Peek into Hidden Sea Worm’s Light
Clouds of bioluminescent mucus—emitted by a marine worm that lives in a cocoon-like habitat —is linked to a common vitamin
By Mario Aguilera
November 13, 2013
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and their colleagues are unraveling the mechanisms behind a little-known marine worm that produces a dazzling bioluminescent display in the form of puffs of blue light released into seawater.
Found around the world in muddy environments, from shallow bays to deeper canyons, the light produced by the Chaetopterus marine worm—commonly known as the “parchment tube worm” due to the opaque, cocoon-like cylinders where it makes its home—is secreted as a slimy bioluminescent mucus.
The mucus, which the worms are able to secrete out of any part of their body, hasn’t been studied by scientists in more than 50 years. But two recent studies have helped reignite the quest to decode the inner workings of the worm’s bioluminescence.
University of Wisconsin: Bee curious. New online guide helps you ID wild pollinators
Monday, November 11th, 2013
If you’re puzzling over a pollinator, Rachel Mallinger is ready to help. The entomology grad student has developed an online bee identification guide to benefit farmers, landowners and curious citizens.
Entitled “Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin,” the resource will help users distinguish among different types of bees and learn about the important roles they play in nature and agriculture.
“My goals are two-fold: to satisfy people’s curiosity and provide education, and also conservation,” says Mallinger, a student in the lab of entomology professor Claudio Gratton.
University of Iowa: A happy patient is well connected to a doctor
UI study finds that patients in regular contact with primary physician are most satisfied with their care
By: Richard C. Lewis
2013.11.15 | 11:06 AM
A new trend in American health care is the patient-centered medical home. The approach revolves around a team of medical and health professionals who, working together, treat an individual, led by a primary-care physician who orchestrates the whole effort. The goal is the team knows everything about the patient, no matter how disparate the symptoms—from the earache last night to the long history of high cholesterol—and works together to treat the individual in a holistic way.
Patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) have gained popularity since the National Committee on Quality Assurance recognized them five years ago. There are more than 1,500 such practices recognized by the nonprofit health quality association.
Yet despite their growing popularity, questions remain about their effectiveness. In a new study, researchers at the University of Iowa evaluated a similar model being tested with military veterans, and conclude that maintaining a direct, regular channel of communication between the patient and the primary doctor is critical to success.
University of Alabama, Birmingham: Five flu myths debunked
By Bob Shepard
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Scientists and flu researchers with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Southern Research Institute shot down five common but wrong flu myths this week during an influenza seminar sponsored by the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and the Pulmonary Injury and Repair Center.
The presenters, Diana Noah, Ph.D., and James Noah, Ph.D, virologists at SRI and adjunct faculty in the UAB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, used evidence, common sense and humor to squash five flu myths that never seem to go away.
Iowa State University: Iowa State veterinary researcher studies new treatments for spinal injuries in dogs
Posted Nov 13, 2013 12:00 pm
AMES, Iowa – Experimental treatments for spinal cord injuries in dogs conducted at Iowa State University could someday lead to more effective therapies for humans suffering from similar injuries.
Nick Jeffery, professor of neurology and neurosurgery in the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, said the new treatment methods he’s studying in dogs can offer a more realistic picture of how humans would respond to new treatments than laboratory experiments on rats, a much more widely used method of gathering data on new medical procedures.
The tightly controlled laboratory conditions for rodents bear little resemblance to the clinical reality of human spinal injuries. But pet dogs that spontaneously suffer spinal injuries can offer a much closer match, Jeffery said.
“Lab conditions aren’t always useful for a good understanding of human clinical injuries,” he said. “But some of what we see in dogs is a step closer to how humans may respond to new treatments.”
University of Wisconsin: New look identifies crucial clumping of diabetes-causing proteins
by Chris Barncard
Nov. 11, 2013
People get type 2 diabetes. So do cats. But rats don’t, and neither do dogs.
Subtle differences in the shape of proteins protect some and endanger others.
“All mammals make this same protein called amylin, and it only differs a little bit from species to species,” says Martin Zanni, a UW–Madison chemistry professor. “The mammals that get type 2 diabetes, their amylin proteins aggregate in the pancreas into plaque that kills the cells around them. As a result, you can’t make insulin.”
Without insulin, hungry cells can’t tap sugar in the bloodstream for energy, and high blood sugar levels cause type 2 diabetes and its complications — stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease among them.
University of California, San Diego: Understanding a Protein’s Role in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
Novel genomic approach reveals gene mutation isn’t simple answer
By Scott LaFee
November 14, 2013
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have used genetic engineering of human induced pluripotent stem cells to specifically and precisely parse the roles of a key mutated protein in causing familial Alzheimer’s disease (AD), discovering that simple loss-of-function does not contribute to the inherited form of the neurodegenerative disorder.
The findings, published online in the journal Cell Reports, could help elucidate the still-mysterious mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and better inform development of effective drugs, said principal investigator Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, professor in the Departments of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Neurosciences and director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.
“In some ways, this is a powerful technical demonstration of the promise of stem cells and genomics research in better understanding and ultimately treating AD,” said Goldstein, who is also director of the new Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego. “We were able to identify and assign precise limits on how a mutation works in familial AD. That’s an important step in advancing the science, in finding drugs and treatments that can slow, maybe reverse, the disease’s devastating effects.”
University of California, San Diego: Single-Cell Genome Sequencing Gets Better
By Daniel Kane
November 12, 2013
Researchers led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have generated the most complete genome sequences from single E. coli cells and individual neurons from the human brain. The breakthrough comes from a new single-cell genome sequencing technique that confines genome amplification to fluid-filled wells with a volume of just 12 nanoliters.
“Our preliminary data suggest that individual neurons from the same brain have different genetic compositions. This is a relatively new idea, and our approach will enable researchers to look at genomic differences between single cells with much finer detail,” said Kun Zhang, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the corresponding author on the paper.
The researchers report that the genome sequences of single cells generated using the new approach exhibited comparatively little “amplification bias,” which has been the most significant technological obstacle facing single-cell genome sequencing in the past decade. This bias refers to the fact that the amplification step is uneven, with different regions of a genome being copied different numbers of times. This imbalance complicates many downstream genomic analyses, including assembly of genomes from scratch and identifying DNA content variations among cells from the same individual.
University of California, San Diego: Un-junking Junk DNA
By Debra Kain
November 12, 2013
A study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shines a new light on molecular tools our cells use to govern regulated gene expression. The study will be published online in advance of print November 10 in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
“We uncovered a novel mechanism that allows proteins that direct pre-mRNA splicing – RNA-binding proteins – to induce a regulatory effect from greater distances than was thought possible,” said first author Michael T. Lovci, a biomedical sciences graduate student working in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the Stem Cell Research Program and Institute for Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego.
Researchers from California, Oregon, Singapore and Brazil made this finding while working toward an understanding of the most basic signals that direct cell function. According to Lovci, the work broadens the scope that future studies on the topic must consider. More importantly, it expands potential targets of rationally designed therapies which could correct molecular defects through antisense RNA oligonucleotides – small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific RNA targets to either block interactions with RNA-binding proteins and/or initiate degradation of the target RNA.
“This study provides answers for a decade-old question in biology,” explained principal investigator Gene W. Yeo, PhD, assistant professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, member of the Stem Cell Research Program and Institute for Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego, as well as with National University of Singapore. “When the sequence of the human genome just over a decade ago, we learned that less than 3 percent of the entire genome contains information that encodes for proteins. This posed a difficult problem for genome scientists – what is the other 97 percent doing?”
University of California, San Diego: New Therapeutic Target Identified for ALS and Frontotemporal Degeneration
By Debra Kain
November 08, 2013
A team of scientists led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have identified a novel therapeutic approach for the most frequent genetic cause of ALS, a disorder of the regions of the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement, and frontotemporal degeneration, the second most frequent dementia.
Published ahead of print in last week’s online edition of the journal PNAS, the study establishes using segments of genetic material called antisense oligonucleotides – ASOs – to block the buildup and selectively degrade the toxic RNA that contributes to the most common form of ALS, without affecting the normal RNA produced from the same gene.
The new approach may also have the potential to treat frontotemporal degeneration or frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a brain disorder characterized by changes in behavior and personality, language and motor skills that also causes degeneration of regions of the brain.
University of Alabama, Birmingham: Bariatric surgery safe for teens, new study finds
By Nicole Wyatt
Friday, November 08, 2013
The largest-ever multicenter, prospective study on the safety of bariatric surgery among adolescents found that population faces few short-term complications after undergoing such a procedure.
The study, recently published online in JAMA Pediatrics, is the first to provide data on this weight-loss option, which has become increasingly used as obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Initial data from the study suggests weight-loss surgery can be offered to adolescents with a reasonable expectation of short-term safety. Seventy-seven percent of study participants showed no post-procedure complications, and an additional 15 percent exhibited only minor complications, such as dehydration. Eight percent of the patients suffered major complications — some requiring reoperation. There were no deaths.
Auburn University: Auburn poultry scientists link enzyme level to green muscle disease
November 6, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – After more than a decade of research into an increasingly common and costly broiler condition known as green muscle disease, a team of poultry scientists at Auburn University has identified a blood enzyme that could give breeders a noninvasive tool to screen birds for susceptibility to the disease.
Elevated levels of the enzyme, creatine kinase, can signal muscle breakdown and damage. In humans, high levels of the enzyme in the blood can be indicators of heart attack, muscular dystrophy, acute renal failure and other serious muscle conditions. In broilers, they indicate the development of green muscle disease.
Technically called deep pectoral myopathy, green muscle disease is a degenerative condition of broiler chickens’ minor pectoral muscles, or tenders, that causes the muscle tissue to bruise. The discolored tissue is not discovered until processing and deboning, and then it must be trimmed and discarded, costing the U.S. poultry industry an estimated $50 million a year in losses.
Auburn University: Auburn, military researchers working to better treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, post-concussion syndrome
November 11, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University and military researchers are studying the structures and activity of the brains of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to better understand post-traumatic stress disorder and post-concussion syndrome.
The project brings together the Auburn University MRI Research Center, the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory in Ft. Rucker, Ala.
Faculty and graduate students in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Psychology are testing 160 soldiers – those diagnosed with PTSD, those diagnosed with PCS and healthy control soldiers. A percentage of the healthy control soldiers have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, but do not have PTSD or PCS.
University of Wisconsin: Impulsivity, rewards and Ritalin: monkey study shows tighter link
by David Tenenbaum
Nov. 13, 2013
Even as the rate of diagnosis has reached 11 percent among American children aged 4 to 17, neuroscientists are still trying to understand attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). One classic symptom is impulsivity — the tendency to act before thinking.
Scientifically, impulsivity can appear as a choice for a small but immediate reward over a larger one that requires some delay. Choosing between present and future rewards is a fundamental need in schooling, says Luis Populin, associate professor of neuroscience at UW-Madison. “If you say to an impulsive child, ‘Do your homework so you will get a good grade at the end of the quarter,’ that has less appeal than ‘Let's play baseball this afternoon instead of studying chemistry.’”
University of Wisconsin: Researcher says for 2-year-olds, touch screens may trump TV
Nov. 13, 2013
Smartphones and tablets may be better learning tools for toddlers younger than 2 1/2 years old than "Sesame Street" and other educational TV programs, according to a researcher in the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology.
"Some of our research is starting to show that even a young 2-year-old might be able to learn from interactive screens," says Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor of human development and family studies. "Just as 'Sesame Street' has closed education gaps for low-income children during the preschool years, we might be able to benefit even younger kids if we can use interactive media in the same way."
Kirkorian conducts eye-tracking research to understand how children learn from screen media. Her research often takes place in a small room with a TV on a desk with small cameras in front of the TV and pointed at the viewer. The cameras record reflections off the cornea and retina, which track and register where the eyes look on the screen.
University of Wisconsin: Lead Exposure Dooms Some Wisconsin Kids to Struggle in School
Madison, Wisconsin - Two studies funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program paint a grim reality for Wisconsin children exposed to lead before age 3.
The more recent, published in the November Annals of Epidemiology, reveals that children who had moderate lead exposure as toddlers scored significantly lower than non-exposed children on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam, given to all Wisconsin fourth graders.
It follows another study that showed that Milwaukee children exposed to lead were nearly three times as likely to be suspended from elementary school. Taken together, the studies suggest that disparities in lead exposure account for a significant part of the academic achievement gap.
University of Arkansas: U of A Professor’s Research Shows Social Positioning May Affect Student Learning
Article describes theory applied to English as a Second Language class
Thursday, November 07, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Teachers can help their students who are learning English as a second language by understanding how a process called social positioning affects them, University of Arkansas assistant professor Hayriye Kayi-Aydar writes in a paper published this fall in TESOL Quarterly.
“We all have assumptions about students,” Kayi-Aydar said. “We assign positions to students in our classrooms, but we need to let them have more influence over their positions.”
Social positioning theory says that people take on various positions within groups and assign positions to others, mostly through talking, according to research cited in Kayi-Aydar’s article. Social status, gender, race and culture may impact positioning, which may change over time as relationships between people evolve.
Positions, unlike roles such as Christian, woman, student or mother, are situation-specific, disputed, challenged, shifting and, therefore, dynamic, Kayi-Aydar said. For example, in a classroom, asking a student the question, “What do you think about this thesis statement?” is at the same time positioning that student as an “evaluator.” Some other possible positions that are constructed in and through talk are “contributor,” “initiator,” “interrupter” and “negotiator.”
University of California, San Diego: Race and Romance, Online
Study of internet dating suggests racial barriers can be overcome
By Inga Kiderra
November 04, 2013
Usually, research findings on the state of U.S. race relations are pretty bleak. But a study of online dating by UC San Diego sociologist Kevin Lewis suggests that racial barriers to romance are not as insurmountable as we might suppose.
Published Nov. 4 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “The Limits of Racial Prejudice” analyzes, over a two-and-a-half month period, the interaction patterns of 126,134 users in the United States of the popular dating site OkCupid.com.
The study results in a nutshell: Race still matters online. People still self-segregate as much as they do in face-to-face interactions; most, that is, still reach out to members of their own racial background. But people are more likely to reciprocate a cross-race overture than previous research would lead to us to expect. And – once they have replied to a suitor from a different race – people are then themselves more likely to cross racial lines and initiate interracial contact in the future.
Daily Mail (UK): Curled up remains of a little boy reveal he starved to death 3,500-years ago
- The stone-lined pit contained the bones of a boy as young as nine
- Tests on the child's crouched skeleton have revealed signs of malnutrition
- Grave indicates time when people switched from mass to individual burial
By Ellie Zolfagharifard
A farmer ploughing his field stumbled across the tragic remains of a child who may have starved to death 3,500 years ago.
The child's crouched skeleton was aged between nine and 12 and had not developed properly.
Tests on the skeleton, found in Monreith in April 2012, have revealed further signs of malnutrition.
Discovery News: King Tut Death by Chariot? Not So Fast
by Rossella Lorenzi
Nov 12, 2013 08:30 AM ET
King Tutankhamun’s death is a mystery which may never be solved, says a new study on the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
The study indirectly dismisses a recent theory which ascribed King Tut's demise to a horrific chariot accident. According to the claim, which was detailed on Sunday in a new British documentary, the high-speed chariot crash would have smashed the boy king's rib cage and many of his internal organs, including his heart.
"It is not the first time that this mode of death has been mentioned," Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, told Discovery News.
Hurriyet Daily News: Ancient corridor reveals Roman social life traces
IZMIR - Hürriyet Daily News
A 40-meter corridor, giving clues about Roman social life 2,000 years ago has been unearthed in the ancient city of Metropolis. Archaeologists believe these kinds of structures were used as service corridors by servants working in Roman baths. Footprints were also discovered in the area
Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Metropolis, situated in I.zmir, revealed a 40-meter corridor, giving clues about life 2,000 years ago.
Tehran Times (Iran): Archaeologists discover ruins of Elymais temple in southwestern Iran
TEHRAN -- A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists has unearthed ruins of an ancient temple in an Elymais site in the Kaleh Chendar region in southwestern Iran, the Iranian director of the team announced on Saturday.
Most parts of the structure have been built with large stones without mortar in form of a broad platform like those built at Persepolis, Jafar Mehrkian told the Persian service of CHN.
The structure also includes platforms made of brick, which were usually built in the ancient temples, he added.
BBC: Two bracelets found in Leicestershire Roman coffin
Two bracelets, believed to be "at least" 1,600 years old have been found in a Roman coffin.
The jet bracelets were found on Monday buried in silt inside the coffin which was discovered in a field in Witherley, Leicestershire last month.
Archaeologists from Warwickshire who are studying the find said one bracelet is in good condition, while the other needs "immediate conservation".
They said they have not ruled out the possibility of further finds.
io9: French Archaeologists Discover Beautifully Preserved Deformed Skull
Normally, intentionally elongated or flattened skulls are associated with ancient Mesoamerican cultures. But this exquisite specimen, which dates back some 1,500 years, was recently found at a dig in Alsace, France.
There's an industrial park in Pays de Sainte Odile, France, that's about to be developed, prompting archaeologists to perform a major search over 7.5 acres. It resulted in the discovery of a whopping number of artifacts and human and animal remains from Neolithic, Gallic, Gallo-Roman, and Merovingian societies. That's over 6,000 years worth of stuff.
The Guardian (UK): Archaeologists uncover secrets of Portus, once gateway to Rome
University of Southampton team finds evidence explaining why opulent Roman empire port was dismantled in 6th century
Tom Kington in Rome
Tuesday 12 November 2013 11.41 EST
British archeologists digging near Rome have built up an accurate picture of Portus, the once-mighty port that could host 350 ships at a time and kept the ravenous capital of the Roman empire supplied with grain, wine, oil, slaves and luxuries from around the world.
The team says it has also unravelled the mystery of how the site's luxurious palace and huge warehouse vanished almost overnight, leaving no trace of the port's scale and wealth.
Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company): Thousand-year old swordsman rises from the earth
Archaeology hobbyists were stunned when they unearthed a remarkable historical find from a field in Janakkala, southern Finland. The ancient grave site appeared to be that of an early crusader buried with two swords from different eras.
The well-preserved grave contained an uncharacteristically large 12th-century sword as well as what appeared to be a Viking-age blade that may have been part of a cremation ceremony.
The amateur historians were using a metal detector in a field in Hyvikkälä, Janakkala, which had showed signs of pre-historic settlement. After uncovering a few minor objects, the metal detector picked up a spear tip and an axe blade. After some digging, the group discovered a broken sword. At this point, the hobbyists broke off their work to alert the National Board of Antiquities (NBA).
Savannah Morning News: Divers recover piece of CSS Georgia
By Mary Carr Mayle
Posted: November 13, 2013 - 11:18pm
U.S. Navy divers successfully recovered a 64-square foot section of the Savannah-built Civil War ironclad warship CSS Georgia from the bottom of the Savannah River Tuesday evening.
The removal and preservation of the historic ship is part of the mitigation involved in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, which will deepen the Savannah River channel from its current 42 feet to 47 feet.
Tuesday’s recovery is part of an ongoing operation by the Navy, the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and underwater archeological teams.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
National Geographic: Multiple Ancient Hominids Found on Day 2 of Rising Star Expedition
Posted by Andrew Howley of NG Staff in Rising Star Expedition
on November 12, 2013
On the first day in the fossil chamber at the Rising Star Expedition outside of Johannesburg, Lee Berger’s team recovered a hominid mandible. Seeing other bones lying about, they went to bed (or sleeping bag, rather) with the thrill of knowing they were working on one of paleoanthropology’s most treasured finds: a partial hominid skeleton.
By lunchtime the next day, the experts cataloging, photographing, and examining the fossils in the tent clearly marked “SCIENCE,” were shaking their heads in disbelief and excitement as they realized that the bones clearly came from more than one individual. Whatever species is represented, this is among the rarest of finds.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
Iowa Farmer Today: Star light, star bright may not be meteorite
By Zoe Martin Iowa Farmer Today
November 14, 2013 7:00 am
IOWA CITY— Ray Anderson has seen thousands of strange-looking rocks famers suspected could be meteorites.
Only one was. The rest he calls “meteor-wrongs.”
“They’re not really uncommon, if you think about cosmic dust — about a shoebox of that falls per acre every year on earth,” explained Anderson, a retired professor of geophysics with the University of Iowa and Iowa Geological and Water Survey.
Bigger meteorites are much rarer — and finding them almost impossible — but Anderson said farmers have a sharp eye for unusual objects in their fields.
Science Magazine: Obama Names Energy Science Team
15 November 2013 3:15 pm
President Barack Obama has added two academic researchers to his new science team at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Obama yesterday announced his intention to nominate chemical engineer Franklin "Lynn" Orr, a professor and administrator at Stanford University in California, to fill the newly created position of undersecretary for science and energy. The same announcement tapped physicist Marc Kastner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge to lead DOE’s Office of Science, which manages a $4.6 billion research portfolio. Last week, the White House picked physicist Ellen Williams, chief scientist at energy giant BP and a former longtime professor at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, to run DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
If approved by the U.S. Senate, the trio will round out Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz’s leadership team for DOE’s civilian research programs, which include 10 national laboratories run by the Office of Science.
University of Iowa: UI physicists contribute to discovery of new particle
Group designed part of the Large Hadron Collider detector
By: Gary Galluzzo
2013.11.15 | 10:28 AM
The University of Iowa CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) research group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy recently originated and completed an analysis which led to the discovery of a new and unexpected particle in proton-proton collision data recorded by the CMS detector.
The group has worked on the CMS experiment for 20 years, and led the design and construction of part of the detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher, located at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The UI CMS group has 25 members, including faculty, research scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students. Members of the group who worked on this analysis include: professor Yasar Onel, associate professor Jane Nachtman, research scientist Kai Yi, research-affiliated scholar Elif Asli Albayrak, and graduate student Maksat Haytmyradov.
LiveScience: 'Rare' Atom Finding May Advance Quantum Computers
By Jesse Emspak, LiveScience Contributor
November 13, 2013 01:17pm ET
Quantum computers could crack codes and run more complex simulations than current machines, but actually building one is hard to do. The bits that store this complex data don't last long, because they are made of single atoms that get knocked around by stray electrons and photons in the environment.
Enter a team of physicists at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. They found a way to get the bits to last long enough to do computations with, using the magnetic properties of a rare earth element called holmium and the symmetry of platinum. The experiment, detailed in tomorrow's (Nov. 14) issue of the journal Nature, is an important step in creating quantum computers and making quantum memory useful.
What makes quantum computers powerful is the nature of the bit. Ordinary computers have bits that are 1 or 0, stored in the current in a circuit or the alignment of magnetic fields on a disk. Due to the weirdness of quantum physics, quantum bits, called qubits, can be both 0 and 1 at the same time. That means a quantum computer can do certain kinds of calculations much, much faster.
Science Crime Scenes
Seattle Times: Official helps bring peace to state’s unsettled remains
Human bones are uncovered at construction sites in Washington about 50 times a year. Guy Tasa, the state’s physical anthropologist, often has to figure out which Native American tribes to contact.
By Erik Lacitis
Seattle Times staff reporter
OLYMPIA — It is a Spartan setting, the lab where 120 cardboard filing boxes — each with human bones in them, many of them old Native American bones — fill the eight large metal lockers along the walls.
They are awaiting reburial, back to the land where they had spent all those years undisturbed.
In this rather worn building, one of those concrete government places waiting to be torn down, Guy Tasa is at work.
He is the state’s physical anthropologist, a job created in 2008 when the Legislature passed laws concerning the inadvertent discovery of human remains.
VietNamNet Bridge: Thieves break into Tomb of King Tu Duc, taking away valuable antiques
VietNamNet Bridge - Thieves broken into the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, in Xuan Thuy Ward, Hue City on the morning of November 8 and stole a lot of valuable antiquities, Mr. Mai Xuan Minh, Deputy Director of the Center for Conservation of Hue’s Monuments said.
At about 3 am on November 8, the tomb guards woke up to go to the toilet and discovered many antiquities in the Hoa Khiem palace, part of the Tu Duc Tomb, had being stolen. The stolen objects include two bronze lion’s whelps of 55 - 60cm long, 30cm high, weighed 40-50kg/unit and four ceramic ornamental jars of 40cm high.
The five stolen artifacts are very rare, dating back to the reign of Emperor Tu Duc.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Alabama, Birmingham: How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
By Kelli Hewett Taylor
Friday, November 15, 2013
Smartphones are vulnerable, but a majority of people fail to protect their mobile devices.
Cybersecurity expert Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s SECuRE and Trustworthy computing Lab (SECRET Lab), follows several simple steps to protect himself.
An assistant professor of Computer and Information Sciences, he says most people ignore the single best way to protect personal smartphones.
“Your smartphone is more vulnerable than any other electronic device,” Hasan said. “The simplest, most effective thing you can do is to set up a passcode, but people don’t usually want to bother with it.”
Science, Space, Health, Environment, and Energy Policy
Tuscaloosa News: Black Warrior River eroding shoreline at Moundville, endangering future archaeological finds
By Caroline Gazzara
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
The Black Warrior River once fueled the lives of the indigenous people of Moundville, but now the river is eroding the shoreline, threatening archaeological efforts to preserve the past.
Moundville, an archaeological park and museum in Hale County administered by the University of Alabama, was home to Native Americans of the Mississippian Era, between the 11th and 16th centuries. Their presence was marked by a series of 26 mounds.
Researchers with the university and the Army Corps of Engineers are trying to restore and protect the site from the damage of the Black Warrior River. Matthew Gage, the director of the Office of Archaeological Research, said the river has been slowly eroding the site, an ongoing problem since the 1990s.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of California, San Diego: Parents’ Use of Government Assistance Drives Use in Next Generation
By Inga Kiderra
November 14, 2013
Does the use of government assistance by parents make their children more likely to use welfare, too? Yes, suggests research coauthored by University of California, San Diego economist Gordon Dahl.
The question has been a difficult one and has fueled policy debates for decades. On the one hand, people have argued that “of course it’s cultural.” Kids learn from their elders in all sorts of ways. And it is not hard to imagine that they learn how to navigate the bureaucracy or that the family experience reduces stigma. On the other side, there has been the correlational argument: Poverty and ill health are the real drivers, and as poverty and ill health are inherited so too is the need for assistance.
Dahl’s work shows a causal component to intergenerational welfare use. But he is careful to note that it doesn’t mean there isn’t also a significant contribution from the cycle of poverty itself or other factors that the study design cannot capture.
University of California, San Diego: SDSC Researchers Recognized at White House Information Technology Event
Initiative focuses on collaborations in data-enabled science and engineering
By Jan Zverina
November 13, 2013
Projects from two “centers of excellence” at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego – the Center for Large-scale Data Systems research (CLDS) and the Predictive Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE) – were highlighted at a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy meeting focused on accelerating research, development, and collaborations in data-enabled science and engineering.
The event, called ‘Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships’, took place this week in Washington D.C. It was held by the Obama Administration’s Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program, which represents the information technology portfolios of 18 federal agencies.
Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, highlighted both SDSC projects that were selected to be part of the event. Kalil is also the Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation for the United States National Economic Council.
In addition, SDSC received recognition for two projects presented by the center and its partners in industry, government, and academia: Benchmarking of Big Data and Sustainable Communities.
The Gazette: University of Iowa professor helped draft new cholesterol guidelines
State-of-the-art testing will replace previous guidelines established 10 years ago
November 14, 2013
When new national guidelines on heart health and cholesterol were released this week, University of Iowa professor Jennifer Robinson felt a sense of accomplishment – and a little exhausted.
“We worked so hard,” said Robinson, an expert in epidemiology and cardiology. “It’s nice to have this out there for people to begin using.”
Robinson served as vice chair for the cholesterol guidelines expert panel convened in 2008 to review the previous recommendations, and she told The Gazette this week that said her group conducted a rigorous systematic review in updating the guidelines.
What they came up with moves away from using targets for lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels and instead looks at patient risk levels in advising the use of cholesterol-lower statin drugs. The change could double the number of people on the medication, and it could increase the dosing for some, according to Robinson.
University of Iowa: Mason visits White House to discuss higher-education strategies
Focus is on attracting talented students from low-income families
By: Stephen Pradarelli
2013.11.13 | 10:50 AM
University of Iowa President Sally Mason was one of six university presidents invited to the White House Tuesday to discuss strategies for helping more academically talented students from low-income families attend college.
Mason and the others met with Gene B. Sperling, assistant to the president on economic policy, who asked the presidents to share examples of programs that have succeeded in encouraging college enrollment among low-income students.
The UI offers an array of financial, academic, and social supports to help undergraduate students succeed in college regardless of their background or income, including financial aid and more than 1,500 scholarships based on academic merit and financial need.
Under Mason’s leadership, the UI’s allocation for undergraduate scholarships and grant money has more than doubled, from $26 million in FY08 to $53.9 million in FY14. Almost 72 percent of that money goes to high-achieving students who also demonstrate financial need.
Additionally, last year, about 20 percent of the UI’s undergraduate student population—about 4,300 students in all—were awarded federal Pell grants, which are based solely on financial need.
University of Alabama: UA Professor to Help Group Promote Computer-Science Education
November 12, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Jeff Gray, a University of Alabama associate professor of computer science, has been invited to serve on Code.org’s Education Advisory Council.
Code.org is a non-profit that aims to raise the awareness of the need for computer science education in kindergarten through 12th grade, asserting that computer science is a valuable skill for any career path. Founding donors for Code.org include Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, among a host of high-profile technology industry partners such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Code.org’s founder is technology entrepreneur and investor Hadi Partovi.
The ultimate goal of Code.org is to incorporate computer science into the core K-12 curriculum, alongside science courses like biology, chemistry and mathematics. Code.org also seeks to increase representation of female students and those from underrepresented minority populations.
University of California, San Diego: SDSC Uses Meteor Raspberry Pi Cluster to Teach Parallel Computing
Gaming competitions to be held at SC13
By Jan Zverina
November 12, 2013
Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, have built a Linux cluster using 16 Raspberry Pi computers as part of a program to teach children and adults the basics of parallel computing using a simple model that demonstrates how computers leverage their capacity when working together.
The system, named Meteor to complement Comet – a new supercomputer to be deployed in early 2015 as the result of a recent $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) – will be demonstrated at SC13, the annual conference for high-performance computing to be held November 18-22 in Denver, Colorado. SDSC staff will hold a friendly gaming competition using Meteor, which will be connected to a large tiled display wall of LCD panels during the show’s exhibit hours in the SDSC display space (booth #3313).
“The goal of Meteor is to educate kids and adults about parallel computing by providing an easy-to understand, tangible model of how computers can work together,” said Rick Wagner, SDSC’s manager for high-performance computing (HPC). “One way we achieve this is by using Meteor as a presentation tool for demonstrations, with all of its components laid out in front of the audience. More importantly, we present Meteor in a fun, informal learning environment where students can try their hands at gaming competition while learning about the benefits of parallel programming.”
“Like Comet, Meteor is all about high-performance computing for the 99 percent,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman. “It’s about increasing computing access on a broad scale to support data-enabled science and engineering across education as well as research.”
University of Alabama, Birmingham: UAB professor’s textbook still published after quarter of a century
By Marie Sutton
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In January 2014, McGraw-Hill will release the seventh edition of “Medical Ethics: Accounts of Ground-Breaking Cases,” a textbook by Gregory Pence, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy. This is the 25th year the text is being published, a feat in academic publishing.
The book, which was first published in 1990, includes an in-depth look at famous past medical ethics cases, such as those of Karen Quinlan, Terri Schiavo and Ana Pou. The latest edition contains new chapters on the Affordable Care Act and intersex and transgender persons, as well as enhancements in medicine. The text is used in undergraduate courses, medical and law schools, and graduate programs in public policy and health administration. It has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Serbo-Croatian.
Pence follows up on famous cases five, 10 and 20 years later, and it is this in-depth, case approach that has allowed the book to remain relevant, “and because their results so often surprise us,” he said.
Science Writing and Reporting
University of Arkansas: Physicist's Book 'Tales of the Quantum' to Be Published
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Oxford University Press will publish Emeritus Professor Art Hobson's forthcoming book Tales of the Quantum: Unraveling science's most fundamental theory.
In Hobson's view, fundamental quantum issues such as wave-particle duality, non-locality, and the problem of measurement (also known as Schrodinger's cat) are still considered paradoxical by some experts. This has led to attempts to re-interpret or re-formulate the theory, and also to some unfortunate quantum-inspired pseudoscience. Hobson argues that the theory is not paradoxical but merely unexpected and non-intuitive, and that quantum physics doesn't need fixing. The book's thesis is that quantum physics is experimentally correct and logically consistent as it stands. The so-called quantum paradoxes are not paradoxes but instead have rational, experimentally-verified explanations in terms of the standard quantum foundations. The time is ripe, in Hobson's view, to demonstrate that the quantum principles form a consistent and experimentally justified account of the behavior of matter and energy.
A secondary, broader, purpose of the book is to promote scientific literacy. Hobson, whose textbook Physics: Concepts and Connections is in its fifth edition and is used for scientific literacy courses on this and many other campuses, has maintained this goal throughout his professional life. Tales of the Quantum will be written in non-technical language, with no mathematics. It will explain the main concepts of quantum physics, and highlight the rational, evidence-based process of science, in a way that non-scientists and scientists alike can understand. The book is due to be completed in 2015.
University of California, San Diego: UC San Diego Shake Table, Robot Win Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science
By Ioana Patringenaru
November 14, 2013
The biggest outdoor shake table in the world and a robot designed to move along utility lines have received Best of What’s New awards from Popular Science, the world’s largest science and technology magazine. The two projects are featured in the magazine’s December issue, now on newsstands.
The Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table can handle structures weighing up to 2200 tons without height restrictions. The table’s powerful hydraulic actuators—piston-like devices—can move at up to six feet per second, creating realistic simulations of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded.
SkySweeper, designed in the Coordinated Robotics Lab at the University of California, San Diego, is a robot made of off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed with an inexpensive 3D printer. The prototype could be scaled up for less than $1,000, making it significantly more affordable than the two industrial robots currently used to inspect power lines.
“The Best of What’s New Awards is our magazine’s top honor, and the 100 awardees are selected from a pool of thousands,” said Cliff Ransom, executive editor of Popular Science. “Each winner is handpicked and revolutionary in its own way. Whether they’re poised to change the world or simply your living room, the Best of What’s New awardees challenge us to the see the future in a new light.”
Science is Cool
Iowa State University: Math + juggling = better problem-solving tools for ISU students
Posted Nov 14, 2013 8:00 am
AMES, Iowa – Steve Butler casually tosses a ball from his left hand to his right to demonstrate his point that anyone can juggle. With just one ball it’s easy, until he changes it up and adds a second and a third ball to the mix. Still, the assistant professor of mathematics at Iowa State University says the secret to juggling is simple – it’s all about patterns.
“Anyone can juggle,” Butler said. “There are certain juggling patterns that everyone has mastered, they just don’t realize it. They are so simple that people overlook them as juggling, but they are the basic building blocks to form more interesting patterns.”
Those patterns provide the foundation for Butler’s class this fall about the mathematics of juggling. The two topics have a lot in common because mathematics is the science of studying patterns and juggling is the art of controlling patterns, Butler said. The purpose of the class is to help students understand the different patterns involved in juggling using math.
University of California, San Diego: UC San Diego Computer Science Student Develops App for Balboa Park
By Doug Ramsey
November 12, 2013
Crowdsourcing, solar-powered sensors, a mobile app, and a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.
That may sound like the trappings of a hot new high-tech startup, but this is the Japanese Friendship Garden Haiku Hunt. It’s a 21st-century scavenger hunt for visitors of all ages who will be able to use their Android smart phones to enhance and enrich their experience when visiting the nearly 100-year-old gardens in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
“The Haiku Hunt will give visitors, including children, an exciting new way to visit the garden and learn about the Japanese garden elements,” said Luanne Kanzawa, Executive Director of the Japanese Friendship Garden. “We are hopeful that our supporters in San Diego will want to meet the challenge and go to the Kickstarter page set up by the Balboa Park Online Collaborative.”
University of California, San Diego: U.S. Media Consumption to Rise to 15.5 Hours a Day – Per Person – by 2015
New study issued by SDSC researcher with USC Marshall School of Business
By Jan Zverina
November 06, 2013
A new study by a researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, says that by 2015, the sum of media asked for and delivered to consumers on mobile devices and to their homes would take more than 15 hours a day to see or hear. That volume is equal to 6.9 million-million gigabytes of information, or a daily consumption of nine DVDs worth of data per person per day.
So when do we have time to sleep or work if we spend every waking minute being exposed to myriad media? The answer is that media delivered is not a measure of attention or comprehension of that media.
“One can actually have more than 24 hours in a media day,” explains James E. Short, the author of the latest “How Much Information?” report called “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers” and produced by the Institute for Communications Technology Management (CTM) at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “As we increase the number of simultaneous media streams going into the home, and increase our multi-tasking behaviors, a lot of content assumes the role of background or secondary content streams. And as we increase our level of multi-tasking, we have to expect that total hours will grow even as the total number of physical hours a viewer can consume media will remain roughly constant. Moreover, this increasing level of multi-tasking is creating competition between media streams to be the dominant stream at any one time.”