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 editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, 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 general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with competitive contests for the U.S. Senate and Governor. Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Daily Kos Election Outlook. Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as competitive states. Currently, the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, and the states with competitive races for Governor include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
This week's featured story comes from The Gazette.
Psychology behind the political ads
What ads say, what ads mean and how the messages stick with us
By Erin Jordan, The Gazette
Published: October 19 2014
CEDAR RAPIDS — Television these days is filled with drama, name-calling and emotional button-pushing.
And those are just the political ads.
The Gazette asked Iowa political scientists, communications experts and psychologists to analyze the tactics used in political ads that have been blistering the Eastern Iowa airwaves. Amid the heartfelt testimonials, mudslinging attacks and goofy spots with national actors are some new strategies for 2014.
“We break down ads looking at verbals, nonverbals and video production style,” explained Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. “Men and women running against each other have adapted styles that are very similar to one another.”
More stories after the jump.
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Discovery News: Is Fusion Energy Close To Becoming A Reality?
Lockheed Martin claims to have a fusion reactor built in the next 5 years. How would this technology work, and what would this mean for the world? Trace explains.
Georgia Tech: Technology and the future of online higher education
On Thursday, October 23, Georgia Tech hosted a roundtable discussion on technology's role in the future of online higher education. The event was hosted by the Office of the Provost and held at the Carnegie Corporation of New York in New York City.
Also see the related article under Science Education.
University of Iowa: Iowa Flood Center bridge sensor installation
Also see the related article under Geology.
Iowa State University: Fuayuan Jing Interview on the Biobased Foundry
Fuyuan Jing talks about the technology behind his startup company and explains how the Biobased Foundry established by the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals helped him plan and launch the company.
Also see the related article under Science Policy.
Iowa State University: ISU grad students are sustainably feeding the community
Members of the Sustainable Agriculture Student Association have spent the past two summers growing and cooking food for people in need. This year alone, they've grown several hundred pounds of food to give away to the Food at First food pantry and free meal program. They even dedicate one day a month to cook dinners, often using food they've grown right from their own garden. It all meets their mission of feeding people nutritious food in a sustainable way.
University of Masschusetts Medical School: UMMS Ebola Relief effort launched with $7.5M Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant
With a $7.5 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, UMass Medical School will lead a team of academic partners to provide comprehensive relief efforts in Liberia, bringing doctors, nurses, and training and medical supplies to the Ebola-stricken country.
More from UMass on Ebola in Liberia.
University of Massachusetts Medical School: Katherine Luzuriaga, MD, Associate Provost, Global Health
University of Massachusetts Medical School: Michael F. Collins, MD, Chancellor
For more, read UMMS Ebola Relief effort launched with $7.5M Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant
University of Michigan: Containing an epidemic: Ebola and engineering | MconneX | MichEpedia
Ebola isn't just a public health issue, it's an engineering problem, says Wallace Hopp, a professor of engineering and business at the University of Michigan. "The same principles we use to design safe aircraft and nuclear reactors can be used to design safe healthcare delivery systems and we need those right now," Hopp says.
Hopp, co-author of the book Hospital Operations, talks about the weaknesses in healthcare systems that Ebola has exposed, and how the field of reliability engineering can be applied to high-risk health situations. He describes reliability engineering relies in terms of Swiss cheese. It assumes that systems are made of layers with holes in them. The right kind of redundancy, he says, can reduce the likelihood that the holes will line up and cause system failures.
University of Michigan: Why Is Ebola Risk So Low in the United States?
University of Michigan School of Public Health experts explain why the risk of contracting Ebola in the United States is almost zero.
University of Michigan: Nanolobes | MconneX | MichEpedia
In designs that mimic the texture of starfish shells, Michigan engineers have had made curved ordered crystals. Such shapes are found readily in nature, but not in a lab. Crystals engineers typically make either have facets with flat surfaces and hard angles, or are smooth but lack a repeating molecular order. The researchers call them “nanolobes.”
Both the nanolobes’ shape and the way they’re made have promising applications. The geometry could potentially be useful to guide light in advanced LEDs, solar cells and nonreflective surfaces. A layer might help a material repel water or dirt. And the process used to manufacture them – organic vapor jet printing – might lend itself to 3D-printing medications that absorb better into the body and make personalized dosing possible. The principal investigator in this work is Max Shtein, associate professor of material science and engineering, macromolecular science engineering, chemical engineering and art and design.
Also see the related story under Chemistry.
NASA: Images from comet’s Mars flyby on This Week @NASA
Several Mars-based NASA spacecraft had prime viewing positions for comet Siding Spring’s October 19 close flyby of the Red Planet. Early images included a composite photo from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope that combined shots of Mars, the comet, and a star background to illustrate Siding Spring’s distance from Mars at closest approach. Also, images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera, which represent the highest-resolution views ever acquired of a comet that came from the Oort Cloud, at the outer fringe of the solar system. The comet flyby – only about 87,000 miles from Mars – was much closer than any other known comet flyby of a planet. Also, Partial solar eclipse, Space station spacewalk, Preparing to release Dragon, Cygnus launch update, Welding begins on SLS, Astronaut class visits Glenn and more!
Discovery News: A Monster Sunspot Is Coming!
Sunspots are becoming bigger and more numerous. What does all of this mean? Julian examines.
The Conversation: Historical comet-landing site is looking for a name
The Rosetta mission reaches a defining moment on Wednesday November 12, when its lander, Philae, is released. After about seven hours of descent, Philae will arrive on the surface of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But exactly where will it land?
As the first images of the comet became available back in June, the European Space Agency (ESA) started work on selecting a landing site. This has to be a trade-off between several factors: the topography of the site as well as the number and size of any boulders around it. Thermal properties of the site must also be considered. The site cannot be tucked away from sunlight, which will prevent the lander from charging its batteries (on the other hand, too much sunshine can damage sensitive instruments).
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Colorado: NASA’S MAVEN spacecraft watches passing comet and its effects at Mars
October 20, 2014
NASA’s newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars yesterday and is studying the flyby’s effects on the Red Planet’s atmosphere, according to University of Colorado Boulder Professor Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator on the mission.
The MAVEN, or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN spacecraft, reported back to Earth in good health after about three hours of precautions against a possible collision with high-velocity dust particles released by comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring. “We’re glad the spacecraft came through, we’re excited to complete our observations of how the comet affects Mars, and we’re eager to get to our primary science phase,” Jakosky said.
Comet Siding Spring hurtled past Mars at about 125,000 mph, coming within about 87,000 miles of the planet. That is equivalent to about one-third of the distance between Earth and Earth’s moon. The closest approach by the comet’s nucleus came at about 12:27 p.m. on Oct. 19. The period when dust from the comet was most likely to reach Mars and the orbits of spacecraft around Mars peaked about 100 minutes later.
Yale University: Study to explore how natural disasters transform cultures
October 24, 2014
In the future, climate scientists predict, not only will global warming accelerate, but there will be greater impacts from extreme events like droughts and floods — which in turn could lead to serious social consequences, such famine, displacement, and increased violence.
The Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University is launching a study to determine how cultures may have adapted to unpredictable natural hazards in the past; the work is supported by a four-year interdisciplinary behavioral science research grant from the National Science Foundation.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Colorado: New study pinpoints major sources of air pollutants from oil and gas operations in Utah
October 21, 2014
Oil and natural gas production fields can emit large amounts of air pollutants that affect climate and air quality—but tackling the issue has been difficult because little is known about what aspects of complex production operations leak what kinds of pollutants, and how much.
Now a study led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics sheds light on just that, pinpointing sources of airborne pollutants.
The results have important implications for mitigation strategies in the nation’s oil and natural gas production.
University of Georgia: UGA graduate student to use EPA fellowship to study fecal pathogens
October 24, 2014
According to the EPA, 60 percent of the rivers, lakes and streams in the U.S. are considered "impaired," which means they do not meet water-quality standards and are too polluted for swimming or other recreational activities, explained Oladeinde, who is studying environmental health science.
"The main reason for this is that these waters contain pathogen levels well above the EPA limit," he said. "And when you track back the probable source of these pathogens, it almost always leads to agriculture.
"Cow manure is rich in organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that pathogens can potentially use to survive for some time in the environment. And sunlight, while it has the ability to kill bacteria, can also break down nutrients into photoproducts that can stimulate bacteria growth."
University of Wisconsin: When the isthmus is an island: Madison’s hottest, and coldest, spots
By Kelly Aprill Tyrell
October 21, 2014
In a new study published this month in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers highlight the urban heat island effect in Madison: The city’s concentrated asphalt, brick and concrete lead to higher temperatures than its nonurban surroundings.
After collecting and analyzing more than two years of temperature and humidity data from a network of 151 sensors throughout the Madison region, they have found some of the area’s hottest, and coldest, spots.
The study was aimed at helping the Madison region plan for the future, to think about the impacts of the structures and local environments it creates. As more people across the globe choose to live in cities and as existing cities expand and grow — particularly the small and midsize ones like Madison — understanding how development impacts people and the environment is crucial.
University of Illinois: Flu at the zoo and other disasters: Experts help animal exhibitors prepare for the worst
Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
Here are three disaster scenarios for zoo or aquarium managers: One, a wildfire lunges towards your facility, threatening your staff and hundreds of zoo animals. Two, hurricane floodwaters pour into your basement, where more than 10,000 exotic fish and marine mammals live in giant tanks. Three, local poultry farmers report avian influenza (bird flu) in their chickens, a primary source of protein for your big cats.
What do you do?
These are among the many potential disasters the managers of zoos and aquariums ponder in their emergency preparedness drills and plans. But these stories are not just worst-case scenarios: The events described above actually happened, and the aftermath – often heroic, and sometimes tragic – depended in large part on the institutions’ preparedness training, planning and forethought in calmer times.
University of Illinois: Built-in-billboards: Male bluefin killifish signal different things with different fins
Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
They help fish swim, but fins also advertise a fish’s social standing and health. In a new study, researchers report that for the male bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei), each colorful fin presents its own messages to other fish.
Researchers report their findings in the journal Behavioral Ecology.
They’re called “bluefin” killifish, but the first thing University of Illinois animal biology professor Rebecca Fuller noticed while she was snorkeling in a Florida stream was the killifishes’ differently colored fins. In addition to having reflective skin, the males sometimes had red, yellow and/or black markings on their anal, caudal (tail) and dorsal fins.
University of Georgia: UGA researchers discover route for potential Chagas disease animal vaccine
October 23, 2014
Athens, Ga. - Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a new way to direct a vaccine to the parasite that causes Chagas disease, a leading cause of death among young to middle-age adults in areas of South America where it is endemic.
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which spreads via a subspecies of blood-feeding insects commonly known as "kissing bugs" because they tend to bite people on the face and lips. While the disease can progress slowly, chronic infection almost inevitably results in irreparable damage to heart and digestive system tissues.
"Chagas disease is incredibly understudied, because it is a disease of poverty," said Rick Tarleton, Distinguished Research Professor in the department of cellular biology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of a paper describing their work in Cell Host and Microbe. "I don't know if we will ever see a Chagas disease vaccine for humans, but our lab is working on a unique vaccine for animals that may ultimately protect people at greatest risk for exposure."
University of Georgia: $1.44 million NIH grant funds UGA study on link between epigenetics, cancer
October 22, 2014
Epigenetics—epi meaning ‘over' or ‘other' in Greek—is the study of changes in a gene's behavior that can be passed down without actually altering the genetic code. Like an airport traffic controller, the epigenome passes along instructions that change the way the gene is expressed by switching genes on and off.
For instance, twins have the same genetic makeup, but they do not always experience the same illnesses, such as asthma or a mental illness. This is due to epigenetics, often a result of environmental factors.
Zhong hopes to shed light on the role of epigenetic changes in illnesses, particularly cancer. One form of epigenetic change known as DNA methylation is particularly understudied in this area.
University of Illinois: Study: Many in U.S. have poor nutrition, with the disabled doing worst
Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
A new study finds that most U.S. adults fail to meet recommended daily levels of 10 key nutrients, and those with disabilities have even worse nutrition than average.
An estimated 10 to 25 percent of U.S. adults fit into one or more category of disability, from those who have difficulties with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and eating, to those who cannot use their legs or struggle to accomplish routine tasks, such as money management or household chores.
“We found that American people consume much lower amounts of nutrients than are recommended,” An said. “For example, only 11.3 percent of people meet the daily recommended intake of fiber. Only 4.7 percent of adults consume recommended amounts of potassium.”
A large majority of U.S. adults also fall short of recommended intakes of vitamin A, vitamin C , vitamin D, calcium and iron, An said. They also eat more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than recommended, he said.
University of Iowa: Ebola virus: Update for the University of Iowa community
By: Office of Strategic Communication
To date, there are no documented cases of Ebola in Iowa. While the risk of an Ebola case in Iowa City or on campus remains extremely low, staff members at Student Health and Wellness (SHW) and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are tracking the situation with daily updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
The UI Hospitals and Clinics is well equipped, and has implemented and tested strict safety protocols that are also used by SHW. Others are planning for general university operations in the remote case in which an Ebola diagnosis has an effect on our operations.
There are no university trips or courses planned in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. The CDC has issued a travel warning and is discouraging travel to these countries.
The University of Wisconsin tells a similar story in Although risk is low, UW-Madison exercises Ebola preparedness
With the first cases of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., questions have arisen regarding the risk to the campus community and the preparedness of the university should an event occur. For the past four months, UW-Madison and University Health Services (UHS) officials have actively planned for the possibility of an Ebola case on campus and monitored university international travel, while keeping in mind the diverse needs of the campus community.
“Ebola is extremely rare, and colleges and universities, including UW-Madison, are on the low end of risk,” says Craig Roberts, UHS epidemiologist. “However, as with any infectious disease, it’s absolutely necessary that we have emergency preparedness plans in place. We are fully prepared to deal with the Ebola virus, should a case arise.”
Iowa State University: Veterinary research on lambs leads to advances in treatments for respiratory disease in human infants
Posted Oct 22, 2014 2:44 pm
AMES, Iowa – Veterinary research involving lambs at Iowa State University is helping to advance new treatments to a common virus in humans that sometimes poses a serious threat to newborns.
Mark Ackermann, professor and interim chair of the department of veterinary clinical sciences at Iowa State University, leads the research, which tests experimental medications in lambs that have been infected with respiratory syncytial virus.
The virus infects the vast majority of humans, and it usually results in nothing more serious than cold symptoms in healthy adults. In infants, especially those born prematurely, however, the virus can lead to pneumonia and serious health complications, Ackermann said.
Lambs make a good model for studying the illness in humans for a few reasons, he said. Lambs are roughly the same size as human infants, and the virus replicates well in their respiratory systems. The virus also causes the same kind of damage to the bronchioles – or the tiny airways leading to the lungs – of lambs and infants.
University of Michigan: U-M chemist receives $2M to map disease-causing 'free radical' damage
October 22, 2014
Oxidative stress in our bodies is an unavoidable consequence of breathing and eating, but when it gets out of balance, it's implicated in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes and aging itself.
In an effort to pinpoint how and where oxidative damage begins, a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan is developing new technologies to map its effects on our cells.
Oxidative stress occurs in cells when "free radicals"—unstable, charged molecules of oxygen or nitrogen—latch on to proteins where they don't belong and inhibit the proteins' function. While our cells do have mechanisms to fight free radicals, they can't always keep up.
Michigan State University: Lessons from the ‘Spanish flu,’ nearly 100 years later
October 22, 2014
Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of “the mother of all pandemics” could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.
Siddharth Chandra, director of MSU’s Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU’s James Madison College, and Eva Kassens-Noor, assistant professor of urban and transport planning with a joint appointment in the Global Urban Studies Program, studied the evolution of the 1918 influenza pandemic, aka the “Spanish flu.” In 1918, the virus killed 50 million people worldwide, 10 to 20 million of whom were in India. In the United States alone, the Spanish flu claimed 675,000 lives in nine months.
“We need to pay more attention to public health,” Chandra said. “If we get another flu pandemic and it infects tens of millions in the U.S., killing half a million people, that’s going to be worse than anything that’s happened to us in at least the last 50-to-100 years.”
University of Illinois: Watching 3-D videos of trees helps people recover from stress, researchers say
Sharita Forrest, Education Editor
Writers, outdoor enthusiasts and leaf-peeping tourists have known for centuries that nature has restorative powers that reduce feelings of stress and promote a sense of tranquility.
While numerous studies have affirmed nature’s stress-reduction properties, scientists haven’t known the specific amount of exposure needed to induce these calming effects.
However, a study led by researchers at the University of Illinois is believed to be the first study to describe a dose-response curve derived from exposure to nature.
Researcher Bin Jiang and his colleagues found that viewing 3-D videos of residential streets with varying amounts of tree canopy significantly improved participants’ physiological and psychological recovery from a stressful experience.
University of Iowa: Eyes on the Storm
Brain research, neurosurgical care focus on seizures
By Jennifer Brown
A random, electrical “hiccup” from a few neurons triggers a chain reaction of uncontrolled electrical discharges that can spread throughout the brain, disrupting areas that control vital functions like moving, thinking, and breathing.
This is a brain caught in a seizure. When it happens, the body’s response can range from an almost imperceptible lapse of awareness to a dramatic loss of body control, including spasms and unconsciousness—frightening to witness, let alone experience. Yet even in a physically severe seizure, the brain generally self-corrects, eventually calming the electrical storm. The common advice for managing a seizure is to ensure the individual is safe and simply let the seizure run its course.
“Most people think of seizures as relatively benign,” says George Richerson (’87 MD/PhD), chair and department executive officer of neurology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “The seizure itself is not considered dangerous unless it progresses into status epilepticus—defined as a single prolonged seizure or frequent seizures without recovery in between—which can be deadly and requires urgent treatment.”
University of Michigan: Teens playing high-contact sports at risk for using drugs, alcohol
October 21, 2014
Teens who play sports like football, wrestling, hockey or lacrosse are more likely to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or marijuana than student athletes who play noncontact sports, according to a new University of Michigan study.
The findings show that participation in high-contact sports is associated with substance use during the past 30 days. Meanwhile, participating in noncontact sports, such as tennis, swimming, gymnastics and track, lessened the likelihood of substance use in the past month.
"Competitive sports participation can either inhibit or amplify substance use. It just depends upon which type of sport adolescents are involved with," said Philip Veliz, assistant research professor at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
The Daily Mail (UK): 3,000-year-old Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus that once held a mummy discovered in living room of Essex pensioner
By Claire Carter
- Experts stumbled across 6ft tall sarcophagus during routine valuation
- It held mummified body of a noblewoman in 1,000 BC and has hieroglyphics
- Sarcophagus was on display in woman's living room and is 3,000 years old
- Auctioneers described it as something you would see in 'the Addams family'
- It has been valued at £6,000 and is due to be sold at auction in November
- Experts say finding a privately owned sarcophagus is 'extremely rare'
LiveScience: Bronze Warrior Chariot Discovery Is 'Find of a Lifetime'
by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor
More than 2,000 years ago, pieces of an Iron Age chariot were burnt and buried, perhaps as a religious offering. Now, archaeologists have discovered the bronze remains of this sacrifice.
Digging near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, an archaeology team discovered a trove of bronze chariot fittings dating back to the second or third century B.C. The remains were discovered at the Burrough Hill Iron Age Hillfort, a fortified hilltop structure that was once surrounded by farms and settlements. Though humans lived in the area beginning around 4000 B.C., it was used most heavily between about 100 B.C. and A.D. 50, according to the University of Leicester.
University of Connecticut: UConn Archaeologist Discovers 17th-century Shipwreck
By: Sheila Foran
October 21, 2014
The Dutch ship Huis de Kreuningen went to her watery grave on March 3, 1677. But until a team led by University of Connecticut professor and maritime archaeologist Kroum Batchvarov found her this past summer in the waters of the southern Caribbean, no one knew precisely where that grave was.
Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology in UConn’s Department of Anthropology, is an internationally known researcher specializing in 17th-century ship building and maritime archaeology. He is leading a multi-phased investigation to find and study the remains of 16 vessels that were sunk in a fierce battle that took place in what is now known as Scarborough Harbour in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
The Guardian: Thaw reveals photographer’s notebook from Captain Scott’s Antarctic hut
Notebook belonging to George Murray Levick remarkably legible after conservation work, with find blamed on global warming
A photographer’s notebook lost for more than a century has washed out of the melting snow at Captain Scott’s hut in the Antarctic, the base for his fatal 1911 Terra Nova expedition. It was left behind when George Murray Levick, a photographer, surgeon and zoologist, returned safely with the surviving members of the party after Scott and two others had died in their tent on the Ross Ice Shelf in March 1912.
Levick had endured a horrific winter when he and five other members of the expedition spent months studying one of the largest penguin colonies in the world, only to find that early pack ice made it impossible for their ship to collect them. They survived the winter of 1912 in a cramped ice cave which they dug on Inexpressible Island, using blubber for food and fuel, and finally escaping by walking 200 miles back to Hut Point.
The University of Bristol (UK): Digging for Britain’s real-life war horses
20 October 2014
Archaeologists from the University of Bristol have teamed up with school children, veterans of modern conflict and other volunteers to uncover the history of Britain’s real-life war horses.
Digging War Horse is part of the First World War centenary celebrations and aims to discover how and where the huge number of horses and mules that hauled weaponry, stores and personnel to and from the front line were cared for.
The latest phase involved the excavation of a site at Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.
NOAA News: NOAA team discovers two vessels from WWII convoy battle off North Carolina
German U-boat 576 and freighter Bluefields found within 240 yards of one another
October 21, 2014
A team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Iowa: Archaeologists dig into hidden Native American history in Iowa
Volunteers are welcome to assist
By: Cindy Peterson
Uncovering a Meskwaki mystery
A quick glance across a field near South Amana reveals nothing remarkable—seemingly, the typical Iowa farm field. Upon closer inspection, archaeologists discerned that the property was the 1839–1843 home of about 500 Meskwaki people, including leaders of the Wacoshashe and Poweshiek tribes.
This fall, the Amana Colonies Land Use District, the Meskwaki Nation (Sac and Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa), and the University of Iowa’s Office of the State Archaeologist are partnering to archaeologically investigate this important site.
There are an estimated 15 large-sized historical Meskwaki villages in Iowa, but only four have been archaeologically verified. Very little is known about any of these sites. This endeavor is the second year of a phased approach to studying Meskwaki sites in Iowa. The goals of the project are to better understand what remains below ground here and recommend how to best manage the six-acre site.
University of Michigan: The new American family: How and why we've changed
October 20, 2014
Most young Americans plan to get married someday, but more than 40 percent of births now occur outside marriage, and the American family itself has become far more diverse and varied.
"I wouldn't say the Ozzie and Harriet family is headed towards extinction, but it's really a much much smaller slice of American life," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution and researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, who adds that the nation is still catching up to the new reality.
The new American family is not nearly as white as it used to be. In fact, white babies may already be in the minority. In addition, mixed-race couples have become far more common, and more gay couples have started families. Unmarried households headed by same-sex couples increased 80 percent in the 2010 Census from a decade earlier to almost 650,000, and an estimated 25 percent of those households are raising children.
National Geographic News: 45,000-Year-Old Bone Pinpoints Era of Human-Neanderthal Sex
DNA from an ancient man in Siberia shows how Stone Age people spread into Asia.
Published October 22, 2014
Unearthed by an ivory carver from a Siberian riverbank, a man's 45,000-year-old thigh bone reveals when people first mated with Neanderthals, an international genetics team reports Wednesday.
The Ust'-Ishim man's thigh bone is the oldest human bone found so far outside of Africa and the Middle East, according to the report in the journal Nature. It's nearly twice as old as the next oldest from a modern human, which comes from a boy who died elsewhere in Siberia some 24,000 years ago.
Nature (UK): Hobbit mystery endures a decade on
Four scientists recall the discovery of Homo floresiensis and discuss the still-open question of its place in human evolution.
On 27 October 2004, a team of scientists in Australia and Indonesia revealed the discovery of a 1-metre-tall, tiny-brained relative of modern humans. They described it in two Nature papers as a new species, Homo floresiensis. It had lived as recently as 18,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Flores.
For the tenth anniversary of that announcement, Nature brought together four scientists to remember the discovery, which continues to boggle minds. In particular, scientists still debate the evolutionary origins of the hobbit — as the find came to be known — and some even contend that it is a diseased Homo sapiens rather than a separate species.
"It's at the wrong place, at the wrong time. It looks completely odd," says Bert Roberts, a geologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, who helped to conceive the dig at Liang Bua cave, which began in 2001.
LiveScience via Yahoo! News South Africa: Myth Busted: Ancient Humans May Not Have Been Redheads
By Tanya Lewis
Ancient humans found with red hair weren't necessarily redheads in life, but may have acquired their carrot tops after death, a new study finds.
A team of researchers examined the processes that degrade locks, ranging from exposure to the sun's powerful rays or being eaten away by microbes. These processes, many of which begin while a person or animal is still alive, can leave hair with an unnatural, reddish hue.
The findings are not only important for archaeology, but also for conservation efforts and forensic investigations, according to the study published Oct. 21 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
University College Dublin (Ireland) via PhysOrg: Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture
Oct 21, 2014
By analysing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset of cheese-making among Central European Neolithic farmers.
The findings published online in the scientific journal Nature Communications (21 Oct) also suggest that major technological transitions in Central Europe between the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age were also associated with major changes in the genetics of these populations.
For the study, the international team of scientists examined nuclear ancient DNA extracted from thirteen individuals from burials from archaeological sites located in the Great Hungarian Plain, an area known to have been at the crossroads of major cultural transformations that shaped European prehistory. The skeletons sampled date from 5,700 BC (Early Neolithic) to 800 BC (Iron Age).
Science Magazine: Epic pre-Columbian voyage suggested by genes
By Andrew Lawler
23 October 2014
Polynesians from Easter Island and natives of South America met and mingled long before Europeans voyaged the Pacific, according to a new genetic study of living Easter Islanders. In this week’s issue of Current Biology, researchers argue that the genes point to contact between Native Americans and Easter Islanders before 1500 C.E., 3 centuries after Polynesians settled the island also known as Rapa Nui, famous for its massive stone statues. Although circumstantial evidence had hinted at such contact, this is the first direct human genetic evidence for it.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Florida: UF study: Megalodon shark became extinct 2.6 million years ago
October 22, 2014
A new University of Florida study dismisses claims that megalodon is still alive by determining a date of extinction for the largest predatory shark to ever live.
Researchers from UF and the University of Zurich hope the study appearing online today in the journal PLOS ONE showing the species became extinct 2.6 million years ago will clarify public confusion. The study may also one day help scientists better understand the potential widespread effects of losing the planet’s top predators, said lead author Catalina Pimiento.
“I was drawn to the study of Carcharocles megalodon’s extinction because it is fundamental to know when species became extinct to then begin to understand the causes and consequences of such an event,” said Pimiento, a doctoral candidate at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “I also think people who are interested in this animal deserve to know what the scientific evidence shows, especially following Discovery Channel specials that implied megalodon may still be alive.”
Michigan Tech: Stabilizing Geotechnical Assets: New Research Aims to Identify Potential Highway, Railroad Problems
By Kevin Hodur
October 21, 2014
While we’re able to enjoy timeless scenery as we travel in the United States, it’s important to realize that the soils and rocks forming the base of these transportation systems may not forever be stable.
In a new project led by Michigan Technological University, Thomas Oommen, assistant professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences, heads a team that is using advanced technology to develop a comprehensive management system to monitor our nation’s geotechnical assets—the ground that forms the base for the concrete, asphalt or steel that makes up our transportation system. Co-investigators include Colin Brooks, senior research scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI); Pasi Lautala, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; Stan Vitton, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Keith Cunningham, a research professor from the University of Alaska–Fairbanks.
The one common theme for US transportation infrastructure is that it is supported by the ground, constructed over it, through it or next to it. Scientists call these natural bases geotechnical assets. The problem, however, is that we do not have a comprehensive program in the US to monitor the geotechnical assets of our transportation corridors. That is, until now.
University of Iowa: Iowa Flood Center to install 50 new stream stage sensors statewide
Many sensors come at request of local citizens, governments, emergency managers
By: Brittany Borghi
Preparing Iowans statewide for potential floods is a huge task—one that is about to see a big expansion in existing technology.
This fall, the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will expand the IFC’s sensor network by installing 50 new stream stage sensors across the state, bringing the ability to better watch waterways to more communities.
The newest batch of sensors will result in a total of more than 200 IFC sensors across the state.
Southern Illinois University: Mine dust control research hits marketplace
by Tim Crosby
October 16, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A new technology for controlling dust in underground mining operations, developed by researchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has made its way into the marketplace.
The university recently awarded a sole source licensing agreement to Minerals Development Technologies Inc., a local startup company owned by several SIU employees. The company will pay the university a royalty based on each dust control system it sells to mining companies anywhere in the United States.
The technology, which utilizes strategically placed, custom-engineered water spray nozzle arrays to knock and pull coal dust out of the air, received a patent early this year, said Yoginder "Paul" Chugh, professor of mining and mineral resources engineering, and lead researcher on the technology.
University of Michigan: Auto companies continue to exceed fuel economy standards
October 22, 2014
In the three years since a new standard for gas mileage has been in effect, automakers have surpassed it each year, improving new-vehicle fuel economy by about a mile per gallon annually.
In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the final standard governing new-vehicle Corporate Average Fuel Economy for model years 2017-2025. Since then, CAFE performance has exceeded projected levels for 2012, 2013 and 2014—the three years the current standard has been in effect.
Achieved CAFE performance topped anticipated levels by 0.2 mpg for model year 2012, 0.1 mpg for model year 2013 and 0.2 mpg for model year 2014.
In addition, CAFE performance has consistently increased annually from model year 2008 through model year 2014, say Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute. Overall, fuel economy improved by 5.3 mpg over these seven model years, from 25.5 mpg to 30.8 mpg.
University of Massachusetts: Imaging Electric Charge Propagating Along Microbial Nanowires
UMass Amherst researchers resolve a major biological controversy
October 20, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. – The claim by microbiologist Derek Lovley and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires, called microbial nanowires, has been mired in controversy for a decade, but the researchers say a new collaborative study provides stronger evidence than ever to support their claims.
UMass Amherst physicists working with Lovley and colleagues report in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology that they’ve used a new imaging technique, electrostatic force microscopy (EFM), to resolve the biological debate with evidence from physics, showing that electric charges do indeed propagate along microbial nanowires just as they do in carbon nanotubes, a highly conductive man-made material.
Physicists Nikhil Malvankar and Sibel Ebru Yalcin, with physics professor Mark Tuominen, confirmed the discovery using EFM, a technique that can show how electrons move through materials. “When we injected electrons at one spot in the microbial nanowires, the whole filament lit up as the electrons propagated through the nanowire,” says Malvankar.
University of Michigan: Facetless crystals that mimic starfish shells could advance 3D-printing pills
October 20, 2014
In a design that mimics a hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells, University of Michigan engineers have made rounded crystals that have no facets.
"We call them nanolobes. They look like little hot air balloons that are rising from the surface," said Olga Shalev, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering who worked on the project.
Both the nanolobes' shape and the way they're made have promising applications, the researchers say. The geometry could potentially be useful to guide light in advanced LEDs, solar cells and nonreflective surfaces.
A layer might help a material repel water or dirt. And the process used to manufacture them—organic vapor jet printing—might lend itself to 3D-printing medications that absorb better into the body and make personalized dosing possible.
Science Crime Scenes
Iowa State University: No silver bullet: ISU study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder
Posted Oct 22, 2014 8:30 am
AMES, Iowa – News of a school shooting or a homicide involving a teenage suspect always leads to the question of why? It is human nature to want an explanation or someone to blame, and policymakers try to pinpoint a cause in an effort to prevent it from happening again. But too often, the speculation or rush to judgment clouds reality, said Matt DeLisi, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at Iowa State University.
“Anytime you have violence, such as a school shooting, people gravitate to single-item explanations that cite mental illness, guns, bullying or peer pressure,” DeLisi said. “All of these factors likely have an influence, but there’s really no silver bullet.”
Instead, DeLisi and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas found a handful of risk factors that are predictors, or distinguish homicide youth offenders from other serious offenders. Age was a factor, but those charged with murder also had a significantly lower IQ, higher exposure to violence, perceived that they lived in a violent or chaotic neighborhood, and were more likely to carry a gun. The study is published in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.
Wayne State University: Institute of Gerontology director briefs Congress on seniors and fraud
October 23, 2014
DETROIT – Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, will brief members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Oct. 23 about the susceptibility of older adults to financial exploitation and fraud. Lichtenberg studied the problem in 4,440 older adults and found that severe depression and low social-status fulfillment increased fraud by 226 percent. “Psychological vulnerability can impact older adults’ lives in serious ways,” he said. Lichtenberg will also moderate a panel assembled by Florida congressman Ted Deutch and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar to bring attention to the Seniors Fraud Prevention Bill they recently introduced in Congress. He will be joined by representatives from the telecommunications industry and law enforcement.
One out of 20 older adults in the United States will be a victim of financial exploitation this year, with average losses ranging from $79,000 to $186,000. Guilt, fear and embarrassment often inhibit victims from reporting the crime and prosecuting the criminal. Prevention is the preferred defense, beginning with ways to identify older adults, who are most at risk.
In response to this growing problem, Lichtenberg created a set of scales and assessments to uncover whether a person is unable to make sound, rational financial decisions and/or be subject to undue influence. Initial studies confirm that the Lichtenberg Financial Decision-Making Screening and Rating Scales reliably profile an older adult’s vulnerability to exploitation and ability to make significant financial decisions. “We aren’t trying to usurp a person’s independence,” Lichtenberg said. “We want to balance autonomy with protection and determine how best to educate and support older adults most at risk of being exploited.”
Science, Space, Health, Environment, and Energy Policy
University of Iowa: Cultivating a culture of safety
I-CASH director Brandi Janssen discusses the center's statewide partnerships to make farming safer
By: Debra Venzke
A lifelong Midwesterner, University of Iowa faculty member Brandi Janssen brings a unique blend of agriculture and anthropology to her new role as director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health ( I-CASH).
“I come from both an ag background and a social science background,” says Janssen, who grew up on a cattle farm in Missouri and has lived in Iowa for many years. She graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology, then went on the University of Iowa where she earned an Master of Arts and a doctorate in anthropology. She joined the UI College of Public Health as a clinical assistant professor of occupational and environmental health in May 2014.
The overarching goal of I-CASH is to make farms and farming safer, and much of Janssen and her colleagues’ work centers on prevention and education programs.
Iowa State University: Center for Biorenewable Chemicals helps Iowa State researchers launch startup companies
Posted Oct 20, 2014 2:21 pm
Fuyuan Jing reached for the top shelf of his university cubicle and pulled down a box of business cards. He picked out a slick and glossy card, the company logo printed in bright blue, yellow, orange, red and green.
That card identified Jing as president of VariFAS Biorenewables LLC.
Jing said his early stage startup company wouldn’t be possible without the Biobased Foundry established by the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State University.
University of Michigan: Measures to avoid hospital readmission often don't work
October 21, 2014
Health care interventions designed to keep patients from having to be readmitted to the hospital are proving unsuccessful, a researcher from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a colleague have found.
Further, Ariel Linden, adjunct associate professor in the School of Public Health's Department of Health Management and Policy, noted that another study just released reached a similar conclusion, suggesting that those who administer Medicare may want to take a look at policies, a recent one in particular.
At issue is a change in Medicare reimbursement policies that went into effect in 2013, which penalizes hospitals when patients are readmitted within 30 days for certain conditions by not paying hospitals for those readmissions.
Part of the reason for failure of the interventions could be the serious nature of the illnesses, the researchers said.
But what Linden and Butterworth offered as a more likely explanation for the readmissions is that interventions can only be successful when everyone on a patient's medical team is invested in making them work. At small community hospitals, physicians organizationally are rarely part of the hospital team.
University of Colorado: Astronaut Bruce McCandless to present scholarship award to CU-Boulder student
October 23, 2014
Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless will present University of Colorado Boulder senior Jeni Sorli with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a free public campus event on Thursday, Oct. 30.
The award ceremony will coincide with the presentation by McCandless, who will share his space shuttle experiences as a NASA astronaut. The lecture will be held at noon in the lobby of Andrews Hall Residential College, part of the Kittredge Community complex on the southeast edge of the CU-Boulder campus.
The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. There were 32 awards dispersed in 2014 through the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math. More than $3 million has been awarded in scholarships by the ASF to date.
University of Georgia: High school student tackles insect powerhouse through UGA Young Dawgs Program
October 22, 2014
Athens, Ga. - A recent study in the Journal of Insect Behavior by Andy Davis, a faculty member in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, found that horned passalus beetles can lift more than 300 times their own weight without breaking a sweat. Now, Davis has teamed up with Jake LeFeuvre, a senior from Oconee County High School, to find out how internal parasites influence the beetles' strength.
"These beetles frequently have internal parasites—tiny worms that live in their abdomens—and these appear to be non-lethal," Davis said. He thinks, however, that they may cause other problems for the beetles, such as sapping their energy. That is what he and LeFeuvre are trying to determine.
LeFeuvre is taking part in the UGA Young Dawgs Program, which pairs talented high school students with UGA faculty to provide early hands-on experience in a variety of fields, including ecology.
Georgia Tech: Technology provides higher education with a bright future
National event organized by Georgia Tech examined what’s next for online learning
October 24, 2014
The Georgia Institute of Technology organized a national media roundtable Thursday to discuss the current state of online learning in higher education and how technology will help shape its future.
Provost Rafael L. Bras hosted the event, “Technology and the Future of Online Higher Education,” at the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s headquarters in New York City.
There was universal agreement that technology maneuvered higher education to a new trajectory where teaching and learning are changing for the better. Panelists were optimistic about a new student-centered approach to higher education and agreed that massive open online courses (MOOCs) paved the way for that new path.
“What we’re talking about is bringing education to many more students,” Bras said.
University of Iowa: UI earns high marks for sustainability
UI was among 105 higher education institutions recognized
By: Sara Agnew
An association of colleges and universities working to create a sustainable future has given the University of Iowa high marks for its campus-wide sustainability achievements, especially in the areas of energy conservation, alternative transportation, and waste reduction.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently released its 2014 STARS Annual Review, a publication that highlights sustainability innovations and best practices from colleges and universities worldwide.
The UI was among 105 higher education institutions that earned a STARS rating, representing institutions in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland
University of Massachusetts: UMass Amherst Hosts Women in Engineering and Computing Career Day to Inspire Female High School Students
October 22, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. – More than 210 young women from 28 high schools in Massachusetts and the region will be at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to attend the annual Women in Engineering and Computing Career Day Conference on Oct. 27. The event is being held at the Campus Center Auditorium beginning at 9 a.m.
The program aims to inspire and encourage female high school students to pursue engineering or computer science in higher education and to choose it as a career path.
Students from Amherst, Springfield, Chicopee, Greenfield, Fitchburg, East Longmeadow, Groton and other Massachusetts schools will be in attendance along with teachers and guidance counselors.
Science Writing and Reporting
Iowa State University: Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist will speak at ISU about wolf reintroduction
Posted Oct 23, 2014 1:31 pm
Douglas Smith will present "Twenty Years of Yellowstone Wolves: Reintroduction to Recovery" at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Smith's talk is Iowa State's 50th Anniversary Paul L. Errington Memorial Lecture, and is free and open to the public.
Smith is a senior wildlife biologist with the National Park Service. He has been involved with wolves in Yellowstone since their reintroduction in 1995 after a 70-year absence. As project leader, Smith supervises research on ecosystem responses to the predator and educates people on wildlife conservation and endangered species preservation.
Once among the most numerous of North American predators, wolves were listed as endangered in the United States by the 1970s. Following years of debate and public comment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to reintroduce wolves to the park.
"Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone," which Smith co-authored, details the process of reintroducion and the effects of the wolves' return on the Yellowstone ecosystem. The wolves have not only survived, but they have completely changed the ecosystem, bringing a renewed degree of wildness to the national park.
Michigan State University: Some scientists share better than others
October 22, 2014
Some scientists share better than others. While astronomers and geneticists embrace the concept, the culture of ecology still has a ways to go.
Research by Michigan State University, published in the current issue of Bioscience, explores the paradox that although ecologists share findings via scientific journals, they do not share the data on which the studies are built, said Patricia Soranno, MSU fisheries and wildlife professor and co-author of the paper.
“One reason for not sharing data is the fear of being scooped by another scientist; but if all data are available, then everyone is on the same playing field, there are more people to collaborate with, and you will have a bigger impact on science,” said Soranno, an MSU AgBioResearch scientist. “Think of the advances being made in genomics, for example, due to the human genome project and the free-flowing findings and data. Genomics is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and it’s having an impact on many other fields as well.”
MSU has more on the study in Research Team: Studying Environmental Science
Science is Cool
The Guardian: What language tells us about the roots of the stone age diet
As a restaurant offering ‘paleo’ food opens in London, can linguistics shed any light on what our ancestors ate?
theguardian.com, Wednesday 22 October 2014 06.30 EDT
Next month, the UK’s first paleolithic restaurant will open in London. The paleo, stone-age or caveman diet has been around in various forms for decades. But it harks back to a much earlier time, when our eating habits were supposedly in line with our evolution, before agriculture came along and made us civilised but unhealthy.
One of the best TEDx talks I’ve watched is an efficient debunking of the stone-age diet by Christina Warriner. In short: the meat-heavy regimen is not at all how cavemen ate, and many so-called stone-age foods – like root vegetables – are in fact the product of intensive cultivation (wild carrots, for example, are generally tiny and full of toxins).
The Guardian: Tutankhamun does not deserve this 21st-century desecration
Computer-scan images of the ‘real’ boy pharaoh are crass and morbid. Archaeological techniques should be used to enhance our understanding of the past, not destroy its mysteries
Leave poor Tutankhamun alone. Hands off the boy king. Let him sleep his eternal sleep in the dignity of his golden mask.
If there really was a curse of the pharoahs, then scorpions and scarab beetles would surely be crawling right now into the pants of those responsible for archaeology’s latest attack on the dignity of the dead. A “virtual autopsy” of Tutankhamun has revealed – as one report has it – “The REAL face of King Tut”. That face turns out to be distinctly unhealthy looking, with bad teeth (shock) in the digitally constructed image of a young man whose congenital problems in a world without modern medicine probably decided his short life span. As the same headline continues, “Pharaoh had girlish hips, a club foot and buck teeth…”
The Pilot-Independent: Scandinavian Heritage: Vikings in the Turtle Mountains
by Arland O. Fiske
If anyone should seriously suggest that Norsemen once set up camp in North Dakota’s Turtle Mountains, the anticipated response would be, “You’ve got to be joking.” But before you draw your final conclusions, you should hear what John Molberg wrote in his little book entitled “Vikings!”
I’d heard about his discoveries and wanted to learn more about them. Molberg sent me a copy of his book and I found it interesting. I’m not an authority on geology and archaeology, but I’ve read too much about the Norsemen to hastily doubt their abilities.
What is it that Molberg claimed might have been? Simply this, that the 14th century Norsemen may have brought their boats to the Turtle Mountains on the North Dakota-Manitoba border.
BBC: Witch bottle found during Newark Civil War Centre dig
A suspected witch bottle has been unearthed by archaeologists during a dig at the site of the new Civil War Centre in Nottinghamshire.
The green bottle, which is about 15cm (5.9in) tall, was probably used in the 1700s to ward off evil spells cast by witches, researchers believe.
The witch bottles were usually filled with fingernails, hair and even urine.
The relic was found during a project to restore the Old Magnus Building for use as a museum and visitor centre.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
Michigan State University: Earth Stories at MSU Museum
October 24, 2014
The exhibition at the MSU Museum, Earth Stories, includes quilts made by artists from seven countries and 11 states in the U.S.
Exhibit organizer for Earth Stories, Mary Worrall, said the idea came about because the MSU Museum wanted to do a project with an organization called the Studio Art Quilt Associates. The artists in the association choose quilts as the means in which they create the art.
“A main point is that each piece is an artistic rendering of that person’s concept of what an earth story is, so a lot of them did choose things with local connections to them,” Worrall said.
Some of the different subjects that artists wanted to display with their earth story were alternative energy, hunger in Africa, Planned Parenthood and landfills.
Illinois State University: New exhibit, talk explore circus sideshows
October 20, 2014
From bearded ladies to conjoined twins, a new exhibit at Illinois State University’s Milner Library explores the spectacle of the circus sideshow, and the need of the “normal” to observe.
The new exhibit, One Of Us: Sideshows, Freaks and the Unexplained, runs from Monday, Oct. 27, to Friday, Dec. 12, in Milner Library’s Special Collections on the sixth floor.
To highlight the exhibit, Illinois State doctoral student Kate Browne – who studies disabled women’s life writing, circuses and sideshows – will give a talk titled What You Can Tell by Looking: Disability, Language, and the Power of Description at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, on the sixth floor of Milner Library. Though from our youth we are taught not to stare at those who are different, Browne will explore how not acknowledging bodily difference prevents adequate language practices to describe bodies.
The One Of Us exhibit, assembled by librarian Alexis Wolstein, looks at the long history of biological rarities and oddities that have commonly been thought of as “freaks of nature,” and the desire of the so-called “normal” audience to stare in awe at bodily differences.