Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Estimating the Carbon Footprint of a Story

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Climate Change
Sustainability
Sustainable Energy & Transportation
Edward Hessler

The Future Planet series produced by the BBC includes a carbon footprint that estimates the carbon emissions associated with producing the story.

The BBC has an article that describes how the figure is arrived at and why they take the time to make the estimate.

Read it here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Bird Girl

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Sustainability
Nature
Children
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

At the age of 17, a British teenage birdwathcher urged students to "tackle the environmental crisis" during remarks made upon receiving an honorary doctorate of science degree from the University of Bristol (UK). 

Mya-Rose Craig is the founder of Black2Nature (2016) an organization devoted to getting more Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people engaged with nature. As a British Bangladeshi birder she noticed that there was nobody like her in the countryside watching birds. She organized a nature camp for VME children and teen agers from inner city Bristol. when she was 13 years old. These have continued.

Ms. Craig was nominated by Professor Richard Pancost, a biogeochemist in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bristol. In the BBC report about the award Pancost said that "'to bestow a comparable honour on someone who is only 17 years dold is not a decision we take lightly'" and that "he felt 'proud' to see her receive the doctorate as she had created a 'phenomenal amount of positive change' for nature," Pancost continued by noting that "'she is a champion for diversity and equity in the environmental and conservation sector, challenging institutions but also creating and driving transformative projects like Black2Nature'."

The full report from the BBC includes photographs and additional links, including information about the nature camps and why Ms. Craig is getting teen-agers involved in bird-watching. After a gap year, Craig intends to study politics and international relations at university.




Monday, February 24, 2020

A Peril of Being a Homemade Astronaut

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Culture
Society
Earth Systems
Flat Earth
Edward Hessler

Quite a while ago, I posted about Mike (aka "Mad" Mike) Hughes. It seemed inevitable then that he would die pursuing his quest to prove, as he put it, that the planet was flat. 

It was announced today, February 23, 2020 that he was killed in an attempt to launch the home-made rocket he was riding. The cause is unknown (but see below) as well as is the altitude he achieved. In March 2018 Hughes reached an altitude of ~ 572 m (1875 feet) in the Mojave Desert.

The Wiki entry on Mike Hughes notes that at the time of his death, "he was 63 or 64 years old. During launch, the rocket's parachute, which was designed for landing, appeared to deploy early and detach from the craft. The launch event was being filmed for the Science Channel television series Homemade Astronauts, in which Hughes was to star."

There are many other ways, all far, far safer as well as easier, to show that the planet is roundish, e.g.., the way ships appear and disappear on the horizon, a flight in a jetliner, photographs taken by balloonists and astronauts, a lunar eclipse but for Hughes none of these were not convincing..

Here is one of many news reports which includes some film of the flight. 

And here is an interview on Tosh-O with Hughes about his quest..

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Feel I'm Bound to Go

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Nature
Edward Hessler

Here is a family that must have kept a mother busy when they were younger (and still does as they go to "class" each day.)

About these critters. 

This is an excellent video (7m 28 s) of a similar family hunting rabbits (snowshoe hares). It is coordinated, a team effort. The rule-of-thumb I've heard is that an adult requires a snowshoe hare a day to survive and thrive. Just think about the work involved in keeping the first family alive. Please read the description. "The actual kill happened in about 3 seconds and I had lowered the camera for a few seconds to watch, so I missed it."

h/t: Molly for the Manitoba video.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Keepers of the House

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

Neil Prose and Ray Barfield are pediatric doctors who work in a large medical center. In a chance observation and conversation they learned that there is more to hospital care than physicians. There is a invisible team who are participants in patient care that had long escaped their notice.

They write, "After finishing our respective rounds one afternoon, we noticed that Malcolm was deep in conversation with the parents of one of our very sick patients. We met him later in the hall, and the three of us began to talk. After Malcolm told us a bit about the concerns of our patient's family, he mentioned the ways he often supports and cares for the children being treated on our ward."

Malcolm went on to say that he didn't think of himself as a housekeeper, instead, he remarked, "I am the keeper of the house." 
Malcolm (and other housekeepers) had been largely unnoticed--Prose and Barfield described this as "our blindness"-- led them to form "a focus group to learn more about (what housekeepers do, in additon to cleaning 36 rooms a day). From that grew a film project that documented ways hospital housekeepers participate in patient care. Throughout this process, we quickly realized that they often interact with patients more than physicians do, and they do so with great compassion."  (material added)

"No matter where you work," the authors write, "you are a member of one or more teams that are larger than you imagine. Doctors like us--and our health care institutions--need to give keepers of the house, along with food service workers, patient transporters, and outer 'invisible' workers the respect they have long deserved."

The essay by Prose and Barfield adds muscle and bone to this brief introduction, includes a link to the film (14 m 32 s) and also reports the results of interviews with keepers of the house.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Scientific Publishing for the Younger Set

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Science Fairs
Children
Edward Hessler

Nature Index has an article about a "first of its kind peer-reviewed science journal for young investigators (as young as six years old)."

The Canadian Science Fair Journal "accepts submissions from students aged 18 and younger" and "aims to give greater visibility to their projects while connecting students with young scientists through it mentorship and peer-review program."

An interesting feature is publication help in the form of collaborative peer-review. "When students submit an article, they are paired with an undergraduate or graduate researcher whose area of study matches their article topic. Together, the student and their editor work to get the article ready for publication."

And it comes with the promise that “Every article that is submitted will ultimately get published, if that student is willing to make the effort to learn about how to properly write a science article.”

The link above describes some projects (e.g., better transport boxes for poultry chicks), and links to the journal where you can, learn much more, explore and sign-up for a monthly newsletter. The journal home page includes several publications from the journal. Of course, you will be interested in the staff and biographies/photographs are provided.

So far it is for Canadian students but it appears that they are thinking about expanding this to other countries, too.

Here is the link to the current issue.

A great idea and one I hope that will prove sustainable in future.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Peregrine Falcons

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biodiversity
Biological Evolution
Nature
Edward Hessler

In this 4 m 13 s video, KQED present their case: peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are fighter jets, basically.

Convinced?

By what evidence?

There is an accompanying essay on the University of California--Berkeley peregrine falcons and peregrine falcons in California.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Relating to Nature

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Sustainability
Biodiversity
Behavior
Society
Culture
Nature
Edward Hessler

Can ye no leave the bloody horse alone?--Horse Owner to James Herriott

I've been meaning to post this short clip from The Dodo (category Soulmates) for a while. It is a touching story about a wild fox, a woman and a fable for us. 

The fox and woman have something in common which I can express only in my terms since I'm unable to ask the fox.  Let me call it a condition of regard one for the other.

This is a time when the term "bonding" with nature is frequently used. It often includes disturbing it and in the case of critters invading their space as well as touching/petting them. I think this short video suggests another, more natural way. It is certainly one worth considering.

You may have read books by James Herriott (pen name for James Wight) about his years of veterinary practice in Yorkshire. The epigraph is from a story he told about his first year in Veterinary College when, on the third day, he attended his first class on animal husbandry. It concerned the fine points of a horse. To make it more interesting the professor included some practical points, too. The lecturer used a life-size picture to point out terms such as pastern, stifle, poll, coronet, snip.
While walking home that day Herriott noticed a coal cart and a horse. So he walked around the horse pointing out to himself what he had learned. When it was time to leave he thought he would make a gesture to the horse and patted him on the head. The horse immediately grabbed him by a shoulder (fortunately he was wearing a strong jacket) and lifted him from the ground. No matter his loud pleadings, the horse would not release him. Others tried to help but the horse was having none of that. The coal man returned, yelled and finally dug his thumb deep into the horse's belly and Herriott was dropped.

The owner was very annoyed with Herriott. He also said something else, too, which Herriott heard as he rounded a corner. This could have been used as the epigraph, too. "Dinna meddle wi' things ye ken nuthin' aboot!"

Monday, February 17, 2020

Camouflage!

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Nature
Biodiversity
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

Camouflage as practiced by squid in the PBS video (3m 17s)