Thursday, April 9, 2020

Short Take on Germany's Coronvirus Infections

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

Scientists and social scientist trying to learn why there are differences between confirmed coronavirus infections and death rates. Some countries have larger gaps than others. 

This short summary idiccusses the case of Germany and is from Nature Briefing, April 6, 2020.

Germany has the fourth-highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 100,000. But its death rate is an order of magnitude  lower than those in nearby Italy and Spain. One reason is a quirk of fate: many of the first to be infected were young, healthy people who caught the virus in Austrian and Italian ski resorts. Germany has also tested many people with few or no symptoms, lowering the death rate on paper. And the country has a robust free public-health system with lots of intensive-care beds, a trusted government whose social-distancing guidelines are widely observed and an aggressive approach to early testing and treatment.

It is based on The New York Times article and Nature Briefing suggests it is a 10 min read. It is part of the NYT's coverage of thepandemic. Click on it and you can sign up for it (no subscription required)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A Message for Canadian Children from LEGO Justin Trudeau

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Children
Young Children
Early Childhood

This post accompanies the just published post on talking with young children about COVID-19. It is powerful.

A message (1 m 30 s) presented in March during a press conference by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau onCOFID-19.

h/t Molly

Talking About the Corona Virus with Young Children.

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Children
Early Childhood
Health
Education
Edward Hessler

Defending the Early Years (DEY) posted this video (10 m 20s) on talking with young children about the Coronavirus.

It is presented by Dr. Susan Linn and Audrey Duck.Both are well known among early childhood educators.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"Lucy's Baby"

Environmental & Science Educattion
STEM
Biological Evolution
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

Our most famous ancestor, Lucy, lived some 3.2 million years ago (mya).  She both walked upright , spent time in trees, too, and had a larger brain than chimpanzees,.

Ann Gibbons,, a contributing correspondent for the jounal Science, just published an essay on "Lucy's Baby."  In a new study, this ancient toddler was found to have brains "organized less like those of humans and more like those of chimps."

This has been a long standing question

To the paleoanthropologists doing the study their findings "suggest the brains of our ancestors expanded before they reorganized in the ways that let us engage in more complex mental behaviors such as making tools and developing language. The remains also suggest Lucy's species had a relatively long childhood--similar to modern humans--and that they would have needed parenting longer than their chimp relatives."

"The study is based on skulls of only two juveniles and five adults," so some caution is required. Gibbons explains how the scientists did the research, including how their age was determined. It includes the latest technology and old fashioned counting of growth lines in teeth to determine age (one child was 2.4 years old) and time. Gibbons notes that researcher Phillip Gunz "spent 7 years doing the 3D reconstruction of the skull of Dikkika  (a child) and six other adult and juvenile members of the species."

And of course Lucy got her name from a Beatles song.

The essay by Gibbons contains a nifty video (3m 43s) on this study.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Climate Science and COVID-19: Some Similarities

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Climate Change
Earth Systems
Earth Science
Sustainability
Edward Hessler

Benjamin Santer is an atmospheric scientist and a member of the Academy of Sciences, a select group of scientists, limited in membeaship. It is a very prestigious acknowlegment of his contributions to science.

The Wiki entry on Dr. Santer points out that, "on February 25, 2019 Santer et al. published the paper Celebrating the anniversary of three key events in climate change science in Nature Climate Change claiming to have reached the 5-sigma "gold standard level" of statistical proof of human influence in global climate change using three sets of satellite data." This is the direct quote.

Instead of "proof," I'd have used evidence but I'm not a member of NAS or a real scientist! 

Here is a short explanation of 5 sigma. 

Santer also writes a blog for Scientific American. This one, I think, is required reading. It is titled "How COVID-19 Is Like Climate Change." It is a powerful essay. You are likely to recall Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's one-liner: "Listen to the Science." And when you don't there are grim consequences. Climate science is based on well-established science as is how to respond to pandemics.


h/t Mark Seeley 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Discussion With Paleontologist Neil Shubin: A Podcast

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biological Evolution
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

Sean Carroll's relatively new podcast (#88) is a discussion with University of Chicago paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin.

Shubin is the co-discoverer of Tiktaalik roseae, an ancient fish midway in transition from sea to land--one of those transition fossils. Shubin wrote about this find and its significance in a book that became widely popular, Your Inner Fish. It was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences as the best science book of 2009 and was ultimately made into a PBS TV special.

Shubin and Carroll discuss Shubin's new book, Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA. The book covers a multibillion-year evolutionary history, one filled with twists and turns, trial and errot, accident and invention.

The podcast-- 1h 33m 12s-- may be heard here. It is l-o-n-g I admit but both Carroll and Shubin are not boring and good to listen to. Besides consider the period of time period being covered--"billions and billions" of years. It takes some time to cover that period.















Saturday, April 4, 2020

Looking So Very Good

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Culture
Miscellaneous

Incredibly moving photographs of us, humans, in some of our wondrous diversity

It is in the immortal words of Wavy Gravy, "You are there, I am here. Far out place to meet."

The images are a sample from British photographer Jimmy Nelson's Homage to Humanity.

There are more on his web page.


Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Greetings.

Today is the 94th day of the year. In the Twin Cities, the sun rose at 6:48 am and will set at 7:43 pm with 12 h 55 m 98 s of daylength, Chilly and rainy.


Today's poem is by John Koethe. It is long but a favorite.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Science Images for February from the Journal Nature

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

The photo team of the Brit scientific journal Nature pick February's sharpest science images, including a video..

Late, of course but ithis is like an old magazine to be thumbed through or....

Hope you like 'em.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Corona Virus Calendar of President Trump Comments

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

This video (1 m 22 s) has been making the rounds--Trump's statements on the Corona virus pandemic.

I like having them in one place rather than having to search for them.

This has not been updated to my knowledge, however it captures the early history.