Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Confess I Could Not But Wonder At It

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Microbiology
History of Science
Technology
Edward Hessler

An animated video by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck celebrates the life of a person who was passionately curious about something, the small business owner, a textile dealer turned part-time microscopist, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

His observations led to the publication of a letter in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1677.  Here is the title: "Observations, communicated to the publisher by Mr. Antony van Leewenhoek, in a dutch letter of the 9th Octob. 1676. here English'd: concerning little animals by him observed in rain-well-sea- and snow water; as also in water wherein pepper had lain infused."

In a letter written 12 June 1766 he wrote, "My work, which I've done for a long-time was not pursued to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge which I notice resides in me more than most other men."





Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Miaow! Listen Up!


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Environmental & Science Education
Behavior
STEM
Edward Hessler

Before you look at the video below you might want to take a wee bit of time to think about the reason cats miaow.

You could also jot down some ideas on how this might be studied and what evidence could be collected to provide a tentative answer to this question.

Here is a short BBC video where you can hear a variety of miaows as well as what an expert think are some of the reasons.

How good do you think the evidence and your reason?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


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Environmental & Science Education
Early Childhood
Education
Art and Environment
Culture
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

The USPS will release a stamp featuring Mr. Rogers and King Friday XIII on March 23, 2018. He, in his classic red cardigan and King Friday wearing his crown.

Of course, it is a forever stamp as it should be.

The release marks the occasion of "the original episode of the series in the U. S. in 1968."

Fifty years. Naw! Seems like yesterday.

In each episode, Mr. Rogers welcomed all of us with his spot-on theme song.

Some of Mr. Rogers thoughts about working with puppets.

h/t: NPR.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Is The Last Question?


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Environmental & Science Education
Culture
History of Science
Nature of Science
STEM
Edward Hessler

Each year, for the past twenty years, editor and publisher John Brockelman has been asking a new question and publishing the responses at The Edge.

This idea grew out of a series of conversation that Brockelman had with the late conceptual artist/philosopher James Lee Byars. Lee developed the idea into what was known asThe World Question Center. To arrive at an axiology of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

The Center was launched November 26 1968. The Edge was launched in 1996.

Brockelman claims he has run out of questions and so in celebration of the 50th anniversary "of 'The World Question Center,' and for the finale to the twenty years of Edge Questions, (Brockelman has) turned it over to the Edgies: 'Ask "The Last Question," your last question for which you will be remembered.'"

To learn more about The Edge, view the launch of The World Question Center, read all past questions and responses, and read the responses to this year's question see here. There are 14 pages of responses (in large type!) from a diverse group of scientists and others.

I've not read them all but these are a few that caught my eye: Noga Arika (Historian), Sabine Hossenfelder (Theoretical Physicist), Jerry Coyne (Evolutionary Biologist), Max Tegmark (Theoretical Physicist), Steven Pinker (Cognitive Psychologist), Alison Gopnik (Cognitive Psychologist), Rebecca Goldstein (Philosopher/Novelist), Douglas Rushkoff (Media Analyst) for starters.

What a fascinating journey Brockelman launched.

It would be interesting to inquire about the stability of these last questions in a decade or so.

Can't finish without asking you to think about what your last question would be. Me, I'm kind-of, sort-of thinking about mine. I'm not likely to be remembered for it!




Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Poem


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Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Today's well-known poem by Langston Hughes is always fresh and new. I've read it many times and suspect you have, too.

Here it is and here is a biography of the poet.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gutter Buddies


Image result for new orleans mardi gras

Environmental & Science Education
Pollution
Water & Watersheds
Solid Waste
Storm Drains
Edward Hessler

On February 8, I posted a piece about a gutter clean-up in Nigeria. Today, another report, this time on this side of the pond, New Orleans caught my eye.

Storm drain goalies...Gutter Goalies are everywhere and most of their stories do not ever get told or do they receive the thanks they should. For many I'd guess it is an act of kindness and service for which the thanks is in the doing. The pleasure of making streams and rivers just a little cleaner or making a street more pleasant.

I'd never thought about the refuse left from Mardi Gras, an event which is looming. "It is...a huge mess," according to an NPR report by Tegan Wendland, who focused on "the plastic beads, cups, and trinkets that fly from the floats."  Those that aren't caught become garbage in that instant, heading for a place commonly known as "away".

Wendland links to a report about cleaning the storm drains of a 5-block section of St. Charles which is on the main route. The yield was 93,000 pounds of plastic beads. That report noted that from September 26 2017 to January 23 2018 a staggering 7.2 million pounds of debris has been removed from storm drains in New Orleans.

Anticipating this year's Mardi Gras, the Department of Public Works, devised a solution that is likely to evolve over time: Gutter Buddies have been designed and are being installed.

You may see pictures of a street of strewn beads and a Gutter Buddy as well as read Wendland's report here.

People who participate in the Storm Drain Goalie program at CGEE send in post cards about their experience. Many of them include details of what was collected--kinds and heft (weight). These notes are a pleasure to read for they also include comments about the joy of doing this work.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018


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Environmental & Science Education
Culture
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

Three photographs to celebrate Valentine's Day.

The first, the Heart Nebula. is from the cosmos and is today's feature on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).  If you click today it will pop right-up. Tomorrow and thereafter you have to go to the archive to find it.

The Minnesota State Fair's Tunnel of Love is the oldest in the United States. It will be 103 years old when the Great Get Together opens in late summer. Another tunnel of love, the Glevan Tunnel of Love in the Ukraine is featured on today's Botany Photo of the Day (BPOD). The green is so lovely on this February day and I'd like to see it in all seasons.

And from the animal world, dragonflies to warm your Valentine's day.

And the Google Doodle as a lagniappe.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Newberry Medal and Caldecott Medal 2018


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Environmental & Science Education
Children
Literacy
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

The American Library Association announced the award of the Newberry Medal to Erin Entrada Kelly for her contribution to children's literature for Hello, Universe, and the Caldecott Medal to Matthew Cordell for Wolf in the Snow, for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Hello, Universe is illustrated by Isabel Roxas.

National Public Radio's essay by Colin Dwyer includes links to the video of the awards ceremony, a listing of all the awards, and some of the paintings from Cordell's book.

Take a look.

Darwin Day


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Environmental & Science Education
Biological Evolution
Biodiversity
STEM
History of Science
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

On this day in 1809 was born to Susannah Wedgwood Darwin and Robert Darwin, Charles Robert Darwin in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Two congressional resolutions mark this event in 2018, House Resolution 699 (Representative Jim Hines, D-CT) and Senate Resolution 374 (Senator Richard Blumenthal, D. CT).

Information about Darwin Day, an international event is found here.

Baba Brinkman tells us about the importance of Charles Darwin.

You've seen this Google Doodle from 2014 but it is worth watching again and maybe again.

At the top of this page you can see seven drawings--some dare to call them doodles; I call them art--by Darwin's children who used the reverse side of the original ms. as drawing paper. Click on each to embiggen.

PS--In its announcement of Darwin Day, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study quotes Darwin on children. How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

1/75 Minute's Worth of Science and Engineering


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Environmental & Science Education
Nature of Science
Art and Environment
STEM
Literacy
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

Science Action! is a Canadian video contest sponsored by the National Energy and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Each video is one-minute long.

The link will take you to the 75 remaining videos from which 25 will be chosen to go on to the next round (public voting). In the final round, 15 will be chosen (by a panel) for both a cash prize and to be featured in museum exhibits, science fairs and during Science Odyssey and Science Literacy Week. At least two are in French and one of them has subtitles.

You don't have to vote unless you want. These videos give you an idea of research at Canadian universities done by students in Canada. And some of the settings these researchers work in are silencing. Their glory rushes over and through you. On the other hand is a Ph.D. student out there surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes threatening to drain her of blood or to carry her away.

These videos celebrate science. They also provide a glimpse of the nature of diverse scientific, engineering and maths/computing studies by students, both undergraduates and graduate students.

h/t: Thanks for the lead by Botany Photo of the Day.