Sunday, February 18, 2018

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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?

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

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


Image result for space heart

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


Image result for childrens books

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


Image result for darwin

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


Image result for mosquitoes

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.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gutter Drain Goalies


Image result for dirty storm drain

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

Some of you may be familiar with the Center For the Global Environment's/Metro WaterShed Partners storm drain protection program. If you don't see here. A recent story on NPR by Malaka Gharib is about a smaller but similar effort in Nigeria.

Chris Junior Anaekwe lives in the state of Anambra in southeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of the University of Nigeria and following that he was a participant in a "a one-year program...called the National Youth Service Course," where he "worked with the Ministry of Economic Development in Akwa Ibom state."  His work involved the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals." These "address issues like global poverty and inequality."

When Anaekwe returned home, "a filthy gutter full of bottles and cans and trash, all covered in black gunk" caught his attention. (This sounds somewhat all too familiar doesn't it?). The gutter is not small and surrounds a large market in the port city of Onitsha, a city noted for the amount of dust particles in the air which likely contribute to the "gunk." It is known as "the city with the world's worst air." Anaekwe was able to convince a small group of local boys, "ages 14 to 16," to remove this collection of materials pitched there by others. This was a personal effort and not officially connected to the UN SDGs.

Anaekwe describes his motivation for getting kids to do the work in these words. "They are the ones throwing the trash in the gutter. They live around the area. If outsiders see the locals throw trash in the gutter, then they're going to do it, too. I wanted the kids to be the ones to clean it up. I believe it will go a long way to teach them a lesson, that they are the protectors of their own environment."

This leads naturally to project evaluation even at this early stage. When asked about whether things have changed, Anaekwe said "There's kind of like this new rule that applies to everybody living within that area. Throw your trash in the dustbin yourself.  When you do that it reduces the rate of the gutter being filled up."

Gharib's story which includes an interview with Anaekwe, photos of him and some of the young men, as well as a picture of the gutter (Icky stuff) may be read in Gharib's story in Goats and Soda. Another story with an image of the market may be found in The Guardian.

By the way, Anaekwe became a viral sensation after a former colleague, Chimezie Anajama posted the story.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

March for Science 2018


Image result for march for science mn

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Culture
Sustainability.
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

March For Science 2018 is April 14 2018.

There are several in Minnesota, one of the reasons for the link to all the marches in states across the United States.

There is a lot of other information at the link. For information about the march see here where you can read a full list of the national partners. The list is both pleasingly large and pleasingly diverse. Take a look if you have time.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Oh...and Eat Ice-Cream.


Image result for ice cream

Environmental & Science Education
Death
Medicine
Health
Edward Hessler

Dr. Alistair McAlpine, a palliative pediatrician from Cape Town, South Africa asked his dying patients, all young children (ages 4-9), "what they had enjoyed about life and the people, places and things that suffused their lives with meaning."

HuffPost's Carol Kuruvilla reports the responses which McAlpine posted in a Twitter thread. They are deeply moving, touching and thoughtful.

If you are interested in hospice and palliative care, the website of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine has a rich array of resources and information. These are found in the links at the top of the page.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Ursula LeGuin


Image result for ocean

Environmental & Science Education
Culture
Edward Hessler

Writer Ursula LeGuin, best known for her Earth Sea book series, died January 22, 2018. She was 88.

New Yorker writer Julie Phillips wrote a great essay about her "subversive imagination. LeGuin defied all categorizations and was wonderfully "prickly" when it was called for.

I think I've noted these short essays by her but list them again. I first read them in Co-Ev Quarterly. They are all time favorites of mine.

Here is a poem by writer Naomi Novik for her.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Photographs from the Cockpit


Image result for airplane cockpit

Environmental & Science Education
Art and Environment
Earth Science
Culture
Edward Hessler

A  gallery of photographs taken from the cockpit of an airliner by Dutch airline pilot Christiaan van Heijst is found here.

They were featured on CNN a couple of days ago.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Poem


Image result for peanut

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

A poem about peanuts?  Of course and a beauty it is.

The author is June Jordan.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

State of the Union: Annotated STEM Edition


Image result for state of the union

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Sustainability
Culture
Edward Hessler

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has a long tradition of annotating the State of the Union address with respect to all the reports these bodies issue each year--a STEM review, if you will.

Because it was a long presentation (so I'm told; I was not interested in listening) this may be a slog but even if you do a quick scroll of the document it will provide an idea of the many, many intersections of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and daily and social life and culture.

Cheers on this cold morning, a slap in the face welcome to February!