Monday, May 31, 2021

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Art & Environment, Children, Early Childhood

Ed Hessler 

By now everyone knows that picture book author Eric Carle, died in May 2021, the 23rd. He was 91 years old.

The book most linked to him is The Very Hungry Caterpillar although he wrote some 70 books for kids.

I never knew this story about the stomachache scene in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Here is a narrated animated film (6 m 47s). The colors are washed out as you can see from the Amazon link, so if the book is available in your home take a look. If you have a kid nearby include the youngster in the many pleasures of this book. In 221 words and a flurry of color, a captivating story is told.

If you would like to read more I recommend Neda Ulaby's remembrance of Eric Carle. Loving and lovely with some links to interviews Carle did with NPR, comments on his early life, observations about the book by educators, and a note on his love of color (about the Impressionists he said: "Color, color, color!").

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Decoding Science: A New Resource

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Society, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has a freely available, on-line resource titled Decoding Science: How Does Science Know What it Knows?

It is a very rich site introduced by a short video (1m 37s) and allows you to go deeper, e.g., science as a process, science changes what we know (You want answers. Science asks questions.), what to do when scientific studies disagree, the importance of seeking stronger evidence, the use of science in decision making, reasons why we can trust the information provided by scientific research, stories from real-life scientists. There is even a test on your knowledge about how science works.

The site is lively and the layout, design, and illustrations are pleasing, making the site useful. 

Give it a go.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Artificial Skin

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Technology

Ed Hessler

Skin. A remarkable organ. One way we interact with the world--holding objects, determine sensations such as temperature, texture, vibration, and pressure. It protects our insides from the outside and regenerates constantly.

And now artificial skin. It can stretch, carry electricity, and self-heal. One use of its ability to conduct electricity is in prosthetics (sense of touch) and in improving the capability of robotics. These electronics are also biodegradable.

In this film (8m), Stanford University's Zhenan Bao and her research group--the Bao Group--provide us an introduction to this new technology and some of its uses. Her link also includes a short video about her in the Women in Science series.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education, Poetry, Art and Environment

Ed Hessler

Good morning from the Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline University on May 28, 2021. It is the 148th day of the year or to put it another way  21 weeks and a day to date. The result, no matter how it is tallied, is that 40.55% of the year has passed. Just two days ago, the 146th day of the  year, Teresa Hanafin (Boston Globe) marked that date this way: 232 mass shootings so far this year.

It is a day for meat eaters for today is celebrated National Brisket Day. Foodimentary provides photos, facts and some food history.

Great quote, two actually. Think it over, think it under.--A.A. Milne

 I am never easy when I am handling a thought, till I have bounded it North, and bounded it South, and bounded it East, and bounded it West.--Abraham Lincoln

Today's poem is by Wang Wei.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Unmask Kids?


Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Schooling, Education, Health, Medicine 

Ed Hessler

Science writer Faye Flam wrote a thoughtful opinion piece for Bloomberg on letting kids doff masks as well as vaccinated people. Below are her reasons.

--For kids, the disease is comparable to influenza.

--It's time to stop asking America's kids to make sacrifices to protect older people now that all adults are eligible for the vaccines.

--One starting place is letting kids unmask, at least outside.

--The better way to protect kids is for adults to get vaccinated. It is past time for older Americans to their part for the kids. Israel vaccinated more than 60% of adults. Cases dropped by 99% across all age groups. The virus simply wasn't in wide circulation. Vaccination also reduces the odds of transmission.

--I repeat myself with this but the point is important. High vaccination rates will reduce everyone's risk by reducing the amount of virus circulating. (my emphaisis)

And finally I want to close with her comments on evidence. "The only restrictions on kids should be ones that protect kids--and there should be at least some minimal amount of evidence that such restrictions would help. Children have already been put through far too much in the name of protecting adults."

Flam's essay will likely stir the pot on this question and reminds me that the best we can do is make informed judgments based on the evidence we have. There is no certainty.

Her article was reproduced in the Star Tribune and should be read in full.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Brain Implants and Who We Become After

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Brain, Ethics

Ed Hessler

It turns out that implanted neural devices can influence a person's identity.

In The New Yorker article by Christine Kenneally, the experience of two patients is told. One is discussed in detail and tells the story of a patient who underwent neurosurgery to have a silicone strip...studded with sixteen electrodes...:wires from then" were placed under her skin, "behind her ear and down her neck to connect with a device...implanted in her chest. This device would receive the data recording (her) neural activity and transmit it wirelessly to an external processing unit." Signals from this device would alert the patient to an imminent episode (providing a 15 minute window).

The simple goal of improving her life seems simple but "the effect," made her "feel like an entirely new person. She had never had a self that she could trust before." She described this experience to Kenneally. "'We were calibrated together. We became one.'" Unfortunately three years after the surgery this ended. The company ran "out of funding and ceased operations." The device had to be removed.

The device had done its job well, telling her "'what I needed to know.' If the warning light came on, she took anti-seizure medication; the algorithm's predictive power was such that there was enough time for the medication to be absorbed. As a result, she didn't have seizures."

Two years later, philosopher Frederic Gilbert (University of Tasmania) called her and ultimately went to interview her. Based on interviews with her and other patients, Gilbert has come to believe that brain-computer interfaces "work together," creating "a new person...--a de-novo identity, a symbiosis of machine and mind."

Gilbert has also talked with other patients in the trial who did not love "their device" in the same way, in fact in one patient reported on in the essay, "her antipathy to her device was almost instant." She hated everything about it: the implants-brain and chest, carrying "the external unit around," and "worst of all, the unit's warning light (which) flashed at her all the time." She thought it was faulty but "it was correctly prediciing as many as a hundret tiny seizures a day. Neither she nor her doctors had had any idea that she was so affected." She "sank again into depression" and "when it was finally removed, she was enormously relieved."

Gilbert says "that we are only just starting to understand how a person's selfhood can affect--and be affected by--an intelligent neural device." These devices affect patients and are affected by the patient." After a period of acclimitization the unit begins to learn, allowing "the fine-tune the algorithm to the unique electrical signatures of "the patient's brain, ' reading the interface to move from observation to prediction.

Kenneally's essay is fine-grained, nuanced and rich with details about the patients, the use of neural implants, the brain, Gilbert's research, including his personal history, and more about invasive brain technologies and for these reasons you must read the article which is endlessly fascinating. There is a discussion of Gilbert's worries such as "the medical-device industry" having "too much influence on how trials have been run.. "All trials should express interest in the autonomy of a patient after implantation."  And, obviously, patients should be helped in understanding the risks involved.

The patient who loved the device and the person she became as a result notes that "'losing (the device) was terrible, but, looking back on it now, what I've gained from it is valuable. Would I have another one? Yes, I would love it.'"

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Saving the Slow Loris by Constructing Bridges

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Nature, Wildlife, Endangered Species

Ed Hessler

I've posted about a conservation effort to help the slow loris, an endangered species but this BBC film (3m 14s) provides a clearer and more extensive look at the network of mid-air walkways designed to help them move between treetops, across land that has been cleared for growing crops.

And the farmers like the idea, too. The walkways make farm life a little easier. 

Lorises are the only venomous primate. Here is information about the venom and how it is used in defense. They have extra vertebrae and this gives the stripe on their book a snake-like movement which may serve as a warning to predators.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Giraffes are Endangered Too

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Wildlife, Biodiversity, Society, Biological Evolution, Endangered Species

Ed Hessler

Giraffes are endangered although many of us don't know that. That they are doesn't get a lot of  attention. On the other hand, they receive a lot of attention in popular culture.

The Atlantic Science writer Ed Yong tells why we must enlarge our attention to include "our reverence for these beloved animals into tangible conservation."

Here you will find a video (6m 01s) and Yong's Atlantic story, "The Last Giraffes on Earth."

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Misconceptions: Climate Models

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Global Climate Change, Sustainability

Ed Hessler 

In the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) series, "Misconception of the Month," Ann Reid, Executive Director of NCSE talked with John Cook, Research Fellow at the Climate Change Communication Hub at Monash University In Melbourne, Australia about how best to address the misconceptions surrounding climate models, and climate change generally.

Here is the conversation in video format (20m 02s).  A previous entry in this series on popular misconceptions about models is linked and is worth taking a look at as well.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education, Poetry, Art and Environment

Ed Hessler

Good morning from the Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline University on May 21, 2021, the 141st day of the year which is equal to 203,040 minutes (38.63% of the year). Sunrise is at 5:32 am and sunset is at 8:42 pm, providing us 15h 04m 53s of sunlight.

For some facts and food history on National Strawberries & Cream day as well as a mouth-watering picture see Foodimentary

Quote. The vagueness of the concept of (nature) allows us to believe that humans exist outside it. And if we can imagine that nature is over there, far away, we can also imagine that the damage we are doing to it is sad but not dangerous.--Michelle Nijhuis. Yale Environment 360

A couple of comments about today's poem. I posted a poem last week by the same poet and I should have published it earlier when spring was springing but take refuge in a greeting Badger Bob Johnson, the late Wisconsin hockey coach, who, no matter the day of the year, would say: "It is a great day for hockey." This is true for poetry and poems. It is a great day for this poem no matter how late in the season. For information about the poet see here.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

First Shots: Young US Teens React to Their First Jab

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Society

Ed Hessler

Here, in this short BBC video (2m 44s), adolescents at a site in Fairfax, Virginia, queued up to be the first of their peer group to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine. They tell us some of their thoughts.

Two of them are great spokesmen for why you should get vaccinated.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Tree Talk

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Sustainability, Nature, Biodiversity, Biological Evolution 

Ed Hessler

In some sense, trees are "social creatures," according to Dr. Suzanne Simard, University of British Columbia. 

Fresh Air's guest host, Dave Davies talked with her recently and you may listen to the entire interview (35-minutes) or read highlights.

Trees share information chemically, "linked to neighboring trees by an underground network of fungi that resembles the neural networks in the brain. In one study, Simaard watched as a Douglas fir that had been injured by insects appeared to send chemical warning signals to a pnderosa pine growing nearby. The pine tree then produced defense enzymes to protect against the insect."

Simard told Davies, "'This was a breakthrough, information that actually is important to the health of the whole forest," was being shared.

And there is more going on. "(T)rees have been known to share nutrients at critical times to keep each other healthy. She says the trees in a forest are often linked to each other via an older tree she calls a 'mother' or 'hub' tree."

Recently, Simard's research became more personal "when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During the course of her treatment, she learned that one of the chemotherapy medicines she relied on was actually derived from a substance some trees make for their own personal defense. She writes about her research as well as her "personal story in the new memoir Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.

The highlights of the interview include working for a logging company, career as a young forester, on the critical relationship between trees and fungi, nutrient sharing among trees, the role breast cancer has had in shaping her research, the importance to the forest of letting an old tree die on its own rather than salvage logging, at least right away.

Fungi also play a crucial role but different role in shaping grassland communities, especially in native plant restoration. In this research published in 2018. In the abstract the authors note that "Ecological restoration efforts can increase the diversity and function of degraded areas. However, current restoration practices cannot typically reestablish the full diversity and species composition of remnant plant communities. We present evidence that restoration quality can be improved by reintroducing key organisms from the native plant microbiome."

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology: One Million Recordings of Animal Sounds

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Wildlife, Biodiversity, Behavior

Ed Hessler

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology reports that "on April 26, 2021, Christopher McPherson recorded a Blue-headed Vireo, marking the one millionth audio recording in the Macaulay Library. This is a 92 year effort involving "20,000 recordists and birdwatcher who have shared their audio recordings of birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects."

The announcement of this remarkable achievement of sound recordings includes a short interview with Mike Webster, director of the library and a tour of the library's greatest hits "from the first recording to extinct species, from bizarre sounds to musical sounds and everything inbetween."

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Return of the Largest Brood of Periodical Cicadas

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Biological Evolution, Nature, Wildlife

Ed Hessler

This is the big year for a brood of periodical cicadas known as Brood X, the largest of 12 broods of 17-year cicadas, which emerge in different years.

Consider a life spent underground for 17-years and then tunneling to the surface, becoming adults, mating, laying eggs and then to die in a few weeks.  The next generation waiting underground for years before emerging.

CBS's Sunday Morning's Chip Reid did a story (4m 52s) on their return which includes, of course, eating them in cookies.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Alfred Wegener: An Animation

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth Science, Earth Systems, Geology, Nature of Science, History of Science

Some recent work at CGEE included an animation of Pangea and the construction of the Gulf Coast, particularly the Mississippi River delta.

It reminded of the life of Alfred Wegener who was the first to propose the idea, known then as continental drift, today as plate tectonics, based on his observations of how the distant continents fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Scoffed at and belittled by geologists even though Wegener's explanation made clear why widely separated continents have the same fossils. Interestingly, botanists, thought his ideas had some merit. There is a wonderful short animated film made with paper puppets on his life. 

The video (7m 37s), narrated by experts on both Wegener's life and the earth sciences, may be seen here.

I'm quite certain I posted this in the past but it is well worth viewing again.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education, Poetry, Art and Environment

Ed Hessler 

Good morning this May 14th, the 134th day of the year from the Center for Global Environmental Education (CGEE), Hamline University.  The clock keeps ticking and 3211 hours have passed or 36.71% of 2021. Sunrise is at 5:44 am and sunset is at 8:34 pm giving us 14h 49m 53s of daylight.

It is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. Foodimentary has the facts, figures, photographs and food history to help celebrate it.

Quote: If someone says that he can think or talk about quantum physics without becoming dizzy, that shows only that he has not understood anything whatever about it.--Murray Gell-Mann

Today's poem * is by John Koethe

* Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019) was a theoretical physicist who was awarded a Nobel prize for codifying the fundamental particles.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Coral Reef Restoration: Indonesia

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Sustainability, Global Climate Change, Earth Systems, Earth & Space Science

Ed Hessler

The BBC's David Shukman speaks to marine scientists about the efforts at coral reef restoration in Indonesia can protect them from climate change, a continuing threat to their survival and thriving.

The reef and the discussion may be seen in this BBC Science and Environment video (2m 14s).

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

When Bees Get Angry They "Whoop"

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Biodiversity, Nature

Ed Hessler 

Honey bees make a noise, one that we can't hear, that is referred to as the "whoop whooping signal."

In a short BBC science film (1m 15s), Dr. Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University tells us what he thinks is the cause: anger.

Take a look at this Facebook entry from 2018, too, when a different reason was mentioned but one that certainly could include anger.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Concussion Risk: Female and Male Athletes

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, 

Ed Hessler

Nature has a short report on concussion risk for female athletes. The short story is that female high-school soccer players are twice as likely as their male counterparts to receive a concussion. Data are from 80000 teenage soccer players (43000 male and 39000 female) in Michigan. 

Katharine Sanderson's report  includes a bar graph of the concussion risk for three years: 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019. She writes that "How the high-school players sustained their injuries also differed significantly between male and female adolescents: the boys’ most common way of becoming concussed was through bashing into another player, with almost half of all concussions reported happening in this way. Girls were most likely to be concussed after colliding with another object, such as the ball or one of the goalposts. Boys were also more likely to be removed from play immediately after a suspected head injury than were girls."

This difference indicates that the current concussion management system must consider "sex specific approaches," according to Dr.William Stewart at the University of Glasgow. Such changes could include, according to Sanderson's reporting, " restrictions on heading footballs, or having more medically trained personnel present during female matches."

Monday, May 10, 2021

COVID-19 Maps and Charts by Country

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

The  BBC's Visual and Data Journalism Team has published a new COVID-19 map. 

The maps and charts detail coronavirus cases, deaths, and vaccinations by country. There are now 3 million total deaths world wide and nearly 140 million cases. The United States, India and Brazil have seen the highest number of confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Kelp Forest, South Africa

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth and Space Science, Earth Systems, Sustainability, Global Climate Change, Biodiversity, Biological Evolution, Behavior

The introduction to a BBC video on saving the kelp forest first notes that "The Bafta-winning* Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher focuses on a film-maker who befriends an octopus." And then introduces "the unsung star." It is the kelp forest off the coast of Cape Town the film maker dives in--"one of the world's richest ecosystems."

And here is the link to this incredible ecosystem featured in the film (3m 22s)

*Bafta is the British Academy of Film and Television Awards.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Re-entry to Work Places

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Archeology, Culture, Society

Ed Hessler

This essay by the Washington Post's Maura Judkis is about office workers who have been out of the office for months and now find themselves returning or on that cusp. 

Judkis writes that these are "workspaces  frozen in time, full of strange relics: Notes for projects abandoned long ago. Dusty tchotchkes. Expired snacks. Unwashed coffee mugs. Hand sanitizer stations installed at the very beginning of the pandemic, back when we thought maybe a few weeks of germaphobia might get us over."

Read about the experience of several who returned, what they found and thoughts and emotions stirred by the return after a long absence. One of them is an archaeologist. If you are a notebook keeper I hope you will write an entry about your return.You may wish you had done this in years to come.

And for you who have been back you will likely find these short descriptions of re-entry interesting comparisons.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Poem

Art & Environment, Poetry, Art and Environment

Ed Hessler

Good Morning from Hamline University's Center for Environmental Education (CGEE) on this 7th day of May; 127 days from the beginning of the year--34.79% of this year consumed by time, 182,880 minutes of it.

Sunrise is at 5:53 am and sunset at 8:26pm giving us 14h 32m 55s of sunlight. Here it is colder than normal with a blue sky and white cumulus clouds 

Meat is on the menu for today. It is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day and Foodimentary fills in some of the details and facts including some food history, e.g., on this day was issued a patent for macaroni.

Quote. Dark clouds become heaven’s flowers when kissed by light.” – Rabindranath Tagore

When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring. Madeleine M. Kunin
When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring. Madeleine M. Kunin

Today's poem is by Didi Jackson who teaches English at Vanderbilt University. Here is a wonderful conversation with her.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Changes in Morphology of Migratory Birds

Environmental & Science Education
Climate Change
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

Earth's life will react to global climate change but there are many questions on how--in what ways.. 

In a paper published in Ecology Letters (behind a subscription wall) this abstract of a paper reveals body size reduction in 52 North American migratory bird species. This is a subtle change which is not visible to the naked eye. It must be measured.

The scientists used "a four-decade specimen series of 70,716 individuals. Over the 40-year period studied there were "consistent reductions in body size" and an increase in wing length.  The authors write"Our findings suggest that warming-induced body size reduction is a general response to climate change" and "a similarly consistent and unexpected shift in body shape."

Science Daily provides more details than was available to me from the abstract of the published paper. Here are a few are highlighted.

--"Since 1978, Field Museum personnel and volunteers have retrieved dead birds that collided with Chicago buildings during spring and fall migrations."

--"The new study is the largest specimen-based analysis of body-size responses to recent warming, and it shows the most consistent large-scale responses for a diverse group of birds."

--One person, "David E. Willard, the Field Museum ornithologist and collections manager emeritus...measured all 70,716 birds analyzed in the study. ... For each bird, Willard measured the length of a lower leg bone called the tarsus, bill length, wing length, and body mass. In birds, tarsus length is considered the most precise single measure of within-species variation in body size."

--"Tarsus length declined 2.4% across species."

--"The authors of the Ecology Letters paper suggest that the body-size reductions are a response to climate warming and that increased wing length may help offset the body-mass losses.

​​"The researchers plan to test that idea in a follow-up project, which will again make use of the Field Museum dataset. They'll also look further into the mechanism behind the body size and shape changes and whether they are the result of a process called developmental plasticity, the ability of an individual to modify its development in response to changing environmental conditions.​​"

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Trap Jaw Ants

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Wildlife, Nature, Biodiversity

Ed Hessler

From Zefrank, true facts about Trap Jaw Ants.

Be sure, always be sure, to watch the credits, too.

I didn't find the comments as interesting as I have in others.

Here is the video (10m 51s). You will laugh and learn and be astounded.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

End-of-Life Care: A Physician's Tale

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

You would think that a physician who is an oncologist, a bioethicist, and vice provost of a major university might have some clout when it comes to end-of-life care for a father.

Not so fast. When Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's 92-year-old father fell ill, "once (he) was admitted to a hospital, it took all my expertise and experience to arrange the kind of care he needed--and prevent the medical system from taking over and prescribing unnecessary interventions." (my emphasis)

Emmanuel's father was admitted to a hospital and before Emmanuel arrived (required a flight), he'd had "a CT MRI (revealing a brain tumor), and a chest x-ray (suspected pneumonia). The latter led to his hospitalization although Emmanuel writes that "it lacked the local infiltrates that usually signify that condition."

Emmanuel's father greeted his son with the words that are immortally lovely: "'How are you doing, schmucko?'"

The list of things that the hospital wouldn't do and these are detailed in Emmanuel's essay. They did the easy things. Please read these details. And then there is this:

"No one had taken the time to ask (his father) about his wishes regading medical treatment, even though he was competent to make decisions and was himself a physician. No one asked my mother and brother, who were with him in the emergency room and at the hospital, if had an advance-care directive or wanted to have a do-not resusitate order.

Emanuel convinced the hospital and medical staff that they were serious about no, by disconnecting interventions and asked that he be discharged. 

Emanuel's father spent the last days of his life at home where he wanted to be "and was able to say goodbye to everyone.". Turns out it was cheaper, too. The "12 hours in the hospital came to $19,276.83 (so far). In contrast, the more than 200 hours of home care he got over the next 10 days cost only $6,093.

Emanuel calls attention to "why end-of-life care costs are so high, and why physicians cannot seem to reduce them. ...It has less to do with physicians' and hospitals' financial incentives to admit more patients and perform more medical interventions, and more to do with the effort required to order and provide human care." 

I've been around enough undergraduate pre-meds who want to practice medicine to know that they want to help...reduce and tend to human suffering. However, I am less sure that they want to do the near clerical kinds of things that are also often required--calling, making arrangements, getting out of their comfort zones to learn who can provide help with what patients really need at the end of life, and speaking with family members and patients who do not have their training or background.

Emanuel closes by writing, "A terminal diagnosis is inherently traumatic for patients and their families. My father's experience at home before his death needs to become the standard of care. And not just for patients with pushy sons who have medical training and know how to speak with physicians, disconnect cardiac monitors, and firmly refuse the interventions that our health-care systems is so predisposed to offer." (My emphasis).

Emanuel wrote his essay for The Atlantic and may be read there.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Amalfi Lemon Farm

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Society, Culture, Global Climate Change

Ed Hessler

Life handed me lemons, so I made lemonade, lemon cake, lemon drops, and I even used the rinds to make lemon art.” Emilyann Allen

On CBS Sunday morning, April 18, 2021 there was a feature on a lemon grower--a family of lemon growers, several generations of them--who grow lemons on one of the most scenic locations in the world, the Amalfi Coast, Italy.

The story is about when biodiversity and culture meet. The farm is impressive and so is the family AND the products of their industry, ingenutiy, and inventiveness impressive. It is about lemons as a way of life. One of the college age family members is studying agronomy and plans to return to continue this farm--a vertical farm by the way--as well as adapt farming practices to global climate change.

This family is hooked on lemons!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Science of Taste is a Smelly Business

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Society, Culture, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

KQED Quest introduces a video on the science of taste with a couple of questions and then explores them, ending with chefs use of such knowledge into the kitchen and onto the table.

The video could be described as a mini-documentary (11m 15s). Don't be put off by the age of the video--10 years old. It is still good and fascinating.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Radar: Weather and Migrating Birds

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Nature, Wildlife, Biodiversity

Ed Hessler

Nicole Mitchell who writes for MPR's Updraft, a wonderfully informative weather blog, included some notes on radar activity and migrating birds.

The pattern on the radar "may look like precipitation, but the pattern (birds) make (often a "bloom" on the radar) along with the energy of the return can help determine when a return is not caused by precipitation." Mitchell includes radar captures from the Duluth National Weather Service which shows the contrast with migratory birds and actual rain that was moving into northwestern Minnesota at the same time.


Mitchell's reporting may be seen here.