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Butterflies offer beauty and a lot of science

butterflies offer beauty and a lot of science

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Chris Enroth University of Illinois Extension
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4:07 am CDT, Saturday, August 15, 2020

A tiger swallowtail butterfly flutters through a field.
A tiger swallowtail butterfly flutters through a field.

Photo: Penny Moore-Garner

Photo: Penny Moore-Garner

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A tiger swallowtail butterfly flutters through a field.
A tiger swallowtail butterfly flutters through a field.

Photo: Penny Moore-Garner

Butterflies offer beauty and a lot of science

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Like a lot of parents, we have decided to homeschool our children. Right now, I’m trying to remember what in the heck did I do in third grade? Time to brush up on the reading, writing and arithmetic skills.

Sidenote: I should probably start a therapy fund for my kids when they get older.

One subject I have a bit of experience with is science. It was always my favorite subject in school, after recess of course. You might be thinking, how am I going to teach science? I don’t have Bunsen burners and beakers. Fortunately, science is all around us.

Many people, myself included, thought of science as an ivory tower of facts. It wasn’t until I was in the field, I saw that it is far …

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What the far-left might learn from Cardinal Bellarmine’s view of science

what the far-left might learn from cardinal bellarmine’s view of science

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(RNS) — If we know anything about the long-running culture war between faith and science, we know that conservative religious types will stifle scientific data if it challenges their ideological orthodoxy. This narrative extends back at least to the Renaissance, when the Catholic Church forced Galileo Galilei to recant his support for the idea that the Earth moves around the Sun.
These days, the positions seem to have flipped. From Bari Weiss’ dramatic resignation from The New York Times in July to recent banter on Twitter about “wokeism,” the accusations of stifling orthodoxy have flowed toward certain kinds progressives, who have chilled and even censored free and open debate of complex topics in the name of a faith whose god is wokeness.
This use of quasi-religious language has been noted in quarters critical of “wokeism” — a lamentable term that nonetheless expresses how much it looks and acts like a religion in the middle of an awakening.
Galileo Galilei, 1636 portrait by Justus Sustermans. Image courtesy of Creative Commons
We are faced with Washington Post headlines that refer to “problematic books” and disturbing images of book-burning at the Portland protests. June saw the #ShutDownSTEM movement to raise awareness of ways in which science …

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How will COVID-19 affect the coming flu season? Scientists struggle for clues

how will covid-19 affect the coming flu season? scientists struggle for clues

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Fearing that a combination of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 will overwhelm hospitals, many countries are stepping up campaigns to increase flu vaccination.

Speed Media/Icon Sportswire

By Kelly ServickAug. 14, 2020 , 4:30 PM

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

In March, as the Southern Hemisphere braced for winter flu season while fighting COVID-19, epidemiologist Cheryl Cohen and colleagues at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) set up a plan to learn from the double whammy. They hoped to study interactions between seasonal respiratory viruses and SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Does infection with one change a person’s risk of catching the other? How do people fare when they have both?

But the flu season—and the answers—never came. NICD’s Centre for Respiratory Disease and Meningitis, which Cohen leads, has logged only a single flu case since the end of March. In previous years, the country’s surveillance platforms have documented, on average, about 700 cases during that period, Cohen says. “We’ve been doing flu surveillance since 1984, and it’s unprecedented.” 

Related

Some cases probably got overlooked as clinics temporary closed and people with mild symptoms avoided medical offices and clinics, …

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Hooked A Science – Shove A Pencil Into A Water Filled Bag Without Causing a Leak – WDEF

hooked a science – shove a pencil into a water filled bag without causing a leak – wdef

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SCIENCE SAFETYPLEASE follow these safety precautions when doing any science experiment.• ALWAYS have an adult present.• ALWAYS wear the correct safety gear while doing any experiment.• NEVER eat or drink anything while doing any experiment.• REMEMBER experiments may require marbles, small balls, balloons, and other small parts. Those objects could become a CHOKING HAZARD. Adults are to perform those experiments using these objects. Any child can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Keep uninflated or broken balloons away from children.
INGREDIENTS• Several Round Sharp Pencils• Water• Resealable Storage Bag
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INSTRUCTIONSSTEP 1: Fill the resealable storage bag with water. Describe the resealable storage bag by its observable properties.STEP 2: Gently push the round sharp pencils through the bag. What happens? Explain how pushing the round sharp pencils through the resealable storage bag can be used as a model to describe how matter is made up of particles too small to be seen.
EXPLANATIONThe bag is made of polymers. Polymers are long, repeating chains of molecules. When the sharp pencils are pushed through the bag, these chains of molecules seal up around the pencil, preventing the water from leaking out of the bag.
Download these instructions here and …

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Damages another test for ‘resilient’ Arecibo Observatory but the science goes on

damages another test for ‘resilient’ arecibo observatory but the science goes on

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ORLANDO, Fla. – How long the Arecibo Observatory will be unable to observe asteroids, planets and the greater universe is still unknown Friday after a cable snapped, crashing down on the telescope’s giant reflector dish earlier this week, however, there is still a wealth of knowledge to be gained from already available data.Arecibo Observatory, the world’s second largest telescope, located in Puerto Rico, was damaged Monday around 2:45 a.m. when an auxiliary cable, designed to last up to 40 years, broke away from one of the observatory’s structural towers, Arecibo Director Francisco Cordova said in a call with reporters Friday.No one was injured during the mishap.About 250 panels in the 1,000-foot dish were damaged but Cordova said the panels aren’t the main concern because out of 40,000 that make up the reflector dish, 250 is a small number.“The primary reflector is in good shape, but our focus is really making sure that the platform has the structural stability needed to operate in the future,” Cordova said.The University of Central Florida manages the National Science Foundation facility, along with Universidad Ana G. Mendez and Yang Enterprises.[UCF released new aerial video of the damages on Friday. View …

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Opinion: The U.S. unraveling of science insulation from politics

opinion: the u.s. unraveling of science insulation from politics

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With myriad suggestions for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, there is a common refrain: Trust the scientists.But some scientific voice can be found to support nearly any assertion. Each year, nearly 2.5 million new scientific papers are published in about 30,000 journals. We can’t make policy based on single studies or the opinion of a single scientist.
There are legitimate disagreements about whether the virus is spread by droplets or airborne mists. There is evidence that opening schools will either harm or not harm small children. We don’t know for certain if the protection offered by cloth masks is similar to N-95s or how far we need to distance from each other. Knowing whom to trust is challenging.
Until very recently, the United States was the world’s exemplar in making sense from divergent scientific opinions. More than 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln and Congress created the National Academy of Sciences to provide independent, objective advice on science and technology. In the 1940s, engineer Vannevar Bush persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt that science was the ticket to a successful war effort and to a continuing strong economy.
Starting in 1933, U.S. presidents, Republicans and Democrats alike, made extensive use of …

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A Crazier Crazy Straw for Cutting-Edge Science

a crazier crazy straw for cutting-edge science

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In this artist’s conception, data from the small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiment at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) form a colorful backdrop to transparent spheres representing part of a worm-like micelle, a tiny structure often found in soaps. Higher-intensity neutron scattering (red regions) indicates that the micelles are aligning strongly with the direction of flow through the NCNR’s capillary rheoSANS device, lining up like toothpicks in a tube. The micelles are one of many substances whose properties under extreme flow conditions could become better understood with the new research tool. Credit: R. Murphy/NIST
Curlicued research tool propels fast-moving fluids for study by neutrons.
What do the loopy straws that children like to sip drinks through have in common with cutting-edge science? Ask Ryan Murphy and his colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where the team has thought up a creative way to explore the properties of fluids under extreme conditions.
The team invented a device that can push fluids through a narrow tube at the velocity of a car hurtling down a rural interstate — about 110 km per hour. This might not sound overly fast to a road tripper, but the …

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This Week in Science

this week in science

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PaleoanthropologyAndrew M. SugdenThe Border Cave site in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa has been a rich source of archaeological knowledge about Stone Age humans because of its well-preserved stratigraphic record. Wadley et al. now report the discovery of grass bedding in Border Cave, dated to approximately 200,000 years ago. The bedding, identified with a range of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, was mingled with layers of ash. It also incorporated debris from lithics, burned bone, and rounded ochre grains, all of which were of clear anthropogenic origin. The authors speculate that the ash may have been deliberately used in bedding to inhibit the movement of ticks and other arthropod irritants. These discoveries extend the record of deliberate construction of plant bedding by at least 100,000 years.Science, this issue p. 863

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Michael Soulé (1936–2020)

michael soulé (1936–2020)

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Michael Soulé, widely credited with starting the field of conservation biology, died on 17 June at age 84. Michael’s research laid the intellectual groundwork for a new avenue of study, and he cofounded the Society for Conservation Biology in 1985 to ensure that the nascent field had the resources and organization to address the critical environmental issues we face today. Michael’s vision of a better world, in which nature holds a central place, has inspired scientists and nature enthusiasts across the globe.Born on 28 May 1936, Michael grew up in San Diego, California. His free-ranging childhood, spent exploring tide pools and collecting abalones and lobsters, sparked his lifelong love of natural history and helped shape his interest in ecosystems. Michael obtained his undergraduate degree in biology at San Diego State College and his Ph.D. in biology in 1964 from Stanford University in Stanford, California.After joining the biology faculty at the University of California (UC) San Diego in 1967, Michael became troubled by the rapid loss of natural habitats in Southern California. He resigned from the university in 1979 to become director of the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism at the Zen Center of Los Angeles. In 1984, he returned to academia, first teaching at …

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Medieval DNA suggests Columbus didn’t trigger syphilis epidemic in Europe

medieval dna suggests columbus didn’t trigger syphilis epidemic in europe

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In a 1497 woodcut, a physician examines the urine of a patient in the first European syphilis epidemic.

NLM/Science Source

By Charlotte HartleyAug. 13, 2020 , 11:00 AM

In the late 1400s, a terrifying disease erupted in Europe, leaving victims with bursting boils and rotting flesh. The syphilis epidemic raged across the continent, killing up to 5 million people. For centuries, historians, and archaeologists have debated the origin of the disease, with some blaming Christopher Columbus and his crew for bringing it back from the Americas. Now, using DNA of the pathogen extracted from the remains of nine Europeans, researchers have found evidence that the epidemic was homegrown: diverse syphilis strains were circulating in Europe, perhaps decades before Columbus’s voyages.

Today, syphilis and other conditions caused by the same bacterium, Treponema pallidum, such as yaws and bejel, are making a comeback, with millions of people infected every year. “These diseases are not just a problem of the past,” says Verena Schuenemann, a palaeogeneticist at the University of Zürich and co-author of the new study. By understanding when and where T. pallidum originated, and how it has evolved, she says, researchers can learn how it might behave in the future and be prepared to treat …

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