Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bats are in trouble

I've heard some rumblings about this for a little while. But here it is.

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced:

Three New England states have reported thousands of sick and dead bats with a white fungus on their muzzles. Scientists don't know what causes "white nose syndrome" and they don't know whether the disease affects humans or other animals. So far, WNS has not appeared in the Midwest, but MDC bat biologists are staying alert for signs. These include bats flying near hibernacula during cold winter days, bats roosting just inside hibernacula, or dead bats lying outside the entrances. If you see these signs, do not enter caves or handle bats! Take photographs, note the date and location, and contact Bill Elliott or Tony Elliott.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blog Action Item - Green for All Presents: The Dream Reborn

What is Green For All?
Green for All has a simple but ambitious mission: To help build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
The Dream Reborn Conference is April 4-6, 2008 in Memphis, TN. It is both a commeration of Dr. Martin Luther King and a revisitation of his dream to eradicate injustice and poverty. The date also marks the 40th anniversary of the great civil an dhiman rights leader's assassination in Memphis, TN.
Student registration is only $50. If you register by Friday, Mar 14 (tomorrow!) get an extra 5% off.
Great speakers are scheduled like
Blog Action Item: Register, Sponsor a student, and Spread the Word - blog about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Amazing Animal Stories - Animal Behavior edition

A Dolphin saved the lives of two whales - yes, no kidding. As much as I can get all warm and fizzy about animals, I still tow the hard line. I try not to get too carried away with the stories of animal heroism or villainy. But this is a documented case. Watch this video by BBC Sci/Tech News about Moko the dolphin .

Crabs have personality - yeah it's true. Research in personality or individual differences in behavior is becoming quite popular. I do similar research, too. In this case, the researcher is studying the differences in how individual hermit crabs respond to stress or being flipped on their backs. Test after after, individual crabs consistently behaved similarly across tests - this indicates that an animal as a distinct behavior from other individuals -- a personality of sorts. photo credit:

Cheating and Corrupt Societies - of Ants! Ant colonies are comprised of only females. The Queen lays eggs and most of the eggs develop in to females. (There are males; but the queens only lay a few male eggs compared to the thousands or more female eggs. Males mate, then die. That's pretty much it for them. Let's get back to the main point.) Females can become worker ants or a few can become royal or queen ants and later set off to start their own colony. Now back to the males -- Males are rare and short-lived, but important. To up the ante seems most of the Queens come from a particularly line - Royal descendants - it seems. Certain lines of males have managed, some how, - let;s call them Royal Daddies -to pack a punch and their daughters are more likely to become queens than offspring of Average Joe males. photo credit:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Women in Science - Part 2

Here's more Women's History Month Fodder for you.

The Association for Women in Science is a national organization that promotes science careers for girls and women. Chapters throughout the nation host events and fairs to introduce school-age girls and young undergraduate co-eds to women scientists and engineers.

Getting Women Scientists to the Top - this is an article I came across at Science magazine.

The National Academies has an interactive site Women's Adventures in Science


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Science Writing for Highlights Magazine

I was sitting in the Dr.'s office and was thumbing through an issue of Highlights. I was instantly taken to my childhood. I loved those activity maganzines and I loved the TimberToes. Iwas such a nerd, even now.

I was looking through this issue and say a familiar name in the author section of an article. "I know this author" I thought. I met her. She's a Ph.D. ecologists and accomplish popular science writer. I scanned her article about snakes for young readers and I thought "I could submit articles to this youth magazine."

Though I am still green, I like knowing there are venues. So, I am researching all of the outreach possibilities. Highlights has a pretty impressive science section and a Science Editor. Heck, even most majoy newspapers no longer have science editors. Any way, there are several submission options and I'll start looking into it soon.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - the Green Trifecta

Do you recycle? A Better Question: Do you Reduce and Reuse? Do you and your family try your hardest to use as little as possible for as long as possible? When something becomes worn, broken or damaged, do you repair it or toss it? When it's time to discard something, have you considered using it again or donating it to a teacher's scrap center to be used for another purpose? Do you recycle your soda cans and bottles? I sincerely hop you do. Did you know one of the biggest environmental problems today is plastic waste? Yes, plastic. Once regarded as the saviour of material science, it is now a nuisance. Check out this article from Tree Hugger and see one reason why plastic is such a mess.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's Women's History Month - Celebrate Science and Women Achievers

All year is great time to learn more about science and the people who make the discoveries. But the month of March offers a unique opportunity to learn about the achievements of Women throughout history and from different cultures in the sciences.

To get you started, I have listed links to some great on-line research resources.
Women's History Month Educational Resources & Ideas - by Education World
4000 Years of Women in Science Biographical Listing - this is a long alphabetical list of women who have contributed to science and medical discoveries
Women in Science - by the San Diego SuperComputer Center, lists great women in science from almost every field.

The Past and the Present: A Spotlight on Two Women in the Life Sciences
Dr. Roger Arliner Young - don't let the name fool you, she is a woman. I just learned about Dr. Young myself. She is the first African-American Woman to receive a doctorate in zoology. In my efforts to share more with the rest of the world, I've learned something myself. I'm so glad to have discovered Dr. Young. As an African-American female who is on the cusp of receiving my doctorate in zoology, she is my Shero, a pioneer to other young women like me and Dr. Andrade.

Dr. Maydianne Andrade is an Evolutionary Biologist who studies mating systems in spiders. I'm featuring her because I have the great pleasure of knowing her. She is a wonderful person and an awesome researcher. Her studies of spider mating systems (the males will actually sacrifice their lives and let females kill and eat them while mating) are the phenomenal.

If you're teacher or youth leader, I hope you encourage your students to do a report on women scientists. Please use this site as a resource and springboard.

Happy Reading

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