[ECP] SCIENCE: Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletter Resources and Headlines

  • From: Educational CyberPlayGround <admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12NewsLetters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 04:00:00 -0400

Greetings everyone,

Snow in April and cold outside.
Happy reading.


Sterilized by Sound
High-frequency sound can kill microscopic pathogens, but the sound
waves normally need to travel through a contact medium such as water
or gel, limiting the use of ultrasound as a germicide. Mahesh Bhardwaj
of Ultran Laboratories in Pennsylvania has found a way around this
limitation. In collaboration with researchers at Pennsylvania State
University, he built a device that transmits ultrasound through air, a
feat long thought impossible because the waves dissipate rapidly in a
gas. His solution was startlingly simple: After years of
experimentation, Bhardwaj found that a thin layer of compressed
fibers, such as paper or cloth, allows a near-total transmission of
ultrasound waves. By adding such a layer to the sound source of an
ultrasound machine, he was able to destroy 99.9 percent of the spores
in a colony of Bacillus thuringiensis, a relative of anthrax, without
the use of any contact medium. Bhardwaj is developing a commercial
version of his ultrasound system, which could be used to sterilize
food, duct systems in buildings, and even packages suspected of
carrying biological contaminants.

NASA Education
The Educational Materials section of NASA's Web site offers classroom
activities, educator guides, posters and other types of resources that
are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed by type,
grade level and subject. A new brochure is now available in the
Brochures section of the Educational Materials area.

NASA Student Opportunities Podcast Brochure
The NASA Student Opportunities podcast features students who tell
about their experiences with America's space agency. Each episode also
informs high school and college students about current NASA
internships, fellowships, contests and other student opportunities.
This brochure describes the free podcast and how to subscribe.

For Educators Flier
The For Educators flier describes the five sections of the For
Educators area of the NASA.gov Web site. These five sections present
information about NASA?s educational projects and educator resources.
This flier includes brief descriptions about the following content on
the site: Educational Materials, Classroom Resources by Subject,
Educational Features, Online Resources, Educational News, Act Now,
NASA Education TV Schedule and Monthly Topics, EXPRESS Mailing List,
A-Z Index, and Contacts.

NASA Science News
A miniature biological laboratory important to the future of space
exploration has just passed an important test onboard the
International Space Station.

Young Scientists Design Open-Source Program at NASA
Jessy Cowan-Sharp and Robert Schingler set up CosmosCode to help
NASA develop open-source software for space exploration.
NASA scientists plan to announce a new open-source project this month
called CosmosCode -- it's aimed at recruiting volunteers to write code for
live space missions, Wired News has learned.
The program was launched quietly last year under NASA's CoLab
entrepreneur outreach program, created by Robert Schingler, 28, and
Jessy Cowan-Sharp, 25, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain
View, California. Members of the CosmosCode group have been meeting
in Second Life and will open the program to the public in the coming weeks, organizers said.

High School Teachers and Ttudents
Applications Being Accepted for the Phoenix Student Interns Project
Applications are due Apr. 25, 2007. <http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/edu_psip.php>http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/edu_psip.php
The Phoenix Student Interns Program is a unique opportunity for
high school teachers and students to become part of the
Phoenix Science Team for the 2007-2008 Phoenix Mars Lander Mission.
From around the country, selected teachers and their chosen students
will work with scientists to prepare for surface operations on Mars,
analyze data during the mission, and reach out to other students,
teachers, and the public through presentations, articles and Web sites.
Following preparation and special training, teachers and students will
spend one week at the Science Operations Center in Tucson, Ariz.,
during landed operations to help investigate the surface of Mars.

Space Weather news for April 8, 2007
VENUS & THE PLEIADES: Venus and the Pleiades are converging for a close encounter on Wednesday, April 11th. At closest approach, the planet and the star cluster will be about 2 degrees apart, tight enough to fit behind your upturned thumb held at arm's length. They're an odd couple. Venus is extravagantly bright while the Pleiades are faint and delicate, yet together they make a pretty ensemble suitable for photography, binoculars or simple naked-eye viewing. Watch the western sky after sunset in the nights ahead to see them drawing together.

BAFFLING BANDS: Also featured on today's edition of spaceweather.com are photos of dark bands in Venus' atmosphere. These features were first observed in detail by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in the 1970s and they have baffled astronomers ever since. Amateur astronomers with properly-filtered backyard telescopes can monitor the mysterious bands for themselves, and indeed this is a good week to do it.

Autism: It?s Not Just in the Head
The devastating derangements of autism also show up in the gut and in
the immune system. That unexpected discovery is sparking new
treatments that target the body in addition to the brain.

Why Science must adapt to Women
To create true equality­to ensure that the best minds continue­she
feels that science will have to adapt to women.
It is no secret why women scientists flow out of the academic
pipeline. Numerous studies have shown that subtle, often unintentional
bias combined with a tenure process that overlaps childbearing years
has a corrosive effect. A study of 2,000 science and engineering
doctoral students sponsored by the National Science Foundation in 1996
found that men were more likely than women to report that they were
taken seriously by faculty. They were also more likely to have
received help designing research, writing grant proposals, coauthoring
publications, and learning management skills.

Get Girls into Technology
Activities for Middle and High School

The History of the Internet - How did it get started?
Interview with Susan Estrada
An original developer of the Internet, founder of CERFnet, an Internet
service provider, in 1988.

New bill lets colleges use federal funds to fight P2P
Representative Ric Keller (R-FL) feels that colleges in America are
teaching students more than literature, history, and computer
science. They are also dens of thievery, places where students learn
to steal "billions of dollars in intellectual property from
hardworking people whose jobs hang in the balance." Rep. Keller is
talking about illegal file-swapping, of course, and his new bill (HR
1689) could give schools more money to combat the P2P scourge.

Subcommittee Investigates Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Get Involved
1 . Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2007 (Introduced in Senate)[S.714.IS]
2 . Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)[H.R.1280.IH]

Science, take teachers to task for spending too much time on basic
reading and math skills and not enough on problem solving, reasoning,
science and social studies.
The typical child in the U.S. stands only a 1-in-14 chance of having a
consistently rich, supportive elementary school experience, say
researchers who looked at what happens daily in thousands of
classrooms. They also suggest that U.S. education focuses too much on
teacher qualifications and not enough on teachers being engaging and
supportive. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, educational
researchers spent thousands of hours in more than 2,500 first-, third-
and fifth-grade classrooms, tracking kids through elementary school.
It is among the largest studies done of U.S. classrooms, producing a
detailed look at the typical kid's day. The researchers found a few
bright spots, reports Greg Toppo in USA Today. Kids use time well, for
one. But they found just as many signs that classrooms can be dull,
bleak places where kids don't get a lot of teacher feedback or face
time. For example, fifth-graders spent 91.2 percent of class time in
their seats listening to a teacher or working alone, and only 7
percent working in small groups, which foster social skills and
critical thinking. Findings were similar in first and third grades.

Arsenic in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans
Pets may not be the only organisms endangered by some food additives. An arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans who eat meat from chickens that are raised on the feed, according to an article in the April 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. Roxarsone, the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, is used to promote growth, kill parasites and improve pigmentation of chicken meat. In its original form, roxarsone is relatively benign. But under certain anaerobic conditions, within live chickens and on farm land, the compound is converted into more toxic forms of inorganic arsenic. Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancer, while low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes, the article notes.

Antibiotics found to increasingly fail
Pediatricians in the United States are increasingly finding that antibiotics are not always ideal for treating ear infections, a report says. The Denver Post reported on the findings, which are significant to pediatricians -- children are highly susceptible to ear infections. Antibiotics are typically prescribed right away to patients with ear infections, but doctors have reported on an increase in patients and parents who report that these medications have failed to relieve the infection. Patricia Yoon, a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist at The Children's Hospital in Denver told the Post that this is cause for real concern because ear infections account for about one-fourth of all antibiotics prescribed in the United States. Yoon said she thinks an increasing number of strains of resistant bacteria are emerging.

MIT open Coursware

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