[ECP] SCIENCE: NASA // Hilton Pond // NOVA // Video Skills

  • From: Educational CyberPlayGround <admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12NewsLetters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 06:00:00 -0400

Playing video games reduces sex differences in spatial skills
University of Toronto researchers have discovered that differences between men and women on some tasks that require spatial skills are largely eliminated after both groups play a video game for only a few hours. The research, to be published in the October issue of Psychological Science, suggests that a new approach involving action video games can be used to improve spatial skills that are essential for everyday activities such as reading a map, driving a car, assembling a barbeque or learning advanced math.

NASA Science News for October 4, 2007
Fifty years after the launch of Sputnik kicked off the Space Age, an ultra-modern probe heading for Pluto is using retro Sputnik-like tones to communicate with Earth.

Hilton Pond
During fall migration, thousands--maybe millions--of spot-breasted
thrushes pass through the Carolina Piedmont. Despite their similar
appearances, with a little effort one can easily differentiate the
birds to species--as was demonstrated by some ten-year-old science
students who visited with us "This Week at Hilton Pond."
To learn about these brown and white birds with spots--and how the
kids identified them--please visit our photo essay for 22-30
September 2007 at http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek070922.html
As always we include a tally of birds banded and recaptured, plus
some miscellaneous nature notes--one about a Purple Finch banded
locally and found far from Hilton Pond.
Week One of our annual hummingbird banding excursions to Costa Rica is
now full and we are taking enrollment for Week Two (3-10 February 2008).

Space Weather News for Oct. 8, 2007

METEOR WATCH: The annual Draconid meteor shower peaks on Oct. 9th at 0430 UT--in other words, tonight at 9:30 pm PDT or 12:30 am EDT. Don't expect a big display. The source of the shower, comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, is far away and unlikely to produce more than a few slow meteors every hour. It should be noted, however, that unexpected Draconid outbursts have happened as recently as Oct. 2005 resulting in dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour. Could tonight be such a night? If you decide to look, keep an eye on the northern sky (Draco is not far from the north celestial pole) during the hours around the predicted peak.

PERUVIAN METEORITE UPDATE: Astronomers studying the Peruvian meteorite fall of Sept. 15, 2007, have analyzed infrasound records of the fireball's descent through Earth's atmosphere and estimated the impactor's kinetic energy: about 0.03 kton of TNT. So far more than 30 kg of the meteorite have been recovered by Peruvian authorities, but much more remains--indeed, says one researcher, there could be a "multi-ton monster" hiding at the bottom of the meteorite's curiously watery crater.

Secrets of the Samurai Sword"
Tuesday, October 9 at 8 p.m.
The beauty and lethality of the curved steel blade became identified
with the distinctive culture of those who wielded it so expertly: the
samurai warriors of medieval Japan, celebrated in countless Japanese
woodcuts, prints, and films. Fifteen traditional Japanese craftsmen
spent nearly six months creating the sword that NOVA follows through
production, from smelting the ore to forging the steel to sharpening
the blade to a keen edge capable of slicing through an enemy in one
swoop. In this program, NOVA probes the centuries-old secrets that
went into forging what many consider the perfect blade.

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