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  • richardmitnick 1:28 pm on September 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: At Least 384 Killed, , Hundreds Injured After Earthquake And Tsunami Hit Indonesia, In August more than 500 were killed in an earthquake that struck Indonesia's Lombok island, More than a dozen other earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 5.0 hit the same area of Sulawesi over the course of several hours the USGS said, NPR, , , The U.S. Geological Survey said a 7.5 magnitude quake just 6 miles deep hit a sparsely populated area in the early evening. The epicenter was about 50 miles north of Palu   

    From National Public Radio (NPR): “At Least 384 Killed, Hundreds Injured After Earthquake And Tsunami Hit Indonesia” 

    NPR

    From National Public Radio (NPR)

    1
    A man surveys damage caused by the earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday. Hundreds of people were killed.
    Rifki/AP

    Updated at 4:07 a.m. ET Saturday

    At least 384 people were killed and at least 540 injured Friday after powerful earthquakes struck along the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami that caused “extensive” damage.

    “When the [tsunami] threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for BNPB, Indonesia’s disaster response agency, told reporters in Jakarta, Reuters reported.

    “Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami,” he said earlier.

    Hundreds of people were on hand for a beach festival, which would have started Friday night.

    Nugroho earlier said four hospitals in Palu reported 48 people dead, though also said “many victims” are still unaccounted for, according to the Associated Press.

    The wire service said a reporter saw “numerous bodies in a hard-hit city,” which “was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings.”

    Nugroho told reporters the damage was “extensive,” with thousands of buildings destroyed.

    Damaged roads and power and communication outages were reportedly hindering rescue efforts.

    2
    A house in Donggala on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi sits damaged after an earthquake early Friday.
    Disaster Management Agency /AP

    The U.S. Geological Survey said a 7.5 magnitude quake just 6 miles deep hit a sparsely populated area in the early evening. The epicenter was about 50 miles north of Palu.

    The strong quake followed a milder 6.1 magnitude temblor hours earlier in the same area.

    More than a dozen other earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 5.0 hit the same area of Sulawesi over the course of several hours, the USGS said.

    Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency initially announced that the largest quake was “not capable of generating a tsunami affecting the Indian Ocean region.” However, agency chief Dwikorita Karnawati later told Reuters that a tsunami had struck Palu, located on the Makassar Strait, which connects the Celebes and Java seas.

    “The 1.5- to 2-meter [6 1/2-foot] tsunami has receded,” Karnawati told the news service. “The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed. There is a ship washed ashore.”

    An official of the Central Sulawesi Museum in Palu told The Jakarta Post, “Yes, there was a smashing of seawater.” Then, the newspaper reported, the phone connection “broke down.”

    Nugroho said the city of Donggala was also hit by the tsunami, the AP reported.

    “The cut to telecommunications and darkness are hampering efforts to obtain information,” he said, according to the AP. “All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas.”

    The devastating South Asian tsunami in 2004 brought waves that witnesses in Aceh Province, Indonesia, said were 50 to 70 feet tall, NPR reported.

    As NPR’s Mark Memmott has noted, “an estimated 230,000 people died after an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated South Asian coasts from Indonesia to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.”

    In August, more than 500 were killed in an earthquake that struck Indonesia’s Lombok island.

    See the full article here.

    Earthquake Alert

    1

    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network projectEarthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    3
    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

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    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

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  • richardmitnick 4:32 pm on July 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Accelerator on a chip, , NPR, ,   

    From SLAC via NPR: “Physicists Go Small: Let’s Put A Particle Accelerator On A Chip” 

    NPR

    From National Public Radio (NPR)


    SLAC Lab

    July 18, 2018
    Joe Palca

    1
    An early prototype of the silicon-chip-sized particle accelerator that physicists at Stanford are working on. Eventually, miniature accelerators might have a role in radiating tumors, the scientists say. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

    But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won’t achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical therapy.

    First of all, what is an accelerator?

    “An accelerator is a way to add energy to particles,” says Robert Byer, a physicist at Stanford University. Once you have those energetic particles, you can do things with them, like irradiate tumors or generate X-rays that scientists use to investigate new materials. An accelerator built this way would bring an accelerator’s usefulness within the reach of more researchers.

    Byer has been trying to shrink the size of particle accelerators for more than 40 years. His idea is to use lasers to add energy to electrons as they zip through a tiny channel in a semiconductor chip. Byer says this is a miniaturized version of what goes on in larger accelerators, but there are big challenges to doing this on such a small scale.

    “We need to focus the electrons,” Byer says. “We need to bunch them so they surf the wavelength of light right at the crest, so they get the maximum acceleration.”

    Byer and his colleagues are working on those challenges in a laboratory in the basement of the Spilker Engineering and Applied Sciences building on the Stanford campus. Byer took me on a tour there.

    We put on glasses to protect our eyes from the powerful laser light used in the pint-sized accelerator.

    2
    Lasers are key to adding the energy needed to accelerate the particles, and powerful lasers require powerful stop signs. This emergency shut-off button can quickly cut the electricity to the Stanford lab’s lasers. Courtesy of Dylan Black.

    A big red emergency shut-off button attached to a shelf suggests this is not equipment to trifle with.

    Peter Hommelhoff of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany says one of the big challenges is to keep the electrons in the accelerator traveling where you want them to.

    “The acceleration channel is very narrow, so you have to generate a very, very narrow electron beam that you can send through the channel,” Hommelhoff says.

    “It’s a little like threading an invisible needle,” says Dylan Black, a Stanford graduate student in physics.

    Testing their accelerator requires lasers and lenses and pumps scattered around benches in the lab, it takes up a fair amount of space. But this is just a prototype.

    Black points to a bright circle of light on a monitor’s screen.

    “That there is a picture of what the electron beam would look like if you put your eye right in front of the beam,” Black says.

    “Which I would not recommend,” interjects Ken Leedle, a research engineer working on the accelerator-on-a-chip project.

    I asked R. Joel England, a physicist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory who has been working on the accelerator-on-a-chip project, how long it will be before the prototype turns into a working instrument.

    “Depending on how much progress gets made, I would say five to 10 years,” England says. England is enthusiastic about the promise of these small-scale accelerators.

    “One of the applications could be to take one of the fairly bulky, 10,000-pound accelerator devices that’s used in hospitals for radiation therapy and make that into something that’s chip-sized,” he says.

    In addition to saving huge costs and space, it might eventually be possible to insert a chip-sized accelerator into a patient’s body, where it could directly irradiate a tumor.

    Even though it may take a decade or more, Robert Byer is convinced smaller accelerators will become a reality. His isn’t the only lab working on the idea. And besides, he points out, new technologies often start out bulky. Take the first laser to come on the scene.

    “Early on, lasers were big — and they were inefficient and they took all the power and water in your building to operate them,” Byer says. “They got more and more efficient because we converted to semiconductor lasers and solid state lasers — and all of a sudden, lasers then became everywhere.”

    Even new mobile phones have lasers in them, Byer says.

    The day of the accelerator on a chip, he believes, is coming.

    See the full article here .

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    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:33 pm on April 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Black Hole study finds many in Milky Way, , , NPR   

    From NPR and CfA: “Center Of The Milky Way Has Thousands Of Black Holes, Study Shows” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


    Center For Astrophysics

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

    The supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy appears to have a lot of company, according to a new study that suggests the monster is surrounded by about 10,000 other black holes.

    For decades, scientists have thought that black holes should sink to the center of galaxies and accumulate there, says Chuck Hailey, an astrophysicist at Columbia University. But scientists had no proof that these exotic objects had actually gathered together in the center of the Milky Way.

    “This is just kind of astonishing that you could have a prediction for such a large number of objects and not find any evidence for them,” Hailey says.

    He and his colleagues recently went hunting for black holes, using observations of the galactic center made by a NASA telescope called the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    Isolated black holes are almost impossible to detect, but black holes that have a companion — an orbiting star — interact with that star in ways that allow the pair to be spotted by telltale X-ray emissions. The team searched for those signals in a region stretching about three light-years out from our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole.

    “So we’re looking at the very, very, very center of our galaxy. It’s a place that’s filled with a huge amount of gas and dust, and it’s jammed with a huge number of stars,” Hailey says.

    What they found there: a dozen black holes paired up with stars, according to a report in the journal Nature.

    Finding so many in such a small region is significant, because until now scientists have found evidence of only about five dozen black holes throughout the entire galaxy, says Hailey, who points out that our galaxy is 100,000 light-years across. (For reference, one light-year is just under 5.88 trillion miles.)

    What’s more, the very center of our galaxy surely has far more than these dozen black holes that were just detected. The researchers used what’s known about black holes to extrapolate from what they saw to what they couldn’t see. Their calculations show that there must be several hundred more black holes paired with stars in the galactic center, and about 10,000 isolated black holes.

    “I think this is a really intriguing result,” says Fiona Harrison, an astrophysicist at Caltech. She cautions that there are a lot of uncertainties and the team has found just a small number of X-ray sources, “but they have the right distribution and the right characteristics to be a tracer of this otherwise completely hidden population.”

    “I find black holes really cool,” Hailey says. “Finding large numbers of black holes is just really neat because it’s just a larger population to study. These are really exotic objects. The more that you can have of them, the more fun you can have studying them.”

    He thinks what they’ve found should help theorists make better predictions about how many cosmic smashups might occur and generate detectable gravitational waves. Scientists have only recently started to detect these ripples in space-time, which were predicted by Albert Einstein about a century ago.

    See the full article here .

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    We are NPR. And this is our story.

    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

    The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1890. The Harvard College Observatory (HCO), founded in 1839, is a research institution of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, and provides facilities and substantial other support for teaching activities of the Department of Astronomy.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:23 am on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: “R1” institutions, Freshman Kaylee Yelk, How Does University Research Happen? It's Not All Lab Coats and Test Tubes, NPR, WUWM   

    From NPR via WUWM: “How Does University Research Happen? It’s Not All Lab Coats and Test Tubes” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    1

    WUWM

    1/4/17
    Rachel Morello

    2
    UW-Milwaukee freshman Kaylee Yelk does research for an astronomy group right from her dorm room on campus.
    Rachel Morello

    It’s not uncommon to see UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee named among the nation’s top research universities.

    State schools regularly appear on industry-compiled lists. And just last year, UWM joined an elite group of “R1” institutions – schools recognized for their research output.

    [My university, Rutgers, is on the R1 list, as it should be.

    Rutgers smaller

    How do undergrads contribute to the research work their campuses are doing?

    It’s not what you might expect – much like the site UWM freshman Kaylee Yelk has chosen as her “research hub.”

    Yelk has a pretty important assignment –the research team she works with has been part of an international effort to discover gravitational waves.

    But rather than a lab or classroom, Yelk works out of her dorm room, a single – barely the size of a closet. She’s surrounded by polaroids of her family and friends, and a mini-fridge stocked with leftover Christmas cookies.

    “I pretty much just get in pajamas, pull up my laptop and get an hour [of research] in a day,” Yelk describes. “Everyone has this idea in their head of, like, lab coat and chemicals. And…I’m just chilling on my laptop.”

    Different from the picture you might have in your head, right?

    That scenario Yelk described – grad students, wrapped in white lab coats, pouring liquid samples from test tubes — it definitely happens. But research takes many different forms at Wisconsin’s top universities.

    And it isn’t just relegated to the sciences — it happens in all kinds of fields.

    “We have students who are working with dance faculty on creating the choreography for new dance performances,” lists Kyla Esguerra, deputy director of UWM’s Office of Undergraduate Research. “We’ve had students help put together installations for exhibits. Things like that, where they’re working closely—kind of apprenticing with faculty.”

    While some students do research for credit and others get paid as part of a work-study arrangement, what Esguerra is describing – “apprenticing with faculty” – is one of the most important aspects of research.

    It gives professors the “hands on deck” needed to complete their work – and offers students hands-on experience, according to Nigel Rothfels, UWM’s director of undergraduate research.

    “I’ll show you how I do what it is I do, and how I create and do my work,” Rothfels explains, “and in that process of apprenticeship, you learn the process, and become a collaborator and colleague.”

    Students – especially undergrads – join research teams with relatively undeveloped skill sets. Faculty members train the students and give them small tasks at first, but after a few months of working on a project, students often don’t require as much oversight.

    That’s one of the reasons Kaylee Yelk is able to work from her dorm.

    She’s looking for pulsars – stars that emit radiation – to further explore the bounds of gravity. Now, after almost six months of solo work, she’s practically a walking textbook of astronomy terms.

    Yet Yelk says being involved in research could mean she’s doing much more than studying and learning.

    “It’s nice to know I’m working on something, and working toward something,” she says. “This is stuff that Einstein was theorizing and working on. It’s just cool to think I’m researching the same thing that Einstein was!”

    And perhaps someday, breaking new ground.

    See the full article here.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

    We are NPR. And this is our story.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:46 pm on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NPR, Science and Donald Trump   

    From NPR: “Trump’s Election Leaves Scientists In A Climate Of Uncertainty” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    December 13, 2016
    Christopher Joyce

    1
    The U.S. government is a major contributor to climate research. It funds missions like NASA’s 2010 ICESCAPE expedition to study the decline of Arctic sea ice. Kathryn Hansen/NASA

    Thousands of Earth scientists are in San Francisco this week to talk about climate change, volcanoes and earthquakes.

    And another tectonic topic: President-elect Donald Trump.

    As president, Trump will oversee a huge government scientific enterprise. Agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA have satellites collecting valuable data on the climate. Other agencies employ scientists studying that data, or modeling future climate shifts.

    Scientists attending the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting are worried Trump could have a profound effect on the effort to understand climate, and not in what they consider a good way. Peter de Menocal, dean of science at Columbia University, says he has heard colleagues express “feelings of rage, anger, confusion, fear — they’re all negative emotions.”

    “People are worried about — in extreme cases — their jobs,” adds Rob Jackson, an environmental scientist at Stanford University. But, he says: “They’re more worried about not being able to do their job the best way that is needed.”

    Trump has sent contradictory signals about how he regards climate science. He tweeted that climate change is a hoax. Many of his advisers and Cabinet picks, including his pick for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, doubt that climate change is a serious problem.

    On the other hand, Trump met with former Vice President Al Gore to talk about climate, and he has said he’s open to the Paris climate agreement.

    Margaret Leinen, the president of the American Geophysical Union, says that leaves many scientists confused about what Trump will mean for their work. “President-elect Trump didn’t have a big science agenda. That left a vacuum of uncertainty,” she says.

    Recent signals from the Trump transition team are not reassuring. Last week, it emerged they had sent a questionnaire to Department of Energy staff looking for people who’ve worked on climate science. Some fear agency scientists and officials might be targeted.

    And a Trump campaign adviser wrote that NASA should spend less on its armada of satellites that observe Earth — and more on exploring outer space.

    Former NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell says that would be a mistake.

    “A shift away from focusing on data for this planet could really leave us in the dark on how to respond to climate change,” he says.

    Moreover, Earth observations contribute to public safety and the economy, he says. “The same satellites that look down and tell us about … climate, are the ones that tell us about storms and agriculture.”

    Shindell is a professor at Duke University now. He says researchers everywhere depend on scientists inside the government who gather data.

    And those scientists are vulnerable.

    Ecologist Jim Estes worked at the U.S. Geological Survey during George W. Bush’s presidency. He says in 2005, USGS suddenly decided that its scientists should submit their research to political overseers before sending it out to scientific journals.

    “It just smacked to me of scientific censorship,” Estes says. “It provided a vehicle by which the agency could control scientists. No one liked it, but none of them would stand up and resist.”

    Federal agencies have now adopted rules to protect their scientists. But Estes says under the Obama administration, government scientists haven’t always been encouraged to speak publicly.

    Estes says he is especially worried about Trump, though.

    “This guy is such a chameleon, you have no idea what the hell is going to happen,” he says.

    That’s what people at the AGU meeting are trying to figure out. AGU’s Leinen, who runs the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC, San Diego, says it’s worth noting that previous presidents have changed their minds. She was a senior official at the National Science Foundation when George W. Bush moved into the White House.

    “There were several things that he said on the campaign trail regarding the environment and climate which eventually … were moderated,” she says.

    Thanks in part to knowledgeable advisers, President Bush eventually acknowledged that humans are changing the climate.

    Leinen added a last-minute session here to talk about Trump. But she’d also like the opportunity to talk to Trump face to face about climate.

    Others here at the meeting have decided not to wait. They’ve organized something you don’t often see from scientists: a public demonstration later today to tell Trump not to interfere with climate science.

    See the full article here.

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    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

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  • richardmitnick 9:52 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NPR, ,   

    From NPR: “Here’s Really Where Zika Mosquitoes Are Likely In The U.S.” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    June 13, 2016
    Michaeleen Doucleff

    1
    Counties where Aedes aegypti was reported between Jan. 1, 1995, and March 2016. Counties in yellow recorded one year of A. aegypti being present; those shown in orange recorded two years; and those shown in red, three or more years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    A few months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a startling map that showed the parts of the U.S. that could harbor mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika.

    Many readers, including myself, thought, “Zika could come to my town! It could come to Connecticut! To Ohio and Indiana! Or to Northern California! Oh goodness!”

    The map made it look like a vast swath of the country was at risk for Zika, including New England and the Upper Midwest.

    Well, not quite.

    On Thursday, CDC scientists published another mosquito map for the U.S. And it paints a very different picture.

    The new map shows counties in which scientists, over the past two decades, have collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the type of insect thought to be spreading Zika in Latin American and the Caribbean.

    “The new map is more accurate than the initial one,” says Thomas Scott, an entomologist at the University of California, Davis. “The distribution of the A. aegypti mosquito is much more restricted than the initial map showed.”

    In the map, counties colored yellow reported A. aegypti mosquitoes during one year between 1995 and 2016. Orange counties had the mosquitoes in two years. And red counties are the hot spots: Scientists there found A. aegypti mosquitoes during three or more years in the past two decades.

    This map represents “the best knowledge of the current distribution of this mosquito based on collection records,” entomologist John-Paul Mutebi and his colleagues at the CDC wrote in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

    Many of the hot spots for this mosquito aren’t surprising. They’re places that we already knew are vulnerable to Zika, including counties in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast and southern Texas. These places have had problems with a virus closely related to Zika, called dengue. They’re already on high alert for Zika.

    But several hot spots are bit more unexpected — and concerning. “Perhaps the most concerning development for A. aegypti is its establishment in the Southwest, most recently in California in 2013,” Mutebi and his co-authors write.

    Other surprises include parts of the Bay Area, greater Washington, D.C., and the Dallas-Fort Worth region, which all have established populations of A. aegypti, the map shows.

    “The country is really a patchwork,” Scott says. “When you drill down into one particular state, you find that the mosquito isn’t found across the whole state. And when you drill down into a county, you find the same thing. The mosquito is found in just a small part.”

    So why did the first map from the CDC make it look like such an extensive part of the country was at risk for Zika?

    “The two maps show different things,” Mutebi tells Shots. “The first map showed where the climate is able to sustain populations of A. aegypti. This new map shows reports from counties where these mosquitoes were found in the last 20 years.”

    And the new map, Mutebi says, is not complete. “Not all counties have mosquito surveillance programs looking for mosquitoes,” he says. In places that do, they are often targeting the mosquito that causes West Nile virus, not A. aegypti.

    “So just because a county hasn’t reported having any A. aegypti mosquitoes doesn’t mean they’re not there,” Mutebi says.

    A. aegypti mosquitoes are nasty critters. They chase down people so they can feed on their blood, says virologist Scott Weaver at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

    A. aegypti lives in close association with people, feeds almost exclusively on people — not animals — and even comes into people’s home,” he says. “Its behavior and its ecology are almost ideal for a mosquito to transmit a human virus.”

    See the full article here.

    YOU CAN HELP FIND A CURE FOR THE ZIKA VIRUS.

    There is a new project at World Community Grid [WCG] called OpenZika.
    Zika
    Image of the Zika virus

    Rutgers Open Zika

    WCG runs on your home computer or tablet on software from Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing [BOINC]. Many other scientific projects run on BOINC software.Visit WCG or BOINC, download and install the software, then at WCG attach to the OpenZika project. You will be joining tens of thousands of other “crunchers” processing computational data and saving the scientists literally thousands of hours of work at no real cost to you.

    WCGLarge
    WCG Logo New

    BOINCLarge
    BOINC WallPaper
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    We are NPR. And this is our story.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on June 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jazz, NPR, ,   

    From NPR: “Scientist Stephon Alexander: ‘Infinite Possibilities’ Unite Jazz And Physics” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    June 11, 2016
    Ari Daniel

    1
    Physicist Stephon Alexander shares his love of science with his students at Brown University, and his love of jazz with musicians around Providence.
    Courtesy Ari Daniel

    Stephon Alexander didn’t always love music. When he turned 8, his grandmother, who was from Trinidad, forced him to take piano lessons in the Bronx. His teacher was, in a word, strict. “It felt like a military exercise to rob me of my childhood,” Alexander recalls.

    Several years went by like that. Until one day when Alexander’s dad brought home an alto sax he found at a garage sale. “That became my toy. Music no longer for me was this regimented tedium,” he says.

    Alexander blasted away in the attic. He got good. In the 8th grade, his band teacher — who played the jazz scene by night — offered to help him get into the most prestigious music school in New York City. But he turned it down. “Because I wanted my music to be for fun,” Alexander says. “I didn’t want it to become a job.”

    And he never told his grandmother. Later on, in high school, Alexander discovered the subject that would become his career. Physics. He calls it the study of, “How the smallest things inform the largest things in our universe.”

    2
    The Jazz of Physics. The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

    His passion for physics showed. He raked in the degrees, a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, fellowships in London and at Stanford University. The physics was mostly work. The music, mostly fun. But there were times when the two collided. Like this one night in Paris, Alexander was stuck on a problem concerning the early universe.

    “So I shipped myself to the jazz clubs. You have to create a solo on the spot while conforming to some kind of structure. Well, physics is like that, too,” Alexander says. “In between sets, I would play around with my calculations or just think very freely.”

    Sure enough, one night, he watched the audience applauding, which made him think about tiny charged particles slamming into one another – and the solution came to him. “The mathematics underlying that gave the properties that look like the origins of the Big Bang,” Alexander says.

    He got a publication out of it. But Alexander never mentioned his duality — his jazz-inspired approach to science — to his physics colleagues. He worried they’d stop taking him seriously. “Many times I’d be the only black person,” Alexander says, “and there was always that concern that because I was just different that, ‘this guy doesn’t have the chops.'”

    As Alexander became more established, his double life converged into a single one that fuses jazz and physics, using the lessons of each to inform the other. Take this question: How does a quantum particle get from point A to point B? A particle like an electron. In the strange world of quantum mechanics, it can actually take an infinite number of paths between points A and B.

    Alexander says it’s like improvising a jazz solo. Each time, he starts on note A and ends on note B. “We know that it’s starting and ending at those notes,” Alexander says. “But what happened in between are different possibilities, and there’s an infinite amount of possibilities.”

    3
    Stephon Alexander’s Trinidadian grandmother forced him to take piano lessons. His love for music€” and physics developed later. Courtesy of Ari Daniel

    These days, Alexander is a professor at Brown University. And his grad students all play instruments. And when they gather to discuss science, Alexander says it’s like a jazz session. “It feels like a quartet playing Miles Davis tune and everyone gets a chance to solo while the others support the soloer,” he says.

    Alexander does physics research every day, plays the Providence jazz scene at least once a week, and he’s merged his passions into a new book called The Jazz of Physics. And his grandmother is proud of him. Alexander says he understands now that the reason she foisted those piano lessons on him years ago was that to her — an immigrant from Trinidad — music was the doorway to a better life.

    “For black people in general and Afro-Caribbean people, one mode of economic freedom was music,” Alexander says. Alexander’s grandmother intended music to be a gift for her grandson. And it was…just a different kind of gift than she was planning on, one that allows him to answer the big questions about our universe.

    See the full article here.

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    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

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  • richardmitnick 2:26 pm on May 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Look, Ma! No Mitochondria, , NPR   

    From NPR: “Look, Ma! No Mitochondria” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    May 12, 2016
    Nell Greenfield Boyce
    1
    These mitochondria, in red, are from the heart muscle cell of a rat. Mitochondria have been described as “the powerhouses of the cell” because they generate most of a cell’s supply of chemical energy. But at least one type of complex cell doesn’t need ’em, it turns out.
    Science Source

    Scientists have found a microbe that does something textbooks say is impossible: It’s a complex cell that survives without mitochondria.

    Mitochondria are the powerhouses inside eukaryotic cells, the type of complicated cell that makes up people, other critters and plants and fungi. All eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus and little organelles — and one of the most famous was the mitochondrion.

    “They were considered to be absolutely indispensable components of the eukaryotic cell and the hallmark of the eukaryotic cell,” says Anna Karnkowska, a researcher in evolutionary biology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Karnkowska and her colleagues describe their new find in a study published* online Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

    1
    This is a light micrograph of the microbe that evolutionary biologists say lives just fine without any mitochondria.
    Naoji Yubuki/Current Biology

    Mitochondria have their own DNA, and scientists believe they were once free-living bacteria that got engulfed by primitive, ancient cells that were evolving to become the complex life forms we know and love today.

    For decades, researchers have tried to find eukaryotic cells that don’t have mitochondria — and for a while they thought they’d found some. One example is Giardia, a human gut parasite that causes diarrhea. It was considered to be a kind of living fossil because it had a nucleus but didn’t seem to have acquired mitochondria. But additional studies on Giardia and other microbes showed that actually, the mitochondria were there.

    “It turned out that all of them actually had some kind of remnant mitochondrion,” says Karnkowska, who notes that mitochondria perform key jobs in the cell beyond just generating power.

    A biggie is assembling iron-sulfur clusters for certain proteins, which is thought to be a mitochondrial function that’s really essential. So even if a microbe powers itself in a different way and has a limited form of the organelle that isn’t the same as the mitochondria found in people, Karnkowska says, “it’s still a mitochondrion and it has some important function for the cell.”

    That kind of vestigial mitochondrion is what she expected to find when she was a researcher at Charles University in Prague and started investigating a particular gut microbe that had been isolated from a researcher’s pet chinchilla.

    After she and her colleagues sequenced the gut microbe’s genome, however, they found no trace that it made any mitochondrial proteins at all. “So that’s a great surprise for us,” she says. “That should theoretically kill the cell — it shouldn’t exist.”

    What they learned is that instead of relying on mitochondria to assemble iron-sulfur clusters, these cells use a different kind of machinery. And it looks like they acquired it from bacteria.

    The researchers say this is the first example of any eukaryote that completely lacks mitochondria.

    Michael Gray, a biochemist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, says the researchers have made a “compelling” case that they have a bona fide eukaryote without any vestige of a mitochondrion; he calls the finding “unprecedented.”

    “The observation is significant, in that it clearly demonstrates that a eukaryote can still be a eukaryote without having a mitochondrion,” he tells Shots via email.

    However, the results do not negate the idea that the acquisition of a mitochondrion was an important and perhaps defining event in the evolution of eukaryotic cells, he adds.

    That’s because it seems clear that this organism’s ancestors had mitochondria that were then lost after the cells acquired their non-mitochondrial system for making iron-sulfur clusters.

    “This is not the missing link of eukaryotic evolution,” agrees Mark Van Der Giezen, a researcher in evolutionary biochemistry at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

    Still, he says, it is an example of how flexible life is.

    “It lives in an area without oxygen and therefore can get rid of a lot of biochemistry that you and I would need in our cells to survive,” says Van Der Giezen. “This organism managed to adapt in such a way that it could lose an organelle, which every textbook will tell you is an essential feature of eukaryotes. That’s pretty amazing. It shows you that life is extremely creative in finding a way to eke out an existence.”

    *Science paper:
    A Eukaryote without a Mitochondrial Organelle

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 9:40 am on January 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adult ADHD a Reality, , , NPR   

    From NPR: “Can’t Focus? It Might Be Undiagnosed Adult ADHD” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    January 18, 2016
    Patti Neighmond

    Temp 1
    Katherine Du/NPR

    When Cathy Fields was in her late 50s, she noticed she was having trouble following conversations with friends.

    “I could sense something was wrong with me,” she says. “I couldn’t focus. I could not follow.”

    Fields was worried she had suffered a stroke or was showing signs of early dementia. Instead she found out she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

    Fields is now 66 years old and lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. She’s a former secretary and mother of two grown children. Fields was diagnosed with ADHD about eight years ago. Her doctor ruled out any physical problems and suggested she see a psychiatrist. She went to Dr. David Goodman at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who by chance specializes in ADHD.

    Goodman asked Fields a number of questions about focus, attention and completing tasks. He asked her about her childhood and how she did in school. Since ADHD begins in childhood, it’s important for mental health professionals to understand these childhood experiences in order to make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood. Online screening tests are available, too, so you can try it yourself.

    Goodman decided that Fields most definitely had ADHD.

    She’s not alone. Goodman says he’s seeing more and more adults over the age of 50 newly diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder occurs as the brain is developing and symptoms generally appear around age 7. But symptoms can last a lifetime. For adults, the problem is not disruptive behavior or keeping up in school. It’s an inability to focus, which can mean inconsistency, being late to meetings or just having problems managing day-to-day tasks. Adults with ADHD are more likely than others to lose a job or file for bankruptcy, Goodman says. They may overpay bills, or underpay them. They may pay bills late, or not at all.

    For Cathy Fields, the more she thought about it, the more she realized distraction and the inability to focus was the story of her life. It was also the story of her mother’s life. My mother “never got things done,” Fields says.

    This is typical, according to Goodman; ADHD often runs in families. According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or CHADD, an advocacy group, the disorder can be inherited. If a parent has ADHD, the child has more than a 50 percent chance of also having it. If a twin has ADHD, the other twin has up to an 80 percent chance of having the disorder.

    But because many of today’s older adults grew up during the 1950s and 60s when there wasn’t much awareness of ADHD, many were never diagnosed. And increasingly, Goodman says, he’s seeing more and more patients who are concerned about dementia but actually have ADHD — just like Cathy Fields.

    Goodman also sees patients who are diagnosed after their child or grandchild gets a diagnosis. “That’s the genetic link,” says Goodman, “from grandmom to mom to daughter.”

    About 60 percent of children with ADHD go on to become adults with ADHD, says Dr. Lenard Adler, a professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. As these older adults weren’t diagnosed, they learned to work around the problem, Adler, says. They developed coping systems to deal with their inability to focus or pay attention.

    That was the case with 65-year-old Kathleen Brown, a retired nurse who lives in Maryland. She was never diagnosed as a child but she “knew something was wrong,” she says.

    Brown didn’t learn to read until she was 12. And, she says, she had to work a lot harder in school than other kids did for the same grades. When she went to nursing school, Brown made sure she sat in the first row during lectures so she wouldn’t miss anything or be distracted. And when it came to testing, she says, she literally set her desk up in the back of the class, facing a corner.

    When she finally got diagnosed and prescribed medication Brown says the change was “stupendous.” She’s not scattered, and can start projects and finish them. “I wish I had it when I went to school 25 years ago,” Brown says. “It would have helped me for sure.”

    Like children with the disorder, adults with ADHD are treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of treaments. ADHD medication works just as well for adults as it does for children, but there is a word of caution. Older adults often have other health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. So doctors need to be careful when prescribing ADHD medications, which are typically stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin.

    For older patients, an ADHD diagnosis can be a huge relief. If you’ve spent your whole life with a disorder for which people said you were lazy, stupid, incompetent, says Goodman, “It’s liberating to realize the impairments are the result of a treatable disorder and not a character weakness or intellectual inadequacy.”

    So for older people with memory and focus problems, Goodman says, it’s important for doctors to check for ADHD. While it could be cognitive decline, there’s growing awareness that it could also simply be the symptoms of a lifelong childhood disorder.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:25 pm on October 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , I F*cking Love Science, NPR, ZY   

    From NPR via Today’s Ozy: “Elise Andrew F*cking Loves Science” 

    NPR

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    Temp 1
    OZY

    10.10.15
    Barbara Fletcher

    Temp 1
    Elise Andrew

    Elise Andrew has to put up with a lot of sh*t. And why? Because she’s young, she’s a woman, and she f*cking loves science. So much so that she created a Facebook page that now boasts an audience of over 7 million.

    Andrew is the driving force behind the insanely popular “I Fucking Love Science” page. The 24-year old British blogger who now lives and works in Canada, created the page back in March 2012, while still at university. There was no big plan; she started the page “in a fit of boredom” as a collection of the cool science stories she had read. The next day, the page had 1,000 likes. Sixteen months later, that number has skyrocketed into the millions and there’s still really no plan. In an interview with ScienceWorld she explained her approach, “I just keep sharing things I think are amazing, and people keep agreeing with me.”

    And fans think it’s pretty amazing, too. Taking a look through the timeline photos, you begin to realize just how popular IFLS posts are, with many images seeing “likes” and “shares” in the tens of thousands. Take, for example, a cute little representaton of hydrophobicity or how kittens illustrate concavity and convexity. The vast collection of cartoons, news snippets, photos and other tidbits all work to make science fun and humorous. Even the IFLS cover photo spells it out with a quote by Isaac Asimov: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny.’”

    Andrew told World News Australia that her aim is to keep the site surprising and entertaining. “I try to keep it light,” she said. ”I try to keep it acceptable and interesting to everyone on all levels.”

    2
    Screen capture of the IFLS Facebook cover photo (September 28). Source: I F*cking Love Science Facebook page.

    It’s this personal, all-inclusive approach that makes the page so irresistible. ”Elise has an excellent eye for funny, quirky items, and that’s why I think so many people like IFLS, ” says Fred Guterl, executive editor of Scientific American.

    And, of course, there’s the site’s ”unapologetic” title. Aerin Jacob, a PhD candidate in biology at McGill University, thinks this helps fuel curiosity about the page. “The idea of scientists as geeks playing with test tubes or stodgy old people writing equations on blackboards is still pervasive in popular culture, so having someone say that they f*cking love science really makes a statement.”

    But not everyone thinks IFLS is so amazing or funny. And this brings us back to the “shit” part. In recent months Andrew has been the target of a barrage of misogynistic comments and other forms of backlash – most of which have nothing to do with science.

    Popular posts include a cute little representation of hydrophobicity or how kittens illustrate concavity and convexity.

    It all started when people found out she was, in fact, a woman (gasp!). Earlier this year while at a conference, Andrew mentioned her Twitter account on IFLS. Why did that become such a big deal? Because her profile featured a photo. At last (for many), the face behind the popular science site was revealed. Nobody expected what followed. The next time she checked the page, there were over 10,000 comments below the posts – many of which, as Andrew puts it, exclaimed, “Oh my god, you’re a girl.” Worse comments followed.

    So did all this vitriol cause her to hang up her virtual lab coat? Hell no. Andrew brought her unique IFLS approach – cheeky humor and cleverness in spades – to the situation. She started to call them out, regularly posting a Crazy of the Day to Twitter, calling out a particularly strange or nasty comment on Facebook, and inviting the public to comment.

    Despite all the “crazy” she continues to update the site daily and even invites people into her personal life via her personal social media pages. Like when she bought a pair of Catwoman pumps and when a creepy guest showed up to her Sept. 13 wedding.

    Andrew continues to move at the speed of light, with a path of science-hungry followers in her wake. In August, she teamed up with Discovery Digital Networks to bring some of her Facebook phenomenon to online video, with a new series for the network’s Test Tube channel. The weekly show has covered topics such as supporting ugly animals (and not just cute pandas), listening for traces of Big Bang, a car-melting building, tracing the ginger gene, and turning sewage into power.

    ”There was a natural fit for us to work together,” says Ryan Vance, Senior VP of Programming Development for Discovery. ”Not only does she have a huge audience, she has a very smart audience. We felt there was a natural match between the people who follow her and our audience on the Test Tube network.” Plus, she’s “extremely nice” and a “joy to work with.”

    When her photo went public, there were over 10,000 comments on the site – many of which, exclaimed, ’Oh my god, you’re a girl.’

    A month into the series, IFLS is already one of the most popular shows on Test Tube. Vance credits this success to Andrew’s role as a “super curator” in which she spends ”just about every waking moment finding content” to share with her audience.

    Most recently Andrew has been taking the IFLS show on the road, participating in a Science Week event in Australia with other ”Internet science rockstars” and hosting a sold-out, adults-only event at the Ontario Science Centre.

    But despite popularity of the video series, the Facebook page, and her guest appearances around the world, Elise Andrew is a reluctant celebrity. After seeing that she made Cosmopolitian’s list of “Girls making geeky stuff cool,” she Facebooked: “I feel oddly conflicted by this.”

    Well, 7.2 million Facebook fans might beg to differ.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

    We are NPR. And this is our story.

     
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