20 Most Popular Post on the Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog in 2016
Posted on December 26, 2016 Comments (0)
These were the most popular (by number of page views) posts on our blog in 2016.
- Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (2008)
- Underwater Pedestrian Walkway (2011)
- Science Sort of Explains: Hiccups (2008)
- Why is it Colder at Higher Elevations? (2008)
- Ranking Countries by Scientific Publication Citations: USA, UK, Germany… (2015)
- How Lysozyme Protein in Our Tear-Drops Kill Bacteria (2012)
- Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids (2005)
- Loan Forgiveness Program for Engineering Students (2008)
- S&P 500 CEO’s: Engineering is the Most Common Major (2009)
- 3D Printing at Home: Today, Challenges and Opportunities (2015)
Engineering Mosquitos to Prevent the Transmission of Diseases
Posted on December 20, 2016 Comments (2)
Mosquitos are responsible for huge amount of suffering and death. In 2015 200,000,000 people were infected with malaria and 500,000 died.
It is amazing what knowledge science has provided about the causes of human disease. It is great to have videos like this available that let us learn a bit about it from a short and understandable video.
Using our scientific knowledge to design and implement solutions offers great possibilities. But we also have to worry about the risks of such attempts. Making decisions about what risks to take requires well informed people that are able to understand the opportunities and risks and make intelligent decisions.
PISA Science Education Results Show Singapore, Japan and Estonia Leading
Posted on December 14, 2016 Comments (2)
The most comprehensive comparison of student achievement in math and science around the globe is completed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) focuses on science understanding of 15 year olds (the 2012 report focused on math).
2015 results for the science portion (rank – country – mean score)(I am not listing all countries):
- 1 – Singapore – 556
- 2 – Japan – 538
- 3 – Estonia – 534
- 4 – Taiwan – 532
- 5 – Finland – 531
- 6 – Canada – 528
- 7 – Vietnam – 525
- 8 – China – 520*
- 9 – Korea – 516
- 13 – Germany – 509
- 13 – UK – 509
- 23 – USA – 496
- 26 – Sweden – 493 (this is also the OECD average)
- 56 – Mexico – 416
- 61 – Brazil – 401
* I am merging several distinct Chinese locations reported in the official report.
The 2015 PISA include 72 participating countries and economies. From the PISA report:
Related: 2009 results of science education student achievement around the globe – 2012 results for the science portion (math was the focus in 2012) – The Economic Consequences of Investing in Science Education – Country H-index Ranking for Science Publications
Eating Nuts May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Diseases
Posted on December 6, 2016 Comments (3)
A large analysis of current research shows that people who eat at least 20g of nuts a day have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The analysis of all current studies on nut consumption and disease risk has revealed that 20g a day – equivalent to a handful – can cut people’s risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30%, their risk of cancer by 15%, and their risk of premature death by 22%.
While this is reassuring news to those of us (like me) that frequently eat nuts I am not sold on their evidence. Heath research is prone to overstating the benefits. Still there is little reason to avoid making nuts part of a healthy diet. That is a big part of the reason I have. They offer benefits and maybe even great ones (as indicated in this research) without much risk.
An average of at least 20g of nut consumption was also associated with a reduced risk of dying from respiratory disease by about a half, and diabetes by nearly 40 percent, although the researchers note that there is less data about these diseases in relation to nut consumption.
The study, led by researchers from Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is published in the journal BMC Medicine, Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies (open access paper).
The research team analysed 29 published studies from around the world that involved up to 819,000 participants, including more than 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and more than 85,000 deaths.
While there was some variation between the populations that were studied, such as between men and women, people living in different regions, or people with different risk factors, the researchers found that nut consumption was associated with a reduction in disease risk across most of them.