Posts about Arizona

Real Time Hologram Projection Getting Closer

A team led by the University of Arizona professor of Materials Science and Engineering Nasser Peyghambarian has developed a new type of holographic telepresence that allows the projection of a three-dimensional moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices.

“Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world,” said Peyghambarian, who led the research effort.

“Holographic stereography has been capable of providing excellent resolution and depth reproduction on large-scale 3D static images,” the authors wrote, “but has been missing dynamic updating capability until now.”

The prototype device uses a 10-inch screen, but Peyghambarian’s group is already successfully testing a much larger version with a 17-inch screen. The image is recorded using an array of regular cameras, each of which views the object from a different perspective. The more cameras that are used, the more refined the final holographic presentation will appear.

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Undergraduate Student Discovers Herbivorous Spider

Herbivory Discovered in a Spider

A jumping spider from Central America eats mostly plants, according to new research. Spiders were thought to be strictly predators on animals. The spider, Bagheera kiplingi, was described scientifically in the late 1800s, but its vegetarian tendencies were not observed until the 21st century.

“This is the first spider in the world known to deliberately hunt plant parts. It is also the first found to go after plants as a primary food source,” said lead author Christopher Meehan.

Of the approximately 40,000 species of spiders known, Bagheera kiplingi is the only species known to be primarily herbivorous. Ironically, the vegetarian spider is named after the panther in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” The spider inhabits several species of acacia shrubs involved in a well-known mutualism between the acacias and several species of ants.

Previously, very few spiders had been seen consuming plants at all. Some spiders had been observed occasionally eating nectar and pollen, although the bulk of their diet was insects and other small animals.

Related: Leafhopper Feeding a GeckoBunny and Kittens: Friday Cat Fun #5Symbiotic relationship between ants and bacteria

Mentors Prepare Women for Construction Career

photo of Heather Cavitt

Mentors prepare women for construction career

Now Cavitt and other women in the construction school, a part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, can give themselves another advantage: Learning from pioneering women who have already risen to leadership positions in the business.

The school recently established its Advancing Women in Construction program, a key part of which is a mentorship project. More than 70 women – and several men – in the construction industry in the greater Phoenix area have signed on to mentor female students and provide them an inside look at life in the industry.

plan to increase female enrollment from less than 15 percent of total enrollment to 30 percent – or about 200 female students – within five years.

Cavitt says her favorite things about the school’s construction management program are the opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, such as internships and building-project competitions between construction students at other universities. She expects the mentoring program to add significantly to the value of her college education. “I’m excited to learn about the real-world business of construction from women who have been successful at it for many years,” she says.

photo: School of Construction student Heather Cavitt (front) will gain from the experience of Crystal Slawson (center), president of Phoenix Pipelines and Natalie Palmer, the company’s project coordinator, through the school’s Advancing Women in Construction mentorship program.

Related: Beloit College: Girls and Women in ScienceWomen Choosing Other Fields Over Engineering and MathWomen Working in ScienceFixing Engineering’s Gender Gap

ASU Science Studio Podcasts

Science Studio offers podcasts by the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences with professors discussing science; it is another excellent source of science podcasts. Podcasts include:

  • Of Whales, Fish and Men: Managing Marine Reserves – With 90% of the world’s fisheries in a state of collapse, the questions around establishing marine reserves, monitoring, and species/stock recovery take on critical dimensions. But how do decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public formulate effective conservation policies; ones right for their community?
  • Biology on Fire – Regents’ Professor, Mac Arthur Fellow, author and a world’s expert on fire and fire ecology Stephen Pyne talks about how fire, its use, misuse, and its biological nature have shaped our world, before and because of man, and learn how policies of the past still reverberate in our present, in Arizona and globally.
  • Giant Insects: Not just in B movies – Professor Jon Harrison sheds light on the evolution of his scientific career and nature’s biggest order: arthropods. How big is big? In the Paleozoic, cockroaches were the size of housecats and dragonflies the size of raptors.
  • Special Feature: Building a science career – One of the most highly cited ecologists in the world, Jane Lubchenco trod her own unique path to success. In this live recording with the Association for Women in Science, she explains how assertiveness, the art of negotiation, and knowing the currency for promotion and tenure can make the difference between achieving balance between family and career and dropping out the leaky academic pipeline that leads to advancement.

These podcasts are great way to use the internet to serve the mission of universities: to educate. And a great way to promote science.

Related: Lectures from the Stanford Linear Accelerator CenterUC-Berkeley Course VideosScience Podcast LibrariesCommunicating Science to the Public

Clay Versus MRSA Superbug

“Healing clays” hold promise in fight against MRSA superbug infections and disease

Scientists from Arizona State University report that minerals from clay promise could provide inexpensive, highly-effective antimicrobials to fight methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections that are moving out of health care settings and into the community.

Unlike conventional antibiotics routinely administered by injection or pills, the so-called “healing clays” could be applied as rub-on creams or ointments to keep MRSA infections from spreading

In their latest study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Williams, Haydel and their colleagues collected more than 20 different clay samples from around the world to investigate their antibacterial activities… The researchers identified at least two clays from the United States that kill or significantly reduce the growth of these bacteria

Also listen to a podcast with the researchers, Lynda Williams and Shelly Haydel, that provides much more detail. The Science Studio podcasts from Arizona State University provides great science podcasts.

Related: Soil Could Shed Light on Antibiotic ResistanceEntirely New Antibiotic DevelopedScience Webcast DirectoryNSF Awards $50 Million for Collaborative Plant Biology Project (University of Arizona)

Grand Flood

Grand Canyon photo by John Hunter

Model analysis helps protect river’s ecosystem

The goal of the high-flow experiment, the third since 1996, is to see if such high flows can help reconstruct some of the canyon’s beaches and sand bars that are instrumental to ecological systems and native fishes that have suffered since the building of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963.

By allowing flow of water that, at its peak, will be more than three times its normal rate (to a volume of 41,500 cubic feet per second), researchers hope to flush some of the dam system of its backed-up sediment and reconstruct habitat downstream. It is expected that the high water-flows will rebuild eroded beaches downstream of the dam by moving sand accumulated in the riverbed onto sandbars.

That in turn will allow the re-establishment of eddy sandbars that provide the slow moving, backwater channels vital for native fish species. The sand bars also provide camping areas for river runners and hikers, and the beaches provide sand to the canyon that helps preserve archaeological resources.

Related: Grand Canyon photos by John HunterHow to Date the Grand CanyonSurfing a Wave for 12 kmMegaflood Created the English Channel

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