Summer Health Tips

Posted on July 31, 2006  Comments (0)

Summer health tips from Google

Taraneh Razavi, M.D., has kindly provided a few tips on coping with such summer challenges as tick bites, thunderstorms, and heat exhaustion. She’s also blogged about insect repellents and sunscreen. But as she reminds us, summer also means – there’s ice cream. Stay healthy and cool, people, and have fun this and every weekend.

Other posts include: Who is Living Longer and Avoiding Nursing Homes.

NASA Robotics Academy

Posted on July 28, 2006  Comments (3)

The NASA Robotics Academy is an intensive resident summer program of higher learning for college undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing professional and leadership careers in robotics-related fields.

Besides attending lectures and workshops with experts in their field, the Robotics Academy students are involved in supervised research in GSFC laboratories, private companies, and universities, and will participate in visits to other NASA Centers, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a number of robotics-related academic laboratories and industries.

Projects this year include: Conformal Gripping System for Space Robots and Cooperative Team-diagnosis in Multi-robot Systems

Excellence in K-12 Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted on July 28, 2006  Comments (2)

Going to School with Samuel Wheeler (NSF does not provide a way to link directly so you have to look down the page to find this interview of teacher Samuel Wheeler).

NSF: What is your most successful tool to inspire students to study science?
Wheeler: I craft my science courses in such a way that the students themselves become the investigator and principal learner, and I become a guide or facilitator. If they are allowed to explore the material from their own interests with the proper springboard, then it is easier to inspire them.

Samuel Wheeler received the, Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – USA.
Read more

Cat History

Posted on July 28, 2006  Comments (5)

New cat family tree revealed

The family history of the cat has been notoriously murky in the past, in part because the few discovered cat fossils are very difficult to tell apart.

The international team took a different approach by sampling DNA from living cats. They looked at both mitochondrial DNA – the scrap of DNA within the parts of the cell that generate energy and are passed along the maternal line – and DNA from the X and Y sex chromosomes.

A picture has emerged of a feline ancestor that wandered all over the world, becoming one of the most successful carnivore families.

Read more

2006 MIT Engineering Systems Conference

Posted on July 27, 2006  Comments (0)

2006 MIT Engineering Systems Conference

Business systems, engineering systems, and organizations grow in complexity and require careful analysis to solve problems effectively and resiliently. International commercial, political and social situations are increasingly complex and miss-steps can have a profound impact on business operations. Future corporate leaders will need increased knowledge and skills to compete in such environments. Join us on September 26th as the Engineering Systems Division at MIT and the MIT Industrial Liaison Program co-sponsor a day of presentations by MIT faculty and invited corporate speakers exploring the topic of “Complex Systems, Complex Times: Reflections on the 21st Century Enterprise.”


Kyoto Prize for Technology, Science and the Arts

Posted on July 26, 2006  Comments (1)

Inamori Foundation Announces 22nd Annual Kyoto Prize Laureates for Lifetime Achievements in Technology, Science, and the Arts

This year’s Kyoto Prize laureates will be U.S. immunologist and geneticist Dr. Leonard A. Herzenberg, 74, a professor at Stanford University; Japanese statistical mathematician Dr. Hirotugu Akaike, 78, a professor emeritus at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics; and Japanese designer Issey Miyake, 68, an artist whose innovative creations transcend time, culture and social status.

The 22nd Annual Kyoto Prize is Japan’s highest private award for lifetime achievement, presented to individuals and groups worldwide who have contributed significantly to humankind’s betterment. Each recipient receives a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$446,000).
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NSF Undergraduate Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Posted on July 26, 2006  Comments (1)

NSF Undergraduate Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)

program details from NSF (web site for schools)

This program makes grants to institutions of higher education to support scholarships for academically talented, financially needy students, enabling them to enter the workforce following completion of an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate level degree in science and engineering disciplines. Grantee institutions are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, reporting demographic information about student scholars, and managing the S-STEM project at the institution.

The program does not make scholarship awards directly to students; students should contact their institution’s Office of Financial Aid for this and other scholarship opportunities.

Thanks to Marisa Dorazio, Edmonds Community College, for mentioning this. Apply for the scholarships available from Edmonds Community College. The deadline to apply is Friday, August 18. The application form has contact information in case you have any questions.

Engineering Resources for K-12 Teachers

Posted on July 25, 2006  Comments (1)

Teach Engineering, funded by NSF, provides k-12 teachers “teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content” to “enhance learning, excite students and stimulate interest in science and math through the use of hands-on engineering.”

The TeachEngineering digital library provides teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content for K-12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms. Engineering lessons connect real-world experiences with curricular content already taught in K-12 classrooms. Mapped to educational content standards, TeachEngineering’s comprehensive curricula are hands-on, inexpensive, and relevant to children’s daily lives.

Available modules include: Engineering and the Human Body, Exploring Solar Power, Engineering: Simple Machines and Environmental Engineering.

How do antibiotics kill bacteria?

Posted on July 25, 2006  Comments (8)

How do antibiotics kill bacterial cells but not human cells? (pointy haired bosses (phb) at Scientific American broke the link so I removed it – see links in comments below that are not broken by phb behavior)

Most bacteria produce a cell wall that is composed partly of a macromolecule called peptidoglycan, itself made up of amino sugars and short peptides. Human cells do not make or need peptidoglycan. Penicillin, one of the first antibiotics to be used widely, prevents the final cross-linking step, or transpeptidation, in assembly of this macromolecule. The result is a very fragile cell wall that bursts, killing the bacterium.

Read more blog posts on antibiotics and on health care.

Beyond Genetics in DNA

Posted on July 25, 2006  Comments (0)

Scientists Say They’ve Found a Code Beyond Genetics in DNA by Nicholas Wade:

The genetic code specifies all the proteins that a cell makes. The second code, superimposed on the first, sets the placement of the nucleosomes, miniature protein spools around which the DNA is looped. The spools both protect and control access to the DNA itself.

Jerry Workman of the Stowers Institute in Kansas City said the detection of the nucleosome code was “a profound insight if true,” because it would explain many aspects of how the DNA is controlled.

Survey of Working Engineers

Posted on July 24, 2006  Comments (1)

Working hard for their money by Elizabeth M. Taurasi, on the annual Design News salary survey:

Engineers earned an average of $73,000 last year, with the majority receiving a 3 percent increase over last year. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed stayed in the same job.

On average, engineers are working 46 hours per week and more than 40 percent have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. But to earn that paycheck, you’re doing more than ever.

From taking on supervisory and budgetary functions to learning new skill sets, to broadening their responsibilities, today’s design engineers are doing far more than they ever had before.

This is one more confirmation of the idea that engineers have to learn and practice not just engineering concepts but many management skills (as do other specialists). The workplace is becoming continuously more integrated and all specialists have to adapt to this reality. All specialists are having to work increasingly with those outside of their specialty.

And, as in the past, though even more toady, as more responsibility is gained often this means needing new skills outside of engineering (or whatever the specific specialty is).

The article provides more interesting thoughts relating to the survey.