Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times
Archaeology - Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill Nye the Science Guy is talking about archaeology — can you dig it?
Archaeologists are kid of like detectives. They’re scientists who snoop through old or ancient people’s things to find out what life was like thousands of years ago. Archaeologists find ancient cities, tombs, and temples by taking aerial photographs of Earth, by reading old documents, or by just looking at the shape of the land. When they think they’ve found a site, the archaeologists pick up a shovel and start digging. When archaeologists get close to an object, they dig very carefully. Sometimes they dig with nothing but a toothpick and a paintbrush. Whew!
People leave stuff around, things as big as buildings and as small as a shard of a clay jar. Archaeologists examine ancient objects and compare them to things from the past and present to learn about people and civilizations.
Space Station Launch to Go Ahead Despite Computer Woes
The International Space Station is about to get some fresh groceries and material for an urgent repair job. An unmanned SpaceX rocket was scheduled to blast off at 4:58 p.m. Monday with more than two tons of supplies. NASA spent much of the weekend debating whether to proceed with the launch of the Dragon cargo ship, already a month late. A critical backup computer failed outside the space station Friday; flight controllers were trying to activate it for a routine software load.
Mission managers decided Sunday to stick with the launch plan after making sure everything would be safe. The prime computer has been working fine so far. The plan is to put the solar wings in the proper position for the capsule’s arrival soon after the SpaceX launch, in case of additional failures in orbit.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/space-station-launch-go-ahead-despite-computer-woes
Elusive Baby Dwarf Octopuses Hatch in Captivity
We don’t know that much about young Caribbean Dwarf octopuses, due to their fragility (they frequently die in captivity) and their elusiveness.. Now, scientists’ knowledge of the cephalopods should get a shot in the arm, because 50 baby octopuses hatched in an aquarium…fully formed. Kim Horcher and Christina Ochoa (Scirens and Chaotic Awesome) discuss the unusual octopods.
via Nerd Alert.
Banana MRI // Source unknown
Happy Birthday, Percy Julian!
Born in 1899 in Montgomery, Ala., Percy Lavon Julian was raised by parents who deeply valued education. His mother, Elizabeth, a schoolteacher, and his father, James, first met at the Lincoln Normal School (now Alabama State University), one of the few places in the state where a black person could continue school beyond the eighth grade…
As his train left Montgomery for DePauw, Percy Julian watched his family standing on the station’s platform. His grandfather, a former slave freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, waved a hand missing two fingers, cut off as punishment for learning to write. It was a painful reminder of the past for Julian, and an image that would inspire him in the years ahead…
The University soon found that Julian’s education in Alabama had inadequately prepared him for college. In addition to his regular college courses, he took classes at the Indiana Asbury Preparatory Academy run by DePauw, and worked in a fraternity house to pay his expenses. Despite significant academic, financial and cultural challenges, Julian excelled in chemistry. His success after his freshman year prompted his family to relocate to Greencastle so his five siblings - who would all later attend DePauw - could have similar opportunities.
Though diversity was not new to DePauw, which had admitted international and African-American students in the 1880s, not everyone in the college community was welcoming. Leslie R. James, associate professor of Religious Studies and director of the Black Studies Program, says that Julian’s success made him especially hard for the University, struggling with the racial inequities of the time, to ignore. “There is a sense in which Julian, as a student and later as a professional, kept posing DePauw with the challenge to be racially inclusive. He was the classic case of someone from the margins who kept challenging the center to reinvent itself through the door of racial inclusiveness. His subsequent success and achievements, which could not be denied, were there for all to see, including the University that had helped to produce him in a significant way.”
In 1920 Julian graduated first in his class and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Even with his outstanding academic record, however, Julian was denied an assistantship, fellowship or admission to graduate school. Instead, he found a position as instructor in chemistry at Fisk University. After two years at Fisk, he won an Austin Fellowship to Harvard University and earned a master’s degree in 1923. Again, despite his strong academic and research record, no job offer was forthcoming, other than from black institutions. Julian taught at West Virginia State College and Howard University, where he was appointed head of the chemistry department.
In 1929, after the disappointment of being unable to pursue doctoral studies in the United States, Julian received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study with the distinguished chemist Ernst Späth at the University of Vienna. He earned a doctorate in 1931 and returned to Howard University for two additional years.
In 1933 Julian accepted an appointment at DePauw as a research fellow at Minshall Laboratory, where he directed research projects for senior chemistry majors. He welcomed the chance to return to Greencastle and his alma mater, where two siblings were completing their educations. The senior research project launched in 1933 by Julian and his colleague, Joseph Pikl, produced 11 articles published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society during a three-year span. Many of the students Julian mentored went on to earn doctoral degrees and work with him in industry.
In addition to their work supporting students, Julian and Pikl completed research at DePauw that resulted in the total synthesis of physostigmine, a drug treatment for glaucoma, from the calabar bean. They were competing with Sir Robert Robinson of Oxford University, one of England’s foremost chemists. Publication of this work established Julian’s reputation as a world-renowned chemist at the age of 36…
DuPont offered a job to Pikl, but declined to hire Julian, to whom they explained that, although initially interested, they had been “unaware he was a Negro.” In 1935 he was offered a position at the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wis., but was dissuaded by a local statute that “No Negro should be bed or boarded overnight in Appleton.”
In 1936 a vice president of the Glidden Company, who also served on the board of the Institute of Paper Chemistry, hired Julian as assistant director of research of the paint and varnish manufacturer’s Soya Products Division, where he quickly became director. During 18 years with Glidden, he built a great research facility.
Julian’s research produced many patents and successful products for Glidden. He developed a commercial process for isolating and preparing soya bean protein, which could be used to coat and size paper, to create cold water paints and to size textiles. During World War II, the fire-extinguishing Aero-Foam - the U.S. Navy’s “bean soup” - was Julian’s brainchild. This soy protein foam was used to smother oil and gasoline fires that erupted on aircraft carriers, before the flames could engulf the ships. Julian’s invention, a hydrolyzate of isolated soy protein, potentially saved the lives of thousands of American sailors.
Julian went on to synthesize the female and male hormones, progesterone and testosterone, by extracting sterols from soybean oil. His biomedical research made it possible to synthetically produce large quantities of cortisone for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. His synthesis of cortisone reduced the price from hundreds of dollars per drop for natural cortisone to a few cents per gram.
In 1953 Julian left Glidden and founded Julian Laboratories, which he sold for more than $2 million in 1961. He later established the nonprofit Julian Research Institute, where he worked until his death from liver cancer in 1975.
Perhaps based upon his personal experience, Julian was widely recognized as a human rights advocate. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973 and 19 honorary doctorates. He was the first recipient of DePauw’s McNaughton Medal for Public Service. In 1990 he was elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and in 1993 the U.S. Postal Service issued the Julian stamp in the Black Heritage Commemorative Stamp series. In 1999 the city of Greencastle renamed First Street to Percy Julian Drive.
"It must be considered that Dr. Julian is probably DePauw’s most famous scientist," says James, "and one whose life is very much at the core of what DePauw seeks to be: a mirror of national and global community. Continuous reflection on his life will help DePauw renew its mission and purpose. At the same time, it will help to inspire many young persons, irrespective of ethnicity and gender, to pursue a career in science, and a life of service to humankind."
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