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Amazing: Dung beetles use stars for orientation

Amazing: Dung beetles use stars for orientation | LambC4 |
You might expect dung beetles to keep their 'noses to the ground,' but they are actually incredibly attuned to the sky.


While birds and humans are known to navigate by the stars, the discovery is the first convincing evidence for such abilities in insects, the researchers say. It is also the first known example of any animal getting around by the Milky Way as opposed to the stars. "Even on clear, moonless nights, many dung beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths," said Marie Dacke of Lund University in Sweden. "This led us to suspect that the beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation—a feat that had, to our knowledge, never before been demonstrated in an insect." Dacke and her colleagues found that dung beetles do transport their dung balls along straight paths under a starlit sky but lose the ability under overcast conditions. In a planetarium, the beetles stayed on track equally well under a full starlit sky and one showing only the diffuse streak of the Milky Way.

That makes sense, the researchers explain, because the night sky is sprinkled with stars, but the vast majority of those stars should be too dim for the beetles' tiny compound eyes to see. The findings raise the possibility that other nocturnal insects might also use stars to guide them at night. On the other hand, dung beetles are pretty special. Upon locating a suitable dung pile, the beetles shape a piece of dung into a ball and roll it away in a straight line. That behavior guarantees them that they will not return to the dung pile, where they risk having their ball stolen by other beetles. "Dung beetles are known to use celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon, and the pattern of polarized light formed around these light sources to roll their balls of dung along straight paths," Dacke said. "Celestial compass cues dominate straight-line orientation in dung beetles so strongly that, to our knowledge, this is the only animal with a visual compass system that ignores the extra orientation precision that landmarks can offer."

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Stacey Lamb's insight:

A bit disgusting, but interesting.

Angel Gavin's curator insight, January 25, 2013 1:57 AM

A little bit off-topic but amazing anyway. Some insects are able to navigate by the stars!


Enjoy it!

Thoughtful articles, resources, and educational links to explore beyond the classroom walls.
Curated by Stacey Lamb
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Rescooped by Stacey Lamb from iPads, MakerEd and More in Education!

Motorized Coloring Machine Kids Can Make

Motorized Coloring Machine Kids Can Make | LambC4 |

"You know what STEM is right? Science, technology, engineering and math. These are skills that kids really need to have a nice handle on- both boys and girls. We incorporate STEM into our homeschooling as much as possible.

Let me show you how we took the parts from an old broken toy and turned it into a motorized coloring machine. My kids call this coloring of the future!"

Via John Evans
Larry Heuser's curator insight, September 2, 11:54 AM

Homeschooler Alert!!

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Rube Goldberg Machines and the Engineering Design Process - Tchers' Voice

Rube Goldberg Machines and the Engineering Design Process - Tchers' Voice | LambC4 |
Rube Goldberg – a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation. ~ Webster’s New World Dictionary

When Rube Goldberg walked away from his engineering career in 1904, it’s unlikely he realized the impact that he would have on 21st century education. I find it ironic that many educators at the forefront of STEM education find inspiration from his cartoons, like The Simple Alarm Clock, that were published in newspapers across the United States over 100 years ago.

When I initially share the Engineering Design Process with my middle school students (see below), I like to have them collaboratively plan, construct and then use the iterative process to continuously refine a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Via John Evans
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A Third Grader’s Plea For More Game-Based Learning - MindShift

A Third Grader’s Plea For More Game-Based Learning - MindShift | LambC4 |

"Third grader Cordell Steiner makes a pretty convincing argument for using video games in the classroom in this TEDx talk. He describes feeling more motivated to learn and master new skills because of his eagerness to beat his own high score or finish before the clock runs out. He says he used to be bored in class when his teachers had to slow down to explain concepts, but now each student plays games intended to help him or her with specific skills they’re trying to master. He even gives examples!"

Via John Evans
Robyn Harrison's curator insight, November 12, 2014 5:53 PM

Responding with wonderment and awe

Janelle Tassano's curator insight, November 13, 2014 10:53 AM

This is my ideal school

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Morfo + Aurasma = Augmented Reality Book Trailers - iPad Apps for School

Morfo + Aurasma = Augmented Reality Book Trailers - iPad Apps for School | LambC4 |
Last week at the ACTEM conference I showed some folks possible uses for the Morfo 3D Faces app and the Aurasma iPad app.

Morfo 3D Faces is an iPad app that you can use to create a talking picture of person’s face. You can take a picture of a person or you can take a picture of a picture of a person (for example, taking a picture of a picture of a person in a book). Once you’ve captured the picture you can customize the face by altering the eyes, mouth, and nose to move as you talk. After customizing the picture you can record yourself talking.

Aurasma is a free app for iPads, iPhones, and  Android devices. Using Aurasma you can create augmented reality layers, Aurasma calls them “auras,” that pop-up when you scan objects with your phone or tablet. The layers that you create can include image or video files that are stored on your iPad.

Via John Evans
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New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at 'unprecedented rate'

New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at 'unprecedented rate' | LambC4 |

Climate News Network: Scientists reveal Greenland and Antarctica losing 500 cubic kms of ice annually.


German researchers have established the height of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps with greater precision than ever before. The new maps they have produced show that the ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.


The maps, produced with a satellite-mounted instrument, have elevation accuracies to within a few meters. Since Greenland’s ice cap is more than 2,000 meters thick on average, and the Antarctic bedrock supports 61% of the planet’s fresh water, this means that scientists can make more accurate assessments of annual melting.


Dr Veit Helm and other glaciologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute’sHelmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, report in the journal The Cryosphere that, between them, the two ice sheets are now losing ice at the unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year.


The measurements used to make the maps were taken by an instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s orbiting satelliteCryoSat-2. The satellite gets closer to the poles − to 88° latitude − than any previous mission and traverses almost 16m sq km of ice, adding an area of ice the size of Spain to the big picture of change and loss in the frozen world.


CryoSat-2’s radar altimeter transmitted 7.5m measurements of Greenland and 61m of Antarctica during 2012, enabling glaciologists to work with a set of consistent measurements from a single instrument.


Over a three-year period, the researchers collected 200m measurements in Antarctica and more than 14m in Greenland. They were able to study how the ice sheets changed by comparing the data with measurements made by Nasa’s IceSat mission.


Greenland’s volume of ice is being reduced at the rate of 375 cubic km a year. In Antarctica, the picture is more complex as the West Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice rapidly, but is growing in volume in East Antarctica.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Origami Inspires the Rise of Self-Folding Robot

Origami Inspires the Rise of Self-Folding Robot | LambC4 |
A creation made of composite paper can fold and assemble itself and start working without intervention. Such robots could be deployed cheaply and quickly.


An intricately cut sheet lies flat and motionless on a table. Then Samuel Felton, a graduate student at Harvard, connects the batteries, sending electricity coursing through, heating it. The sheet lurches to life, the pieces bending and folding into place. The transformation completes in four minutes, and the sheet, now a four-limbed robot, scurries away at more than two inches a second. The creation, reported Thursday in the journal Science, is the first robot that can fold itself and start working without any intervention from the operator. “We’re trying to make robots as quickly and cheaply as possible,” Mr. Felton said.

Inspired by origami, the Japanese paper-folding art, such robots could be deployed, for example, on future space missions, Mr. Felton said. Or perhaps the technology could one day be applied to Ikea-like furniture, folding from a flat-packed board to, say, a table without anyone fumbling with Allen wrenches or deciphering instructions seemingly rendered in hieroglyphics.

Mr. Felton’s sheet is not simple paper, but a composite made of layers of paper, a flexible circuit board and Shrinky Dinks — plastic sheets, sold as a toy, that shrink when heated above 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The researchers attached to the sheet two motors, two batteries and a microcontroller that served as the brain for the robot. Those components accounted for $80 of the $100 of materials needed for the robot. While the robot could fold itself, the sheet took a couple of hours for Mr. Felton to construct. Still, it was simpler and cheaper than the manufacturing process for most machines today — robots, iPhones, cars — which are made of many separate pieces that are then glued, bolted and snapped together.

Mr. Felton’s adviser, Robert J. Wood, a professor of engineering and applied sciences, was initially interested in building insect-size robots. But for machines that small, “there really are no manufacturing processes that are applicable,” Dr. Wood said.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ninety-nine percent of the ocean's plastic is missing

Ninety-nine percent of the ocean's plastic is missing | LambC4 |

Millions of tons. That’s how much plastic should be floating in the world’s oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it.


If that’s the case, “there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web,” says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. “And we are part of this food web.”


Humans produce almost 300 million tons of plastic each year. Most of this ends up in landfills or waste pits, but a 1970s National Academy of Sciences study estimated that 0.1% of all plastic washes into the oceans from land, carried by rivers, floods, or storms, or dumped by maritime vessels. Some of this material becomes trapped in Arctic ice and some, landing on beaches, can even turn into rocks made of plastic. But the vast majority should still be floating out there in the sea, trapped in midocean gyres—large eddies in the center of oceans, like theGreat Pacific Garbage Patch.


To figure out how much refuse is floating in those garbage patches, four ships of the Malaspina expedition, a global research project studying the oceans, fished for plastic across all five major ocean gyres in 2010 and 2011. After months of trailing fine mesh nets around the world, the vessels came up light—by a lot. Instead of the millions of tons scientists had expected, the researchers calculated the global load of ocean plastic to be about only 40,000 tons at the most, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We can’t account for 99% of the plastic that we have in the ocean,” says Duarte, the team’s leader.


He suspects that a lot of the missing plastic has been eaten by marine animals. When plastic is floating out on the open ocean, waves and radiation from the sun can fragment it into smaller and smaller particles, until it gets so small it begins to look like fish food—especially to small lanternfish, a widespread small marine fish known to ingest plastic.

“Yes, animals are eating it,” says oceanographer Peter Davison of the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research in Petaluma, California, who was not involved in the study. “That much is indisputable.”


But, he says, it’s hard to know at this time what the biological consequences are. Toxic ocean pollutants like DDT, PCBs, or mercury cling to the surface of plastics, causing them to “suck up all the pollutants in the water and concentrate them.” When animals eat the plastic, that poison could be going into the fish and traveling up the food chain to market species like tuna or swordfish. Or, Davison says, toxins in the fish “may dissolve back into the water … or for all we know they’re puking [the plastic] or pooping it out, and there’s no long-term damage. We just don’t know.”

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's comment, July 8, 2014 3:55 AM
Much of the missing plastics is converted into micro plastics and some of it is consumed by wildlife
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Monster collision in space

Monster collision in space | LambC4 |
The smashup of four clusters of galaxies has sent a super-hot jet of charged particles spewing 2.5 million light-years into space!
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Superelastic lithium-ion batteries can be woven into textiles for wearable devices

Superelastic lithium-ion batteries can be woven into textiles for wearable devices | LambC4 |
Huisheng Peng and colleagues at Fudan University made the superelastic batteries by winding two carbon nanotubes–lithium oxide composites yarns, which served as the positive and negative electrodes, onto an elastomer substrate and covering this with a layer of gel electrolyte. The batteries owe their stable electrochemical performance under stretching to the twisted structure of the fibre electrodes and the stretchability of the substrate and gel electrolyte, with the latter also acting as an anchor. When the batteries were stretched, the spring-like structure of the two electrodes was maintained.Previous stretchable batteries have generally been produced in a planar format, which has been an obstacle for their development for small, lightweight, wearable electronics. ‘Our fibre-shaped batteries can easily be scaled-up to an appropriate length and woven into clothing that can adapt to the body’s movement,’ says Peng.The battery recorded a specific capacity of 91.3mAh/g and this was maintained at over 88% after stretching by 600%.Ray Baughman, an electrochemical device expert at the University of Texas at Dallas, US, says the superelasticity achieved for the operating battery is fascinating. ‘A future challenge will be to dramatically increase the volume fraction of energy-storing material in the total elastomeric structure and to the decrease overall diameter to those conventionally used for weaving, while still maintaining a useful degree of rubber-like elasticity.’Reference: Y Zhang et al, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4ta01878h
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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13 Gotta-Have iPad Presentation Tools - Class Tech Tips

13 Gotta-Have iPad Presentation Tools - Class Tech Tips | LambC4 |

"This list includes some of my favorite ways to use the iPad for student (and teacher) presentations.  Whether you decide to have students make their own Tellagamis or try using SlideShare for PowerPoint inspiration, these 13 tips will change the way you see iPads as a way to create and give presentations in your classroom."


Via John Evans
Lee Hall's curator insight, March 20, 2014 10:58 AM

These are good sites and perfect for students to use too.

Mirta Liliana Filgueira's curator insight, April 26, 2014 12:47 AM

Presentaciones con Pad. Herramientas.

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Flypaper for Elephants: A New Adhesive is Based on Geckos' Feet

Flypaper for Elephants: A New Adhesive is Based on Geckos' Feet | LambC4 |

"A team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts has developed a new, reusable adhesive based on the feet of the gecko – the lizard that licks its own eyeballs and climbs up walls. Around 60% of gecko species have adhesive toe pads and these pads were the inspiration for Geckskin – a device that can attach and detach from materials and surfaces repeatedly."

Via Miguel Prazeres
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Butterfly Wings Inspire Better Sensors

Butterfly Wings Inspire Better Sensors | LambC4 |

"Imitating nature is not a new idea. When the GE team put Morpho wings under a powerful microscope, they saw a layer of tiny scales just tens of micrometers across. In turn, each of the scales had arrays of ridges a few hundred nanometers wide. This complex structure absorbs and bends light and givesMorfo butterflies their trademark shimmering blue and green coat."

Via Miguel Prazeres
Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, April 6, 2014 5:50 PM

Great ideas are often taken from nature! Check this one out!

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Mini robot serves as space surgeon and climbs inside astronauts

Mini robot serves as space surgeon and climbs inside astronauts | LambC4 |

The fist-sized robot would slide into your abdomen to perform emergency surgery in deep space. Its first zero-gravity test is slated for later this year.


It could one day answer the prayers of astronauts who need surgery in deep space. The miniature surgeon slides into the body through an incision in the belly button. Once inside the abdominal cavity – which has been filled with inert gas to make room for it to work – the robot can remove an ailing appendix, cut pieces from a diseased colon or perforate a gastric ulcer.

The fist-sized robot, a product of Virtual Incision in Lincoln, Nebraska, will have its first zero-gravity test – in an aircraft flying in parabolic arcs – in the next few months. While aloft, the surgery bot will perform a set of exercises to demonstrate its dexterity, such as manipulating rubber bands and other inanimate objects. The hope is that such robots will accompany future astronauts on long deep-space missions, when the chances are higher that someone will experience physical trauma. "It must be an emergency if you would consider surgery in space," says team member Shane Farritor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For now, the only humans in space venture no further than the International Space Station. Astronauts are carefully screened for health issues before leaving Earth, and the ISS has an escape capsule standing by in case of emergencies, so home is just hours away. Many worrisome health issues that can occur in space return to normal back on Earth (see "Space travel squashes hearts", below). But NASA has plans for human missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars, and getting home quickly won't be an option.

Surgery in space would be extremely difficult. Without gravity, it is easy for bodily fluids like blood to float free and contaminate the cabin. And space capsules can only carry a certain amount of weight, so medical tools need to be relatively light but capable of handling many kinds of situations. "Everything that we take for granted, even something as simple as putting a Band Aid down on a table, is difficult in space," says Dmitry Oleynikov at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "That difficulty increases logarithmically when you're trying to do complex procedures such as an operation."

Virtual Incision has been working on its design for a few years. The latest version weighs 0.4 kilograms. It has two arms loaded with tools to grab, cauterise and suture tissue, and its head is a small video camera. The feed relays to a control station, where a human surgeon operates it using joysticks.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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There's a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create Student Makers With Apps - Getting Smart

There's a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create Student Makers With Apps - Getting Smart | LambC4 |
These days, the word “maker” can be interchanged for “constructivist” and the Maker Movement is really starting to sweep the country.

Via John Evans
Vera Weber's curator insight, October 26, 2015 6:43 PM

These are wonderful suggestions for engaging students with iPads that offer opportunities to create in a multitude of intelligences..

Allan Tsuda's curator insight, October 26, 2015 7:37 PM

Great resource list to have.

Willem Kuypers's curator insight, February 5, 5:21 AM

J'aime bien la variété des sources.

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Wearables: Smart sleeve helps pro baseball players avoid injury

Wearables: Smart sleeve helps pro baseball players avoid injury | LambC4 |

While the average Joe might use a wearable to see how many calories he burned on the way to Starbucks, such devices can be infinitely more useful for pro athletes. The Motus Sleeve (shown below) can even help Major League Baseball (MLB) players, especially pitchers, to perform better and avoid injuries or possible career-ending Tommy John's surgery. It has a removable 3D sensor sensor with six accelerometers and gyros that's placed in a pouch on the player's elbow. The Sleeve then collects data like arm speed, pitch counts, elbow torque and other pertinent data for hurlers, and swing data for batters.

The results can be transmitted by Bluetooth to a smartphone either in real-time or later on. Motus cut its teeth on motion capture for sports, and the info from the sleeve can be used to help trainers fix flaws caused by faulty mechanics or fatigue. The device was tested by nine MLB teams, including the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, during workouts and bullpen sessions. The company said it captured hundreds of thousands of data points to refine the analytics app, and added that 90 percent of participating coaches and trainers used it "daily" during those tests. It'll be available to all MLB and NCAA ball teams for spring training next year, with a consumer version coming shortly afterwards. There's no word yet on pricing. 

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Inspiring Writing using Adventure Game Creation with Book Creator App - Sept 2014 Blog Post

Inspiring Writing using Adventure Game Creation with Book Creator App - Sept 2014 Blog Post | LambC4 |

This term I have been working with upper Key Stage 2 pupils to develop interactive adventure style games in Book Creator. One of the features of the app is it allows you to link objects such as images and text to other pages within the book. For images, tap on the image to select it, then tap on the Info icon and use the hyperlink box to type in the page number. For text, highlight the text withIn the text box and you will see a hyperlink option.

This has enabled us to create games where choices, questions and decisions are asked of the user/player throughout. We have then used this as a stimulus for writing, not only creatively but also instruction and advertising. Above are a few screen shots of an example book I made but I didn't want to show the pupils too much as I wanted them to come up with their own ideas.

Via iPad Teachers
Agora Abierta's comment, November 21, 2014 6:39 AM
Can you share a link to see the results??
Coolwired's curator insight, November 21, 2014 3:49 PM

Digital Story creation challenge! Enjoy! :-)

Ness Crouch's curator insight, July 8, 2015 9:12 PM

What a great writing idea!! 

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The Hour of Code is coming -

The Hour of Code is coming - | LambC4 |

"The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed.Ages 4 to 104."

Via John Evans
Juan Orozco's curator insight, October 17, 2014 10:20 AM

Every school should get involve with this project. Say YES to the Hour of Code.

Gust MEES's curator insight, October 17, 2014 10:45 AM

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed.Ages 4 to 104.


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How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft - Mind/Shift

How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft - Mind/Shift | LambC4 |

"Teachers are already capitalizing on their students’ fascination with the computer game Minecraft to teach everything from math to history. Now, a new add-on teaches kids to code their own modifications to the game. In his Wired article, Klint Finley explains how the creators of the add-on called LearnToMod hope their tool could be a gateway for students to discover a love of computer programming."

Via John Evans
John Evans's comment, August 23, 2014 12:35 PM
Peter, while there is a Minecraft version for iPad I'm doubtful this will be available right away in an app when it is fully released in the fall.
Miguel Angel Perez Alvarez's curator insight, August 23, 2014 1:27 PM

Well I was working with pocket edition, but I don't know if he is working with it.  Sorry

Peter Pappas's comment, August 23, 2014 6:00 PM
John, I thought as much. But this with the iPad ScoopIt I hoped it might be the case. I have a 7 yo grandson who lives in Minecraft on his iPad. Just hoping he could get into programing on an app he loves.
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New geoglyphs found in Nazca desert after sandstorm

New geoglyphs found in Nazca desert after sandstorm | LambC4 |

While flying over the famous Nazca desert recently, pilot Eduardo Herrán Gómez de la Torre spotted some geoglyphs that had not been seen before. He believes the geoglyphs or Nazca Lines, as others call them, were exposed after recent sand-storms carried away soil that was covering them.


The Nazca Lines have become world famous, showing up in paintings, movies, books and news articles. They exist on the floor of the Nazca desert in a southwestern part of Peru, near the ocean. Scientists believe the figures (approximately 700 in all) were created by the ancient Nazca people over a time period of a thousand years—500BC to 500AD.


The geoglyphs vary in size and have been categorized into two distinct categories: natural objects and geometric figures. The natural objects include animals such as birds, camelids, or snakes. It is believed the lines were created by removing iron-oxide coated pellets to a depth of four to six inches—that left the lighter sand below in stark contrast to the surrounding area. The images vary dramatically in size, with the largest approximately 935 feet long. It is a myth that the figures on the desert floor can only be seen by aircraft (they were first "discovered" by a pilot flying over the desert in 1939). In fact, they can be seen quite easily when standing on nearby mountains or hills.


The newly revealed figures discovered by de la Torre are of a snake (approximately 196 feet in length), a bird, a camelid (perhaps a llama) and some zig-zag lines. They are actually on some hills in the El Ingenio Valley and Pampas de Jumana near the desert floor. Archeologists have been alerted to authenticate the find.


The reason for the creation of the geoglyphs is still uncertain, though a host of possible explanations have been offered, many centered around religion and or water. Interestingly, all of the figures are believed to have been created using a single line that never crosses itself. Similar to how a picture might be drawn with a pencil, never lifting it from the paper. It has also been noted that many of the images depicted by geoglyphs also appear on pottery made by people over the same time period, and, archeologists have found evidence of wooden stakes used to help create the images, suggesting they were made using very simple techniques.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Dramatic decline of Caribbean coral reefs: Most corals may disappear within the next 20 years

Dramatic decline of Caribbean coral reefs: Most corals may disappear within the next 20 years | LambC4 |

With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, according to the latest report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date – the result of the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains the analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish.


The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts.


“The rate at which the Caribbean corals have been declining is truly alarming,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “But this study brings some very encouraging news: the fate of Caribbean corals is not beyond our control and there are some very concrete steps that we can take to help them recover.”


Climate change has long been thought to be the main culprit in coral degradation. While it does pose a serious threat by making oceans more acidic and causing coral bleaching, the report shows that the loss of parrotfish and sea urchin – the area’s two main grazers – has, in fact, been the key driver of coral decline in the region. An unidentified disease led to a mass mortality of the sea urchin in 1983 and extreme fishing throughout the 20th century has brought the parrotfish population to the brink of extinction in some regions. The loss of these species breaks the delicate balance of coral ecosystems and allows algae, on which they feed, to smother the reefs.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Peter Phillips's curator insight, July 2, 2014 6:27 PM

Scientists have identified the loss of grazers (parrot fish and sea urchins) as the main reason behind the decline in reef health in the Caribbean. The disruption to the reef ecosystem is now understood to be more important than climate change and ocean acidification to the resilience of coral reefs. Overfishing and a disease which affected sea urchins lead to algal growth which smothers coral. 

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Made with Code - Google

Made with Code - Google | LambC4 |

"We started Made with Code because even though increasingly more aspects in our lives are powered by technology, women aren’t represented in the companies, labs, research, creative arts, design, organizations, and boardrooms that make technology happen.


If girls are inspired to see that Computer Science can make the world more beautiful, more usable, more safe, more kind, more innovative, more healthy, and more funny, then hopefully they will begin to contribute their essential voices. As parents, teachers, organizations, and companies we’re making it our mission to creatively engage girls with code.


Today, less than 1% of girls are majoring in CS.


Tomorrow, we can make that number go up."

Via John Evans
Suvi Salo's curator insight, June 19, 2014 4:16 PM



Lee Hall's curator insight, June 20, 2014 12:09 PM

Click on Projects to see the projects you and your students can do.

mrsjgarcia's curator insight, June 20, 2014 12:48 PM

Join the G+ group to learn more.

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Promising solution: Bioplastic made from shrimp shells

Promising solution: Bioplastic made from shrimp shells | LambC4 |

or many people, “plastic” is a one-word analog for environmental disaster. It is made from precious petroleum, after all, and once discarded in landfills and oceans, it takes centuries to degrade.


Then came apparent salvation: “bioplastics,” durable substances made from renewable cellulose, a plant-based polysaccharide. But problems remained. For one, the current bioplastics do not fully degrade in the environment. For another, their use is now limited to packaging material or simple containers for food and drink.


Now researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have introduced a new bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. It’s made from chitosan, a form of chitin — the second-most abundant organic material on Earth.


Chitin, a tough polysaccharide, is the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans, the armorlike cuticles of insects, and even the flexible wings of butterflies.


The Wyss Institute makes its shrilk from chitin from shrimp shells, most which would otherwise be discarded or used in fertilizer or makeup, and a fibroin protein from silk. Researchers discussed it in a March online study in the journal Macromolecular Materials & Engineering.


Shrilk is cheaply and easily fabricated by a novel method that preserves chitosan’s strong mechanical properties. The researchers said that for the first time, this tough, transparent, and renewable material can be used to make large, 3-D objects with complex shapes using traditional casting or injection-molding techniques. That means objects made from shrilk can be mass-manufactured and will be as robust as items made with the everyday plastics used in toys and cell phones.


“There is an urgent need in many industries for sustainable materials that can be mass produced,” Wyss Director Donald E. Ingber said in March. “Our scalable manufacturing method shows that chitosan, which is readily available and inexpensive, can serve as a viable bioplastic that could potentially be used instead of conventional plastics for numerous industrial applications.” This environmentally safe alternative to plastic could also be used to make trash bags, packaging, and diapers.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marco Bertolini's curator insight, May 6, 2014 11:28 AM

Des plastiques bio fabriqués à partir de la chitine des crevettes...

satish's curator insight, May 7, 2014 2:03 AM

टिकाऊपण, लवचिकता आणि सक्षमता यामुळे प्लॅस्टिकचा वापर विविध क्षेत्रामध्ये मोठ्या प्रमाणात वाढला आहे. मात्र, त्याच वेळी त्याच्या अविघटनशीलतेमुळे प्लॅस्टिकचे प्रदुषणही वेगाने वाढत आहे. त्यामुळे विघटनशील असे जैवप्लॅस्टिक विकसित करण्यासाठी जगभरामध्ये सातत्याने संशोधन होत आहे. मात्र, सध्या उपलब्ध असलेलेजैव प्लॅस्टिकचा वापर अत्यंत मर्यादीत कारणांसाठी होऊ शकतो. त्यातही खाद्यपदार्थांचे पॅकेजिंग आणि पेयपात्रासाठी सामान्यतः केला जातो. तसेच हे जैव प्लॅस्टिकही अत्यंत कमी वेगाने विघटीत होते. या साऱ्या समस्यावर मात करण्यासाठी हार्वर्ड विद्यापीठातील वायस इन्स्टिट्यूट फॉर बायोलॉजिकल इन्स्पायर्ड येथील संशोधकांनी कोळंबीच्या कवचापासून जैव प्लॅस्टिक वेगळे केले आहे.


प्लॅस्टिकच्या अविघटनशीलतेमुळे होणारे प्रदुषण रोखण्यासाठी हे जैव प्लॅस्टिक अत्यंत उपयुक्त ठरेल.

Rescooped by Stacey Lamb from iPads, MakerEd and More in Education!

12 NASA Apps for Students to Learn about Space ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

12 NASA Apps for Students to Learn about Space ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | LambC4 |

"Last night while I was watching the total lunar eclipse " Blood Moon",  it dawned on me to compile a list of iPad apps that students can use to learn more about space. Of course there are no better apps to recommend  than NASA's. I have gone through all the apps NASA offers and picked out for you the ones below. Have a look and share with your colleages."

Via John Evans
Reg Corney's curator insight, April 16, 2014 6:01 PM

I have used these apps  before. Very  good

Mirta Liliana Filgueira's curator insight, April 18, 2014 3:10 PM

Tecnología Educativa:  Espacio - Aprendizaje Móvil

Sandra Carswell's curator insight, May 11, 2014 11:57 PM

Share these with your science teachers and space buffs.

Rescooped by Stacey Lamb from Biomimicry!

This Amazing High-Rise Apartment Building Looks Like A Giant Tree

This Amazing High-Rise Apartment Building Looks Like A Giant Tree | LambC4 |
With balconies budding like leaves, no one could complain for lack of outdoor space in this building in France.

Via Miguel Prazeres
Mercedes Jahn's curator insight, March 30, 2014 1:03 PM

No words needed ...

Rescooped by Stacey Lamb from Amazing Science!

Advanced Space Propulsion VASIMR Rocket Engine Could Tackle Mars Trips, Space Junk and More

Advanced Space Propulsion VASIMR Rocket Engine Could Tackle Mars Trips, Space Junk and More | LambC4 |

Led by former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz, Ad Astra Rocket Co. is developing the versatile, high-tech engine, which is known as the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, orVASIMR for short.


Engine work has been underway for more than 25 years, and is based on NASA and U.S. Department of Energy research and development in plasma physics and space propulsion technology. Commercializing the VASIMR electric propulsion engine is the flagship project of Ad Astra, which has been in business for nine years and has invested $30 million to date to mature the concept.


Ad Astra's Texas headquarters and the company's subsidiary research lab in Costa Rica are full of researchers who are attracted by game-changing, disruptive technology, Chang-Díaz said.

VASIMR heats plasma — an electrically charged gas — to extreme temperatures using radio waves. Strong magnetic fields then funnel this plasma out the back of the engine, creating thrust.


The most advanced VASIMR engine is Ad Astra's 200-kilowatt VX-200. The pathway to the VX-200 was discussed at the 33rd International Electric Propulsion Conference, held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., last month. Company officials gave details about a plan to flight-validate another VASIMR variant, the VF-200, on the International Space Station (ISS) in the next few years.

The major purpose of Aurora is to flight-qualify and test the performance of the 200-kilowatt VF-200 VASIMR engine in the space environment. A battery storage module on the platform stores the energy needed to fire VASIMR at 200 kilowatts for about 15 minutes before needing to be recharged.

Chang-Díaz also outlined a range of applications envisioned for the VF-200-class engine, including the following:


A commercial low-Earth orbit, high-powered, solar-electric space tug for space-junk cleanup;Service and support to satellites — such as refueling, repair and repositioning operations — could be enabled by a high-powered VASIMR solar-electric tug;Reboost/orbit maintenance for orbiting space stations could be provided by Ad Astra's autonomous commercial solar-electric power and propulsion module, at a fraction of the cost of present-day chemical rockets;A reusable, high-powered, commercial deep-space catapult that could send fast robotic packages to the outer reaches of the solar system more economically than conventional rockets can; andVASIMR engine-enabled deflection of potentially dangerous asteroids, as well as capture and repositioning of space rocks for mining and resource recovery.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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