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NASA's New Moon Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

NASA's New Moon Probe Enters Lunar Orbit | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
After a month-long journey, the LADEE spacecraft — designed to probe the moon's thin atmosphere and lunar dust — entered the moon's orbit Sunday.
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

Space dust......for real,

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STEM Connections
Science, technology, engineering and math in K-12
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STEM and Writing: A Super Combination - Edutopia

STEM and Writing: A Super Combination - Edutopia | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"I brought a superhero into my classroom the other day. He wasn't wearing a cape. He didn't have an alias. But he had the greatest superpower of all: inspiration.

When you teach using project-based learning (PBL), one brings outside expertise into the classroom. My eighth graders begin the year creating science fiction based origin stories for original superhero characters as an introduction to a greater advocacy unit. Therefore, it seemed natural to bring in an actual scientist. Which brought me to CalTech and Dr. Spyridon Michalakis."


Via John Evans, Suvi Salo
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Teaching Algebra II: Technology Integration

Teaching Algebra II: Technology Integration | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
I observed an Algebra 2 class at Hacienda (pseudonym), a Northern California high school, on September 9, 2016. The high school has over 1900 students, mostly minority (Asian and Latino). About 20 percent of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch--a measure of poverty used in U.S. public schools. Over 98 percent graduate…
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How Much Do Visual Experiences Shape How People Think About Math?

How Much Do Visual Experiences Shape How People Think About Math? | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
A study of 17 people who have been blind since birth found that areas of the brain usually devoted to visual information become active when a blind person is

Via Skip Zalneraitis
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Ask Dr. Universe | Washington State University

Ask Dr. Universe | Washington State University | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
How can birds fly when they flap their wings, but when we flap our arms nothing happens? No matter how much you flap your arms or I flap my paws, gravity keeps us pulled to Earth. But when birds use their strong muscles to start flapping their wings, something amazing happens. Read more What is the smallest ... » Mor
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Autodesk Design Academy

Autodesk Design Academy | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Autodesk Design Academy helps educators introduce students to the world of design with free, hands-on supplementary projects and course materials.
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One-Country Space Race? Russia Starts Moon Landing Trials With Plans to Colonize by 2045

One-Country Space Race? Russia Starts Moon Landing Trials With Plans to Colonize by 2045 | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
While other countries are looking for new planets for humans to inhabit, Russian cosmonauts have started preparing for a planned colonization of the Moon. This perhaps shortsighted plan aims to put the first Russians on the surface of the Earth's lone satellite between 2025 and 2045.

Via THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
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THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*'s curator insight, September 22, 6:28 PM

One-country space race?

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Jeff Bezos Just Revealed His Ambitious Plan For Colonizing Our Solar System

Jeff Bezos Just Revealed His Ambitious Plan For Colonizing Our Solar System | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
In an interview with the Washington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reveals what he thinks will be the future of humanity when we eventually colonize space. Nuclear reactors in space, populations in the millions, and more.
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Nanoscale tetrapods could provide early warning of a material's failure

Nanoscale tetrapods could provide early warning of a material's failure | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Light-emitting, four-armed nanocrystals could someday form the basis of an early warning system in structural materials by revealing microscopic cracks that portend failure, thanks to recent research by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley.

Via THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
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Dark Sky’s Pretty Weather App Is Now a Pretty Weather Site

Dark Sky’s Pretty Weather App Is Now a Pretty Weather Site | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
DarkSky.net puts the best weather app on the web.

Via Suvi Salo, Dan Kirsch
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Classroom Labs Are the Next to Go Virtual

Classroom Labs Are the Next to Go Virtual | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Technology expands the lab experience and access to software for college students.

Via Ivette Torres-Vera, Skylly_W
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Enjoying science shouldn’t be rocket science

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Enjoying science shouldn’t be rocket science | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

With StarTalk gearing up for its season premiere on September 19, The A.V. Club spoke with Tyson about popularizing science and eliminating the gatekeepers, who are often ourselves.
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“Street Trees,” or Habitat Restoration? Rediscovering San Francisco’s Fog-Drip Forests

“Street Trees,” or Habitat Restoration? Rediscovering San Francisco’s Fog-Drip Forests | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

“It is true that this port (San Francisco) is good, 

not only for the beautiful harmony that offers to the view, 

but because it does not lack very good fresh water, wood, 

and ballast in abundance.” — Captain Don Miguel Ayala, 1775

 

Full disclosure: I HATE “London Plane” trees. Hate, hate, hate them. Even when fully leafed out, they are not very attractive. When the leaves change in the fall, we don’t get the brilliant reds, purples, and yellows of our native maples, willows, alders, poplars, and poison oak(!). No, the leaves of the LPT turn a muddy brown. When they’re lying on the sidewalk after getting wet, they resemble, well, poo. Without leaves these trees are even less attractive. And while some native insects may have adapted to them, they are not the natural or preferred food or habitat for indigenous birds, bees, and butterflies. That would be our own California sycamore, which also has a very pleasing aroma. London Plane trees are, well, boring. No real natural history there. 

 

The first name given to this settlement was Yerba Buena, which is a mint that grows primarily in mixed evergreen/hardwood forests with a maritime influence. Proponents of the Dune Theory of San Francisco geography have never been able to explain the mountains, hills, valleys, springs, canyons, streams, lakes, and plains that the Spanish described when they arrived. The Conquistadores also describe at least seven separate tribal groups living in the vicinity of Mission Creek, which flowed from Laguna de Dolores, which was fed by a waterfall. What? Waterfalls in The Mission? But wait, there’s more.

 

The presence of one type of plant is always an indication that “companion” plants will be found in the immediate vicinity. Toyon is always from in the presence of oaks, and find me a cottonwood or willow, and I’ll find you a buckeye. A street lined with all the same species of tree is not a “forest.” A forest is a community of hundreds of species plants and animals living together in (relative) harmony. The peregrine eating the duck, the fox eating the ground-squirrel, or the puma eating the deer are brief moments of violence in an otherwise peaceful and bucolic environment (mental image of happy forest creatures singing and dancing).

 

What forests? I’m glad you asked. The forests described by the first European explorers. The research budget for this article does not allow me to study Native American records, but I’m sure those original inhabitants of this beautiful peninsula would be surprised to learn that malicious rumors and gossip has reduced it’s natural history to 49 square-miles of sand dunes. Dune habitats support a very small range of plant and animal species; far too few to support the robust human and animal populations that were here when the first explorers arrived. Of course there were large areas of the City with dunes, but whatever was here had to expand exponentially when all the vegetation was stripped from along the coast. I have seen the Great Highway covered under three feet of sand overnight during one of our typical Winter storms. 

 

The history of the Western side of the Rocky Mountains is so very different from the Pilgrims/Revolutionary War/Civil War narrative that most people learn in school. By the time the first Euros landed on the East Coast, Florida was already part of New Spain. So was most of the Caribbean, Central America/Mexico, most of South America, the Philippines, and the present states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and…California. Monterey was the capital of New Spain before there was a “United States of America.”  What is now San Francisco became part of Mexico after that country seceded from Spain. After the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848, The town of Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco after the Mission San Francisco de Assisi (Dolores). Hence, the Gold Rush, the 49ers, The “Barbary Coast,” being shanghaied, duels, bawdy-houses, and other fun occurrences. And now, you’re here, reading this. 

 

Here’s a description of the founding of the Presidio that make’s you go hmmmm: 

"(Anza) had found plentiful timber and firewood, much water in several springs or lakes, abundant lands for raising crops…the immediate vicinity (Ft. Point) lacked timber for large buildings…but heavier timber could be secured from the Llano de los Robles, so-called because of the thick growth of oak trees, and from the stands of cedars and other trees on the high ranges to the south.”  (San Francisco Bay: Discovery and Colonization, 1769-1776 by Theodore E. Treutlein © 1968 California Historical Society). The “high ranges to the south” of the Presidio would have referred pretty much to most of the rest of San Francisco The research budget for this project does not allow me to fully document all the redwoods in San Francisco that are native, but Calflora lists several sightings in the Presidio that are presumed to be wild trees, including Mountain Lake Park and Inspiration Point in the Presidio. 

 

This map from 1895 shows very large creeks and streams draining the watersheds of Twin Peaks, Mt. Davidson, and Mt. Sutro into what is now what the Mission, SOMA, and Mission Bay. Notice from how deep in the City they originate, and how big Laguna Dolores and Laguna Honda are. Both Mission and Islais creeks were navigable. Mountain Lake is a large body of water several blocks long, with Lobos Creek showing as a sizable stream flowing into the ocean. The Spanish called seals and sea lions “sea-wolves;” one can only assume Lobos Creek got it’s name because of the pinnepeds hanging out there to ambush the steelhead. 

 

 

San Francisco Historical Creek Map 

Topographic map from the 1890s with original creeks in blue, marshes in green, and modern land fill in pink. Base Maps: USGS topographic sheets, 1/62,500, San Francisco, 1895; San Mateo, 1896; Courtesy of HISTOPO

 

The canyon that is now called (Sigmund) Stern Grove is shown containing a large stream draining from Mt. Davidson into a sizable lake. Not as big as Lake Merced, which you will notice connects with the ocean, (more steelhead), but much larger than it is today. The Eastern part of Stern Grove has a grove of redwood trees, exactly like hundreds of creeks that run East-West along the coast from Humboldt to Monterey (which used to be the capital of Nueva España). And does the presence of one lonely redwood tree in Glen Canyon indicate it is most likely a sole survivor, or that it was planted?

 

This map from FOTUF shows pretty much the same watershed, although you’ll notice that Laguna Dolores, Laguna Honda, and many of the streams are much larger than on the 1895 map. But according to the historical record, much of the “grassland and coastal scrub,” especially along the streams on the mountains, should in fact be labeled mixed maritime, conifer, and hardwood forest.”

 

 

Historical map of San Francisco soil and water, pre-city, via the Urban Forest Plan.

 

Wetlands are a result of lots of fresh water. And by “lot’s” I mean “acre-feet.” The fog that the ouslanders whine about is our rain. The moisture collects on the leaves of trees and the other plants on the hills and mountains. The more plants on the hills, the more water that is condensed from the fog. More water collected means more plants on the hills and along the streams. Some is absorbed, and some drips down and waters the roots. The excess flows into rivulets, which turn into creeks, which run downhill to the sea. Where these streams enter the sea are wetlands, marshes, and even swamps. There were so many waterfowl here that you used to be able to get a duck dinner for $1.00, Way Back In The Day. Those peregrine falcons you occasionally see downtown used to be known as “duck” falcons. 

 

This is how the site for the Mission Dolores was chosen:

“Passing through wooded hills and over flats with good lands, in which we encountered two lagoons and some springs of good water, with plentiful grass, fennel, and other useful herbs, we arrived at a beautiful arroyo which, because it was Friday of Sorrows, we called the Arroyo de los Dolores… We went a little further, and from a small elevation there I observed the trend of the port in this direction. I saw that it’s extremity was towards the east-southeast, and that a very high redwood which stands on the bank of the arroyo of San Francisco, visible from a long distance…Near this elevation, at the end of the hill on the side toward the port, there is a good piece of level land dominated by the Arroyo de los Dolores. This arroyo enters the plain by a (water) fall which it makes on emerging from the hills, and with it everything can be irrigated, and at the same fall a mill can be erected, for it is very suitable for this purpose.” — Father Pedro Font, 1776 (San Francisco Bay: Discovery and Colonization, 1769-1776 by Theodore E. Treutlein © 1968 California Historical Society).

 

 

Mission Dolores 1810, from Web deAnza, 

 

Hmmm. A waterfall powerful enough to run a mill. That’s a lot of water, and it had to come from somewhere. In this drawing from 1810, the hills around the mission seem to be heavily wooded. Whassup with that? How did so many people come to the notion that San Francisco never had any native trees? Nothing in the anecdotes of early travelers bears this out:

“Cañizares also mentions another island, to which no name is given, about two leagues to the southeast of Angel island. This is Yerba Buena. The tide flats of the Alameda coast with poles driven into the mud for the fishing stations of the Indians; the Presidio anchorage, Yerba Buena cove, Mission Bay and Islais Creek are all described, as well as the hills and groves of oak and redwood.” — (The Beginnings of San Francisco from the Expedition of Anza, 1774 to the City Charter of April 15, 1850 With Biographical and Other Notes By Zoeth Skinner Eldredge. Copyright, 1912 by Zoeth S. Eldredge San Francisco Printed By [in book form] John C. Rankin Company 54 & 56 Dey Street New York). 

 

So what happened? Why did many of the first English speakers write about “bleak and barren” sand dunes, melancholia caused by the fog, wind, cold (weather wimps)? The fact is that we are so used to a degraded and transformed landscapes that we take it as normal. And people not from here just don’t “get” the fog; it’s our “rain.” Cold? Ever been to Wyoming in the Winter? How about New York or Chicago? This is Weather Paradise, kiddies. 

 

But just for a moment imagine yourself here 200 years ago. Grizzly bears and condors feasting on whale carcasses at Ocean Beach. The sky actually darkening perceptibly because there were so many geese were flying overhead. Imagine being able to walk across streams on the backs of salmon. Imagine…

“When Europeans first came to California they thought they had found Paradise. The vegetation was so lush and splendid that both horse and man had trouble wading through it. In diaries and letters home they mentioned again and again the impression that the entire territory was like a park-endless vistas of bunch grass, wild flowers and enormous, stately trees. Vast herds of elk and antelope surged through, grazing lightly and moving on. The Coast Ranges and the Great Valley contained almost no scrub underbrush or cover as we know it today.

The catastrophic transformation of California's ecology was caused by many factors- overgrazing, the introduction of annual grasses, erosion, herbicides/pesticides/fertilizer, irrigation, mass killing off of indigenous fauna, monoculture, logging, road building, residential development, the "control" of fire and natural drainage. But of all these, overgrazing holds the greatest responsibility.

The California Spanish used cattle hides and tallow for money. In any given year in the late 1700's and early 1800's as many as 100,000 hides passed out through each port. For every hide shipped, many stayed on to graze as reproductive stock, too young, too hard to round up. (The Spanish didn't build fences.) It is no exaggeration to say that millions of cattle- and sheep-ate the heart of California's native ecology almost to the point of disappearance in a few generations, just a geological instant.” — (Reprinted from Growing Native Newsletter, PO Box 489, Berkeley, CA  94701. © 1990 by Louise Lacey. Permission to reprint granted so long as this page is reproduced in its entirety).

 

The Spanish brought domestic pigs, goats, and sheep; three of the most ecologically destructive animals on the planet. Sheep pull plants up by the roots instead of clipping it at ground level like cattle. Goats will eat anything that grows, including stripping the bark off trees , thereby killing them, and woody shrubs, like manzanita and poison oak. The desertification of the Mediterranean, Middle East, North Africa, Ireland, and Great Britain is directly a result of the damage caused by sheep, goats, and irrigation (salts inevitably concentrate).  

 

Pigs cause havoc with the ecology; they will eat anything except rocks, and plow up acres of land searching for roots, bulbs, and grubs. They will also eat anything they can find, including carrion, snakes, frogs, and birds eggs. The wild pigs wreaking environmental havoc all over California are descendants of Spanish and Russian pigs that went “native.” Cattle compact the soil, and also cause erosion by causing ruts and rills on hillsides. When it rains, the ruts become  gullies. Mules, burros, and horses also had to eat whatever they could forage, to the detriment of native plants. This “ecocide” continues today in the form of industrial agriculture.

 

First this was Ohlone land. Then it was claimed by Spain, then Mexico, then the United States after the “Mexican-American War.” The port of Yerba Buena became “San Francisco” in 1850, at the beginning of the

Gold Rush. The new settlers also brought their domestic animals, who finished what the Spanish and Mexicans had started. These included cats and dogs, who decimated the songbird, reptile, amphibian, and small mammal populations. And, the need for “wood” was insatiable: 

“Great stands of Sequoia sempervirens, the sturdy coast redwood, crowded the mountains of the coast range from Humboldt Bay to the Santa Lucia’s…..San Francisco built up and burned down five times between 1849 and 1851, and Sacramento once more; much of the lumber to rebuild them both was stripped from the stands of redwoods that clustered in the Coast Range.” — (T.H. Watkins, California, Weathervane Books, 1973). Also keep in mind that there was no PG&E; everything that could be burned for warmth and cooking, was. That’s a lot of trees. 

 

Let’s look at it from a grizzly bears point of view. Not the grizzly that Anza killed in the vicinity of Lake Merced, but the one that was captured at Mission Dolores in 1850. Where do you suppose it came from? Marin County? Montara Mountain, perhaps? Well, bears will go over the mountain, but they are also very territorial, so it’s most likely Mr. or Ms. Grizz was a local, lured to the Mission by the smell of cattle, sheep, goats, and/or pigs. Maybe it was the aroma of baking bread and roasting meats? According to Google, in the early 1850’s, homes, saloons, and churches near the Mission Dolores, the Castro, Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, and beyond continued to have bear “encounters.” Of course, if San Francisco was 49 square miles of sand dunes, these must of been the rare, elusive, now-extinct Dune Grizzlies…..

 

OK, now that we have established that before the European occupation the San Francisco peninsula probably looked pretty much like the rest of the Coast Range (with some sand dunes), how does that affect plans for an “urban forest?” The first thing would be to educate the public about alien and invasive species, like eucalyptus, scotch broom, and the Hoodline mascot. Don’t get me wrong; I grew up swinging from a big eucalyptus tree on my grandparents farm. The parks in San Francisco also familiarized me to them. LOVE the smell. But they are an invasive species that does not attract native insects or birds. They suck up groundwater that would otherwise be used by native plants and animals. They are bio-toxic; nothing grows in their understory. And they fall over far too easily. 

 

But they are nice to look at. I’m all in favor of saving some of the larger “landmark” exotic trees around the City; there are some truly magnificent specimens. But most eucalyptus, their cousin the acacias, and most of the ficus should be removed for water conservation and safety reasons. The lovely, stately Monterey pines and Monterey cypress should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, since they are “neighbors.” At least they are native to the coast, and would be preferable to eucalyptus, especially on hillsides. 

 

Of course, what mostly should be on the hillsides is either what was there before, or what will grow there now. Redwood, cedar, toyon, madrone, hemlock, several types of oaks, willow, maples, bay laurel, alder, cottonwood, sycamore, buckeye, hazelnut, and Douglas fir will all do just fine anywhere in San Francisco if their roots are given enough space. Hillsides would have an understory of mahonia, elderberry, ceanothus, manzanita, flannel-bush, poison oak, vine-maple, salmon-berries, blackberries, and ferns. 

 

Vascular plants like the oft-spoken but completely neglected yerba buena, and showy flowers like wild rose, irises, larkspur, clarkia, California and matilija poppies, and monkey-flower would once again grace the hillsides and ridge tops. The songbirds and butterflies would return. Columbine, ferns, and leopard-lily would bloom along the newly restored creeks. Steelhead would return to the creeks, and (cue the happy forget creatures again).

 

But what about the City streets? One of the primary benefit of re-introducing native plants to San Francisco is so people can learn about the natural history of the Bay region. The new Urban Forest Plan casually mentions there are over 500 plant species native to the San Francisco Peninsula. What would be nice to see more of these native bunch grasses, annual wildflowers, ground-covers, vines, ferns, and shrubs, as well as trees replacing exotics in municipal and commercial spaces. Clearly labeled, they would provide an instant natural history lesson.

 

The idea of trees or other marching single file down our streets is a relic of 18th-century European planning concepts. A real urban forest will require a complete reimagining of public and “private” spaces as well as the responsibilities of municipalities to the citizens they pledge to represent. Do residents really want to see a hundred London Plane or other exotic trees marching down Market street? Or would we rather see an actual forest of many types of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants? Including fruit and nut trees? Along with permaculture/garden/picnic/rest spaces?

 

There is no such thing as a “street tree.” Tree evolution did not include having their roots covered in concrete or asphalt, and absorbing the various toxic substances through their leaves and roots typical in an urban environment. Rather, trees evolved so that their falling leaves or needles act as both moisture-retaining mulch and time-release fertilizer. Without going all The Secret Life Of Plants on you, trees are living, sentient beings that live in communities with other individuals and other species. There are no mono-forests, except for commercial tree farms. 

 

The much-discussed but seldom-seen Western Tiger Swallowtail will feed on London Plane trees, presumably because they are a cultivar of the California Sycamore, one of it’s natural foods, but that’s an adaptation other animals like birds may not make. Animals smarter than an insect may make just decide to go somewhere else. These butterflies other favorite foods while they are caterpillars are willows, cottonwoods, and alders. All of these trees grow along seasonal creeks, not in sand dunes. As butterflies, they prefer the nectar of the California Buckeye, along with lobelia,yerba santas, brodiaeas, vetches, milkweed, dogbanes, and thistles. The presence of this one species alone points to a very different natural history than does the one promulgated by the Dune People.

 

Maybe a “canopy” is not the most practical or even desirable outcome for an urban greening plan. Perhaps the goal should be to create as much green space with as much plant diversity as possible. Continuous greenbelts of native plants species that would mimic or re-create San Francisco’s native fog-drip forests. Planting trees in an urban area is always going to be problematic, because the root system of a healthy tree is as extensive as the trunk and branches: “as above, so below.” 

 

Most City streets have buried electrical, water, and sewer infrastructure that roots can and do damage. Tree roots also have no problem buckling streets and sidewalks, and damaging the foundations of buildings. Maybe most public planting should be done in some type of container?Big tree? Big container. Perhaps trees really don’t need to get tall enough to interfere with power-lines to be effective as a source of oxygen, greenery, and eater of CO2? Simple installations like this could be part of a new way of thinking about “greening” the City:

 

The primary reason that the majority of landscaping in San Francisco (and everywhere else) should consist primarily of native plants. The first reason is that California is an arid state, even before the climate changed. We simply do not have water to waste, and most of the water wasted in the world is by municipalities and businesses, not individuals. So it is simply environmentally and fiscally responsible to use native plants in landscaping whenever possible. It would be irresponsible, indeed negligent to use plants in landscaping that require more than natural rainfall once they are established. Of course even natives might need additional water during the drought, but far less than many of the exotic/alien/invasive species that are crowding out natives in many of our natural areas. 

 

The average citizen does not know or care to know the names of the exotic species because they have no real relationship to anything in the individual’s life other than being “a tree” or a “shrub.” There may be some recognition that they are providing a service by providing oxygen while removing carbon dioxide, but generally street trees and other plants are ignored by most people, because they have no context as part of the environment. 

 

Natives require no synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides, and are pest and disease resistant. I’m not sure how many chemicals are being sprayed on our landscape by various public and private entities, but whatever it is, it’s too much. Many exotic species brought diseases or insects with them. Any type of monoculture encourages a concentration of organisms that prey on that particular plant. That’s why another reason an urban forest should contain as diverse a range of plants as possible. 

 

For example, blackberries are esthetically pleasing, delicious, fast-growing, require almost no care, and make excellent barriers and habitat for native creatures. I seem to remember a lot more ceanothus around when I was a wee tad. It’s an all-purpose plant, from low, spreading shrubs to small trees (arboreus). Dark-green shiny leaves, purple or lavender flowers, evergreen, needs no water once established. A much under-utilized plant. So is manzanita, especially the local Franciscan manzanita. Fremontia (flannel-bush) are just cool. 

 

So, who is going to perform the removal of exotics, and planting of natives and habitat-restoration? Volunteers? For-profit or non-profit corporations? The ten arborists employed by the City and County of San Francisco? While many of the NGO’s that contract with the City do good work, the overall design and care of the City is the responsibility of the municipal government. A properly organized and funded Public Works should be in charge of all infrastructure in the City. I’m not sure how successful a plan involving an NGO selling trees to homeowners on behalf of an urban forest plan can be. For $600, the average homeowner can plant their own forest!

 

The removal of alien/invasive species and the establishment and maintenance of a real “urban forest” would require “lots” full-time (City) workers. Removing mature trees requires special training, physical strength, stamina, and coordination. It is also fairly hazardous work. This would seem to be the perfect job for the legions of otherwise unemployable individuals in San Francisco, especially young men between the ages of 16-24. Planting new trees, shrubs, and other plants can be done by a wide range of people, from seniors to single-mothers. 

 

People with disabilities can plant seeds and tend to seedlings in the nurseries. At $20 per hour, at-risk youth and other people who are not likely to become coders would have an alternative to selling street drugs or mugging you for your iPhone. Sort of a local CCC/WPA. Maybe call it EcoCorps or something. Funding a “City Greening” project would be a perfect way for the tech, real estate, and financial companies to live up to their community benefit agreements. What’s that you say? The real-estate and financial industry has no CBA? Well, there’s a story for another day…..


©Joseph Thomas 2016

info.blackhorsemedia@gmail.com

 


Via The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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What Math Looks Like in the Mind

What Math Looks Like in the Mind | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
In a surprise to scientists, it appears blind people process numbers by tapping into a part of their brains that’s reserved for images in sighted individuals.
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10 Genetically Modified Plants You've Never Heard Of

Welcome to Top10Archive! Think it’s scary that geneticists are altering the genetic code of animals to make them glow in the dark? Then you’ll love knowin
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America’s Most Elaborate Corn Maze Is Made of GPS and Math

America’s Most Elaborate Corn Maze Is Made of GPS and Math | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
One farm in Massachusetts has used an arsenal of high- and low-tech tools, and over the years that gear available has changed the look of the maze.
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Dividing 1 By 998,001 Yields A Strange Decimal

Dividing 1 By 998,001 Yields A Strange Decimal | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Math lovers uncovered something strange going on with the number 998,001. If you divide 1 by 998,001, the resulting decimal number will give you almost every three digit number. For example, the decimal starts as follows: 0.000001002003004005006... and so on. However, one three digit number gets skipped. Watch the video below to learn which one gets shafted.

Via THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
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40+ Superb STEM Resources for Classrooms - Listly by Global Digital Citizen Foundation

If you're looking for some of the most engaging and informative STEM resources out there, look no further. The following list has over 40 of the

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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At NASA Space Flight Center, A Successor to the Hubble Telescope

At NASA Space Flight Center, A Successor to the Hubble Telescope | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
ABC News' Mariam Khan takes a look at how the James Webb telescope is very different from the world-renowned Hubble.
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The Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"In the Northern Hemisphere, the fall equinox marks the first day of fall (autumn) in what we call astronomical seasons. There's also another, more common definition of when the seasons start, namely meteorological definitions, which are based on average temperatures rather that astronomical events.  Equinoxes are opposite on either side of the equator, so the autumnal (fall) equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the spring (vernal) equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa."

 

Tags: Sun, seasonal, space.


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ROCAFORT's curator insight, September 23, 2:46 AM
The Autumnal Equinox
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UW receives $500,000 from Boeing to enhance STEM training, opportunities for local students | UW Today

UW receives $500,000 from Boeing to enhance STEM training, opportunities for local students | UW Today | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

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Bison: The American Prairie’s First Farmers - Modern Farmer

Bison: The American Prairie’s First Farmers - Modern Farmer | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
"Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock," said the British agriculturalist Sir Albert Howard, often considered the father of the modern organic farming movement. For millennia, bison were effectively the farmers of North America’s vast interior grasslands, maintaining a delicate ecological balance that supported a rich diversity of plant and animal species.


Via The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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Far more plastics floating in oceans than thought

Far more plastics floating in oceans than thought | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

Plastic pollution in the ocean frequently appears as seabird guts filled with cigarette lighters and bottle caps, marine mammals entangled in fishing gear and drifting plastic bags mimicking a gelatinous meal. Last year, a study estimated that around eight million metric tons of our plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year.


But where this plastic ends up and what form it takes is a mystery. Most of our waste consists of everyday items such as bottles, wrappers, straws or bags. Yet the vast majority of debris found floating far offshore is much smaller: it’s broken-down fragments smaller than your pinky fingernail, termed microplastic.


In a newly published study, we showed that this floating microplastic accounts for only about 1% of the plastic waste entering the ocean from land in a single year. To get this number – estimated to be between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons – we used all available measurements of floating microplastic together with three different numerical ocean circulation models.


Our new estimate of floating microplastic is up to 37 times higher than previous estimates. That’s equivalent to the mass of more than 1,300 blue whales.


The increased estimate is due in part to the larger data set – we assembled more than 11,000 measurements of microplastics collected in plankton nets since the 1970s. In addition, the data were standardized to account for differences in sampling conditions. For example, it has been shown that trawls carried out during strong winds tend to capture fewer floating microplastics than during calm conditions. That’s because winds blowing on the sea surface create turbulence that pushes plastics down to tens of meters depth, out of reach of surface-trawling nets. Our statistical model takes such differences into account.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Bibhya Sharma, Jim Lerman
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Check out the winners in the Seeds of Change® grant program!

Check out the winners in the Seeds of Change® grant program! | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
There were many exciting entries in this year’s grant program! These sustainable gardens & farms will make their communities proud. Take a look at all the winners and you’ll be inspired to get involved, too! You can view the winners at http://www.seedsofchangegrant.com
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I Fucking Love Maps - Timeline | Facebook

I Fucking Love Maps - Timeline | Facebook | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
I Fucking Love Maps. 163,448 likes · 6,161 talking about this. We have a passion for maps which tells a good story. So on this page, we’d like t
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Here Is A great Interactive Tool to Teach Students How to Read A Map

Here Is A great Interactive Tool to Teach Students How to Read A Map | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Here is a great educational tool we came across today as we were working on the list of social studies websites for elementary students.

Via NikolaosKourakos
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