Stacks of a nuclear power plant. (Credit: Markus Distelrath/Pixabay) Anthropology Book Reviews Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Health 

Nuclear Radiation, Citizen Science, and Civic Engagement

In Japan after a nuclear radiation disaster Book Review: Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists: The Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima. By Aya Hirata Kimura. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.  Nuclear Radiation and Food Safety In March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami that would result in a tragic loss of life. Water overtook the seawalls at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and damaged critical systems. These events resulted in one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Survivors near…

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Climate Ecology Geology 

Fossil pollen holds clues to past

By Mackenzie Myers What if, instead of ancient treasure and tombs, Indiana Jones researched ancient pollen and soil?  Beyond just a seasonal nuisance or a crucial component of agriculture, pollen can be a key to understanding the past. It clues researchers in to how land was used thousands of years ago, as well as what the climate conditions were like at that time. And according to a new study from North Carolina State University, this tool may be available in more areas than previously thought.  Painting the past with fossil…

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cultural heritage and citizen science Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Ecology 

Cultural Heritage and Citizen Science

Citizen science for your ears The latest episode of Citizen Science, the podcast from SciStarter, is the first of two episodes about how regular people help cultural heritage institutions like archives, libraries, and museums do scientific research, like uploading photographs to iNaturalist or eBird, or volunteering with a local water organization to monitor stream and river quality. Co-host Justin Schell shares how natural history museums and libraries encourage everyday people to take part in local, national, and global science projects.  The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County In the…

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Plant Genome Biology Botany Genetics 

Genome Revelations: How Green Plants Evolved

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Plants are ancestral organisms that have evolved over millions of years, leading to the broad diversity we see today. Green plants evolved from a common ancestor into approximately 450,000–500,000 species today. There are many gaps in understanding of their diversification that scientists still struggle to fill. In a recent paper published in Nature, researchers from the One Thousand Plant Transcriptomes Initiative reviewed and analyzed genomic data from 1,124 plant species and provided the most complete evolutionary relationship tree for green plants to date. Genomes, transcriptomes, and…

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Caterpillars Count Animals Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Caterpillars Count

From big to small, we all count. Even caterpillars.  Caterpillars are important Caterpillars are familiar to us. When a butterfly flutters past you, you know that it was once a caterpillar. Now it’s time to count the caterpillars and arthropods (creatures, like insects, with segmented bodies) that you see to help scientists understand how their populations are changing. You can get started today with the Caterpillars Count! project. Even though this project doesn’t just focus on caterpillars, who can resist a good alliteration?  In 2015, Dr. Allen Hurlbert of North…

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Emerging battery technology Engineering Technology 

Emerging Battery Tech for Energy Industry

By Emily Folk, @EmilySFolk Advances in battery technology are transforming one of the most promising movements in the modern energy industry: the push toward renewable energy power solutions. Solar, wind, geothermal, and even hydro energy sources have a lot to offer besides near-limitless energy generation. They are clean in the sense that they have little to no impact on the surrounding environment, and they are generally inexpensive to produce under the right conditions. The problem with most renewable energy sources is that they tend to come with a glaring limitation.…

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Figure Five: Forum participants choosing where to allocate resources. Image Credit: Museum of Science, Boston Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Climate Environment 

Boston is Wicked Hot: Here’s What They’re Doing About It

Want to learn more about this initiative? Check out the Wicked Hot Boston series, Parts One and Two. Want to address climate hazards in your community? Head over to SciStarter.org/NOAA to find a citizen science project. Wicked Hot Boston It’s true: the world is getting hotter, and Boston is becoming WICKED hot.  This past summer, the Museum of Science, Boston (MOS) team and local citizen scientists began to measure extreme temperatures. They used sensors provided by CAPA Strategies to make an ambient air temperature map of Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline,…

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Biota Project Opinion 

Data Literacy in South Asia: From Outsourced to a Lead in Tech

Opinion By Sabah Ul-Hasan (@sabahzero) on behalf of The Biota Project Blog (@thebiotaproject) What is outsourcing? Reverberating effects from British colonization of South Asia and the ‘modern’ world I live in the United States, and I was recently in a room full of scientists when someone made a wonderfully distasteful joke about receiving a call from customer support and that the person on the other end of the phone line had a “funny accent.”  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “outsourcing,” fear not. There’s an entire NBC television series about…

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Book Reviews Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Seeking the Sasquatch

Book Review: When the Sasquatch Legend Teaches Us About Critical Thinking By Patricia Balbon (@watscicomm) Gordon, David George. The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America’s Most Elusive Creature. Mountaineers Books, 2015. 176 pages. Paperback US$12.26. It’s late, and you’re seeking shelter for the night after a long hike. Something’s lurking among the shadows; pungent wafts of musk barrage your nostrils. In the soft mud, you glimpse a fresh footprint with claw contours.  The fronds of a nearby fern are in shreds—could it be a bear?…

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mass extinction events Environment 

Anthropocene mass extinction: are we there yet?

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) In the last few decades, scientific observations have highlighted that we are now facing a mass extinction, caused in major part by human activity: habitat fragmentation, invasive species, spread of pathogens and diseases, climate changes leading to global warming, and, of course, direct killing of endangered species. However, this is still a debated topic among scientists. Some say that we are not in a mass extinction event, and that if we were, conservation biology and all the efforts we have been putting into conserving animal species…

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