Education

The original tree hugger

New research sheds light why koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) spend so much time hugging trees. As shown in the infrared image above, the trees stay cool on hot days. Since koalas do not sweat, hugging trees is another method to keep their cool in addition to panting and licking their fur. The research also shows that the…

The Problems of the GRE

A bunch of people were talking about this Nature Jobs article on the GRE this morning while I was proctoring the final for my intro E&M class, which provided a nice distraction. I posted a bunch of comments about it to Twitter, but as that’s awfully ephemeral, I figured I might as well collect them…

“It’s a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It’s an interesting place to be. I recommend it.” -Neil Armstrong Whether it’s a job, a college/University, a scholarship or a competitive program, we’ve all had occasions where we’ve…

Big-Eared Bat Rediscovered

The New Guinea big-eared bat (Pharotis imogene; specimen pictured above) was thought to be extinct for the past 120 years. The bat is now considered critically endangered or possibly extinct as this specimen is the only known member of the genus. Since very little is known of this endangered bat, researchers who identified this specimen suggest…

Uncertain Dots 16

For the sixteenth episode of Uncertain Dots, we decided to bring in some guests, Andy Rundquist and Kelly O’Shea for a conversation about standards-based grading. This came up because I’m playing around with this using the same tiered scheme I talked about back in January. This was a fun conversation, and some interesting ideas came…

Republican lawmakers and their kin are opposing the acceptance of National Science Standards. Why? Because those standards are based on science. What they prefer is that the standards we use to guide curriculum in America’s public schools be the hobgoblin of the Koch Brothers and the rest of the petroleum industry. Way to ruin the…

Crickets are the first insect to now be farmed for human consumption in the United States. I’ll admit the thought of snacking on cricket flour-based chips is not exactly appetizing. But the process of farming insects over more traditional livestock seems to be less wasteful. Insect farming is a more efficient way of producing dietary protein as…

A key concept in science is molecular scale. DNA is a fascinating molecule in this regard. While we cannot “see” DNA molecules without the aid of advanced technology, a full length DNA molecule can be very long. In human cells, other than sperm and eggs, six billion base pairs of DNA are packaged into 22…

I’ve had a lot of weird things happen in the time I’ve been teaching, but the above image is my new favorite message from a student. We gave an exam Thursday night, so a couple of my colleagues canceled class on Friday, but I’m going to be at DAMOP the last week of class, so…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou From questions about the smallest scales to the largest, from Earthly phenomena to things we could only conceive of in theory, our Ask Ethan series is your opportunity to have anything you ask considered for a column. This week, though, is a…