Measuring Climate Change Via Backyard Skating Rinks
Since its launch earlier this month, the Web site Rinkwatch has experienced an influx of data from volunteers in Canada and the United States.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
In yet another example of how average citizens are pitching in to help provide scientists with data, Rinkwatch, a Web site that launched January 8, asks people who own backyard skating rinks or work at a park that operates an outdoor rink to identify their location on a map and then "come back on a regular basis to tell us if the weather allowed you to skate or not," says creator and former University of Ottawa professor Robert McLeman. Interest was immediate: In the first week of its existence, the site's server crashed twice, and volunteers -- at least 630 so far across Canada and the northern US -- asked for and got a discussion forum. "[N]ature, climate change, backyard skating, the weather — that’s just gravy for Canadians," McLeman says.
What's the Big Idea?
McLeman was already a leader of a similar nature-based group of projects when he relocated to Waterloo last year and joined the faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University. The project began when he asked a colleague, "Why aren’t we worried about backyard rinks as well as natural ice?" So far the site and accompanying user community have provided useful data, including a "magic number" for the mean temperature needed for ideal outdoor skating: 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 degrees Celsius).
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.