It’s been a bit smokey here in Washington.
To help predict air quality at any given time, WSU researchers in the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research have created the AIRPACT (Air Indicator Report for Public Awareness and Community Tracking) system, which generates air quality reports nightly.
Read more here.
Roan gets a Donut
Just how far will a grizzly bear go for a donut? A few bears at WSU will go so far as to roll a stump under a hanging donut just to get in on that glazed goodness.
Aside from being adorable, this picture is from the first scientific study into grizzly bears’ problem-solving skills. While the study isn’t complete yet, so far the bears have been showing some impressive tool-use. (I mean, what would you do for a donut?)
Read more (and smile at more great pictures) here.
“Efforts to contain outbreaks such as Ebola must be culturally sensitive and appropriate…otherwise people are running away from actual care that is intended to help them.”
Nicholas Ouellette, who works on complex systems at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and his colleague James Puckett, have found that swarms of midges become self-organizing when their numbers reach just ten individuals.
Their paper, published on 13 August in Journal of the Royal Society Interface1, is part of a small but growing area of research producing data from real swarms to inform models of this behaviour.
J. R. Soc. Interface http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2014.0710 (2014).&
(photo by Anton Gvozdikov/Shutterstock.com)
From small swarms to tiny genomes, midges could be contenders in all kinds of “world’s smallest” awards. The award of smallest insect genome sequenced to date goes to the antarctic midge, according to another recent article in Nature Communications.
Inside of a droplet that small lives a diverse community of microbes that increases the potential for life on other planets.
Researchers including WSU’s Dirk Schulz-Makuch found those active microbes in a droplet from the world’s largest asphalt lake. As if suggesting how life can exist in harsh space conditions wasn’t enough, the microbes also have the potential clean up oil spills.
An inter-galatic and environmental discovery all rolled up into one - now that makes for some happy astrobiologists.
Have you ever wanted to be a superhero?
Now you can create a superhero action figure of yourself, thanks to one WSU executive MBA student and her new company. Keri Andrews teamed up with two of her friends to found You Kick Ass, a company that uses 3D printing to let anyone create an action figure of him or herself.
Read more about the company in GeekWire.
Michael Skinner’s research about what makes us susceptible to disease earns him both the titles of maverick and heretic by the science community.
“‘What I’m suggesting is that the DNA sequence is very critical — we can’t live without it — but it’s only a small piece of a much bigger story,’ he tells the Inlander.
The rest of that story, according to Skinner, can be seen in the work of his lab. There, he and his team are exploring another way inheritance happens, and they’re finding links between toxicants like pesticides and jet fuel and conditions like obesity, even generations after the toxicants are introduced.”
(via We Can See How Chemicals Affect the DNA of Future Generations)
Last month Skinner and his colleagues published their findings on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. They found that after exposing rats to methoxychlor, a common pesticide in the 1950s, they saw increases in kidney disease, ovary disease, and obesity in offspring spanning three generation.
Read more about his findings in the WSU News.
Cinnamon is pretty awesome.
Not only is it a delicious addition to pastries, coffee, and candy, two WSU scientists have found it is effective in preventing foodborne illnesses such as E. coli. They have proposed incorporating cinnamon oil into the films and coatings of meat and fresh produce to prevent the spread of this serious bacteria.
Read more about their research in the WSU News.
Perfect summer temperatures in Washington means the 2014 stone fruit crop (peaches, cherries, plums…) is one of the sweetest to date. Pair that with recent research suggesting new health benefits of peaches and it makes for one sweet story.
Washington State ranks #2 in the U.S. when it comes to the Washington organic farms’ total gate value, second only to California. Gate value refers to the total value of products when they leave “the gates” of the farm.”
In Washington, $291 million worth of organic produce left the gates. That’s not surprising considering there are over 700 certified organic farms in the state.
Learn more about Washington organic farms and their impact here.