Tag Archives: science

This just in! From WPI! Touch-Tomorrow fest!!!

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WPI Hosts 5th Annual TouchTomorrow Festival

June 11

Robots, Rockets, and even an Astronaut!

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free!

One of the region’s largest interactive science, technology, and robotics festivals is returning to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on June 11.

TouchTomorrow is a free, family-friendly festival that features hands-on activities and exhibits designed to inspire children, teens, and young adults to explore the thrill and fun of science and technology.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, and includes exhibits presented by WPI, NASA, WGBH, and a wide variety of museums, educational organizations, and companies.

The fifth anniversary festival will feature some favorite NASA exhibits, including the asteroid landscape, the Roll-over Rover, the famous MARCBot IV Rover, and the Mark III space suit. This year NASA is introducing its Virtual Reality chairs with monitors and Oculus glasses that take users on a planetary tour.

Visitors will also have the chance to meet and hear from Charlie Precourt, former NASA Chief Astronaut and veteran of four Space Shuttle missions.

WPI will also welcome back to campus Paul Ventimiglia, Class of 2012 and BattleBots 2015 World Champion. His robot, BiteForce, won the competition on national television and will defend the title this summer when the hit show returns to ABC prime time on June 23. In addition to BattleBots, Ventimiglia has had a number of victories in robotics competitions. In 2009, while still a student at WPI, he led a university-sponsored team in NASA’s Regolith Excavation Challenge. He will discuss what it takes to build an award-winning robot and give an insider’s look at the advancement in robotics.  

For the third year in a row, WGBH will serve as the official media partner for the festival. A national leader in the effort to expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the classroom and at home, WGBH will host multimedia activities for students and STEM enthusiasts of all ages at TouchTomorrow. A number of popular WGBH characters, including Curious George, will make appearances throughout the day.

Among other activities, attendees at TouchTomorrow may:

Take a photo in a NASA spacesuit,

watch what happens to marshmallow Peeps inside a real vacuum chamber,

explore the Fire Protection Engineering lab and Automation and Interventional Medicine (AIM) lab at WPI’s Gateway Park,

engage in interactive activities—extract DNA from strawberries,

Build a raspberry-flavored solar cell,

help a robot play a musical instrument, and learn about advanced manufacturing technology, including laser cutters and 3-D printers,

talk with WPI researchers who are exploring autonomous vehicle technology, building homes of the future, and developing an exo-skeleton with hydro-muscles and …

see WPI student project work in robotics, game design and animation, architectural engineering, and other areas.

TouchTomorrow follows the NASA Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge, a Centennial Challenge competition to be held June 7-11 on WPI’s campus. The challenge—created to drive competition and innovation among individual inventors, students, and private companies—requires teams to design and build an autonomous robotic system that will locate and collect geological samples without human control. For more information on the SRR Challenge and a list of competitors, visit here.

“Every year, TouchTomorrow allows the WPI campus to become a hub of amazing interactive exhibits designed specifically to excite young people, families, and teachers about science and technology,” said WPI president Laurie Leshin. “The festival is the perfect way to cap off the NASA Sample Return Robot Competition.  It is tremendously gratifying to welcome some of the most innovative robotics engineers from across the country to campus; it is also amazing to be able to show people of all ages that science, engineering and technology is amazing, fun, and critical to making the world a better place, and to empower them to envision their own futures in those fields.”

The future …

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Public joins Humane Society in urging Harvard University to prohibit severe animal suffering

More Than 26,000 People Call for New Lab Policy

(Dec. 7, 2011) — The Humane Society of the United States sent letters from 26,688 members of the public to Harvard University and 387 other federally-funded colleges and universities, urging the schools to adopt a formal policy that would protect animals in their laboratories from severe pain and distress. The signers of the letters oppose the use of tax dollars to support activities at the schools’ laboratories that cause severe animal suffering.

“Americans don’t want to pay for animal research that causes suffering,” said Kathleen Conlee, senior director for animal research issues for The HSUS. “Harvard, which receives public funding for its animal research, is well known as an elite educational institution—it’s time for the university to lead the way in its commitment to animal welfare.”

The schools receiving the request for the new policy receive an estimated $6 billion in federal funding per year to conduct animal research. In 2010 Harvard received over $370 million in federal funds for research that includes experiments involving more than 180,000 monkeys, farm animals, cats, dogs, rats, rabbits and other animals used each year at the university.

Federal laws do not prohibit laboratory research or conditions that cause severe pain and distress in animals, but more than 60 colleges and universities have adopted their own policies that do.

Methods to prevent severe pain and distress for animals in laboratories could include:

Using non-animal alternatives when possible.
Properly using anesthetics and painkillers.
Decreasing duration and intensity of stressors.
Determining the most humane time to end the experiment.
Preparing for emergency situations.

Background
Since 2008, The HSUS has asked Harvard four times to adopt a policy that would prevent severe pain or distress, however the university has yet to adopt such a policy.
#

Media Contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org.
Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “HumaneTV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.
Severe Animal Suffering

More Than 26,000 People Call for New Lab Policy

(Dec. 7, 2011) — The Humane Society of the United States sent letters from 26,688 members of the public to Harvard University and 387 other federally-funded colleges and universities, urging the schools to adopt a formal policy that would protect animals in their laboratories from severe pain and distress. The signers of the letters oppose the use of tax dollars to support activities at the schools’ laboratories that cause severe animal suffering.

“Americans don’t want to pay for animal research that causes suffering,” said Kathleen Conlee, senior director for animal research issues for The HSUS. “Harvard, which receives public funding for its animal research, is well known as an elite educational institution—it’s time for the university to lead the way in its commitment to animal welfare.”

The schools receiving the request for the new policy receive an estimated $6 billion in federal funding per year to conduct animal research. In 2010 Harvard received over $370 million in federal funds for research that includes experiments involving more than 180,000 monkeys, farm animals, cats, dogs, rats, rabbits and other animals used each year at the university.

Federal laws do not prohibit laboratory research or conditions that cause severe pain and distress in animals, but more than 60 colleges and universities have adopted their own policies that do.

Methods to prevent severe pain and distress for animals in laboratories could include:
Using non-animal alternatives when possible.
Properly using anesthetics and painkillers.
Decreasing duration and intensity of stressors.
Determining the most humane time to end the experiment.
Preparing for emergency situations.

Background
Since 2008, The HSUS has asked Harvard four times to adopt a policy that would prevent severe pain or distress, however the university has yet to adopt such a policy.
#

Media Contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org.
Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “HumaneTV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

The coming fight: genetic bias and individual privacy in the 21’st century

By Steve May, executive director, Fund for Genetic Equity

Scholars call this the information age. Truth is we all seem a little numb to titles like that. However, there is no disputing that in our lifetimes we all are bearing witness to the greatest expansion of human knowledge since the Renaissance. The amount of information available to each of us is stunning. A growing percentage of the information in the digital universe is privileged communications. Things like medical records, personal health information, and lab results. We all expect that this information is handled with care. We expect that the most intimate details of our health records are safe and secure.

Beyond this expectation, we think little about them. After all, they are numbers and statistics, family histories, dates of immunizations and x-rays. Suppose however, that someone or maybe many someone was very interested in the details of your personal health. Imagine that they had an interest in gathering as much information about your health as possible. Would that change how you would see the contents of your medical records? Continue reading The coming fight: genetic bias and individual privacy in the 21’st century

If chimpanzees could talk, what would they say?

By Kathy Guillermo

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, scientists have discovered that a gene called FOXP2, which is believed to be responsible for the evolution of speech in humans, behaves differently in humans than it does in chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. The gene produces a protein in humans that differs by just two amino acids from chimpanzees’ FOXP2 protein. Think about it—if not for those two amino acids, chimpanzees might be able to talk. If they could speak, what would they say?

Actually, we already know what they would say, thanks to the work of people such as Roger Fouts, a professor at Central Washington University who is famous for teaching chimpanzees American Sign Language (ASL). Fouts’ most famous pupil is Washoe, who was the first nonhuman animal to learn ASL and who, in turn, taught it to her adopted son, Loulis. Washoe spontaneously combined words to describe her experiences and desires, using expressions such as “you me hide” and “listen dog.” She also invented names for her possessions, referring to her doll, for instance, as “Baby Mine.” She was even known to fib and tell jokes. Continue reading If chimpanzees could talk, what would they say?