Flora of North America – The Outreach Resources | Flora of North America

Flora of North America – The Outreach ResourcesSpecies and Specimens: Exploring Local BiodiversityIn this lesson, appropriate for middle through high school, students practice skills essential to all scientific investigation: carefully observing and collecting data. Students become field biologists in a series of hands-on activities to collect and identify specimens, and survey and calculate the diversity of plant species in their local environment

via Flora of North America – The Outreach Resources | Flora of North America.

Reduction in Phytoplankton-40% since 1950s

It may be hardest of all to care about something unseen. A single glass of seawater drawn from the surf in Newport or Brookings might look clear but in fact would roil with at least 75 million organisms called phytoplankton.

And we vitally depend upon such creatures. Out in the ocean, infinite numbers of them produce half the world’s oxygen and form the base of the marine food chain. For what it’s worth, phytoplankton eat crazy amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

But their numbers are down 40 percent worldwide since the 1950s and may be headed down further. The culprit appears to be rising ocean temperatures associated with climate change. The sea’s warming top layer of water, where phytoplankton do their job, increasingly lacks life-sustaining nutrients from the cold deep.

via An ocean on the slide could hurt us badly | OregonLive.com.

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From India to U.S.

A dangerous new mutation that makes some bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics has become increasingly common in India and Pakistan and is being found in patients in Britain and the United States who got medical care in those countries, according to new studies.Experts in antibiotic resistance called the gene mutation, named NDM-1, “worrying” and “ominous,” and they said they feared it would spread globally.

via Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From South Asia to U.S. – NYTimes.com.

Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat

three researchers at the University of California, Davis — Bruce German, Carlito Lebrilla and David Mills. They and colleagues have found that a particular strain of bacterium, a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum, possesses a special suite of genes that enable it to thrive on the indigestible component of milk.

This subspecies is commonly found in the feces of breast-fed infants. It coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria.

Infants presumably acquire the special strain of bifido from their mothers, but strangely, it has not yet been detected in adults. “We’re all wondering where it hides out,” Dr. Mills said.

via Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat – NYTimes.com.

via Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat – NYTimes.com.

Winter 2011: Heavier Snow for Chicago… Normal Snowfall for NYC, Philly and D.C.

This does not mean a free pass for the Northeast. Bastardi predicts late November and December could get winter off to a fast start in the East, with a major thaw coming for much of the country in January.Bastardi makes the early cold connection between this year’s active hurricane season and his winter forecast.

He said that years that see significant landfall, such as 1995, 2008 and 2005, usually also have cold for much of the eastern and central portions of the nation in December

via AccuWeather.com – Weather News | Winter 2011: Heavier Snow for Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit, Normal Snowfall for NYC, Philly and D.C..

AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast Coming

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, AccuWeather.com Long Range Meteorologist Joe Bastardi will reveal if winter will again grip the Northeast with extreme cold and snow, or if it will pummel another region.

Expect Bastardi to release an exciting long-range regional outlook for the entire U.S., forecasting when and where the core of the cold will be for all the major cities, as well as the brunt of major snowfall.

Bastardi’s winter of 2009-2010 accurately predicted the stormiest weather centered over the mid-Atlantic, with record snowfall from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte.

His forecast was confirmed when several big snowstorms dropped more than 54 inches of snow in Washington, D.C., making it the snowiest winter on record for the nation’s capital.

Three major snowstorms struck the Northeast in February 2010, causing the winter of 2009 to be dubbed “snowmaggedon.” Bastardi predicted nearly six months earlier that major cities in the East could get up to 75 percent of their total winter snowfall in two or three big storms.

via AccuWeather.com – Weather News | AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast is Coming Tomorrow.

via AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast Coming.

Ping – In School Systems, Slow Progress for Open-Source Textbooks – NYTimes.com

Publishers have started de-emphasizing the textbook in favor of selling a package of supporting materials like teaching aids and training. And companies like Houghton Mifflin have created internal start-ups to embrace technology and capture for themselves some of the emerging online business.

via Ping – In School Systems, Slow Progress for Open-Source Textbooks – NYTimes.com.

INFURIATING Scott G. McNealy has never been easier. Just bring up math textbooks.

Mr. McNealy, the fiery co-founder and former chief executive of Sun Microsystems, shuns basic math textbooks as bloated monstrosities: their price keeps rising while the core information inside of them stays the same.

“Ten plus 10 has been 20 for a long time,” Mr. McNealy says.

Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr. McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.

“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”