The Gulf Oil Spill highlighted the need for better working relationships between academic scientists, industry, and government.
U.S. Coast Guard / Public Domain

War is generally pretty bad for the environment, and, understandably, the environment is not one of the military’s top priorities when at war. But more Navy officials are now asking questions about how to tread a bit more lightly on the environment, and some are getting scientists outside the military involved.

Chris Reddy is one example. He's a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who specializes in oil spills, and last year, he got an email from a Navy lieutenant commander asking for his help.

Disney / Pixar

I’m sure all of you are still basking in the glow of the Oscar win for Pixar’s beautiful animated short “Piper”.  The six minute piece, and winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Short, is about a sandpiper chick too afraid of the crashing waves to learn to feed himself. The combination of gorgeous, cutting edge animation and a cute, wordlessly conveyed story explain the win, but as is typical of anything having to do with birds in Hollywood, they definitely didn’t get the Oscar for biological accuracy.

Cyber technology, biotechnology, robotics, and other advances in technology have clearly made our world better. But technology is power, and in the wrong hands it has the potential to wreck havoc on individuals and societies. How do you govern a world in which anyone can attack anyone from anywhere? 

The hippocampus is part of the brain responsible for forming and storing memories. In fourteen cases, opioid use has been linked to complete shutdown of blood flow to the region.
Gray's Anatomy / Wikimedia Commons, public domain

As if the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdoses isn’t bad enough, a new study finds that – in a very small number of cases – opioid use has been linked to profound memory loss. It’s kind of a medical mystery story that started in November of 2015. That’s when Dr. Jed Barash, a neurologist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA, brought four patients to the attention of officials at the Department of Public Health. 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP bit.ly/2lvF2ZB / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Mildred Dresselhaus - a pioneer of nanoscience, often called the Queen of Carbon for her groundbreaking studies of that element – died last week at the age of 86. Her work on the properties of thin layers and tubes of carbon laid the groundwork for carbon nanotubes found today in batteries, cars, sports equipment, biomedical devices, solar panels and the space program.

A day spent clearing landscape debris segues to an inspired appreciation of Rachmaninov, in this week's essay from a Cape Cod Notebook. 

Kidney Transplants

Feb 28, 2017
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Kidney failure is fatal, but fortunately, kidney transplantation can be a successful treatment. On The Point, we talk about the process, what goes into matching donors with recipients, and some ways to shorten the wait list for organ donations. 

Chatham Historical Society

In May, 1915, a German U-boat sank the ocean liner Lusitania, killing almost 1,200 people and causing great alarm throughout the U-S shipping industry, where vessels were suddenly vulnerable up and down the Atlantic seaboard. The government responded by setting up a series of air stations along the east coast to defend against the growing threat. One of these facilities was built on a flat, 20-acre site in North Chatham.

There are about 100 Blue Chromis fish in the great ocean tank at New England Aquarium
Wiki Commons

We wouldn’t have guessed it, but it’s awfully hard to get a certain little blue Caribbean fish to breed. In fact, it took an expert at the New England Aquarium a year of work to set up the right combination of mood lighting, tank feng shui, and a never-ending buffet of gourmet fish food to make it happen.

Lead biologist Monika Schmuck had two baby Blue Chromis fish at the end of all that work. It was the first time anyone in the world had successfully bred Blue Chromis in captivity.

“Today I actually got four more, so that’s a total of six,” she told WCAI.  

Poetry Sunday: Ashley Gong

Feb 27, 2017

Ashley Gong reads her poem, "Speak."

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