Stories tagged On this day

Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.

Linked data
Linked dataCourtesy mkbergman
20 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. For his next project, he's building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together. Click this link to view his presentation about linked data.

President Obama has signed an executive order that expands federal funding for some embryonic stem cell research.

In 1991, President Bush signed an executive order that forbade the National Institutes for Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond the 60 or so stem cell lines that already existed at the time. President Obama's order will allow scientists to use federal money to to do research on any stem cell lines, although government money still can't be used to generate new stem cell lines. (The creation of a stem cell line requires the destruction of a human embryo.)

More Buzz stories on stem cell research...

CNN's "explainer" feature on the promise of stem cell research

Today is one of those days that occurs only nine times per century: it's Square Root Day! Today's month and date are the square roots of the year: 3-3-09. The next Square Root Day will be 4-4-16. Get the picture? Here's a link to more info on Square Root Days. How do you plan to celebrate this rare day? Oh, and Pi Day – 3.14 – is just 11 days away!

TarantulaCourtesy Gertrude K.
Even if you are terrified of spiders - you have to admit that they're pretty cool critters. Dr. Susan Rayor of Cornell University's Biology Program certainly thinks so. She spends much of her time studying the behavior of spiders, whose unusual sex and predatory lives are the subject of talk she'll be giving tonight at the Bryant-Lake Bowl in South Minneapolis. This talk is part of a monthly science series called Cafe Scientifique. You can find out more here.

Cafe Scientifique: A Romance With Spiders
Presented by The Bell Museum of Natural History
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009. 7PM.
Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W Lake St., Minneapolis.

Spiders are primarily solitary, often cannibalistic, voracious predators that are one of the most important terrestrial predators on earth. Yet 1% of spiders are highly social, living in large groups characterized by tolerance and cooperation. Even in the most social spider species, individuals must balance the benefits of group living and the strong compulsion to eat irritating colleagues. In this talk, Dr. Susan Rayor of Cornell University's Biology Department will discuss how she came to combine romance with spiders and aspects of their unusual sex and predatory lives. In addition to giving public talks across the country, Rayor has been featured on the Discovery Channel, and is working with her husband on a book about the behavior and ecology of spiders.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamondsCourtesy Travis Metcalfe and Ruth Bazinet, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, astronomers discovered a star Feb. 13, 2004 that is thought to be a diamond crystal weighing 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

Click this link to learn more about Lucy, the star made out of diamond.

If you're free, consider this:

LIFE: A Journey Through Time
North American Premiere /Darwin Day Opening Event

Thursday, February 12, 2009, 7 to 9 p.m.
Bell Museum Auditorium
$10/ free to museum members and University students

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday with a special preview of LIFE: A Journey Through Time. The event will feature top University biologists using Lanting's photographs as a springboard to deliver a rapid-fire presentations relating their research on evolution to the images. From the big bang to the human genome, hear the newest theories on how life evolved and enjoy the North American premiere of one the world's most celebrated photography exhibits. Think speed-dating - Darwin-style!

The Exhibit:
LIFE: A Journey Through Time
February 14 - April 12, 2009

The University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History is proud to host the North American premiere of this internationally acclaimed exhibit. LIFE: A Journey Through Time, interprets the evolution of life on Earth through photographer Frans Lanting. Lanting's lyrical photos trace Earth's history from the beginnings of primordial life to the ascent of mammals through otherworldly landscapes and breathtakingly intimate portraits of animals and plants engaged in million-year-old rituals. Many of the exhibit's 62 photographs are matched with real animal, fossil, and plant specimens from the Bell Museum's collection. Born in the Netherlands, Lanting serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer and has received the BBC Wildlife Magazine's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.

Fires in Australia wiped out the pretty resort village of Marysville and largely destroyed the town of Kinglake, north of Melbourne, with houses, shops, petrol stations and schools razed to the ground.

"Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours. Many good people lie dead, many injured," Rudd told reporters Sunday, deploying army units to help 3,000 firefighters battling the flames. Yahoo News

I was very excited to listen to Barack Obama's inauguration address and hear him speak the words, science, data, and statistics with pride and emphasis. We will keep a watchful eye over the next four years to make sure that science policy adheres to the agenda and principles that our new president has set out.

OK, not "on this day." A few days ago. Well, two weeks ago, but the BRIEFING was today. Anyway, in a marathon operation lasting 22 hours, surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio performed the first face transplant surgery in the United States--replacing 80% of a female patient's face. (This surgery has been done only a few times, and was big news when the world's first face transplant, on Isabelle Dinoire, took place in France in 2006.) More details to come in the next few days.