Stories tagged alien species

Apr
07
2009

Me and a thing: And what should I name this thing, I wonder?
Me and a thing: And what should I name this thing, I wonder?Courtesy JGordon
Hey Buzzketeers. I have to apologize—I understand that some of you set your watches and schedule your insulin injections by JGordon’s regular postings… and here I am, contributing nothing to the Buzz in, what, over a week? Yes, over a week.

So I’m sorry. I hope you all have support networks that helped you set your watches and administer insulin. I have some good excuses though. Seriously.

Excuse A: JGordon has been working through some personal issues. I think we’re all close enough now that I can elaborate on this a little bit. I mean, it’s complicated, of course, but the long and short of it is that my grandmother hit me in the head with a hammer. She’s way old, and can’t swing a hammer worth carp, but still… it’s more of a trust thing. Knowing that someone who loves you would smack you in the noggin with a claw hammer given the chance… It’s a lot to deal with, OK?

Excuse B: I’m on vacation, remember? (Sort of. Dealing with the hammer attack has made this feel a lot less like a vacation. Technically a vacation still, though.) It turns out that I’m in Hawaii, and it turns out that Hawaii has all sorts of interesting sciencey things. And it turns out that I have a little video camera with me. And while it turns out that I haven’t felt much like video taping my vacation, it also turns out that I can’t go very long without things getting a little sciencey. Quasi-sciencey, at least.

So let’s see… how do I get this thing to work… is this the right button?

Jan
11
2009

Cargo ships carry invasive species in ballst water
Cargo ships carry invasive species in ballst waterCourtesy AviatorDave
A recently released report warns that the Great Lakes have been invaded by foreign aquatic species resulting in ecological and environmental damage amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Monitor, detect, and take required action

The findings support the need for detection and monitoring efforts at those ports believed to be at greatest risk. The report identified 30 nonnative species that pose a medium or high risk of reaching the lakes and 28 others that already have a foothold and could disperse widely.

The National Center for Environmental Assessment issued the warning in a study released (Jan 5, 09). It identified 30 nonnative species that pose a medium or high risk of reaching the lakes and 28 others that already have a foothold and could disperse widely. (click here to access report)

Flush out ship's ballast tanks with salt water

One preventive measure that works 99% of the time is to flush out the ballast tanks with salty sea water. This usually kills any foreign marine life hitch hiking a ride in the ballast tank water. Both Canada and the United States have made this a requirement for almost two decades now. Both nations also recently have ordered them to rinse empty tanks with seawater in hopes of killing organisms lurking in residual pools on the bottom.

Learn more about invasive species in the Great Lakes

Jan
12
2007

Racing off: The subjects of race and sports are often discussed together. Should they? Do people of different ethnicities excell at different sports? Does it matter? What do you think?
Racing off: The subjects of race and sports are often discussed together. Should they? Do people of different ethnicities excell at different sports? Does it matter? What do you think?

What do sports and race have to with each other?

That can be a pretty explosive question to dig into, but with the opening of the Race exhibit here at the Science Museum, along with some situations I’ve seen or heard arise in the past couple months, it’s had me mulling the question more than usual.

Just last Saturday I was listening to Sports Talk, a weekly call-in radio show on 1500 KSTP-AM. One of the main topics of conversation was why there aren’t more minority kids, particularly African-Americans, playing high school boys hockey at Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. The hockey numbers are so low, in fact, in Minneapolis that the district now only has two boys’ hockey teams, combining players from many different city schools.

There was no general consensus as to why more African-American boys don't play hockey. For a long time, it was thought that hockey was too expensive for minority families to afford to help fund their children to play. But several callers pointed out that now there are many programs that help provide hockey equipment to needy players.

Another caller pointed out that hockey is gaining interest among African-American youth through their play of video games. Hockey is now considered a “hip-hop” sport because it has a lot of action, like basketball. The caller also pointed out that African-American participation in baseball is declining a lot because it is the anti hip-hop sport with so much standing around time.

A third caller pointed out that there is a history of some very strong black hockey leagues in Ottawa, Canada. A few of those players have even gone on to play in the NHL. His contention was that young African-Americans there were exposed to the sport from an early age and grew up loving the game.

One last point on hockey and race: the cover story on today’s Star-Tribune sports section was about Kyle Okposo, the leading scorer on the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team this season. Judging from his name and the photo accompanying the story, I’m figuring he’s African-American. But no where in the story does it make mention of his ethnicity. Does it even matter?

Have you heard the story about the Willmar High School boys’ cross country team? A few years ago, their all-white line-up was an also-ran at most meets. Then two years ago, a native Somali student joined the team and did well individually. This past year, the varsity line-up was made up entirely of Somali students. Willmar won all its regular season meets, went on to win the state championship and placed high in the national meet. What’s going on there?

Clearly, sports and race have had their dark moments. Former Dodger General Manager Al Campanais, on a national TV program commemorating an anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in baseball, got in huge trouble for saying that black athletes don’t make good swimmers because they lack buoyancy. Howard Cosell was fired from Monday Night Football for calling an African-American receiver “a little monkey.”

But can there be legitimate differences between people of different races in the arena of athletics? I’m not sure what the answers are. I don’t know if I even like asking the question. But it seems to be a recurring theme in the world of sports.

What do you think?