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17-Dec-2014 23:07
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Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS


Kid-Friendly Feature Stories

Charles Messier's cosmic gem collection
While hunting for the comet that would make him famous, Charles Messier began a list of stationary (non-comet) objects to save himself time. Over 400 years later and Messier's comets are all but forgotten, but his catalog of cosmic gems continues to be used by astronomers all over the world. This new photograph shows Messier 47 a stunning star cluster filled with hot blue stars.

Contact: Sarah Eve Roberts
Leiden University

Galaxies make disruptive neighbors
What is the 'cosmic web' and what role did it play in the history of the Universe? A new study has looked at how galaxies evolved when the Universe was just half its current age and it looks like those caught in the cosmic web raced through their lives much faster than others!

Contact: Sarah Eve Roberts
Leiden University

When did bees begin to disappear in Britain?
All over the world, the number of bees and other insects that pollinate plants has shrunk in the last half-century. Scientists think there are probably a lot of different reasons for this, including destruction of land and plants that bees use. Now a new study suggests that bees in Britain began disappearing more than 100 years ago when people there began to change how they farmed.

Contact: Science Press Package
American Association for the Advancement of Science

UT Arlington mind, brain and education researcher develops STEM gift guide for parents
A UT Arlington College of Education neuroscience researcher has developed a holiday gift guide that can help parents engage young children in STEM concepts.

Contact: Bridget Lewis
University of Texas at Arlington

Moody's Mega Math Challenge provides free math modeling resources
Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, a rigorous team competition known for its distinctive hands-on learning experience for high school students, offers participants resources to use well into their careers. This year -- the competition's 10th anniversary -- marks the first time competitors will have access to licenses and subscriptions not previously offered during the annual contest.

Contact: Frank Kunkle
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

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News for and About Kids

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
First steps for Hector the robot stick insect
A research team at Bielefeld University has succeeded in teaching the only robot of its kind in the world how to walk. Its first steps have been recorded in a video. You can watch them in Bielefeld University's latest posting on 'research_tv'. The robot is called Hector, and its construction is modeled on a stick insect.

Contact: Dr. Axel Schneider
Bielefeld University

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
The surprising history of tinsel
It's been a holiday decoration staple for decades, and it turns out that silver stuff hanging from your tree has quite a storied past. Tinsel has been made out of everything from real silver, to lead to other dangerously flammable materials. This week's Speaking of Chemistry decks your halls with the history of tinsel.

Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
A beetle named Marco Polo
A team of Chinese and Italian scientists has joined efforts to provide a key to the understudied phaleratus group of blister beetles. During their research the scientists have also discovered a new species from the genus Hycleus, which they named after Marco Polo, as a tribute to their collaboration during the Ph.D. studies. The study was published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Contact: Marco A. Bologna
Pensoft Publishers

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Do carrots actually help you see better? (video)
It's something your mother told you time and time again at the dinner table: 'Eat your carrots, they'll help you see better!' So was she right? This week, Reactions answers the question with the help of chemist Chad Jones, Ph.D., host of the award-winning Collapsed Wave Function podcast. Check out the video here:

Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Preventive Medicine
Low income kids eat more fruits and vegetables when they are in school
The fruits and vegetables provided at school deliver an important dietary boost to low income adolescents, according to Meghan Longacre, Ph.D. and Madeline Dalton, Ph.D. of Dartmouth Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center and The Hood Center for Children and Families. In a study released in Preventive Medicine, Longacre and Dalton found that fruit and vegetable intake was higher among low income adolescents on days when they consumed meals at school compared to days when low income adolescent were not in school.
NIH/National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences

Contact: Kirk A. Cassels
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

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