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Christopher Columbus

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” The catchy start to famous poem/song taught to many over the years serves as a reminder of just how renown this holiday is. Columbus Day remembers the day that Christopher Columbus, a famous Italian explorer, arrived in the Americas. This was recorded as being on October 12, 1492. However, the day is celebrated on the second Monday in October of every year.

Columbus Day History

Historically, Christopher Columbus is most portrayed as the first European to arrive in and discover the Americas. However, this is a controversial point for many people. Part of this is due to the fact that evidence suggests that Vikings were actually the first Europeans to explore and try to settle the land. Moreover, there is proof that indigenous peoples had lived there for thousands of years prior to that. This makes it unlikely that Columbus “discovered” the Americas, especially since he is only known to have traveled to a few islands of the Caribbean, never making it to the mainland.

Furthermore, the arrival of Columbus and his countrymen led to the demise of a great many native peoples. This may have been a result of sickness brought with the Europeans as well as direct action taken. Whatever the case, much of the history and culture of these peoples were lost. For this reason, many current day celebrations are held to honor those lost and those that still live on from those indigenous tribes. They seek to bring awareness to the issues that these people struggle with today as well as their history and cultural richness.

How Its Celebrated

This year Columbus Day will be celebrated, for the most part, on October 8th. In some states and local governments, it a public holiday in which most businesses and schools are closed. However, some areas treat it as a normal business day.

Americans do not all celebrate the day in the same way. For some it is a momentous affair, celebrating the day of their country’s discovery. Some towns and cities hold annual festivals, special church services, parades and large events. The Italian-American community, in particular, is known for such celebrations. Large cities such as New York City and San Francisco typically participate in such fan-fare as well.

In Hawaii, the day is known as Discoverer’s Day, however, it is not celebrated as state holiday. Many other states have begun to celebrate is as Native American’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day instead. This is due to the controversial nature of the holiday. In Latin America and some Latino communities, the day is referred to as the DÃa de la Raza or Day of the Race. Yet still others have re-named it or do not celebrate it at all for the same controversial reasons.

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International Teacher’s Day

The goal of this day is to create a time and place where teachers worldwide are celebrated for their achievements and teacher respect is encouraged by society as a whole. At the same time, as a society that encourages education and the qualification of its teachers, we need to be aware of and draw attention to those issues that distract from getting students the education they have the right to and need.

This Day’s History

International Teacher’s Day was established in 1994 to be held on October 5th annually. This day commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

This is meant to take notice of and address a variety of issues and situations that teachers deal with around the world. It strives to give guidance to teachers and teacher organizations on such issues as recruitment, education personnel policies, initial training, continuing education of teachers, their working conditions, and their employment.

How It is Celebrated

Each year UNESCO and Education International or EI partners with private organizations such as media companies to celebrate this day. Each year has a different theme, designed to bring awareness to the role that teachers play in society and student development.

This year’s theme is “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” It is meant to bring awareness to and remind us that only through trained and qualified teachers can the right to education be realized. It also serves to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was established in 1948.

Schools and students around the globe seek to celebrate this day in multiple ways, from classroom parties to town festivals. However, some places hold these festivities on different days. India, for example, has been celebrating teachers and their roles on September 5th every year. There are more than 100 countries that are known to revel in the positive outcomes of International Teachers’ Day.

As parents we have a responsibility to teach our youngsters about the importance of education and the teachers that fulfill that role. Teaching our kids to respect teachers and all that they do on a daily basis is essential for a great student/teacher and parent/teacher relationship, even when the subject is less than your child’s favorite.

It doesn’t have to be a grand celebration. Even doing something simple like any of the following is great way to show you care.

  • Get them a card or make them one,
  • Have your student write a positive and encouraging handwritten note,
  • Get them a small gift,
  • Paint or draw them a picture, or
  • Make them their favorite cookies or snack

Make sure not to let this year pass by without your teacher or child’s teacher being appreciated. You will be glad you did.

For more ideas and tips for educational success visit our blog.

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Lemon Sharks were first seen in the shallow subtropical waters on December of 2014. It was found that these species have been in existence for thousands of years and can live up to 400 years. Lemon sharks are the most predominant species with incredible survival mechanism. They have healing power like Wolverine, and their bodies are coved tough pore-like stainless steel.

This amazing discovery about the lemon sharks' ability to heal by themselves and their defense mechanism was noticed by Joanne Fraser during her regular shark feed dive in Florida. She noticed a lemon shark with a metal-like piece struck into its body. Having experience working with maritime experts in Florida, she quickly captured the unusual sight with her digital camera.

Fraser had so many encounters with the fish after that instance. She has documented every encounter with the fish with photographs and she found that the steel thing coming out from the lemon shark's body was a fish stringer. It is a steel device like a loop used by fishermen to hold the fish during their hunt.

During her last encounter with the shark, Fraser noticed that the shark had pushed the steel loop out from its body and healed itself with only proving a scar as an evidence of the incident.

Fraser sent her documentation and her experience with a lemon shark to Dr. Steven Kessel who is the Director of Maritime Exploration at Chicago Shedd Aquarium.

Dr. Kessel quickly started investigating the incident with the photographs and videos provided by Fraser, and published a report in the journal Marine and Freshwater Exploration on July 13, 2017. In his report, he said that there is no evidence of the entrance and no evidence that the shark has been stabbed on its outer body by a fisherman. Dr. Kessel also reported that the shark may have swallowed the fish stringer while consuming its prey. But he said the most astonishing thing was the size of the stringer it had swallowed. He said that the sharks have the ability to expel the foreign objects and undigested objects from their stomach.

The lemon shark expelling the fish stringer from its body shows the life sustaining ability of the wild oceans. With the documented evidence it was noticed that the lemon shark lived the stringer for 435 days. The shark was carrying a big stomach during the documentation indicating the destruction caused by the stringer has been pushed out from its body around February of 2016.

Marine scientists are positive about the regenerating damaged tissues in sharks. They think that microorganism may be playing a role during the shark's self-healing process.

However, the final document about the lemon shark was made on December 14, 2016. Showing the fish stringer was pushed out from the body and the wounds made by the metal were properly healed.

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The astronomers recently faltered upon a teeny star called 2MASS J0523-1403, and it was located just 40 light years away. As per them, it is not only the smallest star discovered so far, but it also represents the smallest possible star. By studying the stars; scientists are starting to be able to answer the questions — on where do the stars end and the brown dwarfs begin?

While the stars are the burning balls of gas held together by gravity that is powered by the fusion of hydrogen atoms to helium in their cores. They come in a variety of sizes; the smallest stars, are known as red dwarfs. These can possess as little as t% of the mass of our Sun, whereas the biggest stars or the hyper giants can be over 100 times as massive as the Sun. However, just how small can an object be and still be defined as a star? This has puzzled the astronomers for years. All that was formerly known is that objects below this limit don’t have sufficient mass to burn the fusion of hydrogen in their cores, and these objects are known as brown dwarfs. Brown dwarfs are intangible objects that are supposed to be the missing link between gas giants and low-mass stars such as red dwarfs. They’re usually around the size of Jupiter, but they don’t have enough mass to become a star. Unlike stars, brown dwarfs have no inner energy source.

However, there is another strange difference between brown dwarfs and stars; both of them have opposite relationships between mass and size. Though the more material you add to a star, in the form of hydrogen, the bigger the radius of the star. I.e. they increase their size as mass increases. Whereas, the brown dwarfs, on the other hand, actually shrink in size with increasing mass because of something called electron degeneracy pressure.

How do we find the limit that commands whether an object is a star or a brown dwarf?

To find this difference the astronomers scanned the skies and located objects that were supposed to lie around the stellar or the brown dwarf border. They then intended the light, temperatures, and radius of all of these objects and strategized them. The temperature is dependent on mass but it’s easier to measure; so they found that as temperature decreased, so did radius; this is the expected trend for stellar objects. But, they found that after temperatures of around 2100K there was a break till radius starts to increase with decreasing temperature; and this is the trend that would be expected for brown dwarfs.

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Finally, the scientists can now pinpoint the specific temperature, light, and radius at which the main classification ends. However, the main classification is a relationship between luminosity and temperature and luminosity and radius; which need to be obeyed by stars throughout the majority of their lives. 2MASS J0523-1403 is located around this boundary but towards the stellar side. This star actually has a temperature of 2074K, which is the lowest described temperature so far for a main sequence of the star. It’s also the smallest and the least massive; if it had less mass then it can be a brown dwarf. This star has therefore been identified as a representative of the smallest possible star. However, it is theoretically possible that a star with a slightly smaller mass than 2MASS J0523-1403 could exist, but they still need to discover one.

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National Fossil Day is created to bring scientific and educational awareness to people and is celebrated on the second Wednesday of October.

National Fossil Day is celebrated nationwide and was first held on October 13th, 2010, during Earth Science Week. Within this week National Park Service and over 270 partners, including scientific institutions, organizations, museums and other groups hosted events across the United States allowing the public prospects to learn more about the world’s fossil heritage. Many parks, universities and non-profit organizations also take part in the events.

A new National Fossil Day logo is created each year depicting a prehistoric organism. This logo helps to promote National Fossil Day and provide educational institutions an opportunity to share more information about fossils.   The original National Fossil Day logo was created in the year 2010 and presented a fossil mammal known as the Titan. But, in the year 2011, a marine reptile known as the mosasaur was used as the National Fossil Day logo. In the mammoth was featured in the annual logo. A Paleozoic invertebrate known as the eurypterid was highlighted in the annual logo for the year 2013.

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In 2015 the National Fossil Day's artwork features a prehistoric mammal known as a Chalicothere, portrayed in a Miocene prairie grassland. For the National Fossil Day's artwork in the year 2016 it featured a saber-toothed cat, long-horned bison, and a condor, all Pleistocene (ice age) animals, logos in the year 2016.

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How to celebrate this Day

Visit any local museum or gather your friends to do some research about fossils.

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In a perfect world – or impeccably, a wonderfully strange world, plants and animals would speak the same language. Could you imagine this? Yet, it would certainly make being on top of the food chain sensitively challenging, it sure would be informative to know.

Most humans don’t give much credibility to the communication abilities of other kingdoms. Just because they don’t speak a language we understand, it doesn’t mean that plants are not getting messages to one another.

Plants carry some uniqueness as per their family structure and factors. You might not know of plants being particularly chatty, but in reality - they communicate remarkably well with each other. This is especially seen when faced with potential danger. However, there is a recent study about the growing body of research on how plants can communicate with each other. This study about plant science says that injured plants send some emergency signals to alert the neighbors to start helping build up their defenses.

The chain of events related to this study and discovery began about two years ago, when University of Delaware botanist, Harsh Bais, agreed to mentor sixteen-year-old Connor Sweeney on a research project. The ecstatic high school student got to work right away, after spending all his free time, including weekends and summer breaks, in the Harsh Bais lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

The project entailed culturing Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as mustard weed, that was used in experiments. Here the young researcher placed the seeds in Petri dishes and test tubes filled with agar to promote growth. You can see that the seeds would germinate about six days later and transform into delicate three-inch plantlets with bright green leaves.

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To observe the plantlets transformation, Sweeney conducted several experiments in order to test the plant communication. He sliced a mustard weed leaf in two spots mimicking an insect bite to see how it would begin the repair process. While the following day, the young researcher was surprised to discover that while the injured plant remained unchanged, the roots of the neighboring young mustard weed seedling had grown significantly longer and even had lateral offshoots. You can see it in the below image.

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The researchers were unable to believe what they saw as they have expected that the injured plant to put more resources into growing roots. But they didn’t see that according to the researcher Bais, who conducted a similar study in the year 2012. He found that soil bacteria living near the roots of a plant helped to boost its immunity by signaling the leaf pores, or stomata, to close in the company of pathogens. To safeguard that it was not the same system at work, Sweeney partitioned the plants to prevent the communication between their root bacteria and then repeated the experiment multiple times. But the results were the same all the time.

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To see what was prompting the root growth, the scientists conducted more tests and learned that the injured plants were discharging volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to notify its neighbors of the approaching danger. Trusting that the strong plant was growing its roots to absorb more nutrients to strengthen its defenses, Bais and Sweeney began observing for combinations that help trigger the increase in size. For their surprise, each time an injured plant sent out a warning, its neighboring mustard weeds began expressing more Auxin, a key plant growth hormone. However, the researchers were not sure what the volatile organic compounds comprise, or the span of time they persist in the atmosphere. The study still continues to see the exact reasons.

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September 22nd was created as National Elephant Appreciation Day in the year 1996 in honor of the largest land animal in the world.  This holiday was founded by pachyderm lover, Wayne Hepburn, when his daughter gave him a paperweight of elephants on parade and he became fascinated by them. To some, it’s just another animal, but the more you know about Elephant, the more you come to appreciate these fascinating creatures.

People of all ages love elephants and are fascinated by them.  Elephants are known to be larger than life and intensely intelligent animals.  The average lifespan of an elephant is 60 to 70 years, and they develop remarkably close family bonds.  Elephants are very playful animals who love to frisk in the water.  Elephants are herbivorous animals who will eat almost any type of plant from grass to trees, and they are also very fond of lettuce, cabbage, bananas, apples and many other types of fruits and vegetables.

Interesting Facts about Elephants

  • Did you know that an elephant never forgets? That’s because the size of their hippocampus, the part of the brain where their memories are stored, is so huge.
  • When you speak about their brains, we have to remember that elephants have the largest brains of any land animal in a pure build. At birth, an elephant’s brain size can only be reached by 35% of its potential size, which means that they have a huge capacity for learning as they grow and develop.
  • Elephants are highly intelligent and social; they have their own language and this makes it easy for them to form good bonds with each other, and with other species too.
  • Elephants are one of the few animals with self-awareness; like apes, humans and dolphins. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror or any other type of reflection.
  • World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12th each year and was created to bring awareness to the plight of Asian and African elephants throughout the world.
  • Their trunks have 40,000 muscles and tendons and it takes about a year for them to learn how to use it.
  • Adam Stone, the director of an elephant husbandry at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, says that “with a baby elephant, you will see that its trunk looks like a worm on the end of a peg, even when they’re nursing".

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  • Elephants weigh thousands of pounds and they can still manage to be quick and nimble. Did you know that they can move up to 35 mph, stop on a dime, and travel over high mountain ranges with no problems?
  • They follow the oldest female in their group, which is not part of the typical social order in the animal kingdom. They do this because she has the most memory, knows where the safe haven is, where they can get food and where to go in a storm.
  • In the wild, elephants can live to be in their 40's and in captivity they can live even longer.
  • Many species of elephants face the threat of extinction, due to environmental factors and the ivory profession.
  • Elephants have the longest eyelashes in the world which are about 5 inches long.

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The autumnal equinox or September equinox falls on September 22nd, 2017, on this day the day night will be almost equal in most locations. Here are some facts we all need to know about the equinox and signs of the equinox in nature and the first day of astronomical fall (autumn) in the Northern Hemisphere.

There are two types of equinoxes each year – one falls in September and the other in March. This happens when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly same. However, the autumnal fall equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is known as spring vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.

Facts

The September equinox is on or around September 22nd. Sometimes it may fall on the 23rd or 24th, while the first equinox of the year falls on March, it takes place on or around March 21st every year. During these two equinoxes the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is almost nearly equal – but not exactly.

Did you know that the September equinox marks the second the sun crosses the celestial equator? The slightly imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator is seen from North to South and vice versa in March.

Equinoxes and solstices

In the above picture, you can see the equinoxes and solstices that mark the start of astronomical seasons. While the equinoxes start in spring and fall, solstices start astronomical summer and winter.

Earth's Axial Tilt

The Earth's axis is slanted at an angle of about 23.4° this is in relation to the ecliptic, which is the imagined plane created by Earth's path around the Sun. However, on any other day of the year, both the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere tilts a little towards the Sun. Then on the two equinoxes, the tilt of Earth's axis will be perpendicular to the Sun's rays, like the above illustrations show.

Why is it Called "Equinox"?

On the day of the equinox, both night and day are nearly closely the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. That is the reason it's called an "equinox," the word is derived from a Latin aequus which means equal and nox meaning night.

However, even if this is usually accepted, it isn't entirely true. In reality, equinoxes don't have accurately 12 hours of daylight.

Why is it called the First Day of Fall?

While in the Northern Hemisphere, the fall equinox marks the first day of fall - autumn is what it is known as in astronomical seasons. There is also another, and more common definition of when the season’s start, specifically meteorological definitions, which are based on typical temperatures rather that astronomical events.

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Using a plant for either cleaning or repairing purposes is quite common these days. Scientists have created a little version of a working heart, which may assist in tissue regeneration one day.

Scientists found a new way to use spinach to build a working human heart muscle, which will potentially solve a long-standing problem in efforts to repair damaged organs. The details of the study are published in the journal Biomaterials, explaining the new way to grow a vascular system, which has been a roadblock for tissue engineering.

Scientists have already created large-scale human tissue in a lab using 3D method printing, but it was proved to be much harder to grow the small, delicate blood vessels that are vital to the tissue's health.

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As per the co-author Joshua Gershlak, the main limiting factor for tissue engineering - is the lack of a vascular network. This is proved that without that vascular network, you get a lot of tissue death.

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Above is the image of a decellularized spinach leaf; before dye is added to test its ability to filter blood through the tissue.

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In the second image, you can see the picture of a spinach leaf after it successfully revealed red dye could be pumped through its veins, simulating the blood, oxygen and nutrients that a human heart tissue needs to grow.

However, one of the crucial traits of a leaf is the branching network of thin veins that delivers water and nutrients to its cells. At present, scientists have used plant veins to redo the way blood moves through human tissue. This work involves transforming a spinach leaf in the lab to eliminate its plant cells, which leaves behind a frame made of cellulose.

Cellulose is biocompatible and has been used in a wide variety of reformative medicine applications, such as bone tissue engineering, cartilage tissue engineering, and wound healing.  The team then covered the remaining plant frame in live human cells, so that the human tissue grew on the spinach's support and surrounded the tiny veins. Once they transformed the spinach leaf into a sort of mini heart, then the team sent fluids and microbeads through its veins to illustrate how blood cells can flow through this system.

Though the ultimate goal is to replace damaged tissue in patients who have had heart attacks or who suffered from other cardiac issues that prevent their hearts from contracting. Like blood vessels, the veins in the modified leaves would supply oxygen to the entire swath of replacement tissue, which is crucial in generating new heart matter.

While the study team has confirmed the same methods could be used with different types of plants to heal a variety of tissues in the body. For instance, swapping out the cells in wood might one day help repair human bones.

Researchers say that they have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising, and the study co-author Glenn Gaudette, also of WPI, said in a press statement that adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years, are helpful in the use of tissue engineering and could solve a host of problems limiting the field.

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