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Kid Inventors’ Day

Every January 17th we have the opportunity to celebrate the children in our lives and the accomplishments they have and will make. This includes inventions and extraordinary innovations. Children, unlike adults, have a unique ability to look at the world differently. They do not understand many aspects of life and the difficulty it holds.

Some would believe this makes them ineligible for such tasks. On the contrary, the fact that they are not bogged down by life’s complexities and hardships most often allows them to create without limitations or boundaries. They are able to see solutions on a different level than most adults.

There are many things we use on a daily basis that were, in fact, created by children or teenagers, such as the trampoline, popsicles, ear muffs.

The History of Kid Inventors’ Day

One of the first known child inventors was Benjamin Franklin. Most of us are familiar with his creations of all sorts of useful items such as bifocals, the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the glass harmonica just to name a few. However, he started inventing when he was just a child. At age 12 he created the first swim flippers. It for this reason that we celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day on his birthday, January 17th.

History continues to prove that children can and do invent some very impressive and helpful things. Some are born from mere accidents, such as the popsicle, while others take several years to create and are much more complex. One of the most extensive creations of a child is the language of the blind, yes, Braille. It was created by a French child in Paris named Louis Braille after he was involved in a serious accident that took his sight from him.

American Sign Language also has a great contribution made by a child. Ryan Patterson, a teenager, invented special gloves with sensors to translate hand motions of ASL into written words for children and adults alike with various disabilities.

Kid Inventors’ Day

Photo Credit: Internet Archive Book Images by Flickr

How to Celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day

This day is proof that children of any age are living, breathing inventors with extraordinary minds. Never take those precious thoughts for granted, even if they seem a little unsophisticated and silly to you. after all, these children are our future. Today is a day for no limits, to believe the impossible. Sometimes that is what it takes to makes dreams and inventions of the future come to life.

Take a child to a museum, a park, or even the kitchen. Create an environment where they can learn about inventions from the past and experience inspiration. It can come from just about anywhere, from simple crafts and games to large airplanes and spaceships. No matter what you do, make sure to encourage their dreams, even if seems outrageous and impossible. You never know when the next Benjamin Franklin could be sitting in your living room.

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Trivial Pursuit

Photo Credit: Letica Ayuso from Flickr

You know all that seemingly useless information in your head that never gets used or you think no one else cares about? Today is the day to finally use it. January 4th is Trivia Day. They may be silly insignificant facts, little-known oddities, or just random information but on Trivia day they can be used to impress your family and friends and possibly even cause a few laughs.

The History of Trivia Day

The history of Trivia Day begins with a few missing pieces to a scrabble board game. In Montreal, Canada in 1979, friends Scott Abbott and Chris Haney were getting frustrated with their scrabble game that had some missing pieces. However, it did not stop them from having a bit of fun.

These two fellows decided to create a new game with the pieces they had. The game became an instantaneous hit and its popularity is spread worldwide. The game is Trivial Pursuit and it is thought to have sparked a seemingly endless fascination with odd or little-known facts on a wide variety of topics.

Since that day, many more trivia inspired games have been dreamed up and made their way into homes throughout the world. This day was created to remember that day and the efforts of the two men determined to have some fun. It’s also a day to make use of that random information in your head that usually has no specific purpose.

Trivial Pursuit Game

Photo Credit: Paolo Soro from Flickr

How to Celebrate Trivia Day

Trivia Day is best spent playing trivia games with your favorite comrades and family. There are a great number of trivia games to choose from in this day and age. Some are comprised of large boards, many pieces, and quite a few complex rules, whiles others are much simpler and can be played on a computer or smartphone. The subjects these tidbits of knowledge come from span every concept imaginable from the shoes on your feet to the stars in the sky. If you can think of it, there is a question about it.

However, don’t assume that prior knowledge of these subjects is required. Half of the fun is not knowing and learning tons of new information and trivia along the way. These are games young kids and adults alike can really get into. And if you don’t have any trivia games at home or the place you will be spending most of today, try making up your own. Continue the legacy of this day by having some fun and using all that knowledge in your head to make the world a happier place.

Here are a few random trivia facts to get you in the mood:

  • On Venus, it snows metal.
  • Spain means “the land of rabbits.”
  • Only female mosquitoes bite.
  • Saudi Arabia has no rivers.
  • The only Caribbean island with a railroad is Cuba.

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Rounded colorful Pencils

Photo Credit : salvatore ventura on Unsplash

These days kids have access to all kinds of activities. If they wanted to, children could have a full-time job just doing all the extra-curricular activities available to them. Of course, there isn’t enough time for kids to participate in all the things they might like to do. So how do you and your kids decide which activities and clubs are best? Here are some ideas for choosing activities that will help your child develop a well-rounded personality.

Get Physical

Some children love physical activity and would love to play all the sports. Others have no interest in running or jumping. In either case, physical activity is an important part of our overall health. You should encourage a child who is looking for a new pastime to explore a sport or other physical skill. Children can play sports, do yoga, take dance lessons, or do any number of other activities to get moving and make friends. Best of all, they’ll learn valuable lessons about building a strong healthy body and the importance of taking physical care of themselves.

Be Creative

If your child is already involved in a sport and wants to be more active, you can encourage them to explore a creative outlet. Perhaps their school has an art club. Or maybe there are painting classes at the local library. In many cases, young people have creative interests that they can pursue on their own. For instance, if your son has expressed an interest in learning to sew, encourage him to check out some YouTube videos or online tutorials for beginners. If your daughter wants to learn to draw, there are lots of resources online that she can use to build her skills in her spare time. Because creative activities use different parts of the brain than typical intellectual activities, you’ll be building your children’s capacity to think in new and interesting ways.

Think Outside the Classroom

Students spend plenty of time doing science, math, and history in school. However, for students who have a special interest in these subjects, there are additional opportunities to pursue their intellectual passions. Debate club and Model U.N. are ideal activities for students who love to think and engage deeply on serious questions. Math and science clubs are great places to explore an interest in space or chemistry. Perhaps your child’s school has a robotics club where they can learn to build machines and even participate in competitions. Learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom.

The trick is to mix and match activities so that children are exposed to lots of different skills and possibilities. Often, young people don’t know what they’ll love until they try it. You’ll never know if your son loves painting until he picks up a paintbrush. The more you can expose young people to, the better chance they’ll have to uncover what they truly love. And along the way, they’ll learn to appreciate all the different passions they possess.

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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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galaxy's-smallest-star

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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The recent research suggests that the attacks of forgetfulness could cause a safety mechanism in the brain designed to make sure we're not loaded with information. In other words, the specialists say that it's a healthy part of the brain's operation. In their words, they say that it might come as a relief if we are always forgetting where we left our belongings like house keys and some other stuff, but this could also possibly teach us more about how our brain operates.

According to two well-known researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada, the memory isn't envisioned to help communicate the most accurate information, but it would be rather the most useful information that can help us make smart decisions in the future. However, it is always very important that the brain forgets immaterial details and instead focuses on the stuff that's going to help us to make decisions in the real world.

While some researchers took this in a different approach and to the idea of memory and looked at the neurobiology of remembering, or perseverance, while others looked at the neurobiology of forgetting, or transience.

However, researchers found evidence of the thoughtful weakening of the synaptic connections between neurons that help to encrypt memories, as well as the signs in which the new neurons overwriting existing memories exit, to make them harder to access. So why is the brain spending time trying to make us forget?

Primarily, forgetting helps us adjust to new circumstances by letting go of our old memories we don't need. So, in this way if your favorite coffee shop has moved to the other side of the town, and you find a new one closer to you, your brain will let you forget the old location and thus, help you remember the new one.

In another way, forgetting allows us to generalize our past events and help us to make decisions about new ones. There is a concept known in artificial intelligence as regularization. Which means when you just tend to remember the main gist of your previous visits to that coffee shop; rather than every little detail, it will then be less work for your brain to figure out how to behave the next time you go in there.

Now – when you try to navigate the world your brain will constantly bring up the multiple conflicting memories, such things make it harder for you to make knowledgeable decisions.

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In this way, the researchers also think the amount of forgetting we do could be contingent on the environment, and with a faster pace of change would definitely require a faster pace of forgetting too.

In one of the recent experiments, it was proved that forgetting information we need to remember too often is a frustrating practice and this can be a sign of more serious problems. But new research suggests that at a certain level of forgetfulness is actually a built-in mechanism which is designed to make us smarter.

The point of memory is to make you a smart person; who can make wise decisions given the circumstances, and the important aspect in helping you do that is being able to forget some information which is not important to remember.

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national-fossil-day

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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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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