What’s going on in the world around you? Paying attention to current events in science can teach us about our world and some of the things that we can contribute to improve it!
Los Alamos Scientist Nina Lanza is working with seven other scientists to find meteorites that have landed on the ice of Antarctica. These “space rocks” are in perfect condition because there is no water or soil to disrupt them. The team uses snowmobiles to go out and find the meteorites that have been untouched for thousands of years. Studying these samples leads to more knowledge about planetary science. Learn more about their Antarctica meteorite hunt here.
In 2011 , paleontologists at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science discovered skeletal remains of a baby Pentaceratops while hiking through the badlands of the Bisti, which is located northwest of Cuba. After years of hard work to get the fossil out, it was finally removed and airlifted this month to a cargo truck, and brought it to Albuquerque to be studied. According to scientists, Pentaceratops have five horns and lived about 70 million years ago. The Pentaceratops is one of several dinosaur species whose fossils have been found in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico. Can you imagine what your neighborhood looked like back then?
An accident on August 5, 2015 caused three million gallons of wastewater (including heavy-metal contaminants) to spill into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado. The Animas River flows into the San Juan River in New Mexico. The San Juan River then flows into the Colorado River in Utah. The pollutants came from an abandoned gold mine that was being cleaned up by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many people are blaming the spill on the EPA because they feel that the agency was not careful enough during the clean-up. Other people are blaming the mining industry and public policy which allows mining companies to leave messes that they don’t have to clean up.
As humans, we all rely on clean water to drink and to grow our food. How do you think we can best prevent pollutants from entering our watershed?
A photograph of Isis Wegner, a software engineer, was used on billboards in San Francisco advertising her company. People began posting on social media about the billboard - questioning whether she is actually an engineer because she is an attractive woman. Their reactions show us that many people have certain ideas about what engineers look like. Many of us have ideas like these from television and other places and then started to think that they were our own. Some of these false beliefs are that doctors are men and women are nurses; that university professors are men and kindergarten teachers are women; and that women can’t be both beautiful and intelligent at the same time.
In response to the false beliefs expressed on social media against Isis and the company’s advertisement, women engineers started posting photos on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer.
What about you? Have you ever made a false assumption about someone based on how she or he looks? Has anyone made a false assumption about you based on how you look? What are some ways that you can stop the spread of unfair or prejudiced assumptions, jokes, or language?
Christy Tafoya was recently named the new director for New Mexico State Parks. Ms. Tafoya started working for the state parks as an archeologist 17 years ago. Archeology is the study of human history and human prehistory through the excavation of man-made artifacts and remains. There are 35 state parks in New Mexico. They contain a total of about 196,000 acres of land and water.
Have you ever been to a NM State Park? Fenton Lake State Park? El Vado Lake State Park? Heron Lake State Park? Navajo Lake State Park? State parks can be a fun and inexpensive way for you to observe the science of nature!