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Spiders in Space
To leap on the excitement surrounding the release of the film, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", Scholastic and Sony Pictures are re-releasing a free, Web-based guide on Spiders in Space. The guide contains educational materials based on research about spiders in space. Spiders, who did not morph into mutants; rather, adapted quite well.
Launched aboard space shuttle Endeavour to the space station in 2011, two golden orb spiders were flown aboard ISS in a special habitat. This allowed researchers to study the spiders' web-spinning practices in space and look for changes. As the spiders spun their space webs, students were able to use the downlinked imagery to compare the space spiders to golden orb spiders housed in their classrooms on Earth. Thanks to the "Spiders in Space" teacher's guide developed during and following this investigation, this curriculum is still in use.
For more details on Spiders behavior in space and to watch a video, please visit:
To access this free guide as well as many more resources for science education, please visit:
Urban architecture has become one of the major contributors to pollution; from the huge amount of energy necessary to heat and cool the interiors to affecting the air quality and flow by raising the exterior temperatures in the cities.
eVolo skyscraper competition encourages the architects to design buildings through the best and "novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations." Among this year's winners and honorable mentions are some who have considered one more aspect in their designs. They have aimed to reduce pollution, as well.
For example, one design called Drifting Skyscraper attempts to address the high levels of particulate pollution common in Chinese cities by having their building scrub carbon monoxide from the air and turn it into methane that could be used to generate electricity or power methane fuel cells in car.
To see other innovative, green and outside-the-box designs, please visit:
Shapeshifting table, Holodeck table, Transform table! If you are like us, these terms evoke some of the famous sci-fi and fantasy franchises for you. While in realm of reality, we still have some ways to go to fully achieve any of those technologies, nevertheless we are getting closer.
According to their website, "created by Professor Hiroshi Ishii and the Tangible Media Group from the MIT Media Lab, TRANSFORM [table] aims to inspire viewers with unexpected transformations, as well as the aesthetics of the complex machine in motion. The work is comprised of three dynamic shape displays that move more than one thousand pins up and down in realtime to transform the tabletop into a dynamic tangible display. The kinetic energy of the viewers, captured by a sensor, drives the wave motion represented by the dynamic pins."
So in this one creation, we have a shapeshifting table, a holodeck-like technology where matter is responsive to the actions of the people (real or virtual), and a transformer tabletop of a sort!
To learn more about it, and see different videos of TRANSFORM, please visit:
For a brief and step-by-step photo demonstration of TRANSFORM and a video demo, please visit:
My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer: a book by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam.
In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream. To learn more about the book, please visit: http://www.anoushehansari.com/book/
To find a book signing, please check the upcoming appearances section of this newsletter.
To obtain a copy please visit: