Science News Round Up

Corn Storm The Great Plains of the midwestern United States yield 10 billion bushels of corn a year. According to a new study on regional climate change at MIT, the Corn Belt produces more than its name suggests: It also makes its own weather. While the rest of the world is experiencing a warming trend, this fertile region’s summer temperature dropped a full degree Celsius, and the rainfall spiked 35 percent – more than anywhere else in the world. The Corn Belt stretches from Texas up to North Dakota and east to Ohio. The research team suspects agriculture increases...

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Tickets on sale for Science Friday

On April 21, radio and television journalist Ira Flatow will host his public radio show “Science Friday” live on campus. The program is broadcast weekly on Public Radio International to an audience of 1.8 million people, and, according to the show’s website, offers listeners “a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space and the environment.”  In addition to Flatow as host, the Science Friday event at Miami will feature a special lineup of interview guests, to be announced in the coming weeks. The most recent episode discusses the physics behind an ice skater’s perfect spin and highlights how artificial intelligence is making it hard to tell real news from fake. For his live show at Miami University, Flatow will focus on science news and stories local to southwest Ohio. Flatow has been sharing science with the public for over 35 years: Before he started hosting Science Friday in 1991, Flatow was the science correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) from 1971 to 1986. He has reported from the South Pole, Kennedy Space Center, Three Mile Island, Antartica and, soon, Oxford, Ohio. Professors are encouraged to involve the Science Friday event in their curriculum, and students of those who do so will receive discounted $5 tickets. Tickets are currently on sale to all students for $10 and to adults for $20. They can be purchased online or in-person at the Box Office in the Campus Avenue Building....

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A slice of science news

Cell Phones and Sunrises: Cities are perpetually ablaze with activity, suggesting that humans are less influenced by Earth’s light-dark cycle than we used to be. However, a new study from Aalto University in Finland that analyzes the cellphone call records of over one million people claims otherwise; researchers found cell phone activity grew longer and shorter over the course of the year, waxing and waning with the amount of daylight. Shifts in call records correlated closely with seasonal shifts in light. Over the course of 3-4 months, the latest call times crept later while the earliest call times grew...

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Gates’ Goalkeepers report: Taking the pulse of health news

Midterms may be gradually approaching on campus, but in the global health arena, a report card has already been issued. Bill and Melinda Gates presented their foundation’s assessment of  the world’s progress in addressing health and poverty to the United Nations General Assembly this past week.  Various health indicators were assessed including child and maternal mortality, stunted growth, malaria, vaccine use and HIV/AIDS. The primary purpose of the report is indicated in its name: Goalkeepers. In 2015, the United Nations committed itself to a collection of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that together illustrate what all member states would like the world to look like in 2030. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued this report to hold policymakers and donors accountable to these SDGs. Goalkeepers is the result of three years of research — a huge statistical undertaking — and tracks progress for 18 data points included in the SDGs. The report will be issued every year until 2030 with the intention to accelerate the fight against poverty and ensure money spent on development has a maximal impact. The health issues identified mostly plague developing nations, but the Gates emphasize the importance of international donors and political support. The report is issued at a crucial time when the Trump administration is considering large cuts in foreign aid. Goalkeepers is as strategic as it is informative. Its graphic-heavy layout and...

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