This Month in STEM: August 2014

Summer wrapped up with a plethora of exciting STEM news. Here are some of our favorite headlines for the month of August.

The Animal Kingdom IconAnimal Kingdom

According to a new study, we have more in common with spiders than we may like to think. Researchers have discovered that some spider species are capable of forming friendships and developing personalities. The study focuses on the idea that within social groups, individuals feel the need to stand out from each other, a theory known as social niche specialization. In this case, relationships between spiders were tested by creating colonies of spiders and testing the spiders’ responses to environmental stress or stimulus. The spiders were then classified as having either a “bold” or a “shy” personality based on their responses. Read more here.

Under the Sea IconUnder the Sea

Whether you’re soaking up some last minute summer rays on the beach or splashing around in the shallow end of the ocean, chances are that you don’t want to take a bathroom break when you’re having so much fun. Nature calls though, so what do you do? Well, according to the American Chemical Society, why bother walking all the way to the bathroom stall when peeing in the ocean is A-okay! In case you needed any more convincing, the American Chemical Society has also taken the liberty of creating a video to assure everyone that tinkling a bit in the ocean is completely backed by science. Watch it here.

Extreme Weather IconExtreme Weather

The number of man-made earthquakes in recent history is on the rise. From 1978-2008, Oklahoma averaged only 2 earthquakes over a magnitude 3.0 per year. Now midway through 2014, Oklahoma has surpassed California’s record, with 230 earthquakes registered at a magnitude 3.0 or higher. So who is at fault? Scientists are dividing the blame between global warming and fracking disposal methods that inject waste water from the fracking process into the ground to avoid contaminating water sources. Read more here.

Medical Innovations IconMedical Innovations/Robotics

Xenon gas is already used in the medical field as an anesthetic, but a new study believes that xenon gas holds the key to treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the root of the problem. The study found that xenon disrupts the process in which memories, and fear or trauma associated with those memories, are processed and re-encoded. Scientists believe the xenon gas works by interfering with specific receptors in the brain that are involved with the memory re-consolidation process. Read more here.

Robotics IconSpace

A number of international astronomers have compiled a video of two entire galaxies colliding with each other. Since the light from the collision would have taken a significant amount of time before it became visible on Earth, scientists believe the actual collision occurred when the Universe was half of its current age. Watch the video here.

Video Games IconTechnology

We live in a world saturated by smart phones, smart cars and smart houses. The next natural step would be a smart motorcycle helmet. The Skully AR-1 is a new gadget that intends to protect motorcyclists from all angles by putting a real-time video of their surroundings in a transparent screen directly in their line of vision. The helmet also comes equipped with GPS navigation, traffic conditions and weather updates. Read more here.

Wind Energy IconWind Energy

As the overall cost of mass producing wind turbines decreases, the total cost of wind energy is also dropping to record lows in the United States. This is great news for those in search of sustainable sources of energy to combat the environmental impact of fossil fuel consumption. Despite a growing market in the United States for wind energy, other countries are still at the forefront of converting and committing to sustainability. Nationally, wind energy only constitutes 4 percent of America’s electricity production. This is in comparison to the 35 percent of total electricity that is garnered by Denmark through wind farms. Read more here.

Okay STEM lovers, what stories did you enjoy? What stories did we miss this month? We want to hear your thoughts!

This month’s exciting STEM news – August, 2013

You asked, we listened. We got quite a bit of feedback expressing a deeply felt, passionate, and undying love for our last “This month’s exciting STEM news” feature. Since we could not allow such love to go unrequited, we bring you exciting STEM news from the month of August, 2013.

Ok, we’re being totally dramatic. But really, we think quite a few of you enjoyed this feature last month, so here is some cool news pertaining to the other 8 subjects featured on our STEM Works and Kids Ahead websites: 

The Animal Kingdom IconAnimal Kingdom

The discovery of a new mammal is an incredibly rare event in the 21st century. In 2013, however, scientists discovered a new mammal species called the olinguito,which lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. Read article.

Extreme Weather IconExtreme Weather

Wildfires have been a hot topic this month (no pun intended), as much of the country has been up in flames. Though fire in and of itself is not necessarily a weather phenomenon, oftentimes wildfires are caused by weather-related phenomena such as lighting. But enough talk, check out this slideshow of some of the weather the world experienced this month. Read article.

Medical Innovations IconMedical Innovations

It’s about time we all put aside our differences, especially since scientists have determined that all humans are 99.9% the same. Genetically speaking, that is. Read article.

Robotics IconRobotics

Robots are proving to be a source of inspiration for Ford as the company seeks to find better ways to help create safer vehicles. And not just any robots… space robots. Oh yeah. Read article.

Space IconSpace

Our skies treated us to a Perseid meteor shower this month. In case you missed this Perseid shower— so named due to the fact that its point of origin lies in the constellation Perseus,— here is a time lapse video of the show for your viewing pleasure . Read article.

Under the Sea IconUnder the Sea

Shark Week! Shark Week! Shark Week! Just kidding. It would totally be cheating to list Shark Week two months in a row… though this really was the month that brought us this year’s Shark Week. Instead, this month’s under the sea news brings the ocean to you. Literally. Due to the fact that many people have reported health benefits associated with the smell of salty sea air, a sea breeze generator is being developed for public consumption. Dibs! Read article.

Video Games IconVideo Games

A Stanford mathematician argued that video games are the perfect platform for teaching mathematics. No seriously. Read article.

Wind Energy IconWind Energy

Cleveland played host to the “Power Up for Offshore Wind” event this month. The event was intended to demonstrate to power companies that the demand for wind power in the area is strong. As a result, over 4,500 have pledged to buy offshore wind energy from turbines in Lake Erie. Read article.

So there, various STEM subject lovers. We’ve got you covered!

This month’s exciting STEM news

Ok, so we know that lately we’ve been bombarding you with post after post about our CSI camp programs. And while we love these programs and could talk about them all day, everyday, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some cool news pertaining to the other 8 subjects featured on our STEM Works and Kids Ahead websites. Here’s some cool things we did not get around to addressing during the month of July:

The Animal Kingdom IconAnimal Kingdom

A zonkey was born in Italy. You read that right, a zonkey. Part zebra, part donkey, Ippo was born in Florence, Italy last week, and the best part… he’s not the only one of his kind. Read article.

Extreme Weather IconExtreme Weather

NOAA’s National Weather Service more than doubled its computing capacity with newly upgraded supercomputers this month. These supercomputers will provide forecasters with more accurate information as the hurricane season ramps up. Read article.

Medical Innovations IconMedical Innovations

The race is on to produce a $100 genome test. As interest in DNA sequencing gains traction, entrepreneurs and scientists are trying to reduce the price of sequencing an entire human genome from $4,000 to $100. Read article.

Robotics IconRobotics

Robotics was declared as the next big growth industry in the US. Robotics Business Review estimates that consumer robot sales will reach $15 billion by 2015. Read article.

Space IconSpace

NASA turned 55 years old this month. We’ve come a long way since launching a chimpanzee into space, so check out this review of some of the most iconic moments in NASA’s history. Read article.

Under the Sea IconUnder the Sea

Shark Week! Shark Week! Shark Week! Ok, Shark Week didn’t exactly occur in July, but many of us spent the entire month gearing up! If, like us, you live for the gratuitous teeth shots, jump shots, and time-lapse shots, here are some fun shark facts to keep you occupied until Shark Week begins on August 4th. Read article.

Video Games IconVideo Games

STEM educators will love this one. The winners of the third annual STEM Video Game Challenge were announced this month. Learn all about the winners and applicants here.

Wind Energy IconWind Energy

According to National Geographic, scientists are exploring the possibility of storing excess wind energy in volcanic rock reservoirs. Didn’t know there was such a thing as excess wind energy? Neither did we! Read article.

So there, various STEM subject lovers. We’ve got you covered!