11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… you should really think before posting that selfie of you volunteering abroad. Read of the week!

Get some ideas about volunteering in your own community here.

 

 

… a lot of scientists think glitter should be banned.

Most glitters are microplastics, one of the most troubling types of marine debris.
Photograph by maryamassimi, courtesy Pixabay. Public domain

What are microplastics?

 

 

… natural history is making a comeback on college campuses.

Fields such as entomology, ichthyology, mammalogy, paleontology, and ornithology are gaining popularity at major universities. Cagan Serkercioglu, above, is an ornithologist who works to document and prevent bird extinctions.
Photograph by Marco Grob, National Geographic

Conduct a micro-expedition in natural history.

 

 

… what prison food is like around the world.

What and how much food prisoners are allowed to eat varies dramatically. These women are in a prison in Yellowknife, Canada.
Photograph by David Boyer, National Geographic

So, we know what prison lunches are like. What are school lunches like?

 

 

… the complex legacy of Pan Pan, who fathered more than 130 of the 520 pandas in zoos today.

Pan Pan is the grandfather of the National Zoo’s impossibly cute Bei Bei.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic

Use Pan Pan as the case study in our activity on captive breeding.

 

 

… astronauts still identify landmarks the old-fashioned way.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei puts an atlas to good use in space. We hope it’s one of ours.
Randy Bresnik/NASA

What’s an atlas?

 

 

… scientists found the motherlode of pterosaur eggs.

Two of the newfound pterosaur eggs. Paleontologists say that they have found hundreds of eggs so far, including at least 215 within a single sandstone block. More are probably hidden within the block’s interior.
Photograph from “Egg accumulation with 3D embryos provides insight into the life history of a pterosaur”
BY XIAOLIN WANG, ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER, SHUNXING JIANG, XIN CHENG, QIANG WANG, YINGXIA MA, YAHEFUJIANG PAIDOULA, TAISSA RODRIGUES, HE CHEN, JULIANA M. SAYÃO, NING LI, JIALIANG ZHANG, RENAN A. M. BANTIM, XI MENG, XINJUN ZHANG, RUI QIU, ZHONGHE ZHOU
SCIENCE01 DEC 2017 : 1197-1201

What are pterosaurs?

 

 

… Nigerians love Norwegian fish.

Stockfish are cod hung on huge wooden frames and left to dry for three months in the cold Scandinavian air.
Photograph by Petr Šmerkl, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

Could African nations produce stockfish in their own lakes and ponds?

 

 

… there is no happy ending for the vaquita.

The vaquita is the world’s tiniest porpoise, and has a tiny range—the northern part of the Gulf of California.
Photograph by Paula Olson, courtesy NOAA

What is a vaquita?

 

 

… the U.S. military helped invent Cheetos.

Cheese dehydration research was conducted by the Quartermaster Corps’ Subsistence Research Laboratory, through the USDA laboratories, at various universities, including the University of California at Davis, and by industry, notably Kraft.
Photograph by SCEhardt, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

Do Cheetos deserve a junk food tax?

 

 

… Nigeria will be represented at the Winter Olympics for the first time ever.

How fit are these bobsledders? (Spoiler alert: Very.)

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