January 17th, 2012
A snapshot of Samuel Rhoads’ publications, drawings, and field notes (Image courtesy of Kim Custer at the Haddonfield Historical Society)
Thesis, thesis, thesis, thesis! 
Keep questioning,Sara 

A snapshot of Samuel Rhoads’ publications, drawings, and field notes (Image courtesy of Kim Custer at the Haddonfield Historical Society)

Thesis, thesis, thesis, thesis! 

Keep questioning,
Sara 

November 18th, 2011
A snapshot of Dolan’s 1941 exhibit of specimens from the second expedition to China and Tibet (Ewell Sale Stewart Library, Coll. 64, Box #2, Folder #7)
Adding more to the thesis… I’ll finally be done the Google Earth file in a few days. I just need to carve out some time to dedicate to it.
The past few weeks have been rough. I have been trying to effectively manage my time, only to find that I have too little of it to spare for my thesis. My attention has been on my classes and part-time jobs, and I’ve been choosing to spend my scarce free time with family or simply relaxing.
As much as I love the Academy, it’s so hard for me to get there on a weekly basis, which has allowed my enthusiasm for the project to dwindle. Hopefully, as the semester winds down, I will be able to visit more, and knock out a huge chunk of the project. I need injections of motivation, especially as the excitement of winter vacation and the holidays is mounting….
Wish me luck & keep questioning,Sara 

A snapshot of Dolan’s 1941 exhibit of specimens from the second expedition to China and Tibet (Ewell Sale Stewart Library, Coll. 64, Box #2, Folder #7)

Adding more to the thesis… I’ll finally be done the Google Earth file in a few days. I just need to carve out some time to dedicate to it.

The past few weeks have been rough. I have been trying to effectively manage my time, only to find that I have too little of it to spare for my thesis. My attention has been on my classes and part-time jobs, and I’ve been choosing to spend my scarce free time with family or simply relaxing.

As much as I love the Academy, it’s so hard for me to get there on a weekly basis, which has allowed my enthusiasm for the project to dwindle. Hopefully, as the semester winds down, I will be able to visit more, and knock out a huge chunk of the project. I need injections of motivation, especially as the excitement of winter vacation and the holidays is mounting….

Wish me luck & keep questioning,
Sara 

November 10th, 2011
Evolution at the Circus, ANSP’s 200 Stories
The letter from P. T. Barnum to Joseph Leidy requesting an evaluation of his new circus elephant, Jumbo. Ewell Sale Stewart Library & Archives coll. 1.
The Academy Archives contain close to 3,000 handwritten letters from individuals who sought the opinion of the Academy’s Dr. Joseph Leidy (1823–1891), the pre-eminent scientist of his time. Among the most legendary and unusual correspondents is circus showman P.T. Barnum. Barnum’s letter came about after his purchase of Jumbo, an elephant that he believed to be the largest in the world. While touring in Philadelphia, Barnum wrote to naturalist Leidy to request an evaluation of this extraordinary creature’s size.

PhiladelphiaApril 28, 1882Prof. Leidy D[ea]r Sir,I hope you will examine the Jumbo & write me to Arlington House Washington whether you think he is really an ordinary [or extraordinary] Elephant.Truly,P. T. Barnum

Barnum’s letter was newly revealed when Brooke Dolan Archivist Clare Flemming shared the collection of Leidy’s correspondence with scholar Brandon Zimmerman. Not satisfied with reading a list of signatories, the scholar asked to see the actual letters. He may have been the first to recognize the Barnum letter as having been written by the famous showman. A typo in the Academy’s Guide to Manuscripts listing the letter as belonging to “N.T. Barnum” may have caused other scholars to overlook Barnum’s letter.

Evolution at the Circus, ANSP’s 200 Stories

The letter from P. T. Barnum to Joseph Leidy requesting an evaluation of his new circus elephant, Jumbo. Ewell Sale Stewart Library & Archives coll. 1.

The Academy Archives contain close to 3,000 handwritten letters from individuals who sought the opinion of the Academy’s Dr. Joseph Leidy (1823–1891), the pre-eminent scientist of his time. Among the most legendary and unusual correspondents is circus showman P.T. Barnum. Barnum’s letter came about after his purchase of Jumbo, an elephant that he believed to be the largest in the world. While touring in Philadelphia, Barnum wrote to naturalist Leidy to request an evaluation of this extraordinary creature’s size.

Philadelphia
April 28, 1882
Prof. Leidy D[ea]r Sir,
I hope you will examine the Jumbo & write me to Arlington House Washington whether you think he is really an ordinary [or extraordinary] Elephant.
Truly,
P. T. Barnum

Barnum’s letter was newly revealed when Brooke Dolan Archivist Clare Flemming shared the collection of Leidy’s correspondence with scholar Brandon Zimmerman. Not satisfied with reading a list of signatories, the scholar asked to see the actual letters. He may have been the first to recognize the Barnum letter as having been written by the famous showman. A typo in the Academy’s Guide to Manuscripts listing the letter as belonging to “N.T. Barnum” may have caused other scholars to overlook Barnum’s letter.

November 6th, 2011
Don’t Serve Leidy Anything He Can Dissect, ANSP’s 200 Stories
Joseph Leidy’s illustration of a parasitic fluke from a boa constrictor Library & Archives Coll. 12 D box 4 vol. 5
Academy naturalist Joseph Leidy was well-known for his tendency to examine anything and everything that came to his attention. During one evening party, the curious scientist opted to dissect rather than feast on a dish of terrapin turtles.
Leidy reported on the parasites he found in these turtles in Entozoa of the Terrapin, a short article published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences in 1888. After discussing the variety of threadworms and flukes that he discovered, Leidy informs the reader that most of the terrapin is largely free of parasites and suitable for eating by “rejecting the head, intestines and bladder; or if it is thought desirable to use the intestines they should be slit open and cleansed of the content.”

Don’t Serve Leidy Anything He Can Dissect, ANSP’s 200 Stories

Joseph Leidy’s illustration of a parasitic fluke from a boa constrictor Library & Archives Coll. 12 D box 4 vol. 5

Academy naturalist Joseph Leidy was well-known for his tendency to examine anything and everything that came to his attention. During one evening party, the curious scientist opted to dissect rather than feast on a dish of terrapin turtles.

Leidy reported on the parasites he found in these turtles in Entozoa of the Terrapin, a short article published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences in 1888. After discussing the variety of threadworms and flukes that he discovered, Leidy informs the reader that most of the terrapin is largely free of parasites and suitable for eating by “rejecting the head, intestines and bladder; or if it is thought desirable to use the intestines they should be slit open and cleansed of the content.”

August 15th, 2011
neuropsy:

Antioxidants don’t work, but no one wants to hear it. 

Few medical remedies have a more sterling reputation than that assortment of foods, pills, and general life maneuvers known collectively as “antioxidants.” At last, here’s something thatpromises better heart health, improved immunity, a pellucid complexion as well as relief against cancer, arthritis, and the blahs—and it’s all-natural! What’s not to like?
Well, there is a wee small problem in our ongoing anti-oxidize-athon: As it turns out, we have no evidence that antioxidants are beneficial in humans. (Though if you’re a Sprague-Dawley rat, there’s hope.) In fact, as Emily Anthes wrote last year in Slate, the best available data demonstrate that antioxidants are bad for you—so long as you count an increased risk of death as “bad.”

(via Why doctors don’t like to talk about antioxidants. - By Kent Sepkowitz - Slate Magazine)

Interesting… I love reading tumblr-news on the morning train ride!Keep questioning, Sara

neuropsy:

Antioxidants don’t work, but no one wants to hear it.

Few medical remedies have a more sterling reputation than that assortment of foods, pills, and general life maneuvers known collectively as “antioxidants.” At last, here’s something thatpromises better heart health, improved immunity, a pellucid complexion as well as relief against cancer, arthritis, and the blahs—and it’s all-natural! What’s not to like?

Well, there is a wee small problem in our ongoing anti-oxidize-athon: As it turns out, we have no evidence that antioxidants are beneficial in humans. (Though if you’re a Sprague-Dawley rat, there’s hope.) In fact, as Emily Anthes wrote last year in Slate, the best available data demonstrate that antioxidants are bad for you—so long as you count an increased risk of death as “bad.”

(via Why doctors don’t like to talk about antioxidants. - By Kent Sepkowitz - Slate Magazine)

Interesting… I love reading tumblr-news on the morning train ride!

Keep questioning,
Sara

(via amslu)

August 10th, 2011
discoverynews:

sciencecenter:

The Australian Peacock Spider. Its mating rituals are just as bizarre as its appearance.

Fabulous video. Watch this.

I was never one for bugs… but now that I’ve been spending many of my waking hours at the Academy, I’ve developed a thicker skin and even a bit of a fondness for them. Good timing, since the Academy’s highly-anticipated Bug Fest is this weekend!
As I was gathering supplies for the activities I created for next week’s camp theme: Ancient Animals, I was amid the hustle and bustle of the education department’s Bug Fest preparations. It’s a crazy-huge event at the Academy, with a TON of fun events for science-lovers of all ages, including insect cuisine. I may or may not have tried my first chocolate chirp cookie… you don’t even want to know.
Keep questioning,Sara 

discoverynews:

sciencecenter:

The Australian Peacock Spider. Its mating rituals are just as bizarre as its appearance.

Fabulous video. Watch this.

I was never one for bugs… but now that I’ve been spending many of my waking hours at the Academy, I’ve developed a thicker skin and even a bit of a fondness for them. Good timing, since the Academy’s highly-anticipated Bug Fest is this weekend!

As I was gathering supplies for the activities I created for next week’s camp theme: Ancient Animals, I was amid the hustle and bustle of the education department’s Bug Fest preparations. It’s a crazy-huge event at the Academy, with a TON of fun events for science-lovers of all ages, including insect cuisine. I may or may not have tried my first chocolate chirp cookie… you don’t even want to know.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 27th, 2011
Where do I begin? What a whirlwind the past 24 hours has been! The photo above is of Dr. John Medina, developmental molecular biologist, and author of Brain Rules. Dr. Medina was the keynote speaker last night, and he addressed the impact neuroscience has on how we teach. His presentation was funny and engaging, and a great way to kickoff an inspiring conference!
I caught the train bright & early this morning (hellooooo, 5:45AM!) to set up for my 8-10AM poster session: Teaching STEM With Google Earth: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Geospatial Technology at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Broad Street Atrium. Around 7:45, with barely enough time to brush some make-up over my sleep-deprived eyes, people began trickling into the atrium, and I just dove right in to the pool of questions from fellow attendees.
After interacting with a few people, I realized what my messages to the ISTE community were:
Google Earth is an amazing and vast resource for teachers to breach boundaries into multidisciplinary education.
Providing an interactive platform for Earth science-based literature allows for students to put what they’ve learned in a real world context, and engage with the content, making it easier to swallow than a static, 200-page book.
Creating your own content in Google Earth is EASY! Your students can do it! Give them ownership of the content. It makes it more meaningful to them.
I was so excited to share these messages and was literally talking non-stop for two hours. It was thrilling to be extending my activities to the ISTE participants as gifts for them and their classrooms. I had a few special interactions, too, that will definitely stick in my brain. I was invited to potentially speak at a conference/panel discussion next spring, talked to a bunch of educators who, I could tell, were inspired by the platform that is Google Earth, and I was interviewed for a video, too! 
I’ve been having so much fun, and I am completely exhausted from all of the exciting & stimulating brain food I’ve been munching on!
Also… this conference has provided me with the COOLEST name tag I’ve ever received:

I mean, right?!
Keep questioning,Sara 

Where do I begin? What a whirlwind the past 24 hours has been! The photo above is of Dr. John Medina, developmental molecular biologist, and author of Brain Rules. Dr. Medina was the keynote speaker last night, and he addressed the impact neuroscience has on how we teach. His presentation was funny and engaging, and a great way to kickoff an inspiring conference!

I caught the train bright & early this morning (hellooooo, 5:45AM!) to set up for my 8-10AM poster session: Teaching STEM With Google Earth: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Geospatial Technology at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Broad Street Atrium. Around 7:45, with barely enough time to brush some make-up over my sleep-deprived eyes, people began trickling into the atrium, and I just dove right in to the pool of questions from fellow attendees.

After interacting with a few people, I realized what my messages to the ISTE community were:

  1. Google Earth is an amazing and vast resource for teachers to breach boundaries into multidisciplinary education.
  2. Providing an interactive platform for Earth science-based literature allows for students to put what they’ve learned in a real world context, and engage with the content, making it easier to swallow than a static, 200-page book.
  3. Creating your own content in Google Earth is EASY! Your students can do it! Give them ownership of the content. It makes it more meaningful to them.

I was so excited to share these messages and was literally talking non-stop for two hours. It was thrilling to be extending my activities to the ISTE participants as gifts for them and their classrooms. I had a few special interactions, too, that will definitely stick in my brain. I was invited to potentially speak at a conference/panel discussion next spring, talked to a bunch of educators who, I could tell, were inspired by the platform that is Google Earth, and I was interviewed for a video, too! 

I’ve been having so much fun, and I am completely exhausted from all of the exciting & stimulating brain food I’ve been munching on!

Also… this conference has provided me with the COOLEST name tag I’ve ever received:

I mean, right?!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 17th, 2011
I love this quote as well as the collage itself. I used to collage a LOT, but since I’ve become more involved with school, my creative expression time has dwindled! Although I have more down time over the summer, I’m still swamped with to do lists and end up vegging during every spare minute I can find!
Keep questioning,Sara 

I love this quote as well as the collage itself. I used to collage a LOT, but since I’ve become more involved with school, my creative expression time has dwindled! Although I have more down time over the summer, I’m still swamped with to do lists and end up vegging during every spare minute I can find!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(via anoceanactivist)

June 14th, 2011
humoftrees:

mabelmoments:

A strange bird showed up in Larry Ammann’s backyard on Jan. 14. Clearly a cardinal, it had the bright red plumage of a male on its left side and gray, female feathers on its right.
“I had no clue how on Earth something like that could happen,” said Ammann, a professor of statistics and a wildlife photographer who lives in a suburb of Dallas. “It was a learning experience.”
Ammann and the biologists he consulted concluded the bird was most likely part female, part male. Creatures with this condition are called gynandromorphs. They are genetic anomalies: Some cells in their bodies carry the genetic instructions for a male, some for a female. While this gender-bending also occurs among insects, spiders and crustaceans, birds like this cardinal have raised questions about how sex identity is determined among some animals.
continued

Nature is so cool

Science is so fascinating.
Keep questioning,Sara

humoftrees:

mabelmoments:

A strange bird showed up in Larry Ammann’s backyard on Jan. 14. Clearly a cardinal, it had the bright red plumage of a male on its left side and gray, female feathers on its right.

“I had no clue how on Earth something like that could happen,” said Ammann, a professor of statistics and a wildlife photographer who lives in a suburb of Dallas. “It was a learning experience.”

Ammann and the biologists he consulted concluded the bird was most likely part female, part male. Creatures with this condition are called gynandromorphs. They are genetic anomalies: Some cells in their bodies carry the genetic instructions for a male, some for a female. While this gender-bending also occurs among insects, spiders and crustaceans, birds like this cardinal have raised questions about how sex identity is determined among some animals.

continued

Nature is so cool

Science is so fascinating.

Keep questioning,
Sara

(via teachinglearning)

June 13th, 2011

As part of my thesis, I’m interviewing active researchers at the Academy of Natural Sciences to hear about the projects they are working on. I want to get a sense of what REAL scientific research is like, so I can convey that in the Google Earth file I’m preparing for the Academy’s website.

The Academy’s education department organizes field trips for adults that allow supporters of the museum to accompany scientists on local research excursions. On June 4th, I tagged along on a stream study led by lead scientist and section leader, Dr. Jerry Mead, and staff scientist, Michelle Brannin, both from the Academy’s Watershed and Systems Ecology department.

There were about 10 of us altogether, including Jerry, Michelle, and the adult programs coordinator at the Academy, Jill. Once we all gathered by a clearing near the stream, Dr. Jerry Mead began talking about his research of Crabby Creek. He explained to us that the stream had been rerouted when a new wastewater management system was put in years ago. What used to be Crabby Creek is now solid ground that covers up a long sewage pipe. The creek was diverted to another path with the help of engineers and restoration structures made of huge rocks. Unfortunately, the was management professionals and engineers did not talk to scientists about their plan, and there has been some trouble maintaining the integrity of the restoration structures.

Jerry and his team at the Academy have been studying the health of this particular stream to determine what needs to be done to keep the ecosystem healthy. After he showed us around the area, Michelle began to describe what we would be doing with them that day. Jerry and Michelle had identified some of the restoration structures that had failed and some that were still successful. We were to assist them in taking samples of the macroinvertebrates in the stream to determine the effects of the structures on the ecosystem. We took three samples near failing restoration structures, three samples near successful restoration structures, and three samples further upstream, to use as reference points.

The process involved using a metal frame, measuring one square foot, attached to a mesh bag that helped catch specimens while filtering out water. Michelle demonstrated by placing the frame in the water, holding it steady with one hand, while churning the rocks within that square foot with her other hand, making sure she was going through every bit of rock in order to catch as many macroinvertebrate specimens as she could. This went on for ten minutes. After each ten-minute sample, we used a piece of equipment to measure the streamflow of each sampled area. The equipment measured the amount of water passing through any given point in ft3/s.

In between samplings, we placed the mix of collected debris and specimens into plastic trays, and began picking through debris to find all the macroinvertebrates that were caught in the sample. Jerry kept a running list of the total number of specimens, the number of families represented, and the number of each different species we managed to catch.

Although we didn’t come to any conclusive results (because there were still a handful of samples to go through by the time the trip was over), we found something interesting after examining only two or three samples: the biodiversity near the failing restoration structures was exponentially more diverse than near the successful restoration structures. 

Hmm! I’m not sure what results Jerry and Michelle came up with after examining all of the samples, but it will be neat to see how they use this data moving forward with their research. As we were collecting samples, Michelle was talking about how she wanted to use her research to put positive change in motion, how environmental science and research is what keeps biodiversity alive, ecosystems thriving, and our planet happy.

It was really neat to be a part of REAL science… to do something meaningful! If you live in the Philadelphia area and want to participate, check out the Academy’s adult programs. I had a lot of fun and definitely learned a lot not only about the stream and what a scud or a mayfly nymph looks like, but about the research process itself, and the purpose behind it!

The rest of my photos from the stream study can be found here.

Keep questioning,
Sara