Tue, 03/20/2018 - 3:23pm

NC Science Now Reporter's blog

Enjoy the Ride

I don’t remember when I learned to ride (or should I say drive) a bicycle. Let’s just say it has been quite a few years since I survived those shaky training wheels and learned the art of balancing and pedaling at the same time.

For my entire life, the two-wheeled vehicle of choice has always been a traditional upright bicycle, in which the body weight rests on the hands, feet, and the sitting bones. Okay, let’s not worry about being politically correct. The body weight rests on the hands, feet, and butt.

Nutty Nuggets

Before I say anything about the importance of acorns in the forest, it’s important to start with the fact that the world’s biggest acorn is in Moore Square Park in downtown Raleigh. It’s fitting to find it there. After all, Raleigh calls itself “The City of Oaks.” And if it were real, there's no doubt this nut would produce a giant oak. The big nut is 10 feet tall and weighs about 1,250 lbs.

GPS Marks the Spot

After talking with Dr. Robert Anemone about how he uses satellite imagery and GPS technology to help locate dinosaur fossils, my photographer and I got back in our car, pushed the “home” button on the GPS device in the vehicle, and hit the road back to the UNC-TV studios.

And that’s when the thought struck me.

Lemurs and Big Data

Duke’s Lemur Center used to be called the Duke University Primate Center. It’s been around so long the place has changed its name. The center was founded in 1966 and since then has been home to almost 4200 individuals.

As scientists are supposed to do, there have been meticulous records kept on all of those creatures. The release of all that data to the public is not only a gold mine for scientists, it also highlights a new area of science called data science.

The Saddest Website Filled With Hope

Sadly, and for as many reasons as there are people, individuals go missing. Quite often, that disappearance ends in tragedy, but the fate of the missing person is unknown to their friends and family, who are left not only filled with grief but also wondering just what became of their loved one.

Fortunately, technology and the U.S. Department of Justice have stepped in to help families get answers.

Allergy or Intolerance?

It’s almost impossible to hold a dinner conversation with a group of people without someone mentioning some type of reaction to a certain food. But in many cases, that reaction can be considered a food intolerance rather than a food allergy.

That might not seem like a big deal because the symptoms are pretty similar. However, it is important to understand because a food allergy can be much more serious.

Here’s the difference.

Prevention is Protection

More years ago than I want to admit, I remember my professors in college talking about “The Global Economy” and “The Global Society.”  

While there would still be individual countries, we learned that goods and services would be traded globally. The economy would be intertwined worldwide. People would travel extensively. The possibilities for wealth, understanding, and education would be amazing. 

The world would, in a matter of speaking, become a lot smaller.