Tue, 01/16/2018 - 8:13am

NC Science Now Reporter's blog

Using SMARTS to find stars

Students and professors from High Point University were able to make an incredible star discovery in Chile. But not just anyone can use the telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory like they did. The star-searching group was able to do this because HPU is part of the SMARTS Telescope Consortium. 

How to Kick that Habit

Now that Duke University researchers have shown how habits form, and unform, in the brain, the idea of actually breaking a bad habit looks like even more of a challenge. But researchers say, take heart, it can still be done! In fact, knowing what you're up against, as revealed in Duke's research, plays a big role in winning the battle. 

Here are some tips for breaking bad habits: 

1. Understand the Situation 

The Clean Revolution

If you want to understand the uniquely American obsession with cleanliness, including the use of deodorants, you have to start with the United States military. More specifically, you have to start with a pivotal point in military history that not only changed America, but in the long run, also changed how Americans viewed sanitation. 

The Mighty Oak

The oak tree is more than just a tree. It’s also a symbol. And that symbolism is rooted (no pun intended) in fact. But before we talk symbol and fact, close your eyes for a moment and think about two types of trees: the palm tree and the oak tree.

Shedding Light on Chemicals

We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. Sometimes the exposure is obvious: a cleaning solution, garden fertilizer or even the coating of a non-stick pan in your kitchen. 

But many times those interactions are not so clear: the chemical makeup of the water bottle you drink from, the dye on a shirt or the deodorizer in the bathroom at work. 

To Lasso an Asteroid

Officially, it’s called the Asteroid Initiative.

The plan was incented by President Barack Obama's call for NASA to send a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, and then aim for flight to Mars in the 2030s.

NASA's initiative offered a number of advantages. It was new and novel; no human had visited an asteroid before. And with very little gravity, the project didn’t require expensive landers and ascent vehicles.

Demonstrating Climate Change

Teachers might say that it’s one thing to tell students information in a lecture format. But it's another to expect them to understand and retain that information. Many students can better do this if teachers can show or demonstrate the information to them as well. Some folks call it active learning.

That thinking is what prompted the creation of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Preserving an Important Battleground

The iron discipline of the British army saved the day at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. It allowed the soldiers to fight through three lines of American troops and militiamen despite withering fire, and drive the Americans from the battlefield. But the cost was heavy: almost 530 soldiers killed, wounded and captured. That’s roughly a quarter of General Cornwallis’ 1,900-man army. The Americans had a force of about 4,400 soldiers and suffered about 330 casualties (killed, wounded and captured).

Understanding Mechatronics

Mechatronics may be one of the most dynamically developing fields in recent years; a true blend of technology and science. But the term actually goes back decades.

The word mechatronics first appeared in Japan in 1969. It was used by the Yaskawa Elektric Corporation to describe how electronic components and mechanical systems were included in precision machines. The company filed for trademark protection for the use of the term in 1971. Roughly one decade later in 1982, the firm decided to stop trying to protect the term.