NC Science Now Reporter's blog

Hard Truth About Impervious Surfaces

Here’s a little science observation for you.

Look out the window the next time it rains. Spend a few minutes looking at the streets and the parking lots. Watch all the water flowing into the storm drain.

Now look at the grass. You’ll have a tough time spotting any water flowing out of there. Now you can understand the challenges facing scientists as they study the health of tidal creeks in North Carolina. The amount of stormwater runoff has a tremendous effect on water quality. 

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.