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Archive for the ‘Science and Society’ Category

Remember the Cassini probe? If words like “Saturn” and “Titan” and “hydrocarbons” are floating around your grey matter right now, then you definitely do! Cassini-Huygens was a probe designed, funded, and built by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Launched in 1997, the probe set out to explore Saturn, its moons, and its ring system. Cassini is actually the larger portion of the probe (from NASA), and the part that is still functioning. It arrived in orbit of Saturn in the summer of 2004.
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To earn my Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology, I must spend several years conducting research under the watchful eye of my advisor, and make an original contribution to the realm of science. These contributions will most likely be in the form of publications in scientific journals, though I haven’t gotten to that point yet. The subject I chose to study for my Ph.D. is a small fish. Specifically, I study how these fish decide whether to be male or female, and how that sex-determining process evolved. And I conduct these studies at a cancer research facility.
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As Seattle neighborhoods go, Greenwood is a sleeping giant.  My friends and colleagues in more “hip” neighborhoods to the south view his huge residential spread of North Seattle as a rather quiet, uneventful, and inconsequential area: great for compost gardens, “U.S. out of Iraq” bumper stickers, and empty churches, but not much else.

Occasionally, Greenwood and its siamese-twinned neighborhood to the south, Phinney Ridge, make it in the news.  Seattle’s new mayor is a Greenwood resident, and rides his bike downtown to city hall each morning.  Last October, a homeless arsonist torched a number of Greenwood businesses (including my favorite Chinese restaurant) before being apprehended.  When a cougar roamed Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood at the end of last summer, the Greenwood-Phinney Ridge blog dared ask, “Has anyone seen a cougar in the neighborhood?”… a question that led to the most hilarious comment ever left on the PhinneyWood blog: “A few months ago I saw three or four cougars at Oliver’s Twist [a local bar].”

Greenwood’s core is the business and retail corridor at Greenwood Avenue and North 85th Street. On this partly-cloudy and cool Saturday, the sidewalks in the core were lined with residents walking their purebred dogs, wandering into antique shops, and meandering toward coffee shops with their MacBook Pros. The Greenwood core came to a standstill for fifteen minutes, though, as residents gawked at a rare sight: a protest

At 1:02PM, about 17 men, women, and children poured out of the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company, holding signs and chanting slogans. Their mission: protest Pluto’s loss of planetary status four years ago.

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In Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, there will be a protest this weekend over Pluto’s changed status from “Planet” to “Dwarf Planet.” Of course, this change happened several years ago, but I get the impression that this type of protest happens every year. Ah, Seattle!

Notification came via The Stranger‘s blog:
“Pluto IS a Planet Protest March and Rally”

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