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PopTech 2010 Science and Public Leadership Fellow Kim Cobb on reconstructing climates and re-messaging climate science

popTech, Oct 22
Kim Cobb, Associate Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, was chosen as a PopTech 2010 Science and Leadership Fellow. Cobb is a climatologist known for her work analyzing global climate change and  reconstructing tropical climates. She studies the fundamentals of climate change.  Her primary research site is Palmyra Island where she collects samples in her attempts to reconstruct climate.  The challenge: how to improve climate model projects of regional climate change including, for example, trends in rainfall.   . . . .Cobb is also trying to re-message climate science. "We need to sell settled science better, " she says in regards to how CO2 is warming the planet and climate change in general.  “We need to design a better infrastructure to work through these challenges. ( read it )

Watch video "Climate Certainties, Climate Confusion" (Nat. Geographic interview of Kim at PopTech)
Watch video featuring all the 2010 science fellows
Kim Cobb EAS faculty page

Health watch : Memory exercises

Fox 5 , Sep 30
You can't remember your neighbor's name, even though he's told you it ten times. Or, you forget an important meeting you've known about for weeks. When it comes to your memory, do ever feel like you're losing it, big time?... "Just realize that it's happening to everybody, and adapt to it," said Dr. Anderson Smith, Professor of Psychology at Georgia Tech. Our memory starts steadily slipping from 30 on. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. "People, by the way, do very well, even with a memory loss as high as 40% they do very well in everyday life," said Smith. He says the key is to give your memory a little extra help. ( watch on | Anderson Smith)

Study of brain injury hints at roots of creativity

Philadelphia Inquirer,
Oct 18

..."Miraculous" artistic recoveries have been noted over the years, as have examples of artists creating great work while suffering from some form of irreversible brain trauma.  ... In fact, Georgia Tech neuroscientist Paul Corballis has theorized that brain injuries can in some cases help free the mind to be more open and creative, particularly in cases where the injury harms linguistic ability. "Language is the bully of the brain," he says. "It takes up its own space and if something else gets crowded out, too bad." (read it | Paul Corballis)

Georgia's biotech challenge

Eric gaucherGeorgia Trend, Oct 2010
Can a limited supply of capital keep up with the pace of discovery? Biotech boosters are quick to tout the industry's most virtuous goal: improving the health and well-being of life on the planet through innovative research.... Georgia Tech professor Eric Gaucher believes we're entering a brave new world of discovery with exciting possibilities. "They synthesized a natural ge-nome, which might seem like no big deal on the surface," says Gaucher, whose research group in Tech's School of Biology is studying evolutionary synthetic biology. "But what's exciting is this technology enables us to do things such as engineering biological organisms that previously were not possible in nature.  "The whole impetus behind synthetic biology is to go beyond standard therapies, to create organisms that can do specific things, move beyond the limitations of current therapeutics. Essentially, we'll be able to engineer tailor-made organisms to do whatever we want them to do. "That "whatever" is why the FBI paid a visit to Gaucher recently. They picked his brain to find out how synthetic life might be used as a weapon of mass destruction. ( read it - about halfway down this series of short topics | Eric Gaucher )

El nino cycle is changed by warming, researchers say

El Nino Modoki Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oct 20
Climate change could alter the El Nino cycle in the Pacific, affecting fish stocks and the distribution of nutrients in the ocean, new research suggests. Scientists recently noticed that El Nino warming is stronger in the Central Pacific than the Eastern Pacific, a phenomenon they call El Nino Modoki, after the Japanese term for "similar, but different." Last year, the journal Nature published a paper that found climate change is behind this shift from El Nino to El Nino Modoki. The research was done by Emanuele Di Lorenzo, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. (full story | Emanuele Di Lorenzo | scientific paper(requires login or payment to view full text)

Panel: Gov't thwarted worst-case scenario on spill

spill AP, Oct 6
The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and made other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster. In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission's staff describes "not an incidental public relations problem" by the White House in the wake of the April 20 accident. . . .From the beginning, there was "a contradiction between discoveries and concerns by academic scientists and statements by NOAA," MacDonald said in an interview with the AP at the oil spill conference.  And he said it is still going on. MacDonald and Georgia Tech scientist Joseph Montoya said NOAA is at it again with statements saying there is no oil in ocean floor sediments. (read it | Joe Montoya )

Finishing is not the end

O&P Edge, Sep 2010

MSPO alumni Stephanie LeGare (class of 2008), who wrote several pieces for the O&P Edge about her life & times in the MSPO program at Tech, now shares her experiences as she nears the conclusion of her residency in orthotics at National Orthotics and Prosthetics Company in Boston, MA. ( read it )

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