In the harsh, remote wilds of the Canadian tundra, a wolverine scampers up to a polar bear snoozing near the shore of the Hudson Bay. The bear rises and makes a half-hearted charge, driving away the fierce, badger-like animal.
The brief encounter Thursday was streamed live to computers around the world through a new program that aims to document in real time the annual migration of hundreds of polar bears outside Churchill, Manitoba.
The bears travel through the small town each October and November and then wait for the Hudson Bay freeze-up, when they can get out on the ice and hunt for seals. In the past, their trek was witnessed mainly by scientists and intrepid tourists.
Now, thanks to an initial $50,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation to set up four cameras on a makeshift lodge and a roaming Tundra Buggy, plus ongoing payments for bandwidth and technical infrastructure, the bears’ antics and actions at this way station can be viewed from anybody’s living room through the foundation’s website, www.explore.org.
“It brings the Arctic to the people,” said Krista Wright, executive vice-president of Polar Bears International, an advocacy group based in Bozeman, Mont. “The polar bear is the North’s iconic species. This is that exotic animal that people travel from all over the world to see.”
There are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide. The Western Hudson Bay polar bears, one of 19 subpopulations, are estimated to number between 600 and 800. Their gathering point near the former military town of Churchill makes them among the most accessible and studied group of bears in existence.
Their numbers are expected to grow over the next few weeks as the weather turns colder, culminating with the bay expected to freeze around the third week of November.
It’s unseasonably warm in Manitoba, as evidenced on the webcam by the tundra bare of snow. That raises concerns that ice will be late in forming again this year — last year, freeze-up didn’t happen until mid-December, nearly a month later than usual. That’s a problem for the bears, Wright said.
“It’s breaking up earlier and freezing later, so the time they’re spending on land is longer. The time they’re on land, they’re basically fasting,” she said.
Charles Annenberg Weingarten, the foundation’s vice-president and a trustee, said the polar bear webcam is an experiment he hopes to expand into a program called Pearls of the Planet that would place streaming cameras in various wild places.
Weingarten said a new feature will be added to the polar bear webcam soon that will allow viewers to document their observations of the polar bears on the website. The idea, he said is to encourage scientific learning, something like a Sesame Street for adults.
Get the full streaming schedule and more info online by visiting:
Students learn all about matter with HTHT of Chicagoland!
Butterfield students will learn about “Matter Matters” during an in-school workshop provided by HTHT of Chicagoland. Students will discover all states of matter including plasma, explore evaporation rates, see the cool journey from liquid to gas and discover liquid densities during the hands-on science experience. The in-school field trip will be held from 1:00-2:30 pm on October 13; from 1:00-2:30 pm on October 25; and from 1:00-2:30pm on October 28th.
To learn more about this event contact:
High Touch High Tech of Chicagoland
Email – info@ScienceMadeFunCHI.net
In only three weeks, gamers did what scientists weren’t able to do in a decade: they’ve deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an HIV-like virus. This isn’t some silly “Let’s Cure AIDS!” game or “Science Research Tycoon” we’re talking about here – it’s the real deal. We’re also not talking about charity work. We’re talking about real, honest to goodness, hands on science. It’s the latest example of games for good, and it might just be the key to a better understanding of retroviruses like HIV.
Foldit is a free game developed by the University of Washington in which different competing groups of gamers race to unfold chains of amino acids. Science folks will tell you that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and unfolding them will give the scientific community a valuable model to examine and better understand its makeup. Gamers, however, will tell you that unfolding a chain of amino acid is a puzzle. A great big, surprisingly rewarding, puzzle. And gamers completing these puzzles is actually making the world a better place.
But why gamers? Couldn’t a computer just as easily automate the task? “People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,” says Seth Cooper, one of Foldit’s creators. “We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” adds Firas Khatib of the university’s biochemistry lab. “The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”
So the next time someone tells you that video games are a waste of time, just send them a link to this post. Better yet – just send them to download Foldit.
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A big THANK YOU to all who visited us at Barnes & Noble in the Asheville Mall this past Saturday for our Amazing Asteroids & Neptune Nuggets.
Kids of all ages joined us in celebrating the cosmos and we all had a blast at this FREE event! Participants that took the opportunity to sign up for our monthly E-news even got a free take home experiment! Don’t forget, you can find the classification chart for your gems on our website or by clicking here!
Check out these awesome pictures of kids breaking open their Amazing Asteroids & Neptune Nuggets! This day was filled with learning but most importantly…filled with FUN!
High Touch High Tech is pleased to announce the launch of our new website
Designed with kids in mind, this website is colorful, FUN and interactive. Children will enjoy the animated characters and sound effects while answering science trivia questions, giggling at science jokes and rolling up their sleeves to complete science experiments in their very own home!
We are excited to offer this new resource to teachers, camp directors, pre-school directors, afterschool coordinators and parents as a safe place for children to visit online that provides both entertainment and education.
High Touch High Tech science education franchises have been fueling the imaginations of children everywhere, since 1994, by providing FUN, interactive, hands-on science and nature experiences. Through discovery style learning and inquiry based dialogue, children are engaged in exciting programs that encourage them to explore the many wonders of science. High Touch High Tech serves over 4 million participants annually across more than 750 school districts in 5 countries. For more information about Hight Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun, visit our website at www.ScienceMadeFun.net.
High Touch High Tech of Connecticut & Westchester NY made a splash last week at Park Avenue School in Port Chester, CT. Third graders were immersed in FUN with our “Water, Water Everywhere” program.
The students participated in exciting hands-on experiments as they discovered why water is the most amazing chemical on earth!
Check out the full story in this awesome article featuring High Touch High Tech of CT at Park Avenue School
For More information on High Touch High Tech of South Korea, visit their website at www.ScienceMadeFunKR.net or contact them at: