The island of Hawaii, lest it be confused with the state of Hawaii, is often referred to as the Big Island. In fact, it is the biggest of the Hawaiian Islands. But in many ways, it is like a small town, as Brian Tissot has once again realized upon returning earlier this year.
On short notice, he has scheduled a talk in the Kealakehe High School Library in Kailua-Kona, the largest town on the island’s west coast, also known as West Hawaii. And in the days leading up to the talk, most everyone he meets has heard he will be speaking. Even an old acquaintance … » More …
Jen McIntyre is something of a rainwater connoisseur, but you wouldn’t want to drink from her collection. Her preferred source is a drainpipe that runs from State Route 520 to a parking lot in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.
Tens of thousands of cars and scores of buses pass by every day, dropping bits of tire rubber, brake dust, exhaust, and the occasional cigarette butt. In winter, passing showers might rinse off the road surface every few days or hours. In summer, a month might go by between rains, giving McIntyre a particularly potent stormwater cocktail, like the one she harvested last August.
Thirty-five years ago, Carl Gustafson, an associate professor of archaeology at WSU, rubbed his fingers over a muddy bone and found what looked and felt like a projectile tip. That simple discovery, and the eventual realization that humans hunted mastodons in North America, came to define Gustafson’s career. One can also argue that it is among the most significant discoveries ever to come out of Washington State University.
Last October, new research in the journal Science said the bone and its accompanying hand-hewn projectile dates North America’s earliest known inhabitants to 13,800 years ago, 800 years earlier than the Clovis people, long regarded as the … » More …
In some ways, with so much science now involving tools that detect things outside the five senses, examining the world with a microscope seems quaint. But a corps of WSU researchers—let’s call them microscopists—are wrangling photons, electrons, glowing proteins, exotic stains, and remarkably powerful devices in their pursuit of the small.
In 2001, Carol Miles certified WSU’s first piece of organic land, a three-acre parcel at the WSU Vancouver Research and Extension Unit. It was a landmark moment, leading the way for organically managed land at all of WSU’s research facilities.
But one thing kept nagging her: the plastic.
In the absence of conventional herbicides, weed control was her number one issue, and laying down a layer of plastic took care of the problem handily. But it’s nonrenewable and not recycled.
If it’s going to be used in an organic production system, reasoned Miles, now a vegetable horticulturist at the WSU Mount Vernon … » More …
Last March, Gary Chastagner was driving around southwest Oregon scouting test plots for a study of madrone, the gnarly, reddish-brown tree found up and down the West Coast. A variety of diseases had been hitting the trees in recent years, and Chastagner, a plant pathologist in WSU’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center, was undertaking a study to see if some varieties might be more disease resistant than others.
Driving between Roseburg and Medford, he started seeing entire slopes of trees that looked decidedly disease prone.
“It just looked like someone went through with a blowtorch,” Chastagner recalls.
County extension agents and natural resource … » More …
It’s not exactly a typical day in class, even an upper-level sociology class geared towards the grittiest of urban realities.
The room is filled with the sound of gunfire. A projection screen shows a quartet of inner-city drug thieves pinned down behind a parked car. Each reloads his and her weapon. Their leader, the scarred and unflappable Omar Little, gives them a look and says, “Y’all ready? Let’s bang out.”
The four stand up, fire back in unison, and execute a retreat, with one killed by friendly fire.
Professor Gregory Hooks stops the tape. The room goes quiet.
I want to walk on water, climb walls, and dance on the ceiling. If insects can do it, it’s only fair that I should, too.
But this thing called physics has decreed otherwise. Carol Anelli, a WSU entomologist, can tell you why, having a lifelong fascination with ways insects can at times make us seem relatively slow, earthbound, and weak.
Carol Anelli (Photo Shelly Hanks)
Anelli first came upon the wonders of insects as a child among the woods and fields of a suburbanizing central Connecticut. She would pull caterpillars from her … » More …
Truth, writes Timothy McGettigan, is a challenging subject.
It’s hard to get at, consuming the bulk of scientific endeavor for starters. It’s also hard to nail down, with paradigm shifts both altering our sense of reality while rattling our faith that something like the truth can be attained.
McGettigan, a professor of sociology at Colorado State University-Pueblo, makes an enjoyable and wideranging case for forging ahead. Drawing on … » More …
Cell phones, Internet, car horns, children, commercials—all carry information and all work together to create in us what social scientist Herbert Simon calls "a poverty of attention." How do you rise above the din to capture what is most important? You may be surprised to learn that one of the oldest forms of communication is still one of the best.