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23 August, 2004

Polar News: Global Warming/Arctic Ecosystems on Discovery Channel, Geosystems Workshop, STEM Concerns, ALVIN to replaced and More!

Assignment Discovery on Global Warming and Arctic Ecosystems

Global Warming and Arctic Ecosystems

Climate change is evident all over the planet, but it may be most noticeable in the Arctic. Take an in-depth look at how global warming is changing the natural cycles of this region's ecosystem. See arctic birds, seals, polar bears, whales, and other wildlife struggling with and adapting to the challenges, and find out why the Arctic is parcticularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Airs: Weeks of 9/20; 10/25; 11/29; 1/3/05

Discovery Channel's award-winning series for middle school and high school students features shows that are selected from Discovery's world-class library of films. Assignment Discovery airs on the Discovery Channel weekdays at 9 a.m. ET/PT, 8 a.m. CT, and 10 a.m. MT.

Each hour-long program is enhanced with on-screen curriculum written by teachers. As a service of Discovery Channel with Cable in the Classroom, each program is commercial free and can be taped and used in the classroom for up to a year. ********************************

Scientists to Probe Earth's Deep-Time Climate at Upcoming "GeoSystems" Workshop

" 'GeoSystems: Probing Earth's Deep-Time Climate and Linked Systems' focuses on "deep-time" millions of years ago to better understand the complexities of Earth's atmosphere, water, ecosystems, and geology, using climate as the focus.

National Science Foundation (NSF) and university scientists will parcticipate in a workshop highlighting recent "deep-time" discoveries. Their presentations will address the status, role and future of deep-time climate and linked studies, and the lessons we can learn from shining a light into Earth's deep-time dark ages." http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/04/ma0426.htm ********************************

Many Students Not Ready for College Level Science and Math Says ACT

Although composite ACT Assessment scores for 2004--a national indicator of student readiness for college--are up for the first time in seven years, the ACT 2004 composite results for science and math are unchanged from last year and "indicate that many high school graduates still have not mastered the key academic skills they need to be ready for first year college science and math courses."

Only 26 percent of the 2004 graduates who took the ACT test earned a score of 24 or higher on the science test, and just 4 in 10 earned a score of 22 or higher on the math test. According to ACT, students with higher scores on the ACT science and math test have a better chance of earning a "C" or higher in college biology and algebra courses. Almost 68 percent of test takers earned a score of 18 or higher on the ACT English test, which indicates students are better prepared for college level courses in this subject area. Nationally, the average composite score was 20.9, up from 20.8 last year. To read more about the ACT 2004 scores, go to



AAAS President Warns of "Day of Reckoning" for Future Scientists and Engineers

In an interview with BusinessWeek magazine, Shirley Ann Jackson, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) warns of "a day of reckoning if the United States doesn't nurture young scientists and engineers."=DD Jackson says that the combination of several factors--losing talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students to other countries, lack of interest in science and math among American students, and the erosion of support for basic research and technical innovations--is leading to a real crisis. Go to http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/aug2004/nf20040816_7643.ht m to read the August 16 arcticle titled "A Blunt View of the Cutting Edge."


New Deeper-Diving, Human-Occupied Submersible to Replace Current Alvin; Subject of Briefing by NSF, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Scientists


"After 40 years of scientific voyages, the research submersible Alvin will be replaced by a new, deeper-diving submersible, known as a human-occupied vehicle (HOV). Studies from Alvin have resulted in the discovery of new life forms, led to confirmation of the theory of plate tectonics, and stimulated and enthralled schoolchildren around the world with seafloor images and video." ********************************

Early Humans Adapted Well to Different Climates and Vegetation Types http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/newsroom/pr.cfm?ni=3D10000000000118 "Early human ancestors seem to have taken different climates and vegetation types in stride as they evolved from apelike populations in Africa to a worldwide, highly diverse human species.

New research supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) demonstrates that hominins (early human species) in what is today northern Africa lived equally well in a relatively warm and dry climate 3.4 million years ago and in a much cooler climate with significantly more rainfall and forest growth slightly later. And the species studied, Australopithecus afarensis, adapted to these dramatic environmental changes without the benefit of an enlarged brain or stone tools, which aided later hominins in adapting to their environments."

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