A Willie Wonka Tree -The Chocolate Tree


Azra microphylla has flowers that smell like white chocolate!

This small evergreen tree comes from South America. It has broad leaves and is sensitive to cold. It is a large shrub or small tree of upright growth and notably fine-textured dainty foliage. In Seattle, England, and Ireland specimens have been measured 40 feet tall or more. Its elfin leaves measure only a quarter inchazara to an inch long; they are dark green and shiny. Minute, almost unseen flowers are yellowish-green, intensely vanilla- or chocolate-scented in late winter or early spring –anytime from December into April. For their fragrance alone this is a superb tree to grow. The fruit is a tiny one-seeded berry a quarter inch long, first reddish-orange, ripening in June or July to the color of chocolate milk, yet shiny and speckled; slightly bitter vanilla-flavored.
Its cultivar ‘Variegata’ has leaves variegated with creamy white so it lights up dark garden corners wonderfully. It was introduced to cultivation around 1916; possibly it was raised by Slieve Donard nursery of Ireland. Once very rare, it has been cultivated in the United States since at least 1966. The tallest I know is 25 feet, planted in Seattle in the 1990s.
Azara microphylla (chinchin) is an early spring flowering evergreen shrub or small tree native to southern South America (Chile and Argentina).

Its golden flowers are small, abundant and smell strongly of vanilla or chocolate. Azaras tiny, tiny leaves, are arranged in opposite “leaf” pairs are composed of larger true leaves and smaller, leaf-like stipules – a genuine botanical oddity.

Image courtesy of ubc botanical garden.org

http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/forums/attachment.php?s=45eecf60cd8a787714a57b0292a219d7&attachmentid=2093&d=1079473316

Excerpts http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/education/azara.php

http://www.greatplantpicks.org/index.php?page=display&id=2272&searchterm=all

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Pet video – warm fuzzy feeling-smiles


Here’s a video staring our lovable funny animal pets. Enjoy!

Copy and paste the link.

cat-picture-07

Utube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFQUQkeJjo4

http://www.free-clipart-graphics.net/1-cat/funny-cat-pictures-01.html


Rats detect undetonated mines and illness


Africa rats are trained detectives. They use their sensitive noses to sniff out land mines and for diagnosing tuberculosis (TB).
The rats sniff out land mines in Mozambique. They are bred to be the size of raccoons! 12275483787488

Considered ridiculous at first, these squads of mine-sniffing rats have made belivers out of the worst skeptics. Now officials are considering using them in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and other countries where unexploded mines remain common.

Trained TB sniffing rats are “employed” in Tanzania, to identify spit samples at four medical clinics. The rats have found more than 300 cases of TB that hadn’t been diagnosed by medical staff.

Now Bart Weetjens of Belgium uses his trained rats to scratch when they smell the vapor from land mines or the smell of disease. When they scratch, their handlers signal them with a clicker and then reward the animals with a piece of fruit or a nut.

Weetjens was asked why the rats don’t simply scratch to get food.

“That would be human behavior,” he told the Globe. “The rats are more honest.”

Courtesy of
Rats trained to sniff land mines, TB Staff Writers Terra Daily News about Planet Earth
Maputo, Mozambique (UPI) Nov 23, 2008

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Rats_trained_to_sniff_land_mines_TB_999.html

image courtesy of Science News

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2008/11/23/Rats_trained_to_sniff_landmines_TB/UPI-64451227476839/

Roomba riding cat likes to suck it up and spin


The best cat is a cleaning cat?
But this kitty decided to hop on a Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner made by Massachusetts company iRobot.
The video has become an Internet sensation and also appeared on the CNN Headline News show ‘News to Me.’ CNN said Tuesday that more than 1.6 million people have watched the cleaning kitty on YouTube.
Check out the video below to see the cat take a wild ride.

Video Roomba-Riding Cat Becomes Web Hit : ANIMAL NEWS, WEIRD NEWS http://news.aol.com/article/roomba-riding-cat-becomes-web-hit/260378

http://news.aol.com/article/roomba-riding-cat-becomes-web-hit/260378

U.S. Department of Agriculture / AP35 photos
Zebra mussels, such as these, have been found in Utah’s Electric Lake, the state’s first body of water invaded by the fast-spreading and damaging creatures, officials said Nov. 20.

Beached pilot whales get piloted out to sea


Although most of the pod could not be saved, a team of around 65 people battled throughout much of Sunday to move 11 survivors, including both adults and juveniles, 17 kilometres by road in trailers to nearby Godfrey’s Beach to try to return them to the sea. One whale died during the operation. Chris Arthur, who coordinated the rescue effort, said 11 of the 64 animals found stranded on the island’s north coast were released after a day-long effort which involved relocating them by road to another beach.
It is unusual to save any whales after such a mass stranding.

Thanks for your help!  – Mother NatureAustralia Stranded Whales

“We have successfully released 11 animals out to sea,”  said Arthur “The last one (pilot whale) went out (to sea) less than 20 minutes ago.”
While the possibility that the animals would strand themselves again could not be ruled out, he said, the hope was that they would instead join up with other pilot whales in the ocean. Some the whales have been tagged and aerial reconnaissance is planned to check on their progress.
“We have had a reasonable outcome. They will form a small pod. We have given them the best chance they have got,” said Arthur, a regional officer with the Tasmanian state parks and wildlife service.

This maternal pod of 64 long-finned pilot whales , G. melas edwardii

, around one-third of them juveniles, were found stranded last Saturday along a stretch of Anthony’s Beach at Stanley on the island’s northwest coast, a site where repeated strandings have occurred in the past.
Pilot whales are among the smaller whales, typically up to about five metres in length and dark with a grey underbelly. It is thought that their small size may have helped rescuers save them. there would not be as much evaporation from the skin and less crushing weight on their internal organs.

Mass strandings of whales occur periodically in Australia and New Zealand possibly due to disturbance of their echo-location, by interference from sound produced by human activities like sonar problems or parasitic infection that interfere with the central nervous system causing neurological disorders, entanglement in fishing nets pose problems for this species, but the main threat is hunting, particularly coastal hunts.

Pilot whales belong to the same family Cetaceae, the dolphins. There are  two species: Globicephala melas(long-finned) and Globicephala macrorhynchus (short-finned). They are a large dolphin species second only to orca (killer whales) in size. Adult males measure up to 6.1 m in length and weigh up to 2,722 kg. Adult females measure up to 4.9 m in length and weigh up to 1,361 kg. The pilot whale is a gregarious species often found in groups of 20-90, in which there are often small families of females and their calves. Although males are found in these groups as well, they are not necessarily fathers of the calves.

They have a round head with a small beak and dolphin-typical up-curved mouth line. The rounded head of males protrudes over the lower jaw. Pilot whales are dark gray to black in color with a lighter colored patch on the ventral surface, and the short-finned pilot whales may also have a faint patch of white behind the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is curved with a long base, and the flippers are also curved.pilot-whale_globicefalo

Pilot whales are often associated with mass strandings of several hundred animals. The cause of the mass strandings is unknown, although several theories exist such as sonar problems or parasitic infections that interfere with the central nervous system causing neurological disorders.

Pilot whales feed on squid and other cephalopods and small fish. These dolphins have only 40-48 teeth compared to 120 in other dolphin species. Adults may consume up to 14 kg of food per day. 

Pilot whales have been observed hunting in groups to help concentrate their prey in the center of a pod by using their vocal communications.

Pilot whales are often found in captivity as they survive there and are easily trained. They have been trained by the US Navy to locate military equipment from deep ocean depths for retrieval.

Pilot whale population numbers are unknown.  Pilot whales have been hunted for their meat, bone, oil, and for fertilizer, a practice which continues in some areas. Because they easily adapt to captivity, pilot whales are also exhibited in many aquariums and zoos.(2)

A reconnaissance plane would fly over the area on Monday to check on the whales’ progress. Samples are to be taken from the dead whales and a mass burial organized.
(1.) pilot whale stranded on Anthony’s Beach near Stanley, Tasmania, Australia,

Video  RPI: http://www.rpi.edu
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081124/ap_on_re_au_an/as_australia_stranded_whales;_ylt=AllhUCj..3U1dnhc.5uERh0PLBIF

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081124/wl_asia_afp/australiaanimalswhales_081124072315;_ylt=AoPd7FlQWvVj9F_Li_.zsvdNYhAF

Long fin map
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Cetacea_range_map_Long-finned_Pilot_Whale.PNG
http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=354
(2)
Eleven out of 64 pilot whales were returned to the ocean Photo: AP

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/3505469/Australian-rescuers-save-some-of-the-stranded-pilot-whales.html
Chris Arthur, who coordinated the rescue effort, said 11 of the 64 animals found stranded on the island’s north coast were released after a day-long effort which involved relocating them by road to another beach.
Environmentalists said it was unusual to save any whales after such a mass stranding
“We have successfully released 11 animals out to sea,” Arthur told Reuters by telephone. “The last one went out less than 20 minutes ago.”
While the possibility that the animals would strand themselves again could not be ruled out, he said, the hope was that they would instead join up with other pilot whales in the ocean. Some the whales have been tagged and aerial reconnaissance is planned to check on their progress.
“We have had a reasonable outcome. They will form a small pod. We have given them the best chance they have got,” said Arthur, a regional officer with the Tasmanian state parks and wildlife service.
This maternal pod of 64 long-finned pilot whales, around one-third of them juveniles, were found stranded on Saturday along a stretch of Anthony’s Beach at Stanley on the island’s northwest coast, a site where repeated strandings have occurred in the past.
Pilot whales are among the smaller whales, typically up to about five metres in length and dark with a grey underbelly. Their relatively small size may have helped rescuers save them, environmentalists said.
Although most of the pod could not be saved, a team of around 65 people battled throughout much of Sunday to move 12 survivors, including both adults and juveniles, 17 kilometres by road in trailers to nearby Godfrey’s Beach to try to return them to the sea. One whale died during the operation.
Mass strandings of whales occur periodically in Australia and New Zealand for reasons that are not entirely understood. Theories include disturbance of echo-location, possibly by interference from sound produced by human activities at sea, a spokeswoman for the environmental group Greenpeace told Reuters.
In a statement, the state government said satellite trackers had been placed on some of the released whales and a reconnaissance plane would fly over the area on Monday to check on the whales’ progress. Samples are to be taken from the dead whales and a mass burial organised.

Threatened Okapis cleans its ears with its tongue



What is black and white and red down its back with a long blue tongue?

The mythical Okapis have reddish dark backs, with striking horizontal black stripes on the front and back legs, making them resemble zebras from a distance. These markings are thought to help young follow their mothers through the dense rain forest; they also serve as camouflage.
okapi
The body shape is similar to that of the giraffe, except that okapis have much shorter necks. Both species have very long (approx. 30 cm or 12 inch), flexible, blue tongues that they use to strip leaves and buds from trees.

An okapi is the only animal that can clean hits eye lids, mussel and ears inside and out with its tongue
The tongue of an okapi is long enough for the animal to wash its eyelids and clean its ears (inside and out): it is the only mammal that can lick its own ears. Male okapis have short, skin-covered horns called “ossicones”. They have large ears, which help them detect their predator, the leopard.

Okapis are 1.9 to 2.5 m (8.1 ft) long and stand 1.5 to 2.0 m (6.5 ft) high at the shoulder. They have a 30 to 42 cm (12 to 17 in) long tail. Their weight ranges from 200 to 270 kg (465 to 565 lb).

Usually  solitary Okapis come together only to breed.
Okapis forage along fixed, well-trodden paths through the forest. They live alone or in mother-offspring pairs. They have overlapping home ranges of several square kilometers and typically occur at densities of about 0.6 animals per square kilometer.

The home turf the of males is larger than the females, but the males will allow the femals to eat on their home turf. Okapis do not get together in groups so with land dwindling around their home range  they seem to have adjusted and tolerate each other in the wild and may even feed in small groups for short periods of time.

When Okapi want to mark their turf with their scent glands on each foot they leave behind a tar-like substance which signals their passage or they urinate to leave their  marking
.
Okapis prefer altitudes of 500 to 1,000 m, but may venture above 1,000 m in the eastern montane rainforests. The range of the okapi is limited by high montain forests to the east, swamp forests below 500 m to the west, savannas of the Sahel/Sudan to the north, and open woodlands to the south. Okapis are most common in the Wamba and Epulu areas in the heartland of Africa.

Okapis like to eat  tree leaves and buds, grass, ferns, fruit, and fungi many of these plant species are poisonous to humans. When okapi feces were analyzed scientists were surprised to see even charcoal from trees burnt by lightning were consumed as well. Field observations indicate that the okapi’s mineral and salt requirements are filled primarily by a sulfurous, slightly salty, reddish clay found near rivers and streams.

Although okapis are  threatened by habitat destruction,  poaching and wars. The Congo Civil War threatened both the wildlife and the conservation workers in the reserve.

There is an important captive breeding centre at Epulu, at the heart of the reserve, which is managed jointly by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and Gillman International Conservation (GIC), which in turn receives support from other organisations including UNESCO, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and WildlifeDirect as well as from zoos around the world. The Wildlife Conservation Society is also active in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.

On June 8, 2006, scientists reported that evidence of surviving okapis in Congo’s Virunga National Park had been discovered. This had been the first official sighting since 1959, after nearly half a century.

In September 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported that one of their camera traps snapped a photo of an okapi in Virunga National Park; this was the first time the Okapi had ever been photographed in the wild.

Excerpts from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi
Excerpts http://www.zoo.ac.za/newsletter/issues/02/06.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Okapi2.jpg#filef

Pine Beetle uses infrared to find next meal


Scientists discovered that the White pine cone beetle dines on pine cone seeds,  It uses a special ability to find its next meal. It senses the pine cones temperature. As part of being alive, all living things give off heat and infrared light energy. While this wave length of light cannot be seen by humans, scientists have found that the white pine cone seed-eating beetle is able to detect infrared energy.

Image one (at the right) shows two pine cones, the large one is healthy and normal size, but look at the smaller one. That one has become dinner for this beetle.cone-beetle-damage

Scientists decided to find out how they found the cone amongst the needles and why the beetle chose one cone over the other to eat.

They observed the beetles in the wild on the trees and in the lab and measured the heat given off by the needles and the cones to see if there were any differences in temperature. The researchers decided to use a special camera that can make infrared light visible. On the camera screen, heat given off by living things showed up in shades of yellow and orange. It can make infrared light, this heat  visible.

When the scientists looked at the western white pine tree with this thermographic camera, the beetles’ food, the pine cones lit up like holiday lights. The trees looked as if they were covered in candles. The camera’s lens showed that the pine cones actually are hotter than the needles. The cones run 15 degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding needles all year around.  So was this insect prefering a hot meal?

How did the beetles sense this heat difference from the needles to cones?

Back in the lab the scientists wanted to find out how these beetles sense heat. The scientists tested this theory by painting over the external body sensors with silica paint. This kind of paint blocked the pine beetles’ sensors from detecting the heat. The painted beetles no longer could find the heated cones. On the beetle’s’ body, researchers found sensors that seemed to be used to find the warm cones.a1790_22061

Inside the insects’ nervous system, which responds to input from the senses. The researchers found a clear pathway from the sensors to the brain. This connection might be used to tell the beetle’s brain that hot food is directly ahead or, maybe, a little to the right.

Why do scientists care how this beetle finds its food?display_hotcomesahotcommodityforseedbugs

This beetle is eating young pine cone seed so they cannot become trees. Inside the pine seed when the beetle finishes eating it looks like wet sawdust. It is quite troublesome. The Western White Pine (Pinus monticola) on which the beetles dine is endangered. It occurs almost exclusively in the Northern Rockies Eco-region. Until about 50 years ago, it was the most abundant forest type in that region. 
Replacement fires occurred at a given location every 150 to 250 years on the average. Mixed severity fires that killed only part of the stand occurred at about 60 to 85 year intervals.

Today, the number of western white pine is 93 percent less than 40 years ago.

Scientists are trying to find out how to protect these trees from a combination of blister rust, mountain pine beetle and harvesting has nearly eliminated mature western white pine stands.  The trees are dehydrated from warming temperatures and this lowers the plant’s resistance to pests and diseases,

Excerpts from    Hungry bug seeks hot meal Science News November 19, 2008

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20081119/Note3.asp

Image (1)  http://www.forestryimages.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1241703

Image (2) The cones heat.Photograph Hannah Bottomley; Thermography: Stephen Takács

NFRARED TREE Seed-eating bugs armed with infrared detectors zero in on the glow of cones. Photography Lisak Andreller; Thermography: Stephen Takács

Heat detecting camera using Thermography show the cones’ heat. Photography: Hannah Bottomley; Thermography: Stephen Takács

image (3)  http://www.the-peak.ca/article/5798

Threatened by a hug – endangered giant panda bites man


So cute give me a hug   –    Ouch !      Help!!giant_panda_2004-03-2

In Beling a critically endangered panda at a zoo in southern China did not want a hug from a student who jumped a fenced in enclosure with warning signs to get one.

The 20-year-old male student surnamed Liu scareda very startled  panda, named Yangyang. So the animal defended himself by biting the intruder, The panda repeatedly bit at Liu’s arms and legs,” Zookeepers rescued the man and calmed the panda.

Why was the student in the pen? “Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him,” Liu was quoted as saying from his hospital bed. “I didn’t expect he would attack.”

Scientists believe fewer than 2,000 giant pandas live in the wild in China. Wild pandas live only in remote, mountainous regions in central China. These high bamboo forests are cool and wet—just as pandas like it. They may climb as high as 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) to feed on higher slopes in the summer season.
The giant panda bear only exists today in six small areas located in inland China. The habitat, suitable for the bamboo on which it survives, is a cold, damp coniferous forest. The elevation ranges from 4,000 to 11,000 feet high. In most of the areas in which they still roam wild, they must compete with farmers who farm the river valleys and the lower slopes of the mountains.

The giant panda has an insatiable appetite for bamboo. A typical animal eats half the day—a full 12 out of every 24 hours—and relieves itself dozens of times a day. It takes 28 pounds (12.5 kilograms) of bamboo to satisfy a giant panda’s daily dietary needs, and it hungrily plucks the stalks with elongated wrist bones that function rather like thumbs. Panda Bears eat over fifteen different kinds of Bamboo. Because of a inefficient intestinal system the Panda must feed for 12 to 16 hours a day, they can consume 23 to 86 pounds of Bamboo each day, sometimes eat birds or rodents as well.

The head of a Panda is very large and has developed special molars for chewing plants. It has powerful muscles which extend from the top of it’s head to the jaws giving it the ability to crush very tough stalks. There esophagus has a though lining to protect the Panda from bamboo splinters. The stomach is protected too, with a thick muscular lining.

Pandas are often seen eating in a relaxed sitting posture, with their hind legs stretched out before them. They may appear sedentary, but they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient swimmers.

Giant pandas are solitary. They have a highly developed sense of smell that males use to avoid each other and to find females for mating in the spring. After a five-month pregnancy, females give birth to a cub or two, though they cannot care for both twins. The blind infants weigh only 5 ounces (142 grams) at birth and cannot crawl until they reach three months of age. They are born white, and develop their much loved coloring later.

A sedentary bear  generally move in a slow, determined manner. When startled, they will move at a slow trot to escape danger. Giant pandas, with their short claws, are capable of climbing trees very easily. Adult Giant pandas are about 5 feet long from nose to rump, with a 4-6 inch tail. A large adult panda can weigh about 220-330 pounds, with males 10 percent larger and 20 percent heavier than females male is about the same size as the American black bear.

Much of what we know about pandas comes from study of these zoo animals, because their wild cousins are so rare and elusive. Their numbers are deceasing due to dwindling habitat and their poor reproductive capabilities, both in the wild and in captivity.
Today, only around 61 percent of the population, or about 980 pandas, are under protection in reserves. As China’s economy continues its rapid development, it is more important than ever to ensure the giant panda’s survival. The survival of the panda and the protection of its habitat will ensure that people living in the region continue to reap ecosystem benefits for many generations.

1. Excerpts from Panda attacks Chinese man who wanted a cuddle- Ben Blanchard 

Reuters November 22, 2008

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081122/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_china_panda;_ylt=ApoK4wxrXZS8wpjus3YhnuEPLBIF

2. Excerpts from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/PandaFacts/default.cfm

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Giant_Panda_2004-03-2.jpg

Ancient endangered giant fish numbers growing-sturgeon


“Worldwide, most species of large freshwater fish are in danger of going extinct in the near future,” said Hogan, a National Geographic emerging explorer.081112-biggest-fish_big

“The white sturgeon seems to have avoided the fate of species like the Chinese paddlefish of the Yangtze River and the critically endangered giant catfish of the Mekong River.”

When dozens of white female sturgeon began washing up dead on the banks of British Columbia’s Fraser River in the mid-1990s, some feared that North America’s largest freshwater fish could be headed toward extinction. That’s when an alliance of government agencies, environmentalists, aboriginal groups, and commercial and recreational fishers came together to save the sturgeon, spurring a robust recovery of the lower Fraser River population. (1)

One of the oldest families of bony fish in existence, they are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America. They are distinctive for their elongated bodies, lack of scales, and occasional great size: Sturgeons ranging from 7–12 feet (2-3½ m) in length are common, and some species grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m). Most sturgeons are anadromous bottom-feeders, spawning upstream and feeding in river deltas and estuaries. While some are entirely freshwater, very few venture into the open ocean beyond near coastal areas.
Sturgeon have been referred to as both the Leviathans and Methuselahs of freshwater fish. They are among the largest fish: some beluga (Huso huso) in the Caspian Sea reportedly attain over 5.5 m and 2000 kg while for kaluga (H. dauricus) in the Amur River similar lengths and over 1000 kg weights have been reported. They are also probably the longest-lived of the fishes, some living well over 100 years and attaining sexual maturity at 20 years or more. The combination of slow growth and reproductive rates and the extremely high value placed on mature egg-bearing females make sturgeon particularly vulnerable to overfishing.

Several species of sturgeons are harvested for their roe, which is made into caviar – a luxury good which makes some sturgeons pound for pound the most valuable of all harvested fish. Because they are slow-growing and mature very late in life, they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and to other threats, including pollution and habitat fragmentation. Most species of sturgeons are currently considered either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. (2)

Sturgeon (and, therefore also the caviar trade) are under severe threat from overfishing, poaching and water pollution.slide1ss2-lgwhite-sturg
1. Excerpts from Giant Prehistoric Fish Rebounding in Canada – Stefan Lovgren in Chilliwack, Canada
National Geographic News   November 13, 2008

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081112-biggest-fish.html?source=email_wn_20081121&email=wn

2. Excerpts from   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_sturgeon
Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sturgeon.jpg#file

Video giant sturgeon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6d2C3d6MJA

Science meets Hollywood form club


When the worlds of science and Hollywood collide, the results often highlight the differences between the two realms instead of celebrating their similarities. The National Academy of Sciences is trying to change that with a new initiative called, “The Science and Entertainment Exchange.”movies

“This is the Academy’s first formal effort to reach out to Hollywood,” said Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “We are very excited to launch this initiative.”

At the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles Wednesday, film directors and screenwriters were inspired and entertained while listening to some of the top scientists in engineers in the country talk about their research.

The goal of the initiative is to connect the entertainment industry with scientists and engineers to work on everything from movies, television and even video games The Exchange’s launch was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, creator and producer of the animated series Family Guy. He encouraged attendees to get enthused about science. “I grew up watching Star Trek and I remember we used to be so excited about NASA and what they were doing, but you don’t hear about it much anymore and people don’t seem to be as interested. We need to get people excited about science again, because they are so many interesting things that are happening.”

Hollywood directors, producers and writers had a chance to learn about some of the hottest science and engineering topics from the top experts from several fields of research… Rare and infectious diseases were described by Bonnie Bassler, a molecular biologist at Princeton University who has spent her career studying bacteria that glows in the dark. Artificial intelligence and cutting-edge robotics was explored by Rodney Brooks, a roboticist and chief technical officer of Heartland Robotics, while some of the mysteries of the brain were revealed by neurologist V.S. Ramachandran, director of the center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego.

Inside Science News Service is supported by the American Institute of Physics.

* Original Story: Scientists Team Up with Hollywood Emilie Lorditch -Nov 20, 2008 LiveScience.com

Excerpts from http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20081120/sc_livescience/scientiststeamupwithhollywood;_ylt=AsWZ2.TfVPre9qAiRdfKiGgPLBIF

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