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Permafrost thaw cracks urban infrastructure, students dig in

[Image: Google satellite image of the city of Norilsk, Russia.]

Students from Russia, U.S., Norway, Germany, Italy, China and U.K. arrived this week in Norilsk, Russia where they will spend two weeks in a field school to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on Russian urban infrastructure.

The student researchers will conduct permafrost research in the field as well as meet with representatives of the Norilsk-Nickel mining company and of local production plants and geological, planning, social and migration services to form a science-based dialogue about problems and solutions.

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“You can’t breathe in air with 7,000 micrograms of sulfur dioxide.”

[Image: The nickel smelting plant in Nikel, Russia located just over the Norwegian border produces pollution that has been a problem for northern Norwegians for decades and is nearly six times the amount of pollution produced in all of Norway. Photo by Amelia Jaycen.]

Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology on Tuesday told representatives of “MMC” Norilsk Nickel of the planned decommissioning some of Nikel plant rundown facilities by 2016 and reorganization of metallurgical production at the Monchegorsk plant, which must be upgraded and modernized, the ministry said in a press release yesterday. Monchegorsk is owned by the same company and located some two-hour drive south of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.

The program involves modernization and renovation of all stages of processing and consolidation of smelting and refining capacity to a more modern venue including technological upgrading and expansion of refinery at Monchegorsk during 2016-2017. Capital investments in the program total more than 50 billion rubles, the release says.

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N-ICE: Studying Arctic ice from cradle to grave

[Image: Researchers collect an ice core to measure its temperature and salinity near “RV Lance” during the N-ICE test cruise in February 2014. Photo by Paul Dodd/Norwegian Polar Institute]

When spring 2015 approaches, sun spilling the landscape will find a group of scientists adrift at sea on “RV Lance” – once a top-of-the-line seal hunting boat, now turned research vessel.

On board the ship, an international collection of researchers will watch up-close as the arctic wakes, with instruments tuned not only to wildlife but to the most important creature of them all – the sea ice.

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Climate change study heats up Arctic soil

[Images: Amelia Jaycen]

Students from Russia, U.S., Norway, Germany, Italy, China and U.K. arrived this week in Norilsk, Russia where they will spend two weeks in a field school to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on Russian urban infrastructure.

The student researchers will conduct permafrost research in the field as well as meet with representatives of the Norilsk-Nickel mining company and of local production plants and geological, planning, social and migration services to form a science-based dialogue about problems and solutions.

Continue Reading–>

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Barents Summer School brings researchers face-to-face with local leaders

[Image: Students and local leaders in the Barents Summer School in Kirkenes, Norway. Credit: Amelia Jaycen]

Twenty-four Ph.D. students including Norwegian, Russian, Finnish and Swedish students, some of them representing the Sami population, and one student from Hong Kong gathered to establish international collaborative relationships and learn about conducting epidemiological research: Studies of disease patterns, causes and effects over time.

The one-week course centered around human health issues in the cross-border Barents region. Students who attended are researchers in a variety of subjects ranging from suicides among indigenous populations to the effects of pollution on infants born to exposed mothers.

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Minister of fisheries goes king crab fishing on Fish Nation tour

[Images & slideshow by Amelia Jaycen]

Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker went on her first king crab fishing trip in Bugøynes Saturday for the conclusion of Fish Nation, a five-week seafood tour up the Norwegian coast to celebrate the rich variety of fish products available in Norway. At each stop along the way from Oslo to Kirkenes, Bergen-based chef and owner of Lysverket restaurant Christopher Haatuft studied and prepared local seafood while the Fish Nation team interviewed local fishermen and documented the towns, people, food and recipes.

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Dragon Street’s Zhulong Gallery is a beacon for new media art

Zhulong Gallery, with its glass façade and dragon shaped gallery space, aims to be a new force in the Dallas new media scene, with international context, a public involvement component and a broad definition of new media that sparks conversations about how to define the popular genre.

Zhulong’s inaugural Satellite XBT 1 is new media work by 11 artists that interpret and respond to data, culture, and projection of information through space and time in digital, two- and three-dimensional pieces. The title Satellite highlights the art space mission to be a technologically-driven gallery that is a hub for receiving and transmitting art and ideas.

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Out of the Loop’s star Diana Sheehan on the festival, living in Texas and Gertrude Lawrence

[Image courtesy WaterTower Theatre]

Diana Sheehan is an award-winning actress and singer who relocated to Dallas five years ago and found herself following a successful New York career with a shining start in Texas, including winning “Best of the Loop” two years in a row at Watertower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, among a variety of notable awards and performances in Dallas. Loop provides her and tens of other artists a chance to explore new material with enthusiastic crowds, as it has for 13 years.

This year, Sheehan’s Searching for Gertrude Lawrence is a cabaret exploring mysterious stories surrounding the most famous Broadway star in the world from the 1920’s to 1950’s.

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Thin Line Film Fest expands with 100 films, music, photo contest coming soon

[Image: Josh Butler outside the Campu Theater marquee. Photo by Amelia Jaycen]

When Josh Butler took an energetic leap of faith toward his dream, he didn’t exactly land on his feet. It was more like a really bummed film junkie who landed in bankruptcy court. Staring at the floor he shook his head, “Why! Why did we just have to have limos for all the filmmakers?”

Making the great Texas film festival was going to take more than spastic enthusiasm, but Butler learned his lesson: Don’t spend money you don’t have. The festival and the nonprofit he created to run it, Texas Filmmakers Association, survived intact while he swallowed a $40,000 debt. But since that 2007 Thin Line Film Fest left him broke, the festival has nearly doubled its revenue each year.

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Out of the fiery couldron, a writer emerges

When you find that every cell in your body is motivated toward story-telling— as George says, “stories no one else is telling in ways no one else is telling them”—if your protons and neutrons are spinning and all your chemistry has undergone catalysis, it is possibly due to the introduction of a whole lot of Archer City Magic Dust.  In a terrifying trip to the soft center of a new writer, an Archer City student reflects on what she found out about writing and herself on a few dusty roads in the blazing July heat.

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Jackson Lears on Sam Harris

My assignment was to read 85% of the articles in The Best American Science Writing of 2013 and then try to connect them within a critical analysis of Lears’ article. 

In his essay “Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris,” Jackson Lears tackles the philosophies, behaviors, ethics, theories and books of Sam Harris, and with him the entire class of “New Athiests.” While the New Athiests’ claim begins with the premise that religious fervor is the dangerous root of the world’s problems, Lears finds that Harris and his cohorts manipulate anti-religious fervor and create larger social problems through their moral and political pronouncements.  Lears casts them in the light of history and current events as following in line with ideas that have led to catastrophic moral crimes against humanity.

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Annual Report nearly kills grad students

This is the thing. That thing that kept me up all night long.

It was created by myself and my co-worker Aaron Claycomb, a damn fine designer. We did not sleep, we got zits, we got headaches, we nearly over-dosed on caffeine and newsprint, we reported for months, designed for hours, copy-edited until we were dizzy, and generally worked our buns off, along with the help of friends and faculty of Mayborn.

Without further ado, I present the Mayborn School of Journalism’s first ever Annual Report magazine–>

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Center and Main: The intersection at the center of a writer

[Illustration by Eric Nishimoto]

CenterandMain.org is a website for writers, for Texas and for Texas writers, as well as anyone familiar with the kind of camaraderie that comes from a week spent sweating under the sun looking for the kind of stories that transcend the black and white page and cross into the hearts and minds of readers. Archer City is full of them – writers and stories – every July.

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Semiconductor Research Corporation funds UNT chemist’s microchip fabrication research

[Image: Dr. Oliver Chyan]

A single microchip can have several billion circuits built into a predetermined design according to its final purpose, whether for an iphone or a laptop.  Creating the chip involves a procedure of about 3,000 different steps, many of which involve chemical coatings, cleanings, and etching processes performed on microscopic electrical parts.

Professor of chemistry Dr. Oliver Chyan has been awarded a grant of nearly $130,000 from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) in cooperation with Intel to create and implement new tools for measuring and characterizing plasma-etch-polymers in microchip fabrication.

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Researchers track West Nile Virus, study mosquito species

[Image: Amelia Jaycen]

University of North Texas Regents Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. James Kennedy is conducting his twelfth year of mosquito sampling and testing for West Nile Virus (WNV) in cooperation with the City of Denton, and this year is the first year samples are analyzed at UNT as well as sent to the Texas Department of Health State Services.

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Begging to write about science

So I got into grad school, after completing a large chunk of my studies, considering an interdisciplinary degree, and then deciding to choose the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. Here’s the essay that made them decide to let me in and support my goals. It explains a little about why I love writing about science.

Excerpt: “The first project on which I chose to test this skill set was a UNT chemist who created a compound that offered promising results for a team of scientists trying to solve “the incandescent lamp problem,” as they called it. I immersed in their studies and experiments, documenting interchangeably with photographs, audio, and impromptu questions at a series of interviews with various researchers who each performed different parts of this journey toward successful scientific innovation. The process of documenting their work became like a fast-paced puzzle with many layers of components. The experience was a fascinating whirlwind, and it was my first introduction to many of the basic challenges of communicating—as well as understanding— science. I was determined to work until the story shaped into a multi-media piece that conveyed not only the inherent technical information but also the broader impacts of my sources’ work on society, in a format and on a platform that could
reach non-scientists.”

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Denton’s Brave Combo is sure to do something different

Brave Combo not only challenges the feet with a dare-to-dance attitude pouring from the stage, but their music challenges the mind, mixing global genres including mambo, meringue, waltz, zydeco, classical, cha cha, the blues—and of course, polka.  Led by charismatic founder and front-man Carl Finch, the group holds a long-time tradition of headlining the closing show at Denton’s annual Arts and Jazz Festival.  The Sunday night performance at this year’s event will be no exception.

Brave Combo is known for pushing musical limits, successfully riding the line between comedy and mastery, giving performances that are a mix of dancing fun and serious musicianship while living up to their famous lyricized motto: “Do something different.”

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Professor awarded patent for digital video security

[Diagram showing Mohanty’s content provider end method. Photo: Courtesy Mohanty]

Saraju Mohanty’s invention provides comprehensive solutions for securing digital video, and it offers advantages for content providers like Netflix, digital television companies, Hollywood movie studios, their distributors and end-users, and private parties posting to YouTube or sending video files over the internet.

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