All posts by annesnabes2020

Khumbu Glacier in Nepal offers clues to rapid glacial retreat

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

University of Maine research suggests that the Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas retreated rapidly in the past, offering clues to how the glacier will behave in the future.

Laura Mattas, a master’s student at the University of Maine, conducted field research this summer on the Khumbu Glacier in Nepal. She presented her research this fall at the Comer Climate Conference, an annual meeting in Wisconsin of climate scientists from across the country.

According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, glaciers globally are retreating at “unprecedented rates.” A glacier can retreat by shortening in length or by thinning. In the Khumbu Valley, Mattas and her colleagues found moraines, which are rock and other sediment that were inside, on top of or below a glacier and that were altered by the glacier. The location of the moraines indicated that the glacier retreated quickly at some point since the last ice age. Mattas said that the glacier is able to undergo a “large and rapid change,” which means that it may also change rapidly in the future.

“If that’s the case, that’s a lot of meltwater that’s flowing down valley,,” she said. “Who knows if there’s the infrastructure to deal with” the surge. Continue reading

Busy schedules and upbringing deter some undergrads from getting the flu shot

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

College students balance busy schedules of attending class, completing assignments, maintaining a social life, and commitments to extracurricular activities or a job. Do students also set aside time to get the flu shot?

Some do, but many do not.

“Some people just can’t manage to find time in their schedule to come in to get a flu shot,” said Joan Holden, director of Loyola University Chicago’s Wellness Center.
Continue reading

Thousands of Chicago protesters condemn Trump and his visit to Chicago

By Anne Snabes

Medill Reports

Thousands of Chicago area protesters chanted  calls and held up signs bearing phrases such as “Dump Trump” during President Donald Trump’s visit to the Windy City on Monday.

Trump spoke at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference and then attended a lunch fundraiser at Trump International Hotel and Tower. Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson boycotted the speech and Trump belittled his absence.

The cheapest tickets to attend the political lunch cost $2,800. The most expensive, for a roundtable sit-down with the President, cost $100,000, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported that about 3,000 to 6,000 people participated in the protest on Wacker Drive. The protesters eventually wound through the Loop and back to their Wacker Drive location across from Trump Tower.

“I will never put the needs of illegal criminals before I put the needs of law-abiding citizens,” he said. Trump promised the police chiefs that he would be “their greatest and most loyal champion.”

Click on any image for a slideshow of the protest photos.

 

Photo at top: Kristine Herbst, center, a resident of Riverside, Illinois, came to the protest because she thought it was important to “show strength in numbers.”

Tiny shells reveal clues to ocean health in North Pacific

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

Calcium carbonate, a primary ingredient in the shells of tiny marine organisms, reduces the acidification of our world’s oceans.

The ocean is approximately 30% more acidic than when the Industrial Revolution began, and carbon dioxide emissions from human use of fossil fuels have greatly contributed to this increase.

When microscopic organisms called zooplankton and phytoplankton die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean, and their calcium carbonate shells dissolve. This process makes the ocean less acidic. But new research suggests that scientists don’t fully understand how calcium carbonate dissolves in the ocean.

This ostracod, which is a kind of zooplankton, has a calcium carbonate shell. (Wikimedia Commons/ Anna Syme)

Continue reading

‘Hidden Figures’ author brings to life the visionary women mathematicians behind early NASA launches

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

The pioneering African American women engineers and mathematicians who helped land Neil Armstrong on the moon also maintained a strong family life outside of work and some played bridge and music, according to author Margot Lee Shetterly.

“They were very passionate about their hobbies and their families, as passionate as they were about their work,” Shetterly told a packed audience at Northwestern University’s Evanston campus Thursday evening.

Three of these women — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — are the focus of “Hidden Figures,”  Shetterly’s book  that was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated movie. The book is about the women at NASA who were called “computers,” because they made the calculations that modern-day computers make, guided instead by their own prowess and simple adding machines.

Shetterly talked to the Northwestern community about her own story growing up in the city in Virginia where NASA’s first field center was located after the space agency was created in 1958. She explained what life was like for women who worked at this facility. She said there are more opportunities for women of color in computer science and engineering now, but some still feel isolated as they are the only women of color in their work spaces.
Continue reading