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Davis, California

Friday, January 21, 2022

Science & Technology

Unitrans considers bus tracking systems

You hit your snooze button for the third time and suddenly realize you have 10 minutes before your next class starts. You clamber out of bed, jumping around and stabbing a leg through each pant leg while attempting to read the blurry lines of numbers on the bus schedule. As you try to figure out which bus you could catch, you take a chance and hope the bus that arrives in less than a minute will be late.

This game of chance could soon become a distant memory, as Global Positioning System mass transit tracking systems are beginning to be launched through the country's university campuses.

Science Scene

Leading physicists say "God particle" soon to be found

Forty years ago, British physicist Peter Higgs argued that there was a force that gave mass to the universe, enabling life to exist. From this invisible force, named the Higgs field, comes a particle called the Higgs boson. Now, as a particle accelerator in Geneva is nearly ready to begin functioning in May, Higgs says he is 90 percent sure that the particle will be found.

Upcoming Seminars

Today

"Determining the Mechanism of Transmission of Xyellla fastidiosa by Sharpshooters"

Elaine Backus

122 Briggs, noon to 1 p.m.

Sponsored by the entomology department

 

"Cling Peach Mechanization - Chapter 2: Thinning, and the Rest of the Story"

Kitren Glozer

3001 Plant and Environmental Sciences, 12:10 to 1 p.m.

Sponsored by the plant sciences department

Beyond the Small Talk

Name: Donald Benner

Year: Senior

Major: Mechanical engineering

 

How did you choose your major?

I wanted to be able to apply math and science, and I know that you had many more options with an engineering degree than you did with a math or physics degree.

Recession or just a low? Weighing in on the nation’s economic downturn

Employment opportunities are shrinking, food and gas prices are rising, houses are being foreclosed and banks have stopped their liberal lending policies. Does this mean our economy is in a recession, that daunting word that strikes fear in the hearts of the government and consumers alike? Not necessarily. Does the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States, have a plan to help stimulate the economy beyond a temporary fix? Only time will tell, say economists.

First of all, it must be noted that recession has a complicated definition, and can only be officially announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, said Kevin Salyer, professor of economics at UC Davis, in an e-mail interview.

"A rule of thumb definition is two quarters (6 months) of negative GDP growth," Salyer said. "We are not technically in a recession yet (but some economists believe we are … and today's jobs data suggests that they might be correct)."

More than survival of the fittest

Natural selection, a process through which those most suited to environmental conditions survive to reproduce, has been considered central to theories of evolution. However, a study conducted by Tim Weaver, UC Davis professor of anthropology, may give more weight to the theory of genetic drift - the idea that random chance can explain genetic and phenotypic changes in a species over time.

Weaver compared cranial measurements from modern human skulls and Neanderthal specimens to conclude that genetic drift is a plausible explanation of why modern humans and Neanderthals diverged 40,000 years ago.

Upcoming seminars

Today

A Tangled Web: Exploring the Interplay of Omnivory and Wound-Inducible Plant Responses

Ken Spence

122 Briggs, noon to 1 p.m.

Sponsored by the Entomology department

 

The Strange Abjuration of the Last Inca Sovereign

Marco Curatola Petrocchi

5214 Social Sciences and Humanities, 12:05 to 1:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas

Chatting with the faculty

What do you do?

I am a type of geologist called a stratigrapher. Stratigraphy is a big word meaning that we read the layers of rock that are basically the pages of history of our planet. From these layers of rock we can tell things like ancient climates [and] ancient environments. The history of evolution is written in the types of rocks that I look at.… In a very broad, general way, I am an earth historian.

 

How did you get interested in this field?

I became interested in geology as an undergraduate simply because I like being outdoors; I like nature and I like science. It is the same characteristics that all geologists have. You like to combine your interests in science with your appreciation for the outdoors. I like looking at a landscape and understanding and what it means, how it got there and what it is telling me.

I try to convey that in the classes that I teach. I try to get students to look around and understand why the Central Valley is flat, why the Sierras are scalloped, and get them to visualize ice age glaciers and where the granite of the High Sierras came from.

Panel of experts search for new methods for manure treatment and management

Milk is good for your bones, but its production is creating a big problem with air and water pollution.

According to a recent UC Davis press release, manure being produced in dairies releases chemicals that are impacting air, water and climate quality.

California produces 21 percent of the national milk supply and grosses $6 billion a year in other dairy products, making pollution a large issue for the state.

Science Scene

Virulent wheat fungus spreads into Iran

Puccinia graminis, or Ug99, previously found in East Africa and Yemen, has spread to the bread basket of Iran, putting countries east of Iran at risk.

Approximately 80 percent of the wheat varieties grown in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are susceptible to the fungus, which is capable of decimating entire fields of wheat.

Rockin’ out: Ppros and cons of three major headphone styles

Everywhere you go, you see little wires hanging from people's heads. Everyone is rockin' out in their own world with their headphones and MP3 players, and you want to do the same. But,[omit tf] buying the right kind of headphones may can be a daunting task for the uneducated consumer.

Chances are,, if you've bought an MP3 player, you want to get decent sound out of it as well.This article aims to clarify the difference between headphone types and help you make a buying decision.

New drug prevents cell death

A new drug has been discovered that can prevent programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis. The drug could be a novel therapy for treating heart attack, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, in which nerve cells are lost.

Climate related chemical also acts as cue to help fish find food

Scientists are making discoveries about how some fish locate their food and each other.

Jennifer DeBose, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Flower Garden Banks and National Marine Sanctuary in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, is one of the authors of a recent study of a chemical known as Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and its role in affecting aggregation behavior in fishes.

Filipino Association for Health Careers promotes biennial health conference

Thinking about a career in the health field? You might want to check out the Filipino Association for Health Career (FAHC) Health Conference on Apr. 5. The all-day event begins at 8 a.m. at the UC Davis Medical Center's medical school, located at 4610 X St. in Sacramento.

Upcoming Seminars

Today The Effects of Plant Responses in Multi-Herbivore Systems Jennifer Thaler 122 Briggs, 12:10 to 1 p.m. Sponsored by the entomology department   Origin of Tequila: It's Not What You...