Stanford chemists craft catalyst for making biodegradable plastics
An inexpensive and efficient process for making biodegradable plastics could save millions of tons of petroleum-derived plastics from landfills.
By Stanford University

The development of petroleum-based plastics is one of the crowning achievements of the 20th century, but they come with a hefty cost.

Yes, they’re inexpensive and feature extraordinary mechanical properties that have made them the materials of everyday life.

However, the vast scale of plastics manufacturing and the environmental consequences associated with disposal have illuminated the limits to which the planet can cope with our current “take, make and dispose” model of resource utilization. Biodegradable plastics derived from renewable sources offer an attractive alternative, but so far they can’t match the price and performance of petroleum plastics.

Now, researchers at Stanford and IBM Research report the development of new chemical approaches that could efficiently and inexpensively generate biodegradable plastics suitable for making an array of items as diverse as forks, medical devices and fabrics. The study is published in the current issue of Nature Chemistry.

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So, @windycityteacher did a post on technology they plan to incorporate into their classroom this year. It was awesome, and full of great ideas. I myself plan on incorporating BookTrack into some lessons. I went to a technology training session recently, and came out with some AMAZING resources. I’d like to share some that I plan on using as a first year teacher. 

BTW: Credit goes to Andi McNair for her presentation. Look for her book on the 5 P’s of Passion Projects/Genius Hour this upcoming January-ish. 

First, some technology I planned on using before the training includes: 
Remind, DogoNews, Google Classroom. My district has recently begun promoting ItsLearning as a substitute for Edmodo, but I think I’ll stick with Google Classroom this year. 

1. Today’s Meet 
Serves as a back channel. 
Uses: - Can use when reading aloud. Place it up on the projector so students can ask questions or make comments about what we’re reading.
- Great for those quiet students that may not talk much in class, but feel better about expressing themselves on this platform. 
-  Can use during Socratic Circles. The inside group has their discussion while the outside group can enter comments in real time. 
Other: - The room lasts up to a year. May have to watch the screen names students post. 

A creative outlet for students to challenge themselves, learn new skills, and earn badges. 
Uses: Honestly, I plan on using this for my early finishers. Yes, I want them to read when they’re done with classwork, but there are also some great writing and drawing challenges for students. It’s a fun way for students to learn new skills.  
Other: Some of the challenges require materials that you just don’t have. That’s fine! Students will learn problem solving skills by trying to figure out substitutes. 

3. Wonderopolis 
A place of limitless curiosity. Students can explore any can of wonder they’ve ever wondered about. For any subject. No need for a login. 
Uses: This is another piece of technology I plan on using for early finishers. Students will be able to search for any sort of wonder such as “Why Are Trampolines Bouncy?” or “Does Practice Really Make Perfect?” A short article is attached to the wonder, as well as three questions, and vocabulary words are highlighted. 
Other: There is another way I plan on using Wonderopolis that was suggested by the presenter. When students finish, have them complete the questions to the wonder on an index card with their name and the name of the wonder. Keep them in an organized file by student or however you do it. Then by Christmas Break you should have a collection. You can look them over and really see what your students are interested in. 

4. Literacy Shed 
Function: Video’s with different Teaching Ideas attached or ways to use the video in class.  
Uses: It’s a great way to get kids thinking, and fantastic for Writing! 
Other: As always, make sure to preview the videos before using in class! Some may be a little dark. 

Some honorable mentions: NewsELA (I plan on using it, maybe, but I’m not sure how much), GeoGussr, Pixel Press Floors (students draw their own video game!), Scratch (video game design), PowToon (animated presentations), Padlet (another one I may use. A digital whiteboard), and Nepris (costs money. Connects students to real world experts.Uses Zoom, not Skype. Sounds interesting.)

I hope this may have given some of my educhums some new resources they haven’t heard of before. I look forward to implementing some of this!
Landmark HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Take Center Stage at World's Largest Health Conference
A landmark study is underway to test an antibody that could potentially protect people from infection by almost all strains of HIV and it's not the only one.

Hopes for a truly effective HIV vaccine were mostly the stuff of dreams in 2000, the last time Durban, South Africa, hosted the biennial meeting of the International AIDS Society. The global HIV Vaccine Trials Network, based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and led by virologist and former Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Larry Corey, was just being organized. No vaccine clinical trials were underway in South Africa, whose president at the time denied that HIV even caused AIDS. Sixteen years later, things have changed.

When Corey took the stage last week before fellow scientists, advocates, policymakers, and people living with HIV attending AIDS 2016, the world’s largest global health conference, his message was upbeat. “The HIV vaccine field,” he said, “is open for business.”

The HVTN, working with its sister network, the HIV Prevention Trials Network, or HPTN, based in Durham, North Carolina, has just begun what is already being called a landmark study to test an experimental, so-called broadly neutralizing antibody that could potentially protect people from infection by almost all strains of the rapidly mutating virus that causes AIDS. Called the AMP study, it will enroll 1,500 sexually active women at 15 sites in southern Africa. A parallel study will enroll 2,700 men and transgender people who have sex with men at 24 sites in the U.S. and South America.

The HVTN will roll out a second large-scale trial in South Africa in November with 5,400 HIV-negative men and women, the first such trial to be in the field in a decade and one that could lead to the first licensed vaccine against HIV.

And on Wednesday, Corey said that the HVTN could add a third clinical trial of a vaccine being developed by Janssen, a research division of Johnson & Johnson, in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program. Initial results of a smaller trial will be available later this year, and “If they look good, a [large-scale] trial will be undertaken,” Corey said.

The three trials would represent three distinct approaches to an HIV vaccine — a testament to how challenging it has been to develop a vaccine against a virus that mutates so rapidly even within a single person that antibodies can’t keep up with the changes and against which no one has ever developed a natural immunity.


I have an iPhone 6 and my Touch ID has stopped working completely. My home button still works but it just won’t register my print no matter what. I (made the mistake and) decided to try to erase all my Touch ID fingers it recognizes to try and start from scratch but now since it won’t recognize my fingers period it just doesn’t work and I can’t set it up with a new finger.

Has anyone else encountered this who knows how to fix it? Assume I have no money and I’ve already tried resetting it. Let me know!


Archaeological Museum of Dion:

Shock absorbers from a carriage, found in the city

Bob’s been on the show since 1969 and Luis since the early 1970s, so I expected “retired’, not “fired”!! Susan however did not get canned.

(If you wondered: this is the replacement Gordon because the original died in 2002, and Maria retired in 2015. They respectfully never replaced Mr. Hooper after he passed on in 1982.)

Sesame Workshop has altered their thinking after the backlash, saying:

[Bob, Luis, and Gordon] would continue with the series in some capacity. The three “remain a beloved part of the Sesame family and continue to represent us at public events,” the statement said, adding “our cast has changed over the years, though you can still expect to see many of them in upcoming productions.”
Another Study Shows No HIV Transmission From Undetectable Partners
The final results of the famed HPTN 052 trial found no transmissions between mixed-HIV-status heterosexual couples when the partner living with the virus was treated with antiretrovirals (ARVs) and had a fully suppressed viral load, MedPage Today reports. In 2011, interim results from the trial found that treating HIV early was associated with a 96 percent reduced risk of transmitting HIV between such couples, compared with delaying treatment. The final results reduced this figure to 93 percent.

Publishing their final results in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers randomly assigned 1,763 people with HIV who were in a partnership with an HIV-negative, opposite-sex individual to receive immediate or deferred ARV treatment. A total of 886 participants started HIV treatment immediately, with CD4 counts ranging between 350 and 550. The 877 people in the deferred group were set to start treatment after two consecutive CD4 counts dropped below 250 or if they had an AIDS-defining illness.

After the 2011 interim results were released, everyone in the deferred group was offered treatment. The final results were also presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa (AIDS 2016).

The HIV-positive participants were followed for a cumulative 10,031 years, while the HIV-negative partners were followed for a cumulative 8,509 years. Seventy-eight of the HIV-negative partners acquired the virus during the study, for an infection rate of 0.9 percent per year. Through genetic analysis, the researchers were able to determine that 46 of those transmissions—three in the early treatment group and 43 in the deferred group—were linked to the study partners; researchers were unable to determine a viral link in the case of the remaining six.

Comparing the HIV rates between the early and the deferred group, the researchers found that treating the virus early was associated with a 93 percent reduction in the risk of transmitting HIV. The 93 percent figure does not represent the risk reduction associated with having an undetectable viral load. The researchers did not identify any transmissions of the virus within couples when the HIV-positive member had a fully suppressed virus thanks to ARV treatment.

To read the study abstract, click here.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.
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Future gadgets for the high-flying space tourist
In 2012, the space probe Voyager 1 became the first man made object to explore beyond our solar system. Launched back in 1977 by NASA, the journey took 36 years (to be fair, it was a 12 billion mile trip). And while we don’t yet know what lies beyond our galaxy, it proved a giant leap towards interstellar travel. But if we are to live, travel and holiday in space in the not-so-distant future, will it actually be an enjoyable experience?
By 3tags