Showing posts from March, 2019

The Women of Coding

In 1833, Lady Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, became the first computer programmer when she created a machine for computing called the Analytical Engine. Her partner, Charles Babbage, designed the hardware, while Lovelace focused on the machine’s inner workings or what we now call “software.” Bringing the machine to its absolute limit, Lovelace published the first computer algorithm in 1843. Lovelace’s legacy would continue into the 20th century, as women entered the workforce. While men were busy fighting WWII, a group of female computer scientists, including Betty Holberton, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Fran Bilas and Betty Jean Jennings programmed the ENIAC, one of the first general purpose computers. Although they were called “subprofessionals” by their peers and “refrigerator girls” by historians, Hoberton and her team used ENIAC to make crucial calculations on the trajectory of ballistic missiles for the US and its allies. View More Wo…

Climate Change, Extreme Weather and the Jet Stream

In the last decade or so, we’ve experienced giant tornados, damaging wildfires, flood-inducing rainstorms, fatal heat waves, and droughts destroying crops and livestock like never before. At the same time the polar jet stream, a westerly wind generated by solar radiation and the corollas effect (a phenomenon that creates our weather), has been behaving in unprecedented ways. Scientists believe this is not a coincidence, rather it is related.Stock Images of Climate Change,
Extreme Weather and the Jet Stream
Normally, the jet stream travels either in a straight line or undulates in waves called Rossby waves. Rossby waves bring warm air northward and cold air southward. This can create a temporary heat wave or a rainstorm. The jet stream is powered by the temperature differential between the cold arctic air and the warmer air in the lower latitudes. As global warming continues to warm the arctic air, the jet stream is losing its power. The Rossby waves have become larger, expanding mu…

What You Need to Know About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are largely unfamiliar terms. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are affected by these conditions, however, many people still don’t know how to identify the two, or understand how they relate and differ. Crohn’s and colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which result from an overactive immune response that treats the normal, healthy contents of the colon (such as good bacteria and food) as foreign invaders. When the immune system detects a foreign substance, it sends a sea of white blood cells to the site of this substance, which in turn causes inflammation. Victims of IBD struggle to experience healthy digestion that doesn’t involve their system getting unnecessarily attacked by an immune response. The body’s reactions to these two diseases are often described similarly: loss of appetite, weight loss, urgent bowel movements, diarrhea, and fatigue. They are both long-term (chronic) conditions; individuals who are affected will likel…

The Great Insect Crisis

While bugs might not make everyone's list of favorite animals they play a vital role in the world’s ecosystems and today they face an existential threat. Globally, 40% of insect species are in decline, amounting to a 2.5% decrease each year. The cause is linked primarily to man-made pesticides. Industrial farms spray their crops with barrels of pesticides each year, killing insects and preventing larval development. Studies from Puerto Rico and Germany show the devastating impact of industrial farming in local areas, and the effects are believed to be worldwide. Other factors include global warming and urbanization, which have reduced insect habitats and damaged the environment.Insect Stock Photo Gallery The decline in insects, while startling on its face, has an even greater impact on the world at large. Insects are essential to most of the world’s ecosystems. Pollinating insects generate plant species while continuing the cycle of life. Carnivorous insects devour rotting ca…