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Truly Exciting Science News!

“From informing detailed models of the inner workings of neutron stars and the emissions they produce, to more fundamental physics such as general relativity, this event is just so rich. It is a gift that will keep on giving.” (David Shoemaker, LIGO)
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Great review by Amanda Alvarez @neuroamanda

Ending up with a livable rock, it turns out, is highly unlikely, and there are obstacles at every step of the planet formation process, but Tasker lays out the mechanics plainly and engagingly. Readers interested in the properties of exoplanets will appreciate the meticulous inclusion of surface temperatures, masses, orbits, and other details, and narrative links to various space probes and fictional planets like Star Wars’ Tatooine help to trigger the imagination and offset the sparse visuals in The Planet Factory.
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Most excellent turtle news!
Tucker, the olive ridley sea turtle we rehabilitated last year, is now swimming off the coast of Mexico. Read more about his release on KING5!
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I love Trilobite Tuesdays. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) had an especially lovely one this week.
It’s time for Trilobite Tuesday!

The construction of New York State’s Erie Canal from 1817 through 1825 unearthed a treasure trove of Silurian-age Rochester Shale fossils. At the time, these 420-million-year-old specimens caused much confusion and consternation among the scientific community. Quite simply, no one had ever previously seen material quite like this, and few knew what to make of these fossil riches. Some of the earliest scientific descriptions of many ancient species, including Arctinurus boltoni (pictured here), were based on discoveries made within this renowned locale in western New York. The site has long been famous for its outstanding preservation and abundance of invertebrate life, with more than 200 described species including corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, bivalves and more than a dozen recognized trilobite species.
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Sea Turtle at the Livorno, Italy Aquarium.
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Not only is this an interesting post by AMNH, which has some truly great collections, but it is about diversity. How diverse plants are AND a shining example of the diversity we need in STEM fields.
“Plants are so much weirder than animals!” says Amber Paasch, 30, who will be receiving her Ph.D. degree in Comparative Biology from the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS) on September 27. “I didn’t realize how interesting they were, how diverse.”

Through college and while earning her Master’s degree at Cal State L.A., she studied the abundant unique plant life of Southern California, including Syntrichia caninervis, a moss in the Mojave Desert that can survive without water for 100 years. At the Museum, Paasch worked with Associate Curator and Associate Professor Eunsoo Kim to research microscopic green algae that eat bacteria instead of relying only on photosynthesis, to find out what we can learn from them about the evolution of chloroplasts.

Aside from academics and research, Paasch took a leading role in getting the Museum actively involved in the annual Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference, which advises and supports minority students applying to graduate school. “It is necessary to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in science, and I am working to help remove barriers to academia for ethnic and racial minorities, and women,” says Paasch.

Paasch will return next month to California to start post-doctoral research in Katie Pollard’s bioinformatics lab in the Gladstone Institutes at the University of California, San Francisco. There, one of the central lessons of her time at the Gilder Graduate school should stand her in good stead. Paasch says Dr. Kim has always encouraged her to avoid being pinned down to a single species, and instead to approach analyses of traits and relationships through a wider lens.Says Paasch, “Rather than the organism being studied, what’s important are the questions we are asking.”
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A great article on the magnetic interactions that cause charged particles from the sun to interact with the Earth's upper atmosphere and create the aurora.
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You can get involved in restoring coral reefs by outplanting nursery-grown corals in depleted reefs. For more information, visit the UM Rescue-a-Reef program. The link is in the article.
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