Student Reading: World Unprepared for Upcoming El Niño

Hi there!

Today’s science based passage is another one based on how crazy our weather has been lately, and a forecast of even crazier weather in our near future (read: this winter). For those of us in California, we’re expected to get more rain:

Extra water may sound good, because California has been hit by a severe drought. But the raised seas may combine with heavy El Niño rains to cause devastating floods, as happened to the San Francisco area in 1997-98.

For elsewhere, it looks like drought, wildfires,… bad news everywhere. Check it out to see if you’re on the list of impacted regions.


World is Unprepared for Major El Niño Later This Year, by Michael Slezak in New Scientist


Student Reading: Love on Facebook

Hello students! I’ve got a cool one today about what Facebook “sees” when you fall in love! Pretty cool, but if you’ve ever done it (fallen in love in the age of Facebook), it reads kind of like a “oh yes, yes that did happen!” article.

When You Fall in Love, This is What Facebook Sees, by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic


While we’re at it: don’t forget to Like (love?) us on Facebook!


Student Reading: Why We’re Still Talking About Shakespeare..

Happy birthday/death-day, Shakespeare! They were different days (we are pretty certain), but both recent, so here’s a post on William Shakespeare’s relevance.


Although I would also recommend picking up a copy of Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut to see his take on who the most famous author was of all time (hint: it’s not Billy Shakespeare).


P.S. I like this graphic (although I have not independently verified that it’s all true):



Here’s Why We’re Still Talking About Shakespeare 450 Years Later, by Stephen Marche in Esquire


Student Reading: Bicycling Without a Helmet

Hello students,

An interesting blog post on why the author chooses to bicycle without a helmet, with supporting evidence that it may actually be safer. The author also encourages bicycling children and driving teenagers to wear helmets, as well as anyone who feels that they should, of course.

Really interesting read though, especially as I am not a cyclist and had not thought of quite a few of these issues before.


Why it Makes Sense to Bike Without a Helmet, by Howie Chong


Student Reading: Hockey!

Hello students! Hockey hockey hockey!

Guess what? The San Jose Sharks were once up 3-0, but have now moved to 3-3 with the LA Kings. Only a handful of teams since the league started have recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs, and LA is poised to do so after last night’s game.


So I bring an article about the Kings’ resurgence and an article on the sweetness of the Sharks. Unrelated, but in case they get knocked out tomorrow, it’s best to post while it’s still relevant.


From Three Down, One to Go for Kings, by Lisa Dillman in The Los Angeles Times


Sharks Sign Lifelong Fan to One-Day Contract, by James Dator in SB Nation


Student Reading: Cherry Tree Seed Sprouts 6 Years Early after Trip in Space

What! I don’t know where to start when I dissect this headline:

  1. Cherry tree seeds take more than 6 years to sprout?!
  2. Space can change how quickly a seed sprouts?
  3. Why?

And then:

  1. Why is one of the best questions to come out of this trip to SPACE posed by a child?
  2. Maybe we should have more children come up with experiments for space.

Might be the best thing!

Read on for other fascinating facts on this experiment (like what’s different about these particular cherry trees besides the fact that they sprouted early).


Cherry Tree Seed Sprouts Six Years Earlier Than Usual After Eight Month Trip In Space, by Scott Bickard in The University Herald


Student Reading: Runaway stows in the wheel well of an airplane..

And survives!

What a crazy story. Even crazier, from the article,

Since 1947, there have been 105 people who have similarly stowed away in wheel wells of passenger aircraft.


Can you guess how many of those lived?


I can’t believe it. That’s a < 25 % chance of surviving. And that means more than one person each year has tried it. Blows my mind. Can you guess what the survivors have in common? Read, read, to find out:

Santa Clara teen stowaway’s survival in jet’s wheelwell was literally death-defying, by Robert Salonga in The San Jose Mercury News


Student Reading: How Athletes Strategically Use Caffeine

One of my students took a double shot of espresso before his ACT and swore he performed better. I myself am super sensitive to caffeine, so this would be a relatively risky proposal for me to try, but for all of you who are not, perhaps it is worth considering.

This article features on those of a different type, though: professional athletes, specifically those of the Ironman Triathlon kind, the most grueling triathlon out there. At least so I’ve heard.

As always, please read the first paragraph of the article. Although I bet you’ll want to read more.

 How Athletes Strategically Use Caffeine, by Murray Carpenter in The Atlantic