Gross Science at Phoenix Fan Fest, October 23, 2016

As a followup to the Gross Science panel at Phoenix Fan Fest, here are some noted insects of the Sonoran Desert.

Rainbow Grasshopper

Jay Iwasaki, (CC BY 2.0)

Jay Iwasaki, (CC BY 2.0)

Feeds on snakeweed and desert broom, making it distasteful to predators.

Opuntia Bug

Cactus Bug (Chelinidea vittiger - Opuntia Bug); trail over "Adobe Wall Pass" to Redfield Canyon S of Jackson Canyon, Galiuro Mountains, E of Redington, AZ, Lon&Queta, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cactus Bug (Chelinidea vittiger – Opuntia Bug); trail over “Adobe Wall Pass” to Redfield Canyon S of Jackson Canyon, Galiuro Mountains, E of Redington, AZ, Lon&Queta, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cause white spots to appear on cacti due to their feeding.

Cicada

Photo by Eileen Kane

Diceroprocta apache photo by Eileen Kane

Different species emerge at disparate times of the year and males sing distinct songs. Desert cicada life cycles are 3-7 years in contrast with Eastern cicadas’ 13-17 years. Desert species are the only known insects who can sweat.

Palo Verde Beetle

Cobalt123 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cobalt123 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Larvae feed on roots–sometimes palo verde or mesquite trees–for up to three years.

Jerusalem Cricket

Franco Folini , CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia

Franco Folini , CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia

Sometimes know as Child of the Earth or Skull Insect, they are cousins of katydids and wetas and nocturnal predators.

Iron-Cross Blister Beetle

tegrodera_latecincta_yavapai

Blood contains cantharidin which causes blisters. They pupate in native been nests.

Tarantula Hawk

Marc Shandro (CC-SA 3.0)

Marc Shandro (CC-SA 3.0)

Females hunt tarantulas for food for her offspring. Usually nectar feeds and non-aggressive, never swat at them as their sting is very painful.

 

Carpenter Bee

US Forestry Service

US Forestry Service

From Steve Buchman, The Bee Works:

Along with bumble bee queens, carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are the largest native bees in the United States. There are numerous species of carpenter bees that inhabit a broad range of ecosystems from tropical to subtropical to temperate. In the United States carpenters bees can be found across the southern United States from Arizona to Florida and in the eastern United States, north to New York.

These gentle giants get their name from their life history habits of excavating precisely rounded galleries inside wood. Using their broad, strong mandibles (jaws), they chew into dead but non-decayed limbs or trunks of standing dead trees. Some species, like the eastern Xylocopa virginica, occasionally take up residence in fence posts or structural timbers, especially redwood, and become a minor nuisance. Inside their rounded branched galleries, they form pollen/nectar loaves upon which they lay their giant eggs (up to 15 mm long). The female forms partitions between each egg cell by mixing sawdust and her saliva together. These partition walls are very similar to particle board.

More Resources

50 Common In50-common-insectssects of the Southwest by Carl E. Olson. “Olson’s love for insects began when he and his older brother collected caterpillars and silk moths in the Ohio countryside. While terminating insects with Raid is the initial instinct of many people, Olson has dedicated his career to using alternative ways to solve the insect problems people face. He is a believer in programs promoting ‘integrated pest management,’ or IPM.”

Learning About and Living With Insects of the Southwest: How to Identify Helpful, Harmful and Venomous Insects by Floyd G. Werner Carl Olson. Excerpt, The Bugman’s Philosophy by Carl Olson:

insects-southwestAs I wander about this desert, I now try to figure out what insects are around making this world so delightful to me. I may become an oasis in the desert to the creatures. If that fly comes to my nose and becomes an irritation, I may shoo it away but I know why it comes to me. Life won’t always be as I wish it to be, so maybe I can return a little of me through some other life forms. Peace of mind comes in many ways, but to me it comes in the form of diverse shapes and sizes of all those microcreatures surrounding me in life.

sting-of-the-wildThe Sting of the Wild by Justin Schmidt. The world of stinging insects through their eyes from the author of the Schmidt sting pain index.

onesmall-squareCactus Desert (One Small Square) by Donald Silver & Patricia Wynne. “It’s a sun-scorched world where clouds rarely come and nothing seems to move. That is, until children ages 6 – 9 up look a little closer to find tortoises, toads, and lizards, not to mention the scary rattlesnake and scorpion. Here, plants send their roots deep into the earth to find water, beetles stand on their head and shoot a stinky spray to fight off enemies, and roadrunners whiz by sleepy turtles and nervous desert mice on their way to … where?”

Bugs ‘N Stuff of the Southwest Facebook Group.

Professional Devlopment for K-12 Teachers at Phoenix Comicon

The Professional Devlopment Programming Track at Phoenix Comicon, June 2-5, 2016, Phoenix Convention Center, provides an opportunity for teachers to learn about current research topics, trends, ideas and technologies being developed by Arizona-based, up-and-coming researchers, scientist and engineers. K-12 teachers receive credits for each panel they attend where the Arizona Department of Education has certified the content.

Teachers collect unique stickers from each Phoenix Comicon panel certified for Professional Development credit.

Teachers collect unique stickers from each Phoenix Comicon panel certified for Professional Development credit.

Panels and interactive activities feature Ph.D. STEM research professionals as well as engineers and technologists. With the Every Student Succeeds Act requiring that science assessments be administered once in elementary, middle, and high school, and that schools provide professionaldevelopment in the area of parent and family engagement including collaborating with entities with a record of success in improving and increasing parent and family engagement, Phoenix Comicon Professional Devlopment Programming provides a unique opportunity for teachers to align with current topics in science, industry and engineering with popular culture.

Professional Devlopment Programming also provides access to personalized learning experiences supported by technology and professional development for the effective use of data and technology via the opportunity to interact, ask questions of and develop follow-up with contemporary researchers and innovative engineers.

Highlights from the Science Programming Track eligible for Professional Development include:

SCI-FARI: TALES FROM THE FIELD (THURSDAY, 4:30PM – 5:30PM), North 227BC
Although laboratories are important, scientists often have to travel to their subjects to study them. In this panel, researchers will discuss the exotic and remote places they’ve traveled and their adventures there.

EYE IN THE SKY: THE SCIENCE OF DRONES (THURSDAY, 7:30PM – 8:30PM), North 227BC
In 1849, Austria bombed the city of Venice with over 100 pilotless balloons. Since then, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have advanced dramatically, and now include both military and hobbyist devices. In this panel, experts will discuss the science behind drones and where the technology is heading.

X-MEN, MUTATIONS, AND YOU (FRIDAY, 1:30PM – 2:30PM), North 227BC
In the X-Men universe, humans carrying the X-Gene can gain super powers including Telepathy, Super Healing, and Super Senses. In this panel, scientists will discuss where mutations come from, and whether they can ever give us beneficial powers.

BETTER FED THAN DEAD: HOW TO SURVIVE AFTER AN APOCALYPSE
(FRIDAY, 7:30PM – 8:30PM), North 227BC
Your guide to basic survival needs in a post-apocalyptic world.

SCIENCE OF IRON MAN: THE REAL TONY STARK (SATURDAY, 3:00PM – 4:00PM), North 227BC
Tony Stark built the first Iron Man suit in a cave with a box of scraps. He’s also created new elements, coded sentient artificial intelligence, and mastered flight. In this panel, engineers will talk about their work and the feasibility of Iron Man’s achievements.

REAL MEN AND WOMEN IN BLACK (SATURDAY, 7:30PM – 8:30PM), North 227BC
Join the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security, and Postal Inspection Service to hear how they use science to fight crime and protect vital infrastructure, and what they think of their TV and film counterparts.

A TRICORDER DARKLY: FUTURE MEDICAL DIAGNOSTICS (SUNDAY, 12:00PM – 1:00PM), North 227BC
In Star Trek, the Tricorder is a versatile device that allows high resolution scanning and analysis of patients to quickly diagnose disease. In this panel, scientists will discuss projects that are attempting to turn this science fiction into science fact.

 

Phoenix Comicon 2016 Programming Includes Science Interactive Space

pg2016This year, Phoenix Comicon, June 2-5, 2016, at the Phoenix Convention Center, is trying something new with science programming: a science & technology interactive space intended for adults and familiies.

Located all four days of Comicon in Room 231A of the Phoenix Convention Center’s North building, highlights of the Interactive Science space include:

EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SPACE – THE SCIENCE OF INTERSTELLAR HABITATION
Ever wonder what it would be like to live on Mars? Do you have what it takes to land a Martian rover? Are you an interstellar entrepreneur? Presented by Center for Meteorite Studies, SEDS-ASU.
THURSDAY, 12:00PM – 1:30PM
FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY, 10:30AM – 12:30PM

Techshop1TECHSHOP STEAM MAKER SESSIONS- CALLING ALL CURIOUS MINDS
TechShop‘s hands-on, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) sessions are geared to intrigue and fire up the curiosity. .
THURSDAY, 2:00PM – 5:00PM
FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 1:00PM – 4:00PM
SUNDAY, 1:00PM – 5:00PM

WE ARE LEGION: CYBER SECURITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY WITH THE ARIZONA CYBER WARFARE RANGE
Anonymous, The Matrix, Hackers, War Games, Tron… the list goes on. We are in the age of Cyber security- don’t get left behind. Presented by the AZ Cyber Warfare Range.
THURSDAY, 5:30PM – 10:00PM

INSIDE THE WORLD OF IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) – LIVE AND HANDS ON!
Visit a team of local hackers, makers and experts to experience live, interactive demos, and awesomely engaging conversations about the future, which is NOW. Organized by Steve Greenberg of ThinClient Computing.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 7:30PM – 9:30PM

Top Geek Pub Trivia Challenge, Monday, May 9, 2016, at The Perch, Chandler

Phoenix Section of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosts a fun night of pub trivia featuring aerospace science, history, sci-fi, pop culture, and more, Monday, May 9, 2016, 6PM at The Perch, 232 S Wall St, Chandler. Sign up as an individual or as a team of up to four (Individuals will be added to teams at the event). Make new friends and impress them with your smarts! Prizes will be awarded to the top teams and to the best team name. Everyone is welcome, so bring friends. Everyone who signs up by May 1 gets one “freebie” answer: register here.

Geek Trivia

Mathematician biopic free film preview at TechShop Chandler, May 4, 2016, The Man Who Knew Infinity

Free film preview at TechShop Chandler, 249 E Chicago St, Chandler, The Man Who Knew Infinity, about mathematician Srinavasa Ramanujan, starring Dev Patel, is Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 7PM, limited seating, RSVP here. 

Rated PG-13, Opens: Friday, May 6th at Harkins Camelview @ Fashion Square

Synopsis:

image003Colonial India, 1913. Srinavasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) is a 25-year-old shipping clerk and self-taught genius, who failed out of college due to his near-obsessive, solitary study of mathematics. Determined to pursue his passion despite rejection and derision from his peers, Ramanujan writes a letter to G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), an eminent British mathematics professor at Trinity College, Cambridge. Hardy recognizes the originality and brilliance of Ramanujan’s raw talent and despite the skepticism of his colleagues, undertakes bringing him to Cambridge so that his theories can be explored.

Ramanujan leaves his family, his community, and his beloved young bride, Janaki (Devika Bhisé), to travel across the world to England. There, he finds understanding and a deep connection with his sophisticated and eccentric mentor. Under Hardy’s guidance, Ramanujan’s work evolves in ways that will revolutionize mathematics and transform how scientists explain the world. Hardy fights tirelessly to get Ramanujan the recognition and respect that he deserves but in reality he is as much an outcast in the traditional culture of Cambridge as he was among his peers in India. But Ramanujan fights illness and intense homesickness to formally prove his theorems so that his work will finally be seen and believed by a mathematical establishment that is not prepared for his unconventional methods.

The Man Who Knew Infinity is the improbable true story of a unique genius whose pivotal theories propelled him from obscurity into a world in the midst of war, and how he fought tirelessly to show the world the genius of his mind.

3D Titanium Printing with Joe Manzo of Titan Industries, Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Phoenix Section of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will host a dinner event featuring Joe Manzo of Titan Industries and Orbital ATK Thursday, April 28, 2016, 6PM, at The Pink Pony, 3831 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale. Joe will be presenting on Electron Beam Melting Additive Manufacturing, a rapidly emerging technology allowing fully-functional parts to be 3D printed in titanium. The capabilities, development, and future outlook for this technology will be discussed, as well as Titan Industries’ innovative work in design for additive manufacturing that allows the benefits of the process to be maximized.

The event is open to the public. Cost is only $15 for students/educators or $30 for the public for a 3 course plated dinner and networking hour, the presentation itself is free. If you plan to attend, please register.

Chandler Science Café @ TechShop, “The Year in NASA,” January 20, 2016

 

Please join us Wednesday, January 20, 2015, 6:30pm, at TechShop, 249 E. Chicago St., Chandler, AZ 85225, for Chandler Science Café @ TechShop, “The Year in NASA,” with Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Seniorspace-walk-991_960_720 Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc. We’ll discuss the past year as well as the NASA missions to come in 2016.

Dennis has a decade of experience communicating complex concepts using video games, infographics, and interactive platforms to inform and empower communities. Dennis has created federal websites, designed visualization software for NASA, and worked on documents presented to the U.S. President. Dennis is also currently the community manager for http://LAUNCH.org, a sustainability program developed by NASA, Nike, the U.S. Department of State, and USAID. Dennis has worked with the NASA Open Innovation Team, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, and the NASA Office of Human Capitol.

Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Senior Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc.

Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Senior Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc.

Entering its fifth year, Chandler Science Cafe moves to TechShop Chandler and to third Wednesdays of the month, 6:30-7:30pm. Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative. More info at ScienceArizona.org. We’ll celebrate the Arizona SciTech Festival February 17, 2016, as we explore Habitable Worlds and the tech required to get and stay there with a planetary scientist. March 16, 2016, we’ll talk about New Space–It Is Rocket Science.

Chandler Science Café, Adventures in Space Advocacy, November 4, 2015

Chandler Science Cafe, Adventures in Space Advocacy, is Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225.

In November, Chandler Science Café celebrates the new book, Adventures in Space Advocacy, a memoir by Michael Mackowski that tells the story of his involvement in grass roots advocacy for a more robust American space program.

Mike Mackowski is a local aerospace engineer in the aerospace industry and a longtime member of the National Space Society (NSS), the Planetary Society, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has worked to establish collaborative efforts among the local NSS, AIAA, etc. chapters on activities such as Yuri’s Night and SpaceUp Phoenix. He has received several awards from AIAA for public policy and STEM outreach activities.

“My hope is that historians of the space movement will find this to be an interesting first-hand account of grass-roots efforts to promote space exploration to the public,” Mackowski said. “Similarly, current space activists can learn from these examples of how to execute large pro-space events.”

The book is now available via Amazon in print and digital and will be available at science cafe.

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Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Chandler Science Cafe, “What You Don’t Know About Genetics” with Rebekah Brubaker, September 2, 2015

Chandler Science Cafe returns from summer hiatus with “What You Don’t Know About Genetics” with Rebekah Brubaker, Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225. We’ll talk about the good and bad science in popular media, how to understand studies reported in the press and extremophiles.

Thermus aquaticus is a species of bacterium that can tolerate high temperatures.

Rebekah Brubaker is a researcher at the Dr. Baluch Keck Lab, Arizona State University.

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Chandler Science Cafe, “Mission to Mars” with Rebeca Rodriguez, May 6, 2015

Please join us Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225, for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Mission to Mars,” with Aerospace Engineer & entrepreneur Rebeca Rodriguez, M.S., Space Management, Founder, Xplore BoX.

Rebecca spent two weeks along with seven other team members from five different countries on a simulated mission at the Mars Desert Research Station, Utah. The Mars Desert Research Station is operated by The Mars Society to further the Society’s ultimate goal to explore and settle the Red Planet. Rebecca will talk about her experience at this Mars Analog Research Station, a laboratory for learning how to live and work on another planet.

In addition, Rebecca is a STEM education entrepreneur and the Founder of Xplore BoX, a subscription service where students receive a package with carefully selected projects and activities to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

“When I was 11 years old I visited NASA Johnson Space Center and from that moment on I was hooked on space exploration and science research,” Rebeca said. “Fortunately, my parents were highly involved and provided many hands-on activities like model rocketry to fuel my passion of becoming an aerospace engineer. I credit those hands-on experiences that showed me the application of all the theory I was learning in school to the success of completing my aerospace engineering degree and master’s in space management. The hands-on projects and experiments kept me focused on what I would be doing after school. Once I was working in the space sector, I noticed kids did not have the same hands-on opportunities I did and therefore decided to start Xplore BoX. I hope Xplore BoX facilitates a convenient way to expose your children to the sciences and that it sparks and nurtures their interests.”

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Free, open to the public, all welcome.