Science & Technology

Science & Technology
9:03 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Video games offer learning opportunities in the classroom

Casey O’Donnell, assistant professor of Media and Information at Michigan State University.
Credit Courtesy

If you’re a parent living in the 21st century, chances are you’ve had to tell your kids to turn off the video games and go outside to play. But video games aren’t just for recreation anymore. They’re also increasingly being used as learning tools in the classroom.

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Science & Technology
12:34 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

New MSU planetarium technology improves stargazing

MSU Abrams Planetarium director Shannon Schmoll.
Credit Scott Pohl / WKAR

Michigan State University opened the Abrams Planetarium 50 years ago.  That's five decades of giving kids and adults from all over the state a glimpse of the solar system and the universe.  As you might expect, the equipment to do that has improved a lot in those 50 years.  Current State's Scott Pohl speaks with planetarium director Shannon Schmoll about the upgrades.

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Science & Technology
10:46 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Lansing Maker Week encourages ingenuity

Dreamers. Inventors. Tinkerers. Builders. In the 21st century, they’re often called  “makers.” This creative impulse runs deep in Michigan and in America. “Lansing Maker Week”, a series of events that runs through Sunday, is meant to nurture that tradition.

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Science & Technology
11:20 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Michigan-born astronaut recalls his three space missions

Col. Michael Bloomfield

Beginning in the late 90’s, Colonel Michael Bloomfield was a part of three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station, the third as commander. He grew up in Lake Fenton in Genesee County.

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Science & Technology
12:21 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

What's in a mosquito's meal plan?

Certain smells, humidity and amount of carbon dioxide given off by a person are some of the items mosquitoes look for when choosing a meal.
Credit Flickr - Macroscopic Solutions

As summer winds down and people try to make the most out of the beautiful Michigan environment, many may be fighting off nature’s age-old enemy: the mosquito. But what makes mosquitoes more attracted to some people than others? Many myths have circulated about the cause of this rather annoying phenomenon, but scientific research is also out there about what factors make mosquitoes swarm to certain people (Hint: It has to do with a lot more than blood).

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Science & Technology
1:07 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Ag Expo focuses on education, technology

The Michigan Ag Expo is held on the campus of Michigan State University and will host more than 200 exhibitors.
Credit Flickr

Thousands of farmers from all over Michigan will take some time away from the fields next week to visit the Michigan State University campus for Ag Expo. Starting Tuesday, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be joined by MSU AgBioResearch scientists and MSU Extension educators to conduct education programs. And, farm equipment producers always bring the latest in farming technology to display.

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12:30 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

MSU's rare corpse flower comes to life

Curator Frank Telewski (left) and Peter Carrington, assistant curator, await the stench of the soon-to-bloom corpse flower from Sumatra, Indonesia.
Credit WKAR/Marie Steinbock

The Michigan State University campus here in East Lansing is often described as one of the most beautiful in America.

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12:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Open Science movement challenges status quo

The Open Science movement attempts to break down barriers both inside the science community and with the general public.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Studying the final frontier of space got a little bit easier this month. On May 5th, a group of scientists launched an online simulator that allows users to explore our galaxy in incredibly accurate detail in a span of billions years. But what’s the most innovative part of this new project? Anyone can use it whether you’re getting your doctorate in astrophysics or you’re just a curious websurfer.

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11:33 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Deadly piglet virus hits farms statewide, nationally

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus causes diarrhea in suckling piglets.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Pig farmers in Michigan and around the nation are losing piglets to a virus that is easily spread and almost always lethal to very young animals. So far, it’s killed over six million piglets.

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1:38 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Bionic eye helps Michigan man see again

The Argus II uses electical stimulation of the retina to reproduce an image that is captured by a video camera.
Credit Courtesy - Second Sight

Restoring sight to the blind and visually impaired has long been thought of as more in the realm of science fiction than actual science. But Roger Pontz of Reed City, Michigan would beg to differ. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease as a teenager, Pontz was almost completely blind until last January, when he became just the fourth person in the United States to have a device called the Argus II implanted.

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Science and Technology
2:00 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Ann Arbor emerging as global leader in connected vehicle technology

Connected cars can talk wirelessly with each other and with other parts of the traffic system to adjust to road conditions and avoid accidents.
Credit Flickr - Sherman Mui

If you were a fan of the 1980’s TV show “Knight Rider,” you’ll remember actor David Hasselhoff riding around in a modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that could talk, fly and even scan other vehicles. It was cutting edge TV sci-fi at the time, but so-called “smart cars” are not that far away (minus the flying, of course).

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Science & Technology
12:05 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Series of lunar eclipses begins overnight

Tonight will see the first of four lunar eclipses between now and September 2015. The event is known as a tetrad.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The planet Mars won’t be the only red object in the night sky tomorrow. If you happen to be up before dawn, check out the moon around 3 a.m.  If the weather is clear, Earth’s celestial neighbor will take on a reddish tone during a total lunar  eclipse.

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Science & Technology
11:56 am
Fri April 4, 2014

NPR's Krulwich cultivates the beauty in science

Krulwich's 7 p.m. talk is called 'Talking Science to Non-Scientists: Saddam Hussein’s Secret Octupus and Other Stories'.
Credit Flickr - Jared Kelly

The Michigan State University Science Festival continues through this weekend. A familiar voice will speak at Kellogg Center as part of the festival: Robert Krulwich. Current State’s Melissa Benmark spoke with him earlier this week.

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Science & Technology
12:39 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Aw, shucks: Corn waste yields feed and fuel

MBI employee Laurel Hills inspects a tub of corn stover used in the AFEX project. It's a process by which leftover corn residue, or stover, is treated with ammonia and heat to release sugars. The end product makes a good feedstock for cattle as well as a promising biofuel.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Spring planting season for corn in Michigan is still at least a month away, but scientists who study the crop’s amazing versatility want you to cast your vote for a “home-grown” project. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute, or MBI, is developing a process that seeks to get more use out of the leftover  residue of the plant that’s not fit for human consumption.

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Science & Technology
1:42 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

For Golden Anniversary, Abrams reassembles original star projector

Courtesy of John French

This year MSU’s Abrams Planetarium is celebrating 50 years. To mark the milestone the Planetarium's original star projector is being resembled by one of the original staffers. Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke with John Hare, who worked at Abrams nearly 50 years ago.

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Science & Technology
1:47 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

MSU cybercrime expert looks at hierarchy of hackers

Jared Andrews of MSU has seen cybercrimes that range from being minor, repairable annoyances to more invasive breaches.
Credit Flickr - Steve Petrucelli

Last December, some high tech grinches tried to steal Christmas for one major retailer. Computer hackers broke into the Target Corporation mainframe and downloaded some 40-million credit card numbers.  The breach was executed despite the fact that Target had installed malware detection software months before.

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Science & Technology
12:59 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

MSU breaks ground on historic FRIB project

Site preparation for the FRIB project.
Credit Courtesy of

This is a big day at Michigan State University for one of the biggest projects in mid-Michigan. A host of dignitaries are formally breaking ground at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, commonly known as FRIB.

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Science & Technology
12:12 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

NASA project detects 715 new planets

Kepler's Supernova is named for 17th century German astronomer Johannes Kepler. The deep space telescope named for him recently discovered 715 new planets.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Last week, NASA announced its latest findings from the Kepler mission.  Kepler is a space telescope that was launched in 2009 to look for habitable planets.  Current State’s Emanuele Berry sat down with Michigan State University astronomer Megan Danahue to learn more.

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Science & Technology
12:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Looking at Google Glass through the eyes of an early user

Ari Adler is a Google Glass explorer from Lansing.
Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

One of the newest gadgets that is fascinating and disturbing to people is the Google Glass. You wear it on your face like a pair of glasses, and you’re able to get information, take pictures, and all kinds of things, mostly through voice and touch commands. Google has asked people to become “Explorers,” to get feedback on the product, and we found one right here in Lansing. Ari Adler is the Michigan House GOP press secretary, and also a Google Glass Explorer.

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Science & Technology
12:33 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Survey finds Americans' interest in science remains strong

Prof. John Besley says the science community is making sure there are good quality, credible science resources available online.
Credit Flickr - Ocean Networks Canada

Despite all those studies that show America’s education system lagging further behind in the world, it turns out all is not lost when it comes our collective knowledge about science and technology.

A portion of a big national survey released late last week measured the public perceptions of science and technology and compared the data to similar studies around the world.  The results show that while Americans, like much of the rest of the world, still have some basic things to learn, there is a keen interest in the latest scientific and technological discoveries.

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12:43 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

MSU research on cyberbullying shows signs for concern

Studies conducted by MSU professors found cyberbullying is just as detrimental to youths as physical bullying.

Bullying isn't just happening the the schoolyard anymore. In the age of technology, online aggression is everywhere.

Two recent reports by MSU professors focus on the world of cyberbullying.

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