MastersConnection 2020
Issue 453 In This Issue October 31st, 2015

Editors Corner

Did you know that the map of Taste Buds on the tongue, that you most likely learned when you were young, is wrong? Apparently, while the edges of your tongue may be a bit more sensitive then the middle, and some areas slightly more sensitive to certain tastes than others, these differences are actually quite small. Click here

Speaking of differences, are you aware that scientists have managed to create an "electronic skin" or "e-skin" that can feel heat and hear sound? Apparently e-skins are still “far from having the capabilities that human skin has, but the new work brings the technology closer". Click here

While science and technology are evolving, so is nature. Have you heard of a coywolf (sometimes called woyote)? If you haven't, you may have already guessed that it's a coyote-wolf hybrid. And DNA wasn't the only thing they got from both sides. Coyotes favor open spaces, but wolves do better with forestry. Coywolves? They love both. Click here

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Bloggers Corner
Is there a trend happening?
By Florence Vincent

Is there a trend happening around the world? Can it happen in Yelm and Thurston County? It looks like our Canadian friends to the north have had enough of conservative values. With the largest voter turnout in years, the Canadian people want 'Social' liberalism. More working with the rest of the world, more putting people and the environment above money. In Yelm we have people who agree its time for change. Small businesses in Yelm are particularly frustrated with the councils way of giving all the perks to multinational corporations and nothing but obstruction to small local businesses, (as in Ice Chips). Let's have some accountability and transparency in local government. If we vote in Carmody, DePinto and Stillwell we could finally see some change. In Thurston County there are two people running for Port of Olympia Commissioner who believe the Port can work for the people of our county. E.J. Zita Ph.D (physics, environmental science) and Joe Downing (WA State senior financial examiner) are both extremely thoughtful well qualified people who will make sure our money isn't wasted. They have plans that would support our local people and communities.

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In The News

Europe just voted to drop criminal charges against Edward Snowden and offer him asylum
The European Parliament voted on Thursday to drop all criminal charges against Edward Snowden and offer him asylum and protection from rendition from third parties. MEPs voted 285 - 281 to recognise the NSA whistleblower's status as a "human rights defender" and asked member states to grant him protection from extradition to the US, where he is wanted under several Espionage Act charges. In the resolution that was passed, MEPs said "too little has been done to safeguard citizens' fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance" the whistleblower alerted the world to after exposing the extent of the National Security Agency's spying programmes in 2013. The EU Commission is also being urged to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an "effective level of protection" and examine concerns over surveillance laws in several EU countries, such as reported co-operation by Germany intelligence agency BND with the NSA. It is up to individual member states to implement the resolution. Snowden himself seems to be overwhelmed by the development.

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First They Jailed The Bankers, Now Every Icelander To Get Paid In Bank Sale
First, Iceland jailed its crooked bankers for their direct involvement in the financial crisis of 2008. Now, every Icelander will receive a payout for the sale of one of its three largest banks, Íslandsbanki. If Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has his way — and he likely will — Icelanders will be paid kr 30,000 after the government takes over ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki would be second of the three largest banks under State proprietorship. “I am saying that the government take some decided portion, 5%, and simply hand it over to the people of this country,” he stated. Because Icelanders took control of their government, they effectively own the banks. Benediktsson believes this will bring foreign capital into the country and ultimately fuel the economy — which, incidentally, remains the only European nation to recover fully from the 2008 crisis. Iceland even managed to pay its outstanding debt to the IMF in full — in advance of the due date. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Budget Committee vice chairperson, explained the move would facilitate the lifting of capital controls, though he wasn’t convinced State ownership would be the ideal solution.

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Nature Watch

Coywolf: New dog-coyote-wolf hybrid already numbers in the millions
Scientists are marveling at a keenly evolved canine, not only because of its physical qualities, but for the rapid expansion of the population as well. One key question remains unsettled by biologists with regards to the coywolf: Is it actually a different species? In the northeastern region of North America, a century or two ago, wolves were in trouble. Humans were fundamentally altering their habitat, chopping down trees and creating new farmlands for themselves. Wolves saw fewer of their own kind, but more coyotes coming across the plains as well as the farmers’ dogs. Apparently the wolves liked what they saw, or as biologists describe it, they had no other choice. What resulted from their crossbreeding is being called “amazing.” Instead of a weaker offspring, what emerged was more advanced in seemingly every sense. Dr. Roland Kays of North Carolina State University described it as an “amazing contemporary evolution story that’s happening right underneath our nose” to the Economist. Dr. Kays estimates that there are millions of coywolves populating eastern North America, spreading southward from their original home in southern Ontario.

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Technology Watch

Electronic skin feels the heat, hears the sound
A new electronic skin can feel the grain of sand paper, the heat and beat of a person’s pulse — and listen to Richard Feynman’s voice, too. Rubbery plastic-and-graphene film mimicking the structure of human skin can detect texture, temperature, pressure and sound, Hyunhyub Ko and colleagues report October 30 in Science Advances. It’s the first time anyone has demonstrated an e-skin that can sense so many different kinds of stimuli, says Stanford University materials scientist Alex Chortos. “That’s the innovative and impressive part of this work.” Chortos and colleagues recently developed another pressure-detecting e-skin that sends signals directly to mouse brain cells. The cells got the message, too — they dialed activity up or down depending on how hard researchers pushed on the skin, Chortos’ team reported in the Oct. 16 Science. That work offers a blueprint for scientists to actually “bridge electronics with biology,” says Wenlong Cheng, a chemical engineer at Monash University in Australia.

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History Watch

NASA Adds to Evidence of Mysterious Ancient Earthworks
High in the skies over Kazakhstan, space-age technology has revealed an ancient mystery on the ground. Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Another is a kind of three-limbed swastika, its arms ending in zigzags bent counterclockwise. Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes. Spotted on Google Earth in 2007 by a Kazakh economist and archaeology enthusiast, Dmitriy Dey, the so-called Steppe Geoglyphs remain deeply puzzling and largely unknown to the outside world. Two weeks ago, in the biggest sign so far of official interest in investigating the sites, NASA released clear satellite photographs of some of the figures from about 430 miles up.

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Community Calendar

We do love to hear from you especially about community events that you think our readers ought to know about. So, thanks and keep the info flowing.

December 1st & 2nd: Unity - The Documentary
Yelm Cinemas will be hosting special showings of the documentary Unity. Tickets will go on sale Friday October 23rd.
Click here for more information

Something Worth Knowing

Four Things to Know About E15

What is E15 and why should I care?
E15 is shorthand for gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. The reason it's a big deal is that ethanol is fairly corrosive to rubber and certain metals, so it can cause damage to vital components. Ethanol also attracts and bonds with water from the air, and that water can separate out inside the tank due to phase separation. If your vehicle sits for long periods between use, the moisture settles to the bottom of the tank and can potentially clog in-tank pumps and filters. Damage is also possible in fuel lines, injectors, seals, gaskets, and valve seats as well as carburetors on older engines.

Is it really okay for my car?
This is a tricky question and the subject of a lot of hand-wringing right now. The gas you use now is often 10 percent ethanol, but some industry groups believe the higher concentration of E15 will cause problems. All cars 2007 and newer should be compatible with E15 because automakers have changed the formulation of the affected components.

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That Nifty Little Map of Taste Buds on the Tongue You Learned in School is all Wrong
Everybody has seen the tongue map – that little diagram of the tongue with different sections neatly cordoned off for different taste receptors. Sweet in the front, salty and sour on the sides and bitter at the back. It’s possibly the most recognizable symbol in the study of taste, but it’s wrong. In fact, it was debunked by chemosensory scientists (the folks who study how organs, like the tongue, respond to chemical stimuli) long ago. The ability to taste sweet, salty, sour and bitter isn’t sectioned off to different parts of the tongue. The receptors that pick up these tastes are actually distributed all over. We’ve known this for a long time. And yet you probably saw the map in school when you learned about taste. So where did it come from?

Origins of the taste map
That familiar but not-quite-right map has its roots in a 1901 paper, Zur Psychophysik des Geschmackssinnes, by German scientist David P Hänig. Hänig set out to measure the thresholds for taste perception around the edges of the tongue (what he referred to as the “taste belt”) by dripping stimuli corresponding to salty, sweet, sour and bitter tastes in intervals around the edges of the tongue.

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Does eco-friendly shampoo have a short shelf life?
Q. Dear Umbra,
A lot of the body care products we use (or should be using) have natural ingredients and presumably few preservatives. Doesn’t this automatically give them a short shelf life before they become yummy petri dishes for bacteria and fungi? I can make, for example, a bottle of shampoo last for months. I cannot bear to toss them or pour ’em down the sink, so try to use ’em up. What does it all mean?
Erin M.
Bellingham, WA

A. Dearest Erin,
As you imply, Erin, most beauty products contain some kind of preservative. There’s a good reason for that, which you also note: Without one, our lotions, shampoos, and other various goops would indeed start growing bacteria, fungi, yeast, or mold in short order, which could cause unpleasant infections when we slather them on our skin and near our mucus membranes. (Pinkeye is so not in this season.) This is true even of organic or “natural” beauty products: Without any preserving agent at all, we would need to keep our cosmetics in the fridge and use them within a few days.

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Space Watch

Halloween Fireballs Will Blaze in the Sky Through November
During the next couple of weeks, there is a fairly good chance that Earth will encounter a swarm of unusually large space particles, capable of generating some eye-catching fireball meteors. The Taurid meteors, sometimes called "Halloween fireballs,"(fireballs are extremely bright meteors) create one of this year's longest meteor showers, with at least a couple of shooting stars per hour from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30. But a one-week time frame extending from Nov. 5 through Nov. 12 is when the Taurids are most active. During peak times, about a dozen or so meteors may be seen per hour by an observer with clear, dark skies. (City lights or even slight haze will reduce substantially the number of faint meteors seen.) These meteors are often yellowish-orange and, as meteors go, appear to move rather slowly. Meteors — popularly known as "shooting stars" — are produced when debris enters and burns up in Earth's atmosphere. The meteors that make up the Taurid meteor shower are attributed to debris left behind by Encke's Comet, or perhaps by a much larger comet that upon disintegrating, left Encke and a lot of other rubble in its wake.

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

October 31st @ 9pm: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Audience interaction...dress inappropriately...$10

November 1st @ 1:25pm: Sea Hawks!
Bring your picnic basket of goodies, Free but donation of chump change welcomed! Giant screen! Hot dogs, snacks, cheerleaders! Surround sound! (next best thing to being there..). 2 non profits under one roof! Support your team while you support your art theater!

November 19th @ 6pm: Final "Round the Poet's Fire" w/ "The Singers & Songwriters"

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