Tag: kids

Astronomy Gets Adorable: Ten-Year-Old Girl Discovers Supernova

By Jennifer Welsh | January 5, 2011 11:34 am

Most ten-year-olds don’t have the patience to sift through star images for thousands of hours. But Kathryn Aurora Gray was on a mission: She wanted to become the youngest person to discover a supernova.

And luckily for her, Kathryn’s work didn’t take thousands of hours–she discovered an exploded star about fifteen minutes after starting her career as an amateur astronomer. After looking through four of the 52 pictures provided by family friend and astronomer David Lane, she saw it, her father explains to the Canadian Star:

“Kathryn pointed to the screen and said: ‘Is this one?’ I said ‘yup, that looks pretty good’,” said Paul Gray, describing his daughter’s find.

The images that Kathryn studied to find the supernova were taken by Lane on New Year’s Eve at his “backyard astronomical observatory” in Nova Scotia, Canada. On January 2nd, Kathryn and her father sat down to analyze Lane’s images using a computer program that overlays pictures of the sky from different dates. If one of the stars in the frame brightens dramatically, it appears to “blink” when switching back and forth between the pictures. (See an animation here.)

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Aliens Therefrom

"Kids Can Be So Cruel" Science: Squinting Kids Get Fewer Party Invites

By Joseph Calamia | August 20, 2010 12:43 pm

bdayWhom would you invite to your birthday party? If you’re a six-year-old, probably not the kid with an eye disorder.

Shown pictures of other children and asked to pick birthday party attendees, six- to eight-year-olds did not care about gender or shirt color with any statistical significance. But they did care if a possible invitee had strabismus–a condition when a child’s eyes don’t line up while focusing, often resulting in crossed eyes or squinting. This heart-breaker brought to you by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The photographs included identical twins: children in four pairs of pictures looked the same, except for their digitally altered shirt colors and eyes. Given four chances to pick children with strabismus, 18 of 48 children did not select any child with the disorder. None picked the child with the eye disorder on all four opportunities.

The researchers say the study indicates that parents may want to consider corrective surgery before children with strabismus turn six–apparently the age when kids take a turn for the shallow.

Younger birthday boys and girls appear to care less about what their invitees eyes looked like: Of 31 children between the ages of four and six, the researchers found that 9 children picked kids with strabismus three or four times. Only one meanie didn’t pick any children with an eye disorder.

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Image: flickr / Spojeni

Army Generals Fret: Are Americans too Fat to Fight?

By Eliza Strickland | May 3, 2010 11:33 am

military-recruitingThe biggest threat to American security may not be scheming terrorists or secretive cyber attacks–it may be the growing girth of the average American youth.

Retired army generals John Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, who have both served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argue that the obesity epidemic is rendering too many Americans unfit for duty. As the generals write in a Washington Post op-ed:

It seems incredible, but these are the facts: As of 2005, at least 9 million young adults — 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24 — were too overweight to serve in the military, according to the Army’s analysis of national data.

Since 1995, the number of recruits who have failed their medical exams because they’re overweight or obese has increased 70 percent. The generals say that to defuse this national security threat, the United States needs to get to potential soldiers when they’re young. They urge Congress to pass a child nutrition bill that would get junk food and soda out of schools, and that would make school lunches more nutritious.

If they’re really serious about this campaign, though, they might want to consider replacing lunchroom monitors with drill sergeants, who could scream at the little maggots to put down the Hostess CupCakes and to drop and give them 20.

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Image: Flickr / See-ming Lee

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