20 July 2008

Fun (and education) with a book of abstracts

As mentioned in this post, early this year I paid my dues and became a member of the Florida Academy of Sciences. The Academy had its annual meeting, jointly with the Georgia Academy of Science, back in March, but the book of abstracts arrived in the mail only about a week ago (abstracts are also available here).

How they managed to fit so many talks and posters (117 pages) from so many different fields of science into one morning and one afternoon session is hard to conceive, but they managed it nevertheless.

Here are some snippets from the abstracts that attracted my attention.

Tin trade failure in ancient Mesopotamia: The reason why the Late bronze Age civilizations of Eastern Mediterranean fell by S. Samei, University of Georgia.
...the Hittites had a high demand of tin, an alloy of bronze. Where this tin came from is an old controversy. However, archaeological and geological researches point to rich tin sources in the west, in the present day Iran and Afghanistan.

Hold it, hold it! The Hittites lived in the present day Turkey and Iran and Afghanistan are located to the east.

Decomposition rates in small mammals by M. Acosta and G.E. Ellis, Barry University.
The control group consisted of six mice with no penetrating wounds and the experimental group consisted of six mice which sustained abdominal puncture wounds...There was a significanct increase in the rate of decomposition among the animals in the experimental group.

Swallets in Florida by G.H. Means & T.M. Scott, Florida Geological Survey.
A swallet is defined as a place where water disappears underground in a limestone region.

There, I learned something new.

Preliminary results on diet composition of swordfish Xiphias gladius, within the U.S. Florida Straits by A.M. Heemsoth & D.W. Kerstetter, Nova Southern University.
To date, 54 stomachs have been collected from different locations in the Florida Straits...

Florida is not just for shell collecting any more.

Is leprosy spreading among Nine-banded armadillos in the southeastern United States? by W.J. Loughry, Valdosta State University.
Although rare, a number of positive individuals were identified in eastern sites previously considered uninfected. This indicates leprosy may be spreading eastward...

A comparison of teaching college students algebra courses in the morning vs. the evening by A. Lazari, Valdosta State University.
The data indicates [sic] that students have higher success in the morning lecture classes.

1 comment:

John said...

If the Hittites were traveling west to get tin from Afghanistan, that might explain why the civilization fell.