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At the center of each chlorophyll molecule sits one magnesium ion, a linchpin for photosynthesis. Our cells require magnesium for hundreds of enzymes and metabolic processes. Spawned from supernovae and scattered through interstellar dust, this life-giving alkaline earth metal readily reacts and is abundant in seawater and a host of minerals from dolomite to olivine. The United States’ population of older adults is projected to double by 2050. This unprecedented demographic shift has wide-ranging implications for our society as demand grows for programs and services tailored to the needs of older adults. As many quickly discover, navigating the patchwork of medical, financial, social, and legal systems needed to meet one’s needs in retirement can be a burden requiring complex decision-making in an uncertain environment.
This is a challenge for even the most sophisticated consumers and there is particular concern about older adults navigating these decisions, as converging neuroscientific and economic research indicates that many cognitive skills decline with age—and age is a principal risk factor for impairing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Given this body of evidence, many advocate for stronger protections for adults from fraud and exploitation. At the same time, persistent ageism and common misperceptions about the prevalence of cognitive impairment in older adults raise concerns about whether well-intentioned attempts to protect older adults risk depriving them of their rights to make autonomous decisions.
Please join David Faigman in conversation with special guests Daniel Marson and Winston Chiong to discuss current and emerging scientific research about how we make decisions as we age, how physicians assess our capacity to make decisions, and the legal and ethical implications for families and society. For the solar eclipse of 2016, the Exploratorium was on the island of Woleai, in Micronesia, with multiple telescopes trained on the sun. These telescopes were connected to a laptop holding custom-made software that looks at the movement of the moon and the brightness of the sun. Composer Wayne Grim used this software to create a live composition based on the data. The musical composition uses rotational and orbital periods of the Earth, moon, and sun as formal elements. Here is an excerpt from the 3 hour piece. See the highlights of totality from the total solar eclipse of March 8/9 2016! The Exploratorium and NASA went to Woleai, a tiny atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia, where we broadcast the eclipse live. Totality began at 11:38 a.m. on March 9 in Woleai, Micronesia, which was 5:38 p.m. on March 8 in San Francisco. This hands-on science video explains Einstein’s light-bending concept using nothing more than a wine glass and an LED light representing a star. In this video, Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty explains why you rarely see a true scale model of the Earth, sun, and moon. Understanding the true scale of the solar system helps us appreciate the rarity of total solar eclipses: it’s unusual when objects at such distances line up perfectly. Únete a la astrónoma del Exploratorium Isabel Hawkins quien junto a la educadora del Exploratorium Liliana Blanco explican los movimientos de los astros durante un eclipse total de sol. A través de demostraciones, ellas muestran cómo la luna, el sol y la Tierra se alinean para crear la coincidencia cósmica que llamamos un eclipse total de sol.
Learn how the mix of saltwater and freshwater in the San Francisco Bay affects its diverse ecosystems with John Largier, professor of coastal oceanography at the University of California, Davis. Essential, explosive sodium is a soft, silvery alkali metal that roils in water, releasing clouds of hydrogen gas that fan its yellow flames. It reacts with most elements, and is naturally found only in compounds, such as sodium chloride, or common salt. Ancient Egyptians knew sodium from natron, a mix of salts prized for cleaning, personal hygiene, and preservation, particularly in mummification. Humphry Davy first isolated the element from caustic soda in 1807, naming it sodium; Jakob Berzelius preferred natrium, hence its symbol (Na). As a metal, liquid sodium cools nuclear reactors, and sodium-vapor lamps bathe streets at night in yellow, monochromatic light. In this video, Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty explains why we don't have a total solar eclipse every month. A total solar eclipse happens when the moon crosses between the sun and Earth and casts its shadow onto our planet. But the orbit of the moon is tilted relative to the orbit of the Earth around the sun, so the moon often passes below or above Earth. At those times, it does not cross the line between the sun and the Earth, and therefore does not create a solar eclipse. There are just two times a year in the Earth's orbit when there is a possibility of a total solar eclipse.