Friday, May 5, 2017

Tonight on Zona Politics: Scientist Geoff Notkin, Urban Fellow Diana Rhoades & Saying Goodbye to Kathryn Ferguson

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 4:28 PM

Geoff Notkin talks about his hopes for a new science museum in Tucson tonight on Zona Politics. - PABLO DEL RIO LARRAIN ©AEROLITE METEORITES, INC.
  • Pablo del Rio Larrain ©Aerolite Meteorites, Inc.
  • Geoff Notkin talks about his hopes for a new science museum in Tucson tonight on Zona Politics.
Tonight on Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: We talk to action scientist Geoff Notkin, the former host of Discovery Network's Meteorite Men, about the recent March for Science, his new plan for a Tucson science museum and June's upcoming Spacefest. Then we talk with Diana Rhoades, the National Park Service's Urban Fellow for Tucson, about what an urban fellow does and the challenges facing the National Parks. Finally, we remember author/filmmaker/activist Kathryn Ferguson, who passed away last month, with a look back at her 2016 appearance on Zona Politics.

Zona Politics airs at 6:30 p.m. tonight on the Creative Tucson Network, Channel 20 on Cox Cable and Channel 74 on Comcast Cable. The show repeats on both channels on Sunday morning at 9:30.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Music and Healing: Since Pursuing Music, Arizona Teenager Hasn't Missed a Beat

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Marthajane and Trey Vincent stand outside of The Berger Performing Arts Center  on Sunday, Feb. 26. This was Trey's first opportunity to play a full set list of his choosing. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • Marthajane and Trey Vincent stand outside of The Berger Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 26. This was Trey's first opportunity to play a full set list of his choosing.
Music has the power to stir up vivid memories, unlock creativity, inspire the unmotivated, and evoke within us the entire spectrum of human emotion. It connects people across cultures and eras and helps us celebrate, mourn, and entertain. On occasion, it aids us in showcasing subpar dance moves.

In certain instances, music facilitates healing. Such is the case for 13-year-old Trey Vincent.

Trey’s life was filled with music even before his autism diagnosis at age two. Right around the time Trey’s mother, Marthajane Vincent, began noticing her son’s atypical development, she also observed his natural inclination toward music.

Trey did not make eye contact, became stiff when comforted, remained nonverbal and ignored others speaking to him. But he paid attention to The Wiggles and Baby Einstein videos.

“One thing we hit on that he really engaged with was music,” Marthajane said. “He would clap his hands and do normal baby things while listening.”

Entering neurologic music therapy as a toddler strengthened Trey’s social functioning and cognitive skills, according to Marthajane. In Trey’s program, the music therapist’s guitar playing gave the children something to interact around. Through peer modeling, Trey learned how to pick up on social cues. While playing the percussion in music therapy, Trey worked on crossing the midline. By following certain rhythms and instructions, Trey developed his motor skills and improved his left-right brain connections. Music therapy can help individuals across the autism spectrum.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Learn How To Save the Bees

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 2:30 PM

No, the buzzing you hear isn't the iPhone in your pocket. It's a honey bee—and the impact it has on pollinating the crops you eat is worth its slightly obnoxious presence.

The importance of bees to our ecosystems and to the development of food we eat is no secret, but the preservation of the insects gained an increase in support recently since six species of yellow-faced bees joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species List. The Southern Arizona Work Space will be hosting a class, The Basics of Beekeeping, on Saturday, March 11 from 1-3 p.m. to teach people the craft of beekeeping or what to do if they find a swarm or hive in their own backyards. Admission is $20. As a sweet incentive, there will also be a honey tasting.

  • RVC Outdoor Destinations
Beekeeping may be becoming a lost art—and an important one too. If anyone needs more convincing of why saving honey bees is important, check out these fun facts according to RVC Outdoor Destinations:

-Their tiny wings can flap up to 200 times a second, allowing them to buzz around up to 15 mph.

- Much like a last call might look like in a downtown club, communication takes form in a frantic "dance" called a "waggle."

- Bees can recognize a human face. So yes, they can actually see your terrified expression as you run away squealing.

If you still need encouragement to push aside your fears, just look up #savethebees on Twitter and read what much funnier people have to say about the issue.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ticket Giveaway: Brujeria with The Casualties, Pinata Protest, Flying Donkey Punch, Maldad, Napalm Strike

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 11:12 AM

Brujeria is a frighteningly punchy all-star death metal/grindcore combo that passes itself off as a murderous, truly evil drug cartel, one into Satan worship and Donald Trump. (Brujeria is Spanish for “witchcraft.”) Yes, they’re lampooning the form, but the music absolutely holds up as some of the heaviest shit ever recorded this side of Scandinavia. So let’s not confuse such skull-splitting din with lightweights like Spinal Tap or Gwar, OK?

It’s no surprise members of Carcass, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Napalm Death fill out the lineup. They’ve been together in one form or another since 1989 and their long-awaited fourth album, Pocho Aztlan, dropped a few months back.

Catch them with The Casualties, Piñata Protest, Flying Donkey Punch, Maldad, and Napalm Strike. at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. You can buy tickets for $23 a piece or enter to win a pair of tickets from us. Just fill out the form below and keep checking your email—we'll be in touch with winners around noon the day of the show.

Fill out my online form.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Three (Maybe Four) Energy Stories From the News

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 9:06 AM

  • Photospin
If you go to to Friday's New York Times and AZ Star, you'll find these three energy-related articles:

Sensing Gains Ahead Under Trump, the Kochs Court Minorities. The Koch Brothers have begun a well-funded, new nonprofit business association, Fueling U.S. Forward, which is spreading the fossil fuels gospel to minority communities — almost literally, by funding gospel concerts where Hosannas are sung in praise of God, Coal, Oil and Natural Gas.

Arizona Corporation Commission urged to fix solar net metering 'grandfathering' issue. The ACC slashed the compensation rooftop solar owners will receive for excess energy generation that makes its way onto the grid. The ACC is being asked to improve one small part of a very bad decision by amending the grandfathering rules so people who submit their energy interconnection applications before the deadline will receive the current net metering compensation, as well as people who have their interconnections completed by the deadline. [Note: On Tuesday the ACC amended the rules to include those who submit applications before the deadline.]

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020. China is funding a huge push to add renewables to its energy grid, both to lower its ridiculously high pollution levels and to try and dominate the world's growing renewable energy markets.

To sum up: U.S. cities have less pollution than they had decades ago and far less pollution than China's smog-choked cities, but courtesy of the expected pro-fossil-fuels, anti-regulation push from the Trump administration, we may slide backwards while China pushes forward. The Brave New Trump Era could harm our environment and our health while it slows our technological advances in the renewable energy arena and loses us potential business worldwide.

The headline for a fourth story from a few days ago reads, Arizona still a force in solar power, despite other states' gains. It's about our growing solar energy sector, which is second in the nation to California. Apparently, we're OK with private businesses setting up vast solar power arrays so they can make lots of money off our abundant sunshine, but we're not so OK with encouraging individual homeowners to fill unused space on their rooftops with solar panels by giving them fair compensation for the energy they produce. Corporate and home solar both reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but home solar can also reduce corporate profits, and that's just not the Arizona way.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Space Spending: A Look at the UA's Investment in Studying the Skies

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM


The UA is renowned worldwide for its efforts in space exploration—with involvement in multiple satellite launches, observatories, and projects with NASA, the school is a crucial arm of space exploration in the United States.

However, it comes at a cost.

“We had a little over $600 million in research expenditures, which placed us thirty-third in the country,” said Timothy Swindle, the director and department head at the Lunar and Planetary Lab, speaking of the last fiscal year.

$120 million of that fell under astronomy, as classified by the National Science Foundation.

As far as physical sciences go—physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and planetary sciences—the UA ranked third in funding, Swindle said, totaling almost $165 million.

In terms of spending, the University of California Berkeley, which was second to Arizona in astronomy funding, spent “a little more than half of what UA did,” Swindle said. “The nation’s universities as a whole spent $567 million.”

Of that total, more than twenty percent was spent at the UA.

“There are only two schools, that being Cal Tech and Johns Hopkins, that spent more on physical sciences total than we did on this category that NSF calls astronomy,” he said.

The UA, however, still spends more than any Ivy League school on astronomy, making it a major hotbed for the science. But those tens of millions of dollars must come from somewhere.

“Certainly, all the money for the space program projects comes from NASA,” said Buell Jannuzi, head of the department of Astronomy at the UA. Christine Hoekenga, a social media lead for the OSIRIS-REx mission said the mission cost $805 million, every penny of which came from NASA. The total did not include the rocket the spacecraft was launched on.

However, with the number of critical space exploration efforts the UA is involved in, the money is being spent wisely.

Much of the astronomy department’s efforts involve mirror telescopes, which are located on Mount Graham and Mount Hopkins. The UA is involved in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Being built at Chile's Las Campanas Observatory the project aims to answer several critical questions about the universe, such as how the first galaxies formed, what materials make up the universe, and ultimately, what the fate of the universe may be, according to the Giant Magellan Telescope website.

The construction of the telescope involves planning and cooperation with many other universities around the world, Jannuzi said. “We’re partnered with many other groups, including the University of Chicago, Harvard, the Carnegie Institution in Washington… in the partnership to build the Giant Magellan Telescope,” he said.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

UNESCO Talks Sustainability at the UA

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 11:30 AM

  • Mouagip/Creative Commons
In a weekend filled with sustainability initiatives, UNESCO will hold a conference in the UA North Ballroom (1303 E. University Blvd.) to address water scarcity and management as well as desert food systems on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 until 5 p.m.

Sustainability scholars from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Mexico will meet with UA researchers and Tucson community members to talk about climate change and the earth's environment.

According to UANews, conference organizers are expecting 230 community members to attend the conference including international dignitaries, students and faculty. This is a free, all-ages event and space is limited. Online registration is now closed but attendees are encourages to register in-person the day of the conference.

For more information click here

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Light the Candle: OSIRIS-REx Launches Today

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 10:38 AM

OSIRIS-REx, the asteroid-hunting space probe designed by the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab in partnership with NASA and Lockheed Martin, is scheduled for liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at 4:05 Tucson time today.

The plucky space probe will spend two years chasing down the near-earth asteroid Bennu and then spend another two years studying the asteroid before flying right up next to it to gather a few ounces of asteroid dust. Then it will fly on back to Earth and send the sample back to the Utah desert.

You can read all about the seven-year mission here.

Watch the liftoff at a launch party at Hotel Congress this afternoon. And the gang at downtown's Borderland Brewing is throwing a Brews for Bennu bash.

Staff Pick


The life and career of one of Mexico’s most prominent, iconoclastic painters comes to the screen under… More

@ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Tucson Fri., June 23, 8-10 p.m. 265 S. Church Ave

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