Birds of North America Online

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Clangula hyemalis! Ortalis vetula! No, these aren't Harry Potter spells, they are birds -- the Long-tailed Duck and the Plain Chachalaca, scientifically speaking. For a wealth of information on our local feathered friends, be sure to visit the Birds of North America Online database. Created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologists' Union ("Ornithology" is the scientific study of birds), BNA provides information on EVERY species of bird from North America. Photos, videos, and audio recordings of bird calls accompany text descriptions about characteristics, life cycles, habits, and demographic information for each species. This site, which is updated every month, is fabulous for students, bird watchers, budding ornithologists, and lovers of nature.

Access to this and any of our other reference databases and resources is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card. For access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. To access the Birds of North America Online database, go to the research page, and select Birds of North America Online from the Science & Technology category.

Heads up Middle-High School Science Students!

The 54th Annual Southeast Michigan Science Fair happens on March 9 and 10, 2012 at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence Building.

If you are in Grades 6, 7 and 8 from any school in the region you are eligible to enter Individual or Team projects in the Middle School Division. If you are in grades 9 through 12 from any school in the region are eligible to enter Individual or Team projects in the High School Division.

To enter your science fair project you must pre-register by Friday, February 17.

The regional Southeastern Michigan Science Fair is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. This event is sponsored by the University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College in cooperation with public and private schools in the five county regions.

Film Screening & Discussion: City Dark: A Search for Night on a Planet that Never Sleeps

In this award-winning film, filmmaker and amateur astronomer Ian Cheney starts with the deceptively simple question, Do we need to see the stars? City Dark explores the disappearance of darkness and the myriad implications of light pollution, from the deaths of thousands of animals disoriented by city lights to humanity's more abstract disconnect from the wonder of the cosmos hidden from view behind the orange haze of its cities.

In this thoughtful film, Cheney passes over both environmental rants and nostalgic pleas to engage us in a more meditative reflection on our relationship with the night sky with stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians and lighting designers.

The University Lowbrow Astronomers are co-sponsoring this screening and members of the group will be on hand to answer questions following the film.

City Dark | Tuesday, October 11 | 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

UM Emeritus Professor Charles M. Butter Discusses Art, The Brain And His New Book "Crossing Cultural Borders: Universals In Art And Their Biological Roots"

Monday September 19, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

How does mental imagery contribute to artistic creativity? Why are balance around the center, expressiveness, ornamentation and symbolic meanings found in the visual art of cultures separated in time and space?

Charles M. Butter suggests that answers to these questions may be found by examining the role of biological evolution in the making and viewing of art. Join us for a fascinating evening as he explores these issues and introduces his new book "Crossing Cultural Borders: Universals in Art and Their Biological Roots." This new book includes 52 works of art from cultures around the world from prehistoric to modern times. The event will include a book signing and books will be on sale.

Charles Butter is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. He has taught and performed research on brain, behavior and mental processes for 38 years.

Dr. Howard Markel Discusses His New Book "An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine"

Monday September 12, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us as acclaimed medical historian and UM Professor Dr. Howard Markel discusses his new book - the astonishing account of the years-long cocaine use of Sigmund Freud, young, ambitious neurologist, and William Halsted, the equally young, path finding surgeon. Dr. Markel writes of the physical and emotional damage caused by the then-heralded wonder drug, and how each man ultimately changed the world in spite of it--or because of it. One became the father of psychoanalysis; the other, of modern surgery.

"Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine" has just been released to nationwide acclaim. The New York Times, in their July 24 review, called this new book a "tour de force of scientific and social history." If you enjoy this compelling read, you may want to check out some of his other works.

Books will be on sale at this event, which will also include a book signing.

Birds of North America Online ~ New Ways to Birdwatch @ AADL

A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Birds of North America Online includes contributions from researchers, citizen scientists, reviewers and editors and image and video galleries showing plumages, behaviors, habitat, nests and eggs, and more. BNA now features recordings of the songs and calls of their species from the extensive collection of Cornell's Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds.

You can access BNA Online 24-hours a day from home through our Database Page. I like putting in keyword terms like "black billed" or "blue throated" and seeing the results. Amazing what great background music bird calls provide to a day indoors.

Ben Brilliant: Science Experiments for Kids!

Ben Franklin was a legendary inventor whose imagination and hard work led him to conduct famous scientific experiments and invent many new devices.

Inspire the young scientist in your family with stories of Franklin's experiments and inventions with Gene Barretta's Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions Of Benjamin Franklin, Rosalyn Schanzer's How Ben Franklin Stole The Lightning, and Pamela Nettleton's Benjamin Franklin: Writer, Inventor, Statesman.

Then dig into some experimenting yourself! This website from the Franklin Institute has instructions for experiments with electricity, air, heat, and the glass armonica. If electricity sparks your imagination, there are plenty more experiments on this topic, including how to build your own Leyden jar!

Did you know that Ben Franklin was the first scientist to study the Gulf Stream, a powerful, warm current in the Atlantic Ocean. Take your own voyage on the Gulf Stream with these science and math activities!

If you're a teacher or parent seeking to incorporate educational lessons and experiments inspired by Ben Franklin's life, refer to the PBS Benjamin Franklin Teacher's Guide, a series of eight lesson plans aligned to National Standards.

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Author Birthdays: Chesterton, White, Ehrlich

May 29th marks the birthday of authors G. K. Chesterton, T. H. White, and Paul R. Ehrlich.

G. K. Chesterton was an English author. He wrote mysteries, essays, biographies, and general fiction. His works on Father Brown, a Catholic priest and detective, were even adapted for television in the 70s.

Chesterton also wrote a biography of his friend and "rival" George Bernard Shaw, and the novel The Man Who Was Thursday, which involves seven anarchists in London who give themselves the names of the days of the week.

T. H. White was an English author best known for his Arthurian works The Once and Future King and The Sword in the Stone. The musical Camelot and the Disney film The Sword in the Stone were based on his works.

White also wrote the children's story Mistress Masham's Repose, about an English orphan and her interactions with Lilliputians, a race of people described by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.

Paul R. Ehrlich is an American writer and biologist, as well as a professor at Stanford University. His works focus on the environment and population growth. His latest book, The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution And The Environment, published in 2008, examines the relationship between the two.

Ehrlich's first big work was The Population Bomb, which discussed overpopulation and its effects on society. His later book, The Population Explosion, considers the topic further, more than 20 years afterward.

Benjamin Franklin, word inventor

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Until the middle of the 18th century electricity was little more than a parlor trick used to amuse the masses. One such performer peaked Ben Franklin’s curiosity and set him on a course of experimentation that would open up the new field of electrical science and ultimately pave the way to create the electrical conveniences on which we depend today.

Franklin’s “Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia” published in 1751 was one of the earliest works on electricity. It was created from a series of letters Franklin sent to Peter Collinson between 1747 and 1751. Included in the book are accounts of the famous kite and key experiment, his work with Leyden jars, lightning rods and charged clouds. In describing these various experiments Franklin would coin a number of scientific terms like battery, conductor, charge, discharge, negative, minus, plus, electric shock, and electrician.

This book would bring Ben Franklin considerable international recognition and make him known for many words still used in modern scientific lexicon.

Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

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Thursday, April 21 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Mary Beth Doyle Park | All Ages

Join us on a walk on the unpaved trail that meanders along Malletts Creek and through woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. William Kirst, a naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will discuss native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, and much more.

The walk will start at the park entrance at Packard Rd. (just east of Cobblestone Farm on the south side of the road). Parking at the entrance is limited; additional parking is available at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) with a half-mile walk east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

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