All posts by UCTV

Shark Advocate

Leading lives of mystery throughout the shadowy depths of all the world’s oceans, sharks have long fascinated the public, in large part because of how little is known about their lives and behavior. Popular media has often promoted images of large, aggressive predators, but as we learn more we find most sharks are not dangerous to people and moreover are a vital part of many healthy ocean ecosystems.

One person who is striving to understand sharks close to home is Scripps Institution’s Dovi Kacev, who takes you on an illuminating journey into the Southern California Bight to learn about the sharks that make our offshore region their home.

Kacev grew up traveling between San Diego and South Africa, where animals and the ocean quickly became his passion. He holds a PhD in ecology from a joint program offered by San Diego State University and UC Davis and a BS in marine biology and economics from UCLA.

Watch Shark Geek: A Window into Shark Ecology in the Southern California Bight.

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Defending Earth

Our planet has been continually bombarded by asteroids since its formation, 4.5 billion years ago. While the frequency of large impacts has decreased, many potential Near-Earth Object threats remain undiscovered, so if or when they will impact Earth remains unknown. The good news is that an asteroid impact is the only large-scale natural disaster that is, in theory, preventable. Fortunately, if an Earth-threatening asteroid is discovered in time, there are ways to mitigate or even prevent a disaster.

If an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth, it can be diverted by a few different methods. For long warning times and asteroids that are not too big, a heavy “kinetic impactor” spacecraft can be used to impact the asteroid at high speeds, giving it a slight nudge so that it safely misses Earth. When warning times are short or the asteroid is large, kinetic impactors cannot provide enough momentum for the asteroid to miss Earth. In these cases, a nuclear device can be sent into space to deflect the asteroid. Very short warning time scenarios, where deflection is impossible, can be handled by using a similar device to fragment the asteroid into many small, well-dispersed pieces.

Scientists at LLNL provide computer simulations in preparation these scenarios so if the time comes where an asteroid is headed our way, we will be prepared.

Watch Planetary Defense: Avoiding a Cosmic Catastrophe.

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The Origins of Today’s Humans

Where did we humans come from? When did we become the dominant species on the planet?

Evidence indicates that we all descended from a small population that arose in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Since then, that small population spread throughout the globe, interbreeding with other human-like species, picking up some of their DNA and eventually replacing all close evolutionary cousins – leaving only one human species.

In the last half-decade there has been a flood of new information from ancient DNA, fossils, archaeology and population studies.

Hear about how this has updated our knowledge from world renowned experts on The Origins of Today’s Humans.

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Adverse Childhood Experiences

An overwhelming scientific consensus demonstrates that cumulative adversity, particularly during critical and sensitive developmental periods, is a root cause to some of the most harmful, persistent and expensive health challenges facing our nation.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was appointed as California’s first-ever Surgeon General by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. She is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate dedicated to changing the way our society responds to childhood trauma.

Dr. Burke Harris’ career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities. After completing her residency at Stanford, she founded a clinic in one of San Francisco’s most underserved communities, Bayview Hunters Point. It was there that she observed that, despite the implementation of national best-practices for immunizations, asthma, obesity treatment and other preventive health measures, her patients still faced outsized risks for poor health, development and behavioral outcomes.

Drawing on research from the CDC and Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Burke Harris identified Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a major risk factor affecting the health of her patients. ACEs are traumatic events occurring before age 18 and include all types of abuse and neglect as well as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence.

In 2011, she founded the Center for Youth Wellness and subsequently grew the organization to be a national leader in the effort to advance pediatric medicine, raise public awareness, and transform the way society responds to children exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress. She also founded and led the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, to advance scientific screening and treatment of toxic stress.

Watch Applying the Science of Toxic Stress to Transform Outcomes in California.

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Squid Pro Quo

Exploring the undersea world has always presented challenges in terms of cost and accessibility. However, recent advances in ocean observing technology are allowing researchers to explore heretofore unfamiliar worlds at reasonable cost.

Join oceanographer Jules Jaffe as he describes his career as an ocean explorer and technology innovator. Learn how new, cost effective instruments and platforms present unprecedented opportunities for students of all ages to engage in designing, building and experimenting with ocean observing technologies with examples from underwater robots to underwater microscopes.

Watch Squid Pro Quo – A Journey Into Undersea Exploration.

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