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Scientific Agenda

Scientific Agenda reports on important and interesting developments from the world of science in Minnesota and elsewhere. Coverage includes reports from MinnPost journalist Sharon Schmickle, Inside Science News Service, and other sources.

Toy makes gathering wind data a breeze

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. — Meteorologists have developed a portable new tool for measuring atmospheric wind speeds by tethering kites to ground-based metering systems.

Hushing noisy hospitals

Hospital noise is taking a toll on the well-being of patients and contributing to errors by staff, a growing body of research suggests.

Mongoose moms synchronize births

WASHINGTON — Giving birth is the social event of the year for banded mongooses in Uganda. When females live in the same group, 60 percent bear their young together on exactly the same night — regardless of when they were impregnated.

Neurology on a chip

WASHINGTON — Engineers and biologists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, have succeeded in coaxing tiny worms to move around a microchip using electric fields. This should help neurologists study the human nervous system.

Secrets of the sponge revealed

Consider the sponge. Call it a lowly, primitive creature and some sponge experts will tell you that you are wrong. These immobile, squishy animals are perhaps better described as simple — so simple, in fact, that they were long thought to be plants.

Scientist creates sunscreen from ivy

WASHINGTON — Drive through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on a sunny day, and you may see a man on the side of the road pruning the English ivy. Mingjun Zhang isn’t the groundskeeper.