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"Extreme Insects!" to set theme for Bohart Museum Open House on Jan. 13

"Extreme Insects!" to set theme for Bohart Museum Open House on Jan. 13

 

DAVIS--"Extreme Insects," the biggest and the baddest, will set the theme for the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building, UC Davis campus.

 

Calif. to propose new student achievement testing

Calif. to propose new student achievement testing

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California's top education official is expected to unveil a new system of student achievement testing on Tuesday.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was tasked by the state Legislature last year to revamp the state's bank of standardized tests that measure student progress in English language arts and math and qualify high school students for graduation.

The proposed new testing comes as the state starts phasing in new national curriculum standards known as Common Core State Standards. The emphasis of the new testing will be on critical thinking and problem solving skills that will be aligned with Common Core's focus.

The proposal is the result of six months of meetings by a statewide taskforce that has held meetings around California gathering input from educators. 

The Associated Press

Engineered bacteria make fuel from sunlight

Engineered bacteria make fuel from sunlight

Chemists at the University of California, Davis, have engineered blue-green algae to grow chemical precursors for fuels and plastics -- the first step in replacing fossil fuels as raw materials for the chemical industry.

"Most chemical feedstocks come from petroleum and natural gas, and we need other sources," said Shota Atsumi, assistant professor of chemistry at UC Davis and lead author of the study published Jan. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of obtaining a quarter of industrial chemicals from biological processes by 2025.

Biological reactions are good at forming carbon-carbon bonds, using carbon dioxide as a raw material for reactions powered by sunlight. It's called photosynthesis, and cyanobacteria, also known as "blue-green algae," have been doing it for more than 3 billion years.

First wireless wine fermentor system completed

First wireless wine fermentor system completed

In another advance for innovative winemaking, students and faculty at the University of California, Davis, are now processing wine with the world’s first wireless fermentation system, thanks to a recently completed $3.5 million network designed, built and donated to the university by Silicon Valley semiconductor executive T.J. Rodgers.

Rodgers, a wine lover and winery owner, is founder, president and CEO of San Jose-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp. Now in its third generation of refinement, the initial assembly of custom-designed stainless steel fermentors was installed just in time for the winery’s first crush in 2010. Since then, Rodgers and his crew of engineers and computer experts from Cypress Semiconductor have continued to fine-tune the innovative fermentation system to meet the needs of the campus's two-year-old Teaching and Research Winery, known for its environmental and technical sophistication.