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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

May 19, 2016

Annie Murphy Paul: Our technological ignorance

Take this Vitamin and ...

Salamander Search

Christine: Science in Action - Pluto Occultation

History and Ecology of the San Lorenzo Lagoon

Click to view our Business Directory

(A May 2016) Seymour_WhaleofAnAuction.jpgToday is the last day for the Whale of an Auction supporting Seymour.  Visit! You can bid on delightful items!  It's fun!

(A Camps 2016) CampGuideWidgetwithArrow.jpgWe have to admit, we have a few favorite summer camps because they've been around for a minute and we've come to know them via parent comments about good experiences for their children.  And yet, some new ones have developed that sound intriguing.  How to choose!?  First, look at our children, their personalities and interests, then talk to/meet with directors.  Ask questions!

I was pretty well covered up --long pants, long sleeves with collar up-- but dang, my ankles, feet and hands were being attacked.  The "OFF" was being passed around, so I reluctantly used some.  It smelled toxic!  Next stop: a source of natural products.  Even on Amazon one can find them.  My favorite has become Repel's Lemon/Eucalyptus repellent. We offer you other ways to repel mosquitoes, including eating broccoli! 

This weekend you can learn more about salamanders and the San Lorenzo River Lagoon.  Christine offers a good topic for dinner conversation: the latest on Pluto.  Annie gives us food for thought in the education arena.

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgPlease recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events! We cannot fit them all into this newsletter.  There are more on the online calendar.

Have a great weekend with the family! Parmalee


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  Annie Murphy Paul: Our technological ignorance

Our technological ignorance, and more

"It's time to admit we don't know what we're doing when it comes to educational technology."

So went the quote from cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham that started off my most-retweeted post from this week.

Other posts considered Paul Tough's new book, a study of how the brain recycles itself, and an article about knowing when to apply grit. Which do you find most interesting?

Our Technological Ignorance
(A May 2016) why-students-dont-like-school-.jpg"It's time to admit we don't know what we're doing when it comes to educational technology." So says Daniel Willingham, the brilliant University of Virginia cognitive scientist and author of my favorite book about education, Why Don't Students Like School? In a piece in today's New York Daily News, Dan continues: "History shows that perfectly sensible intuitions about how devices ought to work in classrooms often prove wrong . . . Our intuition, and even our common sense, tricks us when deciding whether a new gadget will help kids learn." So what should we do instead? I find myself reaching back to a study I wrote about a few years ago on the Brilliant Blog. The point made by that study is as valid now as it was back then, so I'm reproducing the post here in full: Read more>>>>

All You Need To Know About Parenting and Teaching
Many of you, I'm sure, read or heard about Paul Tough's 2012 book How Children Succeed. In that book, Tough focused on a group of factors often referred to as noncognitive or "soft" skills-qualities like perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, and optimism. Later this month, a follow-up to How Children Succeed will be published. It's titled Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, and it is a marvel: a universe of research distilled into just over a hundred pages. With gracefulness and economy, Tough sums up (almost) all we need to know about parenting and teaching: Read more>>>>

How Your Brain Recycles Itself So You Can Learn
In the era when the human brain took shape, hundreds of thousands of years ago, there were no physics professors, no physics lectures, no physics textbooks. (I know-hard to believe.) Today we carry around basically the same mental equipment as our long-ago ancestors, but we expect ourselves to do all kinds of novel things, including learning academic science. New research reveals how that's possible-and suggests why it's often so hard to do: Read more>>>>

Know When To Grit
At a moment when everyone seems to be writing and talking about grit, I appreciated an article in Slate by Daniel Engber for its nuanced consideration of when grit is important. The fulsome coverage of Angela Duckworth's research makes it sound as if grit is an all-purpose, always-necessary attribute of the successful person. Engber's judgement is more careful: Grit matters, he writes, "but only in specific situations that require strength of will." The most important thing about grit may be knowing when and how to apply it: Read more>>>>


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  Take this Vitamin and ...

...You Will Be Free of Mosquitoes All Summer Long

While mosquito repellent may seem like the obvious go-to for protecting yourself from itchy bites this summer, some sprays on the market contain toxic chemicals that have dangerous side effects if absorbed into the skin or accidentally ingested. Luckily, there are several more natural approaches to keeping yourself safe from these pesky

(A May 2016) Mosquito.jpgAlthough researchers have yet to pinpoint what exactly a mosquito looks for when searching for humans to bite, certain odors are thought to be a main culprit. People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface attract more mosquitoes, as well as those who produce excess amounts of certain acids, such as uric acid. All of these substances can trigger a mosquito's sense of smell, leading them to a certain person.

Scientists also believe that people who give off larger amounts of carbon dioxide, such as those who are overweight or pregnant, are mosquito magnets. People would give off more carbon dioxide if they're outside playing kickball than they would if they were sitting by a fire.

Unfortunately, mosquito bites aren't just itchy and annoying. Mosquitoes can carry diseases and spread them to humans. Mosquitoes have been known to carry:

  • Zika - linked to birth defects
  • Dengue - can lead to hemorrhagic fever
  • West Nile - causes fever, joint pain, vomiting and rashes
  • Malaria - causes fever, chills and vomiting
  • Yellow Fever - can cause jaundice, chills and vomiting
  • Chikungunya - can cause joint pain, rashes and nausea
  • La Crosse Encephalitis - can cause fever and nausea
  • Rift Valley Fever - can cause dizziness, weakness and eye damage
  • Jamestown Canyon Virus - can cause flu-like symptoms
  • Snowshoe Hare Virus - can cause dizziness, vomiting and rashes

With more than 175 known species of mosquitoes in the United States, they aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so it's important to learn how to protect yourself from them.

Vitamin B1 Repels Mosquitoes!

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a water-soluble vitamin that your body needs to function properly and stay healthy. It can be found in foods such as broccoli, onions, green beans, summer squash, kale, spinach, cabbage, eggplant, and sunflower seeds, and it plays an important role in fighting stress and boosting the immune system.

What does this have to do with mosquitoes? If you have enough Vitamin B1 in your system, you'll produce a "yeasty" smell to mosquitoes, making you unappealing for them. Don't worry - people won't be able to smell it! But when mosquitoes get a whiff, they'll make their way to another target.

Another Natural Remedy!

You can also try making a homemade bug spray. There are lots of home recipes you can use, but this one requires just two ingredients: fresh parsley and organic apple cider vinegar.

  1. Add a handful of fresh parsley to a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add 4 oz of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Mash the ingredients.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a few hours.
  5. Strain it and put it into a spray bottle.
  6. Keep the mix refrigerated for continued use.
  7. Add essential oils for a pleasant scent, if desired.

This mix is perfectly safe for your skin and has no harmful side effects. 

Thank you for this article from DavidWolfe.


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  Salamander Search

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Come face to face with salamanders, an endangered species.
Date: 5/21 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
Ages: 5+ Admission Fees: $12 General/$6 Members

Salamander Search web

May 21 | 10 AM - 12:00 PM | Registration
$12 General/$6 Members
Ellicott Slough National Wildlife Refuge

Pre-registration required. All ages welcome.

About the walk:

(A May 2016) CATigerSalamander.jpgCome celebrate Endangered Species Day and get a rare glimpse of our very own Santa Cruz Long-Toed and California Tiger Salamanders. The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County and US Fish and Wildlife Service are hosting a special field tour at Ellicott Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Watsonville, not normally open to the public. You'll learn about local efforts to protect the species and meet Andy, the hybrid salamander. With any luck you'll get a rare glimpse of the young salamanders still in their larval state as a USFWS biologist perform dip netting during the tour. This is a family friendly event for school aged children. Teens may be able to participate in activities with the biologist.

Please note:
Space is limited to the first 30 people to register. The tour is a short walk, part gravel road and part trail. The trail is not on level ground so please wear appropriate shoes. There are also tick and poison oak at the site in exposed sun. Please be aware that there are no restrooms at the Refuge. Be prepared to sign a waiver at the event.

Phone: (831) 420-6115 •website Santa Cruz


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  Christine: Science in Action - Pluto Occultation

(A May 2016) Sofia_NASA_Plane.jpgTo many people, science is the process of slowly teasing out information from recalcitrant objects. However, science does have its' exciting moments. There are biologists who can tell stories about putting collars on polar or grizzly bears. Or geologists who climb mountains or crawl into caves looking for rock specimens. And don't even get me started on volcanologists, who risk their lives every time they visit a location for live data.

This is about an interesting story of science in action.

It has been very difficult to get information about Pluto. It is a very dark body that is a long ways from our sun. NASA recently sent a spacecraft (New Horizons) that did a close flyby. Before this flyby, the best data about the atmosphere came from those times when Pluto would occult (pass in front of) a star. On June 29, 2015, Pluto would occult a star (a 12th-magnitude star in Sagittarius). This would be a wonderful opportunity, as the flyby would occur 2 weeks later. Both sets of data could be compared so we would know how accurate the occultation data has been.

An occultation is the same thing as an eclipse. There would be a shadow of Pluto moving across our world near New Zealand. There would be a narrow band where the shadow would be darkest and the data would be most precise. NASA planned to fly a plane with a telescope through this dark band.

NASA has a telescope plane called SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). This is a Boeing 747 with a large hole cut in the side so a telescope can look out. This plane usually cruises around 40,000 feet or 12 km, which is high enough to get above clouds and most of the atmosphere. Ground or space-based telescopes are limited to which part of the skies they can see. This plane can fly anywhere.

(A May 2016) PlutoChasing_flightpath.jpgSo the plane took off from Christchurch, New Zealand. It was working from coordinates calculated that night using Pluto observations from a few hours previous.  Two hours after the  plane took off, new coordinates were transmitted. The plane needed to be moved 225 km in another direction. Astronomers continued their calculations. After that, another correction came through. The correction was actually 332 km.They needed to take the curvature of the Earth into account.

The poor pilots. They must be used to the changes. Every time the flight path was changed, they needed to file an amended flight plan since there were other planes in the area. You can see the actual flight in the diagram above.

After seven hours of chasing Plutos' shadow...

Christine Cockey is a local mom and scientist who researches what's happening in the world of science and makes science easier to understand.  Keep up with her latest articles at


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  History and Ecology of the San Lorenzo Lagoon

City of Santa Cruz, Louden Nelson Center
5/21 at 9:30am

State of the San Lorenzo River Symposium: History and Ecology of the San Lorenzo Lagoon


The City of Santa Cruz Water Dept. in partnership with local agencies and organizations is hosting the symposium as an opportunity for the public to learn about the science and management of the San Lorenzo River watershed on Saturday, May 21st, 2016, 10:00am - 1:00pm at the Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz.

To see the event schedule and program, click here.

website Santa Cruz


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Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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  Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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  CATS !
Ben Jammin
Date: Every weekday (May 20-May 22)
Ages: 6-16
Details: Come enjoy a lively bunch of CATS strut their stuff!
Special Instructions: Sibling discounts available
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 8313342121 view all details >>
Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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  Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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Delaveaga Spring Carnival
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  Delaveaga Spring Carnival
Delaveaga Elementary School Parent Teacher Club
Date: 05/20/2016 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Ages: all
Details: carnival, festival, elementary school
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831) 429-3807 view all details >>
March Against Monsanto Santa Cruz
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  March Against Monsanto Santa Cruz
Eleyah Knight
Date: 05/21/2016 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Ages: All
Details: A world-wide event to bring about a healthier planet
Special Instructions: Meet at San Lorenzo Park, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831)4284003 view all details >>
Mt Hermon Playschool Spring Festival
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  Mt Hermon Playschool Spring Festival
Mt Hermon Playschool
Date: 05/22/2016 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Ages: all
Details: Mt Hermon Playschool Fundraiser - silent auction, games,a bounce house, face painting, snacks and drinks
City: Mt Hermon Phone: (831) 335-9420 view all details >>
Shakespeare to Go Performance
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  Shakespeare to Go Performance
Santa Cruz Library - Boulder Creek
Date: 05/21/2016 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Shakespeare to Go Performance - Kids love Shakespeare!
Special Instructions: Takes place in the Amphitheater, Boulder Creek Branch Library
City: Boulder Creek Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
Bridge to Terabithia
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  Bridge to Terabithia
Christian Youth Theater
Date: Every day (May 13-May 22)
Details: Travel back in time to 1972, in this dramatic musical journey.
City: Aptos view all details >>
A Founding Family of California
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  A Founding Family of California
State Park Castro Adobe
Date: 05/21/2016 from 11:00am to 12:00pm
Details: Stroll through the eyes of Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, who led the expedition that brought our Castros to California
Special Instructions: Old Adobe Road, off of Larkin Valley Road
City: Watsonville Phone: 831-335-6318 view all details >>
Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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  Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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  Last Day Whale of An Auction Day!
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