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June 27th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : July 15th

(This is a special event and reservations are encouraged and necessary if using the buffet – see below)

Food Safety Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Speakers: Dr. Sara Gragg, Assistant Professor – Food Science, K-State Olathe, and Dr. Londa Nwadike, Assistant Professor – Food Safety, K-State Extension

Date: July 15, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: K-State Olathe, 22201 W. Innovation Dr., Olathe, KS 66061, just East of K-7 just North of College.

Numerous food safety myths seem to persist in our culture, often propagated through popular media and by statements such as “my grandmother always did it this way and she never had any problems”. Some of these myths may seem logical, but upon closer examination, may not be based on accurate scientific research. We will discuss some of these food safety myths and how science can help us to prove or dis-prove these myths.

Dr. Nwadike works in both Kansas and Missouri to develop programming and resources in food safety, focusing on consumer issues. She has worked for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization based in Rome, Italy. She also has extensive experience living and traveling in Africa. Research interests include: behavior change in consumers in relation to food safety practices, methods of providing food safety information to consumers, and Community Participatory Research.

Dr. Gragg has traveled extensively presenting on the topic of food safety and studying processes in food safety and microbiology. Her research interests include: food safety & food microbiology, pre-harvest and post-harvest settings (produce, meat and poultry), emphasis on reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in the food supply, leafy greens, meat industry, with a specific interest in beef, researching the efficacy of novel interventions, and identification of high risk tissues and their potential association with pathogen carriage in cattle.

A Taco Bar will be catered by On The Border. Two (2) tacos (choice of chicken or beef), rice, beans and chips and salsa plus water, iced tea, Coke or Diet Coke are available for $10. Pay that night with check or cash.

Beverages only are available for $1.50. Pay that night with cash.

We ask everyone attending to reply to biologycctrack@hotmail.com, indicating whether or not you will use the taco bar, drinks only, or just attend.

If you find, at the last minute, that you can attend, feel free to do so but a reservation will help us determine the seating provided and the quantity of food to order.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

June 18th, 2014

2014 Kansas Election Questionnaires

In the belief that the Kansas electorate deserves to know candidates’ positions on issues affecting science and science education, KCFS has asked all candidates for the Kansas Senate, Kansas House, and Kansas State Board of Education to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaires that are returned will be posted on our 2014 Kansas Election Questionnaires page.

As a 501(c)3 organization, Kansas Citizens for Science does not endorse candidates. However, part of our mission is to serve as an information resource for all Kansas citizens. This includes information about political candidates’ views regarding science. These questionnaires are an effort to ensure that votes are cast from knowledge about candidates rather than from ignorance.

June 6th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : June 10th

Science Potpourri

Speaker: Harry McDonald

Date: June 10, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Time once again to get together and discuss various things that are going on in the world of science, watch short science videos, and in general discuss any science subject you would like. Harry will produce a list of topics of items he has found interesting in the last six months or so as well as select some interesting videos. You can do the same, just bring web addresses for the videos or put them on a flash drive or DVD. We haven’t done this in almost a year, so there should be a lot to share.

I am looking at having our July meeting, likely July 15, at the K-State Olathe campus with presentations from two of their researchers dealing with food safety. Will share final details when I have them. Reservations will be necessary for us to arrange catering of light food and drink for the evening. I will keep the cost to a minimum and will solicit opinions when we meet next Tuesday. I hope to have an option to attend with no food or drink for those that prefer but K-State would still need to know how many to expect, so reservations will still be in order. Keep an eye out for the announcement. I will get it out earlier to facilitate reservations. We will return to our regular location at Coach’s next September, taking August off as usual.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

May 8th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : May 13th

Big Data – The Art of Insight

Speakers: Kurt Ruf, Partner of Ruf Strategic Solutions

Date: May 13, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

One of the key challenges facing any business or science professional is how to use data to drive strategic decisions. This session will highlight the use of Big Data across science and business. The primary emphasis will share how businesses can gain Big Data insight about their customers with demographic and other data. Tools can answer questions related to:

Who is the customer
What do they buy or not buy
Where are they located
When is the opportune time to reach them
How many prospects are there and
Which media channels will perform the best

A sample case study will demonstrate how to use insight tools to solve real world problems and share tools that allow the data scientist to solve common business challenges.

Kurtis Ruf is a Partner at Ruf Strategic Solutions, a fast growing, Big Data and Market Analytics Firm. The firm specializes in bringing together multiple sources of big data and then analyzing patterns within the data to produce marketing research and customer prospect targeting solutions. The firm has pioneered many research techniques currently used in digital and direct marketing industry. Kurt is also an author of the college text book “Contemporary Database Marketing”.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

April 3rd, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : April 8th

The Rock Ledge That Gave Birth to Kansas City, Missouri

Speakers: Richard J. Gentile, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Date: April 8, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

A rock ledge along he south bank of the Missouri River served for over 75 years as an all-weather, natural wharf for thousands of steamboats. The 4000-inhabitant Town of Kansas was built on the rock levee. This levee and small town facilitated the development of Westport and eventually current-day Kansas City. Nothing remains of the Town of Kansas,being under several feet of fill and it now exists only as a footnote in history books.

Dr. Gentile’s publications include over 50 books and five geologic maps. He has done extensive fossil collecting and is an expert on the geology of the Greater Kansas City area. His research specialty is the cyclical stratigraphy and paleontology of the Pennsylvanian-age rocks of western and northwestern Missouri, especially the Greater Kansas City area. He provided geological advice during the construction of 114 Minuteman Missile sites as well as numerous other construction projects. He is currently the Curator of the Richard L. Sutton Geosciences Museum at UMKC. He has been active in the field of geology since 1958 with numerous honors received. Of particular note is his collection of 10,000 slides of geological processes and features from all over the world. Bring your questions about local geology and fossils.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

February 25th, 2014

Help Support Strong Science Education

Teachers need support and ongoing professional development to continue to provide strong science education. Several years ago, dedicated funds to support science professional development were cut by the state. Before these cuts the state science teachers convention frequently drew 700-900 science teachers. Since the cuts, with many teachers having to pay their own way, attendance has hovered around 200.

KCFS stepped into the breach and has offered scholarships for teachers to attend the state science teachers convention. We have given preference to teachers early in their careers and to teachers whose districts provide no funding for such professional development.

Last year we awarded 11 scholarships. We would like to expand the number of scholarships.

The cost for the entire weekend convention, registration, room and board, is $275. Please consider a donation to help us provide more scholarships. KCFS pledges that any money donated to these scholarships will be used 100% for scholarships.

Send a check to:
KCFS
PO Box 442136
Lawrence, KS 66044

Write “Scholarships” on the check.

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Harry McDonald
President, KCFS

February 25th, 2014

KCFS KATS Kamp Scholarships

Kansas Citizens for Science, a long time partner with KATS, announces scholarships of $100-275 to be awarded to attendees for KATS Kamp this spring.

KCFS realizes that KATS Kamp is the premiere professional development opportunity for science teachers in Kansas. We therefore want to provide the opportunity for increased numbers of K-12 teachers to attend.

Early career teachers who have district/building mentors are encouraged to have their mentors apply also. If an early career teacher is awarded a scholarship, their mentor will receive one also. We want such teams to be able to work together at Kamp. An early career teacher may, of course, apply even if no mentor applies.

KCFS will provide scholarships based on the following criteria:
• Teachers who will be first time Kamp attendees.
• Early career teachers.
• Teachers whose district provides no support for attendance.
• Teachers who will agree to attend one of the sessions sponsored by KCFS
• District/building mentors of early career teachers

Award recipients will be expected to apply knowledge obtained at Kamp in their classroom.

Applicants do not have to meet all the above criteria, but these are the criteria which will be used to determine scholarship recipients.

Applications may be downloaded from the the KATS website or from www.kcfs.org. Applications should be sent by email to Harry McDonald, KCFS President, biologycctrack@hotmail.com, by March 15.

Recipients will be contacted by March 22 by email.

February 11th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : Feb. 11th

A History of Water Pollution in Kansas City

Speaker: John Dunn, Environmental Engineer, US EPA Region 7

Date: February 11, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Kansas City is a river town. Our local history and the history of water pollution are closely related. We will talk about familiar places and names, and how this fits into the water pollution story of Kansas City. You will see how the decisions of years past have created our current challenges and choices in the KC Metro. Please bring questions!

Mr. Dunn has worked as an Environmental Engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. During that time he has served in the NPDES Water Pollution Permits Section. His areas of experience have included Water Quality-based permits, Industrial Permits, Biofuels development, Power Plant issues, TMDL’s, Biosolids, Big River issues, and Security and Water Infrastructure Protection. Volunteer in the Missouri 340 race. Ground Crew, Safety Boat.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

January 5th, 2014

Johnson County Science Café : Jan 7th

Help Us Begin Our Fifth Year of Science Cafes

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins: Now that I have your attention, let’s talk!

Speakers: Gary Wesche, Kansas City Zoo Penguin Education Coordinator

Date: January 7, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Penguins, what can we learn from those birds as we learn about those birds? And why will people engage in difficult subjects if the talk is linked to a bird in a tux?

Gary Wesche is a local educator. In his 30 year career he has taught 4th grade in public school, taught middle school science in private school, taught worldwide classes from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in 2009-10 from a tent with PolarTREC, and was an at home dad for 16 years to 6 children while acting and directing in musical theater. This last year Gary was an adjunct physics professor at Rockhurst University, was hired by the Kansas City Zoo under a grant from the Zoo Learning Fund to be the Penguin Education Coordinator, helped launch the international organization Polar Educators International, PEI, represented PolarTREC and Kansas City at the International Penguin Conference in Bristol, England, and found time to direct and choreograph his favorite musical for the Chestnut Fine Arts Center in Olathe.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com

December 1st, 2013

Johnson County Science Café : December 3rd

Observations on Tanzanian Animals, Ecology, and Culture

Speakers: Harry and Charlotte McDonald

Date: December 3, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Harry and Charlotte will share their thoughts (and dare we say, insights) on Africa from their trip to Tanzania this fall. They will share their pictures and others from the trip as well as perspectives gained from their personal observations, from information provided by their guide, and from additional research. In the spirit of scientific conversation, all are encouraged to share their own stories and opinions from trips to the Dark Continent.

Harry and Charlotte are retired science teachers, naturalists and avid bird-watchers. Along with the usual cast of characters to be seen in Tanzania, they were able to identify over 160 species of birds and will share stories about many of them. For those of you that remember the tales of Tarzan and references to an elephant graveyard, Harry and Charlotte will suggest one possible inspiration for that legend.

Join us next Tuesday.

For more information: biologycctrack@hotmail.com