The Science Hub: environmental effects of government shutdown, white supremacy in science, galactic collision

The Science Hub is a bi-monthly newsletter that informs what you need to know in science today.


Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Rachel Chang, Jonathan Soriano, and Thomas Weldele

Environment Impacts on National Parks due to Government Shutdown

A lack of funding for the National Parks, due to the prolonged government shutdown, caused many National Parks to be open with a fraction of the normal number of rangers working within the park.  As a result, many of the famous National Parks, such as Sequoia and Joshua Tree, are being trashed as uninformed visitors are slowly causing damage to the pristine natural environment that the park rangers are unable to curb.  Examples of damage include driving off of roads as well as using the ground as a trash can.

As a result, many National Parks are being forced to close in order to prevent more environmental damage from occurring.  However, it may be too late.  Deviating from the marked paths kills fragile vegetation that may not recover for years.

As of Jan. 8, 2019, Joshua Tree national park was closed.  However, the park may open before the shutdown finishes but only time will tell

Only time will tell though, how poorly the National Parks will fare from this shutdown.  

-Thomas Weldele


Holding science accountable for white supremacy

Last week on P.B.S., Nobel-winning biologist and co-discoverer of DNA’s double helix structure James D. Watson reaffirmed his beliefs that people of African descent cognitively evolved differently than their non-African counterparts due to ancient geographical separation.

It was a decade ago when Watson first announced this idea (followed by additional racist remarks) and was met by a forced retirement as a laboratory chancellor, public condemnation and a sudden lack of public attention. However, his words were embraced by masses of Internet users that used the name of science to bolster their white supremacist views.

Watson isn’t the only scientist whose work has been rallied behind by racial superiority groups. Several scientists claim that their research has been taken out of context and misinterpreted.

-Rachel Chang


Coming to you from a galaxy far, far away

On January 4, 2019, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society was a work stating a future collision between our own Milky Way galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy. This collision was simulated by supercomputer EAGLE project and is expected to occur in two billion years.

The collision is expected to increase the size of the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy. Thus, consuming surrounding gas and emit large amounts of radiation. It may not occur within our lifetime but knowing that understanding that the cosmos is in constant chaos is beautiful. It is the type of chaos that created Earth from collisions and impacts, the Milky Way Galaxy billions of years ago and every star seen at night (when air pollution is low).

-Jonathan Soriano

What do you think?