University Communications Staff

Katherine Unger Baillie

Science News Officer

Anthropology, Archaeology, Biology, Dental Medicine, Earth and Environmental Science, History and Sociology of Science, Penn Museum, Penn Science Café, Science, Technology, Veterinary Medicine

215-898-9194

kbaillie@upenn.edu

Social networks affect every aspect of our lives, from the jobs we get and the technologies we adopt to the partners we choose and the healthiness of our lifestyles. But where do they come from? 
For diabetics, a quick prick of the finger can give information about their blood glucose levels, guiding them in whether to have a snack or inject a dose of insulin. Point-of-care glucose meters, or glucometers, are also used in the veterinary world to monitor cats and dogs with diabetes or pets hospitalized for other reasons.
Stress during the first trimester of pregnancy alters the population of microbes living in a mother’s vagina. Those changes are passed on to newborns during birth and are associated with differences in their gut microbiome as well as their brain development, according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers.
When most people consider the concept of evolution, they may imagine a process by which an organism adapts to a new environment, envisioning, for example, the varied beaks of Darwin’s finches. But the vast majority of evolutionary processes don’t act to change an organism—they try to keep it the same. This type of selection pressure is known as purifying selection.
Evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould is famous for describing the evolution of humans and other conscious beings as a chance accident of history. If we could go back millions of years and “run the tape of life again,” he mused, evolution would follow a different path. 
Seven students from the School of Veterinary Medicine are traveling to Italy this week to see how European societies ensure that their animals—and the foods those animals produce—remain healthy and safe. “Europe is known for its progressive animal welfare laws,” says Kate Very, a rising third-year student at Penn Vet. “We wanted to put together a trip that would focus on animal welfare and also the legislative aspects of public policy, which are areas we don’t get that much exposure to in school.”
In 1913 in Southern California, two 241-mile-long electric lines began carrying power from hydroelectric dams in the Sierra Nevada to customers in Los Angeles—a massive feat of infrastructure. In 1923, power company Southern California Edison upgraded the line to carry 220,000 volts, among the highest voltage lines in the world at the time.
Cattle in the United States are generally managed to either produce milk or to produce beef. However, in most of the world, cattle are counted on to do both in what are called dual-purpose production systems.
The 1920s were still relatively early in the days of widespread access to electric power. The high-voltage lines carrying electricity from hydroelectric dams in the Sierra Nevada to consumers in Los Angeles were considered a magnificent feat of technological innovation, yet this massive and expensive system quickly came under threat from an unexpected source: bird poop.
The 1920s were still relatively early in the days of widespread access to electric power. The high-voltage lines carrying electricity from hydroelectric dams in the Sierra Nevada to consumers in Los Angeles were considered a magnificent feat of technological innovation, yet this massive and expensive system quickly came under threat from an unexpected source: bird poop.