The weekly roundup – July 15th by UC Science Today

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Hi there, hope you’re all having a nice summer – in case you’ve missed some of our stories, he’s a bit of a recap. First, atmospheric scientist Veerabadhran Ramanathan of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography is looking for a million climate warriors. To get the message out about climate change, Ramanathan is teaming up with 50 University of California academics in various disciplines to propose a hybrid course taught by about 20 faculty that combines videotaped lectures in a class that’s devoted to discussing solutions.

“These are people who can roll up their sleeves and try to solve the problem. So, I’m on my own pathway to create those million climate warriors in the UC system.”

The goal is to pilot these classes first on nine UC campuses and then expand the coursework to other colleges. And on the subject of classes – are you a parent struggling wondering whether or not to send your child to preschool? For four years, Bruce Fuller, a professor of education at UC Berkeley tracked the academic performance of over 6,000 kids up to five years of age.

“We have known over the last half century that quality preschools can boost the early learning of children from poor families, but much less is known about the long-term effects of preschool on children from middle class families.”

But those benefits tended to come from exposure to more academically-intense preschool programs, especially those focused on developing early math skills and verbal communication. While at Berkeley, we learned how neuroscientist Adrian Chopin is trying to help people with a condition called amblyopia, in which vision in one of the eyes is reduced and leads to a loss of stereoscopic vision.

“When we train people to have better stereoscopic vision, we put them in front of a computer. We project on a screen, lines of different depth. The task is just to say do you see the line in front or behind the other line, for example.”

Chopin explained that about 10 percent of people around the world are stereo-impaired, but the rest of us see the world in 3 dimensions and could also benefit from improved stereoscopic vision. Well, that’s all for this week. If you miss Science Today on your local CBS radio affiliate, you can listen to all of our episodes on iTunes. Thanks for listening, I’m Larissa Branin.

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