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Science In My Life is maintained by John R. Hoffman, Professor of Biology and a scientist examining the recovery of the nervous system after injury.

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3/5 Venus, Culligan, and Kidneys

Venera 14 transmits color pictures from the surface of Venus (1982)
Four months after it was launched, the Soviet  space probe, Venera 14 landed on the surface of Venus. It was equipped with a camera system, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a screw drill and surface sampler, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface  It was able to analyze soil samples and determine that the surface was similar to oceanic tholeiitic basalts, the most common volcanic rocks on earth.  It also sent back color pictures of the surface before being destroyed by the high Venutian temperature, pressure, and corrosive atmosphere.

Emmett Joseph Culligan born (1893)
What makes water hard? Or soft? Minerals dissolved in water vary in different regions of the world.  Water with high levels of magnesium and calcium is described as hard.  When this water evaporates it leaves a precipitate “scale” on surfaces that can clog pipes and interfere with heat conduction in pots or tea kettles.  The minerals also interact with soap to leave a “soap scum” on tub surfaces.  A water softening system replaces the calcium and magnesium in hard water with sodium.  The sodium ions don’t precipitate on the pipes and the calcium and magnesium are flushed down a drain pipe.  Emmett Joseph Culligan (1893 – 1970) was born on March 5th, and is the inventer of the commonly used Culligan water softener home systems.

Celebrate National Kidney Month

KidsHealth information on how the kidneys work: part 1 and part 2

KidsHealth video on how the kidneys work:

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