CEDAR FALLS — About 500 middle and high school students from across the state will take part in an annual science tournament this weekend at the University of Northern Iowa.UNI biology professor Jill Maroo is director of the Iowa Science Olympiad which is featuring 38 teams from 13 middle schools and 15 high schools. They’ll be competing in 25 events during Saturday’s day-long contest in Cedar Falls.“They will compete in an event called Anatomy and Physiology where they will do a hands-on practical of anatomy and physiology,” Maroo says. “They will compete in things like Crimebusters, so think forensic science. They’ll look at blood spatters and they’ll do some tests about ‘What Is This Chemical?’”The students will work in partnerships to compete in different scientific disciplines including chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, general science knowledge and more.“Each team has a vehicle event and the younger students are doing what’s called a Mousetrap Vehicle,” Maroo says. “They build a car that is actually powered by a mousetrap. The older students are doing something called Gravity Vehicles. They build a ramp and the car comes off that ramp and is completely propelled by gravity.”The competition is designed to build a number of skills that are critical in today’s world. While some events like this aim to nudge students into pursuing careers in science, Maroo says she has a different perspective.“I actually am okay if they still want to do a career outside of science,” Maroo says, “as long as we spark that passion about science in them so that they are still loving science when they move on.”The competition will wrap up with an awards ceremony with medals for winners, while others will take home scholarships of up to $500 each.
One Florida woman apparently had some time on her hands, and maybe a score to settle.According to authorities, 65-year-old Maria Bassi Lauro, of Davenport, mailed threatening letters containing white powder to three elementary schools where she previously taught.FBI agents arrested her at her home on Wednesday. She made her first appearance in Tampa federal court on charges of mailing threatening communications and transmitting false information and hoaxes.The indictment states that Lauro sent the letters to the schools in Polk and Lake counties between August and September of last year. The recipients thought the powder could be harmful since anthrax, ricin and other toxins can appear as a white powder.The powder was later determined to be harmless. However, the indictment did not offer a motive for the threats.Lauro was freed on restrictive bail.
Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierLike us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlDownload our mobile app at http://www.appshopper.com/news/new-pittsburgh-courier NEW RECORD—Oakland Raiders Quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) runs for a 93 yard touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark, left, inside linebacker Vince Williams (98) and cornerback William Gay (22) during the first quarter in Oakland, Calif., Oct. 27. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) The Oakland Raiders did everything they could to hand the game to the Steelers in the second half, but Pittsburgh just wouldn’t accept it as they failed to beat Oakland, 21-18, in a very sloppy game keeping them in the cellar of the AFC North at 2-5 while the Raiders improved to 3-4. The Raiders opened the game with a 93 touchdown run by local kid Terrelle Pryor, which was the longest touchdown run in history by a quarterback. After that, it appeared the Raiders were going to blow the Steelers off the field as they built up a 21-3 halftime lead.But in the second half the Raiders offense played as bad as the Steelers offense had in the first half, not being able to mount any kind of offensive drive via poor execution and conservative play calling. Yet the Steelers couldn’t take advantage of the poor Raiders play and the good field position they constantly received from the defense. They scored 18 points, but Shaun Suisham missed two easy field goals, Ben Roethlisberger threw interceptions and the offensive line allowed sacks at critical times in the game. Both teams showed why they should finish well out of the playoffs. Just when everyone was talking about the improved running game Le’Veon Bell was only able to pick up 24 yards on 13 carries. Ben was 29 of 45 for275 yards and a touchdown to Emmanual Sanders. For the Raiders, Darren McFadden had 74 yards on 24 carries, and Pryor had 106 yards on 9 carries but 93 came on the big run. Both Antonio Brown, 9 catches for 82 yards, and Sanders, 7 catches for 88 yards, had solid games. Things are not going to get any easier for the Steelers, as they face the New England Patriots, 6-2, this weekend. Despite having a young team and a struggling defense, the Patriots behind quarterback Tom Brady have proven to be one of the better teams in the league this season. And with tight end Rob Gronkowski returning from an injury they are going to get better. They can be beaten, as the New York Jets proved, but the Steelers would have to play a near perfect game, and would have to score more than 20 points, which they haven’t proven they can do. The Patriots are coming off a 27-17 victory over their division rival Miami Dolphins. Brady numbers wasn’t impressive, 13 of 22 for just 113 yards, but the result was. Their top receiver this season has been Aaron Dobson but look for Gronkowski to be the go to man in this game as he gets healthier. The ground game is solid with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. They had a combined 125 yards on 28 carries. The Pats defense hasn’t been anything to write home about, but the way the Steelers offense has been playing they probably won’t be able to take advantage of it. In the AFC North the Cincinnati Bengals continued to roll as they murdered the New York Jets 49-9 to start pulling away from the pack at 6-2. The Baltimore Ravens, 3-4 had a bye week, and the Cleveland Browns became the Kansas City Chiefs’ 8th straight victim at 23-17 to fall to 3-5.