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Announcing Sacred Mounds, a novel of Magical Realism and Historical Fantasy from Jim Metzner, with a foreword by Hutke Fields, principal chief of the Natchez Nation.
Cyclonic hordes of insects, a telepathic despot, body-swapping sex - just a few of the surprises Salvador Samuels encounters when he is swept back to pre-colonial times, walking in the moccasins of a blind Indian - who, in turn, has been transported into Salvador's body in present-day America. Sacred Mounds Book Cover Four hundred years apart, they are bound by a mission to rescue our world, aided by the mysterious presence of the mounds. Thousands of these ancient earthworks once dotted the landscape of North America. We still don't know why they were created. Sacred Mounds suggests they are as important today as when they were made over a thousand years ago. Sacred Mounds weaves the stories of two men, each a stranger in a strange land. With the help of two remarkable women, they must find a way to save our planet and return home.
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Material Science - Making Chains: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Oct 04, 2010
Scientist: Dr. Daniel A. Savin

Material Science - Making Chains

Material Science - Making Chains
Monomers, polymers - what is it that makes plastics so versatile?

Right now, wherever you are, you probably near some form of plastic. Maybe its the shell of your cell phone, the dashboard of your car, the packaging of your favorite snack. But is what is plastic, anyway? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

DANIEL: Plastics are made form things called polymers. Polymers come from poly, which means many, and mer, which means units.

Daniel Savin as an assistant professor materials science at the University of Southern Mississippi. He says that you can think of monomers as individual beads that you can combine together in a necklace of polymers.

DANIEL: And you take these individual units which are called monomers and we can combine them together in long chains to form different polymers. For example we can take these different long chains and we can string them all together to form these long-type structures kind of like spaghetti.

And when you link the chains of polymers together, it changes the properties of the plastic you can make from those polymers.

DANIEL: The challenge of material science is to try to make materials that are more lightweight and stronger than materials out there. For example if you think about a bridge, a bridge is made of iron which is very strong so its not going to collapse but its also very heavy so its hard to move the pieces of iron around. What were trying to do is perform the same function as the bridge but make them more lightweight and make them in a cheaper way.

DANIEL: We start from the individual monomer units and when we combine together they form these different polymer chains and eventually we will make a material for example a foam material that we might want to use for say a football helmet.

Daniel Savin is one of the participating scientists in this years KSC, our free nationwide competition for third to 6th graders. Think up a new way that materials science can make sports safer or more fun and enter on kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation, I'm Jim Metzner.