Coffee Hour with Peter Wilf | iMPS-HLS graduates | Oldest hockey stick ever


iMPS-HLS students, families, and faculty at University Park in December for Commencement.

iMPS-HLS students, families, and faculty at University Park in December for Commencement.

Congratulations to online Geospatial Intelligence Option in the Master of Homeland Security (iMPS-HLS)  students who graduated at December 2014 Commencement. Students and families who attended in person are pictured above. Photo and identification by Todd Bacastow.


Russ Hedberg published a book review in the journal Agriculture and Human Values. It’s published online now and will appear in the March issue. The book he reviewed is “Labor and the Locavore: the Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic,” by Margaret Gray.

Before Amanda Young came to Penn State, she was the manager of the Mount Allison University Dendrochronology Lab (MADLAB) in Sackville, N.B., Canada. One of the projects she worked on was dating a hockey stick that the owner believed to be really old.  They successfully dated it, and it turns out to be the oldest hockey stick found to date.  Last week the hockey stick was sold by the owner to the Canadian Museum of History. Read more about the hockey stick:$300,000/1


January 23 Coffee Hour Peter Wilf “Patagonian Fossil Floras: Keys to the Origins, Biogeography, Biodiversity, and Survival of the Gondwanan Rainforest Biome”

The outstandingly rich, little-sampled fossil beds of Patagonia, Argentina, have unrivaled importance for understanding the evolution of Southern Hemisphere biodiversity and biogeography. Our international, long-term project in Patagonia has yielded significantly improved chronostratigraphy and many unprecedented, firmly dated paleobotanical discoveries from Late Cretaceous to Eocene sites, providing a massive infusion of primary data for testing evolutionary and biogeographic scenarios and framing new research. For example, the extremely diverse, Eocene paleorainforest sites at Laguna del Hunco (52.2 Ma) and Río Pichileufú (47.7 Ma) produced many first South American records of important genera that now survive at great distance in the Old World (sub)tropics.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go

Next week: January 30 The Miller Lecture Glen MacDonald “Climate Change and Perfect Drought in California and the Southwest–Past, Present and Future”

Penn State MOOC introduces geospatial intelligence to students around the world

Geospatial intelligence was born of the defense industry, but Todd Bacastow said it can have broader applications in business and law enforcement as well. Bacastow, the lead faculty member in Penn State’s geospatial intelligence program, hopes Geospatial Intelligence and the Geospatial Revolution, a free online course that started Jan. 14, will help broaden the appeal of the discipline beyond the world of defense, both in and outside the United States.

Then-and-now sliders show 60 Years of Urban Change: Midwest

60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed. We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century. In this post, we look at Midwestern cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

Developed at Stanford, a website about comedian Richard Pryor’s early years reveals the complex history of race in an American sin city

Most people remember Richard Pryor as a groundbreaking African American comedian and social critic who crossed over Hollywood’s racial boundaries in the 1970s with a string of buddy comedies co-starring Gene Wilder. What many don’t know, however, is how his early years spent in the red-light district of Peoria, Illinois, shaped his evolution as an artist. … Erik Steiner (M.S. ’01), creative director of Stanford’s Spatial History Project, worked with Saul to develop the site and create maps of the region. Steiner describes Peoria as not just a stage for Pryor, but a main character in his life story. It was a diverse, heterogeneous place where issues of class, race and sexuality intersected with the geography of the city.

Now available: IJSLE special issue: University Engineering Programs That Impact Communities: Critical Analyses and Reflection

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Dog of the week

Who is this dog? Who is her human?

Last week’s dog was Kenobi, a 9-week-old black lab/Australian shepherd mix, companion to MGIS student Chris Dunn. Send your answer and/or a photo of your dog to for our mystery dog of the week!

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