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Science, I choose you!
About science outreach, education, communication, and cool science stuff that should be taught in school
Curated by Theresa Liao
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How do you know science is happening in Canada if you don't hear about it? | The McGill Daily » Out of sight, out of existence

How do you know science is happening in Canada if you don't hear about it? | The McGill Daily » Out of sight, out of existence | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I worked on a writing assignment regarding the cost of accessing articles of publicly funded research when I was at the Banff Science Communications Program. One of the instructors told me that this issue had been covered quite extensively, so I did some research - and yes indeed, the issue was well-discussed in US and UK (mostly through the science sections of the New York Times and the Guardians), but there were very few mentions of it in Canada. This article reminds me how disappointed I was (and continue to be). Is there anything we can do to change the situation?

 

"The Globe and Mail doesn’t have a science section. Neither does the National Post. Add to this the fact that there are no dedicated Canadian science magazines for the general public, and it starts to become obvious why Canadians rarely hear about groundbreaking science research done across the country."

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Zombies vs. particle physics grad students! At the LHC! | DECAY Official Trailer

Can't wait till Dec 8!!

(I wish I were in the film...making a movie at the Large Hadron Collider is pretty cool)

 

"DECAY is a zombie film made and set at the LHC, by physics PhD students. It will be released free online on Dec 8th, under a Creative Commons license. http:/..."

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What's Moore's Law? When are we going to break it? | Moore's Law: The rule that really matters in tech

What's Moore's Law? When are we going to break it? | Moore's Law: The rule that really matters in tech | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I have always been curious about Moore's Law, but have been too lazy to look it up :P This article is a rather nice overview - from what a transistor is, how silicon acts as a semiconductor, where Moore's Law came from, to the latest technologies (graphene, spintronics, brief mentions of others) that might keep us on track of Moore's Law. This is a good start for anyone who is interested in the general progression of the field, but will likely lead to further readings.

 

(By the way, research in this area generally falls under the study of condensed matter physics, a field of physics that is not super "sexy" - few incredible photos like those from cosmology or astronomy, no Large Hadron Collider or the God particle - but studies in condensed matter physics affect many things we use in our daily life.)

 

"Year in, year out, Intel executive Mike Mayberry hears the same doomsday prediction: Moore's Law is going to run out of steam. Sometimes he even hears it from his own co-workers.

But Moore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who 47 years ago predicted a steady, two-year cadence of chip improvements, keeps defying the pessimists because a brigade of materials scientists like Mayberry continue to find ways of stretching today's silicon transistor technology even as they dig into alternatives."


Via Szabolcs Kósa, olsen jay nelson, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Interactive Inforgraphic | How big is space? BBC - Future

Interactive Inforgraphic | How big is space? BBC - Future | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

This is so much fun to play with, just keep scrolling and scrolling...

 

I am glad that they included the Lego-naut and the skydive by Felix Baumgartner!

 

"Scroll through our monster graphic to explore the farthest reaches of our Solar System; now including Felix Baumgartner's record breaking skydive."

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Write (about science) if you are in Canada! - CBC Call for submissions: Close Encounters with Science

Write (about science) if you are in Canada! - CBC Call for submissions: Close Encounters with Science | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

Deadline November 20!

 

"From one competition to the next...The CBC Short Story Competition has just closed and already we've got another challenge for you (if you're up for it, that is).This month, Canada Writes has partnered up with the Canada Council for the..."

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Krister Shalm, the Dancing Physicist, explains - [VIDEO] The Quantum Physics of Harry Potter

I actually know Krister in person - through the Banff Science Communications Program. Krister is awesome - he is a physicist, he dances (lindy hop), and he writes on his blog "The Dancing Physicist" (http://www.dancingphysicist.com/).

 

Note: a newer version of the talk can be found here - http://www.dancingphysicist.com/quantum-physics-harry-potter/

 

"The universe of Harry Potter is filled with magic and wonder. Yet it is not that different from the world we inhabit."


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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See "inside" your fruits and vegetables with MRI | Inside Insides

See "inside" your fruits and vegetables with MRI | Inside Insides | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I never pay much attention to the cucumber or the garlic that I chop up to make dinner (I DID pay attention to make sure I don't accidentally chop up my fingers - that's important). However, images from Andy Ellison, an MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School, make me wonder why I haven't done so. Andy took amazing MRI images of daily fruits, vegetables, and plants (the latest posts are done with cactus and lilies) and posted them on his blog. Moreover, his friends used his images and put together 3D interactive versions. His blog was even featured in the Science Magazine (see write'rs post http://jennywp.jennycarpenter.com/?p=679).

 

By the way, my favourite is the star fruit!

 

Note: This website reminds me of another project by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fish-xrays

 

Note2: Thanks David Ng for sharing this on his blog http://popperfont.net/2012/10/04/mris-of-vegetables-an-obvious-thing-to-do-if-you-have-access-to-an-mri/

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Möbius Music Box!

Vi Hart's video on hexaflexagon was featured on io9 yesterday:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIVIegSt81k]

 

After seeing the hexaflexagon video I ended up visiting her YouTube channel, full of awesome videos re: math and geometric shapes. What really blew my mind was the Möbius strip music box. A Möbius strip is essentially a band that has only one surface: If you take a strip of paper and then tape it end to end, what you have is a ring with two surfaces (inside and outside). But, if you turn one of the ends before taping them, you end up with the Möbius strip that has only one surface - there is no inside or outside anymore! And using this, you can actually keep playing the notes on the Möbius strip in the music box without ever hitting the end.

 

Anyways, here are just two examples of how awesome her videos are. I am very impressed. Highly recommend that you subscribe to her channel.

 

"My first arrangement for music box is a theme from the Harry Potter Septet. (Go to http://vihart.com/hp/ to hear the septet, or http://vihart.com/blog/mobius..."

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Take university courses online for free? Coursera, edX, and how it started (Khan Academy)

Take university courses online for free? Coursera, edX, and how it started (Khan Academy) | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

A recent announcement from the university I work at got me pretty excited - UBC is in partnership with several other universities to offer free online courses through Coursera https://www.coursera.org/. After a quick look I was amazed. This is a site with 195 free courses from 33 universities! 

 

Going back a few years, most people started to note the potential of online learning through Khan Academy http://www.khanacademy.org/ (including Bill Gates, whose Foundation now financially supports Khan Academy). And this all came from one man, Salman Khan, who wanted to make education videos for his cousins - It has since grown to having 3400 videos online. From there, more and more online learning sites popped up, most of which are chucks of information, and are not formulated in the way that a "course" is usually offered.

 

Then, on August 15, a big announcement came out from MIT, Harvard, and Berkley - that the edX (https://www.edx.org/) was launched and courses would be offered from edX for free. While this is hugely excited, so far the number of courses available is rather small (7). And that's why I was amazed by the depth and breadth of Coursera.

 

Online learning means that high-quality educational materials can now be made available to anyone in any country as long as internet connection is accessible. But it does come with some questions - when we put online education and attending classes on a balance, do they weigh the same? Or perhaps they serve different purposes? Oh well, I will wait till next time to cover these. But now let me see how many courses I can fit into my busy schedule...

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Save your used satellite dishes! Recycled dishes form telescope network | Nature News

Save your used satellite dishes! Recycled dishes form telescope network | Nature News | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

The Square Kilometre Array (SKS) is an ambitious project to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. And it is not just "A" telescope - it consists of dishes, mid frequency aperture arrays and low frequency aperture arrays (Check out the artist's rendition of SKS here: http://www.skatelescope.org/media-outreach/images/print-images/, seriously impressive). Data from SKS will contribute to research in 5 major topics: cosmology (galaxy formation and dark energy), gravity, cosmic magnetism, life beyond earth, and the origin of black holes and stars. 

 

Anyways, it is an interesting (and awesome!) idea to retrofit old satellite dishes for the SKS project! As you can see from the article, well, there are some surprises...

 

"Africa refits redundant satellite dishes for radio astronomy."

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Being a scientist is hard work: The Results Are in: Scientists Are Workaholics | Wired Science | Wired.com

Being a scientist is hard work: The Results Are in: Scientists Are Workaholics | Wired Science | Wired.com | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

One thing I had difficulty dealing with when I was a graduate student was how I couldn't tell when it was work time and when it wasn't - I thought about my project pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even in my dreams - I often had dreams about rushing into my lab only to find all my cultured cells died. Fun!). I guess I was not alone...

 

"Far from academia being a cushy and lazy lifestyle as sometimes portrayed in fiction, researchers know that science is an around-the-clock endeavor. Well, we now have some quantitative data to back this up."

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Envisioning the future of technology

Envisioning the future of technology | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

Technology has transformed many things - one of which being how we teach and learn. How far will we go? What can be replaced by technology, and what can't? 

 

"65% of today’s grade-school children will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet."

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What open access means to researchers in developing world - I can no longer work for a system that puts profit over access to research | The Guardian

What open access means to researchers in developing world - I can no longer work for a system that puts profit over access to research | The Guardian | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I am doing some research for a writing assignment, and came across this article. I talked about the issue re: the cost of accessing knowledge in the past. This looks at the same issue from an angle that I haven't thought about before. For scientists in developing countries, resources for science could already be inadequate. Togheter with not being able to access the latest research publications, the barrier to research progress is monumental. For me, this is a very strong reason for supporting open access journals. I also finally understand why I used to receive emails asking for pdf copies of my articles.

 

PS I am attending the Banff Centre Science Communications Program!  (hence the writing assignment) So much work, so little time, but very excited to share what I learn with you in the next few weeks :D http://www.banffscience.ca/

 

"Winston Hide, associate editor of Genomics, says its publisher Elsevier effectively denies developing world access to research findings..."

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Why throw things away when they are still working? | The high cost of our throwaway culture - BBC Future

Why throw things away when they are still working? | The high cost of our throwaway culture - BBC Future | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I have been bothered by the "throwaway culture" for a while. It was only last year that I unwillingly switched over to a smart phone because my old flip phone finally died. And my TV is still the old school CRT (I have had it for about 10 years I believe - still alive and kicking). And I have fixed many problems of my desktop computer, to the point that I complained why I couldn't just be computer illiterate since then I would have had an excuse to buy a new computer. Still, I don't like throwing things away. Another TV in the landfill is another TV in the landfill, more resources lost and more resources wasted. 

 

A recently TV commercial shows how people would purposely lose their old iPhone just so that they have a reason to upgrade to a new one. I was speechless...

 

"In the second of a two-part series, Gaia Vince explains how consumerism is draining the planet of its resources, and why it is time to act more responsibly."

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How to make a video of cheetahs running | Cheetahs Running in Super Slow Motion - Videos from the National Geographic Magazine

How to make a video of cheetahs running | Cheetahs Running in Super Slow Motion - Videos from the National Geographic Magazine | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

It's very cool that the National Geographic Magazine made a video of cheetahs running using high speed video cameras that can shoot 1200 (or 1600?) frames per second. But what's even cooler is to see the behind-the-scene footages of how the video was made. Most people don't realize is the amount of work put into making a high quality science video...

 

"A National Geographic film crew captured stunning slow motion footage of cheetahs running in excess of 60 MPH using a Phantom high speed camera filming at 1200 frames per second. The camera was mou..."

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What happens when GZA from Wu-Tang Clan teams up with science? Columbia Professor and GZA Aim to Help Teach Science Through Hip-Hop | New York Times

What happens when GZA from Wu-Tang Clan teams up with science? Columbia Professor and GZA Aim to Help Teach Science Through Hip-Hop | New York Times | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

"Christopher Emdin, a Columbia professor, is working with the rapper GZA and the Web site Rap Genius on a pilot program to use hip-hop to teach science in New York City schools."

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Science told the way it is - science storytelling podcasts | The Story Collider Podcast

Science told the way it is - science storytelling podcasts | The Story Collider Podcast | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

The Story Collider is a project through which stories of science are told. While the actual shows happen in New York, these talks are often recorded and posted online as podcasts. From facing mysterious illnesses, collecting data in the Arctic, to encountering an aggressive rat in the lab, these stories show what "science" really means to scientists. 

 

(Don't worry, no equations, no required readings, just good storytelling)

 

Each story is a quick and easy listen, and the 3 that I listened to were all extremely interesting and funny. I highly recommend the one by John Rennie (who was actually one of the instructors I met at the Banff Science Communications Program: http://storycollider.org/podcast/2011-08-14, you can see the video here: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/story-collider-where-science-is-a-story-well-told/). 

 

Enjoy!

 

"The Story Collider podcast..."

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The Story of Physics: Extended Version - Dara O Briain's Science Club - Episode 2 - BBC Two

I have always been a HUGE FAN of science TV shows produced by BBC (with my basic cable subscription in Vancouver, luckily I've got the Knowledge Network...). This video is the promo or opening for the upcoming episode of the Dara O Brian's Science Club. Within a few minutes it provides a very short history of physics, and leads to ideas in modern physics. And the animation was really fun to watch.

 

It seems that Dara O Brian's Science Club is a new show (only at its second episode), but I will be following the website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00zxmqd/clips) in the future for more of such clips. Also check out the one on the story of inheritance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3F5BV82Lg8). Videos are available both on their website and through their YouTube channel.

 

"More about this programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p014h Balls, pendulums, apples and magnets all played their part in the story of modern physics..."

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Check out the report card of Nobel Prize Winner Sir. John Gurdon: Gurdon Institute | Professor Sir John Gurdon: the infamous report card...

Check out the report card of Nobel Prize Winner Sir. John Gurdon: Gurdon Institute | Professor Sir John Gurdon: the infamous report card... | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it
The Wellcome trust and Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology at the University of Cambridge, UK...
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Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 | BBC News

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 | BBC News | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

Part of my job as the Communications Coordinator for the Dept of Physics & Astronomy is to select cool photos and post them on the departmental website. And I often get really impressive photos from astronomers in the dept (actually some physicists in the dept are jealous, haha). Well, here are some truly amazing astronomy photos for the year of 2012, put together by BBC News. 

 

When you watch the video, make sure to click on the "caption" option (lower right of the screen) to see more info about the photos.

 

And, if you are really a huge fan of astronomy photos, check out the Astronomy Photo of the Day website (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html).

 

"From the starry night sky, to the Milky Way, and out into deep space - stunning images from across the cosmos."

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Heartbreak “physically” hurts (and what this has to do with science communications)

Heartbreak “physically” hurts (and what this has to do with science communications) | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

This is my Wordpress post on a research project re: how your brain responses to "hurt" feelings caused by physical stimuli and that caused by what we consider "emotional hurt" (like in break-ups or rejections). Aside from this being an interesting research, I also compared the write-ups published by three different sources (a fashion magazine, a science news website, and the original scientific article)on the same research

 

By the way, I am hoping to move to Wordpress for some of my longer posts. I haven't figured out how to coordinate the posts yet - will hopefully figure it out soon!

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The Counterintuitive Physics of Tarzan Swings | MIT Technology Review

The Counterintuitive Physics of Tarzan Swings | MIT Technology Review | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

I love it when people apply physics calculations to scenarios in movies or in computer games (a few Angry Birds calculations are out there). The calculation for where the best release point is for Tarzan to achieve maximum distance is actually, well, not so straight forward. Check out this review, and then check out the original article posted on ArXiv.org at http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.4355v1.

 

"When Tarzan leaps from a swinging rope, when should he let go to jump furthest?"


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Seth Dixon's comment, September 10, 2012 1:12 PM
I was just on a Tarzan swing on the Merrimack River in New Hampshire and was pondering these very questions. Thanks for posting the link.
Marty Roddy's curator insight, October 23, 2013 10:26 PM

exercise nerd heaven

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Ethics & Genome Sequencing: With Genome Sequencing On The Rise, Ethical Puzzles Creep Up | New York Times

Ethics & Genome Sequencing: With Genome Sequencing On The Rise, Ethical Puzzles Creep Up | New York Times | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

Another case where new scientific discoveries and testings lead to ethical issues - and that policy makers need to try hard to catch up. A good overview on how research ethics is approved, why conflicts arise, and the ethical issues surrounding genome sequencing.

 

"In laboratories around the world, genetic researchers using tools that are ever more sophisticated to peer into the DNA of cells are increasingly finding things they were not looking for, including information that could make a big difference to an anonymous donor."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Star Wars anyone? - 'Hover bike' prototype thrills sci-fi fans: Would you buy one? - Your Community

Star Wars anyone? - 'Hover bike' prototype thrills sci-fi fans: Would you buy one? - Your Community | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

This is just too cool! Air traffic control would be hellish, but can be fun to see this happen for real...

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INFOGRAPHIC The Physics Of Olympic Bodies | NPR

INFOGRAPHIC The Physics Of Olympic Bodies | NPR | Science, I choose you! | Scoop.it

After each Olympic Game I wonder how athletes keep setting new records. This is a great collection of infographics that compare the athletes who set records in the past with the ones nowadays, show the trend in Olympic records, and set out the blueprint for a successful Olympian. And all these come back to some basic ideas in physics, like the centre of mass, energy output, heat dissipation, and more. You will like this if you follow Olympic Games or if you are a physics lover (or both!). Enjoy!

 

"Explore the physical laws that shape elite athletes, past and present."

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