March 20, 2009

Gearing Up For The Maker Faire 2009!

It's official! GalaxyGoo is taking The Cell Project to the Maker Faire again! We got our acceptance notice today.

So, now the planning and preparations begin! We had so much fun last year!

Would like to get involved? If so, please contact me at galaxygoo -at- gmail -dot- com, with "GalaxyGoo Cell Project" in the subject line. We're getting ready to move to a new web hosting company, so please use our gmail account until we're all settled into the new server.

Some of the things we need help with:

  • Volunteers to help set up and take down the booth
  • Volunteers to help staff the booth and help with the activity. We were very busy last year, and had a hard time keeping up with all the visitors to our booth.
  • photography during the event
  • Have you done the activity yourself? Take pictures of your cells and share your photos with us on flickr.
  • Donations are always welcome
  • Give the Cell Project to a teacher or a whole classroom!
  • Got an idea? Tell us about it!

February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

Tomorrow, February 12th, is Darwin's Birthday! In fact, it's the 200th anniversary of his birth.

My husband and I are going to our daughter's class to talk about Darwin and evolution. What are you doing to celebrate?

March 22, 2007

Trees trees trees!

Quick entry this time, but trust me, this is worth checking out! Here is a nice list of 10 of the most fascinating trees in the world with great pictures. Also read the comments, there are more mentions of other unique trees with links. Beautiful stuff!

March 16, 2007

Photos from Family Science Days

Some photos of our booth, from the professional photographer who covered the whole conference. The kids were really into it. I think some of the parents wished there was enough room for them to play, too.

GalaxyGoo at AAAS Family Science Days ( photo1 | photo2 | photo3 )

We've also started a Cell Project Flickr group, and we're hoping to see a whole bunch of cell models showing up.

February 15, 2007

Stage Show Schedule at Family Science Days

The Stage Show Schedule is posted for the Family Science Days, and the Mythbusters are first up on Saturday! I think I have a view of the stage from the GalaxyGoo booth, and I'm looking forward to their show. It would be cool if they'd stop by our booth, and pose for a photo with me. Even better, wearing GalaxyGoo T-shirts :-)

GalaxyGoo's booth is sponsored by Adobe. Also, thanks to the generosity of Friends of Ed, we have some great books to give away. Peter was kind enough to send some copies of New Masters of Flash 3 and LEGO Mindstorms NXT: The Mayan Adventure.

Stage Show Schedule

AAAS Family Science Days
San Francisco Hilton
11:00 AM — 5:00 PM

Saturday, 17 February
11:00 AM "The Mythbusters: Jamie Savage and Adam Hyneman" — The Science Channel
Noon "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — University of Idaho
12:45 PM "Iron Science" — The Exploratorium
1:30 PM "Fun with Science and Astronomy" — The Zula Patrol and KQED Kids!
2:15 PM AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books: Awards ceremony
3:15 PM "Waves in Nature: Lasers to Tsunamis and Beyond" — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
4:00 PM "The Outreach Roadshow" — Women@SCS Outreach Roadshow, Carnegie Mellon University

Sunday, 18 February
11:00 AM "Name that Mammal!" — Platypus Media
11:45 AM "The Science Hour of Power" — Sikes Science
12:30 PM "Global Warming Discovery" — ClimateChangeEducation.Org
1:15 PM "The Science of Yo-Yos" — Yomega Corp.
2:00 PM "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — The University of Idaho
2:45 PM "Cloud Nine" — How The Weatherworks™
3:30 PM "Robotics: The Next 10 Years" — The Robotics Society of America and San Francisco State University
4:15 PM "Kinetic City" — AAAS

January 29, 2007

GalaxyGoo at AAAS Family Science Days

GalaxyGoo will be at the AAAS - Annual Meeting Family Science Days! Feb 17-18. Exhibit Hall at the AAAS Annual Meeting, San Francisco Hilton.

We'll be demonstrating some of the off-screen activities from our Cell Project. My favorite is building Cell models out of clay, and looking at the cross-sections. So bring your family along and play! Admission is free!

I hope our booth has a view of the stage, because there are a number of presentations I want to see, espcially by the Mythbusters and Iron Science (from the Exploratorium).

GalaxyGoo's participation in this exciting event was made possible by the efforts of Simon Conlin and the support of Adobe. Thank you!

November 26, 2006

New GalaxyGoo Designs: Fossils on Dark Shirts

We've added new designs, and long-sleeved shirts, to our CafePress shop. My favorite is the blue deinonychus fossils on brown for women, and on navy for men.

October 02, 2006

How Many Cells Are In Your Body?

The PlumpJack Group is running a promotion, benefiting GalaxyGoo, at their Noe Valley shop.

"PlumpJack Wines Noe Valley and GalaxyGoo are working together to increase science literacy. GalaxyGoo is science, art, and discovery. The educational resources GalaxyGoo develops are free to teachers, students, and the general public.

Guess how many cells are in your body to be entered to win dinner for two at Balboa Cafe San Francisco, our PumpJack restaurant at the corner of Fillmore and Greenwich in historic Cow Hollow.

Your $1 donation will benefit science education, and give you the chance to win a great night out!"

The poster was designed by Matt Wood, of Visual Goodness, using elements from GalaxyGoo's Cell Project and my kaleidoscopic cell piece.


Beneath the poster are coaster sized disks, with kaleidoscopic cell patterns printed on them. They sort of remind me of sand dollars on a beach.

I've uploaded some photos of the window display to flickr.

August 01, 2006

Born To Run

Just came across this interesting article:
Biomechanical research reveals a surprising key to the survival of our species: Humans are built to outrun nearly every other animal on the planet over long distances

I wouldn't want to try this out against a hungry cheetah tho :)

July 05, 2006

Updated Avian Flu Data Viz

I've updated the Data Visualization of Avian Flu so that it shows the data from the World Health Organization on cases reported through July 4th, 2006.

November 23, 2005

New version of The Cell

We've just uploaded a new version of The Cell: A Learning Tool.

This version includes a feature that lets the user build a cell from a selection of organelles, and checks if the correct organelles have been placed in the cytoplasm.

We've also included questions in the quiz that are more cognitive based.

We still need to add better logic to the quiz, so that the same question isn't repeated and the quiz responds to the user's learning needs.

May 23, 2005

Info on Stem Cells

Stem cells are in the news a lot lately, and I thought this link to the NIH Info Center [Stem Cell Information] would be useful to share.

February 25, 2005

First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion

Hello, my name is Steven Erat and I'm the new kid on the GalaxyGoo block, er..., blog. I've been invited by Kristin Henry of GalaxyGoo to contribute blog entries based on my experience in both scientific research and software development. You might even know me already from my blog on or through my employer Macromedia.

Continue reading "First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion" »

January 11, 2005

Building a Clay Model of a Cell

Here are some pix of the clay cell activity. If you want to try this out, you might want to check out the Cell learning tool for an overview of the organelles in a generic animal cell.

First make the organelles, each with it's own colored clay. This image shows the nucleus and endoplasmic reticulum.

A real cell is much like a fluid sack with smaller objects floating within the liquid. That's tricky to model with clay, in 3D. So, we work from the inside out, adding a layer of white clay to simulate cytoplasm (the liquid within a cell) between each layer of organelles.
assembling the model

Once we have the cell assembled, we can take a cross-section. In this image several organelles are visible.
cross section of the model cell

October 27, 2004

Genetic Algorithms using Perl

Teodor Zlatanov has written a whole bunch of articles for IBM developerWorks 'Cultured Perl' series. He just wrote the 3rd installment of a series on writing Genetic Algorithms using Perl (the first of which was written in 2001 and the second in 2002!).

The articles are:
Genetic algorithms applied with Perl, aug 2001: "Create your own Darwinian breeding grounds"
Genetic algorithms, the next generation, oct 2002: "Advanced examples of genetic algorithms with Perl"
Genetic algorithms simulate a multi-celled organism, oct 2004: "Create life, or something like it"

These articles might be of interest to anybody who is into Perl and biology.

October 12, 2004

Cell Project Update

Frances administered the quiz on Monday, to two sessions of seventh graders. Today we met and went over the results. We knew there would be a performance gap (test scores less than perfect), but we were still surprised. The students had been tested on the material only two weeks before, yet students that had scored well on the official test didn't even pass our quiz. Was the quiz harder? Nope, the questions were almost identical. Does this mean that the students are not retaining the information after the exam? Very likely. Frances will be posting more about this in the project blog.

We also brainstormed ideas for the learning tool. How can we make the material more tangible to the student? Our time is limited, so rather than cover both animal and plant cells we're focusing on the animal cell for this version. We're going to animate the functions of each organelle, in addition to providing labels and text explanations, when the user clicks on a part of the cell. This version will basically be a prototype of a larger project we'll be working on over the next several months.

I've uploaded some new documents for the project, including the quiz.

September 22, 2004

Understanding of the Cell and a brief history of microscopy

This quote, made a real impact on my mind's vision of the cell. I can just imagine little monks scurrying from cell to cell. The rest of the article is also very good--a nice combination of biology, science history, and art history:

The word "cell" literally means "room". The term was first used in biology by the 17th-century British physicist Robert Hooke after he looked through a microscope at a slice of cork (which is composed of dead, dried-out plant cells) and saw rows of square holes lined up like monks' rooms--cells--in a monastery. ~Science -- Gamwell 299 (5603): 49

September 20, 2004

New OpenCourseWare at MIT

MIT continues to grow its seed garden of Open Courseware. There are so many courses that I would work my way through, if I just had the time.

I may have to make time for this one: Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology.

By the way, the readings listed for each course are great. Sometimes I really miss the guidance of a prepared reading list, when diving into a new subject.

December 24, 2003

Prions and Mad Cow Disease

Given the recent news about Mad Cow Disease appearing recently, I thought folks might be interested in some of the biology of the infectious agent. Prions: When Good Proteins Go Bad

October 06, 2003

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2003 was awarded today to Paul C. Lauterbur (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA) and Sir Peter Mansfield (University of Nottingham, UK) for their discoveries concerning "magnetic resonance imaging."

Continue reading "Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine" »

May 27, 2003

Diagraming Dichotomous Key Building

This diagram shows how a dichotomous key can be created.

April 16, 2003

SARS virus identified

SARS! How's that for a scary monster?

You know how they say that crisis brings people together? Well, SARS seems to be bringing scientists together, and they're putting aside competition for the benefit of humanity. It's amazing what cooperation can bring: they've positively identified the virus responsible for SARS in mere weeks.

What does this mean? Well, if they keep up the cooperation, we'll have a cure, and maybe even a vaccine much sooner than it would normally take.

Keep yourself informed:

World Health Organization


January 25, 2003

neuro sim -- sneak peak

After a very long time, this project is nearing completion. Take a peak and let us know what you think:
Neuromuscular Junction with Flash

On the dev side, it's a hybrid of actionscript and tweens.

November 14, 2002

Interactive Dichotomous Key, XML fed

New work-in-progress on GalaxyGoo: Interactive Dichotomous Key built with flash and XML

Take a peak, and tell us what you think.