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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?

December 20, 2008

Science Is Back!

Reading this story in the Chronicle today, put me in a good mood: Obama Science picks said to herald policy shift. It looks like scientists will have more of a voice in public policy than they have in recent years. In terms of global warming, energy, and environmental issues alone this is a big step. In my personal opinion, it's a big step in the right direction!

Here's what theAAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) has to say: Holdren Reported as Obama Science Advisor.

October 04, 2007

Happy Sputnik Day!

Fifty year ago, today, Sputnik went into orbit!

sputnik1.jpg

Inside Sputnik:
sputexp.jpg

Check out some history here.

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 31, 2007

Science and Technology week on The Daily Show?

Is it Science and Technology week over at the Daily Show? On Monday, John Stewart interviewed Bill Gates...who made a hasty departure.

Tuesday night, Mr Stewart interviewed Neil DeGrasse Tyson... who stuck around and gave a wonderful interview. Could Dr Tyson be breathing new life into Carl Segan's legacy? He sure makes Astrophysics seem very down to earth. I especially liked the way he talked about how "calculations" make things easy. The really is truth in that.

Off topic...could somebody talk to the folks at Comedy Central, and tell them to make their website more user friendly? Just getting a simple link to add to this post was a pain to accomplish.

November 10, 2006

Earth Seen From Space Exhibit

Earth From Space Exhibit, looks like a fascinating collection of images. Complementing the traveling exhibit, the Earth from Space online exhibit is a lot of fun to explore. It's amazing how much the Lena Delta image looks like highly vascularized tissue.

I love the zooming feature, but there are some usability issues. When zooming in, it would be nice to have some indication that more data is loading (without relying on my browser to tell me that). Other than that, I can't find anything to really complain about.

May 04, 2006

SciDev.Net launches a new Bird Flu Dossier

For up to date news and information about the Bird Flu, visit the SciDev.Net Bird Flue Dossier. It's a portal to articles you might not have access to without subscriptions to Science and Nature. The articles range from science research and epidemiology to public policy and education.

For information on confirmed cases of avian influenza: WHO.

April 18, 2006

Fault Lines in California --image from NASA

EO Newsroom: New Images - 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

This image shows the topography of the region using data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Several faults, including the San Andreas, are clearly indicated. As you can see, the fault does not actually go through San Francisco, but just to the west of it.

December 01, 2005

Ice Cores on the Brain

It's funny how timing can work out. The cover of the Nov 25th issue of Science caught my eye. Not surprising since it's a picture of an ice core and I happen to be working on a widget for visualizing some ice core data right now.

September 21, 2005

Technorati buzz on NYTimes article

Technorati Search for: a new york times article on challenges science museums face

September 02, 2005

Images of Katrina from NASA

NASA has some impressive images of Katrina online: EO Natural Hazards: Hurricane Katrina.

Thanks for the link, Rob.

June 03, 2005

Possible revolution in transistor technology

Just saw this newsarticle posted on Slashdot and thought it was worthy of sharing here...

From the article: "A team from the University of Alberta has proven for the first time that a single molecule can switch electrical currents off and on, a puzzle that scientists worldwide have been trying to crack for decades.

The finding could revolutionize the field of electronics, providing a leap ahead for everything from computers to batteries to medical equipment."

Sounds very exciting, doesn't it?

May 16, 2005

Something so simple ...

I was reading along at Wired News today, and I came across this article on an amazingly simple way to treat and prevent infection. It turns out that super-oxygenated water kills bacteria (I think I knew that somewhere deep in my brain), because their whole cell membranes can be attacked by it. So, if you use such water, you can clean fresh wounds to help them heal AND you can get healing on hard-to-treat open sores, like those seen on diabetics. This company has recently gotten FDA approval to start selling their product in the US "as a medical device for moistening and lubricating of acute and traumatic wounds and burns." Apparently they have come up with a method of bottled stabilized super-oxygenated water so that they shelf life is now longer than a few days.

Just think of all the possibilities!

April 02, 2005

Its April, 2005... Do you know where your brain is?

How could I have missed it? Brain Awareness Week (BAW) came and went. If you were asleep at the switch like I was, you can catch up on the nationwide BAW events that took place on the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) page or at the Dana Farber Foundation. Rob Jackson of Tufts will be posting a 2005 summary of events on the Boston Area Neuroscience Group (BANG) website very soon.

Brain Awareness Week is described as:

"During the week-long educational blitz, Society members sponsor a variety of educational activities for the general public including lectures, lab tours, classroom visits, and exhibits across North America to demonstrate the importance of basic neuroscience research to the health and well-being of the American public. "

-Steven Erat
TalkingTree.com

Massachusetts Passes Bill to Strengthen Stem Cell Research

The Boston metropolitan area of eastern Massachusetts has perhaps the highest concentration of biomedical and life sciences research institutions in the world. State restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning have been overturned this week with a bill that was overwhelmingly passed in both the Massachusetts Senate and then the House of Representatives. Had the margin of approval been less, Governor Mitt Romney would have been able to veto the bill which he regards and distorts as a "radical cloning bill". Previously, investigators wishing to conduct such research had to obtain permission from their local district attorney. This bill removes that barrier to scientific research while simultaneously maintaining or even strengthening regulations that ban reproductive cloning.

Continue reading "Massachusetts Passes Bill to Strengthen Stem Cell Research" »

March 25, 2005

Dinosaur soft tissue discovered

Wow! Apparently, some soft tissue (as in blood vessels and possibly cells) of a T. rex was recently found. Scientists are talking about extracting DNA from it and about how the blood vessels look a lot like those of an ostrich.

T. rex soft tissues recovered in Montana / Nonfossil rarity has scientists talking about DNA studies

Check out the original source articles in Science (25 March 2005, Volume 307, Number 5717). Access to Science online requires a subscription, but any good library should have a copy of the journal.

February 22, 2005

world Views of Science

Last Friday, I posted about the NPR Talk of the Nation radio show. The archive page for the show is up on the Science Friday site now: February 18, 2005, Hour One: World Views of Science

February 21, 2005

Mars May Have Frozen Sea Near Equator

Well, I thought this was embargoed until mid-March, but a google search shows that it's already online.

Apparently, there is a frozen sea on Mars(pdf).

February 18, 2005

Talk of The Nation at AAAS

NPR : Science Friday
is broadcasting from the AAAS meetings live, right now. Very interesting discussions on science and society. How much science literacy does the average person need? How do we prepare future scientists? Interdisciplinary approaches?


Parents are the first influence, and so is society. Where are the glamorous scientists on TV? CSI?

Star Trek doesn't teach science, but it does indeed have an effect on future science and it does glamorize science and exploration.

I've got to head off for a meeting, so tune in and listen to the show...NPR talk of the nation.

January 19, 2005

Climate Monitoring Program Unexpectedly Looses Funding

This article, NOAA Loses Funding to Gather Long-Term Climate Data, includes a nice map of both existing and planned sites for the climate network.

Quoted from the article:
To Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, the message from legislators is even bleaker. "It's almost as if some people don't want to know how the climate is changing," he says. "Maybe they prefer uncertainty, so that they can avoid taking action." ~ Jeffrey Mervis

NSF Challenge Bookmark

The folks at NSF - Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge snail-mailed some pretty book marks promoting the challenge. If you'd like one, send me a note with your mailing address and I'll get it in the mail for you. I've only got five, so first come first serve. They're glossy paper with the brain image from their website at the top.

December 17, 2004

Challenges for Middle School Science

Here's an interesting article about the problems with Science education in American schools: MSNBC - Stirring Up Science

Some of the main challenges mentioned have to do with money and teacher training/education.

Wow, according to the article, No Child Left Behind will only test students on science every four years, starting with 4th grade. This compares to annual tests for Math and Literacy. To me, this seems like a recipe for disaster. When the schools are teaching to the test, and the test is only every four years, when are average students going to get good experiences with science. I can just imagine those young minds burning out, after the great cram session for the test. Yes, some rote memorization is required for success in science, but how will this plan leave room for anything else? Where are the hands-on experiences? Science is an active pursuit, not an encyclopedia to be copied and turned in as a report or memorized.

November 30, 2004

Article on anti-evolution school board

Anti-evolution teachings gain foothold in U.S. schools / Evangelicals see flaws in Darwinism

Ms Scott, quoted in the article, and the director of the National Center for Science Education is an eloquent and seemingly tireless champion of reason and calm even in the face of deeply emotional issues. We could all learn from her example. I was very much impressed with her when she participated in a panel discussion on communicating Science to the public, at an AAAS meeting last year.

October 27, 2004

The Candidates on Science Issues

Not to be left behind by the AAAS, Nature has also published the results of questions they sent to the candidates for the upcoming election: news@nature.com - specials - us election

Scroll down the page for the nifty flash app they built to display the questions and answers. Well done. It's nice to be able to toggle between each candidate's answers.

Species of humans newly discovered

Anyone intereseted in Archeology will find this interesting. A new species of humans has been discovered

... on the remote Indonesian island of Flores just 18,000 years ago.

...one metre tall, with grapefruit-sized skulls. These astonishing little people, nicknamed 'hobbits', made tools, hunted tiny elephants and lived at the same time as modern humans who were colonizing the area.

Read more on Nature's website.

September 30, 2004

Science in Politics?

This could be an interesting read.

Science Presidential Forum: Bush and Kerry Offer Their Views on Science

Continuing a presidential election tradition, Science has asked each candidate to lay out his views on more than a dozen science-related issues facing the nation.

July 20, 2004

State of Science Education in the US in decline?

As I research new projects and new directions for GalaxyGoo, it becomes clear to me that current science education isn't what it could be. Yes, there are schools with outstanding programs. However, what is the general Science IQ of the public.

Real science has to compete with junk science, and teachers are "teaching to the test" instead of sparking enlightenment. They just don't have the time in the class room. The kids have to pass the tests.

Here's an article I just stumbled across (beware of pop-up ads):


CNN.com - Teachers push science education in U.S. - Jul 5, 2004

May 03, 2004

NSF Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

National Science Foundation and Science call for entries to the 2004 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

Categories include


  • Photos/still images

  • Illustrations

  • Explanatory Graphics

  • Interactive Media

  • Non-interactive Media

Entry Deadline: May 31, 2004

March 16, 2004

Planetoid newly discovered

Sedna, a planet-like body found in most distant orbit around our sun yet discovered. Lots of info on the press-release.

February 14, 2004

Georgia Drops (and then restores) Evolution from State Science Curriculum

In response to the Georgia Department of Education's removal of evolution from the state science curriculum, Alan I. Leshner (AAAS CEO) writes:

Moreover, one section of the Georgia draft could open the door for teaching non-science based concepts such as creationism or intelligent design theory in science classrooms, and that would be wrong. The scientific community respects diverse viewpoints, and we have no problem, of course, with teaching philosophy and moral concepts in non-science courses. But, such concepts should not be taught as equivalent to scientific theories in science classrooms, lest we mislead students about the criteria for something to be considered scientific. To reap the full benefits of science and technology, it is just as important to know what is and isn't science-based, as it is to know the scientific content itself.
~Read the full editorial

While dropping evolution from the curriculum was an attempt to avoid controversy, the decision became a controversy itself. After intense criticism, evolution has been restored to the Georgia science curriculum.

January 12, 2004

Basic Science Research Threatened by Corporate Agendas

This article was buried on page D3 of Sunday's Chronicle. It illustrates what I consider to be a dangerous practice of letting commercial interests interfere with scientific safety. The basic research scientist strives to solve a small part of the big puzzle, and academia is supposed to provide a safe haven for this. While basic science lacks the glamor of "big science", it is the back bone of all science and technology.

What troubles me most about this article is the possibility that an eminent journal like Nature would take action against a peer-reviewed report without bothering to check the authenticity of email attacking the report:

After an aggressive public relations campaign mounted for Monsanto by the Bivings Group, a global PR firm that began with a vicious e-mail attack mounted by two "scientists" who turned out to be fictitious, Nature editors did something they had never done in their 133 years of existence. They published a cautious partial retraction of the Chapela report. Largely on the strength of that retraction, Chapela was recently denied tenure at UC Berkeley and informed that he would not be reoffered his teaching assignment in the fall.
~Biotech critics at risk / Economics calls the shots in the debate

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" »

March 07, 2003

AAAS calls for "Fair Ballance"

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reminds the US Federal Government that the The Federal Advisory Act, passed in 1972, requires committees to be "balanced in terms of points of view represented."

"The selection, removal or replacement of advisory committee members, or the disbanding of advisory committees, based on criteria extraneous either to the scientific, technical or medical issues...compromises the integrity of the process of receiving advice and is inappropriate." --The AAAS Resolution Regarding Membership On Federal Advisory Committees (March 3, 2003)