Are you managed or monitored?
Shiny things collected by an easily distracted marine biologist. There will likely be fish, critters, science, other people's art, fannish stuffs (mostly of a science fictiony, Sherlocky, or cartoonish nature), teapots, things that make me laugh, and occasionally, kids.
Btw, if you'd like to leave a real comment instead of liking or reblogging, Disqus comments are enabled; just click the date, and scroll to the bottom.
The one below was on the fridge in the breakroom at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
Damn scientists, ruining everyone else’s lunch…
(Hee, someone on another reblog says, “Sherlock is disappointed…”
(Source: failnation, via night---vale)
Policy: Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims : Nature News & Comment
"One suggestion to improve matters is to encourage more scientists to get involved in politics. Although laudable, it is unrealistic to expect substantially increased political involvement from scientists. Another proposal is to expand the role of chief scientific advisers1, increasing their number, availability and participation in political processes. Neither approach deals with the core problem of scientific ignorance among many who vote in parliaments.
Perhaps we could teach science to politicians? It is an attractive idea, but which busy politician has sufficient time? In practice, policy-makers almost never read scientific papers or books. The research relevant to the topic of the day — for example, mitochondrial replacement, bovine tuberculosis or nuclear-waste disposal — is interpreted for them by advisers or external advocates. And there is rarely, if ever, a beautifully designed double-blind, randomized, replicated, controlled experiment with a large sample size and unambiguous conclusion that tackles the exact policy issue.
In this context, we suggest that the immediate priority is to improve policy-makers’ understanding of the imperfect nature of science. The essential skills are to be able to intelligently interrogate experts and advisers, and to understand the quality, limitations and biases of evidence. We term these interpretive scientific skills. These skills are more accessible than those required to understand the fundamental science itself, and can form part of the broad skill set of most politicians.”
Not just for politicians; unfortunately, some will distrust even this much critical thinking.
NASA, JPL and the Cassini imaging team debuted a new view of Earth today.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s not Earth, that’s Saturn. Look closer.
Earlier this year, as Cassini happened to pass behind Saturn, eclipsing the sun, its camera was turned toward home. A new silhouette of the ringed planet was captured (you NEED to view it larger here), and just wow, man.
Amid dozens of background stars, four planets and a few million pixels worth of wonder, my favorite part is the hazy outer ring of water vapor, spewed out from the leaky moon Enceladus and its geysers.
Earth appears in the lower right, clear and blue, joined by our moon in this enlarged image:
There’s your new selfie.
Science truly begets beauty.
I was confusing them with a couple of specks of dust on my monitor…
New pale blue dot, indeed.
The 9th Watch
It’s not a Doctor Who episode. It’s not a metal band. It’s your chance to be a part scientific history.
You have the chance to witness something that no one has ever seen, and make scientific history in the process: The fall of the ninth pitch drop.
The Pitch Drop experiment at the University of Queensland is perhaps the longest-running science experiment in the world. Pitch is a viscous, black substance that is brittle when struck with a hammer, but flows like a liquid when given enough time. And I mean a LOT of time.
A similar experiment in Ireland recently dropped, but the Australian version is the granddaddy of slow science. That one has only dropped eight times in its 86 year history, and no one’s ever been around to see it. Even John Mainstone, who watched over the experiment for more than half a century, sadly passed away this year without ever being present for a drop.
Queensland set up The Ninth Watch website to give people around the world a chance to log on, watch live, and “be there” when the big event happens. It could be any day now. So if you don’t have anywhere to be, head on over, log on and watch. It beats TV, right? For science.
Learn more about the pitch drop experiment with "Never Quite Now" from Radiolab.
I wish I’d known about this when I was there. I was probably in the same building.
Diatoms. Wow. I was wondering if this arrangement of glass skeletons of single-celled plants had been photoshopped, given the precise matching of species and sizes. But it isn’t.
This was made by English diatomist John Albert Long in 1925, as you can read here. Amazing. He was apparently well-known for his prepared slides, which collectors vie for today.
but the costuming is so historically inaccurate
The armour is from oddly mixed locations and periods..
Exactly what kind of Native American tribe is this suppose to be?
The subtitles on your foreign bad guys aren’t what they’re actually saying.
That didn’t happen for another two years…
THAT OBJECT IS NOT FLAMMABLE
BUT THE VOLCANO WOULDN’T HAVE ERUPTED THAT QUICKLY WTF
JUST BECAUSE A SNAKE IS MOVING DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT’S RATTLING THAT’S NOT EVEN A RATTLESNAKE GOD DAMN.
THOSE AREN’T THE RIGHT FANGS THAT’S NOT WHERE THE TONGUE GOES THEY DON’T MAKE THAT NOISE THAT IS A CAT HISS THAT’S MADE OUT OF LIKE 3 SPECIES THAT ISN’T HOW HEAT PITS WORK THEY CAN’T DO THAT WITH THEIR TONGUE HOW DO YOU GET SOMETHING THAT IS JUST A HEAD ON A BODY SO WRONG
tigers don’t yowl like cats goddamn that bird does not make that noise YOU CANNOT TALK TO EACH OTHER WHILE YOU’RE FREEFALLING AT TERMINAL VELOCITY SHOOTING AT A PARKED CAR DOES NOT MAKE IT EXPLODE THAT PIECE OF WOOD IS LIKE ONE CENTIMETRE THICK IT”S NOT GOING TO STOP A BULLET
WOMEN DIDN’T HAVE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE 1700S
THAT SPECIES DOESN’T LIVE THERE AND WOULD IN FACT DIE IN THAT ENVIRONMENT
THE JET PACK DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH FUEL TO REACH THAT SPACE STATION
GHOSTS ARE NOT REAL AND YOU CANNOT “BUST” THEM
wait what are we doing here again
or, you’re no fun to take to a movie, Neil DeGrasse Tyson…
(Source: thedailymeme, via tikistitch)
The Amazing Fly Geyser
Fly Geyser is not a very well known tourist attraction, even to Nevada residents. There is a reason for this: the geyser is on privately owned land and it is not open to the public. Another little known fact about Fly Geyser is that it began as a well. The original well was drilled in 1916 and functioned normally for almost fifty years until nature decided to take over.
In the 1960s, geothermally-heated water found a weak spot in the well’s wall and began escaping to the surface. Dissolved minerals in the water started to accumulate resulting in this incredible natural phenomena seen today. Although Fly Geyser, including its base, is only 12 feet (3.7 m) high, it will continue to grow as long as it continues to spout water.
The beautifully colored geyser, surrounded by small pools and other stunning geological formations is only open to scientists by appointment. We might think the land owner is behaving rather stingy by not sharing this amazing creation of the planet with others. However, there are those who feel that if they owned an actual geologic phenomena, they might keep it to themselves as well. At least he’s not exploiting the situation by charging people to view it. Now that would be shameful.
Mystery of the Missing Women in Science
This article hit close to home for me because (1) I am a woman in science who thinks a lot about why there aren’t more women in science, and (2) I went to the high school in question. I think it’s a good general article for people concerned with the gender bias in science/tech fields. Mostly, though, it brings up one observation that I wanted to delve into a little bit more here. That observation is in the first two paragraphs:
Peter Ostrander, the tireless coordinator and cheerleader for a renowned science and mathematics magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., was not satisfied. Over the past few years, the pool of applicants had included nearly as many girls as boys, and the acceptance rate — based largely on test scores and grades — had followed suit.
Yet when it came to which of the invitees ended up choosing Blair’s magnet option over other offerings in the area, the scales tilted male. In 2012, for example, 80 percent of the eligible boys said yes, but only 70 percent of the girls. In 2010, the figures had been 93 percent and 56 percent.
Basically, when eighth grade girls were given the opportunity to go to a special program to train them in math, science, computer science, and engineering, they tended to choose not to far more often than eighth grade boys.
These girls are applying. They’re being accepted. They’re just not choosing to go.
There’s a story we tell ourselves about why women leave academia, or science, or tech. It’s that these fields are especially demanding, and that women get to a certain age and settle down and want to have families and end up choosing to spend more time with their children rather than engage in the rat race to the top of the academic hierarchy. They have families rather than publications, and for this reason they don’t stay in academia. And that, undoubtedly, happens. I do not question the reality of that for a moment.
But that can’t be what’s going on at MBHS, can it?
The girls that choose not to go to the magnet program at MBHS almost certainly aren’t saying “I want to have children rather than go to that prestigious and demanding high school science program”. What they might be saying, however, is “I want to be cool and feminine, and that means not spending my days programming computers.”
I’m going to start with a story. A while ago, I was sitting around a table with my lab mates; who are mostly female postdocs. And one of them said the following about going to bars in Philadelphia: If she ever wanted to get a guy to stop hitting on her, she told him she was getting a PhD. If he kept pestering her, she said it was from UPenn. If that didn’t work, she told him it was in Molecular Biology.
My response: if I actually want a guy to talk to me, I tell him I’m an aerialist.
All of that feeds into a kind of consequence of the perceived masculinity of science and mathematics. It’s not just that women aren’t good at math and science. It’s that people who are good at math and science — women who are good at math and science — aren’t very good at, well, being women. Which is horrible and gender-reductionist and all kinds of things that I try not to be, and it’s a great big oversimplification as well, but I think there’s something there. I’ve had far too many first dates with scientists and engineers who would rather ignore my scientist-half and instead query me on circus and dance. And even if part of that is because on a campus like Stanford’s, there are more biologists than there are aerialists, there’s a point at which I get tired of playing down that side of my personality.
Eighth grade girls aren’t choosing to have families instead of pursue careers in science. But they might choose a path that was more friendly to being “cool”. To being feminine. To, I dunno, painting one’s nails and wearing makeup and going to dances with boys.
Now, this isn’t something that Blair feeds into. If anything, I think it’s something that Blair fights back against. One of the reasons Blair was glorious for me was that it allowed me to be both. To be great at science and to get altogether too excited about linked lists and to host and go to parties with lots of my classmates and to have awkward high school romances. And like I said, it’s something I’ve noticed far more in silicon valley than I ever did at MBHS. I would encourage every eighth grade girl who has the chance to go to Blair. Hands down.
But I also want to find a way to change our culture, so that the girls who are graduating from Blair now, or in ten years, or in twenty years, can have the same kind of supportive community that they will find at Blair once they leave.
The tech revolution has changed the game; smart is sexy for men. Let’s make it true — unequivocally, universally, obviously true — for women too.
[ BIOCANVAS SURVEY RESULTS ]
Based on a national exam, a majority of American students in grades 4, 8, and 12 demonstrated a less-than-proficient knowledge in scientific concepts. But just by viewing science-as-art images like those found on Biocanvas, students under 18 years old had a remarkable turn-around in their interest for science. In fact, almost all respondents wanted to know what was scientifically happening in each image, and nearly half wanted to study science more.
This post is part of Biocanvas’s ongoing September giveaway. Make sure to like and/or reblog this post and follow Biocanvas to enter!
How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists | Violent metaphors
It’s not just a fun academic problem. Getting the science wrong has very real consequences. For example, when a community doesn’t vaccinate children because they’re afraid of “toxins” and think that prayer (or diet, exercise, and “clean living”) is enough to prevent bacterial infection, outbreaks happen.
“Be skeptical. But when you get proof, accept proof.” –Michael Specter
What constitutes enough proof? Obviously everyone has a different answer to that question. But to form a truly educated opinion on a scientific subject, you need to become familiar with current research in that field. And to do that, you have to read the “primary research literature” (often just called “the literature”). You might have tried to read scientific papers before and been frustrated by the dense, stilted writing and the unfamiliar jargon. I remember feeling this way! Reading and understanding research papers is a skill which every single doctor and scientist has had to learn during graduate school. You can learn it too, but like any skill it takes patience and practice.
Probably a good review even for scientists.
I have not been reading near enough Pharyngula lately. Bad me.
Harvests and Sowings: bromance in science and whiskers on kittens
I know some of you were feeling down because there has been discontent brewing in this tag. Now may be a good time to reaffirm some of our favourite things: science and bromance! So here is a toast to pairs of people who are (were) both huge science geeks and revel(led) in each other’s scientific brilliance. They can be of any time period, any canon, and any gender (Article 22 of the Bro Code dictates that no rule shall exclude people from being bros on account of gender).
So here are some favourites off the top of my head:
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