Posts tagged ‘education’


Nikola Tesla museum fundraising reaches $700,000 

One of the unsung heroes of science and technology, Nikola Tesla has become a cult hero for the next generation of science enthusiasts. This cult status and Tesla’s achievements have lead to an online fundraising campaign entitled ‘Operation let’s build a goddamn Tesla museum’. The campaign, devised by web comic ‘The Oatmeal’, and associated non-for-profit aims to purchase Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory in shoreham, New York. If the campaign is successful the laboratory would be gradually redeveloped into the first US Tesla museum.

Donate here at the indiegogo page.

Photo credit: Mattridgway

You’re awesome, and this charity drive is awesome. Do what you can!

Evolution 101

Link: Evolution 101

Berkeley evolution page, with all sorts of great lessons and outlines and stuff. Check it out!



“…like a primordial Earth in deep freeze.” Brian Cox describes his favorite wonder of the universe, Saturn’s moon Titan.

Also see Cox explain entropy and the arrow of time with sand castles and glaciers.

( The Kid Should See This)



Blueprint for the Brain – 6-minute film by PBS and the Public Library of Science explores how the three-pound lump of jelly inside our skulls enables us to do everything that makes us human, and how scientists are now beginning to decipher the architecture of the brain and its secret lives.

( The Atlantic)

We are at once both more, and no more, than that three pound lump. And therein lies the beauty of the brain.


Dolphins May Be Math Geniuses

Inspiration for the new study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society A, came after lead author Tim Leighton watched an episode of the Discovery Channel’s “Blue Planet” series and saw dolphins blowing multiple tiny bubbles around prey as they hunted.

“I immediately got hooked, because I knew that no man-made sonar would be able to operate in such bubble water,” explained Leighton, a professor of ultrasonics and underwater acoustics at the University of Southampton, where he is also an associate dean.

“These dolphins were either ‘blinding’ their most spectacular sensory apparatus when hunting — which would be odd, though they still have sight to reply on — or they have a sonar that can do what human sonar cannot…Perhaps they have something amazing,” he added.

keep reading

photo credit: Corbis

Dolphins are just really cool animals, once you get past the rape and stuff.


… those bacteria that were using arsenic in their DNA? Not so much.

In 2010, NASA shocked the science community with the announcement that a bacterium from Mono Lake, CA had been found to substitute arsenic (found in the toxic lake water) for phosphorous in its DNA. This finding, were it true, would have rewritten the rules regarding the requirements for life, expanding the possibilities for where terrestrial, and especially extraterrestrial, organisms might be found.

In two papers released this week, though, that original claim has been refuted. The bacteria recovered from Mono Lake almost certainly do not use arsenic as originally reported. The original team is standing by their work, and NASA has remained quiet as far as I know. They probably have their arms crossed and are shrugging a lot with that look on their face. You know. Harumph.

There’s a lot of room to criticize NASA, and the original research team here. They pitched a three-ring circus to announce the original paper, and reviewers and editors alike should have provided far more scrutiny. But despite these bad decisions and flawed actions, this is not a defeat for science or the process. It is a victory for science, an example of where we self-corrected our errors, and in the process enriching both our knowledge and integrity. 

Here’s a report from USA Today with more on this long saga, and what we’ve learned.

Nobody says that science is perfect, but the process of experimentation and proper recording of results allows us to check ourselves and come closer to factual results. Hurray science!

A look at Christian school textbooks

Link: A look at Christian school textbooks

In the midst of an ever-increasing need for young scientists, these kind of textbooks are only detrimental to both the individuals and the world as a whole. A thorough look at the kind of excuses people make up to justify beliefs (with cameos from the Loch Ness Monster and the KKK). 


“I Am a Scientist”

Mates of State cover Guided by Voices to promote girls in science

The problems are clear. Science and technology fields hold the jobs of the future, but our young women aren’t being prepared effectively to lead, or even compete. Interest in science is equal among younger girls and boys, and then diverges from middle school onward. There’s many culprits to blame, and most of them are social.

So again we ask: How do we fix it?

There’s wrong ways. And then there’s really wrong ways, like last week’s “Science, It’s A Girl Thing” fiasco. You don’t encourage girls in science by creating unrealistic role models and more stereotypes. That’s why I love the soon-to-be-released Science Fair album, especially this track from Mates of State.

To me, it captures all the right stuff about science. The happy curiosity, the proud young girl hard at work on what makes her feel good, and getting to prove the naysayers wrong in the end. I love that the full album features tracks that serve to inspire young girls in education, all performed by female singers, and that all of the proceeds will go to girls’ STEM programs through Girls, Inc..

If you’d like more information on the Science Fair album, check out their website. 

(Special thanks to video director Lindsay Van Dyke for sending this my way)

Dan Sudran did well in school, went to college, received his law degree and yet he felt like he didn’t belong in high academics. In his 30s he did some tinkering and found that he really liked science, once he got past the whole rigor and rules of it in the classroom. 

He now runs six workshops in primarily low-income neighborhoods, named “dream garages,” where he has collected an assortment of gadgets, tools, and various scientific sundry. In them he lets children play with discovery and the excitement of science, with no limits or restrictions on what they can do. 

His workshops require about $50,000 a year to maintain, and most of that is funded through grants. Sometimes however, grants take too long. Sudan describes finding a beached whale one day and spending several weeks cleaning the skeleton; he now brings the whole thing along with him on school trips and lets the kids learn how to put the 36-foot skeleton together. 

This kind of outreach, the uninhibited allowance of scientific imagination in our youth, is absolutely essential if we are to grow as a developed nation. Dan should serve as an example to all of us.



A World with No Math

It’s not a world I want to live in. This is a cause I support, help spread the word and do what you can to bring basic math skills to underprivileged kids around the world! The fastest ride up the ladder of opportunity is through education.

Also, we should start work on the marshmallow puppies.

(by SavetheChildrenUSA)