Archive for the 'Potpourri' category

Five Minutes of Awe

Sep 25 2013 Published by under Potpourri

Fullscreen it. Turn up the volume. Enjoy.


[Box–The Synthesis of Real and Digital Space (with Robots!)]

One response so far

Words and phrases I'm kind of tired of hearing

Jul 26 2013 Published by under Potpourri

In no particular order:

1. conflate

2. straw man

3. manufactroversy (Ok, I've only seen this used once, but I knew right off the bat that it belonged on this list)

4. correlation does not imply causation

5. schematic

This list is not exhaustive. Feel free to add yours below.



23 responses so far

One week left to double your money through DonorsChoose!

May 31 2013 Published by under Potpourri


DonorsChoose has teamed up with Scientopia in an end-of-the-school-year drive to help raise $$$ for needy classrooms! For a limited time (until June 7), your donations of up to $100 will be matched if you enter SCIENTOPIA in the "match or gift code" field (See here for screenshot).

With one week left, I'm happy to report that 11 of the projects on the Scientopia Bloggers Giving Page have been completed. That means Mr. Mead will be able to purchase Zometools to help make learning geometry hands-on and fun! And it means Mrs. Mohlar can use math manipulatives to help students who struggle with math learn in non-traditional ways.

But there are plenty more projects that still need our help and don't think you're limited to the projects on our giving page--the SCIENTOPIA match code can be use for ANY project.

Let's do this y'all!


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Staying Boston Strong

Apr 20 2013 Published by under Potpourri

I’m going to the Bruins game today. It was originally scheduled for last night but was postponed in light of the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “suspect #2” in the Boston Marathon bombing. Am I nervous about going? I won’t lie. I don’t see how anyone couldn't be. It’s been less than a week since two bombs went off at the finish line of the marathon. Less than 48 hours since gunfire filled one of the streets of Watertown.

But it’s a game I’ve been looking forward to since we bought tickets several months ago. When the schedule for the shortened season came out I circled this game against the Penguins as one of the must-sees of the year. It’d be a chance to see one of the league's best, if not best, players in the game, Sidney Crosby, even though I find him to be a little on the whiny side (although, he’s since been injured and won’t be playing after a puck to the face broke his jaw). The game became even more interesting when the Penguins swooped-in in the last seconds to pilfer Jarome Iginla before he was to be traded to the Bruins. The Bruins ended up traded for ex-Penguin Jaromir Jagr instead.

At today’s game, I don’t know how those who’ve died, those who were injured, or the men and women who protect us and heal us will be honored. I don’t know if there’ll be a rousing, audience-led, rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. I don’t know if my team will even win today. But I do know that these are the steps we take to bring a city and life back to normalcy.

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Two Bombs Prevented Me from Saying Thank You

Apr 16 2013 Published by under Potpourri

I sat down to write a blog post yesterday, only to have my day derailed by two bombs exploding by the finish line of the Boston Marathon. An attack like yesterday's isn't just about harming and maiming as many people as possible as it did in killing three and injuring more than a hundred people. It also knocks the rest of us off our psychological tracks. I spent the rest of my afternoon distracted and glued to my computer searching for answers. Reasons. Rationalizations for what happened. More information. Always looking for more information. Judging by my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I wasn't alone.

Invariably, you think about 9/11. About where you were, what you were doing. This time was different. New York City felt close. This was my backyard. I've sat a countless number of times on the steps of the Boston Public Library. Had drinks at the Mandarin. The shock I was feeling wasn't the same as it was 11 years ago. It was the sobering realization that that thing you were quietly fearful of happening again...was happening. And maybe that it took this long.

I thought of my organic chemistry professor, who refused to cancel class just hours after the planes hit on 9/11. His rationale? "If we let them disrupt our lives, then they win and we lose." But I didn't have it in me to write what I had wanted to write yesterday. Even if I had my professor's resolve, it would have been lost in all of the din of yesterday's explosions.

Which is unfortunate, really, since it was a message of appreciation (unrelated to the bombings) that I had sat down to write. And when the smoke cleared from the explosions and victims were shuttled to hospitals, I started seeing that same spirit of appreciation as people were thanking the first responders, volunteers, doctors and nurses. Everyone who tended to the needs of the injured. Everyone who was opening their homes to runners and others who needed places to stay for the night. Thank you.

Here is what I wanted to say yesterday:

Earlier today, DM sent out a tweet thanking US taxpayers for funding science research:

I was preparing cell culture media at the time and thought to myself, "$100? That just about pays for a case of powdered cell culture media that lasts me about 10-12 months." While buying it in powdered form means there's added labor in dissolving the media and sterilizing it, it's a hell of a lot more economical this way since it's about 1/10 the cost of premade liquid media (hey, I'm looking out for you, US taxpayer!). More importantly, it allows me to customize the media for my purposes (e.g. pH, other nutritive supplements, etc.).

M3 media

$10 worth of cell culture media

Anyway, the media is used to grow cells derived from fruit flies (Drosophila) and has been instrumental for my research. So, let me take a moment and join DM in thanking you for your support!

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Hoping for a Miracle on Ice

Mar 07 2013 Published by under Potpourri

Last night's game concluded the regular season for my intramural hockey league. Our team, "The Team You Beat Last Week"  lost yet another game (0-7) and finished the season 1-5--our only win coming by forfeit. For some damned fool reason we decided to play in the high division league rather than the mid where we might have been competitive. So, if you want talk about imposter syndrome...

At any rate, the intramural season is too short. By the time you've got your hockey legs under you the season's over. Shame really, since I had my best game of the season last night--finishing -4, 1-11 at the faceoff dot, and 1 stepped-on, a Patrice Bergeron I am not.

Luckily for us, all the teams make it into the playoffs regardless of record. Maybe, just maybe, this ragtag team of misfits will rise to the occasion, Miracle on Ice style.



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An Eco-Friendly Valentine's Dinner?

Feb 13 2013 Published by under Potpourri

For Valentine's dinner, my girlfriend would like to cook Red Snapper en Papillote. It's basically a fish cooked in a paper bag:

red snapper en papillote

We're trying to do the eco-friendly thing on this one since red snapper is apparently overfished. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch suggests alternatives, but I'm looking for something with a high probability of being found at the local supermarket. Consulting Google I found that cod, snapper, sole, trout, orange roughy, sea bass, grouper, redfish, pompano, rockfish, even tilapia or catfish can all be used.

Sooooo...basically any fish will do? Really?

Help me out folks.

6 responses so far

I'm #scio13 bound - any last minute protips?

Jan 29 2013 Published by under Potpourri

Alright folks, I'm off to #scio13 tomorrow morning. This is my first time, so please be gentle. Looking forward to attending what I'm sure will amount to some great sessions. Some that I've got my eye on are "Broadening the participation of diverse populations in online science" moderated by Alberto Roca & Danielle Lee, "Changing the public face of science" moderated by Allie Wilkinson & Katie Pratt, and  "Blogging for the long haul" moderated by fellow Scientopian Scicurious & Zen Faulkes. And that's just the first day!

I'm also pretty excited to meet many of y'all IRL. From what I've heard everyone calls each other by their Twitter handles, so that'll take some getting use to (pronunciation hint: mine is a really bad pun on amazing). it turns out, I've only got room for one gray tee shirt in my luggage. Can't frakkin' decide if I wanna rep PLOS or Battlestar Galactica. Decisions, decisions...



Any last minute #scio protips for this n00b? Please feel free to share.


10 responses so far

Long johns are my new best friend

Jan 18 2013 Published by under Potpourri

Yo seriously, I've let my damned New England pride stand in the way of me being warm for far too long--it's -5 degrees C out there today! Long johns are fantastic and perfectly acceptable. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Like I said, fantastic and perfectly acceptable.

Up next: Fleece-lined pants.

6 responses so far

Indonesia wants to teach more religion in schools at the expense of science.

Jan 15 2013 Published by under Potpourri

In response to an increase in religiously-motivated violence, the Indonesian government wants to devote more time to teaching religion in it's elementary the expense of science.

Millions of children in Indonesian elementary schools may no longer have separate science classes starting in June, the beginning of their next school year, if the government approves a curriculum overhaul that would merge science and social studies with other classes so more time can be devoted to religious education.

The argument here being that with more religious instruction comes increased morality.

First, as Asia's fastest growing economy, science education might kinda-sorta be important to Indonesia's future success. You know, the type of success that might alleviate some of the conditions that lead to violence in the first place. Second, according to education experts quoted in the article, the overall education system in Indonesia needs an overhaul.

As it is in Indonesia, religion "is taught to students according to their own faiths, meaning that Muslim students are instructed in Islam, while Christian students study Christianity in separate classes." Do they receive inter-faith education as well? And what would more religious education look like? Would it be the type of education that stresses religious tolerance or the "we're right and those guys next door are wrong" variety?


3 responses so far

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