Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Botany Wall Of Shame

Well, I am starting a Wall of Shame for people who show that they have no clue about plants in general. I will be totally fair and I'm not going to expect that the general public will know what is a rostellum, however, I will expect a certain level of knowledge from people. My disclaimer being said, I will point to a certain article that I read in a newspaper yesterday.

OK have you read it?
Now, lets play the Sesame Street Game. What is not like the others?
Did you guess?

If you had said "what the ****? Squash isn't a root vegetable!" you win 10 points! Now, if you don't eat squash, you wouldn't know that, but if you scroll down to the very bottom, you see...
SHE IS A DIETITIAN! (Don't they have to know what the hell they are eating?!)
I mean, if you had perused the vegetable area of supermarkets and seen squash you would know that they are not root vegetables!
Oh Well... here is another letter to the editor coming up!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Selling Science to Everyone

I have stumbled across the most hilarious podcast that I've listened to in a while called Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com. This is from the Discovery Communications business that has its hand in pretty much everything.

The show is funny, and mostly factual (sometimes a little off topic, but those are the best bits). Actually this show is in danger of making you burst out laughing in the middle of the train/bus ride and making you look like you belong in the loony bin. And for the most part, as far as I know they get most of the science pretty much correct. *** Disclaimer: I have little to no clue about medical knowledge and their concussion podcast I was assuming that most of what they say is somewhat true... like the part where you brain hits your skull causes concussions.***

And I will admit that the Discovery Communications group doesn't get everything right and lots of the errors arise from trying to make science sound more interesting to the 'average Joe' than it really is (and surprisingly they don't succeed as most real life science things are pretty neat anyways!). Their television channel is full of these examples.

On the flip side, the argument is if these podcasts, television shows, blogs, etc. are dispersing knowledge and the ability to do science for fun, shouldn't we (science community) be a little more forgiving instead of trying to pick these apart to shreds. And I know... picking apart to shreds is what science is about (peer review anyway) and always about precision and accuracy in EVERYTHING. That is always the goal to strive for but if we have difficulty overcoming the general idea that science is hard, boring, and full of anal people with sticks up their bums, then we shouldn't act like that to people/companies/etc who try to do the science is fun/important thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Back!

Whew! Well, so much for my little hiatus. It turned out to be over 1 month long, and I still haven't finished all of my work due to some technical difficulties over the break:

- my netbook is now running Jolicloud, a Linux based OS. This is working remarkably well considering I went through at least 4 different Linux systems before I found one that actually worked well.
- new computer with Windows 7 is having difficulties with compatibility... *sigh*. Why am I not surprised?

Thank you all for being patient & hello to my new readers. I really do post more than this! Promise.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday TED Talks XV

Astrolabe - a device for taking measurements of the altitude of the sun/stars for navigation.

Technology is a wonderful thing... watch Tom Wujec & his astrolabe

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monster Tales to Entertain and Enjoy

*Sigh* I know, I should be studying, working on reports/labs/projects, spending time with my seedling, etc, etc, etc. instead of reading. Growing up, that was almost a 4 letter word (Obviously with funny spelling). My brother and I couldn't put down a book if we tried. Unfortunately, I am still trying to put down books. I need BRA (not a bra, geez... Book Readers Anonymous). I started reading Twilight (Book one of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series) on a lark because I had already watched the movie (thought it was OK... not Oscar material obviously), but was curious about the differences & I wanted to read the second book before seeing that movie (coming out tomorrow!)

Anyways, to make a long story short, I was surprised at how good it was in drawing in the reader. It wasn't a hard read (pretty much one book a day), and there was no intricate plot lines to follow, but it was enjoyable (in that "Oh my god I'm tired of reading technical papers, I like reading something I don't have to think hard about"). So enjoyable that I am now almost completely done the series (only a couple more chapters to go on Breaking Dawn.

Well, now that I'm almost completely done, there are two more books I think I would enjoy. I heard about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a long time ago, but have never gotten around to reading it. (Well, same with the Twilight... but I've been avoiding them)

Anyways, now there is Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and here is a video you may enjoy too...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Ted Talks XIV

Becky Blanton gives a good but disturbing talk on how easy it was to become homeless, both in her mind and *almost* every one else's. The discussion under the video is almost just as interesting as people debate what is homelessness, why don't people think that she was homeless, and ultimately other people's mindset.
Right now, there is a large homeless population in Canada that are invisible. Except when they get on the news because the government is closing "the Tent City". What are effective measures that the Canadian and provincial governments could use to stop the problem?

The scary thing was she was employed and she decided to do this. What happens to people forced into this position without help from friends and family?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Human Evolution

PBS had a great NOVA episode on last night. Part 1 of 3 on "Becoming Human". It was facinating, and interesting for the whole family. My little seedling even enjoyed watching it... although I've got to admit that some of her comments were along the lines of...

"mom, they're not wearing clothes. tee hee hee!"
"I can see her bum!"

which is always great for a pre-pre teen.

Part 2 and 3 are coming... can't miss!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday TED Talks XIII: Nullius in verba

Friday Ted talks returns!

David Deutsch talks about explaining explanations. Highly recommended... and he gives talks just like me! Watch this (especially if you want to know what nullius in verba means).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good News Edmonton!

Alright, great news everyone! Jay Ingram from the Discovery Channel is going to be at the University of Alberta to give a speech on November 18th. The UofA alumnus will be recieving an honorary degree in the morning and giving a talk in the afternoon at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.

His talk will be about Charles Darwin and his findings in honor of Darwin's 200th Birthday Anniversary.

Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster for $15.00 an adult.

The only thing better would be if he gave the speech with Adam & Jamie from the Mythbusters!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Post in which I talk about Botany Porn

Aha! I knew that would get your attention.
I don't have much time (class starts in 10 minutes), but I just recieved my new edition of National Geographic....
and well...
mmmm..... how can I say this?

They have a centerfold in there that is beautiful. The limbs on it. The shape. Wow! I mean, it wasn't just a 2 fold centerfold. I think I had to flip that paper out 5 times! Anyways, its not the same as on the paper, but here is the internet link that you can read. They have a video on how they assembled that amazing picture. But, get a hold of the National Geographic and see what I'm talking about!