If you can look past the monkey and chimp talk, this is fun…
It’s about time!
Happy Darwin Day!
Apologies that this here blog of mine has been less and less utilized by myself as of late. Patrick and I attended CFI-Portland’s Secular Sunday School today, and while the lesson was about Valentine’s Day, I got in a bit about Darwin at the end. Talked to 20 kids or so about Darwin Day, read The Humblebee Hunter (hands down by favorite children’s book about Darwin), and passed out Darwin coloring pages. Next class later this month will be all about evolution!
We then headed to Pioneer Square in downtown Portland to, like we did last year, hand out birthday cake for passersby for Darwin Day! Thanks to CFI-Portland and Humanists of Greater Portland for setting this up. Lots of nice folks and the weather cooperated, so we had a great time. Also, played Evolve or Perish, a fun version of Chutes & Ladders, evolution-style!
More photos from this Darwin Day event here. I’ll leave you with these videos:
Larry Moran posted a flash mob video of Ravel’s “Bolero.” Made me think of this animated version, which shows evolution of life on the planet leading to humanity just ruining it:
This past weekend I attended the 5th annual Science Online conference in North Carolina (I have wanted to go for several years now but was unable, however this time I received some travel money, thanks to Bora & Anton!).
For this “unconference” about communicating science on the internet, I participating in a session on the history of science with Greg Gbur, Eric Michael Johnson, Holly Tucker, and Randi Hutter Epstein. Greg, a physicist who blogs at Skulls in the Stars (@drskyskull), discussed ways in which the history of science can help scientists in their own research, while Eric Michael Johnson, a history of science PhD (Primate Diaries in Exile, @ericmjohnson) gave a quick plea for bridging the sciences and humanities. Holly (Scientia Curiosa, Wonders and Marvels, @history_geek) and Randi (website, @rhutterepstein) both discussed, essentially, the idea of presentism in history of medicine as it related to each of their books, Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution (which all attendees received in their swagbag!) and Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank. John McKay wanted to be part of this session, but was unable – he was there in spirit.
For my part, I discussed the creationist tactic of quote-mining Darwin, gave some examples, and called for science writers to be weary of using quotes – know thy source and know thy context in which the quotee was writing. Here are my slides:
I will put up another post with the tweets about the history of science session (future link) [EDIT: click here to see a messy Word document with those tweets]. Unfortunately, my laptop got sick and since I do not own a smartphone, I was unable to be online (kind of ironic given the nature of the conference).
The best part of this conference, first and foremost for me, was the opportunity to meet in person many people whose blogs I have read for several years, chatted with, shared information online, friends on Facebook, followers on Facebook, etc. Putting IRL personalities and faces to online personas and avatars is interesting, and it felt weird being recognized and approached by people whom I have never shared physical space with before. It was a pleasure to meet, in no particular order: Brian Switek, Carl Zimmer, David Dobbs, Ed Yong, Tom Levenson (again), Hannah Waters, Krystal D’Costa, Stacy Baker and her biology students, Kevin Zelnio, Glendon Mellow, Louis Shackleton, Karen James (again), Miriam Goldstein, Jason Goldman, Minjae Ormes, Alice Bell, Carin Bondar, Carl Boettiger, Lucas Brouwers, John Hawks, Anne Jefferson, Blake Stacey, Sheril Kirshenbaum, David Orr, Joshua Rosenau, Janet Stemwedel, scicurious, Christie Wilcox, Jeremy Yoder, and Danielle Lee; and to meet some new faces: Lisa Gardiner, Kate Clancy, Holly Menninger, Brian Krueger, Brian Malow, Emily Willingham, Alexandra Levitt, and Stephanie Zvan.
Other sessions I attended were: Technology and the Wilderness (technology, i.e. smartphone apps, should be an accessory to nature experiences and education, not a replacement; #techwild, wiki); Still Waiting for a Superhero – Science Education Needs YOU! (an opportunity to hear from Stacy Baker’s biology students); Parenting with Science Online (Carin Bondar will have resources up on the wiki soon); Science-Art: The Burgeoning Fields of Niche Artwork Aimed at Scientific Disciplines (wiki); “But It’s Just a Blog!” (science blogging newbies get advice); Blogging on the Career Path (be upfront about your blogging activities when seeking employment); Keepers of the Bullshit Filter (tell people when they are wrong, publicly; use MediaBug to report errors in the media); Communicating Science: Have You Ever Wondered, “What the Hell’s the Point?” (Science Cheerleader Darlene Cavalier spreading some sciencey cheer); and Defending Science Online: Tactics and Conflicts in Science Communication (are online methods of correcting disinformation effective?).
Robert Krulwich, NPR science correspondent and co-host of Radio Lab was the keynote speaker, and he shared his experiences turning scientific topics into stories for the public (the key: use words/language not for scientists but for everyday people).
All I can say is, he had the room’s attention. He also shared this video, which is astonishing:
Kevin Zelnio sings “Wayfaring Mollusk” during the open mic session:
Some other pictures:
Learning about geologic time on a piano, with Richard Dawkins:
Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Gishosaurs
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution wins the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize
VIDEO – The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson:
Sandwalk: Dispatches from the Evolution Wars
The Red Notebook: People want to see the Beagle
Two interviews with Laelaps’ Brian Switek, author of the soon-to-be-released Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature
Clips from the new documentary First Life from David Attenborough, plus:
History of geology: Dragons and Geology
BBC Audio Slideshow: Jurassic woman (Mary Anning)
From the Hands of Quacks: For the Maker of the Stars: The Cultural Reception of Print
Whewell’s Ghost: Mr. X
History of science blog: Evocative objects
Darwin and Gender: The Blog: The Reluctant Bride Groom?
Darwin Correspondence Project: Alison Pearn to discuss ‘Darwin’s Women’ at Wesleyan University
Charlie’s Playhouse blog: Irresistible contest entry
Natural History @ 100: The Smithsonian/Roosevelt African Expedition 1909-1910
Ptak Science Books: Phantom in the Opera: Questions about Darwin and Einstein and Music
Robert Kohler reviews Steven Shapin’s Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority for Science
Melanie Keene reviews Peter Bowler’s Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain in Centaurus
When was the last time I put up a photo of the whole family?
Panda’s Thumb: Don’t Make a Monkey out of Me
Why Evolution Is True: The late Ernst Mayr speaks
The Renaissance Mathematicus: Where the pictures came from
Smithsonian: America’s True History of Religious Tolerance
Philadelphia Inquirer: Uncovering Edgar Allan Poe – the science buff
Whewell’s Ghost: Representing astronomers: absent-minded or drunk?
Skulls in the Stars: Benjamin Franklin shocks the world! (1752)
A track from their newest album, “My Best Theory” (lyrics):
East Lothian Courier: ‘Darwin’ property and the science of house-selling
Darwin and Gender: The Blog: Talking to Naturalists
I linked to the Danish Darwin Archive a few days ago, and just saw this new article in Annals of Science: Danes commemorating Darwin: apes and evolution at the 1909 anniversary
John Farrell on Huffington Post: Bad Faith (in Science): Darwin as All-Purpose Boogey Man?
Please be patient, I am evolving as fast as I can!: The Discovery Institute’s Continued Persecution of Darwin
Biodiversity Heritage Library: Book of the Week: Darwin for Children
Lyrics are NSFW.
For the first four, click here.