//

Science

What science becomes news?

A question almost constantly on the minds of (well, most, I guess) science communicators is: “Is this piece of research newsworthy? Will anyone CARE about it, and read what I write on the subject?” And, as a general rule, the bigger and more important the news outlet, the more crucial that question is. Thankfully, people are looking into that very question! Paige Brown, a science communicator herself, started conducting a survey into the subject last [...]

The best visualisation of the solar system yet

Regular readers may be aware of my penchant for whimsy. My happy grinnings when people mix pedantry with a sense of humour*. And today’s offering is just such a one. The description is perfectly apt: it IS a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system. But there are some wonderful surprises, and I found myself scrolling for an awfully long time, considering my inveterate inability to focus – seriously, mayflies look at me and [...]

Winners of 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge announced

And my goodness but there are some stunners this year. As readers of this blog will know, I’m something of a fan of data visualisation, and this year’s competition winners have a great deal to offer, in categories from games to video, posters and more. It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I did want to highlight the video below as one of them. Produced by NASA and winner of the video category, it shows [...]

Countdown: I love this liftoff

It’s an insane day for space stuff! Stephen Hawking is boldly claiming ‘there are no black holes‘* – and this from the chap who proposed Hawking radiation :P Astronomers have discovered an ‘ultramassive’ black hole: one of the most powerful objects ever found. The ‘cosmic web’ – filaments of gas connecting galaxies across the darkest regions of space – has been long hypothesized, and now seen. And there’s this stunning video – artists’ conceptions of [...]

Spellbinding: Computers Watching Movies

Artist Benjamin Grosser has done some utterly fascinating – given us a new perspective on, well, our perception by showing us how computers ‘watch’ movies. The outcome is stunning. Each movie used – from Taxi Driver to The Matrix, Space 2001 to American Beauty – shows a strikingly different pattern. They come from software, written by Grosser, which illustrates how a computer ‘watches’ a movie in realtime. You can see where the computer focuses – [...]

Academic kindness

The academic world can be a harsh mistress, as anyone who’s been anywhere near it knows. Not only can it feel like your colleagues are out to get you, but your bosses, funders, the public, governments and officials and, well, the world. Through all of this,  fledgling (and lovely!) tumblr blog Academic Kindness shines a light of sweetness and hope. Have a look. Take a moment to smile. And, perhaps, think what moment of academic [...]

New Study

This was just too good not to share :P Of course, remember to go check out the original for the always-excellent mouseover sotto voce!   Source: http://xkcd.com/1295/

Classifying plankton: more fun than you might think

One of my favourite things to do with this blog these days is to catalogue/chronicle awesome citizen science initiatives. And there’s a new one! And it’s lots of fun! In Plankton Portal, you get to help identify plankton from images taken . I’ve just started playing, and so far it’s actually trickier than it looks, but one gets added benefit of learning heaps about plankton which, lets face it, are amazingly cool (my favourite are [...]

Happy World Octopus Day!

Today is, apparently, the tenth annual World Octopus Day. So, I figured you’d all enjoy this fun infographic, courtesy of the National Aquarium. And what better time to go and read this stunning article about these stunning creatures (my favourite form of the plural), and, if you live in Wellington, make a date to go meet the octopodes at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre!  

Where does NZ rank in the Global Innovation Index 2013?

How innovative would you say New Zealand is, comparatively? Well, we have an answer, according to the Global Innovation Index 2013 – produced (since 2007) by economists from Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization. This year, the report looks at 142 countries from Zimbabwe to Switzerland. Together, these countries represent almost 95% of the world’s population, and over 98% of its GDP. From Scientific American: This year’s big-picture findings: R&D spending [...]