Over at SciAm Blogs today, I'm talking about a new study in zebra finches, and how much, and how, they sing. Is it genes? Environment? Or did your dad teach you to sing like that? Head over and find out!
Over the past few weeks, some very new and exciting developments have happened here in Sci-land! I'm very happy to say that I'll soon (in about two weeks) be taking up residence as a full time blogger at Student Science, a part of Science News! I'll be blogging about the latest and greatest things in the world of student science: how students can get involved in research, how teachers can make science everyone's favorite subject, and how parents can help their little scientists find their wings. Not to fear, Scicurious blogging will continue, and it will also be moving over to Science News.
I'm determined to enjoy my last few weeks here at Scientopia. It's a wonderful group of passionate individuals. I love each individual voice and they are often my favorite things to read. I hate to leave, but I'm very excited about my chance to help even more people love science! I hope you all will keep tabs on me as I take Scicurious, and now, Eureka!Lab, on to new horizons!
No siiiiinging in the rain,
No siiiinging in the rain!
But once the storm is over
Bugs are hooooorny again.
They're calling for mates
When the sun's out above
But when pressure's down
They're not ready for love.
Let's the stormy clouds chase
All the bugs from the place
Come on with the rain
And watch horny insects brace
They'll wait out the rain
Til the sun's out again
Or sexting in the raaaain.
Singing in the rain seems so romantic, doesn’t it? The childlike joy of dancing through the raindrops with your beloved certainly worked for Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly in the movie.
But there’s a difference between a light drizzle and a thunderstorm. And when red skies at morning make sailor’s take warning, it’s best to take the romancing indoors.
Unless of course, you’re an insect. Then, maybe you just want to pack it in for the day.
Pellegrino et al. “Weather Forecasting by Insects: Modified Sexual Behaviour in Response to Atmospheric Pressure Changes” PLoS ONE, 2013.
The other day, I received a tweet that made me immensely happy.
@scicurious Wanted to let you know, I'm using your post on obesity & OCD as an example in the tutorial I'm teaching on science blogging!
— Andrea Wishart (@pickleswarlz) September 30, 2013
Someone used my blog in a classroom! This gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. I love to write for the public, and I hope that people can find me, but it's also wonderful to be used in the classroom! It's a sign that I'm writing at the right level, and that what I'm doing is helpful to educators as well as people who just love science.
So then I thought, you know, it'd be GREAT if I could actually keep TRACK of this.
Have you ever used my blog in the classroom? Have you used it because you liked it? Have you used it because you hate it? I figure there are arguments either way. Why did you use it? What did you use it for? Was it effective?
I would really like to know. So if you have, please drop me a line, at scicurious [at] gmail [dot] com. I'd love to hear from you!
As you may know, I and a bunch of fabulous sciencey people got permission this year to set up a DIY Science Zone at GeekGirlCon! We'll be making fossils out of coffee grounds, neurons out of pipe cleaners, extracting DNA, genetic taste testing, dancing raisins, and showing the people there that scientists are fun, fantastic people!
But in order to do that...we need to get there, and that means we need money, for travel, supplies, etc. Can you help us out? We're over halfway to our goal of $6000!
And if you help us out, we will make it worth your while! We will perform highly embarrassing acts of whimsy. We've already done some, and they've been fabulous! Do you want to see:
Yes. If we raise enough, I will compose you a science song! Haven't you always wanted one!? For you, I will listed to Miley Cyrus or Gotye, or something else, and you will hear the sweet strains of "Fund Me Maybe." You know this is what you want.
So please help us out if you can! Help us to spread science to the people!
One of the most impressive things to see a ballet dancer do is SPIN. They go round and round and never seem to get dizzy! How do they do it? They alter their brains! I'm at SciAm blogs today showing how. Head over and check it out!
I have a problem. It's a silly one to have.
I suffer complete and total bar invisibility. I am not exactly someone who fades into the background, but to a bartender, I might as well be an empty stool. I have gone as long as 45 minutes without having a single server come near me, even the ones I truly attempt to make eye contact with. Not only that, but I have gone 45 minutes without being served in a NEARLY EMPTY BAR. Sometimes I wonder if I just look wrong, or my body language is wrong. I try to imitate the people around me, hanging out at the bar, making eye contact. Nothing.
Bar invisibility. My dad says it's genetic, apparently he has it, too.
So you can only imagine how thrilled I was when I received a link to a video showing that SCIENCE has found how to best gain attention at a bar!
I was thrilled, gleeful! Finally I would know what I was doing wrong and bartenders would never ignore me again. I tweeted the link far and wide.
And then I received this reply from Thomas Williams.
@scicurious Heard an interview with the researchers recently. They insist it's *not* 'this is how best to get the attention of a bartender'.
— Thomas Williams (@thomaswilliams) September 24, 2013
And he's right! And much of the coverage is WRONG. Thank you to Thomas for pointing me in the right direction! He helpfully linked me to the BBC coverage (where the scientist corrected the interviewer), and then I got my hands on the paper. He pointed me, and now I can point you!
And the best part of this paper? It's not about PEOPLE AT ALL! It's not even really about how to get attention in bars! This paper? It's not about you. We just all wanted it to be.
Loth et al. "Automatic detection of service initiation signals used in bars" Frontiers in Psychology, 2013.
Or rather, you could probably RUN on water if both you and the water were on the moon. Hey, you never know! This could be a sport someday. I'm over at SciAm blogs talking about the last Ignobel prize for this year. Head over and check it out!