Category Archives: Experiments

Will Grounding DoD Demonstration Teams Impact STEM?

Will Grounding DoD Demonstration Teams Impact STEM?

Yesterday the U.S. Navy announced a cancelation of the remainder of the 2013 Blue Angels demonstration team air show season. The impacts expand beyond just the financial. My heart is very heavy about this from a parenting perspective. We are denying our kids critical exposure to STEM skills. Read More

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Geeky States of America: Ashfall Fossil Beds & Fossil Vacations, Royal, Nebraska

Geeky States of America: Ashfall Fossil Beds & Fossil Vacations, Royal, Nebraska

The Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park isn’t necessarily near anything. We endured a 360-mile round trip in one day — six hours worth of driving to and from our then-home in Bellevue, Nebraska — for about two hours of exploration in a very rural part of northeastern Nebraska. Read More

Chew on This: Is Big Biz influencing dietitians? – San Antonio Express-News

Chew on This: Is Big Biz influencing dietitians? – San Antonio Express-News

A group of registered dietitians has taken to Facebook to protest their professional organization’s more and more intimate relationships with “Big Food”. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics often counts on funding from ConAgra, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and other large corporations for its conferences and training. Read More

U.S. takes North Korean threat of nuclear EMP attack seriously – Investors.com

U.S. takes North Korean threat of nuclear EMP attack seriously – Investors.com

What do you think of life without electricity, like what you see on NBC’s Revolution, FX’s The Walking Dead, or in the book/upcoming film World War Z? That’s what a low-yield nuclear blast in the upper atmosphere would cause, by exploding overhead and releasing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could impact circuitry of all shapes… Read More

Happy Birthday, Sophie Germain!

Happy Birthday, Sophie Germain!

Today marks the 237th birthday of the French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776-1831). While her work in elasticity was fundamental to the field, her work on proving Fermat’s Last Theorem blew 200 years of previous attempts out of the water. Her story is an inspiring one of self-starting, persistance, and courage. Happy birthday, Germain! Read More

No Starch Press Manga Guides Make Science Fun

No Starch Press Manga Guides Make Science Fun

Have you ever read a textbook cover to cover? I’m in grad school. I’ve had to do it more than once. It usually requires massive amounts of caffeine and re-reading a lot of pages. Well, there’s some good news. No Starch Press has The Manga Guide series on textbook topics, such as statistics, electricity, and molecular biology. The manga books are written by Japanese subject matter experts. They have been translated to English and (thankfully) rearranged to read from left to right. Read More

Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Be a Force of Nature

Are you a “Force of Nature”? Take the pledge to be one during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week from March 3-9th. This is the week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has joined forces with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to educate and inspire Americans to be ready for this year’s severe weather. They have adapted the catch-phrase “Be a Force of Nature” to help Americans remember to be proactive and ready. Read More

The Sky is Falling! Asteroids and Meteors on the Same Day!

So maybe the sky isn’t falling, but it’s quite the coincidence that an asteroid and a meteor both descended upon our little plot of the universe within about 15 hours of one another. While many skywatchers have been anxiously awaiting the close approach of Asteroid 2012 DA14, they were completely taken by surprise when a 500-ton meteor that streaked across the Russian Ural sky earlier the same day. Read More

5 Ways to Sneak Math Lessons into Baking Christmas Cookies

5 Ways to Sneak Math Lessons into Baking Christmas Cookies

Recently, I’ve acquired a couple of elves to help me bake Christmas cookies. My sons, ages 7 and 10, are old enough to do just about everything in the cookie baking process (with plenty of adult supervision). My youngest son loves cracking eggs, which is just the beginning of the educational value of this annual tradition. I offer to you five small math lessons that can pay dividends for any young person to have a fruitful future in cooking and baking.
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Have you registered for the 19th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race?

Dreaming of being an astronaut is a phase just about everyone goes through at one point in their lives. It’s a much smaller amount of people who decide to peruse that dream when they grow-up. While not everyone might go into space, everyone has the opportunity to race on the moon…. well almost. For the last 19 years, NASA has given high school and college teams from across the globe a chance to compete against each other for the title of “Greatest Moonbuggy of the Year”. Read More

Plastic Found on Mars… And Five Other Famous Hoaxes

Have you heard, Mardi Gras has made it to Mars!!! Yesterday there were rumors flying about the internet about a massive discovery of plastic found on Mars. With only a quick glance it seemed to be a legit press release from Jet Propulsion Lab in California. However, for anyone that looked at the article for more then 30 seconds it was obvious that this was a nicely executed hoax. Phil Plait from Bad Astronomer wrote a great post last night listing all of the ways that this hoax outed itself. The prankster obviously wanted to take advantage of the “earthshaking” announcement from last week that something was found on Mars. Its been later determined that even that previous press release was an over exaggeration by a reporter after an interview with a Curiosity team member.

Massive scientific hoaxes aren’t new, they have been around for ages. Sometimes they are a lot harder to spot then this one, and cause a lot more confusion then this little prank. One of the greatest achievements of the scientific method is the ability for correction over time. No matter how elaborate the hoax, science will be able to eventually prove or disprove a skeptic. There are times that hoaxes almost get by without detection, and as a reminder to stay ever vigilant to the proof here are five of the greatest scientific hoaxes of all time. Read More

Photography Snapshot: Exposure Triangle

In the last couple months my Photography Snapshot series has focused on the theory of light and how it behaves as it created images in an optical system. I’m planning to shift my focus now from the theoretical side of photography to the practical components of taking magnificent photos. This snapshot will focus on creating the perfectly exposed image and the three most important elements in determining exposure. So pick up your camera, its time to play. Read More

Truncated Icosahedron: Maker Faire NYC Most Memorable for Kids

While attending World Maker Faire in New York earlier this month, I was surrounded by hundreds of DIY projects that had been dreamt up by hackers and makers around the world. The projects were magnificent! From the moment I walked through the gates for set-up on Friday till we had to leave to drive home on Sunday, there was one display that I was magnetized to. From afar it imply looked like a large wooden sculpture of an soccer ball. I had to know more. I immediately went up and started taking pictures, it was massive and very impressive. The structure was a truncated icosahedron and I hadn’t even seen the best part of the sculpture at that point. Rob Marshall, owner of Hamlet Construction, had turned this ancient design into what he calls the “Happy Fun Ball.” Read More

Dear Fearless Felix & Red Bull Stratos: Thank You for Briefly Stopping My Heart

Like the Mars Rover landing, my family didn’t think anything about letting our kids join in Sunday morning tuning into Discovery Channel to watch the ascent of the Red Bull Stratos balloon, listen to Baumgartner and chief communicator USAF Colonel (Retired) Joe Kittinger run through checklists, and then watch the live feed of Baumgartner’s free fall. Read More