Monday, December 19, 2011

The way to this girl's heart is through her mind...

I'm not big on the consumer-culture of the season, but who doesn't like a new toy every now and again?

Here is a list of neato-frito science gifts for the nerd-at-heart on your list. 

It is so hard to choose a favorite. I'm torn between the EcoSphere and the gallium

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let's talk about evolution

I think scientists do a disservice to our peers, our children and our society if we choose to focus solely on research, and do not disseminate our findings in accessible language to the public.

Along this line, that has been a lot of talk in our lab about making short videos describing our current research projects. Some are in progress, and will hopefully be posted here soon. In addition, a group of Nielsen lab postdocs are developing short, interactive lessons about evolution including population genetics, comparative genomics, and forensics that we plan to present to Berkeley Area High School students in the Spring. In the meantime, I thought I'd plant the video-blog bug in your mind with this discussion of what evolution is, why it is important, and why it should be taught in school.

It is a compilation of several submitted videos, and although it is a little long, I think there are many great ideas to get out to the general public. One statement from the video really struck home with me, summarizing the integral nature of teaching evolution:

"To teach science without evolution is kind of like teaching sentence structure without the alphabet."

Baby sloths!

Do I miss having a television? Not usually. We have the internet and computers, and we rent movies each week. But then, something like this comes along, and I feel a little sad that I won't be able to soak in the whole hour of sloth adorableness:

For my last project, I considered spending some time in Costa Rica to collect data on sloths. It wouldn't have been this adorable (it would have been analyzing testis mass from road-kill sloths), but still may have gotten to see some live sloths. The only ones I've seen were in the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo in the indoor rainforest (which you should all go to, seriously, it's worth the trip to Nebraska to visit the zoo!).

Back to work.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your daily cute (from a non-human ape)

This video is really cool, and makes me want to take a trip to the San Diego Zoo (hint, hint).

This little baby was born on June 17, 2011.

Also, gorilla babies:
- are about 2.5-3.5lbs when born
- can't support their own weight, so mom's hold them 24/7 (attachment parenting?)
- nurse up to three years
- start walking around 6 months


Here's an article about my cousin, Sam, who is now a famous ballet dancer. I didn't get to see my cousins very often growing up because my dad and his brothers lived from one end of the country to the other. I remember spending time with Sam when we were both kids at a house in Oregon for our grandparents' wedding anniversary. The next time I saw him, was at our grandfather's internment at Arlington National Cemetery. Since then we've reconnected on facebook, but haven't seen each other in person. Maybe the next time we visit the East Coast we'll make a trip up to New York City. :)