August 30, 2014

9:02 PM | What Is A Computer, Really?
What Is A Computer, Really? Look at the picture above. Believe it or not, that person is operating an extremely sophisticated mechanical calculator, capable of generating tables that evaluate functions called “polynomials.” Although a graphing calculator can do that, a pocket calculator certainly can’t. The … Continue reading → The post What Is A Computer, Really? appeared first on The Physics Mill.

August 29, 2014

6:56 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Peter Bijl
My second installment in a series of interviews from the Netherlands is with geoscientist and climate change expert, Dr. Peter Bijl. He recalls constantly observing his surroundings as a child and questioning why he didn’t get to use his ice skates as much as his parents. This childhood curiosity translated to a career trying to understand how the Earth works. Read on to learn about how being a scientist is more than just being the smartest person in class, the role of chance in science, […]
12:18 PM | The bad teacher conspiracy
Any time I see an article about the evaluation system for teachers in New York State, I wince. People get it wrong so very often. Yesterday’s New York Times article written by Elizabeth Harris was even worse than usual. First, her wording. She mentioned a severe drop in student reading and math proficiency rates statewide and attributed […]
1:32 AM | Throwback Thursday: Back-to-school advice for STEM students (Synopsis)
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.” -Oscar Wilde So Labor Day is this coming Monday, and that means the new school year is about to start. Whether you are or whether you know a young person, say in middle-or-high…
12:46 AM | Ohio lawmakers lack science education, want to be sure everyone else does too
Once again, nonscientists are dictating how to do science. They are mistaken. And they have an agenda. Ohio lawmakers want to limit the teaching of the scientific process. The bill, currently under consideration by the Ohio Assembly, is intended to revoke a previous approval of the Common Core educational standards, which target math and literacy.… Source: Doubtful News

August 28, 2014

4:51 PM | The Role of Culture in Health
Each year, the University of Pennsylvania sponsors a series of events throughout its campus focusing on a central theme chosen by faculty, staff and students. The focal point of the 2014-2015 academic year is Health. The Year of Health was chosen, in part, because of the national focus on health-care...
2:54 AM | THE Darwin Fish.
Looks like this guy: Is the cartoon version of this guy: It walks. It breathes air. And apparently it can adapt to terrestrial life relatively “easily”. The scientists raised groups of bichir on land for eight months to find out how they would differ from bichir raised in the water. They found that the land-raised fish […]

August 27, 2014

7:59 PM | Practicum Introduces Students to Earth Institute Research
Each fall the Earth Institute offers a broad survey of the applications of frontier research to the practice of sustainable development through contributions from Earth Institute researchers and directors in the Earth Institute Practicum. The practicum provides an opportunity to learn about salient issues in sustainable development, sustainability management and environmental science from world-class faculty and researchers in these areas.
12:21 PM | Short
The title does not make that much sense at the beginning, but this is just because I want to make this post short, so the title is Short. I have observed a little nice thing happening: some of you have … Continue reading →
10:22 AM | Multilingualism and social justice in Europe
Reducing the number of the official languages of the European Union is a bad idea, as Michele Gazzola explains. Replacing the official languages of the EU with only English would not only disadvantage some European countries more than others; it would also cut off many EU residents from understanding key legal documents. These are among […]
10:04 AM | Are Japanese Teachers Less Competent than their Foreign Counterparts?
I know what you’re thinking – how could you suggest that the average teacher in any country is incompetent? Such things depend on the way you define “competence,” and how you measure it. How could you suggest that one of … Continue reading →
7:48 AM | Science is More Creative than Arts
“Science is more Creative than Arts” This was the proposition of the debate that I took part in today as part of CPIT’s Research Month. As you might have guessed I was a member of the affirmative team. It was an interesting experience and very popular – the room we used was filled to capacity. [...]

August 26, 2014

11:47 PM | Some exceptions in biology: Worm-catching fungi
Credit: When most of us hear the word “predator” in the context of the natural sciences, the first thing that comes to mind is something terrifying. Something with fangs, sharp claws, venom or all of the above. Something that is to be reckoned with. Think lions, tigers, wolves, T-Rexes, you get the picture. Did …
5:13 PM | A new website introducing genetic engineering
The Journey of a Gene is a new website at UNL-Nebraska that teaches the basics of genetic engineering. There’s a combination of videos, some from YouTube and some specifically made as well as some interactive sections. The video above, explaining what a gene is, is an example of what they’re bringing in. Later they explain […]
4:16 PM | The Brilliance of Scientific Assumption (Synopsis)
If you’ve ever heard someone dismiss evolution, the Big Bang or climate change as “just a theory” and wanted to pull your hair out, you’re not alone. In science, after all, theories are the most powerful ideas we have to explain the mechanism behind the most intricate observable phenomena in the Universe. But it’s where…
1:41 AM | A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland
You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability... -- Read more on

August 25, 2014

9:00 PM | MPA Students Explore Urban Parks
During the second half of the summer semester for Columbia University’s MPA class in Environmental Science and Policy program, the students extended their classroom learning on urban ecology to outdoor field trips in Brooklyn and the Bronx to focus on how restorations of wetlands, forests, and rivers are changing the city.

August 23, 2014

6:40 PM | Dirt Bucket Challange is a Bad Idea
Apparently, in the interest of saving water in drought-stricken California and calling attention to the crisis there, two men dumped dirt over their heads. This is a bad idea, in support of a good cause, in my view. The video has gone viral and shows a dry-land adaptation of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Soil is not only where plants grow, but is also host to many kinds of bacteria …
3:05 PM | A Hangout IN Air–Off a Cliff Face–for Science
When I last did a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air with Jason Osborne and Aaron Alford, founders of Paleo Quest, they were diving in a swamp looking for fossils. Yesterday, they took their fossil... -- Read more on

August 22, 2014

6:16 PM | "When you look at the sunflowers you planted six weeks ago and they now dwarf you, it puts all the..."
“When you look at the sunflowers you planted six weeks ago and they now dwarf you, it puts all the intellectual parts of your learning in a pretty real-world frame of reference — you can see growth visibly come to life, and it’s really satisfying.” - UCLA’s Anne McKnight talking about her class on urban agriculture.
11:30 AM | GeoTalk: Meet Anna Rabitti, winner of I’m a Geoscientist, Get me out of here!
Earlier this year we ran the first ever I’m a Geoscientist, Get me out of here! event, an online chat-based game show in which school kids vote for their favourite geoscience communicators. In this week’s GeoTalk, Sara Mynott  talks to Anna Rabitti, an oceanography PhD student and winner of this year’s I’m a Geoscientist…   […]

August 21, 2014

8:32 PM | Outreach Program: “Ciencia Al Tiro” (Science Immediately)
Ciencia Al Tiro (Science Immediately) is an Outreach program developed to encourage interest in science and technology. Our inspiration was to help the situation of education in Chile where there is an extremely large difference in the quality of education among schools. According to an OECD assessment of student performance, Chile has the largest gap […]
1:04 AM | 4th Day in Stuttgart and Financial Math
As I have already told you in the post 3rd Day in Stuttgart and Cryptography, we had some of the financial math in the same day as Cryptography, but we also had another day especially dedicated to this subject and I … Continue reading →

August 20, 2014

8:47 PM | Back to School: Zombies, Ebola and some cool tunes
Ebola is in the news a lot right now. Could this be The Coming Plague that Laurie Garret warned us about in 1994? By the late 1980s, with the world shaken by the strangest and deadliest arrival of all – HIV and AIDS – Garrett traveled widely in search of understanding: Why did new viruses and bacteria […]
10:30 AM | GeoEd: The Future’s Bright
What got you hooked to science in the first place? More importantly, what or who persuaded you that making science your career was, not only worth considering, but should be actively pursed? I’m sure, I am preaching to the converted; we all think science is not only cool, but a worthwhile and rewarding career path; […]

August 19, 2014

9:58 PM | Why conservationists need a little hope: saving themselves from becoming the most depressing scientists on the planet
Here's a challenge: take a conservationist out for a drink and ask them about their work. Nine times out of ten—or possibly more—you'll walk away feeling frustrated, despondent, and utterly hopeless. Yet a few conservation scientist are not just trying to save species from extinction, but also working to save their field—their life's work—from slipping into total despair.
4:12 PM | Linguistics retraction fails to speak clearly
The Canadian Center of Science and Education has put out a truly useless retraction for a paper published in June 2010 in their journal English Language Teaching. Here’s the notice for “A Solution to Plato’s Problem: Faculty of Language as A Complex Non-Linear System”: The editorial board announced this article has been retracted on August 18, […]
2:05 PM | Hangout with Canopy Researcher Margaret Lowman
Margaret Lowman, who also goes by the nickname “Canopy Meg,” is chief of science and sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on life and ecosystems at... -- Read more on
12:53 AM | Deaths That Don’t Have to Happen: The Relationship Between Knowledge and Health
Editor’s note: As part of  a writing class I took this summer, I had to do a group project addressing a social issue within our society. Part of that assignment was writing an essay that promotes activism to address the issue.The research inspired me, so I decided to share that essay with you. Hope you enjoy!  Knowledge, and […]

August 18, 2014

9:14 PM | The 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense
Have you heard of Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule? The key to success in any field is practice, and not just a little. A new publication in the journal Psychological Science had a good look at all the evidence and concludes that this rule is nonsense. No Einstein in you, I am afraid. The authors of […]

Macnamara, B.N., Hambrick, D.Z. & Oswald, F.L. (2014). Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis, Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1037/e633262013-474

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