Category Archives: Items of Interest

Science a Movie Title – #ScienceaMovieTitle

Starting with #SciWars, we’ve been in the semi-regular habit of dedication Fridays to sciencing quotes from a particular movie, with one brief (or not so brief) foray into Shakespeare (#ShakesPeerReview). Often, the biggest challenge is not picking a great movie to do, but figuring out a good, science-y hashtag* (see #GhostBusterSci for an example of such difficulties).  So, I thought we could crowdsource some ideas. We got more than a few (as of this writing, there had been about 1000 #ScienceaMovieTitle tweets).

Today, we kicked off #ScienceaMovieTitle with:

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Haven’t run the numbers on it, but I can be pretty sure using a tortilla chip and guacomole to simulate the Philae landings is now the second best thing I’ve done on the Internet.

Click the image below for a progressively more complete Storify collection of the #ScienceaMovieTitle tweets. UPDATE: Your #ScienceaMovieTitle tweets required not one, not two, but three Storifys to contain them. We have a trilogy. Just as your favorite deity or deity replacement intended.

Screenshot 2014-11-21 14.25.23*I also have a backlog of scienced movie titles that amuse me, but aren’t associated with enough great lines to be good fodder for script rewrites (see #ConanthePostDoc for an example where folks only know one line – though there are SO many really).

The Palette of Dunloe

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Gap of Dunloe (County Kerry, Ireland); Photo Credit: Josh Witten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In 2011, we took the family to County Kerry in Ireland for Easter (I was working at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK at the time). One of the highlights of the trip was walking at the Gap of Dunloe. The gorse was in full bloom, providing a bright contrast to the greens, greys, browns, and blues of the landscape.

We didn’t really do much. Just walked. And looked. Among all the wonderful mornings we have had as a family, that morning at the Gap of Dunloe is a stand out. Afterward, the kids fell asleep in the car and we took a leisurely drive around the Ring of Kerry.

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cropped-dunloe-vintage-fp-banner-trans-3 Since Mike and I founded The Finch & Pea, we’ve slowly and steadily made superficial changes to the site’s style, without getting away from our original “online science pub” idea. We still love the concept; but we (by which I mean me) like to fiddle with things. So, over a series of incremental changes, we’ve changed quite a bit – as you can see from looking at our various site headers.

Maybe it is the approaching winter and shortening days. Maybe it is the pessimistic feeling that our Internet home is a bleak Mad Max wasteland roamed by gangs of sociopaths, pock-marked by outposts of civilization. Maybe I was procrastinating. Whatever the reason, we decided to brighten up some of the colors around the joint, while still being recognizable and feeling like home. We wanted to keep the same general theme to our site colors, but draw the updated versions from nature.

Gap of Dunloe (County Kerry, Ireland); Photo Credit: Josh Witten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Gap of Dunloe (County Kerry, Ireland); Photo Credit: Josh Witten (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Holy Guacamole!

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Based on RTs and favorites, this is the best thing I have ever done on Twitter, especially if you add in Ed Yong’s response.

HT: Zapata’s Grill in Hartsville, SC

What the Philae are you doing here?

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:10AM (ET): Apollo 11 shit went down today. No matter what else we might be, we are a species that landed a robot on a comet about 500 million kilometers away for the purpose of scientific exploration. Not too shabby.

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:54AM (ET): There is concern that Philae has not anchored to the comet properly. They are working on it.

Look, we appreciate you stopping by; but humanity is trying to land a robot on a comet for the first time ever. There is Apollo 11 level shit going down today. You can watch the ESA’s webcast live with us. The Philae lander is scheduled to touch down at about 11:00 AM (US Eastern).

Over at xkcd, Randall Munroe is doing live updates of the Philae lander’s progress (and its internal monologue).

HT: Emily Lakdawalla (whom you should be reading today)

Who ya gonna call?

MV5BMTkxMjYyNzgwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE3MjYyMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_We typically do our #SCInema sciencing of movie quotes on Friday. This past friday happened to be Halloween. So, we took a whack at the classic film Ghostbusters, which turned 30 this year*. If you have not watched Ghostbusters recently, you are cheating yourself. It holds up.

Bill Murray. Dan Aykroyd. Harold Ramis. Sigourney Weaver. Rick Moranis. Directed by Ivan Reitman. You owe it to yourself.

Frankly, I had been looking forward to sciencing Ghostbusters all October (yes, I once went as a Ghostbuster for Halloween). It was not, however, until a few tweets into the sciencing that we settled on a hashtag. We tried #GibbsBusters, #IdealGasBusters, even #FadeevPopovGhostBusters, before settling on the relatively pedestrian, but descriptive #GhostBusterSci.

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The first act of the film centers on a trio of disgraced, academic parapsychologists losing their faculty positions and starting a company to catch ghosts. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many lines need no alteration to be applicable to today’s scientific world.

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This also suggests that a plausible backstory for an all-female Ghostbusters 3 team would be composed of graduate students/post-doctoral fellows who are unable to find faculty positions due to the oversupply of PhDs, undersupply of faculty spots, and disparity between the gender equality in some graduate school fields with the gender inequality among faculty.

Like usual, I have Storified our results.

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*File under things that make me feel old.