In the Canopy with Water Bears and Wheelchairs
We’ve already met tardigrades (or water bears) virtually. If you are an undergraduate with an ambulatory disability, you also have an opportunity to meet tardigrades in the tops of trees.
At ScienceOnline 2014 I learned from Meg Lowman & Rebecca Tripp during a very impressive keynote presentation about a research program to study tardigrades in forest canopies that was specifically focused on making field research accessible to individuals with ambulatory disabilities. Not only was the research fascinating (water bears are EVERYWHERE), but it also represents an important effort to help the social practice of knowledge building that we call science actually include the diversity of our society.
The project is organized through the lab of William Miller at Baker University in Kansas. If you or someone you know might be interested, contact check-out the announcement flyer below, the information sheet below that, and contact the Miller lab. The application deadline is 14 March 2014. Act quickly while supplies last.
Posted in Items of Interest
Tagged accessibility, ambulatory disability, Baker University, disability, field research, meet the, Meg Lowman, NSF, Rebecca Tripp, reu, Tardigrade, Water Bear, William Miller
As you may know, it is my firm and unflinching belief that our math & science “holidays” should be scheduled so that they actually teach something about the number being celebrated. Sure, 3.14 is a reasonable estimate of π, and March 14th does represent that number in typical US calendar notation (which has no respect for the hierarchical organization of dates).
But, that says nothing about what π represents. It represents the relationship between the radius (r) of a circle and both its circumference (C=2πr) and area (A=πr2). When it comes to expressing this relationship using dates, I prefer circumference because both the radius and circumference are lengths. Also, expressing the year as a circle makes sense to me (and, based on their mythologies, a large number of human cultures).
If C is 365.25 days and π is π, then 2r is approximately 116 days, which makes r approximately 58 days.
Which is why, at The Finch & Pea, 27 February is Pi Day.
Originally posted on 20 December 2012.
Last year our eldest daughter (then 3, now 4), The Frogger, fell in love with the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. This year she is obsessed with “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. It is no coincidence that both songs are performed by Burl Ives in the Rankin/Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Cut to me, in the car, frantically pushing buttons to cycle through CDs and play Burl Ives singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas” in order to fulfill the heartfelt request of my child. Experienced parents will know that there are a variety of potential motivations for such behavior beyond simply avoiding a tantrum, for example cutting short a half-hour of repeatedly yelling the same three lines of the song with 73.21% accuracy.
Having found the correct CD and as I pushed buttons to get to the right track, I began to wonder if I was taking the shortest route to my song of choice. There are three possible routes to any given track on my car’s CD player. Continue reading
Blogger, post-doc, and science communicator DN Lee politely declined an offer to work for a money-making operation for free. The word “whore” was used in response. DN Lee wrote about this experience and what it meant from her perspective as a black, female scientist at an early stage in her career. The overlords at Scientific American deleted the post for very vague reasons without consulting with DN Lee.
But that is not how the Internet works. And that is not how the online science communication community works. As requested by Dr. Isis with DN Lee’s permission, we are putting up the censored post. Unlike Scientific American, we think the human experiences of scientists are of interest to people who are interested in science. To get a grasp on the issue you can read the following:
UPDATE 14 OcTOBER 2013
DN Lee’s original post is back up at Scientific American after the factual accusations were confirmed. She does not get the credit she deserves if you are reading this here in measurable ways that will benefit her career. So, we are removing the post as its utility has passed.
As many, including yours truly, guessed early on, the take-down was due to lawyers worrying if the alleged events (ie, emails) were authentic. The lawyers were not necessarily worrying that they were made up. The correspondent may not have been a real Biology-Online representative (he was).
Scientific American stepped in it by obfuscating about the real reasons for the takedown, allowing it to appear that they did not try very hard to discuss the legal concerns with the author before or immediately after the takedown, issued conflicting explanations, appeared to doubt the victim’s veracity, and used explanations that easily reminded folks of loaded rhetoric used routinely to dismiss and distract. They also seem to have failed to grasp the immediacy of response necessary to manage response on the internet.
It doesn’t make the folks at Scientific American bad or misguided. They aren’t. They were very unaware of the situation they were stepping into, and that isn’t a good excuse for such an organization. It was legitimate to expect better. The whole incident was about managing appearances, and they failed. Hopefully, this has been a learning experience.