Home Sweet ‘Shroom

Giving the amount of fungal growth in my yard, I wish I was one of those people who could tell which mushrooms you can eat and enjoy*. In retrospect, perhaps I should have seen the pretty orange color of this one as a bad omen for my St. Louis Cardinals.10409291_10100825667492534_8784579148790602323_n

*No, I will not be trusting any of your opinions on the matter either. I know too many people who comment on blogs to trust any of you.

Science for the People: Troublesome Inheritance

sftpThis week, Science for the People is looking at the intersection of race, history and genetics in science writer Nicholas Wade’s 2014 book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. DNA researcher Jennifer Raff and science journalist David Dobbs share their critiques of the claim that differences between genetically distinct “races” are responsible for global divergence in cultural and political structures. Blogger Scicurious walks us through the (delicious) basics of the scientific method with Cookie Science.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

All you need is a steady hand…

The lab course I am teaching at Coker College does not have access to the newest and fanciest equipment for microscopy imaging (nor should it*). If your drawing skills are not up to snuff, however, a smartphone camera, a steady hand, and a bit of patience can provide a useful substitute for standard light microscopy.

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Stained bacteria photographed with an iPhone 5

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Caroline Herschel Cosplay

My daughter’s Caroline Herschel costume is not late for Ada Lovelace Day. We were simply traveling too close to the speed of light relative to the rest of y’all.

Photo Credit: Josh Witten (All Rights Reserved)

Photo Credit: Josh Witten (All Rights Reserved)

Picture was taken at ScienceSouth’s NASA Saturday public viewing after a “fancy dress” birthday party.

The Art of Science: Density Fluctuations

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Ellyn Weiss, Unidentified Specimen, Wax and Pigment

Concepts of time and change center the work of three artists in a show entitled Density Fluctuations that opened yesterday at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. The exhibition features work inspired by physics and biology by Shanthi Chandrasekar, Stephen Schiff and Ellyn Weiss in a variety of media. Chandrasekar, who studied physics before becoming a painter, explores the differences in the understanding of time as expressed in science and myth. Stephen Schiff morphs photographs, starting with images of nature and multiplying them and reconfiguring them like cells to create new, complex geometries. Ellyn Weiss uses layers of wax and pigment to create her imagined versions of creatures discovered by science as layers of ice melt. The intriguing shapes of her sculptures hint at unknown species of animals or strange mineral deposits. Together, the work of these three beguiling artists in approaching such heady topics is sure to provide plenty of food for thought.

Density Fluctuations is on display at the American Center for Physics until April 2015. More information is here.

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas