Science for the People: Heavy Metal Birds

sftpThis week, Science for the People is learning about the impact that the byproducts of our industrial societies have on avian populations. We’ll speak to filmmaker Matthew Podolsky about his documentary Scavenger Hunt, that looks at the effects of lead on the California Condor. We’ll also talk to conservation scientist Alexander Bond about his research on mercury poisoning in the endangered Arctic Ivory Gull.

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


Monday was Groundhog Day, which inspired one of the great films, Groundhog Day from the late, great Harold Ramis. It, consequently, inspired #GradhogDay, the revision of classic lines to have a science-y spin (and vent a little graduate school blues).

You can read all the tweets in the #GradhogDay Storify or contribute your own. So far, my favorite has been this offering:

Screenshot 2015-02-04 20.32.24

The Challenges of Interdisciplinary Research for LEGO Researchers

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:

Screenshot 2014-11-21 14.18.00

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).


We took some time off from corrupting classic(ish) films with science, but we came back strong this past Friday with #casLABlanca – a noble effort to science-fy the 1942 classic Casablanca. Despite the risk this posed, I was pleased with the results (measured by my lack of productivity on Friday), but I amuse easily.

Screenshot 2014-09-29 12.08.34

You can read the Storify of #casLABlanca, or even add your own “scinematic” efforts to the hashtag.

The Scinema Veritas ouevre includes:

#SciWars (Star Wars)

#ConanthePostDoc (Conan the Barbarian)

#TheGrantfather (The Godfather Trilogy)

#SciFace (Scarface)