Are you a Twitter Science Superstar?

by Brainleaf Communications

In the beginning, there was Neil Hall’s tone deaf “Kardashian Index”. Then there was Science Magazine’s list of 50 Twitter science superstars. Combined they painted a pretty clear picture that being active on social media was only considered a desirable characteristic in a thin slice of the population – you know, white dudes.

Hall did so by mocking young scientists who are active and effective on social media. Science Magazine did so by featuring very few women or people of color in their list.

PZ Myers, who did make Science Magazine’s list, takes them, particularly the editors, to task:

Isn’t it weird how invisible people suddenly become apparent if you just look for them?

In doing so, PZ reminded me of a Blues Brothers themed piece I wrote a few years ago for Nature’s Soapbox Science about finding audiences where they are on social media. Rather than fighting over the niche audience of science fans, we need to be convincing people to be science fans – much like Jake and Elwood convinced people to like the Blues. Continue reading “Are you a Twitter Science Superstar?”

The Art of Science: So Over the Horizon

Fox, New Zealand, from Caleb Cain Marcus,  A Portrait of Ice
Fox, New Zealand, from Caleb Cain Marcus, A Portrait of Ice

You know how the horizon makes a more or less straight line across every landscape?  I saw a series of art photos of glaciers last night by Caleb Cain Marcus at the National Academy of Sciences that buck the convention. Although he’s shooting landscapes, Marcus messes around with the composition of his photographs so that he eliminates the horizon – you just get craggy bits of ice and then a big expanse of sky.  As the NAS blurb about the show expresses it: “Freed from the horizon, a sense of scale is lost, altering one’s experience of a landscape. It is in this unfamiliar territory that Cain Marcus hopes viewers can fully experience the persona of ice.”

But here’s the weird thing: I saw this artwork just a few days after watching Cosmos, the episode where Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out that, because we’re on a round planet spinning through a constantly moving universe, that line that we see as the horizon isn’t actually there. The line is a lie.

So, in making his pictures of glaciers more abstract by eliminating the horizon, Marcus is actually making them more real. And I think I just blew my own mind.

You can see the show at NAS through July 18 or see more images on Marcus’ website.

Science Caturday: Cosmos Kitties explain teh Universe


Sorry kitties, that’s not quite how it happened. Luckily, we’ll get a refresher on the origins of the universe when the reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series kicks off on March 9, with new host Neil DeGrasse Tyson. In the meantime, you can read this terrific article by Joel Achenbach in Smithsonian Magazine about Sagan’s impact and legacy.

lolcat via

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