Chris has been watching math videos (huh?!), so I tuned in for a few, including this video introducing differential equations. They’re really easy to watch, follow, and learn from, and the instructor is an absolute delight. It’s impressive to see lessons that are considered ‘upper level’ math presented with such ease and in such manageable chunks. I am sad that my last math class was 8 years ago; these mini-lessons are just enough to fill that void for awhile longer!
Even if you’re not a math person, there are videos for you! The Khan Academy is an online-based nonprofit with a mission to make quality education available to everyone. They have nearly 4,000 videos on topics from biology, to animation, to finance, to history. I love the mission and the execution; two thumbs up. Now go learn about differential equations!
This Asian elephant foetus after 12 months in the womb is catching some shut eye before she takes her first heavy steps in the world in just under a year’s time. The gestation period for an elephant is 22 months. This and other animals in the womb were captured on camera by scientists for a National Geographic documentary. I think it’s really neat to see how similarly all mammals start, and an elephant that is ‘floating’ is simply mesmerizing. Check out more photos and details here.
The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck
“In other words, awe has helped us survive”
Top 5: Sam Hansen Produced Things To Listen To
In no particular order…
I, in the past, thought about getting a Mohawk myself. But my team keeps on discouraging me. And now that [Bobak Ferdowski]’s received marriage proposals and thousands of new Twitter followers, I think I’m going to go back to my team and see if it makes sense.
I completely missed this awesome answer to my NASA question from my favorite science blogger jtotheizzoe, but here it is!
NASA has been continuously recruiting astronauts since 1959, even before we flew into space. There’s no signs of this slowing, although the missions and skills are continuously changing.
Every few years, NASA picks a dozen or so “astronaut candidates” from thousands of applications submitted. Here’s 2009’s class. They are pilots, teachers, scientists, doctors, and engineers. Only 330 people have ever been selected as astronaut candidates since 1959. You have to hold a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline (and really an advanced degree with significant experience if you’re not a military pilot). You also have to pass a pretty rigorous physical examination (better get Lasik for those glasses, Jen), and be between 5’2” and 6’3” (I’m right at the top end, which is unfortunate for my future application). You also have to be a U.S. citizen (or dual citizen).
Then there’s about a bazillion interviews. If you get selected, you have to do survival training, SCUBA certification, and about 2-3 years of intense space systems and engineering training, you have to learn Russian, you learn to do robotics work while wearing a spacesuit. Then you can actually be selected as an astronaut.
But why? We don’t have space shuttles anymore. Well, the International Space Station mission will continue for the foreseeable future, using partner countries like Russia to launch our astronauts into space. NASA is still developing future manned vehicles for missions to an asteroid and later Mars, namely the Orion project.
Because the astronaut training program is so long and intense, NASA must continuously be recruiting and training future space explorers. The cost of keeping a stable of ready-to-fly astronauts is paltry compared to building and maintaining the spacecraft and missions. Private companies are also getting into the space biz, but for the time being that looks to be the realm of pilots and adrenaline junkies. There’s future plans for private companies to dock with the ISS and do contract work for the government, but it doesn’t change one key fact: NASA trains the best astronauts in the world. And they are going to continue to do so.
Why? Because we have to get back up there. Start working on those applications!
Great info! Thanks!
So much to learn about…. bedbugs?
Who’d have ever thunk?!
I’ve been following Brooke on Twitter for awhile, and she’s always tweeting fun facts about bedbugs.
A few months ago, when I did this fun little bedbug project, I became even more interested in these fascinating creatures. Sure, they’re the object of our nightmares and worst apartment experiences, but they have such a rich history and biology! Her tweets are a well-curated learning experience, and I recommend it highly if you can get over bedbugs being things that eat your blood at night. (Gross!) She’s compiling her research into a book all about bedbugs, which is totally weird and neat.
Here’s one more to make you want to learn more:
Wind Map = Art + Science Data Visualization
This map, which is zoomable and changes periodically as new data is received, is the most sincerely gorgeous map of wind I have ever seen. It was built to be a personal art project, but is also fairly accurate. What an amazing power our country has to use wind for energy; it’s such a rich resource!
The self-described technologists also have done other projects employing visualizations to reshape data into accessible forms.
One more LEGO post for today, because when you build them into robots, they open incredible doors for science. Watch.