UPDATED! My adventures in green screen & sci-comm

(by drrubidium) Apr 06 2015

Thanks to the folks at ACS Reactions, I've gotten the chance to fight ninjas do a little green screen filming.  The first video, Zombie Apocalypse Survival Chemistry: Death Cologne, was based on a guest blog I wrote for Scientopia ('Chemistry for the zombie apocalypse') which I turned into a presentation most recently given at SciPop Talks!

The second video - Inside the Game of Thrones Poison, the Strangler - comes from a recent entry to this blog called 'Chemistry and King Joffrey'.

I even got to pontificate on why I love to blend science and pop culture.

...and talk video games...

Speaking of rocket science, I got to highlight the work of Mary Sherman-Morgan. Back on earth, two other ground-breaking women scientists are highlighted in the video below - Alice Ball and Dr. Rachel Lloyd.

ACS Reactions, with support from CAS, started 'Get To Know A Molecure'. I got to talk about carbon monoxide, rose oxide, and cortisol.

I really enjoy writing and presenting these videos. Fingers crossed I'll get to do more in the future!


This post was first posted in April of last year when I'd done 3 videos.6

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Learning new tricks

(by drrubidium) Dec 14 2014

source: Happy Bunny

Just kidding!

My latest learning adventure is coding, which kicked-off Wednesday morning when I completed Hour of Code. Though not completely ignorant to coding (bit of VBA, bit of MATLAB), I'm no expert. Do I need to be an expert? Well, I need to be proficient so that I can do just enough to support my research efforts. I've yet to quantify what just enough is, but I'll know it when I see it. For know, I'm using Codeacademy to pick up new skills and having too much fun doing it! If you follow me on twitter, you've likely seen my coding adventure tweets. I'm tweeting my learning for one simple reason.

I don't know, but I can learn.

Me. With the so-called "terminal degree". Me, an old person. I don't know-it-all. YET. I'm hoping to write a program that will take care of that for me.


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I'm going to the @UNLCollegeofLaw

(by drrubidium) Nov 18 2014

...tomorrow for visit. Recently, I had the opportunity to hear scientist - lawyer Dr. A. Christal Sheppard speak about her interesting career and thought... "Time to visit to my mater's law school!"

I have been interested in legal studies since I was a wee lass spending Saturdays in the public library reading about collateral estoppel.

True story

Plenty of chemists go into law. The American Chemical Society has a whole division called 'Chemistry & The Law'. Now, will I actually go to law school?

There are many, many, many things to consider. Chief among them?

Tuition. WHOA.

Another factor to consider is what type of law to focus on.  CHECK THIS OUT....


I could be a SPACE LAWYER! Picture it!

DrRubidium's legal knowledge is out of this world!

Firefly meets Reno 911!!! Okay, maybe that's not accurate.... I'll find out tomorrow!


"Nerd alert" gif from giphy

"No idea" gif from Photobucket user dandy_monkey

Money gif from gifbin

UNL Space and Cyber Law image from their twitter account


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#GGC14 #DIYscizone Acts of Whimsy! Thank you, donors!

(by drrubidium) Oct 05 2014

When we kicked-off fundraising for year two of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Science Zone, we also kicked-off a season of doing wacky things (AKA, 'Acts of Whimsy') to thank donors and celebrate monetary benchmarks.  Below is the collection of all the Acts of Whimsy done by zone volunteers.  Enjoy!


Top image from here

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I have to listen to Pink Floyd. You get to pick the album... FOR SCIENCE!

(by drrubidium) Sep 27 2014


PF poll

I'll be listening to 'The Dark Side of the Moon' tomorrow morning while I knock-out some grading.  I might as well do two life-force draining activities at once.  I'll be live-tweeting my listening using the hastag #DSotM.


The moment I've dread has arrived. That's right, the Go Pink Floyd camp has hit the $1000 mark. It's time for me to face the music. The Pink Floyd music.  I've got to listen to an entire album and you'll be able to pick which one by voting in the poll below.  Polls will close October 3rd.

As I'll be listening via Spotify, only studio albums available (or soon to be) on this platform are listed.  I'll live-tweet my listening.  Likely with gifs and an over analysis of lyrics...

11 responses so far

Chemistry of lost gold

(by drrubidium) Sep 17 2014

Funny story... back in 2011, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seems to have misplaced 50 kg of gold belonging to Crown Financial Solutions.  How much is 50 kg? That's 50 of these shiny bars...

Shiny bars that are worth a lot. [source]

For those adverse to the metric system, 50 kg of gold is about 110.2 lbs. Basically, the UAE just lost a solid gold Kate Moss (which is actually a thing). How much is 50 kg of gold worth?  A cool $2.4 million by 2011 values when gold was $1354.50 per ounce.  Today? The price of gold right now is about $1235.82, so the missing bars are worth about $2.2 million.

50 kg, 110.2 lbs, $2.4 million, $2.2 million... bah! How many atoms of gold are we talking here?!

Elemental gold [source]

If we assume that we've got a total of 50 kg pure gold, this problem is easy peasy! All we need is Au's molecular weight from the periodic table and Avogadro's number.


The UAE misplaced 150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms of gold. Fear not! There's something like 10^78 - 10^82 atoms in the observable universe, so 10^26 is a drop in the bucket. A very expensive drop...


Chemistry is everywhere. Even divorce.


*Damn sigfigs mean this answer should be rounded by a lot.

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In which I do acts of whimsy... FOR SCIENCE!

(by drrubidium) Aug 25 2014

The DIY Science Zone is back for GeekGirlCon 2014! You know what that means!

  • There will be an fun place at GGC '14 for attendees to get their hands dirty with science!
  • This zone will be staffed by a crew of talented scientists and science educators!
  • We need to raise $6000 and will do acts of whimsy to show our gratitude! As of 9 September 2014, $3393.50 has been raised.

What acts of whimsy will I be doing? To celebrate the first $100, I wore a tiara at work. Since we crossed the $500 mark, I'll be running the CASA Donut Dash on September 14th in this Wonder Woman ensemble.

...but that's not all! Last year, I subjected myself to Nickelback to raise money for the DIY Science Zone.  This year, it's Pink Floyd.

Me too, bro

That's right, I don't like Pink Floyd.  But! I will listen to Pink Floyd - FOR SCIENCE!  For every $1000 the pro-Pink Floyd ("Go PF") camp raises, I'll listen to an entire band album.  I can be saved from listening to Pink Floyd, if the anti-Pink Floyd ("No PF") camp offers up counter donations.  It's Go PF vs. No PF!  Here's how you can make be listen to Pink Floyd or save me from it:

Go PF or No PF, the winner will be science!  No donation is too small and every dollar helps!  Thanks to all our wonderful donors. Yes, even the Go PF ones...

UPDATE!  Go PF camp has raised $595 to get me to listen to Pink Floyd.  The NO PF camp? $275.  Gotta say, last year, Nickelback fans were all about throwing money at the zone. Pink Floyd fans? Um...


gif from Buzzfeed

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I went to SPACE!!!

(by drrubidium) Aug 04 2014



rocket science green screen


Post-launch... okay, okay... post CGI


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Off to #dragoncon I go!

(by drrubidium) Jul 23 2014

DragonCon science

This is the year of multi-genre con madness! First, Emerald City Comicon, then CONvergence, now Dragon Con, and soon GeekGirlCon!  Why multi-genre cons? Because they've got big audiences of hardcore fans that are passionate about every aspect of the genre they love. That's prime science outreach territory!  Breaking Bad fans want to know about meth synthesis methods. Song of Ice and Fire Fans want to know about poisons. Zombie fans want to know how to survive.  Oh, and I'm a HUGE fan. Of zombies, Star Trek, Star Wars, BSG, GoT, Locke & Key, Firefly, all the camp that is the SyFy Original Movie, and much, much more!

Dragon Con's Science Track, led by the fabulous Stephen Granade, has great programming on deck for this year's con!  Check-out the full schedule here.  I'll be participating in the following...

Fri 2030: Zombies and Vampires and Mummies — Oh My! | Location: 202 - Hilton
The undead fascinate us, but what does “undead” mean? Are all undead monsters created equal? Panel scientists will examine life, death, and undeath.
Raychelle Burks, Lali DeRosier, Emily Finke, and Kristopher Hite

Sat 2200The (Non) Science of SyFy Movies | LocationGrand Ballroom West - Hilton
SyFy movies contains some…unique ideas about science. Our scientists discuss the real science, with special guest star SHARKNADO.
David Shiffman, Rachel Pendergrass, Raychelle Burks, Lali DeRosier, and Lisa Hoopes
(Note that this will run in a ballroom while other panels continue in the track room)

Sun 1000The Hands-On Science Power Hour! | LocationAtlanta - Sheraton
Give us an hour and we’ll give you a science buffet! We’ve got twelve hands-on experiments for you to try. How many can you do in an hour?
(Note that this will run in a ballroom while other panels continue in the track room)

Sun 1300Ask a Scientist! Location: Atlanta - Sheraton
You’ve got science questions? We’ve got science answers! Ask our panel of expert scientists anything you want to know about science.
Mika McKinnon, John Cmar, Pamela Gay, Raychelle Burks, David Shiffman, Stephen Granade (moderator)

Sun 2200: The Solve for X Science ShowLocation: Grand Ballroom East - Hilton
Puppet show, PowerPoint karaoke, quiz game, storytelling: the scientists are loose, and nobody knows what could happen next.  Find out more here



Top image created using clip art in PowerPoint

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Grading is coming

(by drrubidium) Jul 14 2014

That's right. Next month.


A lot of institutions start the fall term in August. That's next month.

For many of us, that means a return of a life-force diminishing activity. Yes, I mean 'grading'.

Since everything is made better with a soundtrack*, I'm sharing my ever-expanding Grading Soundtrack below.  Feel free to drop a relevant^ track in the comments.

  1. The Isley Brothers – Work To Do
  2. Peggy Lee – Why Dont You Do Right
  3. Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money
  4. Vince Guaraldi Trio – Linus & Lucy
  5. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
  6. The Rolling Stones – You Can't Always Get What You Want
  7. John Lee Hooker – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
  8. Billy Preston – Nothing From Nothing
  9. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass - Marching Band Version
  10. Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This? - 2001 - Remaster
  11. Jackson 5 – ABC
  12. Johnny Mathis – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
  13. The Temptations – Ain't Too Proud To Beg
  14. Carole King – It's Too Late
  15. Ray LaMontagne – Trouble
  16. The Main Ingredient – Everybody Plays The Fool
  17. The Friends Of Distinction – Going In Circles
  18. The Spinners – It's A Shame
  19. Lou Rawls – Your Good Thing (Is About To End) - 2006 Digital Remaster
  20. B.B. King – The Thrill Is Gone
  21. Pat Benatar – Heartbreaker
  22. Kool Moe Dee – How Ya Like Me Now - Longer Version
  23. RUN-DMC – It's Tricky
  24. Frank Sinatra – That's Life
  25. Rick James – Cold Blooded
  26. Cake – I Will Survive
  27. Dean Martin – Ain't That A Kick In The Head - 1997 - Remastered
  28. Jamie Foxx – Blame It
  29. Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing
  30. Nicky Romero – WTF!? (Original Mix)
  31. Club Nouveau – Why You Treat Me So Bad
  32. Ice Cube – Check Yo Self - Remix;
  33. Warren G – Regulate
  34. Solomon Burke – Cry To Me - Single/LP Version
  35. Tyrone Davis – Can I Change My Mind
  36. Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - Remastered 2003
  37. Stevie Wonder – All I Do
  38. Bobby Womack – I Can Understand It
  39. Eddie Taylor – I Feel So Bad
  40. The Marvelettes – I Know Better - Stereo Version
  41. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
  42. Mariah Carey – You Don't Know What To Do


*This is a totes false assertion, but it feels true.  Which, by the way, is how Fox News operates.

^Nickelback, Rush, and Pink Floyd are NOT relevant.


Tom Hiddleston gif from here

Kristen Wiig gif from here

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