Off to #dragoncon I go!

Jul 23 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

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

 

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Top image created using clip art in PowerPoint

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UPDATE: The Battle of Nickelback - FOR SCIENCE!

Sep 01 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

A motley crew (not the Mötley Crüe) have asked for your help to bring a DIY Science Zone to GeekGirlCon.  In exchange for your donations, this motley crew are offering to perform acts of whimsy.  One of these acts of whimsy is actually controversial - mainly because it might cause the doer (that's me!) serious harm.

Yes, I am talking about my promise to listen to a different Nickelback album for each $500 raised.  Concerned for my safety, @docfreeride donated to the zone but against any Nickelback exposure.  Thus, the Battle of Nickelback was born!  Is it simply Nickelback (NB) fans vs. the anti-NB contingent? NO! A third group has emerged! A group that doesn't like NB, but simply wants to see me suffer.  I call this team 'Pro-SufferRb'....

It's been a fierce battle so far.  I came very close to listening to NB's first album 'Curb', but the anti-NB saved me.   'The State', NB's second album, is all cued up... how close am I to a NB session?

To date, we've raised a total of $2065.  Who is wining?!  Pro-NB and Pro-SufferRb or anti-NB?

As of September 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM BST...

Anti-Nickelback fans, with $1050 raised!

Teams pro-NB and pro-SufferRb are trailing behind with $1015.

That means the anti-NB peeps have saved me from 'The State'.

What's even MOAR awesome?! People are donating $5, $10, $20, and more to help us bring science to GeekGirlCon!  With nearly $2000 raised, our goal of $5000 seems within reach!

Now, team anti-NB, you know what you need to do!  Once pro-NB and pro-SufferRb teams hear we're kicking their a**, they may rally... Click below and make a donation, noting "NO NB".

Dear teams pro-NB and pro-SufferRb...

debbie_umad

 

Channel that anger to your index finger, click below, and make a "YES NB!" donation...

Either way, science wins!

 

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Help fund the DIY Science Zone at @GeekGirlCon!

Aug 28 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

science zone

GeekGirlCon (GGC) gave the DIY Science Zone the thumbs-up! We're bringing hands-on, do-it-yourself science to Seattle this October!

We will run the zone all day Saturday, October 19th (day #1 of GGC) and half the day on Sunday, October 20th (day #2).  Who is "we"?  To name but a few...

The DIY Science Zone will be in a high-traffic area of GGC, which is at the Washington State Convention Center.  We've picked activities well-suited for (1) a variety of ages, (2) are affordable when scaled up to large audiences, (3) can be done mostly with household ingredients, and (4) with low messiness factors.   What will the zone offer?

  • DNA extraction made easy!
  • Are you bitter? A genetic taste test.
  • Magic breath! Acid-base chemistry of the body.
  • CSI: GGC! Finding latent prints using ninhydrin.
  • Coffee ground fossils! Perfect for Seattle.
  • Neuron know-how! Build your own & learn how they work.
  • Slime-to-go!  Make your own bag of goo.
  • Making craters! Please bring your own sound effects.
  • Dancing raisins!  No choreography skills required.
  • Nature notebooks! A mix of art & nature.

Some of these projects will be scheduled, while others are drop-in activities.  All scheduled activities will occur several times during the operation of the zone, giving GGC attendees plenty of opportunities to experiment in the zone!

What do we need from you?

What will your cash be spent on?

  1. Zone supplies (activity ingredients, tarps, cleaning supplies, etc.)
  2. Zone advertising (banners, flyers, posters, etc.) - being in a high traffic area helps, but we'll still need to advertise around the con!
  3. Two hotel rooms for zone workers within a short walking distance of the con
  4. Airfare assistance to zone workers needed financial help

How much are we looking to raise?  $5000-$6000.  Items #4 and #5 are the biggest expenses and here's why that money is worth it...

Each and every zone worker requesting travel assistance is passionate and committed to science outreach, experienced running activities of this magnitude for diverse age groups, and excited to work nearly non-stop Friday (GGC prep and set-up), Saturday, and Sunday of GGC.  We want to infect the thousands of GGC attendees (small children, teens, and adults) with our love of science.  We want to show attendees that science is everywhere - their backyard, their kitchen, themselves!

What are we willing to do to get your money?  Acts of whimsy for each fundraising milestone reached!

  • For every $100 raised, @DrMRFrancis will wear his Cthulhu hat in public.  Photographs will be provided!  UNLOCKED!
  • If the Royal Society of Chemistry donates $100, I'll wear a tiara and welcome my students with the royal wave to one class session.
  • @Chemjobber is known for his ceramic duck, which is his Twitter avatar. If $300 is raised, he will change his duck's hat (and outfit?) by popular demand, no matter how silly. If we reach $750, he will answer with "Quack!" at GGC whenever someone says, "Hey, CJ!"
  • My feelings about Nickelback are well-known.

no nickelbackFor every $500 raised, I will listen to a different Nickelback album.  Surprisingly, there appear to be 7 Nickelback albums.  Just how will I prove I've listened to each album? Google Hangouts On Air! @DNLee5  will join me as she loves Nickelback.  UPDATE: @docfreeride is strongly advises against Nickelback consumption and will donate to have me NOT listen to Nickelback.  Mark your donation "NO NB" and you might be able to save me!  It'll take "NO NB"  funds equal $500 to save me from each album. [UNLOCKED! I'll be listening to a Nickelback album at 7pm CST on 9/16/13]

  • If Nature Publishing Group (NPG) donates $500, we'll stage a dramatic reading of a paper in Nature Methods. WITH PROPS.
  • If we reach $1000, we will bust out in song! We'll do a group sing-a-long video at GeekGirlCon and upload the video to YouTube. NO, we will not be doing a Nickelback cover.
  • What happens when you Mad Libs somebody's thesis abstract?!  Hi-Lar-Ity! We'll take to Google Hangouts On Air, where @NoisyAstromer will lead us in this game of nouns, verbs, and adverbs.  We'll make this happen for every $1000 we raise - using our own abstracts!  [2 Thesis-Libs UNLOCKED!]
  • Will we sell-out to corporations? You know it! If you're a business and you donate $1000, we'll drop product placements in all Google Hangouts On Airs and videos. Say you're the American Chemical Society... I will personally wear your t-shirt, while drinking from your coffee mug, all while using your pen to play cowbell in our music videos.  The more money you donate, the more product placement!  NOTE: we're scientists, so no quack products will be featured and we're got to keep it clean, so no NSFW.
  • Not a corporation, but able to donate a lump sum of $500 or more?  @Lalsox will knit you a set of personalized zombie dolls (see below)!  Limited to five sets.

zombie dolls

  • When we've raised $1500, @Scicurious will write a science version of a pop song and @DrMRFrancis will perform it!  I'll accompany with cowbell!
  • Wouldn't you want to see @Seelix's cat dressed-up as each of The Avengers?  When we hit $2000, The Catavengers will happen!
  • For $2500, @DNLee5 will do a terrible re-enactment of @SamuelLJackson's demise in Deep Blue Sea with the help of  me and @Lalsox at GGC.  We're confident our shark will actually look better than the one in the movie... [UNLOCKED! @DNLee5 is learning her lines & we'll film this at GGC next month!]
  • Sock puppets performing a (much shorter!) re-enactment of Prometheus, corrected for science and common sense? YES!  The budget of Prometheus was about ~$130 million, but @Sargent will stage Sockmetheus if we raise a mere $3000! [UNLOCKED! Sockmetheus is in progress! Stay tuned!]
  • If we reach $4000, we'll do a 5 minute (or less!) re-enactment of a movie at GGC and upload it to YouTube.  We'll use a reader poll to select the movie! I suspect we'll be horribly acting our way through some Nicholas Sparks adaptation...
  • When we've raised $5000, we'll dance a jig. Seriously, a jig.  And yes, we'll be dancing it badly. [Jig UNLOCKED!]
  • We'll faint if we raise $6000. Probably onto fainting couches, of course.  A few of us won't just faint, we'll do a Leyomi Drop.

What if we have money left over?  That money will be donated to science projects listed at DonorsChoose.org.  Every dollar spent will be detailed on this blog, complete with receipts, screen captures, etc.

Ready to help make the DIY Science Zone at GGC happen?!

money button

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Dear @TheHill: Let's start a blog called 'Capitol Science' [UPDATED]

Nov 19 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

 

There are at least 3 good reasons why The Hill should start a blog called 'Capitol Science':

  1. The Hill doesn't have general science policy blog.  Sure, The Hill has E2-Wire (Energy & Environment) and Healthwatch (you guessed it), but not a general science policy blog.  This actually leaves a lot of science uncovered.
  2. Think about all the wacky things said this year by certain members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation!  If all 'Capitol Science' did was report on the shenanigans of committee members, this blog would NEVER run out of posts.
  3. There are lots of science writers and scientists-that-write who could contribute to this blog.  Like myself, just in case you were wondering...

UPDATE: I did not hear back from The Hill, but was encouraged to start my own damn 'Capitol Science' blog.  Who is with me (See #3)?!  Leave a comment!

 

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