Robots infiltrate penguin colonies in the cutest way possible

Frederique Olivier/John Downer Productions, Le Maho et al., Nature Methods

Baby penguins are universally adored, but studying them without stressing them remains a challenge.  New research allows researchers to observe penguins in their natural habitats-by becoming a penguin in disguise.  By dressing up an RFID capable (similar to a swipe card) robot as a baby penguin, scientists are able to study the behavior of penguins and other animals without disturbing them.
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How to avoid becoming a character on the Walking Dead (through science!)

Zombies vs. Humans on the Walking Dead. This could be avoidable with the right chemistry!

Just in time for Halloween (my personal favorite holiday), Scientific American has published an interview with a chemist and zombie fan, Dr. Raychelle Burks.  She advises us that, in case of zombie apocalypse, Eau de Death may be our best hope.
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The Safest Explosion: The Science of Airbag Technology in Motorcycles

As motorcycles increase on the road, often as a fuel-efficient commuting choice, what is the best way to keep these riders safe?  While helmets and armored clothing protect many, the vast majority of motorcycles lack airbags, despite being a required safety feature in cars that save thousands of lives per year.  The Multistrada D-Air, a new integrated airbag system from Ducati and Dainese, aims to bring airbags to the motorcycle market in a new and innovative way.   But how do these systems work?
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Science is One Step Closer to Pacific Rim IRL

(That’s “in real life” for those who don’t spend too much time on the internet)

pacific-rim04

The blockbuster movie Pacific Rim was exciting for many reasons (giant robots fighting giant monsters, mainly), but the connection that allowed the pilots of the giant robots to communicate might be one step closer to a reality.  Now we just need the robotics to catch up, right??  🙂

Duke University recently did a study looking at brain communication between two human participants and showed that it is possible to translate brain waves from another person, with help from computers to move electrical signals.

A much more detailed article is at The Mary Sue but I’m just really excited about the possibility of the “drift” being possible.  On a much more serious note, since the likelihood of using this research to fight giant robots is slim to say the least, this does have amazing implications for people with disabilities or any type of speech difficulties, which is even more awesome.

(Oh, and go watch Pacific Rim…fun and entertaining popcorn movie)

About this blog + me

Hello!

I am a scientific researcher at a major university who enjoys taking complex scientific concepts and giving them wider importance by translating to the public.   I have written and published scientific papers, but am interested in a more accessible approach to scientific writing for the public and media.  I am also very interested in the lack of scientific literacy in this country and how that can be improved both through better mainstream scientific reporting as well as scientist outreach to collaborate with the media and better explain current research topics to the public.  Additionally, I feel that scientist interaction with the media is an important skill for every scientist and can only increase awareness of research among the public to create informed global citizens, regardless of scientific background.  I have always had a passion for reading, writing, and editing, so I feel this blog can combine many of my interests to not only make me a better scientist but also potentially guide me towards scientific writing as a career path.

So please join me on this adventure to show the public why science matters and how it gets interpreted and spread in our ever-changing but connected society.

All posts are 100% my original writing.

J