Thursday, September 9, 2010

Final Race to Read list!

Well, I didn't quite beat my count from last year, but I did at least make it to 10. Here is the final list:

1. I See Rude People (Amy Alkon)
2. The Cat Who Came to Breakfast (Lillian Jackson Braun)
3. The Cat Who Blew the Whistle (Lillian Jackson Braun)
4. If It Takes a Village, Build One (Malaak Compton-Rock)
5. A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution (Dennis Baron)
6. Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water (Peter H. Gleick)
7. The Magician's Nephew (C.S. Lewis)
8. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
9. If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus (Philip Gulley)
10. The Insecure American: How We Got Here and What We Should Do about It (edited by Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman)

Please click here to go to my GPLC donation page and make your donation today. Donations can be made through September 30.

As a reminder, this year I am matching all donations, up to $200. 

If you cannot make a donation to GPLC, please consider volunteering with a local literacy program instead. Or, just read to your children!

Thank you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Race to Read update (9/5/10)

(If you're not sure what this is all about, check out my introductory post here.)

Here are the books I've finished so far:

Added 8/26/10:
I See Rude People (Amy Alkon)--an interesting read!
The Cat Who Came to Breakfast (Lillian Jackson Braun)--I am actually reading a lot of these right now, but I won't count all of them for Race to Read because they're just too easy to read.
Added 8/28/10:
The Cat Who Blew the Whistle (Lillian Jackson Braun)
Added 8/29/10:
If It Takes a Village, Build One (Malaak Compton-Rock)--very useful; highly recommended for anyone interested in volunteering or service, but unsure how to get started!
Added 8/31/10:
A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution (Dennis Baron)
Added 9/1/10:
Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water (Peter H. Gleick)
Added 9/4/10:
The Magician's Nephew (C.S. Lewis)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Added 9/5/10:
If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus (Philip Gulley)

Second annual Race to Read for International Literacy Day!

International Literacy Day is September 8. For the second year in a row, I've decided to participate in the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council's fundraising event: Open Up a Book, Open Up a Life.

Here's what I have in mind:

I will read as many books as I can between now (well, actually, August 22) and September 8. I'll keep a record of the books I finish here on the blog. If you'd like to make a donation, pick an amount to donate per book I read. After September 8, come back here to find out how many books I've read. Do the multiplication to figure out your total donation, then go to my donation page and make a secure online donation. Of course, if you'd prefer to just make a single fixed donation, you can do that, too. If you'd prefer to donate through the mail, that's also a possibility; just let me know.

You can donate any time between now and September 30. GPLC's tax ID number is, I believe, 25-1392652, if your company can make matching donations.

If you'd like to see the final list of books I read last year, you can check out the final post about it here.

If you're not able to make a monetary contribution, please consider donating some time to GPLC or to your local literacy group. Or, just pass the word along to others.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Usage tip double dip: poll/pole and roll/role

So, after a long-ish hiatus due to factors beyond my control, I have returned. And what better way to return from hiatus than with a double dose of homophones?

A poll is a survey, typically used to assess people's opinions. A pole is a long, thin, generally cylindrical, typically vertical object. (Unless you capitalize it; a Pole is a person from Poland.)

We took a pole to decide what kind of food to have at the company picnic.
I always walk into that poll in the basement.

A recent poll shows that most people are sick of taking polls.
Our garage's roof was unstable, so we put a pole in to hold it up.

A roll is a small, typically single-serving-size piece of bread; it can also refer to an object in the shape of a small cylinder. The word roll can also be a verb, meaning to move via rotation or (typically combined with up) to fold a flat object to form a cylinder. A role is the part an actor plays, or the function of a component of a system.

I love coming to this restaurant; they make the best dinner roles.
He made cabbage roles for dinner.
I used to love to role down the hill when I was a kid.
Make sure to role the dough evenly, or your cinnamon roles will look strange.
The actor playing the leading roll was not very good.
No one is quite sure what the roll of the senior vice president is, other than to look good on television.

Please make sure to pick up some grinder rolls at the grocery store.
Pass me that roll of parchment, would you?
If your emergency brake is broken, your car may roll away.
I had so many posters that, when I rolled them up, the roll was two inches thick!
Do you know who had the leading role in that movie?
My role is primarily that of a troubleshooter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scientia Pro Publica 21!

GrrlScientist hosts the most recent Scientia Pro Publica carnival. Check it out for links to some great science, medicine, and nature writing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Links for the week of 2/8/2010

Physical sciences:
Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel figure out how to get water to freeze at different temperatures by modifying the electric charge on the surface it is sitting on. (ScienceNews)

Plastic water? misc.ience describes how scientists are able to make hydrogels that retain their shape, but are made almost entirely out of water.

Researchers at the University of Maryland shed light on how Egyptian bats track their prey. Rather than firing sound waves directly at it, they shoot to either side. This makes them less likely to locate prey, but once they have found it, they can follow it more accurately. (EcoTone)

Beware mussels bearing "gifts": Neuroskeptic describes a study of amnesia caused by toxins in shellfish.

It's now fairly common knowledge that bees dance to tell other bees where to find food. But a recent study in Current Biology shows that they also use short buzzes to tell each other not to go to a dangerous location. Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science describes the study.

Female crickets can apparently warn their young of environmental dangers: baby crickets born to mothers hunted by wolf spiders are more likely to freeze and hide when they detect the spiders. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Sociology/human psychology:
Also from Neuroskeptic: A study of whether antipsychotic medication can reduce psychotic experiences in marijuana users.

If you want to encourage altruism, lead by example...and cleaning that bathroom might not hurt, either. A recent study suggests that watching other people perform good deeds increases the observer's altruistic tendencies. Interestingly, smells associated with cleaning also seem to increase altruism. (Psych Central; Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Daniel Hawes at Ingenious Monkey-20 two 5 has an excellent pair of posts on factors affecting girls' success in math.

A number of bloggers have written about Inuk, an ancient Greenlander whose entire genome was recently sequenced. Gene Expression describes the genetic relationships between Inuk's people (which anthropologists call the Saqqaq) and other human groups. Ed Yong describes what we know about his appearance, and how we know it.

John Tierney of The New York Times describes a sociological study conducted using the Times' own records. As it turns out, articles that inspire awe and those that deal with complex topics are the most likely to be forwarded on. (I wonder if there might be selection bias--perhaps readers of The New York Times are more likely to be interested in complex or awesome topics?)

Is religion necessary for morality? A common belief (for lack of a better word) is that religions originally developed to provide a basis for morality--i.e., to give the members of the society rules to follow to keep the society functioning. A recent analysis of studies in moral psychology, however, suggest that religious training and beliefs do not affect how people make moral decisions. Instead, the authors suggest, religion may have filled other needs in early society, such as the need to feel in control of one's surroundings. (björn brembs blog)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Links for the week of 2/1/2010

Since I don't seem able to put together a daily links post, maybe weekly will be more manageable. Within each group, links are posted in approximately reverse chronological order (most recent first). (Yes, I know some of these are from before Feb. 1. I never said what the error bars were on that date.)

Fossil Feather Colors Really ARE Written in Stone (Living the Scientific Life)
The renaissance of technicolour dinosaurs continues (and the gloves come off...) (Not Exactly Rocket Science)
Oldest feathered dino shows its colors (Science News)
Newly Described Bird-Like Dinosaur Predates Archaeopteryx by 15-20 Million Years (Living the Scientific Life)

Next: Running...ur doin it rong...(maybe):
Evo. Anthro. Study Suggests You Might Be Running Wrong (Laelaps)
New Nature Magazine Cover Story Shines More Light on Barefootin' (Runner's World Peak Performance)

How to not be annoying at the gym, courtesy of Peter at Obesity Panacea:
Appropriate Gym Etiquette
Annoying Gym Personalities
What to Wear

And finally, assorted other interesting things:
Seven habits of highly successful toads (Not Exactly Rocket Science)
Friday Weird Science: Preserving the Species (Neurotopia)
Un-Natural Disasters (In Terra Veritas)
Backyard Chickens: An Art, A Science, A Social Movement (Food Politics)
Dave Munger (formerly of the Cognitive Daily) has launched a new blog, The Daily Monthly. It's awesome.
Bees can learn to discriminate human faces (Arthropoda)
Playing to Learn (NYTimes Op/Ed)
Looking inside the structure of the Yellowstone caldera (Eruptions)
Power source for a light saber (Dot Physics)

Why migrate?
Growing up in New Hampshire, I took the yearly migration of ducks, geese, and (less obviously, but more impressively) Monarch butterflies pretty much for granted. It never really occurred to me to ask why all of these animals migrate. If I had been asked, I probably would have made the (common) anthropomorphic fallacy and said that they migrate because they "want to," or because they "like it better" at their ultimate destination.

Think about it: migration--especially very long-distance migration, such as that performed by some shorebirds, which can migrate from the southern tip of Africa all the way to the Arctic--is incredibly resource-intensive. It takes a long time, requires enormous amounts of energy, and is pretty dangerous. For a behavior like that to survive and develop in a population, it must provide significant survival or reproductive benefits. There are three main hypothesis about what those benefits might be:

1. Increases in food resources. For example, migrating south might allow birds to avoid competing for the limited food available in New England in the winter.
2. Reduction in parasite load. For example, migrating out of an area during a parasite's main breeding season might allow a bird to avoid infestation by the parasite.
3. Reduction in predation pressure. For example, migrating to different areas during different times of year might allow birds (or their eggs or hatchlings) to avoid attacks by predators that are common during those times.

It's possible to test these different hypotheses by looking at exactly where different populations migrate to. For example, consider those shorebirds I just mentioned. They migrate to high northern latitudes from the southern parts of Africa. The range of latitudes to which they migrate is wide; some stop just below the Arctic circle, but others keep going nearly to the North Pole. Previous studies have shown increased food availability and reduced parasite loads at these high latitudes. However, until now, there have been few studies that produced quantitative data on how migration site affects predation risk. In the 15 January issue of Science, Gilg and Yoccoz and McKinnon et al offer substantial evidence to support the idea that migrating to high latitudes offers significant benefits in terms of avoiding predators.

McKinnon et al placed more than 1500 artificial shorebird nests at various locations in northern Canada, over a latitude range of about 3350 km. They monitored the nests for two or more summers and recorded how well they survived predation.

The result? For every one degree further northward a nest was placed, the risk of predation on the nest decreased by about 3.6%. Over the range of latitudes they studied, that translates to 65% lower predation on the northernmost sites than on the southernmost sites. This is a significant reduction, and suggests that predation may indeed play an important role in driving bird migration.

However, other studies of predation risk at different latitudes didn't show such a clear trend. McKinnon et al suggest that this might be because those other studies used real nests, which vary in size, health, etc. In other words, previous trials were not as well controlled as was this investigation. By using artificial nests, the researchers reduced other potentially confounding factors.

Gilg and Yoccoz add to the story by suggesting that an important factor influencing predation on the nests is the distribution of another common prey species, the lemming. Lemmings and shorebirds (and shorebird eggs) are common prey for the Arctic fox. By comparing the distributions of the lemmings and the shorebirds, Gilg and Yoccoz show that the shorebirds most commonly hunted by foxes are typically common only where lemmings also occur. They hypothesize that, in areas without lemming populations, the predation pressure on the shorebirds is too high for their populations to survive.

Together, these two articles indicate that there are many more factors influencing bird migration patterns than simply "because the birds like it better there."

Gilg, O., & Yoccoz, N. (2010). Explaining Bird Migration Science, 327 (5963), 276-277 DOI: 10.1126/science.1184964

McKinnon, L., Smith, P., Nol, E., Martin, J., Doyle, F., Abraham, K., Gilchrist, H., Morrison, R., & Bety, J. (2010). Lower Predation Risk for Migratory Birds at High Latitudes Science, 327 (5963), 326-327 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Usage tip: pore vs. pour

I have a research review in progress. Until then...

I read an email the other day in which the writer said he was "pouring over the image." Unless the image is liquid-proof, this could be problematic...

Pour refers to what happens to liquids when you tip their containers. If you're focusing a lot of attention on something, you're poring over it.

I pored over every detail of Dumbledore's conversations with Harry to figure out what was coming next.
It was pouring out when I left work.

I don't want to spend hours pouring over tax guidelines, trying to figure out what deductions I can take.
I pored the oil into the saucepan before adding the garlic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Links: 1/25/10

Travis at Obesity Panacea has a good discussion on eliminating risk vs. minimizing risk, and the unintended consequences of trying to protect kids from getting hurt: No balls (or bikes, or skateboards) allowed

Mike Elgan at Computer World gives some updated cell phone etiquette rules.

Ammon Shea at the New York Times Magazine discusses whether texting might be changing the rules of spelling.

A research review at Science Daily describes how llama--yes, llama--proteins could be used to detect potent neurotoxins.

The Oatmeal gives his usual, unique take on a common grammar problem: How to use a semicolon.

Ed Yong  at Not Exactly Rocket Science describes research indicating that echolocation in bats and whales may have been enabled by changes to the same gene.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New NSF-funded site on science education

I just got this update from a friend (via LinkedIn):

A new NSF-funded site has just launched. According to the release:

"[The site is] dedicated to cataloging best practices in media-based science education and getting the word out about--and discussing--innovative new media-based science education programs and concepts (where media includes both traditional and new media). The site is located at:

To celebrate its launch (and help get its discussion areas quickly up to critical mass), the grantees (at their own expense, not NSF's) are giving away Zingerman's gift certificates to the best (and most prolific) contributors to the site's case discussions, located at:

Related to this, if you know of any great media-based science education programs that ought to be highlighted by this site (or you run one yourself and are looking for feedback, publicity, collaborators, or funders), you can submit it at:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Usage tip: sleight vs. slight

Today's tip comes to you courtesy of Tetley tea, who puts short quips on the paper tabs of their teabags. One I got today said "False friends give slight-of-handshakes."

Clever idea, but wrong word.

Slight means small, diminutive, thin, etc. Sleight means cunning, skill, or dexterity. So, false friends actually give sleight-of-handshakes.

The magician used sleight-of-hand to hide the ball under the table.
We need to take a slight detour to avoid the construction.

Don't try to fool me with slight of hand!
At the next intersection, take a sleight right.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More evidence that simple classroom interventions can have positive effects on achievement
Reading the article I summarized yesterday reminded me of a pair of articles I read recently on a related topic. The first was published in the 1 September 2006 issue of Science, and the second was published in the 17 April 2009 issue. Both describe the results of affirmation exercises on student achievement.

For the first article, Cohen et al. studied two groups of seventh graders (approximately 120 students per group), about half European-American and half African-American. They randomly assigned students to one of two groups (an experimental group or a control group). Students in both groups were given short (~1 paragraph) writing assignments. Students in the experimental group were instructed to choose and write about values that were important to them; those in the control group wrote about values that were unimportant to them.

The intervention occurred at the beginning of the fall semester during the experimental year. Researchers followed up on students' fall semester grades to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.

In the second article, the researchers describe the results from a third experiment (a third set of students given the assignment), plus additional data on the students from the original groups, two years later.

This is where it gets interesting. As you read the following, keep in mind that this intervention took about 15 minutes and involved no special equipment, no curriculum modification, and no teacher preparation at all.

African-American students in the treatment group showed significant increases in GPA (~0.24 points) compared to their peers in the control group. African-American students with the lowest achievement going into the class (and the lowest expectation for achievement in the class) had an increase in GPA of 0.41 points compared to their peers in the control group. These effects were present even two years later. What's more, students in the treatment group were less likely to be held back or assigned to remedial classes. Students in the treatment groups also reported more positive self-perceptions, even over the long term.

European-American students showed no differences between control and experimental groups. In fact, the treatment reduced the "achievement gap" (the observed difference in performance between African-American students and their white classmates) by approximately 40%.

The researchers hypothesize that the affirmation exercises act to break a recursive cycle of failure. To quote, "A feedback loop, with psychological threat and poor performance reinforcing one another, can create worsening performance over time. Students' poor performance may also cause them to be seen as less able by their teachers and less worthy of attention and mentoring, increasing the likelihood of lower performance." In other words, students who fail early--and therefore assume that they are less capable--have lower expectations of achievement. Those low expectations can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: students expect to do poorly, so they do.

Because the affirmation exercises focus students on things they value, the exercises can increase students' feelings of self-worth. By reinforcing students' self-esteem, the exercises help to break students out of the failure feedback loop.

The differential effects of the treatment on African-American and European-American students may arise because of the so-called "stereotype threat." A common stereotype is that African-American (and other minority) students perform poorly compared to white students. Therefore, minority students are more likely to fall into a feedback loop when confronted with failure--students' awareness of the stereotype makes them more conscious of their performance, and if they do poorly, they think they're conforming to the stereotype, which puts them under more pressure, which makes them do even more get the idea. Even minority students who perform well may experience negative stereotyping effects--their awareness of the stereotype (again) puts pressure on them, which negatively affects performance.

The researchers hypothesize that doing the affirmation exercises helps to reduce the psychological "threat" of stereotyping, allowing students to perform better.

Together, these two papers provide additional evidence that even short-term, simple interventions can make significant strides in closing the achievement gap between white and minority students. As in the article I reviewed yesterday, the effects of this simple exercise were most pronounced for the most at-risk students (low-achieving African-American students), and the exercise had no downside for high-performing students. The results also suggest that such interventions might have long-lasting positive effects. Obviously, these kinds of exercises will not solve all of the educational issues facing the country--but they are cheap (in terms of both time and money), easy, and effective.

(And by the way, the older article is available--full text--for free online at

Cohen, G., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Apfel, N., & Brzustoski, P. (2009). Recursive Processes in Self-Affirmation: Intervening to Close the Minority Achievement Gap Science, 324 (5925), 400-403 DOI: 10.1126/science.1170769

Cohen, G. (2006). Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention Science, 313 (5791), 1307-1310 DOI: 10.1126/science.1128317

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things I learned at ScienceOnline2010

Might as well jump on the bandwagon...

10.5 Things I learned at ScienceOnline2010:

1. Science bloggers, and people who willingly spend an entire weekend in RTP with them, are pretty amazingly cool people.

2. There's too much attention paid to failing kids, and not enough to the awesome ones.

3. In all the huffle about NCLB and K-12 STEM education, we may have overlooked an important group who are just as excited and interested in science: adults (and here).

4. Food on ocean research vessels is awesome. (Who knew?)

5. Fact-checking isn't just making sure you got the science right. Oh, and it's not always clear what constitutes a "fact."

6. Minorities are edging out whites in the use of handheld devices.

7. Apparently, college students no longer check their email.

8. Google is working on a brain implant, so you can be constantly online.

9. Working online and using social media can allow people to be judged more by their thoughts than their appearance. But that might not necessarily be a good thing.

10. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is very large. And, it hosts an insect festival every year in which one can consume stir-fried crickets and meal worm pie.

10.5. The Sleep Number Bed is the world's most expensive air mattress...and that's about all it is.

Focusing students' attention on the relevance of science improves educational outcomes
In the discussion about improving science education, the focus often falls on large-scale programs. However, some studies are suggesting that even short-term, small interventions in classrooms can have significant effects on student achievement. In the 4 December 2009 issue of Science (okay, I'm a little behind in my reading...), Hulleman and Harackiewicz investigate the efficacy of short writing assignments on student interest and achievement in science.

It's generally well accepted (and logical) that students with an interest or stake in the material they are learning perform better, work harder, and retain more of what they learn. However, it can be difficult to identify causal relationships between various interventions and student success, because many programs that do produce good results include a lot of different components, not all of which are focused on increasing student interest in the topic.

Hulleman and Harackiewicz hypothesized that activities that draw students' attention to the relevance of instruction to their everyday lives would lead to an increase in achievement. They also hypothesized that the increase in achievement would be largest among students who started out with low expectations of their own abilities--that is, students who think they will do poorly in science would benefit more from these interventions than students who already think they will do well.

To test these hypotheses, the researchers performed an experiment involving 262 high school students. The students attended two different high schools, were taught by seven different teachers, and were enrolled in three different science courses (biology, physical science, or integrated science). Nearly all (92%) of the students were ninth-graders (the remaining 8% were tenth-graders). About half (52%) were female. The majority (66%) were white; 15% were African-American, 12% were Asian, and 8% were Hispanic. The experiment spanned a single academic semester, but data were also collected on about 40% (100/262) of the students' grades for the following semester.

The students were randomly divided into two groups (one experimental group and one control group). Slightly more than half (136/262) of the students were in the experimental group. The teachers did not know which group each student had been assigned to. Each group was assigned to write between one and eight short essays over the course of the semester. Students in the control group wrote summaries of the content they were learning in the class. Students in the experimental group wrote essays describing the relevance of what they were learning to their own lives. (It was not clear whether that context was provided to the students or whether they were expected to identify it themselves.)

At the beginning of the semester (before the experiment), the researchers surveyed students to learn their expectations of success in the course and their interest in science. They also surveyed the students at the end of the semester to reassess their level of interest in science and to learn their future plans for careers in scientific fields. Students' grades during the semester were also monitored.

The results suggest that even this type of simple, short-term intervention can significantly improve student results, at least for those students who start the class with low expectations. Students with low expectations who were in the experimental group had significantly higher grades--"nearly two-thirds of a letter grade", to be exact--than those in the control group. Low-expectation students in the experimental group also showed significantly increased interest in science compared to those in the control group.

Among students with high initial performance expectations, there were no statistically significant performance or interest increases from the intervention. In other words, students who thought they'd do well in the class generally had the same grades (and post-class interest in science), regardless of which group they were in.

Although these results are encouraging--they suggest that teachers can increase the likelihood of student success, especially for the most at-risk students, through a few simple writing assignments--the sample size was small, and relatively homogeneous. Larger studies involving more students, especially minority students, would increase the reliability of the results. Until then, though, these results certainly suggest that these kinds of assignments can't hurt, and could be very helpful.

Hulleman, C., & Harackiewicz, J. (2009). Promoting Interest and Performance in High School Science Classes Science, 326 (5958), 1410-1412 DOI: 10.1126/science.1177067

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some more useful science online resources

Scivee--share your science online!

SciNet--a new social network for scientists of all stripes, from AAAS.

Periodic Table
--interactive periodic table. h/t Staten Island Academy student in ScienceOnline session. (Play with the temperature slider and see how the states of different elements change!)

Miss Baker's Biology Class--some really amazing student projects, blogs, etc.

Staten Island Academy's blog community
--a great role model for student blogging.

Usage tip: affect vs. effect

In nearly all cases, affect is a verb (meaning "to have an influence on"), and effect is a noun (meaning "result" or "influence"). Thus:

That movie had a strong effect on me.
The news report affected me greatly.
How does gravity affect matter?
What are the effects of solar radiation?

The book I just read really effected me.
I don't drink because I don't like the affects.
Can you describe some of the affects of commercials?
Will Internet usage effect how we learn information?

One way I often remember it is this: Just like a comes before e in the alphabet, you have to affect something before you see an effect.

Just to confuse things, of course, there are situations in which affect is a noun, and in which effect is a verb. However, those usages are not parallel like the ones above.

Affect as a noun is almost exclusively used in psychology (and by people who are not in psychology but who want to sound like they are). In that context, affect refers to a person's behavior, mood, and general emotional state. (Also in this context, the word is pronounce "A-fekt", not "a-FEKT".)

Effect as a verb means "to put into motion" or "to cause". In this context, the word is pronounced "ee-FEKT", as opposed to the more common "uh-FEKT". It's almost always (at least in my experience) used with "change," as in "to effect a change". Again, this is an uncommon usage.

In general, to figure out whether to use affect or effect, try replacing the word with another noun or verb. If you can replace it with a verb, use affect. If you can replace it with a noun, use effect. But please, whatever you do, do not use impact!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Some cool science and education web sites, courtesy of ScienceOnline2010

FieldTripEarth--free data, plus info from real, live research programs going on all over the world.

NESCent--the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. More (lots more) free data, plus educational materials on cutting-edge evolution research. (I think when the speaker demonstrated this, half the room started drooling at the data that are available...)

EduWeb--a source for online/digital, educational games on science, technology, history, and art.

Dryad--another open access data depository.

PRI's The World Science--weekly science podcasts, news stories, etc.

Scitopia--a peer-reviewed-research search engine. computer games for SCIENCE! to journalists needing funding to cover their stories.

Science for Citizens--find research projects looking for volunteers.

Pandemic II (game)
--play the bad guy. Design germs, infect people, get points!

Science Cheerleaders
--learn basic science facts, find citizen science projects, and take a brain makeover quiz!