Category Archives: Science News
On the heels of the NewScientist YouTube channel we have the offering from Nature. Where NewScientist provides a news-style clip of current Science headlines, Nature’s YouTube channel takes the approach of a video background to articles published in their journal. So far they have ten videos, though they provide useful background to articles such as the Antikythera mechanism, whale evolution and this one on sequencing the platypus genome:
It’s an encouraging trend to see these journals reach out into internet video publishing – cheap, easy and a great starting place for students getting involved in science. Let’s hope Nature can keep their channel going longer than ScientificAmerican, who started strongly but seem to have given up.
Another great channel (though not on YouTube) is the Journal of Visualised Experiments – actually publishing scientific research papers as videos. A good idea, and some really effective videos – especially for letting us see what is going on in the experiment or operation. Unfortunately, their videos can’t be embedded, so get yourself on over there and have a look.
Following in the footsteps of the NewScientist channel, ScientificAmerican have branched out into YouTube vodcasting. They have uploaded 27 videos in 4 weeks, which is pretty prolific. Let’s hope they keep up the pace and the quality. Their style is much more MTV than their British counterpart, which you may or may not like.
Features include The Monitor weekly roundup, Instant Egghead articles (like the synthetic biology one in the last post) and some SciAm special focus episodes.
Here’s an example of The Monitor:
What do you think?
Where’s the money in Biology? Probably where the future lies – genetics and synthetic biology.
As we learn more about genomes and the way different organisms (including pathogens) work, we can move towards creating targeted responses and DNA-level manipulation. Synthetic biologists take DNA and try to re-work it into a solution to a problem – by creating synthetic DNA, they hope to achieve control over the functions of the organism. They hope to generate alternative sources of fuel, targeted treatments and vaccines and many more applications.
BioBricks (company link) are a leading example of synthetic biology in action. Think of them like lego bricks or parts of standard computer code – you can take them and (theoretically) fit them into any genome. This is one of the wonders of DNA – base-pairings and the universality of the genetic code allow these researchers endless opportunities for tinkering and advancing science. Some BioBricks are ‘parts’, some are ‘devices’ and others are ‘systems’ – sections of code that increase in complexity and functionality.
There is an exciting world of information out there about this topic, and it’s well worth looking at if you think your future lies in biotechnology. It’s a discipline that pulls together Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Engineering and Programming, and the ways in are various. If you want to find out more about a career in synthetic biology, MIT are world-leaders in the field.
For a quick explanation of how synthetic biology works (and an interesting hardware/software analogy) watch the video from ScientificAmerican below:
SEED Magazine is another great resource out there for High-School and above.
It’s a bit like NewScientist, though with more appeal to the i-generation, with a good format and some really thought-provoking articles.
Here’s an interesting Science news blog – 3DScienceNews.com
Video articles can be downloaded and viewed as either stereroscopic videos (needs some changi hardware, apparently), or as a simple 3D video and you can use red/blue glasses.
This is from the NewScientist channel and is an interesting conversation starter. Last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, representatives from Clinton and Obama’s teams were on hand to outline their positions on Science and Technology.
What kind of impact on voting do scientific policies really have in the US elections?
Is Science one of those promises that is all too easy to forget about once the candidate is in place?
What could the UK do to boost its Science departments and improve the quality of graduates (and retain a skilled scientific workforce)?
The idea of Science Debate 2008 is an interesting one – but will they be bothered to turn up?
Here are the candidates’ Sci-Tech policies:
* it’s interesting to see that McCain has no section on his site relating to science and technology, nor did he send anyone to the AAAS meeting.
It all reminds me a bit of the South Park episodes where the military and FBI were deriding the professors by sneering “Mister Scientist” at them at every given opportunity.
There’s a funny South Park style Mac vs PC ad after the jump:
Sounds like JoVE is moving up in the world and making real headway in validating the video format as a legitimate format for publishing experimental protocols and results. Since my first post about them, they have (according to a recent email) been in process with PubMed and may become their first peer-reviewed video journal. They have also added RSS feed, email subscription and bookmarks (Digg, del.ici.ous, stumbleupon) to readers’ capabilities.
Most importantly, though, is that these resources are visual and well-explained. Instead of just reading about complicated protocols, we can see what is being done and it may allow more to understand the steps involved and the reasons behind the research.
Here is a nice clip (12mins) about derivation of stem cells from embryos. Hopefully, they’ll let me embed it on the blog.
Looks like the theory of etch-a-sketch*. I’m buggered if I understand it.
*or maybe Spirograph. Or that one with the colourful threads and the boards with holes in.
Vodcast? It’s like a podcast, but with video – hence the ‘Vod’.
A couple of minutes of Science news – with pictures – on Fridays?
Sounds like a good idea for those review lessons.
To get us started, here’s this week’s episode: