May 7, 2013
Looking for a quick science fix while you peruse the web? Want a great source for up to date science-related news and opinion? We’ve got a few suggestions to get you started. From podcasts, videos, and blogs, to citizen science projects and games which allow you to compile important data, you’ll find something here that you love. So if you’re hunkering for a little science with your internet cat memes, start here and see what you can find!
First off, there’s the preeminent RadioLab. Their podcasts and shorts are available on their website, and their radio show is broadcast on public radio across the nation. The website also features blogs and videos. RadioLab covers all kinds of science-related stories, including local news (the cicadas are coming!) and philosophical debates on happiness and uncertainty. If you're a sucker for a great story check out the Story Collider website where new podcasts are posted weekly and regular live shows featuring scientists telling 8-10 minute stories occur regularly in NYC and Boston. If videos and podcasts are your thing, then definitely keep an eye on a new project called Science Studio (preview site just launched today, people!) from Rose Eveleth, Ben Lillie, Bora Zivkovic, which aims to provide a curated collection of 2012’s best science audio and video on the web. Anyone can nominate their favorite piece, which is then judged by a panel resulting in a multimedia collection that is a one-stop shop for great science content on the web. The project is funded by National Association of Science Writers and supporters on Kickstarter.
L: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/130503-coslog-cicada-525p.photoblog600.jpg R: Photo credit Jurgen Freund http://nautil.us/issue/0/the-story-of-nautilus/ingenious-nautilus-and-me
Another science video project called Minute Earth gives us short videos appropriate for that brief (but needed) distraction. Created by Henry Reich, with Alex Reich, Peter Reich, Rose Eveleth, Emily Elert, and John Guittar, with music by Nathaniel Schroeder. The videos are short, and informational, about the science of things that affect our daily lives like bed bugs and frozen foods, as well as answering common questions - why are leaves green? how tall are mountains? It looks like the site was only just born (only 7 or 8 videos so far) but the short format and basic but good content make this an easy one to keep on your radar. Though not science-centered, TedEd provides loads of educational/informational videos on a variety of topics, helpfully sorted by topic. Even more exciting - users can also remix/recut videos to create their own. Scientific American is another multi-faceted source for that science fix - it includes a huge array of blogs and news articles, videos and podcasts. Finally, the brand-new Nautilus already has some great articles and blog posts (topics change monthly) that you can check out.
If you’re looking for a science fix that encourages your own participation, then check out some citizen science games and projects - the best place to start is at Zooniverse, a citizen science portal which has loads of links and information about different projects. If you want something more specific, then check these out: Foldit is a fun and fascinating game that contributes to scientific research on protein folding. EyeWire, led by Sebastian Seung at MIT, helps scientists map the brain. Or if you want to peruse the data available so far on brain mapping, check out the Human Connectome Project. Galaxy Zoo is a citizen science game that helps map the galaxy based on observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Hubble Space Telescope, while Old Weather combines citizen scientists and weather archives to help build data on climate and climate change. Magic Cicada allows you to help scientists map 2013’s cicada emergence in the US Northeast by recording your own sightings. Finally, National Geographic’s Field Expedition: Mongolia lets you help archaeologists look for the tomb of Genghis Khan with the help of satellite imagery, to minimize unnecessary disturbance of the landscape.
There are, of course, also a plethora of groups and discussions on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which means you can network, read blogs, join debates and hangouts, and check out user-posted material. You can look through multiple telescopes, live (!) at the Virtual Star Party Googlehangout with astronomers explaining what you're seeing; the next one is scheduled for May 12th.
Did we miss your favorite? Please let us know via email.
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