Hi it’s Taryn! Welcome to Scirens’ Selects: A new monthly post from Scirens that highlights web sites, articles and videos from around the internet that has tickled our #STEM and #STEAM enthusiastic brains and tugged at our heart strings. And just to note, one Sciren will post each month so the content will be unique to each of us — reflecting our different tastes, voice and passion. We will also be creating a master list of all our favorite STEM and STEM in entertainment sites. Please feel free to share your own favorite ones in the comments or on twitter!
- HOW DIVERSITY MAKES US SMARTER: by Katharine Phillips, Scientific American Oct 2014.
Yes it’s an article from 2014, but the topic is very 2016. Diversity and it’s sister equality in STEM (as in Hollywood) is a hot talking point and an even more important issue. Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson may get a bit more press for their stance on the topic but I found this article to be eye opening as it took a quantitative, scientific approach to diversity and looked specifically at scientific papers published over the past 30 years and how the diversity of authorship accounted for impact factors. The article shares how diversity (inclusion, equality) is not just the right thing to do, but it betters us.
2. THE NEW WOMEN OF NASA: by Steven Devadanam, Houstonian May 2016
A phenomenal piece on the four women in NASA’s Astronaut Class of 2013. This could very well be the team that goes to Mars. The resumes of these women are mind boggling and brilliant — they are all multi-hyphenate pilots, engineers, scientists and survivalists. Two are also mothers. They seem like real life MacGyvers, if he could fly fighter jets. They come across as self-assured and confident, focused and determined on their momentous task at hand yet humbled by their position. I couldn’t imagine better role models for our civilization.
3. ELON MUSK CODE CONF INTERVIEW: Re/code
Speaking of space, I’m sure you’ve heard the sound bites about Mars and ‘we live in a video game’ from Re/code founders Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher’s interview with Elon Musk. But it’s really worth the full watch. Why? Primarily, because he covers a vast array of topics, from Mars to neural implants, but more interestingly, you have the opportunity to see the way a brilliant man thinks. He doesn’t offer many sound bite answers, he really does think and analyze along the way and I felt like I had a peak inside of how his brain works. You also have to appreciate the depth and breadth of his knowledge — in order to give a physics lesson in orbital velocity to articulating a macro economics view on resting rockets and the landscape of self-driving cars. But he shares his vast knowledge without a lot of the hubris that most ‘visionairies’ exude when speaking in public. They usually radiate this certainty of self. Elon seems only to be certain of what can be done.
4. THE MAN HAD NO IDEA HIS MIND WAS BLIND — BBC Future May 2016
Speaking of unique brains, meet 42 year Phillip, a man who just discovered that he isn’t like most people: he can’t picture anything in his mind. He has a condition called Aphantasia. In a nutshell, he has no ‘mind’s eye’. Even though I am a copious reader of neuroscience news, I was uniquely fascinated by this piece. Visual imagination is something that is crucial to who I am and what I do. I use it on a daily basis for writing, for acting, for meditating, remembering where I left my phone. There is a visual trove of data up in my noggin, and the stories I write come to me in images. So what if my brain, your brain couldn’t do that. How would it compensate. Because it always does. So people with the condition describe being able to live more in the now, not able to dwell on the past or fixate on the future as it’s abstract. This is a compelling way to live as well.
5. SCIENCE IS INFECTIOUS WITH YOUTUBE’S VERITASIUM: Live Science, June 2016
As Scirens we’re always excited when our science journalist and communicator friends get featured. These folks has Masters and Doctorates who chose to be the gateways between science and the general public. We aspire to help amplify their reach. If you’re looking for some entertaining and educational science videos, YouTube is actually the place to head! There are a number of creatively executed series — and one of our favorites from Derek Muller (@Veritasium) was featured on Science website Live Science. Check it out and then subscribe to his channel — well worth it.
6. THE METALLIC MUSE: Fashion’s Scifi Obsession: NY TIMES STYLE June 2016
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of humans as cyborgs ever since watching Amber Case’s TED Talk. Elon also brought it up in the above interview. So it was interesting to stumble across this well written piece in the NY Times Style Magazine that shed light on fashion’s emerging embrace of scifi style and tech, culminating in this year’s Manus x Machina MET BALL. The piece touches on some of my favorite movies (BLADE RUNNER, MAD MAX) and on “our conflicted relationship with machines and technology. And femininity”. It’s a ‘STEAMy’ read.
7. PROJECT SCIENTIST: 2016 STEM Camps for Girls
This STEM program is geared towards girls aged 4-12. They have programs in Charlotte, Pasadena and LA. We met the founder of the program at a Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media (@GDIGM) event and she is passionate about exposing girls to the wonders of STEM and championing STEM ed. There are currently some spots still available in the Los Angeles program.
That’s it for now, but will have our page of suggestions coming up shortly — in the meantime… here’s some other digital science destinations that we love:
Talk Nerdy podcast with Cara Santa Maria
Bad Astronomy blog from Phil Plate
Physics Cocktail (A physics week in review) from Jennifer Ouellette
Nerdist’s Because Science (science in today’s entertainment) from Kyle Hill
Hope you enjoyed the post and share the articles if you liked them — stay curious!