Thoroughly Thursday - the "Doing Science" Edition
Welcome back to Thoroughly Thursday, the "Doing Science" edition. Greetings from Las Vegas! I'm here for work (more on that below) and am spending lots of time with lots of very smart, slightly geeky people. I think sometimes I forget how much fun it is to be surrounded by people who are excited by strange, arcane tidbits of knowledge. H.L. Mencken once said "Human progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration" which I think is a old-fashioned way to say "Nerds are cool".
What I'm Reading (Article) - Um... Science Kinda Does Care What Believe
I'm a big fan of the famous quote by Neil Degrasse Tyson. However, while "science" may be impartial, sometimes scientists aren't always the meritocracy that they claim to be. My daughter shared with me a recent Scientific American article by science writer Douglas Fox aptly titled "Brain Cells Communicate with Mechanical Pulses, Not Electric Signals" (this is apparently a blockbuster headline for scientists). TL;DR - 50 years ago, scientists determined that nerve cells worked using electrical impulses and have built up decades of research supporting that theory. However, in the 1980's a lone researcher presented data that it nerves may work differently, which was largely ignored. Now modern testing equipment may prove him right.
What I'm Listening To - Who Says Your Math Teacher Isn't Funny?
Though I seem to get lost in an endless stream of political podcasts lately, I do very much enjoy listening to Probably Science. Hosted by Cambridge-Math(s?)-graduate-turned-comedian Matt Kirshen and electrical-engineer-turned-comedian Andy Wood, PS does a funny take on various science-ish news items, interview actual scientists about their research and quiz guest comics about their STEM knowledge. I did get to see them live a couple years ago where their guest was Tim Minchin, the guy behind all the great songs in the Matilda musical, who was surprisingly scientifically eloquent on issues of global warming and primate biology.
Who I'm Promoting - Eight years, eleven months and counting
This last week, I got to sit down with the fantastic writer Lisa Page Rosenberg. After an illustrious career as a TV writer and producer, she has translated her skill into hilarious and insightful stories about her family on her long-running, daily blog Smacksy.com and elsewhere among the interwebs. Here is one of my recent favorites pieces by her via HuffPost.
What I'm Doing (For Work) - There is No Coffee-Maker in My Hotel Room and Now I Hate Las Vegas. There, I said it.
I'm in Las Vegas for the International Security Conference which showcases the physical security industry. I consult for many of these companies and it's also chance to reconnect with work friends from all over. But, mostly, it's about meeting people who are trying to make the world safer for all of us. Yesterday, I got to meet a young student from Stoneman Douglas High School (he was wearing his clear backpack) who was meeting with industry leaders with his father to talk about improving school safety. Upon learning who he was I (literally) said "Oh, my God. I'm so sorry... Wow, you're famous. Sorry." because I'm articulate AF. But, he was charming, intelligent and could save the lives of other students in the years to come.
All the best, and remember, tomorrow is Friday. :)
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