Archive for: May, 2014

Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (11): You Are Not a Digital Native: Privacy in the Age of the Internet

May 28 2014 Published by under around the web, ugrad links

I have a son who's currently a physics undergrad. As you can imagine, I occasionally pass along a link or two to him pointing to stuff on the web I think he might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps other science students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog.

By necessity and circumstance, the items I've chosen will be influenced by my son's choice of major and my own interest in the usefulness of computational approaches to science and of social media for outreach and professional development.

The previous posts in this series are: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

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My Open Science presentation at the Subtle Technologies Festival

May 26 2014 Published by under acad lib future, culture of science, open access

Faithful readers of this blog may recall that back in March I posted a set of slides I had prepared for a presentation to a class of undergraduate computer science majors, basically outlining what open science is and challenging them to use their talents to make science work better.

Usually I don't post the presentation slides I use for my everyday work as a librarian, when I appear in classrooms to talk about how to find and evaluate sources in science or when I talk about science communication. But in this case I spent a fair amount of time preparing and revising this particular iteration of a session I'd done a bunch of times over the year. And then the class got snowed out. And unfortunately since it was so close to the end of the term, I didn't end up giving the session. So my thinking was, I should at least get a little mileage out of all that work and share the slides!

Of course, things are never so simple. When you share, other people see. Shortly after I published the post I was contacted by Jim Ruxton of Subtle Technologies, an organization dedicated to bring art and science together. The theme of this year's edition of their long running festival was Open Culture: Participatory Practice in Art and Science. And of course, open science is all about participatory culture!

Jim asked me if I would do one of he public lectures at the festival, which was this part Saturday evening.

And thus was born: Scientists Are Doing it for Themselves: Open Access, Open Data, Citizen Science

The Web has the potential to unleash scientific creativity like nothing else since the invention of the printing press. Scientists — academic, government, industrial, even amateur — have the ability to create, measure, promote,share and even do the research itself all using the Web as the platform. In this session we’ll explore how the Web is liberating scientific creativity, looking at Open Access, Open Data, Altmetrics and Citizen Science among other movements.

The session went very well with a good audience, provocative questions and some very kind Twitter traffic about the presentation both during the session and afterwards after people looked at the slides as they were tweeted out and about.

Here are the slides (online too):

I have to say, I've done some form of this presentation a bunch of times and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it! (Hint, hint, I'd be glad to do it for you too!)

Many thanks to Jim Ruxton and the Subtle Technologies team for inviting me to present at the Festival. It was great fun!

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Reading Diary: The Extreme Life of the Sea by Stephen R. Palumbi and Anthony R. Palumbi

May 21 2014 Published by under book review, environment, reading diary, science books

Extremophiles are fun! Basically, they're the biggest, smallest, hardiest and definitely the oddest bunch of beasties to be found anywhere on this planet. The Palumbi father and son team -- one scientist and one writer -- bring us this fun little book on the extremophiles of the sea.

And literally, the book covers all the various sea creatures from the oldest to the smallest, to the ones that live in scalding hot conditions to those that live in the coldest conditions, so cold that the blood of normal creatures would freeze. We see the ones with the craziest migration patterns, the oddest family structures, the most sex changes, the most like "living fossils", the ones that live in the deepest water and the ones in the shallowest.

The best part of the book is that the authors do more than just recite oddball trivia, they really tell the stories of the animals in the book, a bit reminiscent of Rachel Carson's Under the Sea-Wind. If I have any criticism of the book, it's that it could have gone even further in that direction.

But make no mistake, this is by no means an oddball trivia/heartwarming Disney animal story book. As much as it seems like it might go there at times, at the end of the day the message is very strongly environmental. These creatures belong in the ocean. They are part of our planet and we as the human species need to become better stewards of the oceans. Loud and clear, the message is that we are the most extremely destructive species. If we want to continue to enjoy the bounty of the sea we need to do our part. The final chapter really ties all those environmental threads together. The ocean is cool and interesting and quirky. But it isn't ours. Human activity is putting extreme pressure on all the species in the seas.

This is a solid book, very informative and very entertaining but with a strong message. It would fit well in any academic library that collects popular science, especially around environmental concerns. The book is perhaps most appropriate for public libraries where just about any size library would find this a useful addition to their science collections. High school libraries might also find an eager audience for the rather bizarro quality this book exudes.

Palumbi, Stephen R. and Anthony R. Palumbi. The Extreme Life of the Sea. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. 256pp. ISBN-13: 978-0691149561

(Review copy provided by publisher.)

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Around the Apocalyptic Web: Capitalism has failed the world!

May 02 2014 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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