I haven’t done a science related post in a while, if memory serves me well, so today I thought I’d share this great YouTube series on the history of the universe with you. There is much in it that many of you will already be familiar with, but it is nonetheless an excellent, simple explanation of many complex ideas. A valuable refresher and an excellent introduction for the beginner.
From potholer54′s YouTube site:
WE NEED YOU! — I am looking for people who can “seed” the Made Easy series, either hosting it on their websites, mailing DVDs to schools or to other ‘seeds’, or spreading through BitTorrents. If you can help spread a bit of science and counter the rolling tide of creationist ignorance, please get in touch. Message me with a description of what you can do. Thanks!
The ‘Made Easy’ series is designed to explain the evidence that shows how we got here, from the Big bang to human migration out of Africa. A better quality version will soon be available for free download from a website — details to be announced. I will be happy to send DVDs free of charge to schools after the series is finished.
The ‘Made Easy’ series of videos can be freely copied and distributed for educational purposes, but cannot be used for commercial gain in whole or in part. They cannot be altered, transformed or added to. If you use repost these videos you must attribute them to ‘Potholer54 on YouTube.”
I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, 14 years as a science correspondent. My degree is in geology, but while working for a science magazine and several science programs I had to tackle a number of different fields, from quantum physics to microbiology. My particular talent was my ignorance. By not understanding half of what I was assigned to cover, I had to reduce scientific discoveries from the complex to the simple. If I wrote it in a way that I could understand it, then my readers could understand it.
“Every time you break an egg, you are doing observational cosmology.”
From Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes? by Sean M. Carroll.
Part one of an excellent interview with Richard Dawkins.
I haven’t done this for a while, because I’m not all that sure that video content goes down too well with my regular readers, but this is a good one. Take a moment. You might like it.
(The parting in his hair does worry me, though.)
Carrying on from here, few more of my favourite blogs…
- Rambling On. Lottie and her very precise Virtual Bitchslaps (and more!).
- Hayley’s Online Soapbox. A very refreshingly sceptical and investigative approach to the “paranormal.
- Andrew’s Tech Blog. Newly discovered. A wealth of techie info from a very nice guy whose brains I want to pick
- Richard Dawkins’s “In the News” Section. News stories with on science, atheism and religion.
- Wired Science. Science blog network from Wired.
- On the Road Again. My stand-up mate, John.
[Please be aware that not being included in the list does not necessarily mean your blog falls into the "badly written blogs that claim to speak with authority on subjects they quite clearly know nothing about" category.]
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but what with my “creative endeavours” and whatnot, I just haven’t got round to it.
The blogoshere is growing on a minute by minute basis. It’s estimated, in fact, to be growing so fast that by 2020 it will have broken free of its technological confines and turned the world and everything in it to a fish-paste-like mush… or was that nanobots? Either way, it’s a force to be reckoned with — and as our blogging skills increase I’m sure the trend for so-called “real journalists” to start sweating a bit and worrying about their job security will also continue to grow. Exponentially.
But, let’s face it, there’s a whole heap of dross out there. Silly, personal websites I have no objection to. They serve a purpose for the individual concerned and more power to them. What I don’t like, however, are the badly written blogs that claim to speak with authority on subjects they quite clearly know nothing about.
With this in mind, I thought I’d take a few moments to introduce you to some of my fellow bloggers who don’t fit into this category. These are the blogs I read on a daily basis. And they are a bit good.
See what you think.
- The Odd Blog. Mike’s mix of Internutter de-masking and commentary.
- PD Smith. Science writer par exellence.
- The Will Rhodes Portmanteau. Will’s political blog.
- Nectarville. Bekki’s blog. Slow down, girl!
- Pharyngula. ”Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal.”
- KurzweilAI.net. Science and futurism.
… that’s all for now, but more will follow soon.
[Edit: Please be aware that not being included in the list does not necessarily mean your blog falls into the "badly written blogs that claim to speak with authority on subjects they quite clearly know nothing about" category.]
A favouite quote from a remarkable man…
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.“
- Richard Feynman
US educator & physicist 1918 – 1988
A number of years ago, ten or more, possibly fifteen, I would imagine, I stumbled across a repeat (that’s “rerun”, for my American friends… if I have any left after my Only in America? post ) of an Horizon interview with the the now deceased Richard Feynman — scientist, storyteller, musician and flyer of kites. I was immediately captivated by his sense of wonder and his ability to share it with me. I especially liked his approach to science, his happiness in not-knowing and… well, here’s a little comment from Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! that highlights what I mean:
I remembered the time I was in my fraternity house at MIT when the idea came into my head completely out of the blue that my grandmother was dead. Right after that there was a telephone call, just like that. It was for Pete Bernays — my grandmother wasn’t dead. So I remembered that, in case somebody told me a story that ended the other way. I figured that such things can sometimes happen by luck — after all, my grandmother was very old — although people might think they happened by some sort of supernatural phenomenon.
I like this. I like the quirky little twist in the story, and I like the quite simple message behind it.
If this has whetted your appetite for more Feynman, try part one of the abovementioned Horizon interview which follows. The story about the flower is a gem.