Happy Birthday Sally Ride! First American Woman in #Space

The google doodle today celebrates the 64th birthday of American astronaut and physicist, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.  From wikipedia:

Ride joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have travelled to space, having done so at the age of 32.[1][2] After flying twice on the space shuttle Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. She worked for two years atStanford University‘s Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching non-linear optics and Thomson scattering. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters, the only person to participate on both.

Or watch this mini “behind the doodle” sketch:

As a small girl obsessed with space, Sally Ride was a huge inspiration and role model for me, so I’m very excited that google is remembering her today!

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Bill Nye’s awesome advice to students during Rutgers Commencement Speech

Bill Nye was invited to give the commencement speech this year for the Rutgers University Commencement.  While our favorite “Science guy” hit on a variety of points, he made sure to emphasize the importance of acting on climate change.  You can read the full transcript of the speech at Time Magazine.  Here are some highlights:

The oncoming trouble is Climate Change: It is going to affect you all in the same way the Second World War consumed people of my parents’ generation. They rose to the challenge, and so will you. They came to be called The Greatest Generation. I want you all to preserve our world in the face of Climate Change and carry on as The Next Great Generation.

That’s it; that’s our problem. We have almost 7.3 billion people breathing and burning an atmosphere, which is, in the planetary scheme of things, quite shallow. We all share the same air. That’s why our climate is changing. Denying it is in no one’s best interest. If you know any climate deniers, I’m sorry. But, try asking them this question: “Do you believe that it’s a conspiracy of health professional that is duping the world into believing that cigarette smoking causes cancer?” The scientific consensus on climate change is at least as strong as the consensus on smoking. Climate change is a real deal. So, hey deniers — cut it out, and let’s get to work.

Class of 2015, you have to vote! For those of you, who don’t want to participate — who don’t want to vote, would you please just shut up, so the rest of us can get things done.

Along with the evidence of common sense, researchers have proven scientifically that humans are all one people. We’re a lot like dogs in that regard. If a Great Dane interacts (can we say interact?) with a Chihuahua, you get a dog. They’re all of the same species. Same with us. The color of our ancestors’ skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there really is no such thing as race. We are one species — each of us much, much more alike than different. We all come from Africa. We all are of the same stardust. We are all going to live and die on the same planet, a Pale Blue Dot in the vastness of space. We have to work together.

Anti-Science Quotable: Jeb Bush – If you believe climate science you are arrogant…..

The climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it even.

Jeb Bush, while campaigning in New Hampshire.

Sexist comments from astronomer sparks #GirlsWithToys

In response to sexist comments from a male astronomer calling scientists “boys with toys”, twitter has ERUPTED  with #GirlsWithToys.  This is not the first time male scientists have been sexist, and it probably won’t be the last.  Shrinivas Kulkarni, astronomer from California Institute of Technology, recently said in an NPR interview:

“Many scientists, I think, secretly are what I call ‘boys with toys,’ ” he says. “I really like playing around with telescopes. It’s just not fashionable to admit it.”

What Kulkarni fails to realize is that many scientists are also ‘GIRLS with toys’.  Don’t worry, the internet has provided ample response.  Check out #GirlsWithToys and some of these highlights:

[tweet https://twitter.com/elakdawalla/status/600355431580569601] [tweet https://twitter.com/NobelPrize/status/600320507418902528] [tweet https://twitter.com/paulcoxon/status/599968112935567360] [tweet https://twitter.com/Astroguyz/status/599948201693716482] [tweet https://twitter.com/pinar_gurel/status/600508075230023680]

102 year old German finally receives PhD! #YouGoGirl #WorthTheWait

Featured in the Wall Street Journal and People Magazine (yay for reaching out to broader audiences), 102 year old scientist (and medical doctor), Ingeborg Rapoport was finally given her doctorate, 77 years after she was denied the right to defend her thesis in Nazi Germany:

In 1938, Ingeborg Rapoport was denied the right to defend her doctoral thesis in Germany. Seventy-seven years later, she was given a second chance.

The 102-year-old, who lives in Berlin, was just 25 when she wrote her doctoral thesis on diphtheria, an infection that among the leading causes of death for children in Europe and the U.S. at the time.

Because her mother was Jewish, Rapoport was deemed ineligible for academic advancement by the Nazi regime.

It’s a fascinating story.  Her son, Tom Rapoport (who btw is a very prominent scientist at Harvard), helped ensure this would happen.  For the full WSJ article,  Continue reading

Scientists have found a warm-blooded fish and we’re probably all dead

WARM BLOODED FISH!!!!!!!!!

For The Win

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4044957007001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6Fnx-MLRHEMHgGi3Hm6qt02e4&bctid=4238042738001

They’re evolving.

Though it’s been a while, I have written extensively on this site about the dangers of the ocean. It’s too big, it’s too unexplored, and there are far too many creatures in it we don’t understand.

And now what little we did understand about fish is being flipped on its head. One of the fundamental truths we knew about those slippery, dead-eyed, gill-havers–that they’re cold-blooded–turns out might not be the case at all.

Scientists have found a warm-blooded fish, called the opah, and we can all start the clock to our extinction.

From USA TODAY:

In a discovery that defies conventional biology, a big fish that lives deep in the Pacific Ocean has been found to be warm blooded, like humans, other mammals and birds.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that unlike other fish, opah generate heat as they swim…

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