WaveNet- trying to make computers sound more human?

Check out the latest development from Google’s artificial intelligence team, DeepMind: Called WaveNet, this is a synthesized speech system that mimics human voice more closely than ever before. Basically, a way to get computers to sound more human. You can test it out and see for yourself!!!


New names for the 4 newly discovered elements! #ElementyMcElementface

The four newly discovered elements on the periodic table (113, 115, 117, and 118) have officially received their names. Unfortunately, it’s not Element McElementface. But here they are:

Element 113 is dubbed “nihonium” and will sport the chemical symbol Nh. Its name comes from the Japanese word “Nihon,” or “Land of the Rising Sun,” a name for Japan.

Element 115 will receive the moniker “moscovium,” shortened to Mc, after the Moscow region, home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, where the element was discovered in collaboration with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Tennessee also gets a periodic table shout-out. The proposed name for element 117 is “tennessine,” after the home state of Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. It will bear the symbol Ts.

Element 118 will be named oganesson, or Og, after Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, who contributed to the discovery of several superheavy elements.

CauseScience Friday- May 13th!

Happy CauseScience Friday everyone! Although today is supposed to be unlucky (Friday the 13th, eek!), things seem to be going well experimentally for us!

Crestwind24– I am doing a little bit of lab work today, but mostly I am mostly working hard on data and image analysis to put into a powerpoint presentation for a talk next week. While this work can seem tedious, communicating results in a clear and meaningful way is super super super important skill for scientists to develop. Wish me luck!!


pgurel– Today I’m using fluorescence microscopy to look at my favorite filamentous protein, actin, on a unique surface. My actin filaments are on EM grids so that in the future, I can look at them using cryo-EM to understand their structure. I’m using fluorescence microscopy first to confirm that the filaments are happily on the grids. You can see I’m giving a thumbs up because this set-up seems to have worked! YAY!


Follow #PassesNoteToFlightAttendant

In light of the recent scandal where an American Airlines flight was delayed when a passenger reported a Professor’s Math Equations as “suspicious”, twitter has responded with the #PassesNoteToFlightAttendant hashtag- Funny ways in which scientists doing normal tasks could be perceived as “suspicious”. Enjoy!


John Oliver discusses Scientific Studies

If you didn’t catch the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, be sure to do so. Summary here:

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver debunked scientific studies that make outrageous claims. Oliver pointed to an example of an all too familiar subject of studies: Coffee. “In just the last few months, we’ve seen studies about coffee that claim it may reverse the effects of liver damage, help prevent colon cancer, decrease the risk of endometrial cancer, and increase the risk of miscarriage. Coffee today is like god in the old testament: It will either save you or kill you, depending on how much you believe in its magic powers.”

These studies can have serious consequences. Oliver explained that they are rarely replicated or fact checked, but that hasn’t stopped news organizations from actively reporting on the studies as truth. The contradictory nature of the these salacious studies can lead people to dismissing actual science that has been peer reviewed… like climate change.

There are always scientific experiments that haven’t yet been replicated or that are just waiting to be disproven. That is because science is a work in progress… we are always improving techniques, and learning more about subjects. I think the real problem lies with the media taking scientific evidence and portraying it as “fact” in order to boost viewership of the story. While scientists can always work harder to improve communication skills, this is a two-way street, and the media simply needs to do a better job of reporting on science.

Happy Pi Day!!

Happy Pi Day from CauseScience:

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Learn more about Pi here. Also, check out the awesome pi bread made by Crestwind24’s mother!