Saturday, August 31, 2013

southwest snapshots

I spent 10 days in Arizona and New Mexico this summer, camera and tripod in hand. Here are a dozen of my favorite shots. (Click to enlarge. For more, see my Flickr sets, Tucson 13 and New Mexico 13.)

Undead nuclear missile. Titan Missile Museum. Green Valley, AZ.

Use caution. Tucson Missile Museum. Green Valley, AZ.

Saguaros. Tucson, AZ.

Snack time. Reid Park Zoo. Tucson, AZ.

Bookstore mural. Las Cruces, NM.

Slumps. White Sands National Monument. Alamogordo, NM.

Tethered. Space Murals Museum. Organ, NM.

Next stop: up. Spaceport. Sierra, NM.

Open pit. Chino Mine. Santa Rita, NM.

Communing with the radio 'scopes. VLA. Socorro, NM.

Church. Santa Fe, NM.

Masks. Santa Fe, NM.

Monday, August 12, 2013

victory! lady scientist lego minifig arrives

After the pleas (1, 2, 3) and the tease, we will finally have, beginning next month, an official female scientist LEGO minifigure! The "Scientist" fig will appear as part of Series 11, which is set to hit shelves on September 1st in the United States.

Here is the description from the LEGO website:
SCIENTIST: I wonder what will happen if I put THIS together with THAT... The brilliant Scientist’s specialty is finding new and interesting ways to combine things together. She’ll spend all night in her lab analyzing how to connect bricks of different sizes and shapes (she won the coveted Nobrick Prize for her discovery of the theoretical System/DUPLO® Interface!), or how to mix two colors in one element. Thanks to the Scientist’s tireless research, Minifigures that have misplaced their legs can now attach new pieces to let them swim like fish, slither like snakes, and stomp around like robots. Her studies of a certain outer dimension have even perfected a method for swapping body parts at will!

Kudos to LEGO for making her official name "Scientist" instead of adding "Lady" or "Woman" as it has done for certain other female figures (for example, "Lady Robot" in the same series). I must admit, I'm a little disappointed with the stereotypical glasses... But suffice it to say, this fig is a major step in the right direction.

In other female scientist minifig news, the CUUSOO Female Minifigure Set petition has racked up the requisite 10,000 upvotes for an official review by the folks at LEGO. Fingers crossed that these mini-sets will also eventually see the light of day!

Photo by hermipad on Flickr

Thursday, August 08, 2013

rapping rosalind franklin

Love, love, love this new music video by 7th grade students in Oakland, who have crafted and played out a genius rap battle to illustrate a bit of science history. In one corner: James Watson and Francis Crick. In the other: Rosalind Franklin. Can you guess who wins??

"You showed my data behind my back.
So it’s not just gonna happen like that.
Let’s recognize Rosalind Franklin
Nobel Prize for Rosalind Franklin.

Oooh ooh... that’s my pic. That’s my pic.
Oooh ooh... that’s my pic. That’s my pic.

I heard that you were shown my pic
And you didn’t think that I would find out.
Then you wrote this nice little book getting everyone fired up.
Well I’m back from the dead and I read what you said,
And I’m here to set the record straight now.
Now when you learn about the double he- you better also learn about me."

Kudos to educator Tom McFadden, the mastermind behind the project, who hopes that teachers and students will "utilize, remix, and reinvent these videos while I teach 8th grade biology at The Nueva School next year."