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Katie’s Webscience Update for Friday, March 16th

Hi folks! Happy St. Patrick’s Day Eve! I indulged in a green-frosted donut yesterday which had the happy side-effect of turning my mouth green for a couple of hours. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be avoiding the green beer tomorrow. After all, Sunday’s kind of a big day for me…


This documentary about the polar regions of our planet aired in the UK months ago. I saw so many tweets about the amount of awesome it brought, but alas, I was on the wrong side of the Atlantic. And apparently, Sir David Attenborough was pretty badass, travelling to both the north and south poles at the age of 85. Incredible. When the series airs on the Discovery channel, however, it will be narrated by Alec Baldwin. On the one hand I’m outraged, but on the other I quite like Mr. Baldwin’s voice. I’m sure the footage will more than make up for the lack of Attenborough, as these pictures of the making of the show hint at:


Binh Danh is a Vietnamese photographer who has taken some really amazing pictures of his homeland and the aftermath of the Vietnam War. What’s even more amazing is that he develops some of his work on leaves. After noticing that grass that had been covered by a hose was a different color from the rest of his lawn, he started to experiment. In what he calls “chlorophyll prints”, photographic images are generated through the action of photosynthesis in the underlying leaf:

Mmmm Donuts…

Ever wondered how a synchrotron works? Or even, what a synchrotron is? Well, then you’re in luck! Harriet Bailey and Alice Lighton have made the video for you:

And Finally: Never Trust a Penguin

Have a lovely weekend!!!

Katie’s Webscience Update for Friday, October 21st

Hi folks! Once again, the update comes to you from England, land of hope and glory..or something like that… Having spent the last few hours trying, and failing, to get my Mum’s new iPad to connect to her (rather aged) router, I have retreated to my very well behaved laptop with a large cup of tea.

So, on we go!

Stop, thief!

<- This is an Adelie penguin. Every year male Adelie's build nests made out of rocks, and it is with these nests that they attract a mate. The ladies assess the nest, paying particular attention to the size of the rocks used. Therefore there is some competition between males to find the best rocks with which to build the best nests, and thus attract the fanciest lady Adelie. But some males are sneaky, and will steal rocks from their neighbor's nest when his back is turned. This behavior was recently caught on film for the new documentary Frozen Planet, which begins next Wednesday on BBC1. Sadly, I will have left the UK by then, so I will miss Sir David Attenbrough’s wondrous narration. Sigh.

The origin of science words

…is often science fiction. Some of the most well-known technical terms, including computer “virus”, were in fact the invention of authors not academics. In a top 10 compiled at io9, the origins of “blast off”, “genetic engineering” and “gas giant” and more are explored.

Dance your Ph.D. winners announced

I am hanging my head in shame. I never got around to making my video, never mind entering it in the competition. But next year this prize will be mine. Mwahahahaha!


Anyway, this years winner of the AAAS sponsored competition is Joel Miller, a biomedical engineer currently studying at the University of Western Australia in Perth. His entry depicted his work on generating a form of titanium that would not only integrate with bone, but would withstand the test of time as a bone-replacement material. Take it away, Joel:

Microstructure-Property relationships in Ti2448 components produced by Selective Laser Melting: A Love Story from Joel Miller on Vimeo.

To see the entries from all 16 finalists, go here.

That’s all for this week. Have a fab weekend, whichever time zone you find yourself in!