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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sharing Science

I recently got a new job; which I love. Not that I didn't love my old job, selling records and movies, working with a different kind of nerds than the kind of nerds I surround myself with at the University. But this new job brings me profound joy. I am now a science communicator for the University of Oslo.

The job is not very glamorous, but it constantly reminds me of the wonders of the natural world and why I got into science in the first place. I visit schools or have students visit me at the University, and talk about the possibilities when studying sciences. In Norwegian, we call them "Realfag", which almost and with a little goodwill means "The Real Subjects". Anyway. When we go to speak to classes in junior high, bringing som visual tricks is often a good idea to get the class engaged and keep their focus when most of what you're telling them is about study opportunities at their hopefully next level of education. So I've started collecting these tricks. Here's one I'm going to have to try immediately, and hopefully with my nieces over X-mas.

So simple, and so lovely!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Go ahead, get rich!

I remember very well one time I talked to our other brother about psychics, and he exclaimed "To me, the best proof that psychics aren't real are that they offer their services from little booths at public squares and by phone. Had they been real, they would have had fancy offices and assistants.".

Lately, this sentiment has been cropping up more and more, like in this xkcd comic:


And today, I came across this news report that grabs the reader with the best reader-grabbing technique there is: airport security.

The argument goes, as before, that if someone really has these powers, why don't they use them for something really useful? Like helping keep people safe and feeling less violated than when they are forced into naked-scanners?

Once again, I reiterate that I would love certain aspects of psychic abilites or paranormal skills, but the evidence for it just isn't there.