What is TWIS

August 24th, 2009

We could tell you what TWIS is, but you are better off discovering the truth for yourself.

 

www.twis.org/audio

 

Please share this video and website with people who need TWIS.

Be a Part of TWIS

August 13th, 2009

So, among the changes taking place at This Week in Science is the realization that I can’t do everything myself. I would love to see TWIS grow, but I require help.

Looking at the responses from my post regarding the website and TWIS community from a couple of weeks back, I have realized that this is project overall is bigger than I am and bigger than I can conceivably achieve given the number of hours in a day.

First, TWIS requires funds to make things happen. So, I’m looking for an experienced new media advertising representative to help us find sponsors and advertisers.

I’m looking for someone with experience in advertising sales, specifically within the new media sector, with an interest if not a background in science. The position is contract based, and would be perfect for someone looking for a small side project.

Second, I’m looking for someone to help with project management and business development. There are so many things that I would love to do, but don’t have the time. I’d love to find someone passionate about TWIS and interested in helping it grow, who understands what TWIS is all about, and who wants to help whip things into shape. The person should have fantastic organizational skills, a love of science, creativity, great communication skills, and the ability to make things happen. I really need someone to be my right-hand in all things TWIS (kind of how Dane works with Leo at TWiT), which would make being a local San Francisco person highly beneficial.

The issue with this second position is that I have nothing to currently offer by way of pay. One possibility is that an applicant would be interested in working with me to find and apply for grants, which could then fund the position. An additional option is to get involved with the promise of future equity or future pay. Or, you could be independently wealthy, and not be concerned with this issue.

But, all this could be putting the cart before the horse. I’m just thinking out-loud, so that the idea can stop cycling in my head.

Please, send me a bio and/or resume and a statement of your interest if you are interested in talking about the details of either position (kirstenatthisweekinsciencedotcom). If you have any suggestions on how I can move forward with finding help, on people you think would be great for me to consider, or on how crazy I am, please, let me know.

This Week in Science Community Brainstorm

July 14th, 2009

This Week in Science has been a labor of my love for ten years. I have enjoyed every one of them, and expect to enjoy many more.

The show has enabled me to meet so many people, and created a community of science minded folks who I hope to count as friends (even though we call them minions).

However, the community could be better. The show and our website are still run based on the old media ways of pushing content out when they should be created with a mind for the community who want to pull the information in. So, we are thinking about how to change our ways, to make even better science content that can contend with what the major publishers are pushing out, and how to foster the growth of a truly awesome science-y community.

It’s actually been a dream of mine for a long time to create a community-driven science media channel based on TWIS. We started to develop the idea with our TWIS-tributions; asking minions to record TWIS-y news stories for the show. But, it didn’t get the response I was hoping for, and so fell by the wayside.

Naomi Most (nthmost on Twitter) brought me back to the idea today (seriously, I think she is data mining my brain), and specifically peaked my re-contemplation with a couple of her comments:

Ah, but w/ TWIStributions, the show always goes on regardless whether of ppl contribute… If you set up a system of continuous expectation of involvement w/ appropriate reward, superfans emerge.” 

And, this is a crucial point. The community needs ownership and investment for the entire endeavor to thrive. And, so far that is limited.

So, this is where I am. I want to create what Naomi termed an incubator for science reporting through TWIS. I want to rebuild the TWIS website to reflect the community and its many interests, and allow the growth of parallel scientific content in the form of blogs, audio, and video programming. I want to find the science reporting superstars among the minions, and have them call TWIS their home.

Is that too much to ask?

Interested in sponsoring the endeavor?

Have any ideas?

11_Science Word 08_08_16

August 22nd, 2008

Persistent Free Radicals – Chemists have discovered a new class of air pollutant, persistent free-radicals, which form and last on fine airborne particles indefinitely, and might contribute substantially to cardio-pulmonary diseases.

Flesh-eating Bacteria’s Weapon Figured Out – Flesh-eating bacteria release a special compound called Strep pyogenes cell envelope protease or SpyCEP for short, which inactivates white blood cells and blocks the body from defending itself against the necrotizing infection.

Memory of a Robot Brain – Scientists are figuring out how the brain works by using rat brain cells to control a robot.

How to Stop Addiction – Researchers kept mice from becoming addicted to cocaine by blocking glutamate receptors on dopamine producing brain cells.

Eyes Do More than See - Mice were switched from night to daytime activity by messing with the amount of light in the room and the sensitivity of their eyes to light suggesting that they eyes play a major role in setting the body’s internal clock.

Depression is Bad for Driving – A study of 60 individuals found that people who were depressed and taking anti-depressant medication performed worse on simulated driving tests than both medicated and unmedicated individuals who weren’t depressed. So, don’t be depressed and drive.

Humans Like Pretty People - Analysis of contestant behavior on a Dutch game show called Shafted supports the idea that humans have a bias for beautiful people.

Beer Goggles - Beer goggles are for real! Drunk students rated pictures of people of both sexes more attractive.

A Reason For Sexual Preference? - Homosexual and bisexual men had female relatives with more children than heterosexual men. So, whatever makes women like men and have more children might make men like men as well.

Smell What You Like? –If you’re a woman on the contraceptive pill, you could be with the wrong partner. Women preferred different body odors before and after beginning to take the pill. It’s thought that women use smell to choose an immunologically compatible partner.

09_Science Word_08_08_12

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Tags: , , , ,

 

Show Notes:

Arsenic-eating bacteria found - Arsenic isn’t usually thought of as delicious and nutritious, but a new species of bacteria found in hot pools at Mono Lake in California thrives on the stuff, using it instead of water in the process of photosynthesis.

Cassini Takes Pictures
- The space probe Cassini imaged giant cracks in the surface of Enceladus to investigate the source of giant geysers of liquid water that shoot from the moon’s surface.

Where For Art Thou Meteorite? – Meteorites that landed here on earth are more like the space rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter than like low metal content LL chondrite asteroids found closer to the earth.

Something Like a Comet – Researchers using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reported finding a comet-like object in a 22,500 year orbit around the sun. It doesn’t have a comet tail because it never gets close enough to the sun.

How to Get There - Theoretical physicists have come up with a new idea for space travel. They suggest manipulating dark energy through another dimension of space, shrinking space in front of a ship and expanding it behind. The trouble is that it requires a quantity of energy equal to converting something like the planet Jupiter into pure energy.

Entangled particles really are “spooky” - Nothing travels faster than light, but two entangled particles separated by 18 kilometers and located in two different Swiss towns were able to communicate with instantaneous precision, thereby validating quantum mechanics and spooky action at a distance.

10_Science Word 08_08_14

August 21st, 2008

Science news headlines from the week of 08/12/08 with Dr. Kiki Sanford. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Formats available:Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

Tags: , , , ,

 

Show Notes:

Best Thing About a Big Laser - The Advanced Tactical Laser will give the United States plausible deniability, says the chief engineer of the Directed Energy Directorate in describing its benefits.

Nanotubes Are Strong - Experiments at Northwestern University proved that carbon nanotubes really are as strong as calculations predicted, and that radiation makes them even stronger. I’m still waiting for that space elevator.

A Limit to Tall -  Physics imposes a limit on the height of trees. The maximum height to which Douglas Firs should be able to transport water is between 131 to 145 meters. That’s also the limit of their height.

Nature is the Best Teacher - Scientists mimicked photosynthesis in the lab, and were able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using the power of light.

Asphalt into Energy – Hot asphalt roads and parking lots may produce energy one day. Scientists are experimenting with the idea of adding a heat exchanger that would convert the heat absorbed by asphalt into energy.

Planet Friendly Paper Coating - A replacement for the waterproof wax coating that’s used on paper products like drink boxes has been created from the lignin of sugarcane, which unlike wax leaves the paper it coats completely recyclable.

The Effect of Climate change – A recent study found that 9 out of 10 tree species measured in the Santa Rosa mountains of California have increased the elevation of their habitat by 213 feet. The change in growing range was linked to changes in local climate.

Antarctica is not Alone – Ice cores revealed that West Antarctica is highly affected by atmospheric and oceanic changes in the tropics of the Pacific Ocean.

Dead Zones of the World - The number of oxygen poor dead zones in the world’s oceans has doubled to 400 in just the past two years. These dead zones are linked to algae blooms fed by fertilizer run-off, sewage, and the burning of fossil fuels.

This Week’s Science Word Videos Are Out!

August 14th, 2008

I’ve published another set of Science Word videos… the science headlines in brief. Here’s the first of the set of four:

Hubble Space Telescope - What’s up in space, travels 5 miles per second, and has offered us an unparalleled view of our universe? The Hubble Space telescope, which just passed 100,000 times around the planet.

Size Doesn’t Matter - In nanotech, it’s apparently not the size of the particle that determines cell penetration, but the shape. Rods do much better than spheres.

Invisibility? - Harry Potter might have worn invisibility chain mail instead of a cloak if J.K Rowling had been paying attention to science. Researchers have created a new metal material that bends light backwards through electromagnetic interactions with the light istelf.

Large Hadron Collider - The Large Hadron Collider will officially begin operations on September 10th, but won’t get to full strength until sometime next spring.

Bicycle Saddles and the Police - The results are in… bike seats without noses keep bike cops frisky. Cops testing the special saddles had less genital numbing and better penile sensation.

Is Infertility Treatment Worth It? - Intrauterine insemination was only 6% more effective in producing a live birth than no treatment at all in a group of 580 women experiencing unexplained infertility. However, women who had insemination felt more reassured during the process.

Females Are The Same - Sexual harassment doesn’t just bother human females. It also bugs female guppies who tend to prefer the risk of being eaten to hanging out around pushy males.

Complete Neanderthal Mitochondrial Genome
- The most complete and accurate Neanderthal mitochondrial genome to date was produced from a 38,000 year old fossil. Whether or not humans and Neanderthals ever got jiggy wid it is still in question.

A Pill For Alcoholics - Researchers in Oregon are testing a drug called CRF 154,526, which blocks all of the good, but none of the bad effects of alcohol– none of the euphoria, and the hangover’s still waiting. They say CRF is meant for treating hedonistic dysregulation.

Gene Link to Smoking Addiction -
People who say they got hooked on the first puff of a cigarette are likely to have a gene variant called CHRNA5.
You can find this video all these places:

YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, DailyMotion, Blip.tv and Viddler

The Science Word - Episode #3

August 8th, 2008

First Star in Universe Grew Fast - Computer simulations suggest the first stars started small, but grew 100 times larger than our sun in just 10,000 years.

Duck-Billed Dinos Outgrew Predators - Best predator defense? Grow fast and make babies. That’s what the duck-billed hadrosaur did as it grew up to 4.4 tons in 2-3 years. Gives a new meaning to “eat my dust.”

Moss, Insect Fossils Evince Once-Living Antarctica - Researchers found freeze-dried moss, crustaceans, insects, and pollen trapped in the glacial ice. 14 million years ago Antarctica was much warmer.

Hostile-to-Life Substance Found in Martian Soil - NASA thought they could grow vegetables on Mars, but then discovered perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, in one of their tests. They have decided to perform more tests.


Dark Energy’s Fingerprint Found in Distant Galaxies
- Researchers have made one of the most statistically probable measurements of dark energy to date, but they still don’t know what it is.


X-rays reveal Van Gogh portrait
- A particle accelerator was used to blast a Van Gogh painting with high intensity x-rays. A second painting was discovered beneath the outer surface of paint.


‘Laser jumbo’ testing moves ahead
- The US Air Force has begun fuel tests of their Airborne Laser system, which is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles from the inside of a 747 aircraft.

The Science Word

August 8th, 2008

I’m trying out something new, and hoping that it will compliment what we do on This Week in Science. Check it out!

If you’re interested in any of the stories referred to in The Science Word, here are the links:

The Cassini space probe confirmed that a lake on Saturn’s moon, Titan, is filled with pleasantly chilled liquid ethane and methane hydrocarbons, molecules thought to be building blocks for life.

NASA got past a sticky dirt problem, and identified water in the Martian soil.

After 30 years, the guitarist for Queen finished and published his doctoral thesis.

According to Australian research, playing outdoors might be good for a child’s developing eyes.

A US CDC study found that national annual HIV/AIDS rates are underestimated by 40%. Regardless of this new data, the director of the WHO, Kevin De Cock, still thinks current global estimates are good. Yes, he does.

A study doubled population estimates of the Western Lowland Gorilla, an endangered species. A report recently warned that human activity puts almost half of the world’s primate species at risk for extinction.

People weigh less in neighborhoods with sidewalks.

Opposites might attract, but Germans stay married if they are similarly agreeable and conscientious.

Blue sharks taste bad, but people are developing a taste for them because other fish are in short supply.

Hot, black smokers were found venting supercritical seawater on the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Unlike freshwater turtles, the epaulette shark goes blind when oxygen levels go down.