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Swimming In The (astro) Pacific

As a newly minted, 1 year old professor, this is the deep end of the astronomy edu cation pool...

The Phantom Of The Laboratory

We are fortune here at Science20 to have come across an early work by Gaston Leroux.  This...

Engineering Roleplaying

Hey, you got simulation in my roleplay! Hey, you got roleplay in my simulation! Wait, it's two...

Stars That Ring Like Bells

Time to ring in a new year with pressure waves.  We can see, but not, hear true sonic waves...

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Alex "Sandy" AntunesRSS Feed of this column.

Read more about the strange modern world of a day laborer in astronomy, plus extra space science-y goodness.... Read More »

Which would you rather eat-- cotton candy, a volcano, or broken glass?  Turns out they're the same thing.  Ivan Amato breaks this news in Volcanic ash and cotton candy share molecular characteristics with glass (a Washington Post science special).

Here's a quick science primer on what's what: Glass is an imperfectly arranged solid.  Crystals have nearly perfect geometric arrangements of their atoms&molecules, like a neat stack of oranges.  Glass is the same thing with disorder-- Amato's analogy is 'a fallen stack of oranges (with some grapes and such mixed in)'.
"What is autism" is a medical science question.  "How can people with autism adapt to society" is a social science question.  "Why would someone pay to see a movie in a theater with the lights on, the sound turned down, and anyone in the audience able to dance or yell during the show" is a scientificblogging.com question.

Movie chain AMC runs a monthly sensory friendly film.  And in their own words:
The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!
Support for science comes in many forms. I've discussed being a research scientist and what citizen scientists can do when they donate their time. Now let's bring up the third leg of the Tripod of Science-- cash. This is about the triumph of capitalism over adversity.

There are so many causes one can give to. Haiti received huge economic support because, for whatever reason, they caught the public's fancy and got significant media attention. That's hard to predict, or arrange.
How often do you hear a song featuring Bill Nye? Well, often-- it's part of his shtick.  But to hear him remixed with 3 other science populist greats, that's a treat.  It's "We Are All Connected (feat. Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye)  from Symphony of Science (one of several original music vids there).  Excellent work with adding reverb, echo and autotune to make a nice bit of electronica.  Falters a little at the 2 minute mark, but ends strong.  Thanks to my friend Danny O'Neill for pointing this Earth Day treat!
With little fanfare, NASA released on online simulation of spacewalking, the ISS, and real science in space.  Real physics, real challenges, no sissified arcade-y action or twitch gaming.  Just you, physics, and a mission.  And they call it... "Station Spacewalk Game"

The PBSKids show "Arthur" ran an episode featuring a new character, Carl, who has Aspergers Syndrome.  Aspergers is either an autism-like condition or a form of high-functioning autism, depending on which definition you subscribe to.  Its marked by good intelligence and memory, difficulty learning social cues, and a tendency towards non-supervillian monologuing about a favorite topic.

And how good a job did they do of portraying an Aspie?  The show already has an asthmatic kid (Buster), ADHD twins (the Tibbles), and a woody-alleneque neurotic (George), so it's not like Carl will really stand out.