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Tag: science

The Wonder of Dark Skies and Stars

Have you ever looked up at a night sky packed with stars? My most vivid memory of a night sky was one where the “stars were so densely packed that you couldn’t make out any familiar constellations.” I had an unexpected philosophical moment during my lunch today when I took 11 well-spent minutes to watch this TEDxPhoenix video about looking up. The speaker, Lucianne Walkowicz, works on NASA’s Kepler mission. Basically, she hunts for planets. What a thing to say at cocktail parties when you introduce yourself: I hunt for planets. Wow. What is even more amazing is that we can all help her hunt for planets. There is a site called Planet Hunters where you can become a citizen scientist and help poke through the data to find planets. And while we sift through data to reveal the treasures sent back by our remote eyes (the telescopes), Lucianne Walkowicz…

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Fantastic insight into a collapsing brain

I think it is quite apt to say that Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk at this year’s TED conference is mind-blowing. View or read about her “Stroke of Insight”. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another. I do look forward to hearing Richard Saul Wurman speak at the closing keynote of the STC 55th conference in Philadelphia. Wurman’s idea back in 1984 made many lectures like “My Stroke of Luck” possible. This particular presentation is an excellent example of his aim to make a complex idea clear to a…