Jun 27, 2015
We romanticize childhood in so many ways. For example, we look at our children and see little scientists. After all, they’re naturally curious and they even conduct basic experiments that help them to understand their surroundings.
Most of us can remember our own childhoods and how the novelty of almost everything in our world fascinated us. Why is the sky blue? How deep is the ocean? Why do boats float and planes fly?
Our childhood experiments often delved into biology. You toss the fly into the spider’s web and see what happens. The spider dashes across its web for a tasty meal. Can’t find a fly to lob into the web? You throw in a small twig and wait, but nothing happens. A few repetitions of this experiment and the child version of you is already submitting a paper to the Journal of Arachnology.
But that’s where the similarities end.
The real reason that children are not natural scientists is because of their unfortunate, but natural tendency to believe what adults tell them.
But the scientific mind always reserves some doubt for what it observes. Becoming a scientist requires that we overcome our natural tendency, our childish tendency, to just believe. Kids may start off on the right track with their curiosity, but they must learn and practice some counterintuitive abstract skills before they can enjoy the benefits of a life of scientific thinking, maybe even becoming a scientist herself
Most adults struggle with scientific thinking, but that’s not because they’ve lost any natural ability they once had. It’s because they never progressed in their education, or were never required to, or were even discouraged from learning these analytical and abstract skills that are the hallmark of the scientific mind.
We are happy to welcome Louise O'Regan to the Blue Streak Team. Louise is a Master's student in neurophysiology at the University of Wales in Bangor. She hails from Ireland, the Emerald Isle.
She writes in her bio: "I love all things science, but it's neuroscience, biosciences and astrophysics that really pique my interest."
Louise posted her first article on Blue Streak and it's titled "A Brain of Two Halves: Debunking the Left-Brain/Right-Brain Myth". This is a remarkable article that draws a clear distinction between what we understand of the brain's hemispheres and that popular myth often attributed to them.
Welcome aboard, Louise!
Why some Ebola strains are more dangerous than others
This story comes to us from Right Wing Watch.
Ann Coulter, the conservative mouthpiece and author of the new anti-immigration book whose title I will not divulge, because I cannot in good conscience, promote what she does. I get queasy even mentioning her on Blue Streak. She recently voiced her disdain for both immigrants and female voters on the radio show called “Free Speech” with Gavin McInnes.
Interesting is that McInnes himself is an immigrant from Canada
So, McInnes brought up the topic of women voters and this prompted Coulter to share her view that “women should not have the right to vote.” She went further to state that while women should not vote, “We can still write books! We can run for office.”
Why is a person who holds such backward views even relevant?
The sad reason that she is still on the conservative talk circuit is because she is one of the primary voices of American conservatism, and the Republican Party.
Ann Coulter, you are the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week!
Kellie: Nowhere scientifically notable :/ I've been cycling my legs off at the Atlanta Cycling Festival for the past week!
JD: Nowhere! I had planned to visit the California Academy of Sciences, but I couldn't find anyone to go with me! Yes, I need to "buck up" and go alone.
Sophie: I have been to the Blue Mountains! Narrowly avoided falling on face in mud, so it was an all-round stellar success on my part. Beautiful scenery! Did not see snakes. Failing big time on the wildlife front. Went wandering around a bit in the 'winter weather' (about 10 degrees) and ate all the food at the Winter Magic local festival. Maybe next time I will eat less and walk more..?
JD: I plan to muster up the courage and go to the California Academy of Sciences all by myself!
I recommend a great science blog, espressoscience.com - when I found this I thought it was very cool - the founder, Professor Jenny Martin, is also involved in the Big Roo Count here in Oz! A sort of citizen science biodiversity initiative: http://www.pozible.com/project/195117).
That’s it for this edition of the Blue Streak Science Podcast
This week's Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sonoma County, California, Sydney Australia, and Atlanta, Georgia!
See you again next week!