The Scout Report: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Interactive Physlets; Science Oxford Live and the Eisenhower Memorial
Research, Education and a News Feature
In the past, we've mentioned that one of our favorite sources for interesting links is The Scout Report. We've included several of those links to introduce the report, if this is your first time. In addition, a proposed Eisenhower memorial is in the news Scout explores:
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsors a series of holiday lectures every year, and many of the past talks are available on this site. There are over twenty holiday lectures here, and the site has a handful of informal talks as well. Perhaps what is most helpful to the casual visitor is that the talks are delivered in a non-technical, yet erudite and learned, fashion. For the individual who might be apprehensive about an overly technical approach to these subjects, there is nothing to fear. First-time visitors may wish to start with one of the most recent lectures, which cover topics like "Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Behavior" and "Human Evolution and the Nature of Science." Other talks of note here include "Viral Outbreak: The Science of Emerging Disease" and "The Meaning of Sex: Genes and Gender." [KMG]
To find more high-quality online resources in math and science, visit Scout's sister site: AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at http://amser.org.
What, you may ask, is a physlet? It is a portmanteau combining the words "physics" and "applet" which can be used "to demonstrate a concept in physics through animation or interaction." Physlets are handy tools, especially for visual learners. These physlets were created by scholars at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Designed to be used in several different introductory physics courses, the physlets cover a range of topics, including friction, conservation of energy, projectile motion, magnetism, and simple harmonic motion. Visitors will find that they can play each physlet, pause it along the way, or skip ahead to the next one as they see fit. [KMG]
Is it possible to predict large-scale seasonal weather patterns? This is one of the research questions that motivates scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This special report from the NSF looks into how atmospheric oscillations from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropics to the Arctic Oscillation (AO) play a "significant part in controlling the weather on a seasonal time scale." This report was written by Cheryl Dybas, and it contains four sections, along with an area with classroom resources. The sections cover new real-time weather forecasts ("A New and Better Way"), the creation of a more effective prediction model ("New Seasonal Forecast Model"), and a demonstration of the new model ("Model Accuracy Demonstrated"). The site is rounded out by the classroom resources which are designed to be used with the charts, maps, and interactive animations featured in the rest of the site. [KMG]
Science Oxford Live [iTunes]
The first things visitors will see when visiting the Science Oxford Live website are a few shots from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit that will soon be at the brick and mortar location of Science Oxford Live. It's hard to decide which is cuter: the hippo, the monkey, or the giraffe's tail. Visitors will certainly want to check out the video podcasts available through iTunes, and even may even subscribe to the podcasts to receive the latest episodes. These webcasts, found under the Watch Us tab, are recordings of live events that took place at Science Oxford Live. They cover topics such as Parkinson's disease, the sleep versus wake balance, the science and history of chocolate, the curse of consciousness, and how "doctors and other health professionals sometimes do more harm than good to patients, despite acting with the best of intentions." The Discovery Zone is a place for kids which is best experienced in person, but online it still has valuable lessons to teach, and it's worth a look. [KMG]
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