28 3 / 2014

Suvir Mirchandani, a 6th grader at Dorseyville Middle School in the Pittsburgh area, interested in applying computer science to promote environmental sustainability, decided to figure out if there was a better way to minimize the constant flurry of paper and ink as his science fair project. 

Reducing paper use through recycling and dual-sided printing had been talked about before as a way to save money and conserve resources, but there was less attention paid to the ink for which the paper served as a canvas for history and algebra handouts.

Read more to see how his research showed savings of 30%, more is state governments jumped on board, in ink usage

24 3 / 2014

"When Manu Prakash, PhD, wants to impress lab visitors with the durability of his Origami-based paper microscope, he throws it off a three-story balcony, stomps on it with his foot and dunks it into a water-filled beaker. Miraculously, it still works.

Even more amazing is that this microscope — a bookmark-sized piece of layered cardstock with a micro-lens — only costs about 50 cents in materials to make.”

- See more 

18 3 / 2014

”[…]I’ve been flat-out told at job interviews that I would not be a candidate because training me, a person who would quit when she had kids (I gave no indication of this), was a waste of time. 

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I always answered scientist.  My parents and grandparents corrected me by saying I would be a teacher or nurse instead. ”

A ridiculous amount of these first-hand accounts are from women (and men) in the STEM fields. 

Incredibly eye-opening. 

05 3 / 2014

05 3 / 2014

Two studies presented at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showed that a reformulated, long-acting injectable drug called GSK744 gave 100% protection to macaques from the hybrid simian/ human AIDS virus for up to three months against infection. Researchers from the University of Rockefeller and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the drug in a separate study in different doses on animal subjects, which gained similar positive results. Researchers expect to launch trials in the coming months to test if the drug will work on humans.

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27 2 / 2014



by Txchnologist staff

Engraving microscopic cracks in glass sheets can make it 200 times tougher than normal, McGill University mechanical engineers say. The insight could lead to improvements in regular glass objects like wine glasses or jars that don’t shatter when dropped, instead only deforming on impact.

Researchers took a clue from nature to uncover the fact that etching wavy lines in test glass slides prevented stress-induced cracks from spreading into the material’s failure. Their muse was the seemingly simple mother-of-pearl coating inside the shells of some mollusks.

This material is called nacre, and it is mostly composed of chalk, a brittle substance that normally disintegrates under the slightest pressure. But the organism constructs a biomaterial that is 3,000 times tougher than the weak chalk from which it is composed, writes François Barthelat, who runs McGill’s biomimetic materials lab and led the research. The secret is in how the creature builds nacre out of tiny tablets of chalk that are laid down in offset rows. This architecture, which is also seen in teeth and bones, counters a propagating crack by deflecting it and diffusing energy to surrounding tiles.

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27 2 / 2014




Printing 3D Arms for Children in Sudan

Learn more at Not Impossible Labs.

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(via science-junkie)

27 2 / 2014

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered more than 700 new exoplanets, nearly doubling the current number of confirmed alien worlds. 

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26 2 / 2014


Project for my Social Psych class last semester. This poster series was created to 1) challenge these internalized stereotypes by bringing them to the viewer’s attention and 2) expand the range of role models by including a diverse group of women. Each poster follows the same basic pattern: a woman who has demonstrated her competency in a particular area refutes the stereotype that appears above her in the form of “Girls can’t …”. While the posters target girls ranging from children to young adults, I expect the message would also cause people outside that demographic to question their own beliefs about women and power.  I designed each aspect of the posters with several principles of social psychology in mind:

Peripheral route: When operating under the peripheral route, we judge persuasive appeal based on superficial characteristics such as attractiveness and credibility. I placed an attractive image of each woman over a black background, and the colors I chose complement each other well.  I hand-lettered the main text to give each poster a sense of artistry, using an easy-to-read, official looking font as the basis for my work.  Additionally, the women themselves are relatively well known.  Their accomplishments, listed in the short blurb at the bottom of each poster, are impressive as well as irrefutable.

Relevance: We are more likely to be persuaded when we can relate the argument back to ourselves.  These posters rely on the availability heuristic (since these stereotypes are readily available and common in society, media, and our own experiences) to establish an immediate relevancy.  The statement at the top is attention grabbing by its controversial nature alone.  However, it is also relevant to multiple groups, including but not limited to: 1) people who identify as girls, 2) people who have an opinion about girls, and 3) people who participate in the activity listed. I tried to include a wide range of activities (e.g., science, math, business, leadership, politics, athletics) and a diverse group of women (e.g., time period, nationality, ethnic background, age, area of expertise) to widen the range and appeal of the posters.  The use of the term “we” also serves to compound the relevancy effect towards the main target audience by establishing in-group membership.

Central route: Because of the blatant use of stereotypes and the establishment of relevancy, the viewer now has a motivation to pay attention.   Keeping the poster visually simple and limiting the biographical information helps by minimizing distractions.  The QR code in the corner gives the viewer the means to access more information, if desired.  Ideally, each QR code would link to the affiliated website (the URL would also be listed), but for now they link to relevant Wikipedia page.           

Reactance and negative potency: Because we are less likely to change our minds when we feel like someone is trying to persuade us, I avoided mentioning the groups who held these stereotypes, so as not to alienate them, and did not use American political figures.  I also did not attempt to convince girls to be more like the women portrayed. Additionally, because negative things are more potent than their positive counterparts, these posters run the risk of reinforcing the stereotype (“Girl’s can’t X”) rather than the counterargument (“Except we can”) or counterexample (the woman and her accomplishments).  To minimize this, I placed the counterargument phrase in a speech bubble, portraying the woman as having a voice and worthy of our attention.  I made the counterargument larger than any of the other text and placed it near the negative statement to provide an obvious, strong response.  In some posters, the woman’s statement even breaks up the stereotype.  I also colored the speech bubble and counterargument phrase, highlighting its difference from the preceding text as well as subtly raising its credibility through the color gold.

Attitude Inoculation: By exposing people to these stereotypes and providing notable counterexamples, these posters can potentially ‘vaccinate’ against the ubiquitous and persuasive sexism in our society.  Viewers could then use the provided information to make their own credible and persuasive appeals against the stereotypes.

(via women-in-science)

25 2 / 2014

A star created from the supernova of a first-generation star appears to be the oldest of its kind in the universe, according to astronomers. SMSS J031300.362670839.3, as it’s called, has almost no iron in its chemical signature, according to a report in Nature. There was no iron in the first generation of stars that resulted from the Big Bang, but “as soon as we’ve got a little bit of iron in the universe, that enables much smaller stars to form and that’s what we’re seeing in this finding — one of those stars from the second generation,” said the study’s lead author Stefan Keller of the Australian National University.

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