Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Posts Tagged ‘CERN’

Radio Freethinker Episode 168 – Jane the Ripper Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 29, 2012

This week:

– Celebrity cannibalism,
– There’s too much water in the oceans ,
Taxes, the real story (Part 2 of 3 interview with Seth Klein),
– has the identity of Jack the Ripper finally been discovered?

Download the episode here!

Celebrity cannibalism

We discuss the recent “auctioned dinner” of an artist who cooked his amputated genitalia. On top of other recent stories, has cannibalism become acceptable and a new celebrity fad? 

Find out more:

There’s too much water in the oceans

New research shows that there is more water in the oceans of the globe. We thought it was because of global warming but there appears to be another ancient source.

Groundwater withdrawals as a percentage of groundwater recharge

The disappearing water from Indian

Find out more:

Taxes, the real story

Don’s sits down with Seth Klein in the Radio Free Thinker virtual studio and discusses Taxes, the real story: What comprises our ‘taxes’, are they progressive or regressive, do corps. pay their share and what is a Fair Tax Counsel?.

Seth Klein is director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for BC.

Find out more:

Has the identity of Jack the Ripper finally been discovered?

We discuss the mythology of Jack the Ripper and a new book that makes a (poor) case that the ripper may have been a woman.

Find out more:

Skeptical Highlights:

Unveiling the Universe

CERN Director General Rolf Heuer will speak at Science World at TELUS World of Science to engage the public with the many scientific adventures taking place at CERN, including ephemeral neutrinos that apparently disobeyed Einstein’s laws, doppelganger-like anti-atoms likely never before seen in the universe, and the frantic search for the one fundamental particle to rule them all, the Higgs.

When: Sunday June 3, 2012 @ 6pm
Where: Science World
Cost: Free tickets
NOTE: OMNIMAX seating sold out

“Casseroles Night in Canada”

“Casserole” demonstration set for Vancouver in support of Quebec protesters. The clanging of pots and pans is set to make its way to Vancouver this Wednesday evening as part of a series of country-wide protests being organized in support of student demonstrations in Quebec.

When:Wednesday, May 30 @ 8pm
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery
Cost: Free

Skeptics in the Pub – New West

The Skeptics in the Pub Port Moody has moved to New Westminster. It is now right beside the Columbia Skytrain Station at The Met Bar and Grill.Why not start off with a Sunday brunch and some sKepticism. Since this new location is transit friendly I expect to see a great turnout of Vancouver skeptics.

Where: The Met Bar and Grill (411 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC)
When: Sunday, June 3, 2012 @ 1pm
Cost: Free

Posted in Show notes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Girls are Good at Science

Posted by Ethan Clow on July 22, 2011

We all knew that, right? Well, now Google knows it too.

Yes, recently Google hosted its first ever Global Science Fair this year and had over 10,000 entries. The event, which presented prizes in three age groups, 13 -14, 15 – 16 and 17 – 18. Each winner in the three categories won a scholarship from Google of $25,000 scholarship, split equally between team members to be used towards the finalists’ further education. In addition they won a second and third choice by random selection of one of the remaining experiences at one of the following partner organizations: CERN, Google, the LEGO Group, or Scientific American. They also won a cool LEGO prize – a personal LEGO color mosaic (one for each team member, to build her/himself) and 1 personal, exclusive LEGO box – specially made for the occasion. And finally, digital access to Scientific American for the finalists’ schools for a year.

Not only that, the top 15 finalists each received:

A LEGO Goodie Bag including:

  • 2 – 4 HiTechnic sensors (endorsed 3rd party accessory sensors – totalling 10 different sensors!)
  • 1 Codatex RFID sensor with tags (endorsed 3rd party sensors)
  • 1 LEGO TECHNIC set (highest pricepoint in 2011 1HY assortment)

National Geographic subscription

  • A subscription to National Geographic magazine for 12 months.

A Google Goodie Bag including:

  • A Google Chrome Notebook
  • An Android phone

Scientific American subscription

A subscription to Scientific American magazine for 12 months

The top prize went to Shree Bose, in the 17 – 18 catagory who won for her project on ovarian Cancer.

“For the winning research Ms. Bose looked at a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly taken by women with ovarian cancer. The problem is that the cancer cells tend to grow resistant to cisplatin over time, and Ms. Bose set out to find a way to counteract that.

She found the answer in a cellular energy protein known as AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. She observed that when AMPK was paired with cisplatin at the beginning of treatment the combination diminished the effectiveness of cisplatin. But added later on, when the cancer cells were growing resistant, the AMPK worked to maintain the effectiveness of cisplatin, allowing it to continue killing the malignant cells, at least in cell cultures.” – New York Times.

Ms. Bose won the grand prize of a $50,000 scholarship, a 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands and a separate trip to the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland!

What is also really great to see is that all three finalists were girls, demonstrating that math, science and critical thinking is not the exclusive domain of dudes. Of course, most of us skeptics knew that already but its important to be reminded of it. Equally important is to make sure that the sciences provide a welcoming and supportive environment for these young scientists.

Like many other skeptics, I recently read a blog post by Linda Henneberg which discussed some of the latent sexism she encounters at CERN,

“…I have noticed displays of subtle sexism and male privilege. There have been a lot of really awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes creepy attempts at flirting. In social settings, I’ve never felt more constantly objectified, hit on, and creeped on than while at CERN.” – Henneberg, Science is Awesome

When I spoke with Jennifer Ouellette at TAM (stay tuned on the podcast as that interview is coming up soon) I asked her about what I was missing by not knowing anything about calculus, see her book The Calculus Diaries, and it turns out – I’m missing out on a lot! I never understood calculus growing up. Heck, I never really understood math growing up. Part of the reason is that in high school, when I was bad at math, somewhere along the way the teachers just sort of gave up on me. “Don’t worry, you’re just not good at math…why don’t you go study some dead civilization instead…” rings a bell.

Science and math has the unfortunate quality of looking extremely difficult, and sometimes it is. But that’s all the more reason to encourage people to learn. With patience and dedication people can come to understand science and thus de-fang their assumptions that its just for brainiacs or even just for boys. But those of us on the inside must do our part. Just like in organized skepticism we must check our ego at the door and seriously ask ourselves “are we doing what we can to make others feel welcome and appreciated? And, what more can we do?” Science institutions like CERN must also ask themselves these questions, these young scientists sound pretty smart, it would be a shame to lose them.


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