Posted by: jurassic | January 9, 2008

Favorites from orange+green week

Favorites from orange+green week

Originally uploaded by k8tron

It’s wonderful how much inspiration we get from nature again and again.

Posted by: jurassic | December 31, 2007

Save the world in 2008

For new year’s resolutions, if we all could find some easy environment-saving actions to take on, we would make a difference.  And then we could move on to the more difficult actions!

Here is one columnist making some seemingly obvious suggestions.

Posted by: jurassic | December 30, 2007

nature in the city


Originally uploaded by Jurassic2008

Finding nature all around us…

Post-Thanksgiving, we took a nice short walk at Point Pinole, a small local park with gorgeous views. I’ve grown up in the area for over 25 years but had never been here previously. What a nice find!

Posted by: jurassic | December 29, 2007

Zoos…Part 2

The story of the tiger mauling at the SF Zoo continues to become more complex and to bring up deep issues of environmental and informal education. Much of the discussion still centers around safety standards (the height of the moat wall for example) and the ethics of keeping wild animals in cages (see summary of reader comments and letters to the editor on sfgate).

However, with the recent information regarding the victims and potential taunting of the tiger, it seems to me that some attention should be paid to how we portray animals in the media, edutainment, and informal science institutions. It has long been known that abuse of animals is a potential warning sign for emotional and mental disturbance and groups like the SPCA have contributed to increased awareness for treating animals kindly.

But one wonders whether the branding of dangerous animals and “extreme killers” may in fact contribute to a different mindset for wild animals. There are a number of reasons that we might feature the dangerous nature of these animals–for marketing, as a hook for learning, and as a common denominator to engage diverse audiences.

I have no answers and I don’t want to make this a melodramatic analysis of science education but a story as big as this should make one think.

Posted by: jurassic | December 28, 2007

Zoos and nature education

The news of the visitor death at the hands of a zoo tiger has brought to the fore the debate about animals in captivity and their educational value. While the SF Zoo will undoubtedly face some trepidation from visitors even after they reopen the doors, the good news is that the Oakland Zoo experienced good attendance today (see sfgate story here). I’m sure some of it was some dark fascination but maybe it inspired some curiosity and awe for these incredible animals.

But the debate about the balance of animal freedom versus the benefit of public education will never end.

Posted by: jurassic | June 29, 2007


Such mixed feelings about a newspiece like this!

On the one hand, Big Foot and cryptozoology are clearly topics in the realm of pseudo-science. The likelikhood that a large animal much less a human-like animal could still be in Michigan is so very very small that it cannot be considered seriously.

But on the other hand, the hope of discovering new life forms is much alive among true scientists. In fact, new species are being described by systematic biologists every single day. The study of what these organisms are, what they are related to, and what they tell us about the tree of life does continue. New species may provide clues to our evolutionary history, or provide medicinal value, or just keep reminding us that there is still much about the natural world left for us to discover.

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‘Bigfoot’ expedition planned in Michigan

MANISTIQUE, Michigan (AP) — Researchers will visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula next month to search for evidence of the legendary creature known as “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch.”

The expedition will focus on eastern Marquette County, said Matthew Moneymaker of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

“We’ll be looking for evidence supporting a presence. … We hope to meet local people who might have seen a Sasquatch or heard of someone else who had an encounter,” Moneymaker told the Daily Press of Escanaba.

The late Grover Krantz, a Washington State University professor who specialized in cryptozoology, the study of creatures that have not been proven to exist, believed Bigfoot was a “gigantopithecus,” a branch of primitive man believed to have existed 3 million years ago.

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Posted by: jurassic | June 28, 2007

DNA used to identify important queen pharoah

Biological sciences and social sciences are integrating to make important discoveries–in this case, DNA analyses allow for the identification of an important ancient Egyptian pharoah. This was something that Zahi Hawass hinted at when I interviewed him for the Academy lecture series and it really is quite stunning.
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Egypt Says Mummy Is Queen Hatshepsut

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A tooth found in a relic box led archaeologists to identify a long-overlooked mummy as that of Egypt’s most powerful female pharaoh — possibly the most significant find since King Tutankhamun’s tomb was uncovered in 1922, experts said Wednesday.

The mummy was identified as Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C., dressing like a man and wearing a fake beard. A monumental builder, she wielded more power than two other famous ancient Egyptian women, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who unlike her never took the title of pharaoh.

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Posted by: jurassic | June 19, 2007

Boys and girls learning science

I find these studies incredibly interesting because it seems that the key lesson is…
there is not just one way to teach kids whether they are boys OR girls! We need to employ different ways to engage kids and by diversifying our teaching styles, we can appeal to individuals irregardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, class, language, and age. In a science museum, the visitor experience is the focus and we can meet the challenge of science education unconstrained by classroom logistics and school standards–this poses a different set of constraints of course, but together with formal education venues, we can engage the next generation using a diversity of tools in our arsenal.
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Single-gender education gains ground as boys lag

Experts worry that coed classrooms geared to girls put their counterparts at a disadvantage

For more than a decade, the conventional wisdom has been that schools have
shortchanged girls, who were ignored in the classroom as they lagged behind in
math and science.

But now a growing chorus of educators and advocates for boys is turning
that notion upside down.

San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, June 18, 2007

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Posted by: jurassic | June 15, 2007

More dinosaurs at The Police concert

Just to demonstrate that other fans (who aren’t paleontologists I’m assuming) also liked the dinosaurs at the concert!

(Unrelated to science or education, I thought The Police sounded great but some of the reworked songs paled in comparison to the originals.  I do respect their desire to refresh their classics and challenge their musical talents.   The encores were the best part of the show!)

Originally uploaded on Flickr by penmachine

Posted by: jurassic | June 15, 2007

Dinosaurs at Police concert!

I attended The Police concert in Oakland, California, June 13, 2007. But even here, there were reminders of science learning because lo and behold, during their song “Walking in your footsteps,” animated dinosaurs were on the giant video screens!

(So now you know that the title of this blog is not referring to Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers nor is it referring to the age of the audience!)

Originally uploaded on Flickr by CouzinHub

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