TAM 2014 – Bill Nye – Keynote Talk

Bill Nye (The Science Guy) gives the Keynote talk and lets us in on his preparation for the “Ham on Nye” Creation Museum debate that took place in February 2014 in Kentucky.
Bill Nye currently serves as director of The Planetary Society and is one of America’s leading popularizers of the scientific outlook. As a student at Cornell University, he was introduced to the wonders of astronomy in a class taught by Carl Sagan himself. Nye later served as Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ’56 professor at Cornell University. Nye has received honorary doctorates from John Hopkins University and Williamette University as well as a Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association. As a scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, he hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy, which earned 28 Emmys during its six-year run, The Eyes of Nye, and The 100 Greatest Discoveries. He has made numerous appearances on shows such as The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Good Morning America. He was even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Nye has authored several books for children, including Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs and Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Consider the Following: A Way Cool Set of Science Questions, Answer, and Ideas to Ponder.” (YouTube)

This is a funny, insightful, clever, and moving talk by Bill Nye the Science Guy, as a keynote speech at TAM 2014. He talks about his life, the Ken Ham / Bill Nye debate, and a lot about science. Although long, it’s well worth listening to. It’s no wonder Bill Nye is called the Science Guy, as his presentation technique is fantastic.

We need more science communicators like Bill Nye! Onwards!

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The ESO Observatories: Atacama Transitions And Landscapes Under The Southern Sky

This is a simply superb piece of time lapse photography, taken by Christoph Malin. It is set at the ESO Observatories in the Atacama Desert, which is known for its super clear night skies.

And what skies they are! It’s breathtaking seeing the transition from day to night, and witnessing all the stars come alive. Not only stars, but a whole host of other astronomical phenomena, including the Milky Way and meteors, as well as the observatories themselves (like ALMA). Over at Slate, Phil Plait gives a thorough rundown of what happens in the video.

My favourite things to observe are, first and foremost, seeing the Milky Way galaxy and the stars appear in the night sky as the sun disappears. I get goosebumps each time it happens! I also love seeing the meteors flash through the sky, especially the ones that start behind the camera and zoom off into the horizon.

Absolutely beautiful. Onwards!

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Angels And Airwaves – The Adventure

Angels and Airwaves – The Adventure.

An old song, but I heard it recently, and I actually rather like it. I liked it even more in my punk rock phase back when it was released, but it’s still a pretty decent song. Onwards!

Website, Wiki.

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How Animals Eat Their Food

Utterly silly, totally inaccurate, but downright hilarious. Do stay until the last animal!

Moooo! Onwards!

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Grammar’s Great Divide: The Oxford Comma – TED-Ed

If you read “Bob, a DJ and a clown” on a guest list, are three people coming to the party, or only one? That depends on whether you’re for or against the Oxford comma — perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time. When do we use one? Can it really be optional, or is there a universal rule? TED-Ed explores both sides of this comma conundrum.” (YouTube)

I’m a big fan of grammar and wordplay, and so this video really appeals to me. It’s all about the Oxford comma, that most tricky of punctuations. I say tricky… It’s actually rather simple. I use the Oxford comma, and I prefer it above not using it. I write as if I have to read the sentence out loud, and I find that when I am listing things, I take a breath between each word in the list, which is symbolised by the comma when writing it. For instance, I feel that “Going to buy some bread, milk, and cheese” reads and looks a lot better than “Going to buy some bread, milk and cheese”. Of course, other items are available to purchase as well.

Which do writing style do you prefer? With the Oxford comma, or without? Onwards!

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Hundred Reasons – Falter

Hundred ReasonsFalter.

Beautiful song by Hundred Reasons, and one of the lighter songs on their first album Ideas Above Our Station. I love the way the song builds up and up, which also makes it amazing to listen to and dance and sing along to live.

I’ll never falter. Onwards!

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Survival vs Mortality Rates

Almost every time someone wants to proclaim the US to be the “best in the world” in health care, they point to survival rates. Those refer to the percent of people who live a certain amount of time after they’ve been diagnosed with a disease. But there are real problems in using survival rates to compare the quality of care across systems. The metric people should be using is mortality rates. And when we compare mortality rates, we don’t look nearly as good. Why is this important? Glad you asked. We answer in this week’s episode.” (YouTube)

An really informative video by Healthcare Triage describing the difference between survival rates and mortality rates. It’s vital to understand what each of these terms mean, and why looking at the mortality rate of people suffering from a particular disease is far more useful and important than looking at the survival rate over, say, a five year period.

If I had to be treated for a disease, I’d rather see the mortality rates than the survival rates. Onwards!

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