If you follow #edchat, you might be familiar with #STEM, #pbl, #flipped, #NGSS, or #project but it is unlikely that you will ever see #lecture, #drillandreview, #traditionallearning, #presenter or #standanddeliver.
Have I completely lost you? Let me give some clarity to the sentence above. In social media such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook words, phrases and acronyms preceded by the symbol # are a way of tagging the ideas. Social media hipsters didn’t describe the # symbol as the ‘pound sign’ or the ‘number sign’, they came up with the descriptor ‘hashtag’ to describe this usage. It became so widespread that the term hashtag was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014.
With 2014 coming to a close, I took a second look at our blog posts for the year and linked some of them in Prezi to illustrate the many science topics we explored. For me, the year began and ended with Gerry’s Gene Scene YouTube videos. In January, I shared my excitement over learning about the thousand dollar genome. At the end of the year I was participating in a blogging festival supported by Science Borealis. In between those two, a number of other videos were posted, including interviews with student winners of the Genome Alberta science fair awards. Science fair season in Alberta began for us in February and culminated with the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Windsor, Ontario. We included a five part series, ‘the diary of a delegate’ on our blog.
Science Borealis is having a science blogging carnival this month and that got me thinking. Recently, I saw a show about how Archimedes communicated a discovery by running through the streets shouting Eureka. In this video I ask how would he do it today.
Genomics may be the modern equivalent of a time machine. We already learned through the genomic studies undertaken by Svante Pääbo that humans and Neanderthals did actually meet and mix briefly about 30,000 years ago. Can genomics help us visualize ecosystems of the past?
Mark Twain wrote The Innocents Abroad based on a trip he took in 1867. In one of the chapters, he described his visit to see the whirling dervishes in Turkey. It did not surprise me to see almost the identical ceremony in 2014. It has been performed as a religious ritual since the 13th century. In 2005, the 'Mevlevi Sema* Ceremony' of Turkey was named by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In recent years, this ancient religious ritual has morphed into a performance for tourists. As the dancers were in their apparent trances, I was thinking about the science that was suggested by our guide. He implied that there was perhaps an ancient foreshadowing of modern quantum theory by Rumi, the originator of the ancient Mevlevi Order.
Current information about the Sema ceremony indicates “it is scientifically recognized that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve”. This suggests a potential connection between the whirling dervishes and the spinning found in atomic particles. Is this perhaps a more recent attribution to what was initially designed as a religious ceremony? Here is how I’m looking at it: