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January 24, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Conversation with Mars geologist Matt Smith — Parts 3 & 4

Matt Smith of UW and I talked over lunch one bright Spring day last year when Spirit passed away gently without suffering to praises sung all over the world. Today its sister Opportunity is celebrating 8 years of going strong, and we finish the conversation. (Previously, part 1 and part 2.)

3 generations of Mars rovers: Sojorner, Spirit/Opportunity and Curiosity siblings

Part 3 of 4

TOAD: How many people at the UW are studying Mars?

MATT SMITH:  Probably about five faculty, maybe not full-time but in some capacity. And grad students — seven? There’s not a very big planetary community at UW. I was one of the first.

Read more…

January 20, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Citizen science this weekend

The great and ongoing COASST (Coastal Observation And Seabird Survey Team) citizen science program hosts another training day at the Kitsap Library in Poulsbo, WA (map) on Saturday, Jan 21st, 10:30am-4:30pm. Free ($20 deposit for a take-home volunteer kit including the Beached Birds field guide).

If you, as they say, enjoy long walks on the beach, consider joining COASST and adding your observations to our collective knowledge.

In any case, have a great weekend!

January 18, 2012 / Dr. Toad

NO to censorship. NO to SOPA/PIPA.

Contact your reps and senators.

update: Just tried looking on Sen. Patty Murray’s senate webpage for her office’s phone number, and got a 500 error, then a 503 error. I guess that means the blackout day is working and everybody is looking up and calling their reps and senators. Good work, everybody!


January 18, 2012 / Dr. Toad

An intriguing talk is scheduled at Seattle Biomed (map) at 12 noon today. Patrick Stayton, of UW Bioengineering, is to talk about smart delivery systems that open the intracellular target universe to biologic drugs and vaccines.

Will it in fact happen? It seems like the snowmaggedon has been postponed or even cancelled. So I’m guessing that Prof. Stayton will be there and so should we. Free.

More events on the calendar.

January 17, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Seattle NerdNite FTW!

Last night I went to my first Seattle NerdNite and it was awesome. And I’m not only saying that because Kyle O’Neill had the audience scream ‘I am awesome!’ as soon as he was on stage.

This curious man is not Kyle O'Neill.

LUCID was full of friendly and cool young nerds, with a sweet networking/cruising vibe going on, perhaps as a result of a speed-dating meetup that was happening in the same cozy space during the happy hour before the talks.

UW Aero-Astro grad student Kristina Wang gave us all the ammo we’d need were we ever to encounter a Moon landing hoax-er. Here she is demonstrating what happens to photographs as you increase exposure (and my photo demos what happens if you don’t know how to set exposure correctly inside a dim bar).

Kristine Wang -- Moon landing hoax hoax

There was also talk of lack of thruster wells, of shadow angles and of radiation. And then, Kyle O’Neill wrangled occasionally pretty hilarious improv from the audience, while giving away the tricks of the trade.

Julia and Ross — the “bosses” as they like to call themselves of Seattle NerdNite — only moved here back in September from Boston, the cradle of nerddom and NerdNite. Finding Seattle full of nerds but lacking in organized awesomeness, they started hosting immediately, and to great effect. Last night they were even distributing free copies of the newly minted Issue 1 of NerdNite magazine, which was surprisingly really good. Sadly, I spilled a drink on mine and left it at the bar.

A Seattle nerd (me)

The next night on Feb 20th (it’s always on the 3rd Monday of the month) will feature a vaguely Valentine’s theme, and I’ll be there if I can help it! They promise us a talk on “Initial Attraction” and something about nerds and boobs. Here’s Ross with next month’s speaker Jessica aka JoJo Stiletto and last night’s speaker Kristina Wang.

Ross, Jessica and Kristina

See you next time!

January 16, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended today — Mon, Jan 16, 2012

Tonight is Seattle’s Nerd Nite, starting 6:30pm for the drinks, 7:30pm for the talks, at Lucid Jazz Lounge (map). Featuring Kristina Wang on “the Moon landing hoax hoax” and Kyle O’Neill on “Dr Improv”. As they say, be there and be square! $5 cover.

January 12, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended today — Jan 12, 2012

Tonight! In Seattle at 7pm, Winifred Gallagher reads from her newest book New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change at the Elliot Bay Bookstore. Free.

And in Poulsbo at 7:30pm, Dr. Julia Parrish, UW Prof and Executive Director of the citizen science initiative COASST, talks on seabirds and COASST at the Kitsap Audubon. Free.

January 10, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended today — Jan 10, 2012

Tonight at 6:30pm Tacoma Science Cafe hosts University of Puget Sound’s Prof. Rand Worland who will tell you all about the physics of music and how you can use light to study sound, while you drink and ask questions at the Swiss Pub (map). Free.

Also today, a biomedical community conversation at 5:30pm at Kakao Coffee & Chocolate, and a talk on people and the health policies that affect them at 4pm at the Group Health Research Institute. All free.

More events on the calendar.
January 9, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended today — Jan 9, 2012

Tonight at 7pm Eastside Science Cafe presents UW’s Dr. Brittany D. Brand who will tell you how to prepare for a Pacific Northwest volcanic eruption, while you have a drink and ask questions at the Wilde Rover in downtown Kirkland (map). Free. You should go in person, but should you have to miss it, you can catch it again online at KCTS9.

Also today, Seattle BioMed kicks off its Global Infectious Disease seminar series at noon. Free.

More details on these and other events on the calendar.


January 7, 2012 / Dr. Toad

@RepMaloney, don’t deny the public access to taxpayer-funded research. It’s against both public interest and  scientific progress.

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