Science in a Jar

"Glassified" Ruler by MIT Media Lab Automatically Measures Angles, Volume, and Shape Properties.

[source]

Carlos gets Snapchat

MATH MYTHS: (from Mind over Math)

1. MEN ARE BETTER IN MATH THAN WOMEN.
Research has failed to show any difference between men and women in mathematical ability. Men are reluctant to admit they have problems so they express difficulty with math by saying, “I could do it if I tried.” Women are often too ready to admit inadequacy and say, “I just can’t do math.”

2. MATH REQUIRES LOGIC, NOT INTUITION.
Few people are aware that intuition is the cornerstone of doing math and solving problems. Mathematicians always think intuitively first. Everyone has mathematical intuition; they just have not learned to use or trust it. It is amazing how often the first idea you come up with turns out to be correct.

3. MATH IS NOT CREATIVE.
Creativity is as central to mathematics as it is to art, literature, and music. The act of creation involves diametrical opposites—working intensely and relaxing, the frustration of failure and elation of discovery, satisfaction of seeing all the pieces fit together. It requires imagination, intellect, intuition, and aesthetic about the rightness of things.

4. YOU MUST ALWAYS KNOW HOW YOU GOT THE ANSWER.
Getting the answer to a problem and knowing how the answer was derived are independent processes. If you are consistently right, then you know how to do the problem. There is no need to explain it.

5. THERE IS A BEST WAY TO DO MATH PROBLEMS.
A math problem may be solved by a variety of methods which express individuality and originality-but there is no best way. New and interesting techniques for doing all levels of mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus, have been discovered by students. The way math is done is very individual and personal and the best method is the one which you feel most comfortable.

6. IT’S ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO GET THE ANSWER EXACTLY RIGHT.
The ability to obtain approximate answer is often more important than getting exact answers. Feeling about the importance of the answer often are a reversion to early school years when arithmetic was taught as a feeling that you were “good” when you got the right answer and “bad” when you did not.

There is nothing wrong with counting on fingers as an aid to doing arithmetic. Counting on fingers actually indicates an understanding of arithmetic-more understanding than if everything were memorized.

8. MATHEMATICIANS DO PROBLEMS QUICKLY, IN THEIR HEADS.
Solving new problems or learning new material is always difficult and time consuming. The only problems mathematicians do quickly are those they have solved before. Speed is not a measure of ability. It is the result of experience and practice.

9. MATH REQUIRES A GOOD MEMORY.
Knowing math means that concepts make sense to you and rules and formulas seem natural. This kind of knowledge cannot be gained through rote memorization.

10. MATH IS DONE BY WORKING INTENSELY UNTIL THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED. Solving problems requires both resting and working intensely. Going away from a problem and later returning to it allows your mind time to assimilate ideas and develop new ones. Often, upon coming back to a problem a new insight is experienced which unlocks the solution.

11. SOME PEOPLE HAVE A “MATH MIND” AND SOME DON’T.
Belief in myths about how math is done leads to a complete lack of self-confidence. But it is self-confidence that is one of the most important determining factors in mathematical performance. We have yet to encounter anyone who could not attain his or her goals once the emotional blocks were removed.

12. THERE IS A MAGIC KEY TO DOING MATH.
There is no formula, rule, or general guideline which will suddenly unlock the mysteries of math. If there is a key to doing math, it is in overcoming anxiety about the subject and in using the same skills you use to do everything else.

Source: “Mind Over Math,” McGraw-Hill Book Company, pp. 30-43.

Revised: Summer 1999
Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC)
Southwest Texas State University

DNA From This Ugly Fish Is Being Used to Synthesize Bulletproof Slime

If you have ever seen a picture or a video of a hagfish, it’s probably been on some roundup of the ocean’s most horrifying creatures. But the DNA within that very creature, often known as a “slime eel,” just might be the key to creating sustainable, biodegradable plastic and lighter bulletproof clothing.

The hagfish has a skull but no vertebrae or spinal chord, so scientists aren’t totally sure whether to classify it as a vertebrate or not. It hasn’t really changed in roughly 300 million years, which makes it a “living fossil.” But this primitive sort of design is a boon for researchers who see potential in the hagfish’s trademark, and arguably grossest, trait.

You see, when a hagfish is threatened, it often slimes predators—and within that slime are tiny filaments that are 100 times thinner than a human hair, yet stronger than nylon and kevlar.

Its filaments have many of the same properties as spider silk, but, genetically, it’s much simpler. That made it that much easier for a synthetic biology startup in Ireland to bioengineer e. coli into making the filaments within the slime, no hagfish required.

"It’s 300 million years old and hasn’t really changed its design since—we think it stopped evolving, and that’s why we think it’s easier to get a bacteria to make it than it is to get a bacteria to make spider silk," Russel Banta, founder of the company, called  Benthic Labs, told me. “I proposed trying to synthesize spider silk, but it’s just too complex to do in a cell right now and mass produce it.”

He’s not the first one who has had the idea—in a paper published earlier this year in Nature Communications, a researcher described how the slime is made within the hagfish, which was thought to be a breakthrough in potentially making its silk in the lab. But Banta is just having e. coli do it for him, instead.

"We found a company that synthesized the DNA for us from a genome sequence that was online, made some modifications to it so the bacteria could read it better, and put it into the e. coli,” Banta told me.

The bacteria are now synthesizing two separate parts of the threads made within the slime, while Banta and his team are looking at ways to put them together, either outside the cell or within the cell itself. He says he hopes to have a breakthrough within the next week or two. From there, it’s a matter of scaling it up and mass producing it.

"The gene is so simple that we can take it, put it in the bacteria 100 more times and just make the bacteria make more of it," he said. "If you can make enough of it, the things you can use it for are really endless."

### "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you set up a life you don’t need to escape from."

Seth Godin (via liberatingreality)

i wanna start from the top
maybe like a do-over
replace the voices in my head with blind innocence
i wanna complete re-do
maybe change my name
report the loses grab the claim
it’s a shame it’s such a shame
we’re pissing away our time cause we’re pissing away these beers
no monumental moment ever came from saying
come on dude, just take one more shot
try to, try to forget, that your bones will dismantle
and the dreams you had they’ll collide with time
your unrequited love for life will surely….
halt that i’m thinking way too much at night
maybe i could just move away or go extinct like triceratops
but i love loving: watching movies, sitting back and also breathing
my family and friends would be crushed, but is it enough
the “future freaks me out” but i guess i could just
curl up in a ball and think
try to, try to forget, that your bones will dismantle
and the dreams you had they’ll collide with time
your unrequited love for life will surely….
halt that i’m thinking way too much at night
i won’t be breaking any barriers
so i’ll keep thinking the “future freaks me out”
i won’t judge you if you think the same
so let’s keep thinking
well the future, the future freaks us out

The Pale Blue Dot (Full video)

Hamlet, Act 1, scene ii

### "Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night. That is how galaxies are made."

Tyler Kent White  (via forlornes)