Staying awake

2 10 2012

I have this text from a certain crazy cat man that I’ve been meaning to post for a while.  I can’t remember the conversation, but apparently it has to do with staying awake.

Next time you should bring articles on the ratio of paracellular and transcellular transport as a function of high unsaturated fatty acid concentration phospholipids.  That always keeps me awake.

Saturday Morning Documentary: Nova ScienceNow

8 07 2011

Hosted by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (who has appeared on other shows the Colbert Report Nova ScienceNow is a mix of typical informational PBS documentary series and kid’s show — if a little older.  A show like Nova can be super informational but at the same time, super serious to the point where learning becomes boring.  What Nova ScienceNow tries to do is have an intelligent, charming host + green screen cheesy graphics and animations + simple, easy to understand segments and instantly, the show becomes a lot more accessible, and, in essence, a lot more fun to watch.

I’ve only seen one season of the show but each episode is focused on a question; ie. Episode one asks, “Can we make it to Mars?”.  From there, the hour long episode is divided into various segments that explore the question.  Researchers go into the field, interviewing scientists and experts alike.  What I like about the show is that sometimes, the show attempts to try and get to actually know the researchers rather than interview them because their smart and that they’ll say intelligent things.  For instance, in the last episode, titled “What’s the Next Big Thing?”, one segment focuses on a scientist Jay Keasling, who is developing biofuels from bacteria that would hopefully replace oil in cars.  Instead of the segment just based on his research and the future of biofuel, they interviewed him on a bit of his life, and even mentioned briefly that he’s gay (which was a pleasant surprise).

Though the show borders on dumbing-down things sometimes, it’s all in all a good watch if you’re in the mood for some not-so serious learning.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chaser, a super smart dog in Ep. 4

Saturday Morning Documentary: Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention

24 01 2011

I’ve always loved Wallace and Gromit.  I think I probably knew more of it than I did watching it though.  The first time I saw a Wallace and Gromit film (that I can remember) is Grade 11 when Mr. Mey, my Law 12 teacher, showed us one of the movies in class for fun.  It was the one with the evil penguin, which, thinking about it now, already makes me laugh.

Then there were the other, bigger movies like Curse of the Were-Rabbit (which was soooo good), and after an Oscar-nominated short a couple years back, I wondered if Wallace and Gromit would ever grace the world with its awesomeness again.  After all, I read somewhere that it takes animators a day of work for a few seconds of animation.  God, I could never possess that much patience for a job like that.

But lo and behold!  The dorky bald guy and the lovable, clever pooch are back!  This time, they’ve got a documentary series on wacky but super interesting and cool inventions.  Part animation, part reality, the series is hosted by Wallace but the show itself is divided into segments that are either voice-overed or are covered by Jem, a reporter dude.  Each episode covers different topics: in the first episode, nature-inspired invetions are the highlights, such as buildings that are constructed in the like of anthills.  And in episode 4, they look at look at everything connected with senses, like bees that are used in detecting bombs and a device that allows blind people to “see” images.

Filled with Wallace’s trademark puns and Gromit providing physical gags (ie. getting hurt), the show tries to make science cool and fun, which I appreciate.  Let’s hope this isn’t the end of Wallace and Gromit!


Wallace and Gromit toasting

Wallace and Gromit toasting