THE LUSH LIST
An irregularly, posted list of SciCultureTech that catches my eye...
1. Quote of the Week: Iran and Science
Sometimes I find I have to go backwards to go forwards. As part of my attempt to better understand what's been happening in Iran this week, I went back and re-read "Tehran or Bust: A Journey Through the Heart of Iran," a piece by Hooman Majd in the June 1st issue of Newsweek. I found an interesting comment about Iran's attitude towards scientists. Discussing current events with his driver, an off-duty policeman from Isfahan, Madj writes:
While the resurgence of "geek culture" seems to be giving a boost to the American public's view of scientists, we still have a long way to go before spending time in the lab becomes a source of national U.S. pride.
2. Back to the Moon: Step 1
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) successfully blasted off on June 18th from Cape Canaveral, FL. According to NASA's website, the goal of the unmanned mission is to create a comprehensive atlas of the Moon’s features and resources to aid in the design of a lunar outpost. If we're going to send astronaut's back to the moon by 2020, we gotta pick out a nice, comfy landing spot.
For a look back at our earlier efforts to get to the moon, check out "From the Archives to the Moon," a collection from the the US National Archives on YouTube. Right now there are three films up, including a biography of Astronaut John Glenn, a piece about Dr. Robert Goddard, the "father of rocketry," and this piece from 1967 about trying to get photos of the surface of the moon so they could figure out whether it was safe for a man to land there. Where's Google Sky when you need it?
3. Opera in Space
I was lucky enough to catch the Wooster Group's performance of La Didone at the Redcat theater this week. The show is a mashup of Francesco Cavalli's 17th century Baroque opera La Didone and Mario Bava's 1965 cult sci-fi movie Terrore nello spazio (Planet of the Vampires). The combo of the mythological story of Dido and Aeneas and a the crew of a spaceship who makes a crash landing on a planet full of body snatchers is exquisite and surprisingly funny. As past and future collide, Wooster uses a variety of multi-media elements to help tell the story, leaving the audience in a rapturous limbo of time and space. For more on the show and the history of the company, the review in The New York Times has a good write up.
4. SNEEZE and DNA Games
I stumbled across RoutesGame.com thanks to a post from the ERV blog on scienceblogs.com. The collection of casual flash games includes fun stuff like a "viral" game that challenges you to infect as many peeps as possible with your sneeze, and a take off of Guitar Hero called DNA Heroes. After wasting far too much time playing the Sneeze game, I delved a bit further into the Routes site, which aims to take players into a world of genetics, evolution and the human genome using a variety of new media tools. For example, there's an interactive murder mystery that makes use of video, blogs and links across the web to help solve the crime. In another section, Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan embarks on a genetic testing quest to explore pressing issues such as whether her hangovers are caused by genes or gin.
According to the description on the site, Routes is a project of Channel 4 Education in association with the Wellcome Trust. The game was live from January 26th through to March 26th, 2009, but full archives are available so viewers can see the scope of the project.
5. Don't Be a Twit When It Comes to Safety
A piece in The Washington Post reminds folks to be mindful when tweeting on vacation. The great thing about social networking tools is they allow you to share your experiences with friends. But sometimes those 'friends' turn out to be thieves who capitalize on the fact that by posting pics & status updates, you've let it be known that you're out of town. As tempting as it can be to post the shot of you swimming with the Dolphins or partying in Prague, if no one else is at home, leave the vacation updates til you've returned. It's no fun getting away for some R&R, only to come back and find all your stuff gone.