How to Be a Dolphin (Not a Hippie)

My latest for Nautil.us. It was only a matter of time.

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Science Comedy & Regular Comedy

Storytelling is a thing that I do, and here’s a video of a recent gig. The story I tell is not scientific––OR IS IT…?

It is also my pleasure to introduce Regret Labs, a Science/Comedy podcast to which my fellow comedians Levi Weinhagen and Aric McKeown invited me because they needed a little more science for their not-so-much-science.

This is the kind of podcast where people talk over each other sometimes. Into it? Not into it? Drop a comment on the site to let us know.

Episode #8 (#2.5 with Maggie):  Guest Scientist Dr. Michelle LaRue on Science Communication and Penguin Stank

I am the SciComm from Your Video

One more dispatch from my adventures with Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre & their Interrobang Festival of Questions. Click the below links for some primo procrastination-aiding video content!

A discussion of ocean vs. space travel & the public’s expectations of science*, among molecular biologist/science communicator Upulie Divisekera, sci-fi author & BoingBoing editor Cory Doctorow, & some “comedy science” lady (me)

use mars interrobang

And What Future Do We Want and Deserve? With radical chef Adam Liaw, futurist Kristin Alford, author/editor Cory Doctorow, & that “comedy science” lady again, moderated by Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams

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*Stay tuned for the above-referenced COMPETITIVE Q&A, plus my speech on what science & art tell us about the importance of words vs. actions.

 

 


I Am the SciComm from Your Radio

In Australia last month for the Interrobang Festival of Questions, I talked on the radio. It was a lot like talking on the radio here, only, as my dad would say, upside down.

The Triple R Breakfasters program is the single coolest morning show I’ve ever heard. They play good music & talk about good film & art & make good jokes AND: they have regular science segments. By choice. They are the future. Listen to us chat HERE.

And on ABC’s The Drawing Room, I got to talk science art, science ed, hip hop etymologies, & grammatical pet peeves with fellow geek Mary Norris, the Comma Queen (below, left).
Listen to us chat HERE. We really hit it off.
  CUt8uiYUwAAHkGk  interrobang crew.jpg
In fact, look at all these great new Interrobang friends. Partake in their good work: (clockwise from the left) Nakkiah Lui, Adam Liaw, Steph Harmon, Present, Logan O’Neill (carpenter & archivist), Kristin Alford, Upulie Divisekera, Benjamin Law.

Coming soon: more from the Interrobang archives! Happy New Year to all, & to all a good night.

[UPDATE: January 4th, 2016] The internet just delivered me THIS long-lost gem from my guest spot on the Twin Cities Hit Show. Trigger warning: Talk Radio.

Research, Regrets, & the Land Where Marsupialia is King

cutest niseI’m proud to formally introduce a research report, informally posted on the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network site.

What’s “Informal Science Education (ISE)”? That’s when people learn about science somewhere OTHER than school. And we know that people learn a lot MORE in informal science settings when they feel like the material is RELEVANT to them. So we did an exploratory study to see what it looked like when people found relevance in a museum exhibition––what they talked about, how they talked about it, and what the exhibition did to help all that happen. Here’s a little ditty about what we found:

NISE Net Research on How Visitors Find & Discuss Relevance in the Nano Exhibition (co-author with colleagues at Museum of Science Boston, University of Notre Dame)

What else is new? I’m headed to Melbourne in a few weeks, to join some of the weirdest, coolest, nerdiest folks currently thinking about––urm––all sorts of things. We’re called the “Brains Trust” (shoutout to a cleverly dodged copyright infringement), and we’re scientists, writers, artists, comedians, and “all-of-the-abovers” who will be answering the public’s questions and posing even MORE questions about the future of knowledge. It all goes down at INTERROBANG: A Festival of Questions. Many thanks to the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writers, & Ideas for having us.

courtesy of Interrobang & the Wheeler Centre

courtesy of Interrobang & the Wheeler Centre

Stay tuned, Dolphinteers, as I’ll be back soon to tell you about some more projects lurking just beyond the horizon:

REGRET LABS…? A scientific/comedic look into what folks should have learned in science class but maybe didn’t

GHOSTWRITER…? A multi-media piece in which fact meets fiction meet potentially rude visual art

The Project Formerly Known as MOTHER LOVER….? Because the Earth is your Mom and you luuuuuv her.


Updates: Real Science

As of March, I’m officially a Research and Evaluation Associate at the Science Museum of Minnesota. What does that mean? I’m continuing to use science to study how people learn about science (the research part of my job), and to see if the science museum is effectively teaching people science (the evaluation part of my job), only now I design & head studies myself. It’s an honor and a thrill.

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In fact, I talked about it on twitter via the @RealScientists handle last month as well. More on that and my journey into science here. [Check back for the Storify soon…]

In other news….puppet interview copy

Last week I attended the American Alliance of Museums annual conference and presented a poster about the reflective interview techniques used in my research this past year (spoiler: kids know more about themselves than you think; puppets help).

Conference highlight:  After his awesome talk on animal empathy, famed primatologist Frans de Waal and I nerded out together about animal intelligence, anthropomorphism, and the problems with psychology and neuroscience. He rubbed his chin and got thinky about my dolphin book, which is the highest compliment you can receive from a researcher. You know his work on “fairness” in monkeys. Or you should:
May 20th, I’ll be in Washington DC as a scholarship recipient at the National Institutes of Health Science Education conference (NIHSciEd2015). May 28th, I’ll be at our very own Walker Arts Center for the first annual arts journalism conference, SUPERSCRIPT, because I keep insisting art and science belong together. (My SciArt column should ramp up again by then.) By the end of the year, I’ll have attended seven science and arts conferences. No rest for the wearious (weary+curious).

See you at a brown bag soon?


Transplantation

Here’s some stuff I was coyly withholding and/or forgot:

The Tangential has a book out and I have a piece in there! They let me write about Minnesota even though I’m not originally from here. In it, I explain the science behind that thing that happens when it’s so cold that you step outside and start swearing like a sailor. “Minnesota Tourette’s” I call it. See if you can find the super weird typo in the title that no one seemed to notice. Fun with print media.

Tomorrow, I’m honored to be part of the acclaimed international reading series Women of Letters alongside some pretty hardcore badasses. We’ll lay ourselves bare at Joe’s Pub in NYC. Come crush with us.

Meanwhile, things at the Science Museum are chugging along nicely. I’m learning about how kids connect to engineering and how grownups connect to nano (and probably learn better from it). Shhh. More when we publish.

And what ever happened to my Sci+Art column at the Walker Art Center’s MNartists.org? It’ll be back in two weeks. I just had to do some science and write about dolphins in secret for a bit.

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