Browsed by
Category: Commentary

I love teaching science – and I’m not going anywhere.

I love teaching science – and I’m not going anywhere.

A short story about the Alberta JH Science textbooks. I’m one of the authors of the Science in Action series, and when we completed the first book, I had the idea to create a support website for it. While every textbook has a support website these days, back in the year 2000 this was pretty radical thinking. Anyway, the excellent people at Pearson gave me the thumbs up and I built the Science in Action support website. In those days,…

Read More Read More

What is a Bose-Einstein Condensate?

What is a Bose-Einstein Condensate?

A few weeks ago I watched a great Netflix movie by the name of Spectral. Anything science-fiction-y and scary, I tend to like! But this movie was indeed really cool and had some great special effects involving some other-worldly type creatures that were doing some serious killing. Part of the suspense in these movies is trying to figure out what the weird creatures are, and Spectral didn’t disappoint, it ramped-up some intense suspense, leading to the identity of the killer…

Read More Read More

Stunning 4K Time-lapse of the Sun

Stunning 4K Time-lapse of the Sun

NASA’s solar dynamics observatory is known for taking spectacular images of the Sun. Someone had the fantastic idea to take the high-resolution images and string them together, resulting in a spectacular animation. What’s more is that this animation was rendered in 4K, so you can view it full-size on even the largest monitors without any loss in quality. So this would be a good video to “view on YouTube“, and then, if you’ve got the bandwidth to support it, choose “4K” (2160p) from…

Read More Read More

Chickakoo Nature Area – Perfect for Biodiversity Studies!

Chickakoo Nature Area – Perfect for Biodiversity Studies!

I was recently asked about ideas for biodiversity studies – and at the top of my list if you are in the Edmonton area would be the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area. Just a few minutes North of Stony Plain, this nature area is a real treasure. Chickakoo is LOADED with bodies of water – lakes, ponds, sloughs – all easily accessible, safe, and perfect for collecting water samples. The flora is highly varied, your students will have a great time…

Read More Read More

ScienceMan’s Experience with… Juicing?

ScienceMan’s Experience with… Juicing?

Juicing – Introduction… Why Juice? At one point or another it seems we all consider improving our eating habits. About a year ago, I reached that point myself after many years of bacon addiction and carrying around an extra 30 pounds. Thanks to a very encouraging and supportive wife, and a great group of “maximum training” friends, I’ve really improved my fitness. At the same time, I’ve made some pretty straightforward and simple changes in diet – minimizing breads, pasta,…

Read More Read More

Home Hacks – Furnace Humidifier Pan

Home Hacks – Furnace Humidifier Pan

Those of you with older homes might have an older model of Wait-Skuttle drum-style humidifier attached to your furnace. In my case, I’ve got the 45S model, which was very popular “in the old days”: Cleaning these humidifiers is always an unpleasant task. Even more so if you have hard water – the evaporation that occurs leaves behind crusts and deposits of calcium that are difficult to remove. The evaporator pad is not worth cleaning – replacement pads are very…

Read More Read More

Scientific Explorer Series on Dark Energy

Scientific Explorer Series on Dark Energy

A stunning series on the Dark Matter from Scientific Explorer has recently been published – this is a 14-part tour-de-force of physics that you really MUST read. Here are the links to every excellent entry in the series: Part 1: How Dark Energy Fits Into the Evolution of the Universe Part 2: What Expansion of Space Means Part 3: Two NASA Pie Charts Tell Us a Great Deal – And Bring Up Many Questions Part 4: What happened to the matter in the universe? Part 5: The…

Read More Read More

Cutting the Cable

Cutting the Cable

You don’t have to do much research to learn that people are dropping their pay TV services in record numbers. It’s not hard to imagine why. Personally, I finally got sick of paying $100/month cable bills for a bunch of junk channels that I never watch. It’s only due to laziness that I never cut my cable a long time ago – I was afraid of the hassle, but ironically, it’s been a lot of fun switching to alternate sources…

Read More Read More

Project Adult Literacy Society – A Very Noble Cause!

Project Adult Literacy Society – A Very Noble Cause!

When people think about English as a Second Language (ESL), we often don’t consider the full implications of needing to get proper language training. It’s often a lot more serious than just being able to participate in everyday conversation. Consider that many immigrants may want to qualify for colleges or training programs. For example, how do you pass an entrance exam for a science program, when you don’t know science vocabulary in the English language? Thankfully, there are some wonderful…

Read More Read More

Plastic Pump Bottles – An Environmental Scourge!

Plastic Pump Bottles – An Environmental Scourge!

OK, I admit it, I’m a bit of a “tree-hugger”, and that means I re-use and recycle pretty religiously. So take my following comments with a grain of salt! One consumer product item that gets my goat a bit is pump bottles. Have you ever taken these things apart? It’s surprising how many plastic, metal, and rubber parts contribute to these pump mechanisms: Now for some products, it might be a net benefit – for example, the liquid soap dispenser…

Read More Read More