Mentor Berulk (Haziri)

Methodological Musings.

Currently re-blogging about random interests of mine. This tumblr is soon to be used (once work/studies allows for more time) as a blog on on my research into bioponics, exotic crops, enviromental issues and economic development from a New-Instititutional Economics perspective.



10 ways to get children thinking about science while they play from series 1 of ExpeRimental

You can watch the full videos and download worksheets and certificates for all of these activities on the ExpeRimental website.

By simply asking lots of questions and encouraging children to look closely at the world around them, you can introduce them to the wonderful world of science.

Curiosity! Kids are full of the stuff, and with a little direction, you can turn that enthusiasm into great learning experiences.


Volcanoes seem to be a common topic these days. Yesterday Nautilus published a great piece by Aatish Bhatia on the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which tore the island apart and unleashed a sound so loud it was heard more than 4800 km away:

The British ship Norham Castle was 40 miles from Krakatoa at the time of the explosion. The ship’s captain wrote in his log, “So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered. My last thoughts are with my dear wife. I am convinced that the Day of Judgement has come.”

In general, sounds are caused not by the end of the world but by fluctuations in air pressure. A barometer at the Batavia gasworks (100 miles away from Krakatoa) registered the ensuing spike in pressure at over 2.5 inches of mercury1,2. That converts to over 172 decibels of sound pressure, an unimaginably loud noise. To put that in context, if you were operating a jackhammer you’d be subject to about 100 decibels. The human threshold for pain is near 130 decibels, and if you had the misfortune of standing next to a jet engine, you’d experience a 150 decibel sound. (A 10 decibel increase is perceived by people as sounding roughly twice as loud.) The Krakatoa explosion registered 172 decibels at 100 miles from the source. This is so astonishingly loud, that it’s inching up against the limits of what we mean by “sound.” #

Those are some mindbogglingly enormous numbers. Aatish does a wonderful job of explaining the science behind an explosion whose effects ricocheted through the atmosphere for days afterward. Check out the full article over at Nautilus.  (Image credit: Parker & Coward, via Wikipedia)

“In general, sounds are caused not by the end of the world but by fluctuations in air pressure.” That quote may be one of the best things i have read, ever!


Our lovely blue planet, the Earth, is the only home we know. Venus is too hot. Mars is too cold. But the Earth is just right, a heaven for humans. After all, we evolved here. But our congenial climate may be unstable. We are perturbing our poor planet in serious and contradictory ways. Is there any danger of driving the environment of the Earth toward the planetary Hell of Venus or the global ice age of Mars? The simple answer is that nobody knows. The study of the global climate, the comparison of the Earth with other worlds, are subjects in their earliest stages of development. They are fields that are poorly and grudgingly funded. In our ignorance, we continue to push and pull, to pollute the atmosphere and brighten the land, oblivious of the fact that the long-term consequences are largely unknown. A few million years ago, when human beings first evolved on Earth, it was already a middle-aged world, 4.6 billion years along from the catastrophes and impetuosities of its youth. But we humans now represent a new and perhaps decisive factor. Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family? Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet? The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished.
— Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)

Read it all. And keep in mind, as we move forward with our lives beyond this important (and hopefully historic) moment in our developing history, that Carl would have not only been right alongside those protesting around the world for global climate action, he would have most certainly been one of the key featured speakers at the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit.

(via thatssoscience)


Totally crazy science.

Available now as Orphan Black Merch at Redbubble.

(via thatssoscience)

After reading about gender-bias and conversation dominance in the classroom, I asked for a peer to observe a physics class I was teaching and keep track of the discussion time I was giving to various students along with their race and gender. In this exercise, I knew I was being observed and I was trying to be extra careful to equally represent all students―but I STILL gave a disproportionate amount of discussion time to the white male students in my classroom (controlling for the overall distribution of genders and races in the class). I was shocked. It felt like I was giving a disproportionate amount of time to my white female and non-white students.

Even when I was explicitly trying, I still failed to have the discussion participants fairly represent the population of the students in my classroom.

This is a well-studied phenomena and it’s called listener bias. We are socialized to think women talk more than they actually do. Listener bias results in most people thinking that women are ‘hogging the floor’ even when men are dominating.

Stop interrupting me: gender, conversation dominance and listener bias, by Jessica Kirkpatrick from Women In Astronomy

Implicit bias is a thing, just like privilege. Calling it out isn’t meant to shame anyone, but to alert us to step it up and improve ourselves so everyone can have a voice. Be conscious of what you and others are saying, and know when not to speak.

(via scientific-women)

(Source: itsawomansworld2, via thatssoscience)


Parents say it’s a form of digital kidnapping. Instagram isn’t sure what to say.

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Not even the internet has a word for this level of creepy.

Invading ant threatens unique African ecosystem


The bigheaded ant, a destructive invader.

Call it Game of Thorns. A prickly tree that grows in the clay-rich soils of East Africa recruits stinging ants to defend itself from gnawing giraffes and marauding bull elephants. In return, the trees provide nectar and shelter—swollen thorns—for the insects. The rewards are so attractive that, in a drama reminiscent of a medieval fantasy TV show, four native ant species battle each other to inhabit the trees. But according to a new study, this warring kingdom is under siege by an even more violent outsider. The consequences could affect elephants, other large wildlife, and perhaps the future of iconic reserves such as Serengeti National Park.

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Read it. It’s quite amazing what wondrous things occur everywhere around us in the lives of various insects and plants. This is in East Africa but there are many similarly sensitive ecosystems everywhere around us that we pay no mind as we go about our days. The complexity of evolution is awe-inspiring at times (or always awe-inspiring actually).


Feel like you’ve been transported back to dial-up today? Dozens of Internet companies are participating in a symbolic slowdown of their sites in a protest for net neutrality. Netflix, Etsy, and Tumblr (to name just a few) joined in its “Internet Slowdown Day.”

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Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.


Yes, you are, and we’re ready to help you.

(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone can start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)


Honda the first unisex car…

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy