Last Minute Giving

Last Minute Giving

Currently I’m somewhere between the Yucatan Peninsula and Florida. I’ve been at sea on the Norwegian Pearl since Dec 16 for the End of the World (not) Cruise, and all intentions of buying gifts and sending Christmas cards prior this trip were a complete failure. I guess I’m celebrating Eastern Orthodox holiday dates this year! All joking aside, it is the season of giving: both of giving gifts to friends and loved ones because you care, and giving financial donations to organizations you believe in because you want tax deductions. Several organizations I really love were lucky enough to be picked to get financial grants from the Uwingu project: Astronomers Without Borders and the Galileo Teacher Training Program were among the first 4...

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The internet – this place I live – has a culture. Srsly.

The internet – this place I live – has a culture. Srsly.

Online culture needs to be recognized as a unique culture. (TL;DR version:  *The internet has its own valuable culture. Those of you who only see online media as a way to promote your projects to people who are wasting time online … please get off my lawn –  solicitors aren’t welcome.) To this audience this idea probably seems like stating the obvious, but I had this moment of clarity while talking to a colleague who works with “diverse” audiences; people working with people of a visibly different culture (skin tone, apparel, socioeconomic class) are careful to learn their audiences needs, but people who suddenly decide social media is important don’t make the same attempt to understand the online audience. Okay, that was a stupidly long...

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Tweeting from an Asteroid

Tweeting from an Asteroid

Disclaimer:  I am not the human behind the @AsteroidMappers feed. I have the password, but so does everyone else working on CosmoQuest, and I know that since AsteroidMappers launched Saturday, I’ve been way too busy to tweet from that account. I haven’t tried to sort which (or which combo) or 3 possible people wrote these @AsteroidMappers tweets, and in a way I don’t want to know because that will erase the magic. All I know is that if you aren’t following this account you may not have giggled as much as I did this...

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Cosmic Castaways – You’re Invited!

Cosmic Castaways – You’re Invited!

My job let’s me do some of the most awesome things. One of those things is narrating planetarium shows. My 2nd planetarium show is premiering Oct. 4 at the Ward Beecher Planetarium in Youngstown, OH on the YSU campus. We’re taking advantage of this event to also host a fundraising dinner with proceeds going to the creation of more shows just like this one. Get your tickets now! Every other night this show is shown, admission will be completely free! This show was produced using funds from the National Science Foundation, and Ward Beecher keeps it’s doors open thanks to an endowment and thanks to donations and grants like the one that produced this show. I love this idea: Raise money to pay the costs associated with producing content, and then...

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Developing a better world, one astronomy lesson at a time

Developing a better world, one astronomy lesson at a time

Earlier today I realized I was one day off. I showed up for a meeting on communicating astronomy to the public and found myself in a meeting on generating more accurate world coordinate systems for sky surveys. While astrometry is important, it is something that I wasn’t interested in helping advance prior to lunch. Thus, I fled. In fleeing, I found myself in a session on how to use astronomy to develop the developing world. I sat my privileged white self down and pulled out my iPad and listened as delegates from nations as far ranging as Mozambique, Mexico, Nepal, and the Philippines presented talk after talk on how they are building a more educated future for our globe by building astronomy learning and capacity. I was sufficiently sucked in that I...

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Pink Tasks (post 2/2)

In yesterday’s women in science lunch, we ended with this question: Why do so many women remain silent about all the day-to-day micro-inequities and minor discriminations and injustices they deal with. Ignoring the obvious (it’s really hard to report someone for a million small things that can be blamed on “Oh, he was just in a bad mood), there are also many other reasons to remain silent. I long ago recognized that institutional bias against women – a bias that is often unconscious and unintentional – is something that is almost universal. Some institutions, when they recognize there is a problem, respond by working to positively change the institution. This occurred at MIT when it was realized that women were systematically given less...

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Pink Tasks (post 1 of 2)

In general, I’m not someone who is an activist feminist. My focus has always been on science research and education, but sometimes gender issues can’t be ignored. If you saw my talk from TAM2012, you know that for better or (more likely) for worse, the issues faced by women in science and skepticism have been a lot on my mind lately. I’m not the only one who’s been thinking about this a lot. Here at the IAU meeting, several activities have been designed around generating dialogue about women’s issues and helping to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for the women who are here. During the “Women in Science” lunch, we all sat down with our bento boxes and found our conversation shaped by a pamphlet of statistics...

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