Share a Science Documentary Day

Science documentaries. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you love them. You’ve watched both iterations of Cosmos; you’ve joined Stephan Hawkings on an exploration of the universe; you’ve learned about the rovers, landers, orbiters, and space stations exploring our solar system; you’ve experience Sr. David full-on gushing over a hedgehog. If I were to write a blog post trying to convince you to check out some of Sweet Tea Science’s favorite science documentaries, you would scoff because you are so on top of that. And that’s awesome! Seriously, let’s take a moment to appreciate our collective thirst for knowledge!

However, let’s not get so ahead of ourselves that we forget to share this excitement, enthusiasm, and thirst with others!

I have been inspired by a lovely evening out with my partner and his friend. We had been enjoying a few beers, and we got on the subject of education, intelligence, science, space and…well, you know how conversations can go. We eventually got on the subject of exploring our solar system and trying to understand the creation of the universe. Now, keep in mind that I love these kinds of conversations and could go on and on for a while. My comments are often prefaced with “I saw once in a documentary that…[insert science here]”. I was shocked to find that the friend had never heard of some of what we were discussing. It wasn’t that he didn’t have an interest in the topics, quite the opposite! He tried to write it off as us just being inherently smarter than him, but honestly, it was just a product of being an avid science documentary watcher. The knowledge is out there, I just Netflixed my way to it! I want others to know that they can too!

I am beginning to realize that there exists a set of people out there that are interested in exploring the sciences, but they don’t believe in themselves or don’t know what avenues to explore to help with their intellectual endeavors. This is where we come in. I’m going to assume that the majority of readers are here because they are totally into science. If we all independently hosts screenings of science documentaries and invite lots of our friends that might not normally choose such a film, then think of all of the science converts! I propose we
take this opportunity to organize. I nominate September 17th, 2014 as the first annual Share a Science Documentary Day!

This is a project that will require the help and support of the online scientific community. Science Side, I’m looking at you!

Your STS Homework:

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1. Share your favorite science documentary. You may do this in the comments here, on our Tumblr, or on your own social media outlet of choice! Be sure and tag us, @SweetTeaScience, so we can reblog/post/tweet you. Feel free to use the tag #SciDocuDay2014!

2. Host a Science Documentary Viewing on September 17th, 2014. Invite friends now and get people excited!

3. After your viewing don’t forget to try and start a dialogue. Talk about what you just learned and encourage others to share their impressions.  (Editor’s note: I think this would be a great time to talk about how to pick a documentary that isn’t bunk and how to be a skeptical consumer of information.  I mean, I love me some Netflix docus, but I’ve also quit some half way because…bunk.)

4. If you’d like, write up a little something about your event. What did you watch; did people enjoy it; would you host a similar movie night again, etc. We’d love to hear back and post your feedback on our blog or Tumblr!

Best of luck to everyone choosing a film to watch. Here might be a good place to start. We’ll keep you updated via tumblr about our own plans and movies that we choose to watch at our respective events! If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Cool Stuff Sunday 5

Another beautiful New Mexican Sunday has come and is spoiling me with its warmth and sunshine. These are the types of days that I need to appreciate and remember if I end up participating in the Mars Analog Food Study. I’ll just have memories of the sun’s warmth and the fresh air’s breeze. So enjoy the post and the content I’ve compiled, but then get off of the internet and go outside! And not just because there might be candy hidden.

Before you check out the videos and links, perhaps you can take a minutes to sign a petition to raise the allotment of tax money to increase NASA’s funding?

This guy is not quite as cuddly as the Easter Bunny
A very cool NPR story that I heard on the radio about using music to teach math
 and fractions!. Creative education that works is so wonderful!
A really creative fix that may allow us to utilize brown seaweed for biofuel! I wouldn’t
mind going to the coast and helping with that research!
I’m afraid some of the sound clip links may not be functioning, but an interesting article nevertheless
about how things sound on different planets! The thunder clips are my favorite!

I came across this video series (The Feynman Series) which serves as a compliment to the Sagan Series. Richard Feynman is another notable scientific communicator. This Nobel Prize co-winner was invaluable to the field of physics and made contributions both within his research and passion for teaching and popularizing the subject. What I really love about these series of videos is that they serve as such unique tools for inspiring interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). I want to soak up as many of these as possible so I can understand what I love about them most and try and use that to inspire my own attempts. I’ve found both more visual and awe-inspiring videos, such as the one above, and more silly attempts:

Another cool TED talk (can you tell I’m border-line obsessed with these?) by the author of Eat, Pray, Love. She talks about the notion of having your ‘greatest achievement’ accomplished and behind you, as well as the concept of ‘being’ a genius vs. ‘having’ genius. 
Question of The Day:
What are you going to do OUTSIDE this week?

We Are Made of Star Dust

I am trying to limit the number of daily posts so that I don’t overwhelm readers, and also so that I don’t run out of ideas! However, since inspiration and passion are important tenants of this blog, I must share this video.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is gifted with an eloquence that I admire and strive to attain. He is currently the world’s most recognizable astrophysicist. Perhaps you have seen his meme or presence in pop culture? Along with Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Dr. Tyson is a commendable and entertaining science communicator. I will discuss the importance of scientific dialogue in subsequent posts, but spoiler alert: it’s vital.