24 Dec 2015

Deck the Halls With Boughs of Ilex!

Winter can get really cold in Canada!
By Claire Eamer (and the Sci/Why crew)

‘Tis the season to be jolly…. And to take a little time to relax, and maybe dip into a favourite book or website. We thought - as a present from us to you - that we’d tell you about a few of our favourites. And since we’re all science geeks here at Sci/Why, there’s plenty of science involved.

(Speaking of science, did you know that there are about 600 species of the genus Ilex? That’s holly, for those of you who are still decking your halls.)

So, here we go!

From the excellent science book writer and this year's Lane Anderson Award winner, L. E. Carmichael:
Here's a link to my favourite science story of the year – about a cure for a kind of blindness.

I discovered this treatment to cure a form of congenital blindness while researching GENE THERAPY in 2012, and it became the first chapter of the book. At that time, it had only been tested on dogs and a small group of patients, including a young boy named Corey Haas. Now the therapy is about to be approved, offering hope to all the people who suffer from the condition.
(Claire speaking: Actually, Lindsey liked this story so much that she wrote a blog post about it.)

From Margriet Ruurs, who sends in Sci/Why posts from the far corners of the world:
I love YOU ARE STARDUST by Elin Kelsey because of the gentle voice in which this story is told (in the ebook). It is the story of evolution, of how we all came to be here on this planet. There are lots of activities on Elin's site linked to the book. 
(Claire speaking: I love this book too – and the illustrations are beautiful. It really does work for readers of any age, from toddler to senior.)

Sometimes, it's not so cold. This is Canadian shirt-sleeve weather.

From Helen Mason, a recent and welcome addition to the Sci/Why ranks:
Here's my current favourite – an interview with a rock-snot scientist who wasn’t allowed to talk about his work until recently. 
Not only am I happy about Canadian scientists being unleashed, I'm looking forward to learning more about rock snot. A scientist who understands how such a term would interest listeners must have some interesting things to say.
Jan Thornhill couldn’t stop at one favourite. She gave us two:
If Children lose contact with nature they won’t fight for it - an article in the Guardian by George Monbiot about "the collapse of children’s engagement with nature.”

And I loved the mesmerizing video of this amazing deep sea jellyfish.
Joan Marie Galat loves astronomy, so her favourite is not really a big surprise:
Here's my contribution. It was a thrill to see the world's first close-up views of Pluto this year, thanks to the New Horizons spacecraft. Its pictures provide sharp views of breath-taking mountains, icy plains, and impact craters.
Paula Johanson didn’t stop at two favourites. Or three. She has four!
While I've been writing an introduction to the Paleolithic Revolution, it's been fun to find archaeology stories in the news. There was the hiker who found a Viking sword by a path in Norway. And it was fun to go to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre’s website.

But for interesting images of hominid bones, my favourite resource is Morpho Source. MorphoSource is a project-based data archive where researchers store and organize, share, and distribute their own 3-D images of hominid fossil bones. Anyone can register and download 3-D images to use in their own studies. The website is designed to be self-explanatory, but young students will need assistance browsing the archive

And last, but definitely not least, my favourite of the day is the fossil bird found on a beach about five miles from my new home in Sooke, British Columbia.
And sometimes (and some places), it's not cold at all, even at Christmas.

Claire here again. I'm back! And not to be outdone, I have four favourites to offer too.

For an ever-changing set of science stories from around the world – and some wonderful photos and photo collections, try the Science and Environment pages of the BBC.

And for another take on the day’s science stories (also with some great pictures), but with a Canadian perspective, go to CBC Technology & Science pages.

The host of CBC Radio’s great science magazine, Quirks and Quarks, Bob McDonald, writes a weekly blog about a science issue or story that caught his eye – and he’s great at explaining things in a way that all of us can understand.

Finally, if you’re as fascinated as I am by the unseen, unsuspected microscopic world around us, go to Nikon’s Small World and see the beauty, adventure, and high drama visible only through a light microscope.

Now grab a Christmas cookie and hot chocolate, relax, and have a science-y good time.

Falalala la lala la LAAAA!

All photos by Claire Eamer

1 comment:

Sue Heavenrich said...

Great post - thanks for sharing the wealth of good science.