Friday Foolery #42 So You Think You Can Dance Your PhD Thesis?

5 11 2011

It’s hard to explain your research to non-scientists. My PhD defense was preceded by a slide show (yes, that was once-upon-a-time that we didn’t use Powerpoint). It was the only part the public could follow a bit. But it is too long, static and detailed.

That cannot be said of these videos, where PhD’s from all over the world interpret their graduate research in dance form.

The videos below are the winners of the 2011 edition of the Dance your PhD contest. For the 4th year, this contest is organized by Gonzolabs & Science. See http://gonzolabs.org/dance/

There are 4 categories—chemistry, physics, biology, and social sciences

The overall winner of 2011 was Joel Miller (category physics), a biomedical engineer at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Miller apparently compensated his poor dancing skills and the lack of a video by applying stop-motion animation (stringing together about 2,200 photos to make it look as though his “actors” were dancing). His video shows the creation of titanium  alloys that are both strong and flexible enough for long-lasting hip replacements.
I love the song by the way. It fits perfectly to the dance scene.

You can see all winning videos here and all 2011 (this years) PhD videos here. You can also check out the 2010 and the 2009 PhD dances.

The other winners of 2011 were  FoSheng Hsu (chemistry category) who guides viewers through the entire sequence of steps required for x-ray crystallography,  Emma Ware (social science) who studies the traditional ‘stimulus-release’ model of social interaction using pigeon courtship (a beautiful pas a deux) and Edric Kai Wei Tan (biology) with the funny dance about Smell mediated response to relatedness of potential mates, simply put “fruit fly sex”.

Being Dutch, I would like to close with the Dutch winner of the biology category in 2010, Maartje Cathelijne de Jong who dances her PhD, “The influence of previous experiences on visual awareness.”

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Silly Saturday #25 Librarians do Gaga

29 05 2010

You probably have seen it all. First at Nikki Dettmar’s blog “Eagle Dawg‘s, then retweeted through the Twitterverse and finally even mentioned by Boing Boing (thanks @drShock). But as a librarian and a former dancer I just can’t resist this video, even though I seldom use the ca, ca, catalog….

Enjoy! it is much better than the Eurovision Songfestival, which I didn’t follow live but was “forced” to follow on Twitter. Well in a certain way the #eurovision tweets were quite enjoyable (and preferable to the live songs, I think). At visible Tweet you can follow the recent ones (for a week or so).

And now for the Librarian GaGa. Librarians rock. ♥♥♥ You did know that, didn’t you?

“Librarians do Gaga” was an entry at the the iSight Film Festival. The video was produced by Sarah Wachter, a student in the iSchool’s Master in Library and Information Science program and the dancers were students and faculty members from the University of Washington’s Information School





Friday Foolery #24 Social Media Revolution 2, Right Here Right Now

21 05 2010

People who still think Social media is a fad, should watch this video…..

Social Media Revolution 2 is an update of the original video with compelling social media statistics.

Social Media Revolution was created by the author Erik Qualman to promote his book Socialnomics: How Social Media has changed the way we live and do business.

The music from Fat Boy Slim (“right here, right now”) is electric (might be another reason to watch it).

Hattip: my colleague René Spijker, seen on the Salt Magazine page on Facebook





Silly Sunday #9: the Apocalypse of the Vocal Bubblewrap.

26 10 2009

Tuesday Grand Rounds will be hosted by Gina Rybolt of Code Blog (see announcement).

O dear, a few hours left before the deadline expires …. What to do?

I could submit the post on BlogWorld Expo [SOTB], where I embedded an interview with Gina and Kim.

However, because it is almost Haloween, Gina is all for the super-scary!

What about the Attack of the Flu-Virus Invaders. Pretty Scary if viewed under magnification.

Or what about the next video. I could barely watch it. It is not medical, but it sure looks like eyeballs. Moohaha!

You know, we let Gina choose.

Hattip: @2525 (Francisco van Jole). This is what he said: “De bolletjes van bubblewrap laten knallen? Na het zien van deze gruwelijke film nooit meer”. And I agree, after seeing this *horror film* I will never ever pop a bubble wrap again (2x)

This post is tagged as Friday Foolery post (#9)

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How a Flu-Virus Invades your Body: An Animation

25 10 2009

I’ve seen “viral invasion, replication and spread” more elaborately and scientifically explained, but nothing comes near a clear visual and audible presentation of what happens on a micro-scale.

Here is a video on a Flu Attack that stirs the imagination.

And one thing or another, those kind of videos get really viral on Twitter and blogs as well.

When seeing the video you at least understand why CDC’s motto is: Cover it!

Cover your nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1 for more information.
Although the above video has the tags “swine” and “flu” and alludes to H1N1, it gives no specific information on H1N1 (Swine flu), but could be about any influenza virus. For information on H1N1 go to:

25-10-2009 16-30-34

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Friday Foolery #7 Play Doh World, the Safe and Unexpected

16 10 2009

Seen at the Loom of Carl Zimmer: using Play Doh, Sophia Tintori and Cassandra Extavour talk about multicellularity and the specialization of reproductive cells.

The video, made by the evolutionary biologist Casey Dunn, is from Creature Cast, a collaborative blog produced by members of the Dunn Lab at Brown University. The Dunn Lab investigates how evolution has produced a diversity of life. On this newly evoluted “Creature Cast” you can find short, original and  good quality posts on zoology in the broad sense often with beautiful photos or videos. You can now subscribe to the CreatureCast video podcast through Brown University at  iTunes U.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “CreatureCast Episode 2 on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod
Work provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Another example of a great post on Creature Cast is the Tale of two holes about why some animals have one hole and others two. Does the single hole in one-holed animals correspond to the mouth or anus of animals with two holes?  Apparently the same sets of genes appear in many different contexts within and across species. In this case there are two distinct modules for mouth and blastopore (the first hole developed in animals during their development) and they can be decoupled. Again there is a terrific photo made by Dunn showing a sea anemone with a single hole for eating, excreting, and shedding eggs and sperm, and an annelid worm with two holes.

This is a Friday Foolery post, thus permit me to show me something completely different: a successful Play-Doh ad-campaign started in Singapore (what a coincidence, the city I left 26 h ago). These ads talk to parents directly, reminding them about the thousand of possible things you can make with the product, but even more so about how safe it is to play with it. (although someone commented: “what if kids eat those pills? Although Play-Doh is non-toxic…)

16-10-2009 16-48-15 play doh ads





Peter Palese on H1N1/Influenza, Porcine and Otherwise

9 09 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Seen on MicrobeWorld, posted by Chris Condayan: a video in which Peter Palese, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Mt. Sinai, explains H1N1/swine flu, the natural herd immunity that all humans share against it, and the reasons why the elderly stand at a lesser risk of contracting the virus.

Found the video interesting? There are a lot more interesting posts, images and video’s on MicrobeWorld to read or watch.

Established in 2003, MicrobeWorld is an interactive multimedia educational outreach initiative from the American Society for Microbiology, a non-profit organization that “promotes awareness and understanding of key microbiological issues to adult and youth audiences, and showcases the significance of microbes in our lives.”

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