Science News: Odds And Ends

This is a fantastic article that interviews a teen inventor about her ideas and why she thinks it’s important to start teaching kids ‘Inventing 101’ classes.

My favourite quote comes at the end. “Inventors are basically anybody and everybody who’s ever tried to solve a problem.” So true! And we could use a lot more of them. I worry sometimes that this culture of kids having games handed to them on screens and in phones will slowly kill the impulse to think outside of those technological boxes. That the free time and interaction with the world we took for granted in previous generations–which I firmly believe had a part to play in us learning to problem-solve, learn social skills, and develop the imagination that leads to artists, engineers, inventors and scientists–is dying out.

I don’t think many realise how important it is to keep preserving a hands-on interaction with the world, to keep encouraging children to think and grow and learn, not just swallow and regurgitate what’s already available. If we don’t do that–if we stifle imaginations, curiosity and can-do spirit under the mass-produced, money-making fantasy play-fields of movies, games, tv shows and merchandise–how will anyone develop the skills to keep making those things that give so many of us joy?

So I totally support her idea. It’s amazing and sometimes all a kid needs to know to succeed is that they can do whatever they put their minds to. Sure, the world isn’t going to be that easy for every kid, but even kids who don’t have it that easy can take heart from the accomplishments of others and chart their own course.

Two divers are working on our food supply problem by building underwater greenhouses. Sure, there are kinks and we’re not even sure this is viable, but anyone who is thinking about how to grow more food, cheaper, better and where we haven’t thought to do it before is performing a huge public service. Articles I’ve read recently have direct predictions for our food supply once climate change is taken into consideration. And I’m talking the climate change we’re experiencing now, in our lifetimes. Not 100 years or more down the road.

This article, for example, talks about how dire some scientists see the situation as, and how much push-back they endured, and are still enduring, for trying to talk about it.

Scifi author Tobias Buckell, who was born in Grenada, wrote an amazing book on the kind of world we might see after climate change. ARCTIC RISING is a great thriller, fully researched and thoughtfully written, but he still gets reviews from readers and climate change deniers convinced he’s an alarmist. If you read the book though, and you saw this article about the US Navy’s conclusions about the loss of Arctic sea-ice, you’ll realise he’s one of many canaries in a coal-mine. If the US Navy is freaking out, shouldn’t the rest of us join them in actually trying to do something?

Okay, rant over.

And because we all need to laugh a little, here’s a joke I pulled from my favourite Twitter account, Science Porn:

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Stay thirsty, my friends 😉

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