Tag Archives: STEM

Short Science Fiction Film “Explorers”

Short Films – The short (5:27) science fiction film “Explorers” was published on YouTube in October of 2017 by DUST. The Synopsis:

A short film which shows an idealistic look at the future of space travel, seen from the perspective of those who dare to venture into the unknown.

The film was made by Rob McLellan as a tribute to the science fiction films of his youth and to those real life pioneers that inspire it. This was a solo project of his completed in six weeks (in his spare time) and produced entirely in Unreal Engine 4.

I thought that this was a very enjoyable and well done animated film. It is a film that might be of use in stimulating kids to have an interest in STEM, especially space science.

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Happy “Ada Lovelace Day”

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It is the second Tuesday of October and that means that it is again Ada Lovelace Day. The day has been identified (per The Guardian) to:

. . . celebrate inspirational women in science, technology, maths and engineering, in the hope that by shining a light on such people and increasing their visibility, they can inspire future generations.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, and part of her reason for doing this was a worry that women in tech were invisible. The idea was a positive one – rather than highlighting the problem, highlight the unseen women and shout from the rooftops about all the amazing things they’ve achieved. Ada Lovelace was an obvious choice of mascot for such an endeavour.

Take this opportunity and join in some activity to recognize the contributions of women in technology. This would also be a good time to introduce or encourage a girl you know in STEM careers.

CapMac – In Austin, our local Capital Macintosh User Group is having a special program this evening. The featured speaker will be Rhonda Childress, the only Female IBM Fellow in Austin, the CTO of Security Services, a Sr. Certified I/T Architect, and an IBM Master Inventor.

Documentary – While not available today, there will soon be a documentary series, the Chasing Grace Project, about women in Tech.

The Chasing Grace Project is a documentary series about women in tech. It includes six episodes, each focused on a different topic within the women in tech narrative. From the pay gap, online harassment and female entrepreneurship to access to the best jobs, the decision to leave or stay in tech and the role of male allies, the series illustrate how we pave the way forward. Through story we can call out the adversities women face and illustrate how they’re navigating their own paths. The result? A series of blueprints for other women to find their paths, their way.

This may be something you will want to stay aware of

Austin Maker Faire

The Maker Faire is happening again in Austin this weekend (May 13-14) at the Palmer Event Center. I attended the first two held in Austin, but have missed the past 6 events. I do hope to drop in this weekend.

The article “Austin Is on a Mission to Keep Maker Faire Weird” gives you a little insight to what you might see there. If you have the free time, these are great events to visit. Kids who are interested in STEM careers or just tinkering will find the event fascinating. Likewise, us older ‘kids’ who like to create new gadgets or inventions will find the event equally interesting.

It’s Pi Day Again

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It is time to celebrate once again that incredible number Pi or 3.14159… I had a post that included some of the history last year. Take a few moments today and participate in the 29th annual celebration of Pi!

This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to Pi. They learn a little history, learn some math and it can be capped with a nice slice of yummy pie.

As I suggested last year, try these methods of celebration.

  1. One of the easiest and most fun is to simply eat pie!
  2. Wear or display the Pi symbol
  3. Plan your recognition event for 1:59 PM (i.e. 3.14159)

And of course mark your calendars for next year so you can plan something in advance.

Some Science Behind the Death Star

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I recently came across the article “Going Rogue: The Science Behind the Star Wars Death Star“.

We all enjoy the “science” in Science Fiction, but how possible is it? Most would think that the Death Star was beyond the realm of possibility. This article explores what the energy requirements would be (massive to say the least) for this weapon and how it might be generated. It isn’t impossible, but it is mighty difficult.

The article also points out the little detail of Newton’s Laws of Motion ignored in the movies. Firing a laser (or particle beam) in one direction will create a force in the opposite direction on the object that fired the laser. Because of the immense power needed to destroy a planet (2.24 x 10^32 Joules estimated in the article for a planet similar in size to Earth) the Death Star would be propelled at high speed in the opposite direction.

Of course I guess if they can generate artificial gravity on the Death Star, then they might be able to use other technology to circumvent known physics.

This kind of a discussion, and the associated calculations, might be a great way to involve a Middle School or High School science class.

Art, Music, Space – Visions of Harmony

I came across this video from Apple Music this morning. As it says, it is inspired by Nasa’s Juno Mission and merges music, art and space science. It is less than 9 minutes, but a nice video.

If you are interested in space, you will enjoy it. I am really glad to see that Apple has produced this video. I think it is another way to connect K-12 students with science and technology.

Mini Maker Events Across the Country Nov 5 & 6

Have you ver been to a Maker Faire? I have been to two held in Austin and found them to be fascinating. Maker Faires are usually held at large auditoriums, but this weekend (November 5 & 6, 2016) there will be a Mini Maker Faire held across the country at local Barnes & Nobles book stores.

This is the second year that Barnes & Nobles has hosted a Mini Maker Faire. If you have a Barnes & Nobles near you, you may want to make plans to stop by this weekend. As the name implies you will see things that people ‘make’ ranging from robotics to jewelry. This is a great opportunity to bring out kids to get them interested in STEM activities.