2011 in review

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Autotune the Abstract: Singing in the Brain

Autotune the Abstract: Singing in the Brain

Autotuned sensation Rebecca Black is very excited about this new concept...

As a science communication student I find myself constantly coming across new and different ways people try and get across scientific data and knowledge. It can range from typical things such as news articles and blog posts to knitted representations of science. Whilst some of the crazy ways people try and get out their research may seem misguided, I think this blatant eccentricity should be applauded and encouraged.

It is with this sentiment in mind that I decided for this post to create my own oddball way of presenting research. After much deliberation I decided to autotune the abstract of a science paper. The first step in my attempt to revolutionise science publishing was to pick a lucky research paper to become the launch song. After much scouring of Google Scholar I found the following:

“Singing in the brain: Professional singers, occasional singers, and out-of-tune singers: Gottfried Schlaug; Acoustical Society of America (2009)”

Which, given its subject matter, felt like the perfect research to autotune. Now, unfortunately not every research scientist is a professional sound technician. However, this is something that can be overcome as there are plenty of apps for Iphone and Android that will do all the complicated technical stuff for you! For this first attempt I selected one called “Songify” which is an app produced by the Gregory Brothers, the band who produce the popular online series ‘Autotune the News’.

So without further ado here is the first Autotune the Abstract:

I hope that this practice will become as established in scientific publishing as peer review. I also expect to see the awesomeness of the produced songs incorporated into the impact factors of journals.

Back to the Science Future

Back to the Science Future

Where is my jet pack? Why can’t I live forever yet? And where is my Technological apocalypse?

Friday saw the launch of the new issue of I’Science magazine. It has been entitled the “Great Expectations” issue. It looked at what science has promised us in the past and how close we are to full filling those predictions. You can check it out here.

 To celebrate the release of the issue I am going to share an art project which I happened across a few weeks ago.  It is a set of prophetic illustrations by the French artist Villemard. He produced them in 1910, intending to show what life would be like in the year 2000. Some of his predictions are remarkably accurate and others are just plain odd.



Prediction: Appears to be a primitive version of video calling

Exists in the 21st Century: Yes, and has been around in various forms for decades.


Prediction: Flying cars and flight suits

Exists in the 21st Century: No, although not from lack of trying 


Prediction: Computer aided design

Exists in the 21st Century: Yes, and with the rise of the 3D printer only likely to become more prevalent and publicly available.


Prediction: A Matrix-esque method of learning

Exists in the 21st Century: No, still only in science fiction. Although it could be argued that this is image is an allegory for Wikipedia.


Prediction: A sort of boat, airship crossbreed

Exists in the 21st Century: No, I’m pretty sure these don’t exist! 


Prediction: An automated hairdressers

Exists in the 21st Century: No, the closest we have come to this prediction is the electric razor.


Prediction: Automatic Make-up

Exists in the 21st Century: No, although versions of this can be seen in the Fifth Element and The Simpsons.

8 )

Prediction: Electric roller skates

Exists in the 21st Century: These do exist

A new science writing adventure begins…

A new science writing adventure begins…

In a recent post I spoke about the new online collaborative science magasine, Guru. Well I’m happy to say that I am their new ‘Technology Guru’. You can check out the article about me joining the team here. I am currently working on my first article for them and whilst I will not reveal what it is about this photo from a fancy dress party a few years ago will give a little clue:

Also another bit of update info is that this site is currently undergoing a complete re-design and will soon emerge from its cocoon looking a lot prettier with more frequent posting


New Multimedia Science Blog Launches

New Multimedia Science Blog Launches

Today sees the launch of a new multimedia blog on the PLoS Blogs network.  Called ‘Inside Knowledge’, it is produced by Lizzie Crouch, David Robertson, Anna Perman and myself. Over its 12 week duration we will be embedding with, and reporting on, the Imperial College Blast Lab.

Every week we will release a post looking to shine a light on the craft of science. We aim to use as much multimedia as possible, so as to really bring the lab to life.

Our first post is a trailer, it explores the lab and gives hints at the themes of the research we are aiming to explore over the next 12 weeks. To check it out click here.

For more information you can check out the about page of our blog and to stay updated with our developments you can follow us on Twitter here.

I,Science Podcast: The Expectations of Science

I,Science Podcast: The Expectations of Science

This week saw the release of the second episode of the I,Science Podcast. It looks at the topic of science’s predictions. It features:

  • Camila Ruz interviewing kids about what they think science will bring in the future
  • Andy Bailey and Rosie Waldron discussing the science of expectations
  • Tom Welch interviewing me about the technological singularity.
Yes I am in it, but I would highly recommend giving it a listen!
The podcast was produced by Thea Cunningham, Camila Ruz and Tom Welch
Just a little bit of H-T-M-L…..

Just a little bit of H-T-M-L…..

Some things are just more important than work...

Today, Dave, Andrew, Lizzie and myself had a bit of geeky fun after our web design module this week.

The HTML Song

By the Web Design Quartet

Website, there’s no need to shut down 
I said, website, pick your code off the ground
I said, website, ’cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be on Wordpress 

Website, there’s something you should know
I said, website, when you’re writing your code
You can work hard, and your content will shine 
It will be like drinking fine wine

It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L
It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L

It has everything, that you need to deploy
With it the internet’s your toy

It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L
It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L

You can get yourself wrapped, you can have CSS,
Without it the net would be a mess…

Website, are you listening to me?
I said, website, what do you want to be?
I said, website, you can weave up your dreams
But you got to know a few things!

No man does it all by himself.
I said, website, put your code on the shelf,
And just go there, to the H.T.M.L. 
Or just make it from a free shell. 

It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L
It’s fun to code with the H-T-M-L

This also features on my website development blog in which I am designing a new layout and design for this site.

Some fun with photoshop