Wednesday, 27 August 2008

New age conference posters

It was brought to my attention today that conferences are now resorting to a new style of conference posters which are printed on cloth! Conventional conference posters are usually printed on thick laminated paper. Posters are then rolled up and carried around awkwardly in poster tubes to conferences whether it be local, national or international. If attending a national or international conference, posters are often too large or bulky to be considered as ‘carry-on luggage’ and have to be thrown in with baggage. Amongst other things, large posters can be difficult to pin up on poster boards, difficult to roll up and a pain to carry around. So, when I was shown a cloth poster today, I was excited to hear about it. The person who presented the cloth poster was also in support of them. He suggested that these posters could be scrunched up and thrown into luggage, or even worn as a scarf. Now you can truly match your attire to your conference poster and integrate fashion and learning at the same time :)

Monday, 25 August 2008

How do you react to faces?

The New York Times recently published an article on the best online psychology tests (initially reviewed by PsychCentral). In an attempt to learn more about myself, I tried all six tests that were recommended and found the 5th one (Faceresearch) to be most interesting and stimulating.

I participated in Faceresearch’s test for ‘facial attractiveness’. This test required the participant to rate which face was more attractive out of two almost-identical faces (which included both men and women). The differences between the two faces were initially hard to pick up on at first glance but did become apparent after studying the faces for a few seconds. While I was doing the test, I noticed that a trend was developing in my selection: I preferred those with a slim face, groomed eyebrows, cheek colouring and non-droopy eyelids. After analysing 40 faces, the feedback according to my selection stated that:

“On average, people preferred the more feminine women 80% of the time and the more feminine men 54% of the time. You preferred feminine women 90% of the time and feminine men 85% of the time.”

Being heterosexual, I have no idea what this means apart from the fact that I find feminine features more attractive in the opposite sex.

Faceresearch has a bunch of other interesting facial reaction tests. I recommend this website if you have some time to spare.

BRIEFING: Japanese scientists ‘crack’ stem cells from wisdom teeth.

Scientists in Japan have been able to extract stem cells from the dental pulp of wisdom teeth of a 10-year old girl. These cells have been tested and have been identified as being similar to embryonically-derived stem cells. This is an advancement in the stem cells field as this method provides a quick and less invasive way to extract these cells and most importantly, there are no ethical concerns.

If wisdom teeth stem cells are able to successfully differentiate into other cells, the tooth fairy might have to give up his/her day job LOL.


Saturday, 16 August 2008

Put your safety googles on, grab a pipette and don a lab coat

Because it’s that time of year again where the scientists of the land take over to celebrate National Science Week (NSW). Running from 16-24 of August this year, the organisers of NSW have a number of events lined up to inspire the scientist in all of us. Each state is running a number of presentations, shows, seminars and forums for people of all ages and all walks of life. Some of the events include ‘Scinema’ which is a science film festival; ‘shopping trolley science’ which provides interactive science demonstrations at local shopping centres; and various lectures on pseudoscience, plants, bacteria, astronomy and sustainable gardening. There’s plenty more to see and hear during NSW which runs until the end of August.

For more information, visit