Quickies: Measles at the Movies, Indigenous Astrophysics, Hip-Hop Science…
... and the Return of Cute Animal Friday
Hey, hey, all! It’s your friendly neighborhood astronomer. I am thrilled to bring back a Skepchick tradition, Cute Animal Friday! Amanda has brought us hundreds and HUNDREDS of adorable fauna from around the world, and I hope to do this fine tradition justice.
I’m also going to be a little selfish and share my favorite cute animal, the one that lives in my house, Macey the Mighty. I mean LOOK AT HER FACE! Anyway, I’ll try not to spam you with too many Macey pictures but if you DO want more, she has an Instagram.
Alright, on to the stories!
- Measles exposure at a midnight showing of Avengers: Endgame. No movie spoilers in link, but the anti-vax movement continues to spoil things for all of us. “‘The longer this continues, the greater the chances that measles will again get a foothold in the United States,’ Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the C.D.C.’s director for immunization, said at a news conference, the New York Times reported.”
- Mother and son team up to translate astrophysics into Blackfoot. “When Gray, who is a member of the Siksika Nation of Alberta, Canada, found out about this major scientific milestone, he began to think about the press releases. They would no doubt be translated into widely spoken languages—French, Japanese, Mandarin. ‘That’s when I thought it would be freaking cool to get my mom involved and translate this news into Blackfoot,’ Gray says, adding that he isn’t quite fluent in the language himself. ‘This way she would be a poet for Einstein and astrophysics. A code-talker for gravitational waves.'” Via our own Julia.
- How hip-hop helps us understand science. “I use hip-hop to frame and communicate science because I’m intentionally communicating science to broader audiences that public science outreach has traditionally overlooked. And in the process, I am affirming the genius that thrives in the young minds of people from every hood everywhere.” You will never forget this biology lesson in a new TED talk by the fabulous Dr. Danielle N. Lee.
- Making cute animals even cuter is the Fab Five from Queer Eye, who did a short makeover episode of an actual dog for National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. I might have died when Karamo had a pep talk with the pupper, reminding her to say to herself, “I’m a good girl, and I deserve love!”
Have a suggestion for the Quickies or a cute animal to share? Contact us!
I think “Bisaatsinsiimaan” (“beautiful planting”) would make a good word for any well-supported scientific theory, not just relativity. Scientific theories are the source from which many scientific ideas grow, so are a planting or seedling. They are “beautiful” in the sense of fruitful and productive, as well as beautiful in the scientific sense of something that fits together well. (Relativity is often described as a beautiful theory.) Specifically, then, Special Relativity could be called “a beautiful planting of motion”, since relativity is fundamentally a theory about how things move. (General Relativity could be called “a beautiful planting of falling”, since it is a theory about gravity.)
Yellowfly had an enormous challenge because in most modern languages, there are several hundred years of scientific jargon in which to express ideas, but she basically had to start from scratch. Since the schools most Blackfoot children were forced to attend suppressed their language, I’m sure there is very little extant vocabulary for scientific terms, so she had to make them up. A fresh take on those terms from a new perspective helps even people who think they already understand them. She has done beautifully!
I ADORE the poetry of these translations of scientific words. There’s a similar effort happening in Hawai’ian astronomy at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center: https://imiloahawaii.org/news/a-hua-he-inoa-8e3ax. They are the folks that brought us the name ‘Oumuamua for the interplanetary asteroid that came by a bit ago.
Hey Noisy & Buzz Parsec!
Buzz: Very good points about “beautiful plantings”! I am so happy my mother’s work has been getting some recognition & also cool to see people interested in it! And as you mention the history of what she (& majority of Native American/First Nations children) went through with boarding schools it makes the story something I am even more proud of!
Noisy: Thank you for sharing the story!! (the attention this story has finally received after NPR & Atlasa Obscura) has been super cool (& overwhelming!)! I’ve to be appreciative to people’s interest by “liking” their posts/tweets & that can be an endeavor, and also relay any cool compliments to my mom, too. :) Oh, and thank you for the information about Hawai’ian astronomy language work—I just scanned their website: WOW!!!! I had no idea about this!! I wish we had something like this for my tribe!! That’s so amazing! If I ever make it to Hawaii, I’m definitely going there!! (and I’m going to pass this on to my mom!)
Best regards to you both!
Thanks for the comment, Corey! And thanks for the awesome work that you and your mom are doing. It’s so great that you can do this amazing science AND share it in such a cool way.
Thank you! And now I’m trying to think of what’s next. What is a creative and new way to get more young people interested in a path of science! :)
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