Category Archives: Campaigns

ZME Recommends: Make your kitchen cooler with these 6 dinosaurs

We don’t usually think of the kitchen as an interesting and attractive room, but it’s surprising just how much a few small things can change it. I’ve scoured the web to find an awesome way of doing just that: with dinosaurs! If you’re like me — you like dinosaurs and don’t want a dull kitchen — you might want to check these things out.

Dinosaur / Loch Ness monster ladle

If you think this is cute in a picture, you should see it live. I’m not really sure if this is a dinosaur or some mythical creature, but at the end of the day, does it really matter? It’s especially useful if you’re trying to convince kids to eat their soup, and I’ve developed quite a fondness for it myself. It looks even nicer inside inside the bowl.

If you like the idea but you’re just not a soup person, you might want to check…

Dinosaur tea infuser

They say the first one is a dinosaur and this one is Nessie — but let’s be honest here, they both look the same: adorable. I’ve been toying with different tea infusers for quite a while because I drink a lot of tea, and found that they bring an extra bit of magic to what is already a magical drink. Again, an awesome way to convince the kids of drinking their tea, but just as cool if you’re an adult. Firm quality, easy to use, easy to clean.

Dinosaur mug

What could go better with a dinosaur tea infuser than a dinosaur mug? But this isn’t just an ordinary mug — it changes its design based on temperature. So when it’s cold, you see the full skinned dinosaurs, and when it’s really hot, you see their skeleton. Add the dino-tea infuser to just make everything even more dinosaurier.

Tricera-taco holder

Oh boy, as if we needed another reason to eat tacos. Tricerataco has just the perfect shape to hold the delicious food, though it works just as fine as a napkin holder (because unfortunately, we just don’t eat taco every day). Or you can just switch between the two, use it to hold napkins (or whatever else), and switch it into full force for taco night.

Dinosaur wine bottle holder

No kitchen is complete without a bottle of wine. I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food, the saying goes. Well, despite the design, your bottle is completely safe with this Tyrannosaur. You can also use it to hold beer or any other bottle — though I assume it’s made primarily for alcoholic drinks. After all, if the bottle goes empty too fast, you can just blame it on him.

Pastasaur

Tyrannosaurs and herbivores didn’t get along so well, but wine and pasta definitely do! Most people eat pasta more often than taco, and this does a fantastic job at scooping all sorts of pastas. Guaranteed to add a touch of whimsy and be a conversation starter for dinner.

With stories like this, we aim to show you neat and awesome products that we believe are good quality and different from what you usually see. We may take a cut from a purchase, but we will never promote something that we don’t believe in. If something’s here, it’s because we like it and that’s that.

The ultimate crash course in science — lots of value in this bundle, 93% off regular price

If you’re like most of our readers, you love science and enjoy learning new things. But science is a pretty broad field, and it can be pretty daunting to approach it. Where do you start, what do you read — there’s so many awesome things it’s hard to choose! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Ultimate Scientific Essentials Course (get it here)

This bundle of seven courses takes you through a lot of science, from basic neuroscience to the internet of things, from classic experiments to game theory, and from basic electronics and mechanics to economics. You’re not going to go through all of science — because let’s face it, there’s no course that could get you through that — but it’s a neat collection of topics which will keep you entertained as you venture more and more into things.

The bundle comes at $514 $35, which is 93% off the regular price, coming with 7 courses:

  • Cause and Effect: 25 Famous Experiments that Changed Our World. Pavlov’s famous dog, the discovery of oxygen, and the Doppler effect — some of the biggest ‘Aha!’ moments in history.
  • That Stranger In The Mirror: Neuroscience For Everyone. The human brain is a wonderfully complex and mysterious tool. Dive into its anatomy and the different parts of our brain, as well as the psychology and moivations
  • From 0 to 1: Raspberry Pi and the Internet of Things. Get started with basic electronics and even start building your own cool gadgets with everyone’s favorite portable computer – the Raspberry Pi.
  • Economics: Game Theory, Competition, Elasticity. Economy is less about money and more about human behavior. You can apply it (and especially game theory) to a lot of everyday decisions while also learning about markets.
  • Under the Hood: How Cars Work. The most practical course out there — if you’re not a car person, you’ll get the ins and outs of how it works, and even if you are a car person, you can get into a lot of technical information.
  • Innovators and Innovation: Travel Through Time! Innovation and science go hand in hand. Over the course, you’ll learn how all inventions are connected, and understand how machines work and impact our lives.
  • Games People Play: Applied Game Theory. Game theory is the scientific framework used to analyze situations of competition and conflict in order to find the best way forward. Games are fun, but game theory is serious stuff.

In total, you get over 40 hours of courses combined in this bundle!

Too easy for you?

Are you already familiar with all the topics presented here, are you an aspiring scientist who wants to take things to the next level? Fret not — we’ve also got you covered.

Science and programming are increasingly connected, and we’ve found a series of course bundles to get you into scientific programming so you can home your coding skills — all at excellent prices:

  1. The Complete Introduction to R Programming Bundle: $606 $49, 5 Courses, Ending soon! R is the go-to programming language for statistical computing, with extensive applications in biology, medicine, and pretty much every science that uses a lot of figures and data.
  2. Python 3 Bootcamp Bundle$810 $49, 9 Courses, Ending soon! If you’re not using R, the odds are you’re using Python. Starting from beginner and moving on to the advanced levels, this bundle is suited for new and experienced Python users as well. What I like about this bundle is that it focuses a lot on Scipy and Numpy — two libraries which are extremely useful for scientific programming.
  3. The Big Data Bundle$681 $48, 9 Courses, Ending soon! An intriguing problem that modern science is faced with is that there’s too much data and that’s hard to interpret — this is where big data comes in. Analysis of data sets can find new correlations and trends. Useful in genetics, physics, education, healthcare, information technology, and business. Big data is the future, it’s a massive field with potentially massive rewards.

 

The purpose of these stories is simple: present some cool stuff. We sometimes get a cut from it, but we’ll only feature things we like. If something is featured here, it’s because we like it. Hopefully, you will too.

Crowdfunding campaign reimagines apartment plant growing

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As anyone who grows plants in an apartment will tell you, it can be quite a challenge. Space is limited, as is light and it’s so easy to make a mess – this is why I love this new project. It’s really easy to set up a small, cute garden in only minutes.

It’s called Livi. Designer  Hooman Koliji came up with this idea which allows you to use micro-suction “palms” that grip onto various surfaces in just seconds without screws, nails, or glue. According to the IndieGoGo page, they can still on walls, glass, wood and even your computer.

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“Livi does not require any assembly and is ready to attach to a window (or other surface) in your home or office with a gentle push. Inspired by nature, Livi’s micro-suction palms are made of an innovative nanotechnology material that is able to bond with smooth surfaces repeatedly, including windows!”

Of course, this is limited for small plants, but that’s pretty much what you want in your apartment anyway. You can either use a small pot and place it inside Livi or place the soil directly inside it.

livi3

It’s a small thing, it won’t revolutionise our lives, but it can make a difference in our homes and offices and sometimes, that’s all you need.

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Want to power up your home with renewables without making an investment? Here’s how

We come to you today with something a bit different than what we usually do – a new, creative way of supporting renewable energy. We were simply fascinated by this approach and we just had to share it with you. It’s a way of powering up your home or business with green energy without actually installing any renewable energy technology, and with no initial investment. Seriously! Sounds interesting? Sign up below, or keep reading to see how this works in more detail.

In the United States, like in most countries in the world, electricity generation is the primary source of greenhouse emissions – a lot more than transportation or industry.  But while other countries have taken huge leaps towards mitigating global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, in the US, progress is painfully slow.

Only 2% of the country’s energy demand is met by renewable energy sources (mostly wind and geothermal, with only a touch of solar) !

Some citizens have taken matters into their our hands.  In Germany for example, half of all renewable energy is owned by individuals, and rooftop solar panels are usually the way to go – you generate your own clean energy and save a lot of money in the long term. But for most people, the initial investment is simply too expensive or time consuming.

Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to power your home on 100% renewable energy without installing solar panels, wind turbines or any complicated technology.This fix is called offsetting.

From a physical point of view, energy is just energy, it doesn’t matter where it comes from; it can come from a coal plant, a nuclear station or a solar panel, it’s still energy. But here’s the kicker: even when your electricity comes from a  fossil fuels, you can opt to use energy from a renewable source, even if that energy is generated thousands of miles away. Sounds a bit strange? Well, here’s an example.

Scenario: You  have a contract with a utility in Louisville, and most of your energy comes from the local coal plant. You register with a third-party that buys Renewable Energy Certificates (REC), like Arcadia Power, and all your energy needs will here on be delivered by renewables! They offset your energy use and transfer it to solar energy.

Here’s how Arcadia works

You sign up on their website and provide your utility account and banking information. Every month, Arcadia receives and pays your energy bill. Then, they send the bill to you, plus a surcharge of 1.5 cents on every kilowatt hour of electricity you use to cover the cost of buying RECs from the renewable energy source. Basically for every kilowatt you spend, they make sure a renewable kilowatt is generated. Here’s how that works:

Join Arcadia Power! from Arcadia Power on Vimeo.

In 2013, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,908 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of 909 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual consumption at 15,270 kWh, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,176 kWh.
So, for an average 900 kWh monthly energy consumption, you’d pay an extra $13.5 for your energy bill, but:

  • you will be effectively running your home with zero emissions! You can actually see how many tonnes of CO2 and other greenhouse gases you stopped emitting since you switched when you log into your Arcadia Power dashboard;
  • you will be encouraging the development of renewable energy sources;
  • as renewables energy sources become more prevailent, your energy bill will actually go down. For 30 million Americans, solar energy is cheaper than the grid already!
  • you get exclusive discounts and rewards from Arcadia partners like Emmy’s or Naturebox.

Arcadia Power is available in all states in the US and sign-up only takes 3 minutes. Because we actually believe in the Arcadia Power mission, we at ZME Science have partnered with them and managed to get you 20USD off your next energy bill – exclusively for ZME Science readers! Just sign-up using the link below.

Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

Today marks 50 years since Telstar’s historic first live television broadcast by satellite

Exactly 50 years ago, on July 12 1962, the the world’s first active communications satellite, Telstar 1, transmitted the first live television signal by satellite. During this historic day, a live television program was for the first time beamed across the Atlantic in Europe, an event saluted by the people of the time as a technological marvel.

Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

Today, when approximately 3000 satellites are orbiting the Earth, people tend to take truly marvelous telecommunication feats for granted. The world has been getting smaller by minute since Telestar 1 was first launched into space, bringing people closer together. It’s important to note and understand that today’s easy access to information and instant communication from any point on the globe has been made possible by progress, sparked by pioneering work – like in most fields of science.

The first images beamed to Earth in that broadcast included the views of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, remarks from President John F. Kennedy, clips from a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs, shots of the American flag waving in the breeze, and images of French singer Yves Montand.

“Live broadcast of events happening throughout the world are taken for granted today, but 50 years ago transmissions enabled by Telstar captured the attention and imaginations of people everywhere,” Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, said in a statement. “The 50th anniversary reminds us how far we have come, and how much potential there is [in] the new era of digital communications.”

Telstar only operated for a few months, during which it transmitted more than 400 telephone, telegraph, fax and television transmissions. As the first privately developed telecommunications satellite, Telstar 1 served as a test bench for future designs. Today, satellites are fully powered by solar energy, orbit the Earth at a greater distance and with the planet’s velocity, thus becoming relatively stationary, and can withstand the harsh radiation of the environment in space.

 

the cost of seti infographic

Infographic: the cost of SETI

As previously reported, SETI, the international organization which handles the search for electromagnetic transmissions from civilizations on distant planets, will shut down soon due to lack of funding. What’s really bothersome is that, although we all know we live in trouble economic times, the cost of keeping SETI going is simply peanuts for the US government or the huge corporations. The cost is $2.5 million – a travesty by all means when you consider the benefits such a project might provide. Imagine, the first contact with an extraterrestrial signal – it would certainly be greatest milestone in human civilization history. Sure, more pragmatic objectives have to be taken into consideration when budgeting, but heck a measly $2.5 million?

If you’re not really sure what $2.5 million really means for SETI, then here’s a really well put together infographic by microcosmologist, which puts into perspective the sum across other sectors of the US budget and other corporations. Click on the image for a larger view.

the cost of seti infographic

Donate to tsunami victims in Japan

The recent tsunami wave that hit the Japanese coast this Friday simply devastated the countries costal areas. Besides the actual casualties (now reported to around 1,700), there are a few thousand people still isolated (footage of Japanese citizens stranded on rooftops have been circulating everywhere recently) and thousands more left homeless.

The Japanese Government and the countless other nations that have flown down help are doing their best to help these people, but you can play a part in this as well. If you’re willing to lend a hand for the unfortunate, the easiest way is to donate.

The fastest and easiest way to help the victims of this devastating disaster is to text REDCROSS to 90999 from your cellphone. This donates $10.00 to the Red Cross. A $10.00 charge will appear on your cell phone bill.

If you prefer t0 donate view the web just go to www.globalgiving.org and click on Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. Choose from an amount of $25, $50 or $75 dollars and click “give now”. After you click on “give now”, you will be directed to a page to edit your donation amount, if you so desire.

Another simple way to help to the disaster relief in Japan is to contact a local non-profit organization in your country that you publicly know offers help to those in need in Japan. Be careful not to get scammed though – there are a lot of people willing to profit from other people’s misfortunes.

Smithsonian Wild – a database of wildlife photos 200,000 captured with automated cameras

Some animals in the wild are so elusive and hard to glimpse that they’re almost impossible to capture with a camera. This is why researchers often use trip cameras with motion sensors that film or photograph whenever an animal is in the vicinity. The Smithsonian today launched a new searchable website, siwild.si.edu, that presents more than 202,000 wildlife photos captured in this manner. The website both still photos and video clips of more than 200 species of mammals and birds, and you’ll also be able to learn more about each species by clicking through the reference links leading to Encyclopedia of Life, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History’s own “North American Mammals” page.

“This site provides the public a glimpse of what the scientist sees when surveying remote places,” said William McShea, research wildlife biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. “Not every photo is beautiful but every photo provides information that can be used to conserve wild animals. It is addictive to scroll through the photos at a single site and see the diversity that walks by a single camera in the forest.”

Abandoned dog saves 12 lives

Animals are great; if you’re not convinced, perhaps the story of Pearl, a black lab abandoned at an animal shelter will change your mind. Pearl was adopted by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, where after training she was certified as a search dog.

In July this year, she was deployed to Haiti for two weeks, spending each day searching for earthquake victims. She dug, scratched and clawed her way through cement, rubble and dirt to find victims who were still alive, but trapped, and she is responsible for the saving of 12 people who would have otherwise remained trapped and unknown to rescuers.

For her work, she was rightfully awarded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dog of the Year Award for 2010. The ASPCA cat of the year award went to Henry, a former stray cat who was adopted with major leg damage that led to the amputation. He was adopted by Cathy Conheim in California, who then wrote children’s books in an attempt to raise awareness for tolerance and understanding. These books have been distributed to more than 45.000 people, including Hurricane Katrina survivors and war veterans.

The ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year award went to Olivia Bouler who is creating original watercolor drawings of birds for everyblody who donates to the Audobon Society for protecting birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. The award is named after Tommy P. Monahan who tragically died in a fire while attempting to save his pet.

Another award went to a sanctuary for abused, neglected or abandoned horses in Woodbine, Maryland. Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Inc., who are doing an absolutely amazing jobs, being able to accomodate up to 70 horses at a time. Kathleen Schwartz-Howe founded the sanctuary.

If you want to see the full list of the ASPCA award winners, check their press release.

The ‘No Small Matter giveaway’ concludes

Well ladies and gents, it’s Christmas Eve, and it’s high time we conclude the giveaway. So without further ado, the random winners are: Reginald Challis and Beatrice Anton!! I’ll send the books as soon as they confirm and the postal office starts working, hopefully they’ll receive them this year.

All in all, I’d like to thank you all, and for those that signed in for our page you’ll be automatically signed in for any other contest we have and you’ll receive the free ZME Science brochure, with our best posts and features, which I’ll probably have done by the end of January, but I don’t mean to bore you with that.

The ‘No small matter’ giveaway

Hello!

I’ve been running ZME Science for more than 2 years now, and the support you’ve shown has been increasingly amazing! However, much to my shame, I’ve rarely thanked you like you deserve it. I rarely have time to write as much as I want, I make grammar mistakes (non English speaker, btw), and I often reply to emails after a day or two. Still, I love you guys, and I try to give back as much as I can.

We’re gonna start doing a lot of giveaways and posters and … stuff (don’t wanna give you more details just yet), and this is the start. The day before yesterday I wrote about a great book I read, called ‘No small matter: Science on the nanoscale‘, and the publishers have been kind enough to offer 2 books for a giveaway. So, here’s how it goes.

All you have to do is join the ZME Science page on facebook (here), which I just started minutes ago. Then I’ll randomly select two winners and send them the books. Simple as that. Also, you’ll get to take part in discussions with people who have the same interest and you, contribute to noble causes, stay tuned with more information and also tell me what you like (and, of course, dislike) about the site. Good luck mates, and see you on facebook !

NOTE: contest ends on December 19th.

Earth Day 2009 – don’t let it be just another day!

In case you didn’t know, today is Earth Day and this year we are celebrating it for the 39th time. If you gladly supported Earth Hour this is a great new opportunity to show that you do care about the environment and that you believe in a sustainable future ( see here how). If you spent Earth Hour watching TV then you’d better ask about how Earth Day is celebrated in your area and if there is something going on check it out: it is up to each of us to make a change for the best!

Earth Day was celebrated for the first time in 1970 thanks to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in. Now it is celebrated in 175 countries by about 500 million people. The UN is also celebrating an Earth Day on the March Equinox, which is often on the 20th of this month.

Oddly (or not), the first time Earth Day was celebrated coincided with Lenin’s one hundredth birthday, which was assumed by many to be a sign of the communist influence. However, out of 10 million people who celebrate their birthday everyday it’s a bit difficult to avoid such coincidences.

This year’s celebration will mark the beginning of The Green Generation Campaign, which will be the main aim of Earth Day 2010, the 40th edition (let there be a lot more!). Three main goals have been established:

– increasing the use of renewable energy sources up to the point in which society is no longer dependent on petrol and natural gas.

– get people involved so that they they will understand the importance of sustainable, responsible consumption and put their knowledge into practice

-the transformation of the economy into a green one which would offer jobs to many of the unemployed and also modifying the education system so that it will promote the right values, especially sustainability.

But until then see what it is that YOU can do in your area. A bit of energy, a lot of will, a good purpose and some good friends is what it takes to start something truly great! Happy Earth Day!

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour is an initiative started by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund) that asks people everywhere in the world to turn off the light and other unnecessary household appliances for one hour, to raise awareness towards the need to tackle global warming and other environmental problems.

The “grandfather” was an idea born in Thailand that was executed with a whole lot of success and in 2009, it’s estimated that 1 billion people will vote (by vote I mean turning off the light). So here’s what you have to do.

In the last Saturday of March (that’s 28 March, tomorrow as I’m writing this) no matter where you’re from, at local time 20:30, turn off your light and whatever appliances you can for at least an hour. After that, as a bonus if you wish, make a picture of the building you live in, or some picture that shows turned off lights, or make a video, or twitter it and help the cause even more. We need to take action on global warming, and your vote is more important than ever; vote for Earth hour 2009. Vote for Earth.

ZME science contest [finished]

It’s not a science contest or a fair, or anything like that; it’s way simpler than that. Here’s how it works:

What can you win:

Two great books: “Into Thick Air” and “Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet” – I really recommend them, as they’re a very good read.

How to win them:

All you have to do is leave a comment with the email you are subscribed with; if you haven’t subscribed, you’ve got to do it. Then, two weeks from now, on June 19th, we’ll randomly select the two winners.

So without further ado, may the contest begin!

[UPDATE]

Due to the fact that I had to take a small break from the blog, I was unable to announce the winners here, but they were announced via email; they are: Jeff Quipp and Bellavida. The books have been shipped and might even have arrived. The good news is that all the others who have commented here and have not won get an extra shot at the next contest (which will be very soon) – they can enter it 2 times.

Again, I’m going to apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused. I hope the books will be appreciated as they should. It’s good to be back !!

Campaigns for a better world, chapter I: tree planting

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Sometimes ignorance can be bliss and knowledge quite a pain; knowing certain things and being aware of some situations in the world is really saddening. But it’s better to be saddened by these issues and do something (even something really small) to help out is way better than not knowing or not caring. Well we’ve been involved inside and outside the internet and we’ve tried to make a difference, even a tiny one. We tried not to make a big fuss about it. But from now on, we’re gonna let you know about the campaigns we’re doing, about what we’re doing to help other people and make this world we live in slightly better.If you’re interested, we’d be more than happy if you could join us, or encourage some other people to join us, or just say if you think it’s a good or bad idea. Let’s create some awareness, get out of our seats and actually start doing something! As Mahatma Gandhi once said, we must become the change we want to see!I was talking to the guys from environmental graffiti, and they have a lot of great actions planned. This inspired me; creating awareness by writing is crucial, but there has to be something else too. The first thing is an action which involves planting trees. Why? Well, each second 400 trees are being cut down in the world. I’m not sure how many are planted each second, but it’s obvious that nowhere near that number. So you do the math; trees are getting fewer and fewer. Is this the kind of world you want to live in, with no forests? It’s not the world I want to live in. So let me tell what we did.

We (my friends and colleagues and I) live in a city from Romania, called Pitesti. We started spreading the word that we’re going to plant some trees, spread some flyers, do a good thing. I didn’t expect people to want to join us and do this kind of thing, but they did! So then, we started making a plan and organizing things; raising money, finding the places where we can get trees more cheaply and that kind of stuff. But then, I was introduced to Marian “the shark” (his blog is in romanian), which helped me out a lot, and recommended our project to the local authorities, even the mayor! The response we received was just fantastic, and we were promised all the necessary materials for our campaign. Now all we have to do is go there and plant the trees, simple as that! It turned out to be not just interesting, and a good thing, but fun too! So if this interests you in anyway, if you want to live in a planet that has trees, get involved! If you feel the least bit inspired, or if you feel that you can do something, please do! Get out off your seat and start doing something! It will make you feel better, and it will make our planet a better place.