Science & Tech

Coverage of current events and announcements in the world of science, technology, engineering, software, and computing with an emphasis of focus on the MN scene.

Stand Up for Net Neutrality with Twin Cities Geek

On July 12, 2017, Twin Cities Geek is joining other sites across the web in an Internet-Wide Day of Action to bring attention to the fight for net neutrality. What Is Net Neutrality and Why Should I Care? Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast can’t slow down your Internet speeds based on what sites you visit, block certain sites, or charge sites and mobile apps extra fees to get through to customers. The Federal Communications...

Crafters, Artists, and Techies Come Together for the St. Paul Public Libraries’ Maker Fest

It is often said that our society is consumer driven, or that we live in a consumerist culture, increasingly dependent on things we can buy rather than things we can create on our own. Despite this, a growing countermovement persists. Referred to as maker culture, this movement not only seeks to build community of tinkerers, builders, artists, and general DIYers but to demonstrate and give others the tools to become makers themselves. Locally, furthering momentum in the growing maker movement...

How Five Minnesota Educators are Bringing NASA into Their Classrooms

Experiential learning and project-based learning are methods oft praised by teachers when it comes to creating lesson plans or poring over various curricula for their students. But these philosophies aren’t solely beneficial for students in the classroom—they’re also for teachers themselves. Enter NASA’s new Microgravity University, a program hosted out of the Johnson Space Center in Houston that aims to offer educators and undergraduate students the opportunity to “conduct science, engineering, mathematical and technological experiments in a simulated microgravity...

5 Kinds of People Who Don’t Get Vaccines But Aren’t Anti-Vaxxers

The cases of measles in Minnesota have grown to 32, and as someone who has a hereditary rubella vaccine allergy, I’m worried. The measles and mumps vaccines are no longer available separately, which means that I have only had one dose of the MMR vaccine—the dose that almost killed me as a baby. Basically, I am probably not immune. So if you like having geeky science and technology articles from this nice person, please get vaccinated, as I could...

NASA’s Cassini Begins Its Grand Finale with a Grand Discovery

Beginning this month, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will begin its final journey, fatefully dubbed its Grand Finale. On April 26, Cassini will make the first of what should be several intrepid new orbits around Saturn that will ultimately result in 22 dives within the 2,400-kilometer gap between the planet and its innermost rings. Throughout these final orbits, the spacecraft will gather new pieces of information that will ideally reveal the inner composition of the sixth planet as well as the material...

Weather Geeks Wanted for a Local Storm Spotting Initiative

On March 6, 2017, the earliest tornado in Minnesota’s history struck the state. With climate change threatening to extend the tornado season, the need for trained volunteer storm spotters to keep the storm warning system accurate is greater than ever before. People who know the basics of storms and clouds and can tell the difference between scary clouds and a tornado are crucial to the storm-warning system. A few weeks ago, I attended a training session at Ridgedale Library...

Glitch’s Gamecraft Is a Digital Whirlwind of Minnesotan Game Creation

Over the weekend of January 20–22, 2017, over 200 artists, programmers, writers, and video-game fans gathered at Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. Their shared goal would propel them through sleepless nights and countless bottles of energy drinks and cups of coffee. They had signed up for Gamecraft, the local site for the 2017 Global Game Jam—an international festival of creativity that encourages creators to produce and prototype games in all media. According to the Global Game...

Minnesota’s 2017 FIRST Robotics Season Begins

As the FIRST Robotics Competition build season comes to a close and the competition season comes to an open, high-school students across the globe are frantically putting the finishing touches on their robots. The sound of drills and the smell of pizza fill the air. FIRST Robotics Competition is a high-school-level robotics competition where teams of high school students build a robot in six weeks to compete in a game, which changes annually. This year’s game is FIRST Steamworks. The build...

Free Code Camp Twin Cities Brings Local Geeks Together to Learn

On a brisk Sunday afternoon, I got off the bus and headed toward the Minneapolis Central Library to meet some Internet strangers from Free Code Camp Twin Cities, a local community for people who are learning code on the website Free Code Camp. The site is exactly what it sounds like: a place to learn to code for free. It’s similar to Codecademy in general format but much more employment oriented, and thus much more oriented toward networking and community....

Fact or Fiction? A Scientist Puts a Minnesota Monster Book to the Test

After completing M. P. Johnson’s latest novella, Lake Lurkers, I felt like I needed to reach out to confirm a few points in the book that rang a little too true to be fiction. While there is nothing in Minnesota that quite rises to the level of the Loch Ness Monster, there have been a few lake creatures spotted in our 10,000 lakes. I knew a story as frightening and engaging as this had to have some grounding in...
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