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.

Foldscopes Give You the Power of Microscopes without Breaking the Bank

Manu Prakash and his team developed the Foldscope as a cheap way to test for malaria in places where it is challenging to use and maintain a research microscope. In addition, this foldable paper microscope—which reached its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter within 24 hours when the campaign launched around this time last year—is also an affordable citizen-science tool. Foldscopes are to full-blown microscopes like a phone is to a DSLR camera: affordable, portable, and easy to use. I bought a...

Adam Savage and Michael Stevens Satiate the Mind with Brain Candy Live

For generations, being interested in science made you an outcast—forced into the depths of basement laboratories, backyard telescopes, and dusty library sections. But over time, popular science started to break through to the masses, with shows like Mr. Wizard, Beakman’s World, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The last decade in particular has seen a science boom in what is cool, thanks in large part to Mythbusters on television and Vsauce on the interwebs. So in some ways, it’s only natural that hosts...

How to Enjoy FIRST Robotics from the Comfort of Your Home

Recently, I almost went to the Minnesota Robotics Invitational. Instead, I procrastinated on multivariable calculus, got anxiety over how much I had procrastinated over multivariable calculus, curled up into a ball in the corner of my room, got more anxiety over the fact that I was curled up in the corner of my room procrastinating, and did absolutely nothing that Saturday. This is the modern life. Always procrastinating, then freaking out over how much we’ve procrastinated, then freaking out...

Minnesota Researchers Use Lasers and Gold Nanotechnology to Advance Cryopreservation

From franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars to films like Sleeper and Forever Young, cryonics—the preservation of individual life by freezing the body—is a fairly regular plot device in popular culture. But whereas large-scale cryonics is often seen as the stuff of science fiction, cryopreservation—the process of preserving biological tissue, cells, or organs by cooling them to very low temperatures—is actually a scientific reality and the subject of continuing research in numerous fields. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of...

When, Where, and How to See the 2017 Total Eclipse in Minnesota

Monday, August 21, will bring us the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States in 99 years. While not incredibly uncommon generally—total solar eclipses can be seen from Earth every couple of years—this one is special to us, as it will cut diagonally across the entirety of the United States. Knowing the significance of this upcoming eclipse is one thing, but knowing the science behind it is another. For that, Twin Cities Geek turned to Evan Tyler, a...

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Latest Book Makes Astrophysics Dead Simple

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s newest book, released in May and meant to teach basic astrophysics to a general audience. It might be a little too simple for people who already know a bit about the topic, but for curious people with no background in astrophysics, it breaks down the science very well in one 208-page volume. A lot of its style and tone is Biblical: “In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago,...

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...
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