If the blog seems a little quiet over the next week or so, it’s because exactly one week from today I’ll be defending my Ph.D. dissertation, so I’m just a little busy.
I’ll keep your brain fed as much as I can in between preparing for the Snake Fight™, but I might also be curled up in the corner of the library in a dissertation-induced fetal position.
Ah, who are we kidding? Next week I’ll be Dr. Joe, right? I got this!! Yeah!
Man, I hate snakes.
A not-so-little note from me …
I just wanted to write you all a quick note to say thanks. Specifically, thanks for getting my new YouTube show off to such a strong start. If someone told me when I started this blog that it would become a YouTube show … I would have laughed at them. We’re really off on a good foot.
(Is that a thing? “Off on a good foot”? I dunno, it sounds good to me.)
Just three episodes in and I keep smiling when I look at the numbers! Maybe not Gangnam numbers, but pretty awesome. Of course, I’d love to get to a million views in record time … so by all means keep watching and subscribing :)
There’s lots of great science shows on YouTube that I look up to, and I’d be happy just to get close to their level one day. There’s established ones like SciShow, MinutePhysics, Vsauce, Smarter Every Day, Vi Hart, ASAPScience and Veritasium.
There’s awesome newcomers like The Brain Scoop, Bite Sci-zed and Comaniddy to support, too. We’ve got quite a science army up in here! We are a force of nature, man! It’s great to see how many people are hungry for awesome science, and they want seconds, thirds and more. How great is it that we have Tumblr and YouTube and everything else? It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of information. You guys are the key to making sure that buffet has gourmet stuff and maybe some veggies, and not just dessert and condiments … if you catch my drift. Watch and share good stuff, so more good stuff gets made.
Don’t you ever let anyone tell you the world is getting dumber! We (science folks) are not going to let that happen. Together I think we can write a pretty smart future.
I’ll keep making good shows, because you guys deserve it. Don’t ever hesitate to tell me what you like or don’t like about the show or something you’d like to see on a future episode. I’m having a ton of fun and I’d love to keep doing this forever, because this is SO FUN. With your help, maybe I’ll get to :)
(No, seriously … I’m finishing my PhD this spring and I really want to do this for a living!)
Thank you … and stay curious!
You guys know I have a big announcement coming up Monday, right? This is a photograph of me taken during the creation of the thing that the announcement is regarding, and I thought I’d use it to continue teasing your brains about what the thing is, exactly.
Can’t wait. Stay tuned on Monday.
I get to teach in a couple different settings: As part of my grad school work, I’ve taught several classes. And here, with all of you, in the world’s most interesting science classroom.
What’s my favorite thing? That moment when someone GETS it, and those tiny little squinchy stress muscles in their face relax and they go “ohhhhhhh" and on rare occasions even smile … that’s like crack cocaine mixed with meth for me (I assume that’s what it’s like, anyway, having never tried either). Nothing like the a-ha moment.
That and knowing that through hard work and personal connection and respect and commitment and graciousness and patience you can help influence someone’s life for the better. It can be as simple as giving them a sense of accomplishment for the afternoon and maybe making their day, or as significant as steering them to a whole new path in life. I’ve been lucky enough to do both, and everything in between, and it makes me feel humbled with joy.
And of course, I hear the money’s good … HA!
Stay curious and you’ll discover great things.
It’s Gonna Be An Exciting Week, Folks …
Before you head home to enjoy your weekend (which really means you’ll be reading Tumblr blogs in comfortable clothes, for free, instead of doing it in work clothes, while being paid), I have to tease you a little …
I have some exciting news coming up Monday! First off, I will be going to this conference next week, where I’ll be hanging out with everyone from MinutePhysics’ Henry Reich to NatGeo’s Ed Yong to HuffPost’s Cara Santa Maria (and so many more awesome people!). That will be oodles of fun, but it’s not the BIG thing.
It’s probably the most exciting thing that’s ever happened on It’s Okay To Be Smart, actually. I know I say things are awesome like, every day, but I’m totally serious. It’s kept me very busy lately, and it’s something that I think quite a few of you will enjoy, whether you’ve been following for just a few weeks or if you’ve been a part of our science ninja dojo from the beginning. It’s also something that all of you helped make.
Stay tuned for more on Monday, but I’ll just go ahead and say two things right now:
- This is gonna be awesome.
Tonight, I stepped beyond the city lights. We’re on a trip through western Texas, having replaced the dim glow that we call “urban night” with perhaps the darkest skies in the United States. Amid a cold, red glow at the top of a mountain bathed in moonlight as bright as day through my usual sunglasses, night watchmen of the skies lent us a look through their portals to the cosmos, a half dozen telescopes.
I saw a stellar nursery beneath Orion’s belt, its clouds blown outward by far-off charged winds of just-born stars (thousands of years ago, that is). I saw the haze of a galaxy larger than our Moon in the sky, Andromeda, normally invisible in its dimness. I saw the rust-striped white disk of Jupiter, like a tiger’s belly viewed through a drinking straw, its light even a half hour old. And a crater of our own Moon, its central peak catching the light of the monthly sunrise like our own mountains grasp the end of twilight.
It was a change of perspective, for sure. It was also a reminder that there is a night beyond the night that most of us know, if we only go looking for it.
Whew, quiet weekend around the IOTBS neighborhood. Sorry, my friends! I’ve been preparing for something big tomorrow.
I’m speaking to all of Austin’s science teachers tomorrow to tell them how much fun we’re having out here in internet-land telling all of our cool science stories. And fun it is! Thanks to everyone who provided answers to random questions I’ve asked the past couple weeks. Your thoughts will be in their ears.
Because here we’re riding with our toes over the side, on the edge of discovery. Here, we see how science intersects with everything else we love, and we’re richer for it. Here is where WOW is created.
I hope I can bring some of that to actual schools. Wish me luck!
Last night in Austin was hands down the best night of the trip. We had a little meetup of some of my favorite bloggers (is there a word yet for a group of bloggers? like a snark of bloggers or something?) and it was as if my favorite corner of the internet came to life for an evening. I’ve known some of these guys for months and some for years, and it was a blast getting to talk with them in person.
In person observations: Elizabeth has the best smile, Shane has the kindest eyes, Dieter’s softspoken and just the nicest, and Joe has a good laugh. I hope this is just the beginning of many good times with these folks.
Tumblr: Real Life Edition!
So awesome to hang with these great bloggers and generally cool people. Enjoy the rest of your trip, Chels!
Listen to me talk, about things!
I did an interview recently for a podcast called New Empire Builders (iTunes). I assure you it is not a show about global conquest, but rather a place that highlights people out to change the way things are done. I am one of those people, apparently!
I talked with Scott about what it’s like to write about science today, why I do what I do, the challenges facing us as scientists, and why we need more people engaged in science communication from both sides. If these are things that you think you might be interested in, give it a listen! I say the words “Neil deGrasse Tyson” and “Carl Sagan” in it if that helps.
Anyway, if you’ve ever wanted to be able to picture me reading to you as you peruse my blog, here’s a good reference point. For me, it’s like hearing my voice on an answering machine, only 1,000X worse.