Dance Your Ph.D. Finalists!

I’m not sure what I can say that can add to the loads of creativity of these finalists for Science and AAAS‘s (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 5th Dance Your Ph.D. contest. You can choose your favorite by visiting here and making your selection by October 15th. My hats off to all 36 entrants this year, you are truly inspiring and are the future of fantastic, fun and engaging science communication!

Which one is your favorite!?

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Happy Birthday David Attenborough!

Hello dear readers! Sorry I’ve been a bit sparse lately, but things seem to be calming down a bit. The Art From the Ashes show was a great success, and you can still view the remaining works at the Bastrop Public Library. I’m anxiously awaiting to hear the total funds raised for the Lost Pines Recovery Team!

However, we’ve got something else to celebrate today! Today is the birthday of one of the most creative science communicators of our time, Sir David Attenborough. He has worked on his groundbreaking BBC Life series since 1979’s Life On Earth. Here’s a clip from the very first of these films, featuring a very spry Sir A. Being in my fetal stage at the time this aired on television, I can’t help but think that maybe listening to this in the womb could have influenced my love for natural history before I was even born!


Attenborough and his team at the BBC have continued to produce ever-impressive films in the Life series. I’ve often said to my colleagues that I think one could get a very good biological education just by watching these films. I’ve yet to see Frozen Planet, the most recent series in Sir Attenborough’s repertoire. What do you think!? I’m sure it’s very fascinating, indeed!

climate + resilience film contest

Just learned about a cool opportunity for you biocreative types out there from my friend John’s Climate Change Water Blog. If any of you out there are into filmmaking (maybe my friends over at Scientific American’s Psi-Vid?), you might be interested in entering the International Institute for the Environment & Development’s 4th Development & Climate Days International Film Competition. The theme this year is climate change resilience and the organizers are looking for  films on any aspect of climate change resilience, resilience building or resilience in action. You can even submit audio slide shows or animations. Go to  www.iied.org/filmcompetition for more information. The deadline is October 23, 2011.

nature time-lapse

I really enjoyed reading about (and especially watching) Neil Bromhall‘s oak seed time-lapse featured yesterday on New Scientist’s Time-Lapse Tuesday.  How come I didn’t know about Time-Lapse Tuesday yet!? I mean, really, what kind of rock have I been living under? I have always been somewhat of a time-lapse junkie and am usually left in awe of even the most basic of time-lapse projects, which allow the often “slow” pace of nature to be visualized and appreciated by us humans.

I know I’ve got a long way to go before my work is quite as good as that, but time-lapse is very fun to try. Here is my first time-lapse title page that I made for the biocreativity blog, and I plan to have a new one each month which you can view on the biocreativity vimeo channel:

biocreativity | july 2011 title from h. gillespie on Vimeo.

Of course, technology is always evolving and allowing filmmakers to do some pretty amazing things. I mean, have you seen the incredible stuff the BBC Nature crew has been up to (covered a while back on Moving Image Source)? You can see some of their amazing footage on the BBC Nature Video Collections site. Unfortunately I can’t embed these because I’m not in the UK, but here are links to a couple of my favorites. The first is a six month panning time-lapse of a woodland, and there’s a great documentary about how this was done at the end of the Life episode in which it is featured. My other favorite is of the Antarctic marine invertebrate scavengers. The incredible thing about this one is that it can help inform us about behaviors of these animals that would be hard for us see if we just sat around McMurdo Sound freezing our butts off. Here is one I found that I could embed, about tropical plants climbing to the forest canopy to get sunlight. Amazing!

See why I put my humble little time-lapse before these? Incredible! You don’t even remember having watched mine after seeing those, now, do you? Hopefully, you can see why time-lapse is one of the most compelling media for educating others about biology. Time-lapse not only brings “slow” nature to life, but is also inherently impressive for the amount of time and energy it can take to produce a good one. You might also enjoy Wired Science’s Top 10 Time-Lapse Videos that Show Nature at Work or Mashable’s Nature in Time-Lapse: 10 Awe-Inspiring Videos. I hope you enjoy and share time-lapses that you’ve come across (leave a comment below with links to them!). Maybe you should also try making one yourself in whatever system you work on or enjoy. It’s very easy now with just a camera and either Mac or Windows movie software. A quick web search for “make time-lapse video” will result in plethora of tutorials and advice. Adventure Journal, for example, has a good article on making your own time-lapse videos. You can even use your iPhone! There’s a good tutorial on the iPhone app TimeLapse at Digital Urban. Go ahead…your video just might blow someone’s mind!

Link

Happy Monday, everyone! Just wanted to report that there’s a great article in today’s PsiVid (on Scientific American Blogs) about Dr. Carin Bondar’s recent adventures at the ‘Science Film Workshop’ at Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island, Washington. For anyone interested in such endeavors, she reports that there are two upcoming fall 2011 classes in October and November at Friday Harbor Laboratories and the Vancouver Aquarium, respectively. I want to go!