Science Borealis blog carnival entries

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Thanks to all the Science Borealis bloggers who participated in our first anniversary blog carnival! Our theme was: what was the most important story in your field in 2014? We’ve summarized the entries below – check out for many more posts from our blogging community! Thanks to all the bloggers who participated.8

Monsters & Molecules: Laura Ulrich

Visualizations & Vaccinations

“There are more jobs in this field than I could have dreamed. In my studies of animation, I have come to realize that there is very little to which visualization could not be applied.”

“Now! Without further ado, I would like to present to you the fruit of my labour! An animation inspired by (ridiculous) controversy, backed by science, and made with the help of two ladies who had the guts to follow my lead, despite not knowing where it would take us.”

Companion Animal Psychology: Zazie Todd (@CompAnimalPsych)

The Companion Animal Science Story of the Year? Dogs love learning. Eureka!

“…there was one paper that really captured our readers’ imagination. It’s one of our most shared stories of the year and it was picked up by the Daily Mail too!”

“Think back to last time you learned a complicated new task… do you remember the excitement you felt when you completed the task correctly? Our work suggests that dogs may also experience this ‘Eureka Effect.’ In other words, learning itself is rewarding for dogs.”


Pseudoplocephalus: Victoria Arbour (@VictoriaArbour)

A Body for Terrible Hands

“Deinocheirus (which means “Terrible Hands”) was found during the Polish-Mongolian expeditions in the 1960s, and up until very recently has only been known by this single specimen, a pair of tremendous arms…What on earth did the rest of this dinosaur look like? Was it a carnivore, herbivore, or something else?”

“It turns out that Deinocheirus is even more surprising than we would have ever guessed; the giant arms are nothing compared to the weirdness of the rest of its skeleton. Deinocheirus looks like a cross between a therizinosaur and a hadrosaur.”


Genomics Blog: Gerry Ward (@gwardis)

Gerry’s Gene Scene 20 – Science Communication from Greeks to Tweets.

“Science Borealis is having a science blogging carnival this month and that got me thinking. Recently, I saw a show about how Archimedes communicated a discovery by running through the streets shouting Eureka. In this video I ask how would he do it today?”


From Strings to Science Education: Jared Stang (@stangjared)

Active Learning Works

“Active learning, in which students spend class time actively engaging with material, by thinking about it, practicing skills, or discussing it with their peers, should result in better learning than the traditional instruction model of passively sitting in a lecture hall. …

“For those that remain unconvinced, a recent metastudy adds to the already substantial set of evidence in favour of active techniques.”

The Boreal Beetle: Dezene Huber (@docdez)

Citizen Science

“Engage the public, and they will understand better what we science is all about. I think that 2014 was a big year for citizen science, and I have a feeling that this trend is just going to grow in coming years. And I am happy for that.”


Musings of a Clumsy Palaeontologist: Liz Martin (@gimpasaura)

2014 – The year of pterosaur bonebeds

“…pterosaur bones are extremely fragile due to the thin-walled hollow nature of the bones caused by the respiratory system and pneumaticity. This is why it is so rare to find them together and why this year has been so important for pterosaur-related news. There was not one, but two pterosaur bonebeds reported in 2014: one in China, and one in Brazil.”


Fraser Larock: @LarockFraser

My Most Important Takeaway from Genomics: The Power and the Promise

“I strongly believe communication is the #1 issue preventing genomics from being applied in Canada and I’m glad scientists are aware and actively engaged in solving this problem.”

“Communicating research is an increasing trend that is also being felt by scientists through some funding organizations. The Government of Canada has consistently asked for the ‘Benefits to Canada’ for each research project and is increasing the emphasis on demonstrating ‘impact’ for future projects.”


Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere: Sarah Boon (@SnowHydro)

Mount Polley mine disaster: redux

“… on 4 August, a tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold mine in central British Columbia burst, sending tailings water and sediment spilling down Hazeltine Creek and eventually into Quesnel Lake. It was an environmental disaster on a scale never before seen, and analysts predicted it would have wide-ranging impacts and take years to remediate.”

“What makes this the story of the year is that it touches on a range of topics in Canadian science, environmental policy, and natural resources development.”


Eight Crayon Science: Steph Taylor (@8CrayonScience)

Science Borealis Carnival: National NMR Facility Faces Closure

“I think the biggest on-going story in Canadian science is the sustained active cuts and passive underfunding of scientific research from the Harper government…”

“…to the best of my knowledge, no physics or astronomy facility that can be described as “the only one of its kind in Canada” has yet had to shut its doors as a result of the war on science… However, this may change early next year, as the National Ultrahigh-Field NMR Facility for Solids is in peril of closing permanently in March 2015.”

“Since this is the strongest magnet in the nation, if this lab closes there will be no facility in Canada that can analyze materials with magnesium, gallium, germanium, zirconium, indium, barium, or lanthium.”

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