Monday, August 25, 2008

Google and science

Of the top 20 Science/Technology stories on Google at the moment, only one is about science--Neanderthals may not have been as slow as presumed.

What else do we have?
You can scan Google news again tomorrow, and you will get similar results.

Contrast this with the BBC News (which lumps science with nature, giving technology its own category):
  • Cattle may sense Earth's magnetic fields
  • A few dozen asteroids have been newly found in our solar system
  • A black hole mystery has been solved
  • Water scarcity is causing food shortages
That the American press glorifies technology is not shattering news, and hardly warrants mention in a blog.

It does make me wonder, though, what most parents and policy makers think actually happens in science classes.

The science is not in the fancy "interactive" SMART Board, nor in the LED projector (with the very expensive bulb), nor in our web access. I appreciate all of them, though I'm fine with a piece of chalk and a slab of slate as well. (I think I do my best teaching in bars, on cocktail napkins, but that's not for publication.)

The science is in the elodea (a water plant) bubbling away on the windowsill when the sun hits it, the Newton's cradle clinking for the 27th time by a curious student.

The Neanderthal child was reconstructed by by a research team from Anthropological Institute, University of Z├╝rich; the picture is credited to Christoph P.E. Zollikofer. The elodea is by Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS Plants Database.

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