Category Archives: Science

About to Get Political on YouTube

Tomorrow, I’m recording my weekly science news video. It’ll be uploaded on Thursday. Over the first two weeks, I haven’t done anything remotely political, but this week, one of the biggest science news stories has to do with the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States. The chief of the EPA is a climate change denier and has made a conclusion about climate change and carbon dioxide without actually knowing the science.

I’ll be keeping my opinion out of the video, as I just want to report the news on it. But I’ll say it here: you can’t make a scientific conclusion if you haven’t actually studied the science. His opinion won’t change reality. Unless he shows evidence that he is correct, I won’t accept his conclusion.

The same goes for any science-deniers. Deny evolution? Think vaccinations cause autism? Give us the evidence. Not anecdotal evidence. Not opinions disguised as evidence. Not the Bible. Not Andrew Wakefield. If you can show that the science is wrong without any doubt, you’ll win the Nobel Prize.

So, show me the evidence.

Remembering the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

It’s been 6 years since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s a very strong memory in my life, and something I’ll never forget. I recently started a new science channel and my first feature topic is about megathrust earthquakes and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Check it out.

Any comments are definitely welcome.

Learning to Read

My daughter is 5 years old. She’s in kindergarten, and she’s learning to read. A few months ago, she couldn’t read at all. But now, she knows the sounds of all the letters of the alphabet, as well as all hiragana. What’s that? It’s the main writing script for Japanese.

You see, my daughter also goes to a Japanese school, though not for much longer. She’s able to read both English and Japanese. Actually, she can read Japanese faster. It’s easier to learn to read Japanese than English. You might not think so, since English has 26 letters, while Japanese has 46 hiragana, 46 katakana, and thousands of kanji. It’s hiragana that she knows, and this is what’s needed to be able to read basic Japanese.

But why is it easier for her to read Japanese? Hiragana is phonetic. With a couple exceptions, everything sounds exactly as it’s written. English is a mess. There’s a meme going around:

If GH stands for P as in Hiccough
If OUGH stands for O as in Dough
If PHTH stands for T as in Phthisis
If EIGH stands for A as in Neighbour
If TTE stands for T as in Gazette
If EAU stands for O as in Plateau

Then the right way to spell POTATO should be: GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU

I have no idea what the original source is, but this is everywhere. But you get the point, right? English spelling is stupid. I taught English for 11 years, but I managed to get children, including a 5 year old, to be able to read English reasonably well.

My point here is that if you can read English with no trouble at all, you’re doing pretty good. It must have one of the least strict rules for spelling.

I’m pretty good at spelling. When I was in grade 7, I tested at a university level for spelling. But there was one word that I had no idea how to read: paradigm. When I saw it, I thought, “paradiggum?” I knew the actual pronunciation. I’d heard the word before, but I’d never seen it spelled out. And then there’s “embarrassed.” How many r’s is it? Well, it’s two.  Don’t forget that!

What are some words you had trouble spelling or were pronouncing completely wrong?

Looking for Science News

One of the things I need to do for the new science channel is to keep reading science news. I would like to do a weekly video on science news featuring a few stories from various fields of science. They will be brief, meant as more of a summary of the science news. I will do additional videos about news stories that’ll take a closer look at the news and may or may not be included in the weekly news video.

One of the first stories I will talk about is TRAPPIST-1, which I’ve already talked about on this blog. But where will I find the news? Of course, I’ll keep watching for stories on science news websites, as well as some of the major news websites. There are a lot of science “news” websites out there that I won’t touch, though (Natural News, for example). I want to use legitimate resources that cite the original sources. NASA, for example, is a good source I will use often. I’ll also use Planetary Society, Discovery, LiveScience, Space, Nature, and so on.

I’d like to know what your favourite science news websites are. Let me know in the comments section below.

TRAPPIST-1: A Solar System of Earth-Sized Planets

The announcement that NASA hinted about being a major discovery related to planets orbiting another star turned out to actually be pretty major. In many cases, we’ve seen announcements of huge planets, single Earth-sized planets, or a super-Earth in the habitable zone around a star. This time, it’s even more significant.

TRAPPIST-1 is a very cool and small red dwarf star 39 light years away. Not only does it have one Earth-sized planet, but it has seven. And it’s not just one of them in the habitable zone, it’s three. How’s that for amazing?

Two were originally discovered by The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile, then confirmed by NASA’s Spitzer Telescope. But Spitzer discovered a further five planets. When the James Webb Space Telescope is in operation, it will be used to study these planets even further. We may be able to discover the atmospheric composition, determining if they’re potentially habitable.

As these are planets orbiting a red dwarf, they are close to the star, with the outer planet having an orbital period of only 20 days. This means that they’re likely to be tidally locked, with one side of each planet facing the star. They don’t have enough information about the outer planet to determine its exact size, but scientists guess that it may be icy.

NASA released this video on the planets:

What do you think of this news? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

Science Channel – What’s Going On?

I remember saying I’d start my science channel around the beginning of February. It’s three months into February already. So, what’s going on?

Don’t worry. It’s coming. In fact, I have a couple videos already recorded, and they’ll be going up this week! But not until Thursday and after. The delay has everything to do with the name of the channel. I’ve finalised the channel’s name: Science: Not Just a Theory.

What you’re going to get this week are the channel trailer and an introductory video about who I am and what the channel is all about. I discuss what kind of videos to expect. I also mention things like Patreon, which I’ll be refocusing on the science channel. Of course, the channel will be renamed and the vlogs will be made private.

Some of the videos to expect include:

  • Weekly science news
  • Videos on specific topics every week (The one scheduled for March 11th will be about earthquakes, as it’s the sixth anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami)
  • Occasional vlog-style science news updates whenever there’s big news that can’t wait for the weekly science news.
  • 26 shorter videos in April featuring a different science topic based on the alphabet

I also have future ideas, including visits to science-related places in the area, experiments that are easy to do at home or outside, and Q&A videos where I answer science questions asked by the viewers.

What would you like to see? It’s your chance to ask some questions. You can ask them in the comment section below.

Not Just a Theory

My science channel has a name! Maybe.

I’d like your opinion. It’s very difficult to choose a name for a YouTube channel. I was trying to think of something that would not only tell you that it’s science, but also to tell you that it’s combating science illiteracy. The name?

Not Just a Theory

I’m not 100% certain about this yet, so I wanted to ask you what you thought. Do you like the name? Or do you think I should include the word “science” in the name? Let me know in the comments section below.