More geeky science badges please!

Last Friday night I attended a Jamboree, and yes it was a "jamboree." We weren't all dressed in the same uniform, but there was talk about badges and the occasional hushed mention of sashes. Except that this wasn't your usual jamboree - no, this was a Science Scout Jamboree. Hold on - in case, you're scratching your head and wondering what I'm going on about, let me explain. The Science Scouts is this somewhat silly thing that is probably best described as a mix of science geekery, badges, and the occasional beer. It's been mentioned a few times here and there, but really, at the end of the day, it's just an excuse for folks with a vested and/or peripheral interest in science to hang out. It's interesting because that description is general enough that a really interesting and diverse mix of people come out. But back to the badges - yes, there are badges! In fact, there are over a hundred of them right now and you can check them all out on the website, as well as read the many hundreds of comments left by people who have taken the effort to tell us why they deserve specific badges. For instance, some of my favourite include the four below: sciencescoutbadges.jpg The one on the far left is the "I can be a prick when it comes to science" badge. This one is interesting, because there are lots of folks who argue against woo, creationism, and climate change denialism, and feel that this badge was made for them. The next badge is the "call me a visionary, because I do a pretty convincing science dystopia" badge. I love this one, because it was created with the help of someone who obviously knows what she's talking about, and is just an example of how funny little web things can lead to interesting connections. Moving along, the "I've named a child or pet for science" badge) is just cool, because so many folks have left comments telling us what they've named their child or pet and why. Finally, there is the "I've set fire to stuff (LEVEL IV)" badge, because there are different levels when it comes to combustion.
Right now, the badges are pretty much existing only in the virtual world, but there have been some who have actually physically made them and then put them up for sale (see Angelheart704's examples below). In fact, since launching the site, I get at least 4 emails a week on badge making services (usually from India or China). Anyway, making them for sale is o.k. with us, and is something that we've talked about on the website - it's kind of a free market thing. badgesforsale.jpg All to say that at Friday's meeting, we had a great turn out with lots of interesting folks, including a wildlife photographer, an expedition writer, a children's author (about pirates no less), an environmental political scientist, an evolutionary biologist (who occasionally moonlights as a Darwin impersonator), architects for humanity, folks who report on the Vancouver Art scene, journalists, museum curators, lots of students, and many many more. It was awesome, and it got me thinking that one of these days, I need to organize and host a proper (a.k.a. conference style) "jamboree" in Vancouver. More importantly, it got me thinking that we need some new ideas for badges. So, here's an open call for new science scout badges. No need to produce art, just the idea is fine. Funny is great, but funny because it's so wonderfully true and geeky is better. Anyway, you can leave comments below, or better yet, (since the idea of the description being less than 140 characters is particularly appealing to me), send along a tweet to @dnghub with the hashtag #sciencescout.


      1. Not at all. Some of us wanted to be astronauts, and are. Others wanted to spread their verbal seed around the world, and have.

  1. I want a “Not saying I’m going to do it, but I happen to have access to everything required for cloning myself” badge.

  2. I can’t believe you don’t have a “Hot glass is visually identical to room temperature glass” badge.

  3. “Busted for Science”, for those who have eaten balogna sandwiches on white bread in a jail cell in the interest of advancing understanding of the natural world.

  4. Anything what calls itself a “Jamboree” really oughta have a few animatronic hillbilly bears playin’ jugs, fiddles, washboards, ‘n such.

  5. ‘FISSION’ badge for breeding U233 from Thorium
    ‘FUSION’ badge for building a Farnsworth Fusor
    ‘ANTENNA’ badge for building a receiver and transmitter on unlicensed bands
    ‘ANTENNA-PLUS-HAMBONE’ badge for earning an amateur radio license

    ScienceSig: “…the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. This is not science; other forces are at work.” – UC Physics Prof. Emeritus Harold Lewis

  6. How’s about a clenched fist and a crescent moon for “I punch moon-landing deniers” (or “I am Buzz Aldrin”)?

    And personally I’d proudly wear a “I burnt off my fingerprints for science” badge (for the record, they grew back…)

  7. My parents managed the difecta of being both science geeky and religious geeky with my name. My first and middle names are Adam and Neil, named after the first man on the Earth and the first man on the Moon. When somebody sets foot on Mars, I’ll pick up another name.

  8. As a highly connected member of Scouts Canada, in Vancouver, I think we should talk about how my organization can help yours make more Science Scouts Jamborees happen.

  9. If there isn’t a “I’ve put random stuff in liquid nitrogen because i can and it’s cool” badge i’ll be very disappointed.

  10. Dang, when I first starting reading this I was hoping it would be a geeky alternative for my 6 year old to that proto-fascist organization of brown shirts.
    Then I got to the beer – *sigh* even I can’t really see giving a six year old beer.

  11. Genuine question, not meant to sound snarky, at the gent from Scouts Canada: Do your troops allow gay members? In the U.S., not so much.

  12. I have a three-parter:

    Level 1: I’ve designed my own scientific equipment, because what’s available needs tweaking.
    Level 2: I’ve commissioned my own scientific equipment, because I can describe what I need, and it ain’t available, nohow.
    Level 3: I’ve built my own scientific equipment, because no one else can construct the interferometer specialty support to the tolerances I need.

    Symbol: a wrench and bolt with a I, II or III

  13. To answer the question about Scout Canada, we have no barrier to entry (or continued enrolement) of that kind. We are even co-ed, and have been in some degree for youth participants since 1972. Our programs serve youth ages 5-26.

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