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Meet The Executioner.
Earlier today, I got a tour of the mosquito breeding facility at North Carolina State University. Basically, it's a small room — about the size of my bathroom at home — where scientists breed and grow the mosquitoes they use in scientific research. The downside: Mosquito enclosures are somewhat less than foolproof. Which means the mosquito breeding facility has a significant number of loose mosquitoes. That's where The Executioner comes in. There were multiple Executioners in that one small room. Then entire time I was talking with the scientists, they were simultaneously swinging around these electrified tennis racquets to zap any mosquito that blundered into their personal space.
Personally, I consider this a hell of an endorsement for any bug killing tool.
Anecdotes aren't data, but they do make data memorable. Alice Bell has a list of books that use storytelling and narrative to explain the often complicated science of climate change
. One of the books on the list — Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming
— is an oft-recommended favorite of mine. If for no other reason than the fact that I like to see how people react when I explain that we have known about the science behind climate change since the 19th century. And if it didn't work the way we think it does, then Earth would be a cold wasteland, like Mars. (Bonus, Weart and the Institute of Physics have a fantastic website
that delves deeper into Weart's sources and can help you do your own research and answer follow-up questions.)
Looking for high-quality, smart reads on science? This Twitter list
, put together by Scientific American's Khalil A. Cassimally will introduce you to lots of great, young science writers you might not have heard of previously. Some of the folks on the list whose awesomeness I can vouch for: freelancer David Manly
, Smithsonian Magazine contributor Colin Schultz
, blogger Hannah Waters
, and Scientific American associate editor Ferris Jabr
. Many new voices to discover!
I wrote earlier this month about how much I loved coffee table books as a kid, and a couple of people asked me about recommendations for science books that kids will love today. Smithsonian has a great list up right now
: 10 books that cover everything from inventors, to failed experiments, to whales.