National Science Week 12-20 August 2017

Interesting resources for National Science Week 12-20 August…..


National Science Week 12-20 August

Lots of events around the country.


Australia’s biggest smartphone survey

Part of Science Week. It’s been 30 years since the first mobile call was made in Australia and 84% of us now own a smartphone, changing handsets every 3 years. We are the 4th biggest nation of smartphone users, using our phones around 30 times a day. How are smartphones changing our lives? Are they affecting our relationships? Can we live without them?


Wellcome Image Awards 2017

“Informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of healthcare and biomedical science”.

Nature journal – best science images 2016:

Livescience – 100 best science images 2016:


Australia’s Science Channel

Excellent information – news, articles, videos, podcasts and events. Topics: Culture; Innovate & tech; Our planet; Scinema (science films); Space; The body; Thought leaders; Careers.


CSIRO blog

Lots of interesting news and information about research projects. Includes: Rise of the intelligent machines; Is Usain Bolt the greatest athlete ever? Do we trust robo-advice?


Best and worst science news sites

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) supports evidence-based science and medicine and derides the ‘outrageous sensationalism’ often found in science journalism. Their interesting infographic ranks well-known science reporting sources on ‘fundamental trustworthiness’ and how ‘compelling’ they are as sources of information. The 2 best sources are the journals Nature and Science. Other top-rated journals: New Scientist, Live Science, The Economist, Smithsonian, National Geographic, The Atlantic. Lower ratings: Scientific American, Science News, Popular Science, New York Times, Huffington Post, Fox News.


Latest science news

Live Science:

ABC Science(includes Dr Karl):

Science Daily:

BBC Science & Environment:

Science News:


PLOS One and Scientific Reports open access journals

PLOS One is a peer-reviewed online open access science journal published since 2006 by the Public Library of Science, and formerly the world’s largest journal. In 2017, open access online journal Scientific Reports became the world’s largest journal – published by Nature Publishing Group. Thousands of articles are freely available from both journals.


ABC Splash science resources

Good resources added continually. Digibooks, videos, audio, games, articles, links… Filter for primary and secondary resources.!/resources/-/science


ABC Splash science games!/resources/-/science/all/interactive


Free article access, Raspberry Pi & ICT news

More free access to online journal articles

Many more research papers are now openly available online. A recent report produced for the European Commission found that you have a 50% chance of finding papers published in 2011 for free, but some experts say it is more like 30%.

The proportion of free online papers is likely to increase in the next few years with moves towards getting government-funded research papers into the public domain. From 2014, the results of all research funded by the European Union must be open access. In February, the White House announced that government-funded research should be made free to read within 12 months of publication. A Science-Metrix study found that an average of 43% of articles published during 2008–11 were available online for free, with the results varying by country and discipline.

In Google we trust  (ABC, Four Corners, 9/9/13)

Who gathers the information, what are they doing with it and what are your legal rights? Examines online privacy, digital footprints, Big Data etc. and tracks the information trail of an ordinary Australian family. Excellent program for high school – social science, media, legal studies classes, general interest.

Raspberry Pi

The credit-card sized cheap programmable computer ($25 – $35) was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools. It was launched in Feb 2012, sold over 1 million units in a year & earned many awards. It has been used to create a coffee machine, doorbell server, robot, weather information system and many other things:

It plugs into your TV and a keyboard and can be used for word-processing, spreadsheets, playing HD video and games. It runs the Linux OS and the official programming language is Python or any language which will compile for ARMv6. Tutorials are available, including video.

“Developing countries are interested in the Raspberry Pi as productivity devices in areas that simply can’t afford the power and hardware needed to run a traditional desktop PC; hospitals and museums have contacted us to find out about using the Raspberry Pi to drive display devices. Parents of severely disabled kids have talked to us about monitoring and accessibility applications; and there seem to be a million and one people out there with hot soldering irons who want to make a robot.”

Good article about using Raspberry Pi in schools for programming:

Mark Zuckerberg announces

The Facebook CEO believes that all 7 billion people on the planet deserve to be connected to the internet. is a new partnership with some of the world’s top tech companies including Facebook, Samsung, Nokia & Qualcomm, and it aims to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected (5 billion people).

Zuckerberg posted a paper to his Facebook page titled “Is connectivity a human right?”. plans to develop cheaper smartphones and tools that would reduce the amount of data required to run mobile apps. Connecting the world is beneficial to companies and they have received some flak. However, Zuckerberg has already been involved in philanthropic projects. In 2010 he donated $100 million to FB stock to New Jersey schools. He also gave $500 million to a Silicon Valley charity that funds health & education projects. Earlier this year he launched, a political group aimed at changing US immigration policy, boosting education and encouraging investment in scientific research.

Google: Project Loon

In June, Google launched Project Loon with the goal of getting everyone on Earth online. In New Zealand, they launched 30 giant helium balloons, 15m wide and 12m tall, with internet-beaming antennas on top. People connect to the balloon network using a special internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then back to earth. It might be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying 20 km high around the globe, providing internet access & mobile phone signals to the earth below.

Google is also involved in other projects that bring internet access to developing countries. Its Free Zone project with Bharti Airtel in India provides free access to Google, Gmail and Google+ for mobile phone users.

Interesting videos & info:

The web is dead and the app thankfully killed it – Jeff Stibel

In 2012 for the first time, time spent on the web started to contract. The web is being replaced by more functional apps. Smartphone users spend nearly double the time using apps rather than the web. “In an era of information overload, search is less valuable than filtering….and filtering is done best through apps….download the app and never search again.”

Jeff Stibel’ s 2013 book: Breakpoint: why the web will implode, search will be obsolete and everything else you need to know about technology is in your brain.

Bing Schools

Bing has launched Bing Schools in the US, an initiative to bring ad-free, filtered search results to students. It’s currently in pilot mode.



ALA best free reference web sites 2012

This list came out round about July…. a bit of a US slant but includes some interesting & useful sites; the list comes out annually.


The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) announced the Best Free Reference Web Sites for 2012 to recognize outstanding reference sites on the web.


Best free reference web sites combined index 1999 – 2012:


This year’s list has 26 sites; here are some interesting ones:


MIT OpenCourseWare

Provides free access online to the materials used in the majority of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,100 in all. OCW receives an average of 1.75 million web site visits per month. To date, more than 125 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.


Google Art Project

Links to more than 1000 works of art at 17 major art museums around the world. Virtually explore the museum and click on artworks to view them; many have extra information and links.


Encyclopedia of Earth

A free, online encyclopedia about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. Nearly 7,000 articles are reviewed and written by “scholars, professionals, educators, practitioners and other experts who collaborate and review each other’s work.” The intended audience is the general public. Articles contain links and a list of further resources. A good alternative to Wikipedia for environmental topics.


Encyclopedia of Life

“Global access to knowledge about life on Earth.” Begun in 2007 with a vision of providing global access to knowledge about life on Earth. People and organizations around the world contribute. Search boxes are located on almost every page of the encyclopedia.



Guides for APA & MLA styles.


Newspaper Map

Over 10,000 newspapers from all over the world, most of them possible to translate to and from many languages with one click.



Access data from the World Bank; search for countries and time period. World Development Indicators (WDI) provides data on education, the environment, health, and poverty. Global Development Finance (GDF) provides statistics about the economic and financial health of countries. Results are presented in a useful report that can be exported.


FBI’s Vault

An open database of declassified FBI records. Includes many documents related to civil rights, gangsters, popular culture and violent crime. Even includes dossiers on Steve Jobs and The Monkees!


Forvo: All the words in the world. Pronounced.

Audio playback clips of word pronunciations by native speakers in over 280 languages. Launched in 2008 and now contains over 1,250,000 pronunciations of nearly 1,200,000  words, including idioms. Forvo’s goal is to include all words in all languages but does limit entries to those that can be found in a dictionary. Includes Google map of the language & accents. Features a different language daily. The website can be viewed in different languages.


The Khan Academy

Over 2600 videos (10 mins each), practice exercises and assessments for K-12 maths (algebra, geometry, statistics, calculus and more), science (biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, etc.) finance, history and the humanities (art history). Create accounts in Google and Facebook to save and track progress.


The Holocaust – Yad Vashem

In-depth information. Includes testimonies, personal letters & diaries.


The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Emory University provides an accessible database of 35,000 slaving voyages involving 10 million Africans. Includes lesson plans.


Common Sense Media

Provides ratings and detailed information for parents about the suitability of all types of media for children (movies, books, games, websites, apps, music, and TV). US site but could also be useful for Aust.


Academic journals and Intellectual monopoly privileges

11 May 2012
Over 11 000 researchers globally have pledged to withdraw their research articles from Elsevier journals, the world’s biggest journal publisher. Journals charge large amounts for online access to articles and research that has mostly been funded by taxpayers. Many people believe that publically funded research should be freely available in the public domain.

In some countries, government agencies now insist that government funded research articles must be available free of charge within 12 months of publication. In Australia, the National Health & Medical Research Council will change its rules later this year to ensure academic work that it funds is made freely available but the Aust. Research Council has been less supportive. The push for open access publishing has been dubbed “the academic spring” by many supporters.

3 May 2012: The great publishing swindle: the high price of academic knowledge
15 Feb 2012: Academics line up to boycott the world’s biggest journal publisher

Open access solutions
2 May 2012: Wiki founder to build open access site for UK research
“Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales will help the UK govt design a platform where all taxpayer-funded academic research will be freely available online – regardless of whether it is also published in a subscription-only journal….Leading members of Australia’s open access movement are less than optimistic that Aust. will follow suit”.
A report will be prepared this year in the UK that will chart a course for academic articles to be freely and openly available at or around the time of publication. The project will begin with a Gateway to Research website.
The Wellcome Trust, the world’s second largest non-govt funding body for medical research, is nearly ready to release its world-class open access journal called eLife, which will compete with prestigious journals such as Nature and Science.

ANU Digital Collections database: a free online repository of academic research
Members of the ANU share their research with the wider community – journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, working papers and other scholarly communication. It also has digital photos from the uni collections.

ArXiv (pron. Archive)
An archive for online preprints of scientific papers in maths, physics, astronomy, computer science, biology, statistics & finance. Owned by Cornell University Library; began 1991. Although the articles are not peer reviewed (as they have not yet been printed in journals), moderators review submissions & there is also an endorsement system. Most works are later published in journals.