Saturday, December 11, 2010

Touch, Hubble and Muppets!

As you might have gathered, I'm curious. I love space stuff, underwater stuff, size-changing stuff, and random question stuff. I received my new iPod Touch last week. I have been working a lot lately, so I haven't even had a chance to hit a wifi café to set up most of my new applications, but I am having fun with the new toy nevertheless.

I discovered iTunes U and promptly downloaded a variety of free podcasts and video lectures: a Critical Reasoning seminar from Oxford; French 102 (to see if any of my high school French lessons still reside in the crevices of my brain); an introduction to Game Theory; a Yale lecture on The Speeches of Joaquim Nabuco (in Portuguese!); and Brazil's Gold: How Rio Won It's Olympic Bid from Wharton, to name a few. I also discovered Ask the Naked Scientists. By gum, it's brilliant! The 30 minute podcasts, in which scientists answer questions submitted by listeners, provide an absolutely perfect accompaniment to my L commutes. The British accents lull me into my happy place while I learn just-enough about all sorts of interesting topics. This morning, for instance, I heard about some Mexican cave-dwelling, blind scorpions that evolved the ability of sight again after migrating to the light of the surface; how scientists study the moods of octopuses; how genetics plays a role in our individual pain sensitivity; why falling hot water sounds different than cold; and more. Neat, Jeeves.

[Speaking of educational diversions: octopuses, octopi, octopodes.]

Fittingly, as I'm on a science bent at the moment, tomorrow I am going to my favorite Chicago museum, The Museum of Science and Industry. Of course I'll visit my favorite happiness exhibit. I'll also check out two fascinating new ones: the Hubble IMAX show and Jim Henson's Fantastic World.

Yay for Muppets!