Video: Nick Offerman Recites Some Profound Shower Thoughts [gifs via]
Video: Nick Offerman Recites Some Profound Shower Thoughts [gifs via]
This is Duolingo, a language-learning website/app that deserves some serious recognition. It offers over 10 languages for English speakers, as well as courses for non-English speakers around the world, and they’re in the process of adding more.
But wait, I don’t want to do any more schoolwork! Not to worry little one, Duolingo is actually more like a game. You can compete with friends, and earn “lingots” (which are basically Duolingo money) to buy power-ups, extra activities, and bonus skills - like Flirting.
I’m already taking a language, what do I need this for?
It’s not really a secret that most school language courses (in America, anyway) suck and only teach you to speak the language at about a third grader’s level. Which is why Duolingo is so freaking awesome.
Teachers can’t give every student individualized attention, but Duolingo can. If you’re not learning the way you want to or as much as you want to in the classroom, Duolingo is a really great resource. It’s easy, tailored to you, and really effective.
Duolingo tracks your progress and reminds you when you haven’t studied for a while or need a refresher on something. Already semi-fluent in a language? No problem, just take a shortcut to more advanced subjects or test out of the lesson.
The lessons start with the basics (he, she, hello, thank you, etc) and move up to harder stuff. Duolingo focuses on vocabulary first, so you can learn the language and then the grammar that goes with it - much simpler than the system most schools use. It also tracks the number of words you’ve learned and how well you know them.
And you don’t even have to write out the flashcards!
Duolingo is perfect for reviewing everything you forgot over the summer or giving you the extra help you need. And if you’re trying to learn a language on your own, it’s fantastic - you don’t have to create your own lessons. Whether you’re trying to learn your second, third, or fifth language, I seriously recommend Duolingo.
Okay, what else?
Duolingo also has discussion boards, where you can ask for help with a hard lesson, make new friends, watch for updates, and share your achievements.
Even better is the Immersion feature. It won’t send you to Spain or France, but it’s pretty awesome. Duolingo takes real articles from the internet, which users translate. You can translate articles from your native language into the language you’re learning or vice versa, which gives you more experience and makes the Internet more universal.
You can suggest new languages and track Duolingo’s progress in creating new courses. Bilinguals (older than 13) can help to create these courses. Duolingo has a long list of courses that can be contributed to, like Punjabi, Hebrew, and Vietnamese. Oh, and Dothraki, Klingon, Sindarin, and Esperanto.
And the best part? IT’S COMPLETELY FREE.
If you love languages or just want to pass French class this year, USE DUOLINGO. Download the app and practice a language while you wait for the bus instead of playing Angry Birds!
Coolest app I’ve ever downloaded.
I can’t stress how awesome I think (free!!) education tools like this are.
If you’re anything like me, you can buy an online course/CD/book/whatever and will simply never find the time or motivation to even get yourself started.
Duolingo is really good because:
- It’s right there on your phone, which you probably have everywhere
- Each level takes just a couple of minutes to complete.
- You can repeat them as many times as you want.
- All of the speech is in your learning language, which helps you form new associations rather than thinking in English first.
- There are no lengthy/jargony explanations.
- The way you’re tested is mixed up constantly, so you never feel like you’re neglecting one aspect.
- There is a hella cute owl who stays happy if you keep practising.
I’ve been doing two quick lessons a day for the last fortnight, and my Spanish and French are already better than they were after 2 years in high school.
In case it wasn’t clear: I’m a procrastinator and I’m in love.
A very good and very diverse list of sci-fi.
I once read that China, which used to ban sci-fi, approved it solely because it was proven to make scientists more creative.
Source: The Huffington Post
saffaux reblogged a post about lady armor in video games and I wanted to see how my latest gaming obsession fared when it came to female armor designs.
I never really noticed but apparently they changed the Carapace Armor designs for ladies in the expansion, taking away the weird boob cup thing going on in Enemy Unknown.
It makes me happy to know one of the designers, at some point during the creation of Enemy Within, saw the boob cups and thought “that’s fucking stupid. Let’s fix it.”
Good on you, Firaxis Games/2K.
A Leidenfrost droplet impregnated with hydrophilic beads hovers on a thin film of its own vapor. The Leidenfrost effect occurs when a liquid touches a solid surface much, much hotter than its boiling point. Instead of boiling entirely away, part of the liquid vaporizes and the remaining liquid survives for extended periods while the vapor layer insulates it from the hot surface. Hydrophilic beads inserted into Leidenfrost water droplets initially sink and are completely enveloped by the liquid. But, as the drop evaporates, the beads self-organize, forming a monolayer that coats the surface of the drop. The outer surface of the beads drys out, trapping the beads and causing the evaporation rate to slow because less liquid is exposed. (Photo credit: L. Maquet et al.; research paper - pdf)
"The Open Access Button campaign aims to shame publishers who charge a small fortune for what should be a universal right"
I watched this 4 minute video about how reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone park literally changed everything about the park and just sat there for another two minutes, mouth open and teary eyed and amazed. Definitely worth a watch.
This video is a nice little intro to ecology and the massive domino effect that one little change can have on everything around it, and a reminder that those effects don’t have to be bad (though in most cases of human involvement, they are).
I can’t tell what my favorite part is, but it’s either
- scientists wasting budget and time to see if ants count their steps
- the idea to put ants on stilts
- there had to be a guy who made ant stilts and put them on the ants
- confused ants
OMG this isn’t even the beginning of what scientists have done to ants. Gather round bbs while I tell you some stories.
There was one entomologist down the hall when I was in undergrad who wanted to figure out what goes down in the habitat when new species of ants appear.
So naturally the solution was to take a bunch of colonies (conveniently housed in tupperware containers), give them names like Moria and Mordor, and set them all up in an “arena” with food. There were notebooks full of lines like “2:36pm Two Mordor ants attack Moria ant” “2:37 pm Moria ants send reinforcements; first ant sent alarm call?” scattered all over the table because they managed to convince undergrads that sitting around taking handwritten notes on what ants are doing today was good science experience (partially because it’s true).
Now in the entomology dept at my current uni there’s an entomologist who studies ants and one who studies termites and they’re married to each other and they’re adorable. Also back in grad school they liked to take extra leftover colonies of their research bugs and make them fight. The ants always won.
But the BEST is this guy at our local USDA research station who’s working on parasitoids for fire ants.
So you know how there are wasps that lay their eggs in caterpillars and eat them from the inside? bitches that is only the BEGINNING of what Mother Nature has in store for insects.
There are flies that lay their eggs on fire ants. The larvae hatches out and burrows into the fire ant’s head and eats the insides and straight-up turns the ant into a behavior-controlled zombie. Right before it’s ready to pupate, it pops the ant’s head clean off. And then when it’s done pupating it crawls out between the ant’s jaws. It’s AWESOME.
Now the thing is before you can release these parasitoid flies into the wild, you have to raise a bunch of them in the lab. That turns out to be really tricky because fire ants FREAK OUT when they hear the flies coming. They all run and hide in their nest like a bunch of losers. That means the scientists have to find some way to get the fire ants out of their nests so the mama flies can get some victims to lay eggs on.
The scientists came up with the perfect solution. They figured out that the only thing that can motivate fire ants to run around when there are phorid flies around is the need to SAVE THE BABIES!
So what they do is take both adult ants and a nice big scoop of brood (the part of the nest that has all the baby ants in it) and stick them all in this tray. Over this tray there’s some homemade mechanical gearing that controls two shelters. They switch between being down flat on the surface where ants can hide under them, and being picked up and exposing all the ants underneath. Every five minutes it alternates which one is up or down. Whenever it switches the fire ants zoom around frantically trying to run the babies to the other shelter that’s now down, and while they’re doing that MUHAHAHAHAAAA IT’S EGG-LAYING TIME for the flies.
And when I say “shelters” I mean “Solo cups” because this is college, folks.
Anyway, watching this thing at work is 75% soul-deep satisfying because if you’ve lived with fire ants in their ecologically-uncontrolled plague state you know what I’m talking about; and 25% utterly horrifying. Also it makes me glad to not live in medieval times because there was no such thing as entomology back then and people with that kind of imagination would have had to find other ways to use it.
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Those were the words of astronaut Reid Wiseman who is currently aboard the International Space Station. He posted the photo above to Twitter last night at 6:04 pm ET (19 Aug 2014).Those were the words of astronaut Reid Wiseman who is currently aboard the International Space Station. He posted the photo above to Twitter last night at 6:04 pm ET (19 Aug 2014).
Science Needs Women:
For Women in Science; the L’Oreal Foundation
I’m sharing this video on any platform I can because when I first found it last week it had something like 1,400 views, but it’s the most beautifully produced and succinctly narrated video addressing some of the most complicated issues facing women in STE(A)M fields I’ve found yet.
I’m sharing this for every time I’m called a “feminazi.”
…for every time I’m told that my concerns aren’t valid, our that our issues are imagined.
…for every time I hear “women just don’t like science,” or worse - “women just aren’t good at science.”
…for every time we’re told that we can have a family or a career, but not both - and for every time we feel like we have to decide between the two.
…and because we need more women mentors in these fields to stand up for issues that are not “women’s issues” - these are people issues that affect our collective society as a whole.
The women in this video are my heroes and they should be your heroes, too.
Science needs women.