Weekly Roundup – 1 Feb 14

For sanity purposes, I’ll write my roundups in 3 parts: a summary of what I’ve covered in my science blog, other fun news things I want to talk about, and adventures in meatspace that are of particular note.

From Freshly Squeezed Science:

  • The Global Game Jam. It’s an international event in which teams from around the world gather at universities and such to create a game in 48 hours. This year was the first year my school held one, and the game development club created two games. I also wrote an article about it for our campus paper.
  • DIY housing: A company called Wikihouse is teaming up with Google SketchUp to allow homeowners to design their own homes and send those designs to CNC machines that can “print” out the frame. It’s like IKEA, but for creating your house rather than just furnishing it.
  • Austria’s first open biohacking lab: Austria is one of many European countries that is super anti-GMO, but they OK’d lab space for individualized genetic tinkering. This gives biologists better access than even some universities.
  • The wild extinction of the axolotl: This is a story near and dear to me because I own two domesticated axolotls, but the wild ones that lived in Lake Xochimilco may be no more. Friends and family have suggested that I offer mine as tribute considering their **ahem** reproductive proclivities, but they are brother and sister, which has bad genetics written all over it.
  • Paradise gliders: These are really cool snakes that can glide between trees by launching themselves off a branch and spreading their ribs to flatten themselves out more. The record for the study they just released was a 21-meter glide.
  • And finally, astronaut training: Waypoint 2 Space operates spaceflight training out of the Johnson Space Center that just got approved by the FAA. Their current program is one week and $45,000, and their eight-week orbital program opens in 2015.

Other fun news things I’d like to bring up:

  • The main thing this week is the results of a small business competition. Software maker Intuit offered a Super Bowl commercial to the best small business, and employees and the public chose GoldieBlox, which is an engineering game geared toward girls. It’ll be a nice change from all the objectification we get in all the other commercials.

And meatspace:

  • Nothing much this week. I’m still trying to get the hang of using social media more frequently and expansively than snarky statuses on Facebook. I had to sub for a friend in a rehearsal this evening; in related news, if anyone is in the Ithaca, NY area and enjoys Disney, my school is holding a two-hour Disney concert on the 15th.
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