Science march returns to Portland (guest post)

Portlanders will once again don their marching shoes for science — on April 14.

This year’s event aims to celebrate science, show support for evidence-based policy making, and foster scientists’ research and communication efforts.

The Portland March for Science will start with a rally at 10 a.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square, followed by the actual march at 11 a.m. The march will feature an accessible route.

Meanwhile, an expo and a kids zone will operate throughout the event until 3 p.m., featuring opportunities to learn about local science organizations as well as hands-on activities.

For more details and to sign up for updates, go to the Portland march’s website.

Effie Greathouse
for Science In Portland

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A fluoride science project in Portland (guest post)

Portland  in 2013 was widely derided in science media as being “anti-science” because our city rejected water fluoridation for the fourth time via referendum.

Or if not openly derided, it was at the very least implied that our city was anti-science, such as in examples, here and here.

However, as a Portlander, a pro-science scientist myself and as someone who lived through the campaign, I had a different view of what went down and whether Portland is anti-science.

First, I just don’t go for the term anti-science. I wrote about that here with my colleague, Kylie Menagh-Johnson, who works in public health. We think science is hard, and the onus is on science to do a better job communicating. We think calling people anti-science just doesn’t help us communicate better.

But what really inspired me during the campaign was seeing that fluoride and fluoridation represents an opportunity. It is an opportunity to take advantage of fluoride conspiracy thinking and the attention it gets and to turn it into awesome science learning. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but I really view public controversies and continued debates about fluoride and fluoridation as an opportunity to make lemonade from fluoridated water.

I hope you’ll pop on over to our site and consider our different view on how questions about fluoride and fluoridation aren’t anti-science and how the long-running debate represents an incredible occasion for science communication.

And if you’re interested in fluoride science communication, please get in touch at hello@fluorideexposed.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Effie Greathouse
for Science In Portland

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Sharpen science communication skills at Portland Science Talk conference (guest post)

Science Talk ’18 is right around the corner.

Join science communicators from across the country at the conference March 1 and 2 in Portland.

Geralt / Pixabay

Science talk will feature two full days of talks, poster sessions, workshops and networking opportunities with one goal in mind: sharpening science communication skills.

Conference attendees also can network with scientists, journalists, science communication professionals and others who share a passion for science.

For registration and more information, go to the Science Talk website.

Effie Greathouse
for Science In Portland

 

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Placentas and health: Explore the connection at Portland Science Pub

Placentas are organs important to nourishing developing fetuses and the only temporary organ a human body makes. 

They also serve as models in research for predicting who will get certain diseases, such as diabetes, later in life. 

To learn more about the connections between placentas and health, check out “Baby’s First Wombmate: The Placenta’s Role in Long-term Health” July 6 at McMenamins Mission Theater.

Presented by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the event will run from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Speaker will be Jessica Herbert, a doctoral candidate at Portland State University and an OMSI science communication fellow

For more information, go to the event’s Facebook page

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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Sip and gaze at stars during OMSI event at vineyard

The moon (top arrow) and possibly Venus and Jupiter (bottom two arrows, not necessarily in that order) are shown in a photo from Oregon during the period of Venus-Jupiter conjunction in 2012. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Do stars sparkle more when paired with wines? Are they best observed with a bit of bubbly or a pinot?

You can explore these questions when the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry partners with Anne Amie Vineyards July 22, 2017, for “Planets and Pinot,” a stargazing event.

OMSI will have several of their most powerful mobile telescopes set up at the winery for guests to gaze through, and Anne Amie will pour some of its wines. Woodfired pizzas also will be available for purchase from Dough on the Go.

Anne Amie is located in Carlton, and event admission is free.

For more information, see the event’s Facebook page.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Editor’s note: No, the Science In Portland blog is not entirely dead. Jim and I are still around but often occupied elsewhere. If you know of an upcoming event or would like to help with writing for the blog, let us know. It’s an all-volunteer show, so no fat paychecks or royalties for any of us.

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Brain talks explore human brain-device interfaces and how birds learn to sing

Brains, brains, brains!

Two upcoming Portland-area talks will be all about the gray matter — connecting human ones to computers (and related ethics) and how those of birds work to help them sing.

Brain-computer interface science has the potential to help people but also raise ethical questions. Freeimages.com

The first of the two talks will look at brain-computer interface research and how BCI devices can help people to control computers, wheelchairs and brain stimulators, as well as record brain activity. The devices also raise ethical concerns, ranging from what brain data should be considered private to what stigmas might arise regarding people who use them.

The BCI talk will begin at 5:45 p.m. May 8 at Lucky Labrador Pub, 915 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. Speaker will be Dr. Eran Klein from Oregon Health and Science University’s neurology department.

For more information, see the event page on OHSU’s Brain Institute website.

An Anna’s hummingbird visits a feeder for a sweet sip in Oregon. Susannah L. Bodman | Science in Portland

The second talk will delve into new research about birds that sing, their songs and how they learn to sing. Claudio Mello, a neuroscientist and OHSU associate professor, will cover the three bird groups that sing: songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. He’ll also discuss how song learning in birds is similar to the way in which humans acquire speech.

Mello’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. May 9 in Chapman Elementary School, 1445 N.W. 26th Ave., Portland.

For more information about the bird talk, go to the event page on the Aububon Society of Portland’s website.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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Get to know your brain and what music and pleasure do to it at May Science on Tap talks

Your belly craves beer, but your mind craves knowledge — of the scientific persuasion. Where, or where, can you feed both in Portland?

At the May (2017) editions of Science on Tap, the ongoing science lecture series presented by Via Productions at area theater venues.

First up on May 2 is a dive into the melodic: “Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Composition, Interpretation and Performance.”

Learn about the origins of music, how practicing music might enhance brain development and limit the effects of aging and injury, and what happens to our brains when we create music.

The talk, presented by Oregon Health and Science University neuroscientist Larry Sherman, will begin at 7 p.m. in Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Cost is $8 to $13.

Later, on May 22, check out “The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love.”

The speaker again will be OHSU’s Sherman, who will cover the brain chemistry of love, pleasure and addiction; how the brain sorts out pleasure from discomfort; and how neurochemistry around the things and people we love can impact our behavior.

This talk also will begin at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. Venue will be Artists Repertory Theater, 1516 S.W. Alder St. Cost is $8 to $10.

At both events, beer, wine and various food items will be available for purchase.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

 

 

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