Monday, November 21, 2016

The $1 Microscope

The Prakash Lab is one of the real sources of creativity and ingenuity in the world today. They've debuted both the "Dancing Droplets" exercise and the Foldscope: a functional microscope made from paper for $1. I've been waiting for the Foldscope to be available publicly... and now it is! The Kickstarter just went live, and yes indeed, you can buy 20 microscopes for about $25. Can't wait to get these into students' hands in the lab! And I'll try to get them to Burundi too, for use in medical education there. Don't get me started on my ideas for outreach with this thing.

Book Review: Caliban's War

The Expanse continues to expand, although this time with a more focused story. Where Book 1 was a detective story, Book 2 is a search for a lost girl and a fight against super-soldiers (both in military and political arenas). I appreciate that the scientist character actually acts like a scientist, politically naïve but good for figuring new things out, and that the politician character solves problems like a politician should. There's even a minor chaplain character that makes more of a contribution than the religious characters in the previous book. My only complaint is that this plays like a "Monster of the Week" episode of the X-files, in that the underlying mythology of the alien technology is not much advanced, although there are some tantalizing hints. If you need a little realistic escapism each day, I highly recommend this series so far.