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ANN: the Ant News Network on ‘Brains on’

What would you do if you were the size of an ant?

Kids have some interesting answers for that.

Listen to the Brains on podcast about ants for the kids:

The segment where they enact as ant news reporters on ANN is very cute: http://www.brainson.org/ants-whos-in-charge-here/

And they have a good collection of ant-related lesson plans for the kids:

Have fun teaching your kids about ants!

Is summer the best time for ant outreach? A Google-trends analysis

How popular is the word ‘ant’ in google searches from different countries? How does it change over time?

I used Google trends to check that. World wide, there seems to be a seasonal pattern in the search popularity.

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Note: Here 100 means the most popular (given the range of time, country, topic (Biological sciences etc). 0 means less than 1% popular relative to the most popular score (of 100).

Although it could be biased by the population who knows how to use internet and have access to it, North American countries like Canada and US follow a seasonal search pattern with summer periods getting more searches.

 

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The United Kingdom has a similar pattern too.

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Perhaps it could be to get rid of ants in their houses. (This is definitely a correlation and a speculation, but not causation). But not all ants are bad. Maybe summer time is the best to teach people about ants, organise ant outreach programs and school visits etc. Although any time is good time to teach anything (almost), making more online content during the summer months can be helpful for people and raising awareness about ants, diversity, conservation, pest control, and all the cool ant science!

I expected a similar pattern for most norther hemisphere countries, but it was not true for countries like Russia and Germany (although there seems like a weak pattern towards recent years in Germany). It could be due to various reasons like culture,and internet literacy/usage/availability.

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Souther hemisphere countries like Australia have a peak in its summer time (Dec-Feb). But this was not true for South Africa.

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 12.05.03 PM.pngscreen-shot-2016-12-29-at-11-38-50-am

So more ants for the summer. More ant searches. More ant content for the summer. That is what we need.

 

My PhD thesis explained in one page cartoon strip!

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Just-questions: a new podcast series

Have you wondered how scientists ask questions, what their first research question was like? I started a podcast series called just-questions to address how researchers ask questions.

Please consider subscribing for future episodes. Comments/Criticism welcome.

About Just-questions:
Science often starts with questions. Each question has a story. But most podcasts are about answers and their associated stories. In this series, I will talk to researchers about their research questions, methods, and how they ask their questions. There is a lot one can learn about asking questions. This is useful for students starting/learning to ask research questions.

Ant course 2016

This year, the Ant course was in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. I had lots to learn from many instructors  and students from different parts of the world. Here is a video glimpse of the course, and my travel in South Africa after the course.

Research: what use is it for HUMANS?

“How does studying ants help the HUMAN society?” is a question that I often get asked, sometimes from my peers who study human diseases or engineer ‘stuff’. I often explain them by giving examples. The following material sums up my response quite well.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/confessions-of-a-was…/

An interview with a scientist, Justin Marshall:

End of first field season

As I finish collecting lots of data from two experiments on ant navigation this season, I made a short video of my other explorations.

 

 

Ants are so cool!

Just had to share this:

Source: http://xkcd.com/1610/

PS: I am not having second thoughts about grad school! 🙂

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