Today’s factismal: Today is December 31, 2014. It is also 9 Tevet, 5775, 9 Rabi al-Awwal, 1436, 10 Dey, 1393, and 10 Pausa, 1936.
This is the two thousand and fourteenth year in the civil calendar – at least, in some civil calendars. Other groups in other parts of the globe use different calendars, which can make it difficult if you want to make sure that you all show up for a party on the same day! But no matter which year you use, this year was a good year for scientists and an even better one for citizen scientists. In the past year, we have:
- Identified 715 more planets around other stars, bringing the total to more than 1,700 – and even found one that looks a lot like Earth (except for being boiling hot, that is)
- Celebrated another year without smallpox or rinderpest
- Saw fish that attack flying birds by jumping out of the water to snag them
- Saw some spectacular eclipses
- Soft-landed a spacecraft on a comet for the very first time, ever!
- Discovered a new “Grand Canyon” underneath the ice of Antarctica
- Saw an asteroid break up for no apparent reason
- Found that California blue whales had recovered to pre-whaling levels
- Sequenced the genomes of spiders, salmon, and coffee
- Discovered a new species of elephant shrew in the deserts of Africa
- Built a robot dinosaur that runs faster than a human
- Found the oldest known pterodactyl in China
- Saw an asteroid with its own set of rings
Many of these discoveries wouldn’t have been possible without the help of citizen scientists like you. Citizen scientists help look for new species and track where existing ones live. They identify features on the Moon and discover new planets in other solar systems. And, most of all, they have fun while they do it.
So celebrate all of the great science that you did this year and get ready for next year. It will be even better as I make come changes to the Factismals program. We’ll start by having themes for every day and all-new content, and lots of new opportunities to take part in the great big world of science!
|Monday||Mammal Monday (Biology)|
|Tuesday||Terrific Tuesday (Science news)|
|Wednesday||Healthy Humpday (Health and medicine)|
|Thursday||Thirsty Thursday (Ecology and oceans)|
|Friday||Far Out Friday (Space and planets)|
|Saturday||Secret Science Society Adventures (Home experiments)|
|Sunday||Cuteness (Pictures of cool science)|
|First of the month||Monthly “special”|
And if you’ve enjoyed reading the factismals this year, then why not buy a book of them? Each volume contains 30 different science facts, grouped by theme, and is priced at the bargain-basement level of just $1.99! The current titles are:
The first one is called Factismals For Space Cadets and includes posts on how astronomical objects get named, what Jupiter sounds like, and why we never got those atomic rockets we were promised. The second is titled Factismals For Health Nuts and covers topics such as the meaning of blood types, how cholera was stopped by a pump handle, and how diseases get their names.
And the third book is called Factismals for Bird Brains and covers (you guessed it!) biology and nature experiments such as how scientists track birds using banding, how to detect orca accents, and shark watching for fun and science.
- Factismals for Space Cadets – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/factismals-for-space-cadets/id733172316?mt=11
- Factismals for Health Nuts –https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/factismals-for-health-nuts/id735399112?mt=11
- Factismals for Bird Brains – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/factismals-for-bird-brains/id945009864?mt=11
- Factismals for Space Cadets – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/184-3911194-5901648?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=factismals%20for%20health%20nuts
- Factismals for Health Nuts – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=factismals%20for%20space%20cadets
- Factismals for Bird Brains -(Coming soon!)
- Factismals for Space Cadets – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360814
- Factismals for Health Nuts – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362026
- Factismals for Bird Brains – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/495274
See you next year!