Job Opportunity at CSIRO Education, Melbourne

It would be remiss of me not to mention this!

CSIRO Education is seeking energetic, motivated people to join its team in Melbourne. The successful applicants will have qualifications in science to a degree level or higher, a strong work ethic and will be keen to develop their communication and education skills. Qualifications in science communication or education would also be an advantage.

And it comes in two exciting flavours: for those with a science background; and for those with a qualification in science to a degree level or higher.

Applications close Sunday 3 February 2008. Get cracking!

Wikipedia: [insert subject] in fiction!

I’ve just been finishing some articles for a science anthology to be published later this year, and been using Wikipedia for some cross checking and fact dipping, and noticed an irritating trend.

In a lot of Wikipedia’s articles there is a heading somewhere toward the end saying “[subject] in fiction.” For instance, Cyborgs in fiction, or Quantum computers in fiction. Most of the time these are the most fiercely debated areas on the article, with editors giving lucid reasons why/why isn’t Darth Vader a cyborg. The nerds of the world know more about where and how the subject crops up in Manga. Meanwhile, the rest of the article crumbles, aching for some real information with proper references.

Personally, I’d snip the offending passages out of the articles and put them in an article of their very own with a link from the original. But, hey, my priorities have changed since turning 30.

Job Opportunity at Bendigo Discovery Centre

Discovery Centre logo

There’s a job going at Bendigo’s Discovery and Technology Centre:

Discovery’s motto is “100% Hands On,” highlighting its philosophy of learning through play. There are over 100 classic interactive exhibits on the floor at any time, including permanent star attractions the Bendigo Planetarium, Australia ‘s first vertical slide, and Kaleidoscope, an exhibition for under 8s, as well as the new laboratory opening in March, 2008.

We are looking for an innovative centre manager with a science education or communication background. In this rewarding role you will have the chance to lead the centre forward by developing exhibitions, science shows and education programs; lead and strengthen the small staff team; and build strong partnerships with other individuals and organisations.

Applications close Friday 8 February 2008.

(Just don’t look at the salary…)

Wii Virtual Reality

Neal Stephenson, in his book The Diamond Age, described engineers as being either forgers or honers:

The distinction was at least as old as the digital computer. Forgers created a new technology and then forged on to the next project, having explored only the outlines of its potential. Honers got less respect because they appeared to sit still technologically, playing around with systems that were no longer start, hacking them for all they were worth, getting them to do things the forgers had never envisioned.

I’m betting the engineers of the Nintendo Wii never envisioned the future hack by this guy:

(It’s worth checking out the other Wii Projects Johnny Lee has on his site.)

Essentially it’s the same principle behind how, when I was in primary school, we made picture whose eyes followed you around the room. We placed a card with the drawn pupils set back about two centimetres behind the cut-out eye-holes of a picture. No matter where you stood in the room the eyes looked as though they were pointed at you.

A variation on this is a concave face, like this guy:

A concave face gives your brain the wrong cues, and you think your looking at a real head. As you move around, the face seems to be turning to look at you. (Download the file and make it for yourself.)