Science & Technology


What is this?

This Tumblog was created by Kathleen Brainerd as part of the LIBR 220 course “Sci-Tech Resources and Information Services” at San Jose State University. It is designed to appeal to high school students and lead them towards authoritative science and technology websites. Ideally, it would be updated weekly or more often with websites that would be of use or interest to high school students studying the sciences or with an interest in technology. All of the sites featured in this blog were chosen because they are interactive, interesting or somehow work outside the box of standard resources (paper journals, dry text). I have done my best to gather together websites that are regularly and recently updated so that the information is fresh and new. The sites themselves run the gamut from primarily text to a wide array of multimedia. The emphasis is on accessibility from a Web 2.0 perspective. These are sites that high school students can access from their computers. They are sites with RSS feeds, Twitter streams and Facebook pages. They make science and technology accessible, whether in the physical or intellectual sense.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a relatively new blogging platform that has been gaining popularity and fast. Although it does support standard text posts, primarily it focuses on the visual, as well as audio and video posts. By creating a Tumblr blog account (sometimes known as a “tumblog”), the user can chose to create his/her own content or “follow” other blogs. New entries appear on what is called a dashboard. They can be “liked” by clicking the heart symbol in the upper right hand corner, which is similar to bookmarking. They can be “reblogged” as well, which means the entry will appear on the user’s blog with a note as to where the user found the original entry. Additionally, in reblogging, the user can add his or her own commentary to the original post. Tumblr also employs a completely customizable tagging system. The lack of standardization means that a lot can be lost in the ether, but creative tag usage can lead to new discoveries.

Why Tumblr?

Tumblr is gaining a lot of popularity, especially among young people. Its emphasis on images, video and audio rather than simply text intrigues a generation who have been raised on digital movies, television, and music. The textual blogging features encourages a sense of community. In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that it is still new enough that it slips under the radar of a lot of filtering technology employed by schools and libraries. I have seen high school students checking Tumblr during their lunch breaks, even when the computers are meant to be used only for academic pursuits. I know it’s being used, therefore I want to use it for this assignment, too.

Science of Cooking

Ever wonder why food browns during cooking? Or what exactly is MSG? The Science of Cooking website, maintained by Edinformatics, is here to answer these questions and more. If your interest in science is more of a culinary bent, check this place out for interesting explanations. Plus, they provide recipes for the delicious looking photos that they provide. is the online branch of Wired magazine, which means it’s different, but not quite. You won’t find all the same articles as in the print, rehashed and reformated, but you will find the latest in technology and science as it affects human business and culture. Check out the tech sections, the science blogs and science videos. Plus, check out the How-To section for useful things like how to share files on Usenet or interesting things like how to make a daguerreotype (including explanations of how it works).

Popular Science

Since its launch in 1872, Popular Science magazine has been a valuable source for science and technology news. The magazine’s website is free to use, updated daily, and organized by categories, tags and a thorough search engine so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Sharp articles, stunning images and exciting videos make this website an engaging resource.

This Week in Science

This Week in Science is a simple website with a complicated task: update the world on the latest developments in science in understandable words. Broadcast from the University of California, Davis, the show is hosted by Dr. Kiki, a former research scientist in neurophysiology, and Justin Jackson, the requisite layman. The duo discuss current trends in technology and address questions asked by their listeners. The website holds an archive of their broadcasts since 2000 in podcast format.

Ask a Biologist

Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences has created this entertaining website, Ask a Biologist, for K-12 that attempts to explain the little mysteries of the planet. You can simply ask a question of a biologist via email, or check out written stories or recorded podcasts for questions others have asked. There are fun activities and a picture gallery for some more creative learning.

Project Creek Watch

Every year since 1994, the Amador Valley High School Science Department has sponsored and coordinated Project Creek Watch, a student field project involving the Arroyo Del Valle Creek just outside the school. Treating it as an outside laboratory, the students are taught to make observations as they learn about the life and physical sciences. Because it’s been going on for so many years, the website is full of data, pictures and even a virtual tour of the creek.

Image credit to ldysw357. Some rights reserved.

Dec 7

Anatomically Correct: The Online Cat Dissection

Brought to the Internet by ThinkQuest Education Foundation, The Online Cat Dissection brings anatomy lessons to another level. With pictures and video, the website leads you through the dissection of a cat, without the mess, and then tests your knowledge to make sure you were paying attention.

Image credit to katalopolis. Some rights reserved.