Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from February 2015

  1. You should watch Haphead

    Recently one of the vloggers I follow, Nicole Coenen, tweeted about a video series she’s in. It’s called Haphead, and it’s an 8-part miniseries set in 2025 about young people, video games, and the pace of change.

    I’m a science fiction fan (big surprise, that), so I was immediately intrigued. I started watching the first episode … and I was hooked. As in, it has been a while since a TV show has so effortlessly drawn me into its world and made me want to watch more. I watched the next two episodes immediately afterwards, and I would have watched the remaining four (there are six released as of this post), except I had to go to work. From the opening shot of Maxine, her father, and the security guard standing on the train platform, to the music and the dialogue, Haphead is a really nicely put-together series.

    It’s filmed in Ontario! And it’s set in Ontario, with lots of neat little references throughout.

    The trailer above gives you a taste of what the series is about. Maxine and her friends get a below-minimum-wage job helping to produce haptic feedback cables, which let people interface with video games…

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  2. Haters gonna hate: we need Ontario's new sex ed curriculum

    Ontario’s new health and physical education curriculum landed today. As with all curriculum documents, you can read it yourself. This marks the first revised curriculum since 1998/1999.

    I remember in 2010 being disappointed when the McGuinty government backtracked hard on its revised curriculum. Both Premier Wynne and Minister of Education Liz Sandals seem pretty committed to keeping this one around, however, and that’s a very good thing. We need this, and the groups who claim we don’t or who feel that elements of the new curriculum are not “age appropriate” need to open their eyes. It’s not 1998 anymore. It’s 2015. Same-sex marriage is legal, transgender people are people too (always have been, but now let’s act like it), and the Internet is here to stay.

    And I don’t know if you’ve looked lately, but there is a lot of stuff about sex on the Internet. Like, a lot. And that’s before you start looking for porn on purpose.

    Concerned Parents, you are absolutely right: we have a huge problem with sexual education in Ontario. But the reason for that problem is not because of terrible revisions to the curriculum. It’s because the curriculum is so out of…

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  3. The problem with teaching STEM

    Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have announced they have evidence that mice can pass traits to offspring through bacteria’s DNA.

    That’s it, guys, I’m done.

    I took biology in high school, and enjoyed it, even though it is the squishiest of the sciences. I remember learning about genes and DNA and inheritance and Punnett squares. In the textbooks, it all looks so cut-and-dried. But it has been simplified to the point of being almost-but-not-quite a lie. (Physics has the same problem when it comes to extremely complicated matters like flight or, you know, relativity; with chemistry, it’s the whole solar-system model of the atom business.)

    Science is wonderful, and the best thing about it is that it’s an ongoing process of discovery. We know about DNA now, but the way DNA and genes interact to influence our growth and development continues to surprise us, even though we know more about it than we did ten years ago. Above all else, however, discoveries like the one I mentioned above underscore a fundamental truth: science is weird and wacky. There are stranger things on this Earth than are dreamt of in any of our philosophies, and just when…

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