Events


By Matt Person

If this photo suggests someone who has been far away and returned to report on his explorations, then it accurately depicts MBL scientist Paul Colinvaux’s informal lecture in the last of the MBLWHOI Library’s Summer Salon series. Reading from his book, Amazon Expeditions: My Quest for the Ice-Age Equator (2008, Yale University Press), Colinvaux gave a “you are there” sense of the exciting discoveries he made during his long career, which included climate research revelations during a search for lakes on cloud-shrouded Galapagos Island mountaintops; trekking deep into the Amazon for further climate studies; and recounting his earliest climate research in the Alaska wilderness.

“This is a memoir of a life in science. It is a story of exploring,” writes Colinvaux in a synopsis to his book. “It is a story of a great hypothesis [the refuge hypothesis] that grew into a scientific paradigm of our times. It explores the Amazon, the ice age, and climate change. … It is a tale of when evolutionary ecology came of age, to seek causes for the diversity of living things. … It tells of the power of paradigms to control the thoughts of men and of a struggle to remove an Amazon paradigm whose consequence was mischievous.”

Paul Colinvaux speaks at the MBLWHOI Library's Summer Salon series. Photo by Matt Person

Paul Colinvaux speaks at the MBLWHOI Library's Summer Salon series. Photo by Matt Person

by Lauren Fackler

David Pogue, the personal technology columnist for the New York Times, brought “Dave’s Mobile Show and Tell” – part lecture, part comedy routine – to Lillie Auditorium on Wednesday. The event, sponsored by the MBL Associates, was a benefit for the Falmouth Forum Endowment.

The audience was well entertained by Pogue’s brand of humor, as well as by his slides, videos, and live demonstrations of his favorite tech gadgets and developments.

Some of the most interesting services and products Pogue described were:

Skype – This free software application allows free instant messaging, voice calls, and video conferencing through the Internet to other users of Skype. (A fee is charged for calls made to landlines).

Google Voice Local Search – A free business search telephone service from Google. Call 1-800-GOOG-411. After telling them what business you are looking for, it will connect your call, send you a text message, or speak the business address and phone number to you.

ChaCha Mobile Search – A free mobile search service. Text any question to ChaCha (242 242) and a person will reply with an answer in about one minute. You can also call 1-800-2ChaCha with questions.

MiFi – A personal WiFi hotspot small enough to fit in your pocket. It requires a cellular network since it works by converting 3G radio waves to WiFi 802.11b/g for LAN connectivity. A great way to get wireless wherever you go!

Twitter – A free social networking site where users can post messages (up to 140 characters each) on their personal pages or other pages. On his own Twitter page, Pogue posted one random question every night for a couple of months. He received thousands of responses and a book containing the questions and best (and probably funniest) answers is due to be published next month!

One cool new product not discussed by Pogue is the CellScope – a clinical microscope that attaches to your cellphone. Although not available for sale yet, it is already receiving rave reviews. Using the cell phone’s battery and camera, it offers resolution of just over a millionth of a meter!

The Cellscope prototype configured for fluorescence microscopy. Developed by UC Berkeley researchers, it is described in the July 22 issue of PLOS ONE.

The CellScope prototype configured for fluorescence microscopy. Developed by UC Berkeley researchers, it is described in the July 22 issue of PLOS ONE. Photo by David Breslauer

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