Weekly Round-Up – Gaming, Engagement And Zombies (Oh My!) – Rewind For 17th November

Winner of the Australian cute find so far this month – albino kangaroo!

Since it was first captured on film in a fuzzy shot by a ranger on Sunday, the park has received reports of at least two other albino kangaroos in its vast expanse in the ACT’s south. Friday was the second time The Canberra Times was called to the park to look for the creature.

But Mr McNamara says visitors shouldn’t come just to look for them. He won’t reveal the exact locations of the sightings, but instead says people should take it as an indication of just how worthwhile visiting the park could be.

“It really, to my mind, underscores the incredible biodiversity value that is Namadgi National Park,” he says.

Less adorable local news – Warnings that Australian science could be paralysed by major job cuts at CSIRO, from Chemistry World.

How well does public engagement work? Depends on the analysis – draws on the lectures presented by Prof. Bruce M Hood (who is currently prepping for an awesome-sounding documentary involving Maui!)

Demonstrating the impact of public engagement is an increasingly important activity for today’s academics and researchers. The difficulty is that many areas of interest do not lend themselves well to evaluation because the impact of each single intervention can be hard to trace and take time to become manifest.

Celebrate by firing up a favourite on your console – ten year study on impact of video games on 11,000 kids finds no negative effects (this is a triumph. I’m making a note here – huge success):

  • Exposure to video games had no effect on behavior, attention or emotional issues.
  • Watching 3 or more hours of television at age 5 did lead to a small increase in behavioral problems in youngsters between 5 and 7.
  • Neither television nor video games lead to attentional or emotional problems.
  • There was no difference between boys and girls in the survey results.

Zombie proof your home! With science! Kyle Hill in the Boston Globe:

NOW SHUFFLING into its fourth season, the popular zombie-themed TV show “The Walking Dead” has recently added another obstacle for its survivors: infectious disease. 

Check out the new blog WTFPR – about wtf press releases. Premiere post is “The Wanker Gene”. And Do Mice Really Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers? Scientists respond over on National Geo blogs.

A collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive now open at the library of Congress – Miriam Kramer at Live Science. There’s a few great videos for Carl Sagan Day (November 9th) to enjoy:

In the Sagan spirit, here’s Shanks FX’s latest with the sheet of glass effect for the Cosmos from PBS Digital Studios:

Erin Podolak has some food for thought with Can We Stop Talking About Carl Sagan?

Role models are a great thing, and I get that Sagan inspired people to become scientists themselves. But, if we want to seriously address issues of diversity in science and science communication holding up the stereotypical scientist over and over again isn’t doing anyone any favors. I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s inspiration for pursuing science, let alone belittle Sagan himself. I respect the work Sagan did as a scientist and communicator. I respect that at the time he brought science into the mainstream in a way that hadn’t been done before. But, we need new things.

This week was also the week of national Climate Change rallies across Australia – “An estimated 60,000 people have attended rallies across Australia in one of the largest ever displays of support for action on climate change”:

And finally, from Ireland – RTE’s Evelyn Cusack’s Best Weather Forecast Ever!