Monday 14 February 2011

Search Traffic in Egypt

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 was a series of street demonstrations that demanded the overthrow of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. One of the government retaliations to the protests was to shut down the Internet. Imagine you're a youth in Egypt and all of a sudden you don't have access to the Internet with its social networks, games and unlimited porn. You'd protest too! Great strategy guys...

Here is the Google search traffic in Egypt normalised against world-wide Internet traffic, created through Google Transparency Report. As you can see, it took a little less than a week for the government to realise their folly.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Science events for February, and a little bit of Valentine love

February is a big month for science, and a big month for love. Here are a couple of events that caught my eye.


The Global Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to all students aged 13 to 18 from around the world. Unfortunately, I'm now way too old to enter, but were I still at school, this would be a fantastic opportunity to have some fun with science and technology. Scientific American, Lego, National Geographic and CERN are partners in the science fair, whose winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship, a 10-day trip to the Galápagos Islands and a virtual internship at Lego or a three-day site visit to CERN, Google or Scientific American.

The idea behind the show is that it is a chance for participants to showcase their ideas and experiments. Entrants are required to submit their work either as a video or slide show on their website (using Google products of course), and the works can fall into the following categories:
  1. Computer Science & Math
  2. Earth & Environmental Sciences
  3. Behavioral & Social Sciences
  4. Flora & Fauna
  5. Energy & Space
  6. Inventions & Innovation
  7. Physics
  8. Biology
  9. Chemistry
  10. Food Science
  11. Electricity & Electronics
Check out the Official Rules carefully and watch the video below for an introduction:


The Powerhouse Museum is opening three new exhibitions in February and March 2011. The exhibitions, Engineering Excellence (open now), designTECH (opens 19 February) and Student Fashion (opens 12 March), showcase emerging innovators and designers in New South Wales.

Six local and international contemporary engineering projects that recently received industry awards are on display in Engineering Excellence. They include a spectacular, fully-glazed building, design-engineered to a complex geometry with a unique waste collection and removal system, in one of the Middle East’s biggest developments in Abu Dhabi; an articulated head featuring a robotic arm attached to the image of a human face that ‘chats’ with the visitor; an internet laboratory for engineering students living and working remotely; new technology for producing renewable energy for electricity generators; a new optical device for microscopes that lights up hard-to-detect bacteria; and a new track safety system for a 350km per hour China Fast Train project.

Furniture, fashion, technology and leisure products are among more than twenty HSC student works in designTECH.  Humanitarian concerns such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the use of child labour in manufacturing, and health and safety issues such as 2009 swine flu and pool drownings were just a few of the motivating factors that inspired the student works. Some of the unique ideas on show include a homeless shelter designed for natural disasters; a brake device for runaway prams; a supermarket trolley aid for the elderly; a learner driver log iPhone app; and a pool fence alarm system.

Adelaide (and the world):

We've blogged and podcast about the science of love and sex many times, and with Valentine's Day coming up, the Royal Institute in Adelaide is putting on a special love themed event, Seven Deadly Sins: 'Lust' - Is Love Blind? Running the show will be Rob Brooks, who we spoke to at the end of last year in Ep 136: Sexual Selection about how evolution not only favours animals with the ability to survive, but also those who are attractive to the opposite sex and therefore more likely to reproduce. If you can't make the Adelaide event, it will streamed live on their site.

While we're on the topic of love and Valentine's Day, if you are looking to get the attention of that one special person, check out the Science of Speed-Dating, and our Scientific Dating Tips. If you are lucky enough to be waist deep in romance, then check out the reasons why we fall in love, and how love is simply a chemical process in the brain. And if you simply just want to get lucky, then check out:
If you think this whole love and sex thing is just one big joke, then perhaps the idea that those who are more sexually appealing may be dumber might be up your alley. Or talk sex over a beer with the Beer Drinking Scientists.