June 30, 2011

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Grab the Astro Ice Cream & Tune-In: It Ain’t Rocket Science

What do FIRST Robotics, the Tasmanian devil and outer space creature comforts have in common?

They’re topics of discussion in It Ain’t Rocket Science, a pilot that we recently produced as part of our Connect a Million Minds initiative.  Hosted by technology reporter Adam Balkin, It Ain’t Rocket Science is a half hour special that explores science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) themes that can engage and inspire kids.

What I like about this show is it’s got something for everyone — from the natural-born scientist to the naturally curious.  Maybe you were/are terrible at science in school and you think the subject’s not for you.  But then – what?! — you listen to popular science writer Mary Roach talk about the engineering challenges of using a toilet in outer space and you’re suddenly intrigued.   Look at you — you like science and you didn’t even know it. You’re welcome.

In addition to this segment, It Ain’t Rocket Science treats viewers to:

  • An inside look at FIRST Robotics with its founder, inventor Dean Kamen
  • An interview with Goleta California High School teacher, MacArthur fellow and FIRST Robotics mentor Amir Abo-Shaeer, subject of the recently published book, The New Cool
  • An interview with Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina about a cancer running rampant among the Tasmanian Devil population
  • How the Indiana Jones and the Adventures of Archaeology museum exhibit is piquing youth interest in the field of archeology

After watching the special, viewers are sure to come away with some unique science nuggets to pepper into everyday conversation.  Last night, I slipped in some stats about the Tasmanian devil over dinner.  It sparked a far more interesting discussion than what usually transpires over takeout.

“Did you know that The Tasmanian devil is not just a Looney Tunes character, but a marsupial from Australia?  Moreover, are you aware that 95% of the Taz population is facing extinction because of a contagious cancer called devil facial tumor disease?”

Not to brag, but my friends thought I was pretty, pretttyy smart:

Last weekend It Ain’t Rocket Science premiered on NY1, our 24-hour newschannel in New York City.  It’s now available On Demand to our digital customers. You can also catch the special in its entirety online, on NY1.com and ConnectaMillionMinds.com.

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