The Walking Dead: Online Class

I’ve been infected! I’m obsessed with “The Walking Dead,” the zombie apocalypse television series on AMC. The show has just entered its fourth season, and I’ve found a scholarly extension to enhance my zom-pocalypse enjoyment and expertise.

The Walking Dead course header
The Walking Dead course header

I’m taking the online course called, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead,” via the Canvas Network. The class is free and online, taught by faculty from UC Irvine. There are video lectures, reading modules, video clips from “The Walking Dead,” and interviews of cast members. I’ve just completed the first week’s work, and it was quite enjoyable and interesting.

The Walking Dead (season 2)
The Walking Dead (season 2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The course uses examples from “The Walking Dead” to examine the way people live during survival situations. It’s a multi-disciplinary approach, examining “themes from the social sciences, health sciences, physics, and mathematics…”

Course topics include:

  • Foundation of Survival
  • Public Health and Infectious Diseases
  • Deconstructing Society
  • Social Identity
  • Modeling a Zombie Outbreak
  • Thriving on a Post-Apocalyptic Diet
  • New Materials and The Science of Damage Control
  • The Science of Hope

Not only do I enjoy having an excuse to watch “The Walking Dead” every week (it’s educational!), but I really do find it fun and rewarding to exercise my brain and learn some new things. If you’re interested in the course, go sign up. And let me know what you think!


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Great Failed Predictions

Here’s an interesting infographic for you. It’s entitled “Missing the Mark: Favorite Failed Guesses, from Pop Culture to Serious Thinkers.” It includes some of the best past predictions, some of which came to pass, and others that came nowhere near being realized.

It’s always fun to look back and remember what people thought the future would be like. I’m still waiting and hoping for my robotic housekeeper and flying car!

great predictions


Today is a Geek Holiday: Happy pi Day!

Hip hip hooray! Today is PI DAY!

Okay, I don’t really get that excited about mathematical constants, but I didn’t think I could let the day go by without an acknowledgement. Pi, which is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, is approximately 3.14. At least, that’s the way most of us learned it in school.

If you have continued your education beyond high school, you may have memorized a few more digits for pi, such as 3.14159. And if you’re a complete genius (freak?), you might know even more, such as 3.14159265358979323846…

My husband pointed out to me that the ultimate pi day will be March 14, 2015 (the first five digits being 3.1415), although an argument could be made for the following year, March 14, 2016 (rounding up from 3.14159 to 3.1416) being a truer representation of the value of pi. Either way, I’ll be using it as an excuse to wear a geeky t-shirt and eating some extra pie!

If you were hosting the ultimate pi day party, what kinds of pie would you serve?

Great Gadget: Water Powered Clock

water clockThis water-powered clock is so cool! Not only does it run on water (or any electrolyte liquid), but it can even do bud-vase duty.

That’s good news, because not only will it tell time for two to three months on a single fill of the reservoir, but looking at flowers in the morning can help you feel better. It’s true. (You can read more about the Harvard study on flowers here.)

So this clock can help you use fewer batteries and help improve your mood. Sounds like a winner! Too bad it doesn’t make breakfast too… Get more information at ThinkGeek.

Never Knew I Needed a Laser Until I Saw This One

Wow! This Hercules laser looks amazing. Besides that, I’m sure it has some very useful, scientific, real-world applications.

Among the capabilities listed on the Laserglow site, it is visible in direct sun, can light a fireworks fuse, pop a balloon, cut through electrical tape, and even burn through plastic. Well, what the heck have I been doing popping my balloons and cutting tape the old fashioned way? According to the manufacturer, Hercules is “the world’s most powerful portable laser.” Now I really want one — at least to test drive!

Is anyone else having flashbacks to the movie Real Genius? Remember when Val Kilmer and the other genius geek used that giant laser to fill Professor Hathaway’s house with popcorn? But I digress…

I don’t know whether it can make popcorn, but the Hercules will set you back around $1000 to $3000, depending on which model you choose. Hey, be careful where you point that thing!

My kids say the funniest stuff: flytraps

A few days ago, I was driving The Mother Ship (minivan) with the kids in the back. The boys, ages 6 and 8, were reaching across the seat between them, going “chomp! chomp!” toward one another. Hoping to avert a brawl, I was about to tell them to keep their hands to themselves, when I heard the younger one say, “Chomp! I’m a Venus flytrap!” I thought that was cute. Then, the older one responded, “Well, I’m a Jupiter flytrap. I’m bigger!” 🙂