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This week on TED Talk Tuesday: A Visual of HIV/AIDS

Michael Besser

In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV infections are more prevalent and doctors scarcer than anywhere else in the world. With a lack of medical professionals, Mitchell Besser enlisted the help of his patients to create mothers2mothers — an extraordinary network of HIV-positive women whose support for each other is changing and saving lives

Elizabeth Pisani

Armed with bracing logic, wit and her “public-health nerd” glasses, Elizabeth Pisani reveals the myriad of inconsistencies in today’s political systems that prevent our dollars from effectively fighting the spread of HIV. Her research with at-risk populations — from junkies in prison to sex workers on the street in Cambodia — demonstrates the sometimes counter-intuitive measures that could stall the spread of this devastating disease.

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world’s deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions — not drug treatments — is the key to ending the epidemic.


This week on TED Talk Tuesday…Jesus versus Darwin?

Pastor Rick Warren on The Purpose-Driven Life

Pastor Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life,reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book’s wild success. He explains his belief that God’s intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good.

Philosopher Dan Dennett Responds to Rick Warren

Dan Dennett

Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion — all religion — to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution.

Evolutionary Biologist, Richard Dawkins Takes the High Road with Militant Atheism

Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position — and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. A fiery, funny, powerful talk.

Museum Lecture Series

There are a bunch of free, very exciting lectures that are going on right in Boston over the rest of the semester. We’re going to gauge people’s interest and see if we can organize group trips. Some of them require pre-registration, but others do not. They will be going on at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and at the New England Aquarium. Before you go (or if you can’t go) check out the related TED link to learn a little bit more on the subject.

Check out the schedule and then follow the link to sign up.

1. Penguins on the Rocks: Tales from South Africa. Paul Leonard, Senior Penguin Biologist and Johanna Blasi, Senior Educator New England Aquarium, THURSDAY MARCH 15, 7:00-8:00 PM New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required.  Related TED

2. Saving Sea Turtles: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Rehabilitation Methods and Field Rescues. Dr. Charles Innis and Connie Merigo, THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required

3. Evolutionary Medicine at 20: Not yet Mature, but on the Way. Lecture by Randolph Nesse, THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 6:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission. Related TED

4. Lobsters: From Petri Dish to Dinner Plate. Anita Metzler, Assistant Scientist and Laboratory Operations Manager
New England Aquarium, THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required

5. Learning From Insects: How Our World is Shaped by Bees, Ants and Other Social Insects. A Dialogue and book signing with Thomas Seeley and Bernd Heinrich TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 6:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission. Related TED

6. Special Presentation Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship at the Simons IMAX Theatre, TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required. Related TED

7. The Social Conquest of Earth. Lecture and book signing by Edward O. Wilson, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 6:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission, Pre-registration required. Related TED

8. Too Much of a Good Thing: Fossil Fuels and the Fate of Coral Reefs. Anne Cohen PhD, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required. Related TED

9. What If? Alternative Histories of Science. Special event with Anne Harrington, Andrew Berry, David Jones, Roberto Lalli, Kevin Harrington, Raj Sivaraman, and Rob Crean, FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 7:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission. Related TED

10. The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources. Author talk and book signing by Michael Klare SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission. Related TED

11. Ocean Health Index Update. Greg Stone PhD, Senior Vice President of Exploration and Conservation at New England Aquarium and Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist for Oceans at Conservation International, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 6:30 PM-8:00 PM, Simons IMAX Theatre, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required. Related TED

12. Why Evolution is True and Why Many People Still Don’t Believe It. Lecture by Jerry Coyne, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 6:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Free Admission. Related TED

13. An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World (followed by book signing), Anders Halverson, PhD, Author, THURSDAY, MAY 10, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM, New England Aquarium, Free Admission, Pre-registration required. Related TED

14. Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves. Film Screening and Discussion: Emily Driscoll and George Buckley, SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2:00 PM, Harvard Museum of Natural History, $7.00 with Wheaton ID. Related TED

To sign up, click here.

For more detailed information, go to HMNH or NEAQ

This week’s TED Talk Tuesday: Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Nancy Etcoff on the surprising science of happiness…

Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness — the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it’s untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.

Benjamin Wallace asks if happiness can be bought…

Can happiness be bought? To find out, author Benjamin Wallace sampled the world’s most expensive products, including a bottle of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, 8 ounces of Kobe beef and the fabled (notorious) Kopi Luwak coffee. His critique may surprise you.

Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness…
What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

New Member Application

Is E.O. Wilson your hero? Do you still play with dinosaur figurines? Do you cringe when people say evolution is ‘just’ a theory? Would you like a place to share science news, form study groups, bounce ideas around, or just talk to someone else whose eyes don’t glaze over when you say the title of your project?

Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society is a great place for bio-based geeks to get together and share their passion for the life sciences.

Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society is now accepting applications for the Spring 2012 Induction!

Applications are due Monday, March 19th by midnight.

Get an application right here or in print outside 2116 in the Mars Science Center.

Not sure if you’re qualified? Here’s the run-down:

Requirements of Associate Members:

Demonstration of a significant interest in biology by any of the following:

a. Completion of two or more courses in the biological sciences;

b. Participation in an internship relating to the biological sciences;

c. Declaring a major in the biological sciences;

d. Declaring a minor in the biological sciences;

e. Participation in independent research in a laboratory headed by a Biology Department faculty member

Plus a completed application and registration fee (following acceptance) of $35

Associate Membership Application

Requirements of Regular Members:

a. must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their major;

b. must have a minimum overall GPA of  3.0;

c. must be a second semester sophomore or have completed 12 credits;

d. must have declared a biological sciences major: Biology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Environmental Science, or Neuroscience/Psychobiology;

e. must have completed three 1-credit courses in the biological sciences, at least one of which is at the 200-level or higher;

f. must be in good academic and social standing

Plus a completed application and registration fee (following acceptance) of $45

Regular Membership Application

This week’s TED Talk: Dinosaurs! Rawr!

Next Tuesday (February 28th) at 8:30 PM in Room 1120 of the Mars Science Center, we will be showing two talks by Jack Horner:


Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He’s found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he’s taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a “Chickenosaurus”


Shape-shifting dinosaurs:

Where are the baby dinosaurs? In a spellbinding talk from TEDxVancouver paleontologist Jack Horner describes how slicing open fossil skulls revealed a shocking secret about some of our most beloved dinosaurs.

Per usual, we’ll have some discussion afterward and coffee and tea!