Category Archives: Daily Planet

Working with TV crews: A guide for scientists/researchers

50641096Summary Huzzah! You’ve been approached by a group of TV people who want to highlight your work! Congrats! Making your science accessible is a great thing to do, because it helps to make you a better communicator for grant applications and conferences, and because it also makes the world a better place. But doing TV can be unnerving, and can sometimes cause frustrations that might leave you wondering why you ever bothered to do TV in the first place. I was once a full-time scientist, but now I work as a TV producer/host trying to make your science accessible by interviewing people like you. I’ve written this article as advice, to help you have a positive experience when you work with people like me. If nothing else, I suggest that you keep in mind that TV crews will usually have different objectives than you will. Below, I explain that concept further, and then offer some suggestions that you, as a scientist interviewee, can use to feel a sense of control through the process. Continue reading Working with TV crews: A guide for scientists/researchers

Ultraviole(n)t Scorpions

Two photos of the same scorpion: once under a normal flashlight, and then once under a UV flashlight. With a hand-held black light, everything is purple except bright yellow-green scorpions. That makes scorpions super easy to find at night, and makes anyone with a hand-held black light very popular when there are scorpions in the area.

Today on Daily Planet, we had some scorpions in the studio, and we showed how they glow under UV light. Actually, they don’t technically glow. They fluoress.

When you turn off the lights, scorpions are invisible, just like anything else in the dark. That’s why I say they don’t glow. But if you shine a UV light on a scorpion, it lights up greenish-yellow. That’s fluorescence. There are chemicals in the exoskeletons of scorpions that do this.

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Cute Animals

A few weeks back on Riskin’s Business, I pointed out that bats are cuter than Jerboas. Please direct your attention to exhibits A and B.

Which is cuter? The Jerboa (left), or the White-winged Vampire Bats (right)?

I admit I’m stacking the odds in my favour: The bats are White-winged Vampire Bats (Diaemus youngi), which are among the cutest bats out there. I think the bats are cuter, but the Jerboa’s got it going on, too. Which one do you think is cuter? (You can leave a comment, you know.)

More generally, the bigger question is “what’s cute?” This inspired me to do a separate Riskin’s Business about cuteness itself, so today we headed to the zoo.

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Kids on a Roller Coaster

Two kids getting ready to ride in the back seat of the Bizarro roller coaster at Six Flags New England, for a Riskin’s Business segment on Daily Planet

One of my favourite segments on Daily Planet so far this year was an experiment we ran with some kids on a roller coaster. The question was: Which is scarier: the front seat or the back seat? We filmed the segment in late July, and it aired on our season-opening day, September 4. You can see the segment here. We did it as part of a weekly feature called Riskin’s Business.

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