Dear #scimathconf2016,

Thank you for the opportunity to spread some of my unbridled enthusiasm for STEM education and evidence-based optimism for the future with you.

As promised, here are the links to peer-reviewed papers and further reading to cheer you up about the future and being a teacher in a 2016.


When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go? The BMJ paper published 16 Dec 2014 (Open Access)

Big Fat Myths Random House Australia

www.8700.com.au this is the free online calculator I used to lose 16 kilograms in 2013, by simply balancing my own diet (energy in Vs energy out)

ABC Science Online: Surfing Scientist my ABC website with lots of DIY demonstrations, experiments and lesson ideas stolen and borrowed from all over the place

Proof that Nobel Prize winning scientists believe teachers are invaluable Brian Schmidt donates prize money to Primary Connections


Pollyanaism versus Negativity Bias

Pollyanna Wikipedia entry about the best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter

The Pollyanna principle (also called Pollyannaism or positivity bias) Wikipedia

The Pollyanna principle: Selectivity in language, memory, and thought Matlin, M.W. and Stang, D.J., 1978. Schenkman Pub. Co..

Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion Rozin, P. and Royzman, E.B., 2001. Personality and social psychology review, 5(4), pp.296-320.


Optimism #1 – MORE PEACEFUL: The decline of violence

The Better Angels of Our Nature  the book by Professor Steven Pinker (2011)

VIDEO: The Better Angels of Our Nature Steven Pinker at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Forum

VIDEO: The surprising decline in violence Steven Pinker’s 20min TED Talk

Violence Vanquished essay featuring the two graphs in my slides

The News: A User’s Manual Allain de Botton

Optimism #2 – SMARTER: The Flynn Effect

The Mean IQ of Americans: Massive Gains 1932 to 1978 James Flynn (1984) Psychological Bulletin Vol. 95 No. 1

The Flynn Effect  summary of the hypotheses by Indiana University’s Dr Jonathan Plucker

Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’ Prof James Flynn’s TED Talk

Optimism #3 – NICER: The Bystander Effect

“The bystander-effect: A meta-analytic review on bystander intervention in dangerous and non-dangerous emergencies.” Fischer, P. et al. (2011) Psychological bulletin Vol. 137 No.4 *subscription required

Bystander Effect YouTube video (3min 35sec)

The Murder of Kitty Genovese Wikipedia page with citations to further reading

Optimism #4 – RICHER: Our spending habits

Retail Trade – Australian Bureau of Statistics Publication 8501.0

The malls are changing … its massage, nails, dining and edutainment Robert Harley Financial Review, 18 November 2015.

Beyond the polish Walsh, S.A., 2012. Journal of Law and Policy, 21, p.243. [THE NOTEWORTHY QUOTE: “for every one Starbucks retail outlet in the United States, there are more than four nail salons”]

Optimism #5 – HEALTHIER: Life expectancy

Australians’ life expectancy, 1881 to 2013 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Control, elimination, eradication and re-emergence of infectious diseases: getting the message right 2006 WHO Bulletin editorial

Hans Rossling’s TED Talks amazing public health statistics

Optimism #6 – TECHNOLOGY: Better, faster, cheaper

Slow motion smartphone video (embroidery hoop vs pen)

Pop a balloon inside a balloon with a magnifying glass

Lasers in Medicine International Society for Optics and Photonics Open access article

 Optimism #7 – SCIENCE: Unsolved Mysteries

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks why do we die?

FUN FLY STICK: play with electromagnetism electromagnetism both repels and attracts but gravity only ever sucks. Why?

DIY Fun Fly Stick make your own (the silvered plastic can sometimes be found in bait and tackle shops in the DIY fly fishing area,  but Mylar tinsel won’t work)

Solar Spectrum High resolution image of the dark lines of missing sunlight, which are explained by quantum electrodynamics

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