Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.

The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial. The shooting of Mark Duggan, a known gangster, which in 2011 started riots across London, led to a fiercely debated inquest. Last month, a police officer was charged with murder over a shooting in 2005. The reputation of the Metropolitan Police’s armed officers is still barely recovering from the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.

In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.




Edgar Wright - How to Do Visual Comedy

As a die-hard Edgar Wright fan, this was pure love for me.

Ask for more from your comedy.

Worth thinking about w comics too, esp. the bits about transitions. (The train, the pub taps, etc.)

(via fuckingconversations)



Science Needs Women: 
For Women in Science; the L’Oreal Foundation 

I’m sharing this video on any platform I can because when I first found it last week it had something like 1,400 views, but it’s the most beautifully produced and succinctly narrated video addressing some of the most complicated issues facing women in STE(A)M fields I’ve found yet. 

I’m sharing this for every time I’m called a “feminazi.”

…for every time I’m told that my concerns aren’t valid, our that our issues are imagined.

…for every time I hear “women just don’t like science,” or worse - “women just aren’t good at science.”

…for every time we’re told that we can have a family or a career, but not both - and for every time we feel like we have to decide between the two.

…for every time a study comes out saying as many as 64% of women endure sexual harassment during field work

…for the fact that women earn 41% of PhD’s in STEM fields, but make up only 28% of tenure-track faculty in those fields.

…and because we need more women mentors in these fields to stand up for issues that are not “women’s issues” - these are people issues that affect our collective society as a whole.

The women in this video are my heroes and they should be your heroes, too.

Science needs women.


Introducing Victoria - Episode 1

Victoria’s show is designed to be sort of a video lab notebook, part educational, part experimental. YouTube already has some pretty great science shows (*cough*cough*) but I’m happy to welcome Victoria to the fold. And Iggy too, I guess.

In this episode, in addition to meeting the main characters and hearing some inspiring words about the importance of failure in the scientific method, we learn a bit about cardiac electrophysiology, those nerve impulses that control our heartbeat.

I find that GIF hypnotic. The human heart has its own pacemakers built in. One is known as the sinoatrial (SA) node, the other as the atrioventricular node (AV). These are the upper and lower red dots above, respectively.

Cardiac cells are interesting because they are sort of like nerves and muscle cells combined, they can do work, but they can also propagate electrical impulses (although we should be clear, they are definitely classified as muscle cells). 

Cells of the SA node sort of “leak” charge at a constant rate, which makes them fire (or send an electrical impulse) at that same constant rate. The result is a nice rhythmic heartbeat, controlled by its own cells.

When a heartbeat is initiated by a stray impulse at the bottom (ventricular) region of the heart, that’s what is known as a premature ventricular contraction, or PVC. That’s what happens to Iggy in this episode.

Single, isolated PVCs are pretty harmless, and most of us probably get them from time to time without even noticing. Leave it to Iggy to kill himself by trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

At least Victoria was there to shock him back to life! Wonder if she’ll do that again at some point…?