I want to get this quick shout-out for local hero, blogger, musician, and all around too-cool Princess Ojiaku before her band, Pink Flag, plays tonight at 10 pm in Durham, NC, at The Broad Street Cafe. From their website, “They’re a regular three girl rhumba dancing on the common ground of a love of early post-punk, riot grrl and top 40 of the 1990s.” Their name pays homage to the 1977 album by Wire (that also includes the song “Three Girl Rhumba”). I like these kids, paying proper respect to their elders.
Some of you may know Princess from having met her at ScienceOnline2010 in January or from her blog Science With Moxie. One of her recent posts, Music Emotions: Chill Edition, was selected as the PLoS Blog Pick of the Month for her review of, “The Rewarding Aspects of Music Listening Are Related to Degree of Emotional Arousal,” by Valorie N. Salimpoor et al. She wrote:
When we get chills or feel intense pleasure when listening to music we enjoy, there is an actual range of bodily responses that go along with that! This seems like common sense, but this is important scientifically because having an actual, quantitative measure of the changes our bodies go through when experiencing good music opens doors to scientists thinking about other questions like, “why is music so unique that it causes actual emotional and physical arousal?”
Usually emotional responses have a definite function, such as joy from eating good food serves to keep us alive, or bonding with friends keeps us happy and connected to our fellow humans. Feeling these emotions helps us by making sure we keep doing the things that are good for our survival and well-being. But music is one of the only things that makes us happy without having a clear beneficial function to our survival as human beings. I think that makes it pretty special and interesting, and that makes me content to consume and play it.
And music she knows as she takes Spring Break away from the lab next week for a short tour with Pink Flag in Wilmington, NC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and NYC. Check out their MySpace site for dates and locations.
One last thing on this multi-talented scientist and musician: Princess was featured in a Wall Street Journal article last September on virtual internships. Typically wired, Princess found out about the internship via Twitter:
Princess Ojiaku, a graduate student studying biology at North Carolina Central University, wants to work in science policy. In July, she began a virtual internship of up to six months with Scientists & Engineers for America in Washington, D.C. She learned about the internship on Twitter, where she was following updates for the nonprofit group, which promotes awareness of science and technology issues to policy makers.
As part of her internship, Ms. Ojiaku spends 15 minutes to an hour each night tracking news articles, ads and poll results for this year’s Virginia gubernatorial election, one of the elections the group is following. She posts updates on the group’s Web site, including YouTube videos, campaign ads and summaries of the candidates’ positions on science-related issues.
Ms. Ojiaku, who is considering being a lawmaker or policy adviser, says the internship has helped her learn about the legislative process and key players in Congress, without driving eight hours round-trip to Washington. “I’m getting an inside view,” says the 25-year-old, who juggles the internship with classes and work as a graduate assistant in a university lab.
Damn. I’m tired just reading about everything she’s doing.
Have a great show tonight and safe travels on your Northeast tour!