Category: Ask Maria Anna

Brave Young Women Who are Changing the World With Ones and Zeros

There is a problem in the world and that is… the bravery deficit and it leads to an unequal representation of women and men in STEM and STE(A)M fields.

Listen to the interview of Mrs. Schindler-Kota via You Tube (see below) or, click the ‘PLAY-button’ in ‘THE NEXT TRUTH…ONLINE RADIO’ on the right and listen to her Podcast via the TNT website.

I believe this battle of this ‘stereo-typing’ is a solvable problem but solving this thorny issue requires the efforts of many mentors (including parents) of empowering more young women to get involved in STEM subjects…not only because a balanced number of male and female scientists is providing scientific problems and questions to be viewed from several different angles also because that is one of the fastest areas in which young woman can gain economic independence.

I am of the opinion that it is time for us mentors to take that step forward into the world and voice our thoughts and experiences for young people to realize that this narrow vision of boys being better in any scientific field then girls, is no fact at all.  

I am your host Maria Anna van Driel and you are listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet”.  This week I am speaking with the Marketing Content Manager of CoderZ, an innovative online learning environment where kids learn how to program real and virtual robots using a 3D robotics simulation, Ashlynn Schindler-Kota, who is a driven leader with experience in education administration, grants management and an Expert in STEM Education.

Young People Science Sept/Oct 2021

The Next Truth is experiencing a, via MagCloud, minor upload problem therefore, feel free to download your free copy of “Young People Science” via acedemia.edu

There is a problem in the world and that is… the bravery deficit and it leads to an unequal representation of women and men in STEM and STE(A)M fields.

This battle of this ‘stereo-typing’ is a solvable problem but solving this thorny issue requires the efforts of many mentors (including parents) of empowering more young women to get involved in STEM subjects…not only because a balanced number of male and female scientists is providing scientific problems and questions to be viewed from several different angles also because that is one of the fastest areas in which young woman can gain economic independence.

I am of the opinion that it is time for us mentors to take that step forward into the world and voice our thoughts and experiences for young people to realize that this narrow vision of boys being better in any scientific field then girls, is no fact at all.  

Download your free copy of “The Next Truth” via acedemia.edu

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Panspermia; Can it Explain the Origin of Life on Earth? — are ‘we’ the aliens we are looking for?

By Maria Anna van Driel


How life originated on Earth is a question that we have pondered over for decades already.

Intriguing Theories and questions like could we be Martians, is a flippant way of asking, are planets isolated islands or can they transfer life? In other words, could life have been transferred from, for instance, Mars to Earth in meteorites? If so, how did these alien bacteria altered life on Earth?

Click here to read the full article via the website of Medium. Photo credit: The Next Truth

By asking questions as such, a variety in scientific theories has pilled-up over time as well as it has reached the realm of many science fiction movies. Nowadays we know that life can survive in space, travel through the Mesosphere (housing meteors and rock fragments) and eventually can enter the Troposphere where it is free to both merge with any biological life form and hitchhiking on any non-biological object that is present on Earth.

But, even though we are trying to solve this mind dazzling puzzle with, among others, modern devices, this question if life can be transferred from one planet to another in such a simple, natural manner, is just an extension of old questions whereby one plausible answer hovers on the border of being science-fiction; the ‘Panspermia Theory’.

Panspermia…does this theory speak of blood thirsty aliens from deep space looking like giant cockroaches trying to merge with the human species? Are they sending killer viruses from a neighbor galaxy in order to establish an invasion of slimy worms slithering the Earth’s surface searching for the most perfect host, which might be YOU?

Okay, relax, it does not, but you catch my drift … right? Life on Earth being supported by life-forms (e.g. bacteria) having an extraterrestrial origin, may not be such a farfetched idea after all. But, before you get all excited and dust off your time machine, break out your favorite third-sided dimensional reality and start collecting moon rocks to find out if it is containing life, let me explain this theory.

Click here to read the full article via the website of Medium

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We Are Made of Coded Qu-whatum Stuff?!

By Maria Anna van Driel

Have you ever had this experience? You are having a chat with someone and they are telling you something about a topic they are very interested in or, they know a huge amount about, and it seems that you are following along with ease.  Then, out of the blue, you realize you kind of lost the thread of what they are saying. You are just standing there, lost in time, realizing that you have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.

Click here to read the full article via Medium.com

I’m a science journalist, editor, magazine owner and radio host who is working, since 2014, with scientists and citizen scientists who are covering a myriad scientific areas. And so, I have been on both sides of this kind of interaction. I have both been the one explaining very complicated material to people and, I have been on the receiving end of lots of very intense scientific discussions.

And, every now and then, this kind of breakdown in communication happens. During these moments, I have noticed something interesting, which is that, when a people stopped understanding, they feel slightly guilty about not following the stuff that is fired at them.  But, if you think about it, this is completely silly. It is the wrong way around because at that point in time, there is literally nothing you can do to understand it better.  

No, it is not that people, who are on the receiving end of the conversation, are not able to look over the edge of a sandbox because they lack the educational background knowledge, it is because they are constantly tripping over the complex and technical terms  that are so liberally strewn about during explaining scientific research.

Sure, I have experience many moments in where I had to interrupt a scientist because I could not follow him/her anymore. But I found that the only way to…um, well, ‘survive’ the complexity given was having the courage to politely stop the person who was explaining, say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying,” and then go back and start off from where I had lost the thread.

And, yes, it does take a bit of courage to do this because you are, sort of, admitting that you don’t know the subject matter.

But this all perfectly fine, in fact, my fears were completely unwarranted. Generally, people respect you if you care about knowing the right information and willing to understanding the topic properly.  So, I am of the opinion that we should never feel bad about not knowing something and, we should never feel bad about asking questions. And, one of these questions is, “What is quantum physics?”

So, let’s briefly explore this amazing scientific field what is, among others, researching those wacky particles which are bouncy and wobbly at the same time.

Click here to read the full article via Medium.com

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The Next Truth Newsletter, August 2021

First of all, please, feel free to download the interactive TNT-Newsletter of August 2021 from www.independent.academia.edu or, from my LinkedIn profile and share the PDF with family, friends, colleagues and students.

Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to express my relativistic charged enthusiasm again concerning a second STE(A)M article of mine being accepted and published on the website of Coderz… “Should we take a second look at how we teach today?”(Part I of III) www.coderZ.com

I know, I know…after reading it you might experience an uncomfortable, perhaps eerie,  moment for some stepping out this stuffy and cramped tunnel and becoming more transparent but, showing young people how your creative – out-of-the-box – thinking has lead you in solving the problems you encountered during your research, is of most importance. Why? Because, and perhaps you might remember this from your own study time, most young people are immensely overwhelmed by the scope of their future they desperately want with no concept of where to begin. In this they need you, your expertise, experiences and enthusiasm as a role model!

For my other blog articles in where I discuss how, among others, science is not limiting itself to grids, formulas and PowerPoint presentations, please visit: Medium.com

Science is Boring, Creativity is Stupid!…uh-whaaauh? (Part II of II)
“Science” isn’t a stable or single idea”

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Extraterrestrials; Are They Just Figments of a Creepy Legend or is There Another Explanation?

An interview with long time MUFON board member, Tom Whitmore.

Listen to the interview of Mr. T. Whitmore via You Tube (see below) or, click the ‘PLAY-button’ in ‘THE NEXT TRUTH…ONLINE RADIO’ on the right and listen to his Podcast via the TNT website.

Extraterrestrials… are they just figments of a creepy legend that speaks of human-shaped life forms having ill intentions toward us? Or is there another explanation?

UFO’s and those who are operating them have been reported by witnesses throughout time as small but terrifying grey’s, having huge black eyes and standing alongside a person’s bed at night while communicating through an odd form of telepathy.

What is the truth behind the UFO mystery? How advanced is their technology compared to ours? Where do they come from and… why do aliens abduct us?

I am your host Maria Anna van Driel and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet” This week I am exploring the wide and mysterious world of unexplained aerial phenomena together with Long time MUFON board member Tom Whitmore.

Tom has been fascinated by military and intelligence agencies’ interactions with the UFO public. He has undertaken a research study of the history of the MJ12 affair, and … intends to eventually publish his findings.

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Should We Take a Second Look at How We Teach These Days? (part I of III)

Click here to read the full article published on the website of CoderZ

In my article “The Very First Letter of STEM is Science I wrote, ‘Nowadays, young people have free access to a high speed electronically world we have become to know as ‘The Internet’. Wikipedia in this is a frequently visited site for students to upgrade their already possessing knowledge.’

In that same article, I asked the question of how reliable the written knowledge we can find on the internet, truly is. In this, I was aiming my thoughts on how far we are allowed of applying a form of creativity and critical thinking to this avalanche of information. Are we allowed to take this information, discuss it, break the taboo and convert it all into a new evolution in science?

l learned a sad fact and it is bothering me immensely!

As the owner and founder of the scientific magazine “The Next Truth” and an investigative science journalist, I got the opportunity to work in the midst of the smartest and most dedicated people I have ever met in my life but, that was not the only thing I saw. Although these people have brilliant minds, I saw that some of these people are stuck in their own narrow-minded thinking and processes as well. This shows a result in a large number of our scientists and aspiring students writing down their best ideas and novel theories in their spare time and then hide it away in the most remote drawers they can find in their office because it is said to be too “farfetched”, labeled as “Pseudo-science” or “hypothetical nonsense”.

Why? Because the narrow thinking majority is so used to the framework of accepted science or, the looks of the diversity with robotic devices and the advanced and complicated task they can perform these days, they have forgotten that these incredible, sometimes ‘life-like devices have, like with everything in life, an origin.

Click here to read the full article published on the website of CoderZ

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Science is Boring, Creativity is Stupid!…uh-whaaauh? (part I)

The brain is a Wi-Fi system for ideas.

Read the full article via the website of Medium.com

Let’s briefly discuss an issue most pressing and urgent and that is the so-called open science movement which is vile and will inevitably lead to a more educated nation, country and world. I know it is a horrible thing!

What is this open science movement you ask.  Allow me to explain… it is a movement happening within the science community what is aiming its arrows on making data resources and information freely available to anyone who can read.  But not only that,  it is a movement wherein researchers are encouraged to make their data publicly available to young people and other researchers. What?! Why would anyone want to do that?


It also means full transparency as you are reporting your results which means that if you began with one hypothesis and suddenly found that it was not supported but instead found another hypothesis that was supported, you are supposed to tell people that your first hypothesis failed. Can you believe it? What has the world come to?

Okay, okay, enough silly sarcasm. But let’s be honest, too many scientists, mentors, are still doing their work in ‘tunnels’ so to speak. But by becoming more transparent – open it up for everybody to read – young people can see what you as a scientist are doing and which awe-inspiring theories and thoughts you have what they can apply to their upcoming thesis’s.

Using an open access journal also means that young people can both learn from you and respond to the scientific research published what in turn is keeping their fiery curiosity alive and can even accelerate a scientific evolution.

Is that not the main reason why you became a professor, or mentor, in the first place…to teach?

Read the full article via the website of Medium.com

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Sleep Disorders and the Paranormal; Is There a Scientific Connection?

An interview with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Brian Sharpless.

“The ghost in the machine”, many people have heard this term at least one time in their life. It was a paper which was written by Coventry University lecturer Vic Tandy and published in April 1998 by the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

Working alone in the lab one night, Tandy suddenly gained the feeling he was being watched. He claimed a dark, shadowy figure appeared in the corner of his vision. When Tandy turned to face this shadowy figure…it vanished.

Listen to the interview of Dr. Brian Sharpless via You Tube (see below) or, click the ‘PLAY-button’ in ‘THE NEXT TRUTH…ONLINE RADIO’ on the right and listen to his Podcast via the TNT website.

To many, these shadowy figures are better known as the Shadow People.

They are being skests as a malevolent and creepy phenomenon and have being reported by witnesses as human-like shaped dark shadows having ill intentions standing alongside your bed…watching you.   

Even these eerie phenomena’s have being reported for decades, it is not your mind simply playing tricks on you.  There might be a more simpler and scientific explanation for things like ghosts, demonic hauntings and…shadow people.

I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet”,   and this week I am speaking with clinical psychologist, Dr. Brian Sharpless about  the most creepiest sleep disorders, what treatments are there and…how deeply these disorders are woven into the paranormal.

Are those things you see in the darkness more than just a shadow?

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Jack the Ripper; A Man or A Myth?

An interview with Retired British Murder Squad Detective Trevor Marriott.

In the autumn of 1888 a series of brutal murders in the East End of London lit a flame that sent shockwaves reverberating around the civilized world and caused a scandal that struck right at the heart of the British establishment.

Listen to the interview of Mr. T. Marriott via You Tube (see below) or, click the ‘PLAY-button’ in ‘THE NEXT TRUTH…ONLINE RADIO’ on the right and listen to his Podcast via the TNT website.

During the 1880s, the city of London was in parts a dirty, rotten, festering maze of slums replete with wandering gin addicts and foul-mouthed harlots and was experiencing a population explosion, with immigrants from around the world coming to the great city to find work. 

But it wasn’t exactly the land of hope and glory for everybody, and some of the streets in the poorer East end of the city were a long way from being a yellow brick road.

This is where our man Jack the Ripper chose to ply his trade.

I am your host Maria Anna van Driel and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet”.  This week I am speaking with retired British murder squad detective Trevor Marriott about what drove this serial killer nabbing mostly working girls from the streets and brutally killing them in 1888 and… did he figured out this mystery of who Jack the Ripper was?

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