Worldwide SciComm Challenge: #SharkSafetySlogan

Can you remember how young you were when you were first taught stop, drop, and roll? How about turn around, don’t drown? Slogans are abridged stories that fulfill our human need to convey information quickly and memorably. Their uses range from social connection, cooperation, and informing cohorts of risk. Sayings like the above are effective because of these three main achievements:

  1. They are memorable.
  2. They incorporate knowledge with action.
  3. And by fearlessly acknowledging rare, potentially fatal, risks – they create a constructive dialogue.

Imagine a world without stop, drop and roll where children are simply taught that there is an incredibly rare risk that they could catch fire, and that’s it. While the statistic may be true, just providing the information would result in a classroom full of hysterical first-graders. A great slogan captured and presents the risk fearlessly.

Put another way, slogans are science communication wins. So let’s get together and apply this human craft of slogan creation to another incredibly rare risk: shark encounters! Your risk of encountering a shark is extremely low–a statistic that is repeated ad nauseam. But just like our classroom of traumatized first-graders, stats alone aren’t always enough. Enter the #SharkSafetySlogan challenge!

Join us on twitter at #SharkSafetySlogan to crowd-source a memorable slogan. Shark experts and organizations from across the globe will be sharing sharky information to help you on your scicomm quest. Anyone who visits a beach is encouraged to participate!

Remember, keep it memorable, brief, and incorporate shark smarts with actions. An example could be:

Seals? Seabirds?! See ya!

The above slogan is brief, memorable, and incorporates the knowledge that an abundance of seals and seabirds is a strong indication that sharks are present, and you’re better off not swimming juuuust yet.

Come join us at #SharkSafetySlogan and see if your slogan ends up with the most likes and retweets! I’ll be leading the charge at @ScienceRhapsody. See you on the interwebs!

Boaty McBoatface triumphs, Narluga ascends, Sharks decline, too many bro-authors, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 24, 2019

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

In every issue of the Monday Morning Salvage, we try to highlight 2 to 5 papers from the scientific literature. In doing so, we attempt to provide a broad and diverse cross-section of the diversity of people conducting scientific research. However, our priority is in highlighting papers of particular interest to ocean science, and occasionally that means that we end up recommending papers that are exclusively authored by men. A new paper by Salerno and friends highlights the extreme extent to which papers led by men excludes women co-authors.

To do our small part to push back against this phenomenon, we are adopting a new style guide for paper citations. Conventionally, at Southern Fried Science, we use the colloquial “and friends” instead of “et al.” to make paper citations more approachable and less jargon-y. Going forward, in cases where a paper contains only male co-authors, we will instead replace “et al.” with “and some other dudes“.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Boaty McBoatface, fresh off of doing science. Photo: NOC
“Plasticrust” sticking to rocks on the shores of Madeira. Photo: Ignacio Gestoso
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After mining a seabed is forever changed, divers do good and bad, eating plastic, a Musk mystery sub, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 17, 2019

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Mr Harry Chan (in blue t-shirt) with divers who have joined his cause from Today Online.
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The dark side of “Stop the Scroll”

I have had the pleasure of working communications roles in several industries over the years.  During this time, I’ve seen the rise of a dubious campaign metric commonly referred to as “Stop the Scroll” (or “Swipe”).  This metric has conscientious roots.  Online communications strategists have less than a second to grab a potential donor, stakeholder, or client’s attention.  Good strategists have read Craig McClain’s paper, as a great visual will make your thumb quiver before scrolling on to a video of dogs doing literally anything.  In this light, stop the scroll seems like a pretty good metric for individual post efficacy.  Time is the currency of experience, after all.

Can we count the seconds people spend learning untrue facts as progress towards our campaign? Or change the campaign goals to justify a resource-heavy shit post? 

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Book review: “Shark Research: Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field and Laboratory”

Editors: Jeffrey C. Carrier, Michael R. Heithaus, Colin A. Simpfendorfer. CRC Press, available here.

I can’t imagine a more useful introductory reference guide for new or prospective graduate students starting their career in marine biology than “Shark Research: Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field And Laboratory”. This book is designed for people who have little to no familiarity with a research discipline but are about to start working in that discipline, a large and important audience that is often ignored by books and review papers geared towards people who are already experts. So many graduate students are told to learn a new research method by reading technical literature that assumes they already know this stuff, resulting in stress and frustration.

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A song of mostly just fire, how to hide a nuclear submarine, toasty anemones, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 20, 2019.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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I spent 50 days working out in Virtual Reality and everything went better than expected.

For the last several years, I’ve been working off the weight gained and fitness lost from a decade of grad school, post-doctoral research, job hunting, and, ultimately, launching my own company. The gym, to put it mildly, had not been a priority. Running and weight training went a long way towards getting me back to where I wanted to be, but I had hit a plateau. Every spring and summer I’d make incremental improvements, every winter, I’d fall back into old habits. It was a sustainable situation, but not fantastic.

Last summer, I set a goal for myself. While the weather was just on the wrong side of that threshold that makes running something I’m willing to do first thing in the morning, I would instead swap out my sneakers for an Oculus Rift, and spend an hour, four or five days a week, playing fitness-oriented virtual reality games, for fifty sessions. That schedule would get me through the winter and hopefully keep me more active than I otherwise would.

To better illustrate this plan, I made a GIF, just for you:

Yes, it’s me. Yes, we put googly eyes on the Oculus.

Unsurprisingly, the science behind Virtual Reality and exercise is still in its infancy.

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Burning driftwood, new protections for Canada’s oceans, dolphin errant, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 13, 2019

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Good news everybody! Canada bans deep-sea mining, oil and gas drilling in marine protected areas.
Nicolas Pilcher (left), from Malaysia’s Marine Research Foundation, shows a fisherman how to install a turtle excluder device (TED). Photo courtesy of Marine Research Foundation Asia
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The Quest for the best tough 3D Printer for under $200: Our final recommendations

You thought we were done, here. You were wrong. After extensively reviewing 5 3D printers for sale under $200 and picking the best from the reviews, we went back to our two favorites and put them through their paces, abusing both for an extra month to make sure that when I say this is the best printer for field work, I mean it.

These printers have been dragged around, beaten up, put in the hands of children and child-like adults, and run through the wringer to ensure that they stand up to the kind of abuse you might expect from the field. Now we’re really ready to make the call and tell you which are the best dirt-cheap, field-ready 3D printers.

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The Global Extinction Vortex, rising regulations for deep-sea mining, biodegradable bags that don’t, Scientology’s measles cruise, and more! The Monday Morning Salvage: May 6, 2019.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Hope is the knowledge that we can prevent bad things—but also the realization that we might choose not to.

Thinking about Climate on a Dark, Dismal Morning
Three years after being in sea water, this bag could still hold some groceries.
Photo: Lloyd Russell (University of Plymouth)
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