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Popular Culture

A Natural History of the Starwhale

Natural Science, Popular Culture, Science, Science FictionSeptember 21, 2015

Whales, those magnificent leviathans of the deep, have an uncanny knack for ending up in space. Science fiction is flooded with stories of starwhales–sometimes entirely new creatures that happen to resemble terran cetaceans in either behavior or appearance, sometimes evolved leviathans from our own world, and occasionally hapless, confused, ordinary whales. This is no fluke. […]

Does Shark Week portrayal of sharks matter?

Blogging, marine science, Natural Science, Popular Culture, Science, sharksJune 29, 2015

I’ve been critical of factual inaccuracy and fearmongering on Shark Week documentaries for years. But how big of a problem is this, and how do we know? I asked some of the authors of three recent scientific studies*  to summarize the evidence. Many species of sharks are in desperate need of conservation. Twenty-four percent of all known species […]

How a 10 Million Year old fossil, a smart phone, and a 3D printer recharged my #OceanOptimism.

#OceanOptimism, Popular Culture, ScienceApril 10, 2015

Last week, we launched a novel little experiment in crowdfunding marine science and conservation – Buy David Shiffman a Less Ugly Pair of Sunglasses – ostensibly about replacing David’s legendarily hideous sunglasses with something a bit more aesthetic. Of course, anyone digging into the stretch goals quickly realized that this was less about sunglasses and […]

Hail hydra ! Taking a super villain approach to conservation #scicomm

Conservation, Popular Culture, Science Life, Social Science, UncategorizedFebruary 19, 2015

Rarely do conservation or environmental issues solely deal with just one group of homogenous people. Most who deal with “on the ground” conservation realize that typically issues have multiple, often conflicting, groups with multiple view points and values. So why do so many attempts as conservation science communication just have one line of attack?

An open letter to new Discovery Channel President Rich Ross from a shark scientist

Conservation, marine science, Natural Science, Popular Culture, Science, sharksJanuary 9, 2015

Dear Rich Ross, new President of the Discovery Channel, I was excited to learn about your commitment to no longer show fake documentaries on the Discovery Channel. These shows have been incredibly damaging not only to Discovery’s goals of being the “number one non-fiction media company in the world” by”telling compelling and accurate stories,” but to public understanding of science and […]

Middle Earth could have been saved by the Endangered Species Act

biodiversity, Natural Science, Popular Culture, ScienceDecember 22, 2014

In a cave in the Lonely Mountain there lived a dragon. Not a gnarly, goblin-stuffed, slimy cave, filled with the bowels of orcs and fishy creepers, nor yet an empty, granite, echo-less cave with nothing in it to lie down on or horde: it was a dragon-cave, and that meant gold. At least it did, until a nasty band of poachers found Lonesome Smaug, […]

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