Andrew David Thaler • History of Science, Science • June 26, 2014
Ictineo II. Image by wikimedia user Cookie.
A curious vessel sits atop a few struts in the Barcelona harbor. Passing tourists could be forgiven if they thought the small, wooden craft was a prop from the golden age of film or a quiet monument to the work of Jules Verne. It is neither. This ship, built from olive wood and clad in copper, is perhaps the most remarkable seagoing vessel of its time. She is Ictíneo II, the first true submarine.
Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol was a Catalonian revolutionary, utopian iconoclast, and proto-feminist writer who argued that the government, rather than the church, should oversee marriage licenses. He founded several newspapers–which were often shut down after a few issues–including La Madre de Familia “to defend women from the tyranny of men” and Spain’s first communist newspaper, La Fraternidad.
Andrew David Thaler • Natural Science, Science • June 23, 2014
Welcome back. In our third installment of Bad Gas, we’re finally beginning to see visible deterioration of the shells. It’s a short one for you to enjoy.
Andrew David Thaler • Blogging • June 19, 2014
In which I respond to some of the comments and questions raised by the first two videos in my ocean acidification project.
Amy Freitag • fisheries, Focus on Nuance, policy, toxicology • June 12, 2014
After years of scaring pregnant women away from fishy nutrition, the FDA is finally updating its recommendations to encourage them to eat 8-12 ounces of low-mercury fish a week. That’s 2 or 3 meals per week in order to support fetal growth and development. Curious about what fish are low mercury? Stay away from tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel and limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week. Better options include “some of the most commonly eaten fish such as shrimp, pollock, salmon, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish, and cod”. For locally caught fish, you should check with your local authorities. The new recommendations aren’t final – read the draft and write in if you want more information that would help you make safe and healthy seafood choices. Here’s some things you should consider. (more…)
David Shiffman • Blogging • June 11, 2014
The mainstream media doesn’t always have the greatest reputation for accuracy when it comes to reporting stories about sharks. Inspired by this brilliant campaign, I decided to “adjust” the headlines of some particularly absurd recent news stories about sharks.
This story about a shark that may have been eaten by another shark.
Andrew David Thaler • Natural Science, Science • June 10, 2014
After over a month of planning, it’s finally time to unveil my new ocean acidification project: Bad Gas! Watch this video to learn how to turn a Soda Stream into a miniature ocean and explore the impact of ocean acidification.
As this experiment continues, it will develop into a series of lesson plans for science teachers to use in the classroom. If you’re following along or joining in with your own tiny ocean, leave a comment below and keep us updated on your progress.
David Shiffman • Conservation, fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks • June 9, 2014
I’ve just returned from the second Sharks International, a scientific conference for shark and ray researchers, which was held in South Africa. With nearly 300 researchers and conservationists from more than 38 countries in attendance, the conference was a fantastic learning and networking experience, and a huge success.
In addition to countless talks focusing on cool discoveries about amazing animals and important conservation issues from all over the world, I don’t think I ate one meal at a table with fewer than 4 countries represented. Our lab, the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami, gave 3 scientific presentations, including my own, which was well-received and resulted in some fascinating discussions. The “social media for scientific outreach” workshop I gave had more than 50 people attend, resulting in a couple of dozen scientists newly joining twitter.
Speaking of twitter, more than 7,000 tweets (including re-tweets) were shared using the conference hashtag #Sharks14 ! Below are links to 8 Storify stories I made: 4 plenary sessions and 4 days of scientific presentations. * Scientists, if any of the tweets about your talk are incorrect, please alert me in the comments and I’ll edit or delete them immediately. *
Andrew David Thaler • Blogging • May 28, 2014
It’s an open secret that I’ve been struggling over the last few years to keep Southern Fried Science growing while making it financially sustainable. Ocean outreach matters, because the oceans matter. Many of us believe that protecting the oceans is the most important thing we’ll ever do. Our survival depends on a healthy ocean. So we write about overfishing and shark finning, climate change and ocean acidification, mining and trawling and bycatch runoff. And, since, as St. Jacques once said, “people protect what they love”, we do what we can to make people love the ocean as much as we do.
For most of its existence, Southern Fried Science and my other outreach projects have been funded by science. Research grants, outreach fellowships, even graduate student stipends went towards keeping our servers running. But science funding is in crisis, and that model is no longer valid. In a disturbing reversal, today, income from outreach related work–selling articles, consulting for NGO’s, running workshops–is being used to fund my scientific research. Neither model is viable.
It’s time to try something new.
Andrew David Thaler • Citizen Science, Conservation, Environmentalism, Natural Science, Science • May 26, 2014
[Note, this is a press release for an ongoing project of which Amy and myself are involved.]
Monday, May 26, 2014 — In September 2013, a large wildfire, ignited by careless target shooters, blazed across Mt. Diablo, leaving 3,100 acres of state park scorched. Wildfires are an important component of chaparral ecosystems, clearing the way for younger growth to take hold, but monitoring recovery after wildfires is an intensive prospect for over-committed park staff. Enter the Nerds for Nature and their change monitoring brackets.
Inspired by monitorchange.org (created by Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey), Nerds for Nature combined low-tech angle brackets with high-tech smart phones to allow hikers to help monitor the ongoing fire recovery. Park visitors are invited to take pictures at predefined locations, aligning their phones against a simple angle bracket that ensures images will center on the same area. Photos are then uploaded to one of several social media services, where a program scrapes the publicly available images and compiles a time lapse video.