Andrew David Thaler • Conservation, Environmentalism, Popular Culture • December 22, 2013
The 90′s were a big decade for the environmental movement. The media landscape was filled with environmentally-themed programming. Major laws in the US and internationally were passed to protect the planet. Formative events galvanized, diversified, and sometimes radicalized the conservation community. And, like many other of our generation, we came of age right in the middle of it.
Here are 25 signs that your laid the foundation for your environmental ethic squarely in the 1990′s. Happy Holidays from Southern Fried Science.
1. Captain Planet taught us that “The Power is Yours!”
You knew this would be on the list, so let’s get it out of the way. Moving on.
Amy Freitag • Challenging the Conventional Narrative, Conservation, Environmentalism • December 20, 2013
Over where I hang my workday hat, recently we’ve thought a lot about the field of citizen science and how it’s developing. Specifically, the push from leaders and scholars in the field to “retake citizen science” by broadening the definition to include the many formulations of decentralized expertise present in our world in the quest for new knowledge.
As part of that ‘re-taking’, I’ve taken on some of the major stereotypes about citizen science and volunteers. I hope to take on more, and would appreciate suggestions, Mythbusters-style, of stereotypes to investigate. But for now, here’s a roundup of the perceptions thus far:
Participation is Empowering: the verdict is still out (more…)
Amy Freitag • Blogging, Life in the Lab, Personal Stories, Science • December 19, 2013
Whenever I fill out a job application, there are those little demographic questions at the end and I’m always a bit stymied. They ask if I have a disability that should be taken into account. I don’t, but in the world of academia I feel like I should say yes. I’m diabetic, and post-PhD it’s starting to become a tangible hindrance for the first time in my life.
Ever the optimist, I tend to dismiss the cases in which the fact that I have a chronic disease directs my decisions. But lately, the cases have piled up to the point I need a cathartic moment to vent. And while a personal subject, I hope my thoughts can be either enlightening or instructive to those thinking about personal health in the ivory tower. Because that’s part of the problem – something held close because it’s personal keeps the issue out of public discourse, which is precisely where solutions might someday emerge.
Guest Writer • biodiversity, Blogging, marine science, Natural Science, Science • December 18, 2013
Sarah Keartes is a science blogger studying marine biology and journalism at the University of Oregon. A self-proclaimed Attenborough wannabe, and all-around shark junkie, she is dedicated to exploring new tools to promote ocean outreach through science communication.
Second string. Almost famous. Runner up. We’ve all been there—bowed out gracefully and stuffed down the BAMF within. I’m talking the missed, the forgotten, the less-than-top dogs (or in this case, fish). Such was the fate of these ten water-dwellers, left looking up at the podium of last month’s “Top Ten Weirdest Fish in the World” list.
Just keep swimming my finned-friends, I’ve got you covered. They may not be the blobbiest, the toothiest, or the most menacing—but for these creatures, weird comes naturally. In their honor, it’s time for round two: the top ten weirder than the weirdest fish in the world list.
David Shiffman • Uncategorized • December 17, 2013
The Beneath the Waves Film Festival, a student run film festival that brings scientists, filmmakers, and the interested public together, is now accepting submissions for the 2014 season! Any short film (less than 15 minutes) about a marine or coastal topic is welcome, including shorts by professional filmmakers, video abstracts by researchers, student films, and more! Film submissions are due by February 1st, and instructions to submit can be found here.
The flagship festival will be held March 19-22 at the University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL) as part of the Benthic Ecology conference. There will also be 10-20 other festivals held throughout the world in 2014, with audiences ranging from 20-200. In addition to screening films, these festivals include a Q and A panel discussion with local scientists.
If you have a suitable short film, submit it now!
Guest Writer • Blogging, Natural Science, Science •
Dr. Adam Summers is trained as an engineer and mathematician, he turned to biology to satisfy a deep need to interact with nature. His research applies simple physics and engineering principles to animals to understand the evolution of complex behaviors like feeding, movement and reproduction. The images shown here are the raw material that underlies his research. He is a professor at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, author of more than 90 papers, and was the scientific consultant on Finding Nemo. He is obsessed with fishes and has recently come to realize that the tools and aims of science, art and poetry are more congruent than he had supposed. All the cleared and stained fishes can be seen at http://www.picturingscience.com (Editor’s note: Adam was also featured in Gizmodo this week)
In my work I apply simple Newtonian physics and a bit of engineering to problems of how animals do those amazing things. The source of questions is the natural world and there is no better skill set in my business than that of the natural historian. A keen eye for what is going on around you, and a willingness to document it, is a powerful engine for generating great questions. Proposing answers to those questions almost always involves understanding the shape of the underlying system. So, the second most important set of tools I have are anatomical. Key insights are found in a deep understanding of the skeletal system and its associated soft tissue. A common tool in my lab is clearing and staining, which results in an entire specimen that has its mineralized tissue stained red and cartilage a deep blue.
Andrew David Thaler • Science •
Are we really doing this again? Already?
Yes, Animal Planet apparently just re-aired the pair of fake mermaid documentaries. Judging by the search terms coming in, people still have the same questions: “Is Mermaids: the New Evidence Fake?” – YES; “Is Paul Robertson a real marine biologist – NO; and finally, a question that is actually interesting, “What is the Bloop?”
Andrew David Thaler • Fleet, Popular Culture, Science Fiction • December 16, 2013
Early this month, I completed and self-published my first science fiction novel through Amazon’s Kindle Direct publishing service (and, a few days later, as a paperback through Createspace). The ideas for the book were conceived over a long week in August, while vacationing with my parents at a rental house in St. Michaels, Maryland. Wandering through the low-lying eastern shore towns started me thinking about the kinds of stories we would tell hundreds of years from now. Thus, the central conceit of Fleet — that it was not a tale of environmental devastation but of people living their lives in a post-sea-level-rise world — surfaced.
Writing Fleet was a marathon. All told, from the first day that I started outlining characters and deciding what the central story of Fleet — uncovering a human disaster caused by desperation and betrayal, then buried at sea — to the day I hit publish on the Amazon server, Fleet took a little over 3 and a half months, during which time I was also moving across the country, finishing several scientific manuscripts, and looking for a job.
Having now had a few weeks to decompress, I think it’s a good time to reflect on the book, what I tried to accomplish, and where it goes from here.
Andrew David Thaler • Blogging, Life in the Lab, Science • December 13, 2013
A year ago, David Shiffman published How to live-tweet a conference: A guide for conference organizers and twitter users, an informative and exhaustive guide to using twitter to help promote scientific conferences. Since then, I’m certain you’ve internalized his lessons and become a veteran of the science twitterverse. Now that you’re among the top twitter users in your field, it’s time to address how that changes the way you use twitter to interact with your peers.
How do you know if you’re a twitter veteran? There’s no real, concrete rule but, being that this is a guide for scientists, let’s say that a veteran twitter has significantly more followers than the average twitter user attending the conference. If you sampled the number of followers that each conference attendee on twitter had, you would fall outside of the 95% confidence interval. For a huge tech conference, this might mean you have hundreds of thousands, even millions of followers. For a small, regional conference in a relatively narrow field, this could be a couple of hundred followers.