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Popular Culture

Dying for Reason in the Rational Utopia

Conservation, Environmentalism, Popular Culture, Science FictionAugust 10, 2016

When Neil deGrasse Tyson proposed his “Rationalia” thought experiment several months ago, I thought is was cute but misguided. Now that he’s doubled down on the concept, I can see exactly why it is such a naively flawed idea. Rationalia would be a disaster for conservation. This short science fiction story illustrates why. “Oyez, oyez, oyez! […]

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 […]

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