Making global conservation conferences accessible in an world of increasingly restrictive travel.

ConservationJanuary 31, 20171

We have a problem in conservation biology (ok, to be fair, we have a lot of problems, but this is one of them). The biggest environmental challenges–climate change, ocean acidification, over-fishing, agricultural runoff, species invasion, and myriad other emergent issues–are global challenges. They respect no borders and require a cohesive, multinational response. Researchers, stakeholders, and conservation managers, on the other hand, are increasingly impeded in their work by more and more restrictive barriers to travel.

This isn’t new. The Global South has often been excluded from major international conferences hosted in European and American cities, which are expensive and hard to get to. Onerous visa restrictions from and to a multitude of countries have been in place for decades, but the events of this week have made it clear that scientific societies need to plan for and provide alternatives to a membership that may not be able to travel to a conference yet still need to participate.

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Monday Morning Salvage: January 30, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJanuary 30, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web) (more…)

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: January 26, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJanuary 26, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Watch this angel shark eat a horn shark!

A horn shark is consumed by an angel shark

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Monday Morning Salvage: January 23, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJanuary 23, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Come back to the Mariana Trench with me! I’ve taken the almost ten hours of assorted dive footage from our adventures in Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam and edited it down to just the best four minutes. Share, subscribe, and enjoy!

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web) (more…)

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: January 19th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJanuary 19, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Watch this basking shark breach!

Basking shark breaching in Cornwall, UK

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How I talk about science in fiction.

#SciCommJanuary 18, 2017

The science of Aquaman. How deep is Rapture? The ecology of Middle Earth. Here at Southern Fried Science, we love taking a hard-science detour into some of our favorite works of fiction. It’s good practice projecting known phenomena into hypothetical universes and figuring out how the mechanics of those worlds shape and are shaped by the principles of ours. And it’s darn fun, to boot.

But diving into “The Science of…” series comes with some pretty huge pitfalls. Not the least of which is the wet blanket nature of criticizing a work of fiction for scientific inaccuracy. Push too far in one direction and you’re left with a dry dissertation on why an obviously fictional world couldn’t work. It’s like being the kid in the room pointing out that professional wrestling isn’t real. No kidding?

There’s a craft to commenting on the science in fiction. After walking this line for a few years, here the simple set of guidelines I use when constructing a commentary.  (more…)

Monday Morning Salvage: January 16, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJanuary 16, 2017

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Some SFS deep history: I got my start in marine science working in a seahorse lab. Seahorses are among my favorite animals.

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web) (more…)

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: January 12th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJanuary 12, 2017

Cuttings (short and sweet):

Drone footage from Basking Shark Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

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Micronations and poop dreams: Strange tales from the Guano Islands Act of 1856

Popular CultureJanuary 11, 2017

I’m just going to lay this out there right now: This story ends with Ernest Hemingway’s brother sitting on a 30-foot raft in the middle of the Caribbean.

But first, let’s talk about Bill Warren.

Bill Warren is an entrepreneur, treasure hunter, Frank Sinatra impersonator, former Christian music host, and about 30 other descriptors. He’s probably a huckster, but he’s our kind of huckster. You’ve almost certainly seen something about him: This Treasure Hunter Says He Has Located Bin Laden’s Body. I could spend the next 2,000 words just writing about Bill Warren, but you’re here for the guano, so just read this exhaustive, entertaining, hilarious article bout him by CJ CiaramellaThe Nearly Astonishing Tale Of Bill Warren, Treasure Seeker.

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How Millard Fillmore reshaped the oceans in a quest for guano.

#OceanOptimism, Conservation, policyJanuary 10, 2017

President Millard Fillmore

The numbers are in, and over the last eight years, President Barack Obama has protected more ocean than any other president in history. His expansion of NOAA and implementation of a National Ocean Policy will impact ocean health and fisheries management for generations. By almost any measure, he has had the biggest impact on the ocean of any modern presidency. Which raises the obvious question: is President Obama the most influential ocean president in history? Not by a long shot. That honor has to go to the president who’s policies have fundamentally shaped and reshaped how we view and control ocean territory, who laid the foundation for almost all the ocean protections we currently enjoy, and who set the precedent for the American Empire. That man is President Millard Fillmore, and he did it all for bird poop.

1850.

Agricultural science is beginning to understand that soil is not just soil, but a collection of nutrients that are slowly drawn from the ground by growing crops. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are crucial ingredients. The Industrial Revolution is pushing agriculture away from passive crop re-nourishment processes and towards intensive, fertilizer-driven farming. Fertilizer producers can’t keep up. At the same time, the American whaling industry had reached its zenith and began to fall. Coastal whales were harder to find and the bold men of Nantucket ventured out across the Pacific in search of the last great whaling grounds.

In these voyages, the whalers found numerous tiny, often uncharted islands in the Pacific. These remote islands were refuges, not just for weary sailors, but for generations of seabirds. From these seabirds rose great mountains of guano, guano rich in the nutrients plants crave. Guano was the solution to the fertilizer crises.

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Staff: Andrew David Thaler (1115), David Shiffman (510), Amy Freitag (235), Guest Writer (75), Kersey Sturdivant (51), Chris Parsons (50), Michelle Jewell (18), Chuck Bangley (18), Administrator (2), Sarah Keartes (1), David Lang (1), Solomon David (1), Iris (1), Michael Bok (0), Lyndell M. Bade (0)
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