The hunt for Soviet submarines, a 5-foot-long shipworm, the impossibilities of deep-sea mining, and more! Massive Monday Morning Salvage: March 5, 2018.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • The secret on the ocean floor: the wild, weird origin of the modern deep-sea mining industry, complete with spies, Soviet submarines, and Howard Hughes. How much is real? How much is emergent from this first fake venture? If you only read one thing about deep-sea mining, read this.

We really misled a lot of people and it’s surprising that the story held together for so long”


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When I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.

Climate Change is real. It’s happening now. And the best available data points to us as the cause.

That the foundational science is settled is a point of unending frustration to scientists, science writers, and policy advocates who face continuous partisan push back, from whitewashing government websites to threatening scientists with legal repercussions for reporting the data.  During my International Marine Conservation Congress keynote last year, I argued that Climate Change denial is not a science literacy problem, but rather a product of increasing political bifurcation. Political ideology is a much stronger predictor of Climate Change understanding than science literacy.

The term “Climate Change” is now loaded with so much political baggage that it becomes almost impossible to hold a discussion across political lines. In stakeholder interviews, people generally understand and acknowledge the impacts of climate change on local and regional scales, as long as you don’t call it “Climate Change”. This has been my experience working in rural coastal communities, which tend to be strongly conservative and intimately connected to the changing ocean.

Which is why, when I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.  Read More

An Alaskan Lesson

The pig to clean the pipeline,

Every time I see the slogan “drill baby drill” appear as a response to recent rises in gas prices, I think back to the short time I lived in Alaska. Spanning the summer of 2007, my short adventure in Fairbanks left me with much to think about. One of the most surprising was the lessons learned from $5.30 gas prices – in a state that pays its residents dividends from its large oil production.

Long story short, Alaskan oil isn’t the cleanest – in fact, refineries in the U.S. don’t touch the stuff. Alaskan oil is thick and heavy, to the point where the pipeline has a special cleaning tool known as a pig to keep the oil flowing. Most of the oil is then shipped to relatively nearby markets in Japan and Korea, while oil in Alaska itself is either put through a more rigorous processing or shipped from elsewhere in the world. Read More