2013 Science Journalism Award winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
- Large Newspaper: Deep Trouble, about invasive Asian Carp, sewage, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
- Small Newspaper: Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds, about why California doesn't have a decent early warning system for earthquakes
- Magazine: Attack of the Mutant Pupfish, about genetic integrity vs. genetic restoration in the fight to preserve endangered species
- Television (20 minutes or less): NOVA's profile of computer scientist Adrien Treuille and Foldit, a crowd-sourced protein-folding game
- Television (more than 20 minutes): Smithsonian Channel: Killer in the Caves, about bats and the deadly white-nose fungus
- Radio: NPR and The Center for Public Integrity - As Mine Protections Fail, Black Lung Cases Surge and Black-Lung Rule Loopholes Leave Miners Vulnerable
- Online: An environmental scandal that’s happening right underneath your feet, about the hidden cost of natural gas leaks in pipelines underneath cities
- Children's Science News: Cold Water Corals: Paradise on the Seabed [pdf]
Billy Joel has now officially endorsed - The Longest Time (Coral Triangle Edition), by the Barber Lab Quartet [more inside]
"...by persisting in the false belief that coral reefs have a future, we grossly misallocate the funds needed to cope with the fallout from their collapse." In the New York Times, ecologist Roger Bradbury argues that it's too late to save a big chunk of the Earth's environment, and that we should instead spend our resources getting ready for the challenges we'll face once that part of the world is destroyed. Marine scientists offer varying opinions on how doomed the reefs are, ranging from "Yep, they're doomed" to "If we stopped increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere today, they would probably stick around in some more or less degraded form" to "it’s clear to me that corals as a group of living things will almost assuredly* construct glorious reefs in millenniums to come of unimaginable richness."
Navassa Island is a small uninhabited Caribbean island 74 km off the coast of Haiti. Both the US and Haiti claim sovereignty over the island, though Haiti claims it in it's constitution. Discovered in 1498 and explored in 1504 as part of Columbus's expedition when he became stranded on Jamaica and sent a canoe to Hispaniola; the canoes ran into the island on the way and two Spaniards and several Indians who arrived on the island drank contaminated water killing most of the group. The island was avoided until 1857 when it was claimed by the US as part of the Guano Islands Act despite an earlier Haitian claim. Working conditions were very harsh on the island, manually moving over a ton guano from mines via rail cars to the landing point at Lulu Bay which sacked the guano for transport on the S.S. Romance. In 1889 the workers started a rebellion that killed several supervisors and lead to a series of court cases that affirmed the constitutionality of the Guano Act. The island was abandoned in 1898 during the Spanish-American war forced the operator, Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore to file for bankruptcy. In 1917 a lighthouse was built since the island posed a hazard for ships entering the newly built Panama Canal. The island has remained uninhabited, save a few Haitian fishermen that camp now and again, though it is highly coveted by amateur radio operators seeking a DX call-sign of KP1. The island has been bounced around several federal agencies until 1999 when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service cataloged it as a National Wildlife Refuge. In 2009 NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science launched an expedition to catalog the flora and fauna of the reefs of the island, including a few feral cats roaming on the island.
In 1967, Ken Nordine (previ-ously) did a themed album of his "Word Jazz" titled "Colors" that consisted of over 30 short poems/riffs about specific colors. Recently, cuts from that album have become popular soundtracks for exercises in animation... A lot of them use the currently-trendy "kinetic typography" - Black Beige Blue Brown (with a Brown Owl) Brown Green Mauve Magenta while others use paper cut-outs - Amber Azure Cerise Coral (starts at 1:00) Crimson Fuschia Green (again) Lavender Magenta (again) Maroon (a rhyming Cartoon) Mauve (again) Orange Russet. Plus three versions of Yellow, with J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs, with a character resembling PacMan and with blobby cut-outs and a cut-off ending. Finally Flesh, but without animation.
The camera comes upon an artificial coral reef of human bodies, surrounded by fish Jason deCaires Taylor is an artist who makes life size sculptures of people out of materials designed to encourage the growth of coral reefs. Then he sinks them. Then the fish arrive. His project "La Evolucion Silenciosa", located off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico is a striking combination of the eerie with the serene.
How much life could you find in one cubic foot? With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project) surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter. [more inside]
Ben Wiggins features stunning time-lapse photography. From the strange colorings of the Cnidarian and Montipora coral species, to summer cloud transformations in and around San Francisco. Couldn't make it to Burning Man 2009? See it... in just two minutes (2008, 2007).
Bletchley Park: A WWII juggernaut. It decrypted German Enigma (try one!) and Japanese messages on an industrial scale in huts and blocks, had an outpost in Mombasa, and built one of the first modern computers (it helped that Alan Turing was on staff). Now a diverse museum with or without a funding problem, it generated yet more intrigue in 2000 when an Enigma was stolen, and hosts a rebuilt, working Colossus that launched a cipher challenge. Beating it wasn't easy! [more inside]
The Institute for Figuring presents the Crocheted Hyperbolic Coral Reef Project and Hyperbolic Crocheted Cacti and Kelp (more at this flickr gallery). If you secretly spend your evenings crocheting mathematical models, help build the coral reef or send a photo of your other creations to The People's Hyperbolic Gallery. (via Wonderland)
My post-mortem to-do checklist, so far: 1. Study marine biology. 2. Accessorize my hot, wealthy widow. 3. Relay a few spooky telegrams to my spooky new friends. 4. Try to look as suspicious as possible. And that's even before rigor mortis sets in!
The great Caribbean coral die-off. "The 2005 die-off is bigger than all the previous 20 years combined".. magnitude never before-seen.. sea surface temps worst in the 21 years of satellite monitoring. NOAA preliminary reports with cool graphs to left.
The Coral Calcium scam. Coral Calcium products are on fire right now, with infomercials and brochures claiming that the miracle supplements can cure everything from fatigue to cancer. Of course there is no scientific evidence supporting any of these claims and one of the two men featured in the infomercials is a convicted felon named Kevin Trudeau. New FTC actions are ongoing and The Mayo Clinic has just sent out a letter to patients warning that the broad range of benefits claimed by those marketing some Coral Calcium products are simply too good to be true and that if the calcium indeed comes form the Okinawa area as claimed, it could be contaminated with lead.
Christmas Island is the largest coral atoll in the world with an area of 248 square miles of which 125 square miles is land and the remainder lagoon. [more]
Coral Castle is the amazing labor of love built solely by Ed Leedskalnin, a man who claimed to have discovered the "secrets of the pyramids". Did he? We may never know, but this frail, tubercular, 100-pound man managed to quarry, transport, shape, and erect chunks of coral weighing up to 28 tons by himself, using only the simplest of tools. The castle also includes a nine-ton gate that is so perfectly balanced it can be opened by a child, and the world's largest valentine, which weighs in at an incredible 5,000 pounds.