Category Archives: Uncategorized

Earth Day & March for Science

I’m heading to the lovely Santa Cruz March for Scienceonlinesquare and Earth Day celebration, and wanted to share a song to celebrate that:

(You can also see the lyrics to IFLS hereHank Green has lots of other nerdy science songs, plus SciShow and Crash Course, and I guess I’m a fangirl.)

Happy Earth Day!

December Solstice Haiku 2015

Solstice dance has passed,

The sun kissed the South goodbye,

Now flying Northward.


New Zealand sunset, photo by Andrew Smith (Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0)


Ebola and Applied Cultural Evolution—You Can Help

Using sensitive social science and evolutionary thinking to find solutions to complex, emerging problems.

Social Evolution Forum

A colleague of mine named Beate Ebert started a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) called Commit and Act in Sierra Leone. They run a psychosocial center in Bo, a city in the south of Sierra Leone, led by a local counselor, Hannah Bockarie. Bo is a high risk area of the Ebola epidemic, where some of the first cases showed up. One reason that the disease is so deadly is that it creates a perfect storm of cultural confusion. Here is how Beate described it to me in a recent email message.

Ebola mostly spreads because of local habits like washing and kissing dead bodies. People don’t get the information needed. They avoid hospitals as most people with Ebola die there. Doctors and nurses look like monsters in their prevention suits when they come to villages. The inhabitants are scared and think the health workers bring the disease. People circulate text messages…

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Originally posted on End of the Icons:
The Jakarta Post | Hotli Simanjuntak and Ruslan Sangaji, Banda Aceh/Palu | Archipelago | Wed, March 20 2013, 10:47 AM Paper Edition | Page: 5 Institutions affiliated with the Aceh Spatial Planning Alliance have…

Gotta respect the irony.


As bikini season approaches, Jersey Shore beach towns are preparing for their annual influx of tourists. This year, that will mean more than dusting off the cotton candy machines and stocking up on vomit deodorizer. When Hurricane Sandy hit last fall, boardwalks from Long Branch to Atlantic City — including Seaside Heights, of Jersey Shore fame — were damaged or destroyed. The shore is now in a frenzy of rebuilding and repairing, gearing up for Memorial Day. But environmental activists have been something of a buzz-saw kill.

The decking of these boardwalks pre-Sandy ranged from southern yellow pine to wood-plastic composite lumber to a tropical hardwood called ipe. That last option has rainforest advocates and town officials at loggerheads. Ipe, also known as Brazilian walnut, is the Cadillac of decking materials, prized for its density, fire resistance, and durability. More than one town is considering using it for boardwalk material…

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We can all breath a little easier. In the next 50 years the ozone hole could be completely eliminated. During the 1980s the most publicized environmental topic and critical issue was the depletion of the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Despite millions of dollars spent by skeptics, corporate interests and political operatives, the scientific evidence and commitment through international cooperation averted a global disaster of epic proportions. The ozone hole is still there, it will be a slow recovery but the chemical source of the problem has been banned world wide.

“With ozone depletion, mankind has demonstrated the capability to alter the world’s atmosphere” says Larry Flynn a physical scientist at NOAA. “The  world’s nations realized that it was not a limitless expanse but that human activity could have large important impacts on the atmosphere.”

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with thanks to xraymike79, and the hope that we can consider and respond appropriately in this dire and perilous time

Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Amongst all the drama of the fiscal cliff, the story that should have gotten front page space this week is that the Antarctic is melting much faster than previously thought. In my post ‘Burning the Candle at Both Ends‘, the recent finding that the Antarctic was indeed losing ice came as a revelation to many and dispelled the popular belief amongst the global warming ‘denialist’ crowd that the South Pole ice sheet was increasing. The situation has now gotten more dire:

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 9.07.31 AM

What are the ramification of this? We’ve released another ticking methane time bomb and opened up one more pandora’s box of known and unknown feedback loops:

…Half the West Antarctic ice sheet and a quarter of the East Antarctic sheet lie on pre-glacial sedimentary basins containing around 21,000bn tonnes of carbon, said the scientists, writing in the journal Nature.

British co-author Prof Jemma Wadham, from the University…

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