The Royal Society’s geoengineering report

Here’s another one of those examples where the link between scientists and the public can break down, leading to conflicting or erroneous reports. As reported by the Nature blog The Great Beyond, when the Royal Society released a report on climate geoengineering earlier this week, reporters were scratching their heads about the take-home message from the report.  The British coverage was across the map, ranging from Boffins:...

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Farewell, ESA Meeting 2009

As ESA’s Annual Meeting drew to a close today and the city of Albuquerque breathed a sigh of relief — now there might be places for locals to sit in a restaurant! — the echoes of the meeting were just beginning.  Scientific meetings are a place to bring together scientists from myriad subfields: in the case of ecology, from biogeochemistry to microbial ecology to agroforestry to physiological ecology…and the...

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Why to talk to the media: Turtle edition

Academics are like turtles, pulling their heads in when reporters come knocking. An article in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has the best metaphor for this syndrome that I’ve heard: Scientists become turtles. They’re discouraged from media relations, and thus never get better at it, and they don’t think it’s their job.  As author Michael Munger, professor of political science at Duke...

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Evolution at its finest: Plant roots in snow

Ecologists have discovered yet another astonishing way that plants defy all manner of physical obstacles to get what they need. Researchers have discovered alpine plant roots that grow upwards, against gravity, and out of the soil…into the snow. A group of researchers centered at VU University in Amsterdam discovered the plant roots high in the mountains of southern Russia. The plant, Corydalis conorhiza, is in what’s...

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As science reporting falls, scientists must rise

I attended a panel last week, titled “The Future of Science and Environmental Journalism,” that included Peter Dykstra, former executive producer for CNN’s Science, Technology and Weather unit. Peter and his entire science team were cut from CNN in December, marking one of the largest blows for science reporting in the mainstream media. The panel discussed the abysmal state of affairs for science journalism,...

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Announcing the First Annual Blogger Bioblitz

Throughout National Wildlife Week (April 21 – 29), which intersects Earth Day, about 30 bloggers (signed up in a mere three days since the announcement) will be spending the week conducting bioblitzes across the world – the US, Panama, Canada, etc. – compiling the information gained into tallies and grand totals of species, then georeferencing the whole bit on an interactive world map, showing our results spatially....

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Embracing blogs and other tools of the information age

I was struck between the parity between the ongoing discussion on this blog about the usage of blogs in academia and Sunday’s New York Times article on how the intelligence community is using blogs and wikis for information synthesis, and a recent post at evolgen asking if there were any ecologists in the blogosphere. Taken together, I think they raise some interesting questions, comments, and ideas about whether we are...

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