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8 August 2014

Worried about Speaking in Public? Try Toastmasters. Really.

That’s right, Toastmasters, the outfit with the retro name that seems to promise insurance salesmen who shake your hand too hard, like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day who keeps pestering Bill Murray. “It’s Ned! NED RYERSON!”

Yes, I was dubious, too.

But then la few weeks ago I actually went to a meeting…

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28 July 2014

Want to Really Communicate Your Science to the Public? Go on a Journey and They’ll Follow

Consider these three related stories. Little Red Riding Hood sets off through the forest to Grandmother’s house. Mad Captain Ahab sails the Pacific in search of Moby Dick. You hit the road for a season of field work. Yes, Red Riding Hood, Ahab, you. All related.

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24 July 2014

Calling all scientists: Artify your Abstracts!

Abstracts are the quintessential means of getting the gist of your research out there to other scientists. But what if you want to reach a broader audience? What if you want to give your abstract that extra oomph that will combine its scientific rigor with some artistic creativity? Why, in that case you artify your abstract!

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16 July 2014

Adventures in the (other) field: Mass Media Fellow Julia Rosen reports from the Los Angeles Times

“Buzz! Buzz! We want you to have time to speak with the Los Angeles Times,” a woman named Christina interjected. I was standing, clutching my notepad and recorder, in Buzz Aldrin’s office in West Los Angeles on probably the most challenging assignment of my summer (so far) as a scientist-turned-reporter for the LA Times.

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2 July 2014

Students: Submit Your Design or Video to the 2014 AGU Student T-Shirt Design and Video Contests

Do you think you have what it takes to create the next viral video or geo-style trend? Prove it by taking part in the 2014 Student T-shirt Design and Student Video contests. The winner of each contest will receive free registration to the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting. Plus, T-Shirts with the winning design will be sold at the AGU Fall Meeting, with proceeds going to the Student Travel Grant Fund. More about each contest is below.

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Branching out at the New Horizons In Science Symposium (Mexico City)

A little while ago, as some of you may have guessed from my tweets, I was in Mexico City on a business trip. My reason for the whirlwind visit was to present a talk about volcanic hazards to the New Horizons in Science Symposium, a joint effort between the National Academies of Mexico, Canada and the United States.

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23 June 2014

Three tips for sharing science with any audience

When researchers run an experiment in the laboratory, it is usually after taking time to craft and design the experiment that will provide the most accurate results. Science communication is the same: crafting a complex message about science before delivering it to the public takes time and editing to yield the best results.

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19 June 2014

“Scientists…speak up!”

If any of you were following all the Twitter chatter from the AGU Science Policy Conference in DC this week, you might recognize Representative Donna Edwards’ exhortation to scientists who are worried about the legislative threats to the NSF’s merit review process (and funding). Rep. Edwards was invited along with Rep. Jim Moran and Rep. Scott Peters about the future of science in Congress, and all three panelists made some very strong points about scientists’ role in the legislative process. But this was the most important one, because, as Rep. Peters pointed out, we are speaking up “less than you would expect”.

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17 June 2014

Science Communication in the Post-expert Digital Age

In the digital age, anyone can comment, tweet, or blog. This means that expert voices are often diluted in the online conversation. In a Forum in the 17 June issue of Eos, Amy Luers, director for climate change at the Skoll Global Threats Fund and David Kroodsma, research analyst at the Skoll Global Threats Fund, describe the challenges for scientists trying to communicate in this “post-expert” age.

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13 June 2014

Go Local or Go Home

By Beth Bartel, Outreach Specialist, UNAVCO Okay, maybe that title is a bit harsh. When it comes to delivering a message about hazards and risk, there’s certainly benefit in delivering broad messages, to a broad public. But what I’d like to focus on is the power of targeting communication about natural hazards and risk to a local audience, and connecting with your audience through stories. So let’s start with one. …

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11 June 2014

Send us a postcard from the field

It’s exciting and eye-opening to see where people do fieldwork and what questions they’re asking–it introducesothers to the fun, majesty, grubbiness, hardship, and wonder of studying science. That’s why we’d like you to share your work, and your field locations, with us by submitting a Postcard from the Field to AGU’s new Tumblr site.

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Are geoscience journals ready for video abstracts?

How do we “get the word out” about a new paper we have published, whether the focus is scientific or pedagogical?  We list the citation on our CV’s and perhaps on our faculty page of a department website.  We might send copies to collaborators and colleagues at other institutions.  And some of us will use social media to share the news of having a new manuscript released. Social science researchers …

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10 June 2014

2014 AGU Mass Media Fellow to Report Science for the Los Angeles Times

You could say many geoscientists are in the business of storytelling. They use strata of stone, ice, and other terrestrial ingredients to tell tales of the Earth as it was long ago.

After unlocking stories trapped in ice core bubbles for the past 6 years to earn her Ph.D., geologist Julia Rosen now has the opportunity to polish another set of storytelling skills as AGU’s 2014 Mass Media Fellow.

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9 June 2014

A maker of the first COSMOS reflects on its successor

As the final episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s series airs tonight on the National Geographic Channel, a Senior Producer and Director of the original COSMOS series, Geoff Haines-Stiles, shares his thoughts and reactions about the remake and how it compares to the original. Haines-Stiles also shares a film tribute he edited for the 1987 memorial service for Carl Sagan, creator and star of the original COSMOS.

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2 June 2014

Where are the broader impacts?

After my post from last week about sharing the broader impacts of geoscience research, I was really encouraged by all the retweeting and favoriting I saw on Twitter. However, retweeting does not a submission make. In fact, I’ve only received one real submission in the comments or the Tumblr blog, and that one needs some work to refocus it before I can post it. One submission, folks. That’s pretty sad. So …

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24 May 2014

The Deterministic Dilemma

This is a guest post from Sean Sublette, the Chief Meteorologist for WSET-TV in Lynchburg-Roanoke, Va. It gives you an idea of the issues that forecasters face in attempting to communicate a forecast, and the uncertainty that is always present in any scientific prediction. I’ve thought about it for a few years now. Greg Fishel, Chief Meteorologist at WRAL in Raleigh, mentioned it at a conference a couple of years ago. More recently, …

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23 May 2014

What are the broader impacts of YOUR research?

As a policy fellow for GSA, I spend a lot of time helping support funding for basic scientific research. When we write letters of support to Congress for sustained or increased funding, it’s really important not only to point out the value of basic research in general, but to demonstrate why it’s a good investment.

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22 May 2014

Applying science to natural resource policy issues: Social science joins natural and physical sciences

By Jana Davis, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Trust As AGU members, we generally focus on the contribution of physical and natural science solutions to policy questions. But sometimes an issue calls for us to step outside the boundaries of these “hard” sciences to the social sciences. Areas in which many of us tend to be less comfortable. And less trained. Watershed restoration and protection can be just such an issue. …

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Crafting Your Own Visuals for Science Communication: Part II

You don’t need fancy software like Adobe Illustrator to create a nice science visual. You can create a graphic in basic, accessible software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint.

The PDF below walks you through the creation process from start to finish, with the objective of creating the below landscape schematic using PowerPoint. Learn tools and insider tips along the way! (Click on the link or the image below to open the PDF.)

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21 May 2014

Elected Officials are Human, Too

By John Bwarie, Founder, Stratiscope Having served as staff for over a decade for three L.A. City Councilmen, as well as L.A. Mayor James Hahn, I’ve been on the receiving end of countless requests for support, meetings, and action from concerned citizens and interest groups. In 2010, my world was turned upside down when I started working with USGS scientists to inform policymakers on how science can be used as …

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