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10 December 2019

Resources for Whakaari/White Island eruption information

It’s been a rough week for New Zealanders, particularly those affected by the Whakaari/White Island eruption and those responding to it. I’d like to strongly urge anyone in the media to please defer your questions to the NZ experts when at all possible – and be patient with them. Tragic events like these also have a profound impact on the people who study and work at volcanoes, and they will …

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4 May 2019

One year

I’ve delayed writing about my involvement in last summer’s Kilauea eruption for a number of reasons. One is because I wanted to wait until the USGS has had a chance to publish the preliminaries of the eruption; others are more personal, involving my experience working with the communities affected and the people responding to the eruption. But now that the one-year anniversary of the start of the eruption has come …

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18 January 2019

I’m “non-essential” and furloughed. Here’s what I’m supposed to be doing for my country.

It’s been 27 days since I, my colleagues and 800,000 or so others were informed that our leaders were okay with using us as political pawns. 27 days since 380,000 of us were told we weren’t allowed work at all. 27 days since 420,000 of us were told that we had to work without pay.

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23 December 2018

Where to find information about the Krakatau collapse and tsunami

As yesterday was my blogiversary, I was planning to write a reflective post about what I’ve accomplished (or not) in the past year. However, with the recent events in Indonesia, I decided to hold off on the introspective and use my platform to help direct people to factual information about Krakatau and the landslide and eruptions it’s experienced in the past several days. A note to the news media: As …

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11 December 2018

Far from the science-ing crowd

This year, sadly, I’m not attending AGU’s Fall Meeting. It’s partly personal choice –  I have several big projects scheduled for December and January – and partly that I don’t want to make two cross-country flights to go to a meeting and head home for the holidays (the timing doesn’t line up well). It’s also partly because in the USGS (and in the government in general), our choice of conferences to …

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24 September 2018

For great Italian geology, go to church

There’s so much to see in Naples – so much gelato to eat – but one thing I learned was that if you want to sample the local geology, you could do worse than visit a church.

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21 April 2018

Journalism catastrophe WAITING TO HAPPEN! (or, Let’s talk about headlines)

The best science reporting in the world is diminished when you publish it under a histrionic headline.

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2 February 2018

Rehearsing for eruptions

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to help run several “tabletop” exercises with the USGS and our partners where we walk through a timeline of what might happen during a volcanic eruption, and ask participants to make decisions about how they would need to respond and work together. I find them both fascinating and exhausting.

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22 December 2017

10 years

It’s not very often that someone my age gets to celebrate a 10-year anniversary. But this year is one of those times, because it’s been 10 years since I graduated from college, 10 years since I started my first job, and 10 years since I started this blog.

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8 October 2017

Video: Why and how I communicate on social and traditional media, and some mistakes I made along the way…

Video: How my water research made the news…

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22 September 2017

The human side of volcanology at IAVCEI 2017

Every four years, the volcanological community gets together somewhere in the world to spend a week (or two) talking about…you guessed it, volcanoes. And because volcanology – like any ‘disaster science’ – occupies a special intersection of geologic processes and human impacts, there is an inherent social science aspect in its practice.

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24 February 2017

(Geo)science Matters: Snow surveys aren’t just for TV

Everyone (in California, at least) has seen those clips that get run every winter of the snow surveys: people walking out into a white-blanketed meadow to shove a pole into the snow and record the depth. Or, in the case of the 2015 broadcast, walking out onto muddy grass and gesturing sadly at a lack of snow in which to do this. It’s a good photo op, but the broadcasts rarely follow up with much of the science behind the survey.

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27 January 2017

(Geo)science matters: Landslide research in California

Right now it’s incredibly important for scientists to hammer home why science is essential, important and needs to be practiced rigorously, transparently and without censorship. It’s clear that we can no longer limit ourselves to broader impact statements in our next grant applications. I thought I’d do my part by starting a new blog series and highlighting United States geoscientists and their work in action.

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9 January 2017

Fast-forward your volcano

Remember a couple of months ago when Google Earth Timelapse got updated? I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at it back then, but I’ve taken it for a spin since then and – being a volcanologist – decided to look at volcanoes. And it turned out to be a lot of fun.

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8 December 2016

AGU Fall Meeting 2016: Social Media (and Communications) Roundup

I’ve had to back out of attending the Fall Meeting this year, but I didn’t want to abandon my yearly Social Media roundup even though I won’t be joining in. It’s been great over the years to watch the social media and science communication activities balloon from a couple of sessions and a meetup or two to scads of activities.

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26 February 2016

Resurrected post: Earth science-y catchphrases

My father and I share a habit: we tend to point out and grumble over certain catchphrases we hear or read in a news report, mostly because they’re misused, overused, or just plain don’t make sense. He dislikes things such as “address the issue” or “touch base” or “spearhead”. Me? I make faces when I hear Earth science terms getting co-opted.

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18 December 2015

AGU Fall Meeting 2015: Guide TO Conference-Goers

You’ve probably seen all the excellent “How to navigate a conference” posts that pop up in the fall and winter each year, and they’re great, but this isn’t one of them. My take is a little different; I’m going to give you a kind of bird-watcher-style guide to the people you’re sure to meet every year at AGU Fall Meeting. Many of us fall into one or more of these categories, depending on the ways we find to survive the whirlwind conference week.

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17 December 2015

AGU Fall Meeting 2015: Making Connections

It’s the third day of the meeting and I’m already exhausted. But this is par for the course when you try to do everything at AGU! It’s possible to spend all of your time in talks and posters and immerse yourself entirely in new research, but most people here end up mixing in other things: workshops, town hall discussions, service groups, and of course meeting with colleagues and collaborators. The …

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