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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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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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