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11 June 2021
Now I know that Antarctica is not designed to be hospitable to humans. In fact, from the moment you arrive — and even before (ask me about the Drake Passage sometime) you sense that the place is set up to kill you. It helped that I had created this #AntarcticLog comic, a list of just a few of the ways the place can kill you. (Believe me, I had to leave a lot out!)
4 June 2021
No, there are no longer trees in Antarctica — though there were, many thousands of years ago. (Did you know Antarctica used to be unfrozen? But that’s another story for another post.) But trees — especially the oak trees featured in these three #AntarcticLog comics — have plenty to say about what’s going on in their environment, and around the globe.
28 May 2021
#AntarcticLog is created with a broad audience in mind — from the savviest adults to kids new to the subject of scientific research — and adventure! — in the Antarctic. This week’s examples come from a series created to introduce kids (of any age) to the Antarctic food chain.
14 May 2021
The polar seals are another force to be reckoned with as a comic creator. No, I’m not about to embark on a series of comics about individual species of polar seals, but I did want to check in with a few seal stories so far. Seals have got both the Antarctic and Arctic pretty well figured out in terms of adaptations. Their blubber, fur, swimming and diving ability, and eating habits– not to mention their chill both in terms of attitude and energy conservation (i.e. lying around doing nothing) — equips them to deal with these extreme environments.
12 May 2021
Based on the last few thousand years, it’s supposed to be like this: After a winter freeze comes a spring thaw. Not that there isn’t plenty of evidence of climate change: tornadoes and a longer growing season are among the easiest to see. Toward the poles, however, where global warming is multiplied, bigger changes are afoot: underfoot, actually, as the permafrost layer thins, buckles, and crumbles.
“Memory of a Flower” was inspired by an article I read about the learning flights that honey- and bumblebees take after encountering a nectar-rich flower. These flights involve the bees repeatedly turning and facing towards the flower as they depart from it, studying its characteristics.
6 May 2021
In these still socially-distanced times, one of the things I miss most is a good chin-wag. The chance to sit around the fire or the table, swapping yarns, seems a long way off. Maybe next autumn?
5 May 2021
It is always great to remember that science communication is a deep sea of learning, the more you dive in, the more secrets you will learn and the more treasures you will find. Bringing these treasures to the surface does not always require complex tools or extraordinary skills. You will be surprised if I told you that simple methods will work the best. From storytelling to science writing, the terms and the language you use really make a difference.
23 April 2021
If you think it’s tough scuba diving in icy Antarctic waters, try doing it while pulling up old tires, rails of steel, and other junk. I spent Earth Day, April 22, 2018, at Palmer Station, Antarctica, helping pull old trash out of Hero Inlet.
22 April 2021
Later on, in the peer-review for publication in Consilience Journal, the reviewers strongly suggested changing the last line and thus removing the explicit reference to Lilith’s Brood. With a heavy heart, I bowed to their arguments – mainly to make the poem more accessible for a wider audience. Still, killing my darling ‘oankali trade’ somehow feels like treason to one of my favorite writers.