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19 September 2019

Storytelling basics: The story arc

By Shane M Hanlon  All good stories have an arc.* A beginning, middle, end. The action goes up and down. The tension leads to twists and turns. So, what does the basic story arc look like? Well:   This is an arc. Or, at this point, it’s a line. The beginning of the arc is the beginning of the story. Set the scene: where are we? Who are the characters? …

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14 August 2019

Wakelet – the new (& in my opinion better) Storify

I spend a lot of time on social media, specifically Twitter. It’s my job. Our @AGU_SciComm account is one of the primary ways to disseminate Sharing Science information, AGU happenings, new science in the field of scicomm, popular science pieces around policy and communication, and more. Twitter is also where I turn to for hashtag campaigns, especially those centered around AGU.

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22 July 2019

Add common names to your manuscript and talk titles

I’m walking down a row of posters at a meeting of ecologists and a see the title, Non-target effects of an organochlorine pesticide on Mentior tacomii in aquatic settings. I think, “Neat!” I studied the effects of pesticides on amphibians and reptiles as a researcher so I’m always up for learning about contamination in other systems. The problem is that I have no freaking clue what M. tacomii is. And I’m not alone.

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12 July 2019

Tuberculosis: One of the Biggest Killers of All Time

Throughout human history, it is estimated that over 1 billion people have succumbed to Tuberculosis. The deadly bacterial infection targets the immunocompromised population as well as those who have weakened their lungs through smoking.  It is believed that the first cases of tuberculosis appeared over 17,000 years ago in the wild by infecting bison. There is also a theory that puts the disease in humans around the same time. But, it is unclear whether humans or bison were the first carriers of Tuberculosis.

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9 July 2019

Human Rabies Mortality in India: Why Is This Still An Issue?

There are an estimated 25 million stray dogs within the country of India. These animals serve as carriers for one of the deadliest diseases in the world – one that has ravaged the country and surrounding areas within Southern Asia. This disease is rabies, and India makes up 36% of the world’s rabies deaths each year. About 30% to 60% of rabies victims within countries where the disease is endemic are children under the age of 15. Some of them don’t even know they’re infected until symptoms begin to show and it’s too late.

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8 July 2019

Cicadas + Magic Mushrooms = ?

Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms, are not allowed for human consumption, but cicadas are also experiencing the same drugs via a different route. Does it affect them the same as it does humans?

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5 July 2019

Lyme Disease in Winter

Similar to other wildlife diseases, there are myths about Lyme disease. While many myths exists, one of the most interesting myths about Lyme disease pertains to transmission. People believe that ticks cannot survive in the winter; so, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted during winter.

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3 July 2019

Toxoplasma: A Cat-astrophe?

Could your pet cat really be carrying a dangerous disease?

Some people might be afraid of adopting cats due to the fear of contracting Toxoplasma, a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is one of the world’s most common parasites. While this disease is usually correlated to cats it is more often contracted through eating contaminated food.

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1 July 2019

It’s the most, wonderful time, in the field!

Every summer I take a break from the concrete jungle of DC and head to rural Pennsylvania to teach a field course for the University of Pittsburgh Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology (my undergrad alma mater). 

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9 May 2019

Earth’s Past in Poetry

How do we regard the vast planetary time scales that span the Earth Sciences?  How do we regard a figure showing changes in Earth’s temperature since the age of dinosaurs, as spring rains pelt against the window, making rivulets that will evaporate before we leave the office, before we finish that email, and check our analysis, and pay that bill, and tweet that article, and lead that meeting, and, and, and…all in the next three hours. The Paleocene was 65 million years ago. The average human lifespan is just 79 years. 

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