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You are browsing the archive for science outreach Archives - The Plainspoken Scientist.

14 June 2021

Introducing #QuiltYourScience

I’m a geologist, an educator – and yes, a quilter. I’ve been quilting for a number of years, but in 2018, I started focusing my quilts on sharing stories of science. I created a series of quilts on Stitching Hope for the Louisiana Coast, telling stories of adaptation and resilience to the impacts from climate and sea level faced by residents in southern Louisiana. But it wasn’t until this year I sewed my first data visualization quilt.

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11 June 2021

#AntarcticLog: An Abecedarium of Pleasures and Perils 

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!) 

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7 June 2021

Making #SciAnimations Using PowerPoint

If you find yourself needing to show some movement or change when describing your science, and you usually do this by drawing arrows, consider using making a short animation.

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4 June 2021

#AntarcticLog: Antarctic Trees (from long ago)

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. 

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28 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Reeling in Kids

#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. 

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21 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Plankton is (surprisingly) cool

Before the pandemic, a long time ago (or so it seems), I used to go to New York City and wonder at all the people — and their brilliant personalities, ideas, forms, and functions — concentrated in that small space.   One time I made my way to a midtown gallery where Pete Countway, a researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, had plankton on display. 

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14 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Polar Seals

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.

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12 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Permafrost isn’t so frosty

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.  

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#RhymeYourResearch: Memory of a Flower

“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.

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6 May 2021

#AntarcticLog: Antarctic Artists

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?

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