Hot, Sour, And Breathless

Left to right: David Malakoff, Science; Alok Jha, The Guardian; Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post; Christopher Joyce, NPR; Jim Barry, MBARI; Scott Doney, WHOI; Dave Hutchins, USC; and Anne Cowan, WHOI.

This week, 572 scientists gathered in Monterey for the Third International Symposium on the Oceans in a High CO2 World. The numbers mark a sharp increase from the first symposium in 2004 in Paris where the community of ocean acidification scientists numbered only 124. And, this time, the mood was more urgent.  Atmospheric CO2 is entering the ocean and it is acidifying fast… the ocean is 30% more acidic than prior to industrialization. Combine this with rising ocean temperatures and decreasing oxygen levels (which cause dead zones) and, in the words of Swedish scientist Sam Dupont, you have an ocean that is increasingly, “hot, sour and breathless,” for its inhabitants. What these changes mean – from effects on plankton to shellfish and fish to entire marine ecosystems – was the subject of the meeting. [Read more…]

9/21 Weekly Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of ‘Ravages’ via Flickr

Because we posted Erica’s blog on Friday, today we’re featuring a few of the postings, articles, and other internet finds that caught our collective COMPASS eye last week:

  • To burn or not to burn- that is the question forest researchers and managers continue to ask.
  • Will limiting global warming spare coral reefs? A paper in Nature Climate Change presents new information found in this overview.
  • The internet is great for virtual experiences- now you can swim with a mola mola or visit Mars!
  • Ever wonder why humans are susceptible to the “bends” while diving, but marine mammals are not? Wonder no more (at least when it comes to sea lions!).
  • Craving chocolate? A new study may help us understand why.

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Opportunity In Seat 7D?

Have the middle seat blues?  You never know where a conversation with your neighbor could lead.
Photo courtesy of evoo73 via Fickr.

Last Sunday, in the sleepy pre-dawn hour, Meghan Miner and I caught a cab to Boston’s Logan airport to fly home from the one-day communications workshop that COMPASS held for the east coast Switzer Fellows. Though we were groggy and not terribly talkative ourselves, we couldn’t help being drawn into a conversation started by “Dave the tattooed cab driver,” as he called himself. [Read more…]

About Us: Meghan Miner

In another life, Meg might be a dive instructor in Mozambique.  This photo from the Outer Banks, NC.

Meghan is COMPASS’ Science Outreach Specialist and author of this week’s post on the importance of communicating with your audience, not just to them.

Meghan loves that her job allows her to work with both scientists and journalists often, and has said: “Sometimes, to outsiders, I describe what I do as working in a science communications think tank.  It’s a unique opportunity to explore the sometimes-uncomfortable interface between science and the general public: what works and why, and what absolutely doesn’t work… a conversation that drew me into the field of communicating science in the first place.”

Here’s a little bit more about Meghan: [Read more…]

I Hear What You’re Saying, But….

At a recent training for Switzer Fellows, participants learned the value of active listening in being a good communicator.

This weekend, Erica Goldman and I traveled to a town outside of Boston to deliver a communications workshop for the 2012 New England Switzer Fellows. The fellows are in the midst of their graduate educations, and have diverse backgrounds – they are law students, representatives of NGOs, interdisciplinary and field scientists – all within the realm of environmental sustainability.

Like many of our workshops, our central message to the participants focused on the importance of understanding your audience when communicating your work. That includes formatting your work into clear and succinct messages, but it’s also about understanding the culture in which your audience exists, so as to make your work relevant to them and what they most care about… their “so what?” [Read more…]

9/14 Weekly Link Round-up

Here are a few of the postings, articles, and things that caught our collective COMPASS eye this week: [Read more…]

About Us: Liz Neeley

Liz loves live-tweeting science talks. Two computers, three twitter handles, a livestream, and chat moderation? No problem… (right?) 

Photo by John Meyer

Liz Neeley is our Assistant Director of Science Outreach. She focuses on the communications training and media outreach aspects of our work, and she specializes in social media. This week, she stirred the pot, asking some of our writer friends to share their uncensored thoughts on the state of science press releases. Check out Taming Beastly Press Releases for a summary, but be sure to click through to the complete responses, and jump into the discussion on twitter or in the comments section.

Here’s a little bit more about Liz: [Read more…]

Taming Beastly Press Releases

As a verb, pique means “to stimulate (interest or curiosity).” As a noun, however, it has a rather different sense: “a feeling of irritation or resentment.” It strikes me that there may be no more perfect word to describe a certain fixture of the science journalism world… the press release. [Read more…]

9/7 Weekly Link Round-up

Thanks to Labor Day it was a short work week, but we weren’t short on online reading material!  Here are a few of the postings, articles, and things that caught our collective COMPASS eye this week: [Read more…]

About Us: Karen McLeod

One of Karen's many cakes, complete with a very happy birthday girl.

Karen McLeod is COMPASS’ Director of Science and author of this week’s inspiring post on how science can begin to navigate and tackle society’s thorniest challenges, even when the path is steep. Check out her post, Reflections from the Backcountry, here.

A big-picture thinker, Karen has said about her job: “I lead COMPASS’ efforts to advance the state of the science by connecting the dots (among people and topics) that otherwise might not be connected.”  And, with COMPASS broadening its scope beyond oceans to include a broader spectrum of topics, Karen admits dot connecting in this new realm will be “super exciting (and admittedly, slightly terrifying.).”   She also loves that her job is about asking the tough questions, “What does a particular scientific finding mean in the grand scheme of things? What does it mean for policy or practice? And how does that research fit into the larger whole? What are the societal implications of what we know now and what we’re on the cusp of learning about the world? These are the questions that motivate me.”

Here’s a little bit more about Karen: [Read more…]