COMPASS’ Energy Insights

By rerouting your day to include more energy-giving activities, you can avoid feeling drained. Photo courtesy of Ashley Burton via Flickr.

Every year, the entire COMPASS team, including our board, gathers together to reflect on the year past and brainstorm for the year ahead. Since COMPASS is a distributed organization, for many, this will be the only time of the year for us to see each other in person. It’s a time to reconnect, realign our shared goals, and re-energize the team. Our annual retreat starts tomorrow and, as always, we’ve got a lot to talk about.

A recurring theme of our retreats is how we can do better and take on increasingly transformative projects while strategically saying no. As Karen shared last week, time – and, often, institutional capacity – is inflexible, but energy is not. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to manage and align your energy to maximize happiness and productivity – from simple changes in your daily routine to a complete reorganization of priorities.

With that in mind, and heading into the retreat, I asked several of the COMPASS staff what gives them the energy to continue pushing the envelope in work and what they do to remain energized and productive. Here are some of the themes that emerged. [Read more…]

9/13/13 Link Round-Up

The Link Round-Up is back from vacation and we have lots of interesting and exciting things to share with you! There’s a video about the Sackler Colloquium, a new paper and infographic about how Twitter is changing research, the world’s largest volcano, a multimedia piece on sea level rise, and more below! [Read more…]

8/16/2013 Link Round-Up

It’s that day of the week where we round up some of our favorite internet reads for our Link Round-Up readers! This week we have a lot on making science easy to understand through great writing or data visualization. I love data visualization in particular because a lot of creativity can come into play and make an otherwise obscure piece or body of information really easy to understand and accessible. Enjoy what we have for you below: [Read more…]

8/2/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday link round-up readers! Before you head off to enjoy the weekend, check out our collection of good reads from across the web this week: Permafrost fires, a fish naming contest, (some) good news about a hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and a time-lapse video depicting a disappearing lake. [Read more…]

Scientists And The Changing Media Landscape, Part 2

Science journalism – like much of traditional journalism – is undergoing a culture shift. Understanding these changes can help scientists wanting to engage to do so most effectively. Photo from Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

In order to bridge dissimilar cultures and have effective dialogue, you have to know who you’re talking to. At COMPASS, we often talk about the similarities between scientists and journalists – for example, they share a love for discovery, healthy skepticism, analytical minds, and competitive natures – in order for them to meet on common ground before explaining where their cultures diverge.

Over the last two decades, the culture of traditional journalism has changed dramatically. While many of the needs traditional media historically served are now being taken up by a growing and massive online community, there is still a role (albeit a changing one) for traditional media in setting the public agenda. How can scientists best connect with traditional media amidst these changes?

Not surprisingly, the changes in journalism are not an isolated phenomenon. As Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, said in a closing plenary at the World Conference of Science Journalists just two weeks ago, the culture of science is also experiencing changes.  These cultures both:

  • Feel increasing pressure to produce outcomes that serve the public good.
  • Experience constraints of stagnating budgets.
  • Face increasing internal competition.
  • Experience increasing pressure to publish, publish, publish.

But here is where they diverge. The changes in journalism have been driven by the needs of the public it serves, and how the public consumes and uses information has shifted dramatically. [Read more…]

7/12/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! Today COMPASS is deep in the thick of another Admin Day– we are fully embracing some new technologies and approaches and couldn’t be more excited to spend the day learning about them. We didn’t forget to round-up a variety of links for you, however, check them out below: [Read more…]

6/28/13 Link Round-Up

As the Earth, moon, and sun align to create a “king tide” this week, the East Coast is getting a preview of what normal tides may look like in the face of climate change and rising sea levels. It’s appropriate, then, that President Obama released his climate change action plan on Tuesday. A quick Google search of the plan yields a number of reactions, and we’d love to hear yours in the comments. In the mean time, here are a few other things we’ve been reading at COMPASS this week: [Read more…]

5/31/13 Link Round-Up

We’re big proponents of social media on the COMPASS blog. In addition to touting the benefits and how-to’s of Twitter, one of the unique aspects of social media are the conversations and discussion that can be sparked and carried out on a large scale entirely online. This week there were several such examples, rounded up below, along with some other interesting finds: [Read more…]

Complications And Resolutions: Why Scientists Should Learn Story Craft

Main Ave Fish Wharf, where Erica sought out a story in fishmonger Clarence Goodman's personal tale.

We can all recognize a good story when we read one. Most of us can narrate stories about our own life fairly seamlessly, and do so all the time to our families, friends, through social media, or on the phone. We can step back and recognize that our days are filled with meaningful actions – twists and turns of plot that lead us to new points of insights and resolutions – some big, some small. But as Karen pointed out in her blog post last week about her Santa Fe experience, many scientists struggle with how to bring science and story together… and whether it is even appropriate to do so.

Why the uneasy relationship between science and story? [Read more…]

Thinking Story Like A Journalist: My Santa Fe Experience

Fresh air gets the creative juices flowing. My fellow classmates climb the 140 ladder rungs to the Alcove House at Bandolier National Monument.
Photo courtesy of Brian Clark.

Like bats emerging from nearby Carlsbad Caverns, questions flew about the halls of the School for Advanced Research. It started with a backstage tour of that day’s Science Times story of an underwater menagerie, followed by an anthropologist’s quest to unlock the secret of genius. We wrapped up the afternoon with a chilling ethnography of a factory farm from “semen to cellophane.” We’d have plenty of topical fodder for our own writing assignments.

The Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop would give me, a scientist, exactly what I came for – a stronger handle on the world of journalism and ways to improve my writing skills. But, I was unprepared for just how rich the experience would be. [Read more…]