Happy Sunday! So I’m trying something new. From now on I will start posting multiple short topics on recent articles I have read, organizations or artists that I follow, or other science or sciart related topics. I figure variety is the spice of life. Let me know what you think!
Fungus Among Us-A recent article in the New York Times discusses the art of wild mushroom hunting and the bioluminescence that some mushroom species emit.
Bambi Likes Ribs-From Popular Science, a deer was spotted munching on a human carcass by forensic scientist on a body farm. Note-Do NOT Google “body farm images” if you spook easily.
The Crowd and the Cloud-A new show premiers on PBS about citizen science and the use of mobile technology to help collect data on a variety of topics.
Courtney Mattison-An amazing ceramic artist who creates intricate coral reef ecosystems out of clay to help highlight their importance and their fragile state due to human-induced threats.
On this day in 1809 Charles Darwin, the English biologist and geologist, was born. He is best known for his contributions to the theory of evolution. In this illustration I have him posed in front of a cladogram (a diagram indicating the evolutionary relationship between organisms) of finches of the Galapagos. The most well known subject of his research into the theory of the evolution of species. So Happy Darwin Day!
Okay, that was my post from last year. I am adding on to it this year by suggesting you become acquainted with a living scientist. Don’t get me wrong, Charlie deserves his own day and eternal admiration. However, knowing present day scientists will help you better understand how far science has gone and where it is going. How do you do that you ask? Dr. David Steen, a wildlife biologist, made it easy for you by creating the Twitter hashtag #actuallivingscientist. This came out of the concern that most Americans could not name a living scientist. So now scientists all over the world and from different disciplines are tweeting about their research and a little bit about themselves. It is fascinating to read and it is critical, in these crazy times, to get to know a scientist.
In this age of fake news and science illiteracy I cannot stress enough the need to read unbiased, factual science journalism (really any kind of good, truthful journalism). In addition to reading it may I also stress the need to pay for it. A soy latte doesn’t come free, news and facts should not be free either. Before I get off my soapbox here are some suggested sources of scientific information. Please share any that I missed via the comments section.
Back in the 1960’s the sugar industry, under the guise of the Sugar Research Foundation, funded research by Harvard scientists to basically dismiss sugar as a serious health concern and instead point their fingers at fat. This went on for years. At the time of these studies researchers were not required to disclose funding sources to peer-reviewed journals so no one knew the truth. A recently published paper in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine uncovers this sweet (or rotten) tale.
Today with dwindling federal research dollars, corporate sponsorship of research is even stronger. In some cases that is not a cause for concern but when corporations stand to benefit from that research it can be a different story. One well known example being Coca Cola funding obesity research that, surprise surprise, questions the role sugary drinks plays in obesity.
About The Illustration: Watercolor, gouache, acrylic ink, micron pens-I used all the stuff. Unfortunately it scanned a bit funny. I will fix it…at some unknown time in the future when I have the time.
On My To Read List:The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. His book focuses on how sugar impacts our health and the sugar industry’s role in shaping the American diet through the years.
The remaining portion of the Antarctic ice shelf called ” Larsen C” is showing signs of disintegration and may be no more by the end of the decade. This is deeply concerning since ice shelves help hold glaciers in place. Without that support the pace of glacial movement out to the ocean increases and therefore increases the pace of sea level rise. This particular ice shelf supports three glaciers named Leppard, Flask and Starbuck (anyone recognize the Moby Dick connection?). In 2002 a portion of Larsen C collapsed, it looks like what remains of the 10,000 year old ice shelf will soon be gone. The ice shelf Larsen B collapsed in 2002 which led to the increased flow of supporting glaciers. But Larsen C is 10 times the size of Larsen B and the fourth biggest ice shelf in Antarctica. What this could mean for coastal areas around the world is unknown.
Interested in what’s going on in the Antarctic? Other aspects of climate change? Consider subscribing to Climate Central: http://www.climatecentral.org “An independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public.” Facts still matter.
About the Illustration: Micron pen on vellum paper.