Introducing your guest blogger for the week

May 22, 2009

I am going to be gone for the next week on the third and final field trip for my California Ecosystems class. This one is Eastern California – we’re going up through Death Valley, around Yosemite, and down by King’s Canyon. I’ve given up on nature tweeting since time spent typing into my phone is time taken away from snuggling with snakes, but this time I will not leave you alone, gently weeping next to the Oyster’s Garter’s slowly cooling corpse. No, this time you will be entertained and thrilled by a shiny new guest blogger, punk rock scientist and fellow SIO graduate student Kristen Marhaver.

Kristen works on coral reproduction in the Caribbean, and most recently has spent her time there watching coral babies swim around and around and around in little dishes.  She was recently catapulted to scientific rock star fame by starring in San Diego’s Nerd Nite, a show that blends together rock music and science talks into a night of infamy. Kristen’s talk, entitled “How Many Corals Does it take to Screw in a coral reef? Coral sex and why you didn’t really want to be a marine biologist,” literally rocked the Casbah.

Not only is this Kristen’s first foray into the blogosphere, but she is the ONLY PERSON at my illustrious oceanographic institution who has believed my wild-eyed promotion of online science communication. Please comment lots and lots on her posts so a) she doesn’t think that I’m crazy and b) so we can lure this amazing science communicator into the wicked depths of the internet.

I’m going to go pack before I abuse any more adjectives. See you all next week!

Make your own zombie! (using common household ocean creatures)

April 3, 2009

Miriam invited me to guestblog while she is creeping along the stormy coast of California. So here is my first foray into blogospace, a handy do-it-yourself guide for how to turn your enemies into the walking dead.

VOODOO ZOMBI (makes 1)

  • 1 mortal enemy
  • 1 puffer fish liver
  • gloves, paint brush
  • easy-to-open coffin

Take puffer fish. Wearing gloves, extract liver. With paintbrush, apply liver liberally to enemy. Let sit for a few seconds. Place paralyzed enemy in coffin. Bury. In 12-48 hours, zombified enemy should emerge. If not, don’t get discouraged, just use a little less liver next time.

The secret ingredient in this recepie is tetrodotoxin (TTX to those in the know). The poison is named for the fish in the order Tetraodontiformes (puffers and relatives) where it was first discovered, although it is also made by many other kinds of fish (including lionfish), bacteria, the blue-ring octopus, rough-skinned newts, chaetognaths (yay!), and various other nasty denizens of the damp. For any rabid sushi-eaters out there, this is the substance responsible for Fugu poisoning, which nearly killed Homer Simpson in season 2.

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Your other, somewhat more random, guest blogger

August 17, 2008

While Miriam and Eric are gone on their fabulous trip, I will be stepping in as one of your guest bloggers.

Like Miriam, I am a graduate student at UCSD.  Currently, I am in a transitory state between the Psychology Department and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, so I’m “technically” studying vision science for the next few months before school starts in the Fall.

I maintain my own blog called Syzygy, which covers the gamut of my random, nerdy interests.

My plan for the next week is to veer more scientific and try to shoehorn the Force into current frameworks of sensation and perception.  (though I hear the new movie is not that great)  And of course, to keep you updated on any interesting stories about poop or zombies, or God forbid, re-animated zombie-like poop.

I also have a fondness for LOL-critters, especially when they start harassing tuna fisheries:

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #13

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #13


August 15, 2008
Devils Postpile, where we are entering the trail

Devil's Postpile, at the start of our hike

Eric and I are heading off the grid for a week, bravely going where lolcats fear to tread. If you happen to be somewhere in the middle of the Ansel Adams Wilderness next week, you will be able to find us by listening for the kvetching and the naughty sea shanties.

But we leave the Oyster’s Garter with 200% more awesomeness!  Two excellent guest bloggers have stepped up to bring you the finest in marine science and geekery:

Jives resides over at the New Blue, where he is Editor and Web Coordinator for the Communications and Marketing Department at the New England Aquarium. Normally a purveyor of the finest in adorable vertebrata, Jives is going to be giving the northwest Atlantic some love, blogging about shark research, the Bay of Fundy, and “something sexy.”

Hao is a fellow graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. By day, he uses his 133t math skillz to make fish population predictions actually resemble reality. By night, he is a master of geekery from Lucas to Whedon. He’s going to be applying his scientific powers to the Force (or using the Force to apply his scientific powers).

Enjoy! See you all a week from Monday!

Guest Blog: My Adventures as an Obama Delegate, or A Fitting Tribute to Will Rogers

April 7, 2008

The following post was not written by Miriam or me, but by a mutual friend of ours named Greg Friedman. It’s not really science, technology, or a mollusk gone wild  (Though he is a math professor. Does that count?), but it was too good to not try and bring it to a wider audience. What is it? It’s a diary of Greg’s foray into caucus politics in the great state of Texas. He spent 19 hours in Will Rogers coliseum while the Democrats tried to get organized. By the end, they were doing conga lines in the stands. No joke.


My Adventures as an Obama Delegate, or A Fitting Tribute to Will Rogers

by Greg Friedman

Will Rogers famously quipped, “I’m not a member of any organized political party – I’m a Democrat.” It was fitting, then, that the Democratic State Senate Precinct 10 convention was held at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth. Honestly, I had that opening line in my head before I even got there, but little did I know how true it would be.

On March 4, I’d been elected by my local precinct caucus to be an Obama delegate to the Senate District Convention. This was no great distinction, as the process was mostly, “Who wants to be a delegate?…Okay, you all are delegates.” The State Senate District convention is the second stage of the process, feeding into “State”, where they’d elect the national delegates. The Senate District convention took place on March 29 (mostly). I received instructions in advance by e-mail from our precinct Obama delegation chair, from a prerecorded phone call, and by a phone call from an actual human. These must have all come from the Obama camp, because some of our Clinton delegates had to figure out for themselves where to go. The convention would be at the Coliseum, registration would start at 8 AM, and business would start at 9:30. I planned to show up around 8:45, figuring it wasn’t going to take an hour and a half to register each of us individually, just all of us as a whole. Heh.
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