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Culturing Science

Culturing Science

Biology as relevant to us earthly beings
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    Hannah Waters Hannah Waters writes about natural history and the way people think about nature. She lives and works in Philadelphia, PA, but really on the internet. Follow on Twitter @hannahjwaters.
  • #IAmANaturalist: A Tribute


    #IAmANaturalist because to try and understand a completely different way of living, of being, is to transcend oneself.

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    Our Biases in the Gulf’s Recovery from the Oil Spill


    Last month, I set out to write a fairly basic story about the Gulf oil spill and whether the oil really caused deformities in fish. I first called an oil chemist to get some background on how oil could cause those problems in the first place. From that conversation, I learned a huge amount—in particular, [...]

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    Glacial Poetry: Photos Don’t Do Them Justice

    A photo doesn't really do a glacier justice. Photo by Tolka Rover CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    I have never seen a glacier (or any sea ice for that matter) in real life, though I’ve seen them in countless photos. I’m spellbound by James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, at the shapes and scale of ice in the Arctic. I express the perfect mixture of dismay and wonder at “then and now” photos [...]

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    Warming Gives Us One More Month of Flowers in the Rockies

    Few-flowered shooting star (Dodecatheon pulchellum) has had its whole schedule pushed 12 days earlier—first, peak, and last blooms. Photo by Thayne Tuason. CC BY-NC 2.0

    No matter the temperature, I don’t consider it to be really spring until I spot the first spring beauties of the year. These sweet whitish/pinkish mid-Atlantic florets (Claytonia virginica) are among the first to stretch out of the mud and leaf litter to add a spritely touch to an otherwise brown woodscape. When I see [...]

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    The Epic Battle of Crab vs. Crab


    Fiddler crabs are strange little beasties. Males have what amounts to one giant claw, which can be as long as his body is wide, and one tiny T. rex arm that looks quite out of place on a crab. Recently, a researcher wrote a blog post about why fiddler crabs have such an enormous claw [...]

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    How One Little Molecule Influences Earth’s Climate


    A seemingly humdrum little molecule has found itself responsible for not just one but two positive feedback loops, one moderating climate and the other gathering animals across the food web.

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    What The Ruling on Gene Patenting Means


    Although I mostly think about conservation, ecology and nature, I have a soft spot for medicine and, in particular, genetics. It’s partly due to my own family history and experience, partly my interest in how people think about medicine and death, and partly my 6-month internship at Nature Medicine, which began more than two years [...]

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    The Swan Song of the Cicadas


    After surviving cicada emergences and witnessing several cycles of journalism’s cicada beat, you’d think I’d have seen it all. Articles about prime number cycling and climate change, evolution and recipes. I even contributed to the pile-on in 2011, considering why bursts of cicadas don’t seem to help bird populations. All of this attention is, of course, well-deserved: [...]

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    Why Do Sequences Think They Are So Special?


    We know that the living world depends on sequences of nucleic acids for its existence and ongoing operation. We also know that humans evolved the ability to create, manipulate, and copy acoustic sequences, and later to commit those sequences to the more permanent medium of writing. Finally, we know that our advanced technological civilization is increasingly dependent on storing, moving, and processing bit strings—sequences of zeros and ones. So what is it with sequences?

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    I am one of the winners of a ScienceSeeker award!


    The winners and finalists of the inaugural ScienceSeeker awards were announced yesterday, and I’m honored to announced that two of my posts were selected! I won Best Biology Post for The Narcissism of De-Extinction, which was published on this very blog, and was a finalist for best science-art post for Photos of Starfish Up Close: What [...]

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