Monday, August 22, 2016

Eco-Tech + Snakes + Philately

Another week, another few bylines. Yes, it's Monday and that means it's time for another list of links to my previous week's articles. This time around we (being me, the royal we) have a pretty wild and varied list for you, so get comfortable.

I'll start with two new articles for TakePart, where I'm broadening my range of topics to cover some green technology-type stories:

5 New Technologies Could Make Jet Travel Green

Supercomputer Makes Predicting Floods a Whole Lot Easier

Next up, two new "Extinction Countdown" stories for Scientific American. The first did really well, while the second was just plain fun to write.

Rare Burrowing Snake Discovered in Mountains of Mexico

Can Stamp Collecting Help Conserve Rare Species?

Finally this week, here are two new technology careers articles for different IEEE publications. The first is for IEEE-USA InSight, while the second is for The Institute:

Engineers Find Meaningful Careers in Health Informatics

IEEE Collabratec Introduces a Mentoring Feature

I have lots of great stuff in the works, so come on back next Monday for another list, or hit me up on the Tweeter for links as they go live.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Snails, Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Weeds

Well now, the past few weeks have been busy in the extreme. I have a ton of new work in the queue, and last week saw the publication of six new articles.

Credit: Alan Liefting
Let's start this link list with two next "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, both of which look at some species that shouldn't be ignored:

Snails Are Going Extinct: Here's Why That Matters

Are Bats Facing a Hidden Extinction Crisis?

Sticking with endangered species for a bit, here's my second piece for PBS's Nature:

Can the Saltmarsh Sparrow Keep Its Head Above Water?

Finally this week, here are three new articles for TakePart:

Air Force Tries Killing Weeds With Light Beams, Not Pesticides

Oregon Finds Switching From Coal to Renewable Energy Is a Bargain

Pollution Threatens Little-Known but Unique Seal

I'm pretty proud of the fact that most of this week's stories are subjects that you won't read about anywhere else. That's always one of my goals -- to bring attention to things that no one else is talking about.

More next week, or follow along on Twitter for links to headlines as they happen!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bees, Birds and Beef (plus a Big Question)

Hey folks, I've got some good reading for you this week, starting with the first of a series of articles I'm writing for PBS's Nature:

A Buzz-Worthy Way to Protect Elephants

Next up, two big new articles for TakePart:

Is It Ethical to Kill Poachers? [This had generated more than 1,000 comments on the article and on Facebook the last time I checked.]

The Endangered Species Act Is for the Birds

Also this week, my latest for Motherboard:

Brazilian Cows Are Killing Endangered Birds—But ‘Bird-Safe’ Beef Could Help

That's enough reading, right? Well now you can relax and listen in as I talk about Pokemon Go on the Carolina Outdoors radio show (based on my recent article for TakePart).

Lots more this week. Follow me on Twitter for links as they go live.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sharks + Wetlands + Tinder

Credit: Kevin Burkett
Hey folks, here's my latest list of links for your Monday morning. Or Tuesday afternoon. Or whatever. You can read them whenever you like. I don't control you. Free will is a beautiful thing.


Anyway. Links... Here they are, two articles for Scientific American and one for TakePart:

The Daggernose Shark Is Near Extinction

Swipe Right if You Love Endangered Monkeys

New Wetlands Are Being Created in Weird Ways—and That’s Good for Birds

More next Monday -- or whenever!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

RIP, Richard Thompson

I am saddened today to hear of the death of cartoonist Richard Thompson, who succumbed to Parkinson's after a long struggle. Here's an article I wrote about him and efforts to help him back in 2011. Originally published at

Comic-Strip Fans Team Up to Fight Parkinson's Disease

When cartoonist Richard Thompson announced he had Parkinson's disease, one fan stood up to help make a difference.

Even though it is just a few years old, the comic strip Cul de Sac has already earned a legion of die-hard fans through its chaotic energy and vibrant characters. So when cartoonist Richard Thompson announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder that can lead to tremors and more extreme physical coordination problems, his fans sat up and took notice.

One of those fans was Chris Sparks, a graphic designer and web developer in Asheville, N.C., who had met Thompson at a comic-book convention in 2008. The two became friends, and Sparks was building a website for Thompson when the artist announced his diagnosis.

"I started reading more about Parkinson's," says Sparks. His reading included books by Michael J. Fox, perhaps the world's most famous person with Parkinson's. "I was really touched," he says. Sparks visited the Michael J. Fox Foundation website and saw that people could form public fundraising teams to raise money for Parkinson's research. He quickly decided to form his own team: Team Cul de Sac.

But Sparks decided to take a different path than most "Team Fox" fundraisers. He has reached out to dozens of cartoonists around the world, who will be submitting artwork inspired by the Cul de Sac strip for inclusion in a book which Thompson's publisher, Andrews McMeel, has agreed to release next year. Some of the proceeds from the book will go to the foundation, but after the book is released, the artwork will also be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to Fox Foundation. The ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for the foundation.

"We've already had around 60 people say they're interested in contributing," says Sparks. "Cartoonists, fine artists, anyone who wants to contribute is great. My goal is to get as many as possible."

One cartoonist who has already turned in his contribution is Alaska's Peter Dunlap-Shohl, who also has Parkinson's. "It always brightens my day when I get an email from someone who has Parkinson's who is touched that we are doing this different thing with a sense of humor," says Sparks.

Although many people with Parkinson's are private about their conditions, Thompson is not one of them. He's happy to put his support behind the project. "Parkinson's was described to me as a disease that first robs you of your dignity. So it's fitting to combat a slapstick disease with cartoons," he says.

The Team Cul de Sac fundraising page has full information on how artists can contribute to the project, as well as how others can donate toward their fundraising goal.

"I think we can make a difference," says Sparks, who points out that his love of comics inspired him. "I've been reading comics since I was five years old, and most of the cartoonists I've met have been wonderful human beings," he says. "They've made a difference in my life, and I hope to make a difference as well."

Image originally courtesy of Richard Thompson.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Angelic kittens + devilish plants + venture capitalists

Credit: Alex Riddell/RZSS
Hey folks! I spent most of last week at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology, so I didn't do much writing, but a few articles that I had previously submitted made their way into the real world. Here are the first two, my latest "Extinction Countdown" pieces for Scientific American:

Adorable Kittens Represent Hope for Nearly Extinct Scottish Wildcats

Newly Discovered "Devil Orchid" is Critically Endangered

And on a completely different note, here's my latest tech careers feature for IEEE-USA InSight:

What Venture Capitalists Want

That's it for this Monday. Come on back a week from now for what will likely be a longer list!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pokemon, Rabbits, Orangutans and Dead Birds

Hey folks! It's Monday morning and I'm at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology, learning about all kinds of things that could become future articles. But let's pause all of that new stuff to take a look back at the articles I published last week. Here they are, two for TakePart and two for Scientific American:

Scientists’ New Research Tool: Pok√©mon Go

Viral Videos Are Destroying Japan’s Supercute Rabbit Island

Bornean Orangutan Now Critically Endangered

Tragic Deaths Represent a Victory in Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Conservation

I won't have too many new articles out this week (although I know of at least two that have already been scheduled), but follow me on Twitter for headlines as they happen.