Monday, April 27, 2009

Sea brew?

How could I not share a post that combines two of my favorite things - ocean science and brewing beer. I'll have to remember to take along some hops if I ever find myself on a two-month cruise.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Christopher Hitchens at RWU

This evening, Christopher Hitchens, one of "The Four Horsemen", will be giving a lecture here on campus. The lecture is free and open to the public as part of our "Civil Discourse" series and as the opening to the 2009 Roger Williams University Conference on Religion and the State. The theme of this year's conference is "Islam and the West". I'm not sure how much of the conference I will attend to, but I'm headed to the Hitchens talk in an hour or so. I'm willing to bet it will be good, likely to be controversial, and probably anything but "civil". Should be fun. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of the most unusual creatures evah

I need to start paying more attention. How did such an incredible creature avoid my notice? How did I not see this reported over on DSN? You have to see this to believe it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I can walk like a penguin

All of us lucky enough to have grown up in the greater Boston area have no doubt spent many an afternoon within the confines of that great concrete structure, the New England Aquarium - or as Rick MacPherson rightfully puts it, just "the Aquarium". Whether it was a family outing or a middle school field trip, the Aquarium has always been a favorite destination of mine. Sure, it's dark and often crowded, but the 200,000 gallon Giant Ocean Tank, penguin habitat, tidal pool touch tank, and, my new favorite, the Amazing Jellies exhibit never fail to impress.

It's incredible to think that the Aquarium is 40 years old now. Even with some recent renovations, 40 years and millions of visitors have taken their toll. But the National Trust for Historic Preservation might be able to help out some through their Partners In Preservation initiative. Through this initiative, you can vote for the Aquarium (or other Greater Boston place if you are so inclined) to be awarded a grant, which the Aquarium would use to restore some of the original architecture to how it was when its doors first opened in 1969. So, if you fondly remember walking like a penguin in your living room or telling your mom it's time for the dolphin show or running up and down the central spiral to keep up with a sea turtle or sand tiger shark or otherwise feel like supporting the Aquarium, cast your vote its way.

(thanks to Rick at MBSL&S and Jives at the New Blue for pointing this grant opportunity out)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How do you like your eggs?

Please forgive me a moment of self-congratulation, but yours truly has just won the Second, Maybe Annual, MBSL&S Spring Ocean Egg Hunt hosted by that magnanimous coral conservationist, Rick MacPherson. All those years of either studying or teaching invertebrate zoology have finally paid off! Amy Johnson would be proud - and would have disowned me if I had missed Mystery Egg #4.

I've always prided myself in being somewhat of a natural historian, so I jumped at the chance to test my knowledge and sleuthing skills. Of the 15 different photos up for identification I can proudly say that I immediately knew what 11 of them were, at least generally. It took some googling to narrow them all down to species level. Mystery Eggs #7, #10 and #13 proved most difficult. With a helpful hint from Rick, #7 came into focus. #13 gave me fits and out of frustration decided they must be related to #7 - turns out my frustration served me well. #10 was easily identified to suborder, but almost impossible beyond that. Luckily, Rick gave another hint, some fellow bloggers, Eric of The Other 95% and Christie of Observations of a Nerd, ran with it, and I did nothing more than swoop in at the final second. I certainly owe them both a cold, frothy beverage or two.

Other than blogosphere bragging rights, what, you ask, do I get out of this win? How about a copy of the incredible-looking book Reef and a snazzy Coral Reef Alliance "Hawaiian" shirt. Who's stylin' now? (though the bragging rights are pretty good too)

So, thanks Rick for hosting a great contest and for the reefy swag. I will wear the shirt proudly and can't wait to flip through Reef. And for those of you not familiar with Rick's coral reef conservation work, head on over to the Coral Reef Alliance, read all about it, and maybe make a charitable donation to a worthy cause.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Vibrating building

The university is currently in the process of adding a new addition to the Marine & Natural Science Building in which my office resides. This is a great thing as the new addition will be used to expand our shellfish hatchery program and open up space in the wet lab for the the rest of the marine science program. The problem, however, is that one of the walls in my office is an outside wall to which the addition is being attached. The end result is that everyday brings new and jarring construction activiies, sometimes to the point that you can't hold a conversation in the room. The crew even accidentally cut 6-inch-long slits through the base of the wall - wide enough that I could see daylight (seriously - I (and they) were lucky they didn't cut into a computer or wiring or somebody's foot). The other day was the absolute worse though. I have no idea what they were doing, but the entire room was vibrating - things were actually moving on the desk and shelves.

All I could think about was this: