The Power of Positive Thinking

Upwell‘s Rachel Dearborn has a thoughtful post over at Medium arguing for more positivity in communication about conservation that emerged from her visit to the Circumnavigating Hope workshop in London.

Doom and gloom can be overwhelming. The seriousness of a problem can actually stop people from acting constructively, because humans are mercurial things.

What if the stories we told about the ocean weren’t all doom and gloom?

Can we foster a kind of hope that inspires people to protect our planet’s most precious resource?
Rachel Dearborn

Can we create hope and build momentum? The workshop spawned the #OceanOptimism hashtag on Twitter where you can see folks giving it a try. You can also visit Upwell or subscribe to their Tide Report for doses of science, fun, and hope.

Meet the ‘Semaphore’ Frog

Green-spotted rock frog (Staurois tuberilinguis)
Green-spotted rock frog (Staurois tuberilinguis)

I am lucky enough to spend my days in a frog communication lab, but everyone on the street knows how frogs communicate-by calling (if you didn’t know that, I’m really sorry about the sad life you’ve been living. Please go outside today and sit in the grass. Maybe quit your job. Also, let your parents know you’d be better off if you were raised by wolves because at least then you’d know the glory of nature).

In general, we think of frogs calling from the edge of the pond where the only competition is from other male frogs. It gets more interesting when you consider some frogs call near rushing water and the modifications they must make to their call. Calling is energetically costly and competing with rushing water can surely be exhausting. Some frogs have developed another mode in which to signal by using semaphore. Indeed, the frogs of the genus Staurois from Borneo still call, but the streams are so loud that they modify their call and employ this semaphore in the form of foot flagging. Continue reading “Meet the ‘Semaphore’ Frog”

Thoughts on Phil’s Dick Presentation

Like most public “dick” presentations, Phil Plait’s “Don’t Be a Dick” speech at The Amazing Meeting 8 was controversial.

Whole tomes have been written on this topic already (this post by Daniel Loxton and the endless comments summarize the debate nicely). Continue reading “Thoughts on Phil’s Dick Presentation”

The Comments “They” Don’t Want You to Read


Science 2.0 is all about open debate involving both scientists and non-scientists. Science 2.0 is a good thing. What does Science 2.0 need to make it go? It needs two things.

1. Anyone is free to provide express their opinion on a topic.
2. The community is free to provide commentary on that opinion.

These sound simple, but in practice they require courage and a thick skin.

Continue reading “The Comments “They” Don’t Want You to Read”