Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Food for Thought: October 17, 2013, "News from the U-MASS Boston Nantuck...

Just in case you haven't heard me blather on lately; my Food for Thought lecture 2 weeks ago at the Nantucket Historical Association's Brown Bag Lunch Series entitled "What's Up at the UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station". Thanks to the NHA for making this available and check out all their (much more interesting) speakers like Nat Philbrick and Greg Skomal and many more.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If you are one of the 5 people on the planet who has not seen the latest somewhat controversial article in the August issue of Vanity Fair featuring in the role of the villain/hero (depending on your viewpoint) yours truly; well then here is the link http://www.vanityfair.com/society/2013/08/end-of-malibu-nantucket-erosion

I have written several article on erosion and coastal processes and why coastal banks and beaches are necessary and important parts of our island home. In the next few weeks post them here as I share some of the recent island science and news stories. What to do about seals and erosion, if anything, are the hot topics this summer.

View from beach of eroding coastal bank and our dorm and web cam
The Field Station itself is only 40 feet from an eroding bluff, so we'll be making plans to move our dorm and classroom. For now, it is a wonderful place to see geology exposed (layers of clay, sand, and mud can easily be seen), history exposed (old ships and student experiments are unearthing themselves) and anthropology (middens and Wampanoag points and other relics of the original inhabitats of Nantucket are found frequently on our beach.

Join me in this beach journey,,not your average stroll in the surf but it should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This weeks article in Yesterday's Island is on eels which have been fished for and used for bass fishing for decades on island.http://yesterdaysisland.com/american-eel/

Friday, June 28, 2013

It's firefly and June bug season on Nantucket and the fireflies are out in force. Check out this article from a few years back that I wrote for Yesterday's Island. As the summer warms up these species are indicators that the 4th of July is right around the corner: http://www.yesterdaysisland.com/archives/science/9.php

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today I am writing an article for my weekly column in Yesterday's Island (Island Science at http://www.yesterdaysisland.com/) about the recent hysteria over the Great White sharks around the Cape and Islands and commenting on the clearing of the beaches last weekend over what turned out to be sunfish (Mola Mola) which are relatively common here. Here's a link to the past week's news stories:

The Nantucket Field Station has helped to house and support some of the researchers who have been tagging great White Sharks like Dr. Greg Skomal of Shark Week Fame. I have just discovered this site which has a lot of information on what's up in shark news "without the hysteria".

Over the past few years I have written articles in Yesterday's Island about the lumbering sunfish and as I resurrect this blog I thought I would dust one off and revisit why people think "shark!", when in reality it is more likely to be a dolphin, whales, or sunfish.

Oddballs of the sea! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

wine and aging-sleepless at Logan

well, one of the few good things about missing your connection at Logan from Nantucket due to fog (normal for flights off the Rock) and having a solid 12 hours of quality time to spend at the aiport is that I finally get to catch up on my blog.

My brother kindly got me the newest version of Dragon Speaking Naturally as a Christmas present. Each year he asks me what I'd like (typical family ingrained practicality trait) and I've always wanted to try speech recongition software in order to speed up my writing and spare my wrists from a second set of carpal tunnel surgery.

During the spring, summer and fall, I write a weekly column (1500-2000 words) for Yesterday's Island which is published online and in print on island. Last week's article on wine and aging was my first attempt to use Dragon and I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use. I was able to speak/type the first 650 words in about 5-10 minutes. I can type about 40-45 words per minute, but I'm not very accurate, so I'll take any help I can get. I haven't had the chance to see how well it works with a lot of noise like a TV program in the background, but I am hoping that I can use it in a variety of ways each week. Like most people, I have my "best" ideas for columns or research or education or whatever in inverse proportion to my distance from a pen and paper, so lately I've taken to carrying around an ancient voice recorder to speak into when the muse strikes. Dragon has a button for transcribing, so my next experiment will be to see how well my static-y recorded voice is transcribed.

This past month, we've been doing twice daily horseshoe crab surveys in the marsh and along the beachfront on the full and new moon cycles and 48 hours before and after each anticipated high tide. Here's an article I wrote two years and many crabs ago. I'll update it soon with some information gleaned from late night surreal surveys.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Weird bone report

Andrew McKenna-Foster, the Natural Science Research and Education Director at the Maria Mitchell Association found this weird bone in their collection a few weeks back. Any guesses as to what it is??

It is very rounded and smooth; no identifying tags or location clues besides being here on Nantucket (which can be a red herring with all the trade and travel initiated by the whalers).

While I was looking around the web for some clues to this mystery, I came upon this site and really liked it, so I thought I would share it with you: http://www.neatorama.com/tag/fossil/

Lots of fun fossils on there, one of my favorites is a member of a family of giant armored turtles called meiolaniid which can be seen at the Smithsonian Natural History museum in DC. If you are ever in the area,  check out some of our greatest national treasures, the various free Smithsonian museums (19 at last count) on the Mall in DC: