Summertime – and the science multimedia posts keep coming

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By Raymond Nakamura and Lisa Willemse

Multimedia subject editors

Your Science Borealis multimedia editors are working hard on a virtual patio, sipping cyber cocktails, as we discuss summery science posts involving different media…


Cartoon by Raymond Nakamura

Raymond: Summer is precious in Canada and combines so many memories of personal experience with a fundamentally scientific concept. I love how Kate at ClimateSight has explored ideas about seasons in the fantasy world of the books and TV series, Games of Thrones. And I love how you have painted your toenails to look like little watermelons.

Lisa: Except for this toenail, which I painted to look like a monarch butterfly. And it’s interesting that you mention climate, because climate change is one of the theories researchers are looking at as a cause for the drop in the number of monarchs. Crystal at The Bug Geek commented on this as part of her post on the few monarchs she spotted in the field last year.

Raymond: When you wiggle your toe, it looks like the monarch is flapping, or maybe dancing to music. Alex at The Lab and Field made some interesting comments on the importance of music and podcasts in doing field work and maybe the sometimes mind numbing aspects of collecting data in general. I hope I have enough sunblock on.

Lisa: I wonder if every field location gets boring at times. Seems hard to imagine when you read about some of the experiences, like the one Bridgette Clarkson chronicles over three posts on her time in the remote logging community of Bamfield, BC. Her images are amazing… maybe we should relocate there to write our next editorial post.

Raymond: I can vouch for the beauty of Bamfield, where I did field work on sand dollars once upon a time. I saw gooseneck barnacles there, which Laura at Monsters and Molecules has nicely illustrated. They remind me of another stalked barnacle I studied in Japan, during a previous incarnation of mine. Ah, this peach soda is so refreshing.

Lisa: It is delicious, though mine seems to be attracting bugs. I know, I’m on that topic again; I find it so fascinating. Did you listen to the podcast by Stephanie Vogt on Experimental podcast about the bacterial pandemic in insects? Makes me think that one day mosquito bites might simply be annoying and not life-threatening for people who live in areas with malaria or dengue fever.

Raymond: I believe my hairy legs keep mosquitoes from biting me. I have one shaved at the moment to test this out. And I wonder if my hairy legs will help me swim faster, after listening to Mary Bates on the Experimental podcast about artificial shark skin, made with a 3D printer. Apparently, scientists found that skin roughness helped with swimming efficiency.

Lisa: Is that what you’re doing with the shaved leg — I thought you might have been testing wind resistance for cycling to see if it had any impact on your training. You did see those cool videos I blogged about that explain how stem cells are involved in altitude training and muscle fitness, right? Now that would be another summer goal: get out and spend the summer on a bike… just you and the road and some tunes…

Raymond: Sometimes when I go away during the summer or other times, I intentionally go unplugged. I like what Bob McDonald of Quirks and Quarks has to say about leaving your device behind, to let nature entertain you. And I enjoyed the inspiring insect notebook by Laura of Monsters and Molecules. Maybe I’ll do a little doodle right now…

Lisa: And I’m going for a swim. You don’t happen to have a shark skin suit, do you?

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