Journalists and scientists alike wait for Alan Alda to speak.

Getting beyond a blind date with science

CHICAGO — Journalists and scientists alike hugged the walls of the Imperial Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago to listen to actor-turned-professor Alan Alda speak Feb. 15. Candid and charismatic, Alda spoke for the 2014 AAAS Conference about the importance of communicating science. Throughout his lecture, Getting Beyond a Blind Date with Science, Alda shared…

Oil sands: Worth the risk?

By Jack Suntrup CHICAGO—Dave Collyer had the tall task of convincing a room full of scientists that oil sands were good for the continent’s future at a panel discussion at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences conference in Chicago on Feb. 15. There were plenty of arguments against it: that it takes too…

Narwhals breaching among Arctic ice. 
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The New Normal

CHICAGO —The “new normal” means that climate change has irreversibly changed the Arctic. It means new predator-prey relationships, increased competition, crowded habitats and quickly transmitted diseases finding their niche in this still-evolving ecosystem. Scientists presenting at the 2014 AAAS conference in Chicago recounted enormous changes in the system, including massive under-ice algae blooms and loss of…

Image showing the anatomy of healthy kidneys.

Wait-listed

CHICAGO — Here’s the scenario. Your kidneys are toast. You are going to die, probably within a few weeks. The diagnosis is end stage renal disease. You could do nothing, and maybe you’re OK with that, or you could undergo dialysis. But what if you could get a kidney transplant? Kidneys are the water treatment plant of the…

The Kavli Awards were held at the Field Museum in Chicago.

AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards

Last night I went to a party at the Field Museum in Chicago. The company was lovely. The beer was domestic, yet pleasant. Springrolls, jalapeno poppers and chocolate mousse tarts were available in large quantities. Oh, and awards were given to individuals who had written or produced great pieces of scientific journalism. The ceremony itself…

Spawning sockeye salmon in a stream. Photo courtesy of NOAA

Feeding the world, with a catch

By Jack Suntrup The world’s fish populations are dwindling. As a result, farm-raised fish selections are growing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that half of the fish Americans eat are farm-raised. Aquaculture is a growing trend, seen as essential in feeding the world as natural stocks struggle. But these fish, hand-fed and netted…