Northern Botswana Summer Field Trip

Courtesy of Andrew Stein

Post submitted by Andrew Stein

Northern Botswana provides critical habitat for one of the largest remaining intact populations of wild lions in the world, yet regional conflicts between villagers and lions have threaten its viability. Recent poisoning events have indiscriminately targeted lions and killed spotted hyenas, jackals and vultures as well. The ‘Pride In Our Prides’ initiative was established in August of 2014 to learn about the key drivers of this conflict and address those drivers with support from the community. After administering an extensive questionnaire to over 200 households in the region, we started working on the issues of livestock husbandry and indiscriminate killing with support from National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative.

In May of 2015 our team started construction of lion-proof kraals (corrals). These kraals are constructed from local, natural materials using the weaving skills that villagers have perfected over generations. The kraals serve the dual purpose of keeping predators from entering the kraals, but also keeping livestock from bursting out when they hear lions roaring nearby. To date, we have constructed and dedicated 3 kraals in 3 different villages, providing temporary employment and an example to villagers for future kraals.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Stein

In mid-August, we set out to dart and collar 5 lions with satellite tracking collars. On day one, we traveled northeast from Seronga to Eretsha to inspect a reported lion kill. It was dead cow with clear lion tracks around it, claw punctures, signs of trauma around the neck and some feeding on the hind quarters. There was little doubt that lions were here recently, so we camped out nearby in hopes of darting and collaring one of these individuals for the study. In the morning, we saw no new sign of lions, so they must have moved on. We decided to head to the —> Read More

Weekly Space Hangout – Oct. 9, 2015: Nobel Prizes, Private Moon Launches & Water on Pluto!

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)

Paul Sutter ( / @PaulMattSutter)
Morgan Rehnberg ( / @MorganRehnberg )
Kimberly Cartier (@AstroKimCartier )

Read the rest of Weekly Space Hangout – Oct. 9, 2015: Nobel Prizes, Private Moon Launches & Water on Pluto! (325 words)

© Fraser for Universe Today, 2015. |
Permalink |
No comment |

Post tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh

—> Read More

They Won a Nobel for What? Why Good Science Communication Counts

Academy Award winner or 2014 Nobel Laureate in Medicine? © Nobel Media AB/Alexander Mahmoud

But I felt anxious, too, because my job – as a journalist with no science background – was to make sure those stories would be clear and comprehensible to any reader, and fascinating to more than a few. I wanted them to be stories that would make someone pick up the phone – this was back in the day when people did that – and say, “You’ve got to hear about this.” But journalists are just one leg of the sometimes shaky triangle of science communication, with scientists and the public carrying the other two sides.

Training scientists in the art of communication

These days, Nobel season is pure pleasure for me. I’m still a professional nonscientist, but now I work helping scientists learn to communicate better about their research and why it matters with people outside their field. Here at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, we teach graduate students and give workshops for hundreds of scientists around the US (including at least a couple of Nobel Prize winners, so far).

Young scientists at Stony Brook University are including communication courses in their training. Dan Levitan, CC BY-ND

And I know that in Nobel season, I will find plenty of examples of how hard it is to explain complicated science to people like me – and also how well it can be done. Some will tell us that neutrinos have mass long before they tell us what neutrinos are, or why we should care if they have mass or not. Others will paint a vivid picture of these mysterious elementary particles, which exist everywhere yet are almost impossible to detect. Some will fall back on dehydrated jargon. Others will tell us juicy stories about —> Read More

This Guy Is Trying to Save Matt Damon From A Life On Mars

Is “The Martian” based on a true story? Is Matt Damon stuck on Mars? There are people out there who seem to think so.

On Friday, a GoFundMe page cropped up from the far corners of the Internet with one simple mission: rescue Matt Damon from Mars. And it was actually receiving donations towards its goal of $99 million.

The page reads: “Guys, I’m lying in bed in my apartment in Chicago with tears streaming down my face with the thought of Matt Damon stuck on Mars. Let’s bring him home!”

Based on a novel by Andy Weir, Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” premiered last weekend, starring Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut.

But don’t worry. Kyle Douglas, the creator of the GoFundMe page, does’t really think Matt Damon is stuck on Mars. He just wanted to make fun of the people who thought the movie was real.

“With the recent discovery of water on Mars, I thought it sounded like a hilarious concept that some buffoon watched The Martian and didn’t realize it was only a movie,” Douglas told HuffPost in an email.

Indeed, more than just one person that thought “The Martian” was based on a true story. People across Twitter voiced their frustrations about other moviegoers who apparently still thought this after the credits rolled.

“Is this a true story?” – The woman next to me said to her date at The Martian last night.

— Cookie Lyon (@pizzanachos69) October 4, 2015

Coming out of “The Martian”, my sister asked “That’s not based on a true story, right?”. I curled into fetal position and quietly sobbed.

— Jack Nelson (@OxyAstro) October 3, 2015

Genuinely bothered that my mom thought —> Read More

1 2 3 4,282