On June 28th, 2019 at approximately 12:30 pm, my committee chair shook my hand and said,
Naturally, celebrations included a dance and, apparently, people enjoyed it.
At long last, the time has finally come. Next week, on June 28th, I will be defending the 204-page document that consumed the past 7 years of my life!
*although just because I defend my dissertation doesn't mean I'm done with the project or writing about the project. It just means I wrote something really long and I want a degree for it.
The San Diego Zoo's Long-Term Conservation Loan Agreement with China has come to a close. This means Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu will be headed to China sometime this spring as a new phase of panda conservation is set to begin.
For the past 25 year, the San Diego Zoo has been part of an international effort to prevent panda extinction that has met it's conservation goals. The news of this program ending is therefore heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. It's incredibly impressive that the program has been such as success, especially in San Diego with our rock star Bai Yun as the helm. But, it's going to be sad and strange for the San Diego Zoo to not have any pandas, even if it's only for a short time. I'm also super bummed I won't have a chance to see them in person again before they head back to China but I am honored to say I was a part of such a successful conservation effort!
Gao Gao was the most recent panda to head back to China. He has been living it up at a panda retirement home while his offspring have been pumping out more little pandas as part of an ongoing breeding program. Now Mama and baby brother will be joining them in their native land.
Plans for the next phase haven't been revealed yet and when I asked for the inside scoop they just replied "stay tuned."
Check out all my panda posts. I love those pandas!
I apologize for being MIA. I've been a bit busy working on a dissertation* but in doing that, I made a thing. Isn't the thing cool!?
It's an interactive map! This is a little taste of what I've been working on for my dissertation. This map is being used as part of review of lion research that's been done across the continent. Each of those dots are a different population of lions that have been studied using a genetic marker called microsatellites. Click on each dot to reveal what study it's from and to see some of their results.
This specific map is only going to be supported until December 3rd, 2019 when Google turns down the app I used to create it. Hopefully Google will replace it with an even cooler program but until then, enjoy the thing.
*Said dissertation still isn't quite finished but ALMOST! Once I'm PhDone, I will have all kinds of fun things to share including a new look for the website, data results, and personal news. Stay tuned!
Their goal, in addition to increasing the amount of fun and of carnivores in the world, is to get this game into schools and communities across the world and especially in the local communities where we work. Often these communities are poor, so we need people who can afford the game to buy it for people who can’t.
To achieve this WildCRU urgently needs your help with their Kickstarter project. You can buy a game for yourself and/or contribute to the cost of a game to be donated to a school or community anywhere from Zimbabwe to Sumatra.
Here’s how you can help:
The Progress of My Burned Face Healing
The doctor said based on my age, skin and hair color, the type of cancer, and the location, it's more likely that I am genetically predisposed for getting skin cancer and using the wrong PPE and getting the worse UV burn of my life may have sped up the process but wasn't the direct cause. So, by wearing the wrong PPE my cells did mutate and undergo a change like you see in so many comic books, but I didn't get super powers, I just got skin cancer.
If you haven't been following the Bengal and Sumatran tigers who are now BFFs at the San Diego Zoos Safari Park, START NOW! I'll catch you up...
Two tiger cubs, each of whom ended up in their own isolating predicament on opposite sides of the country, have been brought together in one great best friends story!
Although unfortunate, their circumstances were quite timely and have brought together the cutest pair in town. Check out some the videos of their journey and be sure to follow the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with their adventures.
Grandma raised my mother and instilled in her everything that makes her who she is, and I pretty much am my mom, so she was responsible for me. My mom is everything to me and I can't thank my grandma enough for raising the woman who became the best mom ever!
While there isn't going to be a service, there has been a memorial page made in her honor on the Chapel of Light website where everyone can share memories and photos and read the lovely obituary written about her life.
We'll miss you Grandma!
Once upon a time, scientists had faith in their president and government. They believed they were advocates of progress and defenders of the planet. These days, massive cuts to funding, freezes in government agencies employing scientists, and attacks on facts have caused a lot of doubt in our government and it's relationship with science.
Yesterday was Earth Day and thousands of scientists WORLDWIDE marched to show solidarity for the importance of science. I attended the Bryan/College Station March for Science which was small but did a great job of including the local community. As one of the largest research universities in the United States, Texas A&M University does a lot of ground breaking research but most of the community probably doesn't know much about it unless they are directly associated with it in some way. After the march we had a Science Town Hall. There were science demos, the opportunity to "Meet a Scientist" and talks on how science is a part of everyone's life.
I think our little event was a success. And, as for the marches around the globe, I don't know how much it will effect policy, but it got people excited about science. And support from the public is just as crucial to policy as support from politicians, as one can lead to the other.
With our country's political dichotomy, terms like "climate change" and "global warming" cause more division than unification. "Climate change" and "global warming" are terms of a global scale when many don't grasp much outside of a local scale. So, you'll probably find more people who think we have a responsibility to the environment than who believe in "global warming".
"Global warming" is a misnomer, giving nonbelievers ammo for their argument, and "climate change" is used as a political power play to further agendas rather than what might actually be best action. In reality, we are living in a changing environment and whether you believe it is because it's being caused by people or not, there is scientific evidence showing change.
So, regardless of these terms and how their usage effects the public, the environment still undergoes change and, despite personal political beliefs, we, as a species on this planet, have a responsibility of helping the environment and not making conditions worse.
Compromise must be made between sides to make something abstract more tangible. My recommendation, take those terms out of it and focus on actual, tangible issues.
My lion example (sorry for all the commas but try to follow me): Climate change isn't reducing the home range of the African lion, anthropogenic factors (things that are a result of human activity), such as humans coming into lion habitat, which, in turn, changes the landscape, do. A focus on alleviating human-wildlife conflict, teaching carnivore-friendly land use, and the creation of corridors to preserve passageways for movement of species across people dominated areas, for example, will better serve the lion population than trying to "stop climate change." It's something people can more readily relate to and inevitably leads to that bigger picture that "climate change" is trying to encompass but is too abstract for many to understand. It's the same goal just a refocus of the issue. And, I think, the lion conservation community is doing this well.
Apologies for the lack of posts. January thru the beginning of February is a busy travel time for me plus my laptop is currently out of order which makes posting a bit more difficult. This post is coming to you from my tablet. So, until I get my laptop back up and running in a non-explosive sounding manner, here is my awesome family being awesome circa 1993!
Step aside... we got this...
I have been to the George Bush Presidential Library 7 times and sat at the mock oval office desk every time. In light of tomorrow's introduction of a new president, this Throwback Third Thursday (#tbtt) showcases what some of my friends and family would look like behind the desk in the oval office. What do you think you would look like in office?
Tomorrow is the inauguration and the beginning of what may be an interesting term. Based on political coverage from the past few months, we may be in for some real changes; some good, some bad. The best we can do is have a positive outlook and stay true to our morals. If either of those feel as though they are being hindered, don't just sit there and let it happen, take action. Who knows what this administration might bring. Maybe it'll all work out for the best....
I am a biologist and my life is crap!