Category Archives: Latest Articles

Science-based first aid for jellyfish stings

Pack tweezers and vinegar in your beach bag — and, no, don’t pee on it, say scientists.

Read my story for Hakai magazine here.

 

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An invisible role for women in fisheries

Nearly half of all fisheries workers worldwide are thought to be women, yet much of their work—and their catch—goes undocumented and unnoticed. That is the finding of a group of researchers who are studying the role of women in fisheries across five countries.

In Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam, women do much of the work processing and marketing the day’s catch, and collectively harvest thousands of tonnes of small fish and invertebrates, such as shellfish and sea cucumbers, from coastal waters. Yet when public and private agencies set out to measure the health and value of fisheries, they tend to focus exclusively on those who fish commercially at sea—men.

Read the rest of my story for Hakai magazine here.

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Growth of aquaculture in Mexico

To see the future of aquaculture in Mexico, set aside that crystal ball and gaze into a bowl of ceviche.

From shrimp to tilapia to catfish to trout, it’s not the export market but a homegrown hunger for seafood driving much of aquaculture’s growth in Mexico. With a population of 122 million people devouring an average of 26 pounds of seafood per year, Mexico consumes more fish and shellfish than it can currently produce.

“It’s a huge market,” said Bill Hoenig, VP-operations and sales for Delta Blue Aquaculture, a United States-based company that produces shrimp in Mexico and Belize. “That’s the story of Mexico in a nutshell, when it comes to aquaculture development – the fact that there’s a great deal of internal appetite for the product.”

Read the rest of my story for the Global Aquaculture Advocate here.

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Using math to find ET

Searching for aliens may sound like science fiction. Yet for many scientists, it has become serious business. Here we meet three who are using math in their quest to find other living beings in our universe. One is calculating the likelihood of finding life on other planets. Another is trying to figure out where best to beam a “hello” to E.T. The third is looking for a common language with extraterrestrials — and it will likely be numbers.

Read the rest of my story for Science News for Students — the latest in their “cool jobs” series — here.

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If we could talk to the aliens …

Ever been to a party and wondered why no one was talking to you? That’s kind of how SETI scientists feel — but on a cosmic level.

For more than half a century, astronomers have been listening to space. They use powerful radio telescopes, hoping to pick up signals from civilizations in distant space. They call this project the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, or SETI. The trouble is, they’ve never heard a single ping, beep or “howdy.” The number of aliens who want to talk to us seems to be exactly zilch.

So how can we get the conversation started? Scientists disagree.

Some want to follow your mom’s advice: Introduce yourself nicely. They think Earthlings should start beaming signals out into the universe. Maybe it would improve our chances of hearing back from aliens if we let them know we’re friendly and want to chat.

Read the rest of my story for Science News for Students here.

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FLSA salary rules

Hawaii companies are scrambling to comply with a federal rule that doubles the minimum pay for salaried employees to $47,476 a year. It takes effect Dec. 1, and many companies still don’t know how they will cope. An estimated 57,000 salaried workers statewide are affected because they are currently making less than the new minimum.

Read the rest of my story from Hawaii Business magazine’s November 2016 issue here.

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Thank you!

My article “Change Agents” was named one of Hawaii Business magazine’s top-10 stories of 2016. Read the complete list here.

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Solving a solar mystery

Sunbeams — what a drag. That’s the conclusion of physicists trying to solve a longstanding mystery: why the sun’s surface rotates more slowly than its inner core. The team argues that energy radiating outward from the sun pushes back slightly as it is expelled, providing just enough resistance to put on the brakes. The hypothesis is supported by a new observation: that the thin “skin” of the sun rotates more slowly than layers just beneath.

Read the rest of my story for Science here.

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Two years after shutdown, California oyster farm remains a community hot-button

Conventional wisdom has it that oysters are one of the most environmentally friendly animal proteins. Not only do bivalve shellfish require no nutrients or marine ingredients to be added to the water, as filter feeders they actually clean the water column, removing pollutants and impurities to reduce turbidity. So when one of California’s oldest oyster farms was shut down amid reports that it was degrading the environment, local observers took notice. Two years later, the case is still far from closed in the eyes of the farm’s supporters and its critics.

Read the rest of my story for the Global Aquaculture Advocate here (free log-in account required).

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Also posted in Environmental

A catalog of Hawaiian star names

ni-1-02You don’t find many linguists at the International Astronomical Union’s General Assembly, the world’s largest annual gathering of astronomers. But at last August’s event in Honolulu, John Kaipo Mahelona was there. He’d co-authored the definitive catalog of Hawaiian star names and knowledge, Nā Inoa Hōkū, the culmination of three decades of research with co-author Rubellite Kawena Johnson.

Read the rest of my story for Hana Hou here.

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Business break-ups

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Whether parting ways with a troublesome client, letting go of a contractor or splitting from a partner, ending an important business relationship can feel as stressful and difficult as a “real” breakup. The blending of close business relationships into personal friendships can make a split even more painful. Compounding the possibility of hurt feelings are fears that a nasty separation could mean lost income, lawsuits and bad blood that could harm you and your business far into the future.

Read the rest of my story for Hawaii Business here.

 

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“China’s Relentless Campaign to Pave the Coast”

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From Holland’s famous dikes to the construction of New Orleans on a former swamp, humans have a long history of “reclaiming” flooded coastal lands for their own purposes. But in recent years, as the value of wetlands has been better understood, the trend has been moving in the opposite direction, with increasing protection for coastal zones and efforts to restore wetlands to their natural state. But this is not so in China, where rapid growth of both the economy and the population, especially along the coasts, has led to coastal reclamation projects on a massive scale.

Earlier this year, a team of researchers published the results of a satellite survey that tracked changes in China’s coastline between 1985 and 2010. They found that in this period, nearly 7,700 square kilometers of coastal wetlands—about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined—were lost to land reclamation projects.

Read the rest of my story for Hakai magazine here.

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My first byline in Discover

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Buff and mahogany swirls and starbursts form distinctive patterns on the shells of hawksbill sea turtles, once common in tropical oceans worldwide. But their numbers dropped because demand for jewelry, hairpieces and other ornaments crafted from their shells made them one of the most widely trafficked species. Now, those same shells can provide critical information about their dwindling populations.

A team of scientists in Hawaii has developed a way to chart the chronology of a turtle’s life using the growth lines in its shell, much like the life span of a giant sequoia might be measured in tree rings.

My story “A Better Turtle Timeline” appears in the August issue of Discover. Read the rest here.

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