Category: Science

First Contact: the Mote in God’s Eye and Lessons for the Future of Humanity

First contact between humanity and a sentient alien race is depicted as either a hallmark moment with enormous benefits for the planet (e.g., Contact, Star Trek) or the beginning of a hostile take-over and the end of humanity (e.g., War of the Worlds, Independence Day). Under either scenario the aliens are seen as more advanced, with superior technology, and…

Science and Ethics in the Hawaii Marine Aquarium Trade

Conservation and conflict are irreparably linked as we address human’s widening impact on the planet. From a broader perspective we are moving forward as our new values and perspectives clash with the old. However, for those in the conservation trenches in may not seem like progress when being attacked at public meetings, creating enemies and, in some cases, receiving…

The Giant 200-Foot Wave at Trinidad, California

One hundred years ago, on Dec. 31, 1914, the lighthouse at Trinidad Head was assaulted by a wave of monstrous proportions. Although the details are unclear, we know that the storm that produced the waves was unusual and that the wave was greater than 100 feet and perhaps much more. The only eyewitness was the keeper of the lighthouse at Trinidad Head at that time, Captain Fred Harrington, and here is his account of the notorious wave.

The Hunt for Monster Red Abalone

Twenty feet down, murky, dark, swarming with kelp, surge pulling me back and forth, fighting to stay in place. Feeling my oxygen slipping away with my arms buried deep in a crevice as I try to reach a huge abalone. I look up and there is even larger ab just inches away. Still time. Re-position, slip the iron in,…

Managing Nemo: Conservation and Conflict in the Hawaii Marine Aquarium Trade

In early 2012 I traveled with Washington State University Science Journalist extraordinaire Eric Sorensen to Hawaii so he could write an article on my research on the Hawaii aquarium trade, which has been ongoing since the mid-1990s. At the time of the article things were heating up between aquarium collectors and Snorkel Bob’s crusade to shut…