Eight Experiences that Honor the Forces of the Ocean

  Today is Earth Day, 2016: a moment when we should do something to honor the importance of the earth in our lives. Here is my contribution. While watching the new version of Point Break I was fascinated with the concept of the Ozaki Eight: eight ordeals that honors the forces of nature. According to…

Peril on the Sea: Nautical Nightmares

As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.

What if Life Chooses you?

  I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. — Forrest Gump What if we have it all wrong? What if instead of living our lives through our…

The Elephant Seals of Año Nuevo

The year was 1987 and I was searching for a place where black abalone were largely undisturbed so I could complete my dissertation. The island was the perfect location: isolated, difficult to access, federally protected, and surrounded by seal- and shark- infested waters. During my first low tide on the island I was ecstatic: blacks were common and it was the perfect place to conduct a study but there were elephant seals everywhere.

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,…