Debunking Misconceptions: Scorpions

For the past five months I have been working at the Royal Ontario Museum’s “Spiders: Fear & Fascination” exhibition as a full-time spider wrangler, taking care of the live spiders and scorpions, as well as performing live venom extractions. One of the most common interactions I have at the museum are with people looking to confirm certain misconceptions about venomous arachnids. There is a lot of information available out there, and I understand it can…

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A Slice of Science

 Watching "The Great British Baking Show" recently, I was intrigued by the judges' comments. They would glance at piece of bread and immediately say"You proofed it for too long" (or not long enough)"You kneaded it too much" (or not enough)"Overbaked" (or underbaked)"Oven was too hot" (or too cool) "The wrong flour""Too much liquid" They really seemed to know all about the process and what can go wrong. (It sounded complex and lots could go wrong).…

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Global Taxonomy Initiative Forum

The Global Taxonomy Initiative Forum will take place on 16 November immediately before the opening day of the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Egypt. The provisional agenda is accessible at https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2018/parallel-meetings/The-Global-Taxonomy-Initiative-Forum and the notification to Parties and observers on this event can be found at https://www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2018/ntf-2018-090-gti-en.pdfThe Forum will be captured and shared via video streaming on the CBD Facebook and other social media. It will feature several talks on DNA barcoding and taxonomy capacity building.

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A letter to Mayor Tory about Waterkeeper’s Toronto Harbour Monitoring Report

On November 7, 2018, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper released its third annual Toronto Harbour Monitoring Report in front of Toronto’s vibrant waterfront community. At the launch event Waterkeeper presented its five recommendations for the City of Toronto as well as a letter to Mayor John Tory outlining the importance of those recommendations. Sixty five waterfront community members signed onto Waterkeeper’s letter to the mayor.The city is in a defining moment. It can embrace the harbour’s water…

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Planning a New Course in Science Communication

Next term I’m launching a new 4th year undergraduate course in Science Communication. I’ve wanted to teach a course on this topic for a while as I think that teaching our students how to communicate science to a range of audiences will be useful to them. Ideally we’ll get to a point where they can enter into dialogues with others about science, rather than having the interaction be one sided. It’s been fun to think…

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Check it out: Faces of Fieldwork

This week on Dispatches from the field, we wanted to highlight a really cool site called Faces of Fieldwork (http://facesoffieldwork.com/). With a tagline of “Scientists are people too. We show the personal side of scientific fieldwork” how could we resist? Using pictures, they highlight what it is really like to do fieldwork from different fields all over the world. You’ll find pictures that make you say “aww”, “ouch”, “what?”, “cool”, and “no way!”. Check out…

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