Where You Can Find Spineless & Me

Spineless’s birthday is a week from today! And I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to talk about jellyfish in a bunch of wonderful venues. Here’s a rundown: November 4, 2017 at 1 pm. Texas Book Festival! I’ll be talking with polar scientist Peter Wadhams and geneticist Spencer Wells in the CSPAN/Book TV Tent about climate change, ice, jellyfish, and what the future holds. (Austin, TX) November 9, 2017 at 7 pm. Book People Book Launch! Come for the Electric Jellyfish IPA and stay for the jellyfish trivia – there will be prizes! (Austin, TX) November 14, 2017 at 7 pm. Interabang Books. Help Keith and me celebrate our wedding anniversary (really!) with some jellyfish stories in Cowtown. (Dallas, TX) November 18th, 2017 at 2 pm. Science Mill. I’m so excited to talk jellyfish in the hill country where they used to swim 50-odd million years […]

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Jellyfish Far and Wide

I’m pinching myself. SPINELESS is out in the world, and it’s been getting some incredible coverage. I’m going to give a rundown here, because each one of these shout-outs about jellyfish and our oceans’ health means so much to me. And what’s more, the variety of places where SPINELESS is showing up is beyond my wildest dreams. I want to give an enormous thank you to my incomparable publicist Glory Anne Plata at Riverhead, who spread the news of SPINELESS far and wide. Back in August, Publisher’s Weekly gave SPINELESS a starred review! And then, they also put it on the list of “Fall’s Most Anticipated Books.” Right next to Oliver Sacks! And I was so delighted when Kirkus Reviews–a magazine I get at home and read enviously (because I have wanted to be an author for so long)–published a truly beautiful write up. UPDATE: And then […]

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Our Ocean 2017

Something happened that I didn’t see reported in any news sources that I follow and I think more of us should know about it. On October 5th and 6th, leaders from around the world met for the fourth Our Ocean conference. Started by Secretary John Kerry in 2014, the meeting is like a G20 or UNFCCC for the oceans. It’s high-level talks about the health of our seas. The real reason why this meeting is newsworthy is because it’s not supposed to be just talk. The goal is to produce commitments to ensure the oceans’ safety and health. This year, over $6 billion was pledged. The EU hosted the meeting in Malta and also committed more than $645 million to tackle problems like plastic pollution, protecting marine ecosystems, combating climate change, and countering piracy. Participants from 100 countries were there including 50 Heads of State or ministers. […]

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SPINELESS!

There’s the cover! And wow, could it be any more beautiful? The stunning colors and elegant layout came from my publisher Riverhead books and the jellyfish drawings are by Ernst Haeckel, an Austrian naturalist/jellyfish expert/philosopher/physician/artist who lived in the late 1800s. If you haven’t ever seen Haeckel’s book of drawings called Kunstformen der Natur, or Art Forms of Nature, take a look. It’s one of those works that will stick with you for a long time. You might even start to see his drawings on Etsy products and in random gift shops because they are still so inspiring. Haeckel had the incredible ability to render the most unnoticed creatures on our planet in exquisite grandeur. But despite his inimitable faculty with the drawing pen, Haeckel did have his flaws. Toward the end of his life, he was criticized by the science community for his staunch ideas […]

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#SciComm!

While I was in the Netherlands earlier this month, the Naturalis Newsroom was gracious enough to feature me in not just one, but two episodes. The first was the subject of last week’s blog and the second was about science communication. That science communication, #scicomm, has become a thing worthy of a video about makes me simultaneously delighted and concerned, as I revealed quite expressively in the video: #armflop. Watch below to see who my #scicommhero is–and let me know yours! On the topic of science communication, if you are a #scicomm professional in the southern U.S. I want to take this opportunity to invite you to a meet up! Other parts of the country have regional science communicator chapters, but in the South we have never connected with each other. And strengthening bonds among science communicators in this part of the country is more important […]

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The Curious Case of the Jellyfish Curator

I’m just back from the Netherlands, where bikes rule the road but canals force all the roads to meander and curve so you are never quite sure where you’re headed. I was lucky enough to have the chance to give a talk about jellyfish at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, one of the oldest natural history museums in Europe and home to a collection an astonishing 42 million strong. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for all the items stored in the collection and the amazing people who work on them, all the collections are closed until 2018 for a big remodel. But I was able to hunt in the electronic archives and found out that the holotype (the specimen that defines a species) of the nomadic jellyfish (Rhopilema nomadica) that I swam through in Israel is deposited there. I also had a chance to tour the Naturalis’ extensive botanical collection–about three-quarters of a million […]

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