30 January 2008

Just one thing to save the world's largest habitat

The deep sea is by far the largest habitat on earth, and yet we have surveyed less of it than we have the surface of the Moon. Not only that but it faces threats from overfishing, pollution and climate change. Join the Just One Thing Challenge and do your part to protect the life-giving deepness.

It's time to herald the Arabic science that prefigured Darwin

and Newton. So says Jim Al-Khalili in today's Guardian. Reeling off a list of neglected Arabic scientific scholars, Prof Khalili notes:
But what surprises many even more is that a ninth-century Iraqi zoologist by the name of al-Jahith developed a rudimentary theory of natural selection a thousand years before Darwin. In his Book of Animals, Jahith speculates on how environmental factors can affect the characteristics of species, forcing them to adapt and then pass on those new traits to future generations.
Some interesting debate in the ensuing comments, too. And some foaming at the mouth.

29 January 2008

Stand back, I'm going to try science


Inspired by all of the fabulous science bloggers I met at the SBC, I've decided it's high time to start blogging more about science. By this I mean blogging about peer reviewed research and synthesizing areas of research related to Beagle science (anything from 1809 to 2009 being fair game).

There are four five reasons for this, my new year's resolution (hey, it's still January, I'm just getting it in under the mark):

  1. Though I've always* considered myself a science blogger, when I look back at my posts over the last year, I am disappointed to see that most of them just dance around on the edges of science rather than jumping in with both feet (with some notable exceptions of which I am very proud).
  2. I'm coordinating the science programme for the new Beagle and I want everyone else to know--and understand--how exciting it's going to be.
  3. I like science, I do science, and I think there are a few people out there interested in science. Some even have a hunch that science rocks.
  4. Practice makes perfect. Just as Jennifer Ouellette said in her closing talk at the SBC, a blog can be considered one's "writing lab"
  5. This just in! I only just found out that my latest paper got accepted into PLoS ONE! In other words, I'm high on science, so there's even more reason to blog more about it.
So, are you standing back?

*a loose application of the word, corresponding to the past eleven months


A round up of bloggers who have linked to us in the last few days. If you have blogrolled the Beagle Project, especially after the last few days linking and blogging frenzy (thank you hydra-headed Scienceblogs) and don't appear in the blogroll please let us know.

Podblack Blog. Science, literature and inquiry.

M/V Kathrine Jane. Remarkable liveaboard lady with two aboard herself.

Endless forms most beautiful. This is the class blog for AP Biology at Appleton East High School in Appleton, WI.

Reduce to common sense. Simple rules, says Rana Bannerjee, can build complex systems.

Evolving with Darwin. A recently started blog with all the right ideas, go and show him the love.

28 January 2008

Doing a little dance of delight because...

The Beagle Project is today's ScienceBlogs Buzz in the Blogosphere ...and (update!) to coincide with the Buzz, yours truly was interviewed by the indefatigable octopus Bora Zivkovic at A Blog Around the Clock!

27 January 2008

Darwin (Bank Holi)day

Calling all British citizens and residents, click on over and sign the new petition to create a UK bank holiday on Darwin's birthday. I wonder if Friends of Charles Darwin had anything to do with this?

Speaking of Darwin Day, it's coming soon! Yep, February 12th is Darwin's 199th birthday. I plan to celebrate in two ways:
  1. I will be interviewed for a Natural History Museum Nature Live event called "Charles Darwin: the young explorer", which you can watch live online at 12:30PM Greenwich Mean Time on the day.
  2. I will also attend the now storied "Charles Darwin's Birthday Party" at aforementioned museum on 13th February, advert below. The topic is eerily newsworthy considering the latest brouhaha about hopeful monsters/saltation, punctuated equilibria and the like.

26 January 2008

Creating the future Patagonia National Park

The bleakness of the Patagonian plains enchanted Darwin, who asked himself [1], "Why...
...have these arid wastes taken so firm a hold on my memory? Why have not the still more level, the greener and more fertile Pampas, which are serviceable to mankind, produced an equal impression? I can scarcely analyze these feelings: but it must be partly owing to the free scope given to the imagination. The plains of Patagonia are boundless, for they are scarcely passable, and hence unknown: they bear the stamp of having lasted, as they are now, for ages, and there appears no limit to their duration through future time. If, as the ancients supposed, the flat earth was surrounded by an impassable breadth of water, or by deserts heated to an intolerable excess, who would not look at these last boundaries to man's knowledge with deep but ill-defined sensations?"
Conrad Martens (1833) The Wake[?], Port Desire. This and other images from Conrad Martens sketchbooks are online at Cambridge University Library.

These "deep but ill-defined sensations" captured in notebooks by Darwin and in sketchbooks by Martens will be familiar to anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in wilderness.

Soon after the publication of Voyage of the Beagle, the beginnings of the wilderness conservation movement began in the United States. Explorers, scientists and writers like the Scottish expatriate John Muir were moved by their experiences in wilderness, by their power to remind us, even briefly, that we are but specks in a boundless universe, to seek legal protection for such places from the incursions of industry and development.

John Muir, naturalist, writer, explorer and father of U.S. national park system.

Flash-forward to present-day Patagonia, where wild landscapes like those that lodged themselves in Darwin's memory are threatened by overgrazing, erosion, invasive species and not least a massive hydroelectric project that will install five dams on the Rio Baker and the Rio Pascua in Chilean Patagonia.

To counter these threats, Conservacion Patagonica was established as "a non-profit organization dedicated to protection of wildland ecosystems and biodiversity in the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina, is working towards the goal of creating Patagonia National Park, a world-class park similar in size to Yosemite National Park in California."

The proposed site of Patagonia National Park.

To make Patagonia National Park a reality, Conservacion Patagonica needs both donations and volunteers. If you can't manage either of these, then why not at least spread the word? I've made a little Support Patagonia National Park button for our sidebar. Feel free to copy and paste.

Finally, don't miss this video, which makes a moving case for protection and restoration:


1. Darwin, Charles Robert (1845) Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world. 2d ed. (this, along with are of Darwin's published works, is available for free at Darwin Online)

25 January 2008

We get mail

These are the emails we live for here at the Beagle Project:

I found the Beagle Project Website and think that it is a fabulous project. Is there any chance in the future that your organization and science partners might be looking to hire science technicians? I have a M.S. in Marine Biology as well as experience in zooplankton, fisheries, larval bioenergetics* and immunology. I am currently in government and not affiliated with a lab but would love the opportunity to be part of the science taking place through your project.

Sahrye Cohen
For now, we have to tell Sahrye and all the other aspiring Beagle scientists who want to have life-changing and possibly world-changing experiences aboard to hang onto their hats just a little bit longer, because there's a certain £3.5 million that we have to raise first. As Peter Mc said in his recent eloquent entreaty:
The Irish have their sailing famine ships.
The Dutch their rebuilt Indiamen.
The US has innumerable historic square riggers.
The Swedes have Gotheborg.
The Australians have (our) Endeavour.
The British have ...er. We have a few square riggers, but none dating from or celebrating our maritime past.

Well, for £3.5 million we can give Britain that boat.
*in a follow-up email, Sahrye tells us that "larval bioenergetics is how I would characterize a project I worked on that measured metabolism and respiration in crab larvae (Marsh et. al., 2001, pdf)"

Dinner with Darwin (2)

Propter Doc got an invite too. Worth reading for the Red October gag alone. (And the hypnotically great blog header.)

Arjay at Protecting our Planet, brings for Darwin's after dinner viewing pleasure The Life of Brian.

If anyone else has passed the salt to Darwin, let us know.

British tall ships get £30 million lottery grant.

Good news for lovers of square riggers and maritime history: the National Lottery has awarded £30 million to help restore Mary Rose and The Cutty Sark. And both need a quid or two (report here and in pics here).

Mary Rose was King Henry VIII's flagship: one fateful day in 1545 she set sail to do battle with the French under the watchful gaze of the King himself. An innovative ship, she was one of the first capable of firing broadsides but on that day she disobeyed one of the fundamental rules of successful sailing - water outside boat. She sank in the Solent and was entombed in its mud. Her wreck lay in what could best be described to landlubbers as the sliproad to one of the busiest ports in Britain, and was in the 20th century a risk to shipping. The Royal Navy would not wish this widely known, but they blew part of her up to remove the risk (this before they knew just what an historic wreck they had on their hands).

Slightly less than 50% of her hull survived the depredations of time and the Naval demolitions team, and she was raised in 1982. The contents of her hull were incredible - skeletons (the archers showed thickened bones and curved spines from repeatedly drawing the heavy bows), the surgeon's instruments (shudder), the carpenters' tools, longbows, arrows, rigging blocks, the ship's artillery. She is on display at Portsmouth, England and her slice of the cash is to finish her preservation and build a dedicated museum.

Cutty Sark was a tea clipper. The British are passionately addicted to tea, and thought nothing of building the fastest sailing ships in the world to cart it half way round the world. Speed mattered, because the first ship to make it to London got by far the best price for its cargo. There are stories of these things tearing through storms with insane amounts of sail set, the decks awash, officers standing at the foot of the masts with loaded pistols threatening to shoot any crewman who went aloft to reduce sail. She was preserved in a drydock at Greenwich, London, and was undergoing restoration when last year a fire broke out in her hull. Fortunately, much of her internal woodwork had been removed, but the damage was pretty extensive. She too has her place in British maritime history.

However, in this country which has so relied on the sea, her trading vessels and Royal Navy to survive, found colonies, trade, explore and chart terra incognita, carry out science and confound dictators, there is no sailing example of a Naval square rigger on which we can take young people and show them what it was all about. We can show them immobile Mary Roses and Cutty Sarksis, but we can't let them feel the heave of a deck under their feet or see the curve of a well-set mainsail against the sky with the satisfaction of one who has had a hand sheeting it home.

The Irish have their sailing famine ships.
The Dutch their rebuilt Indiamen.
The US has innumerable historic square riggers.
The Swedes have Gotheborg.
The Australians have (our) Endeavour.
The British have...er. We have a few square riggers, but none dating from or celebrating our maritime past.

Well, for £3.5 million we can give Britain that boat. Me, I'm on the phone to the Heritage Lottery Fund this afternoon. I remember staring at the Cutty Sark in a rather dull fashion when I was a kid. I remember what happened the first time I stepped on a living boat, left the harbour, helped set the sails and was trusted with the tiller for the first time. I know which experience was more affecting.

If the National Lottery's £30 million is to be truly well-spent, there is another ship which needs raising: the remain of the original HMS Beagle. After all: Mary Rose was a failure and Cutty Sark a tea-wagon. Beagle changed the world. Her rebuild would give the world an icon of British maritime (and scientific) prowess and and is the logical heritage extension of preserving ships in museums.

Update: Joe D in comments puts me right on the Solent. It is indeed the sliproad to two of Britain's busiest ports - Portsmouth and Southampton. I did my yachtmaster training and exam in the Solent (which is also mentioned in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People), and have sailed in and out of both ports, and over the Mary Rose wreck site more often than I'd care to remember or you'd care to read. So I kept it brief, but sit corrected.

24 January 2008

To all the scientists out there doing PCR...

Bio-Rad salutes you!

And now the lyrics:

The PCR Song

There was a time when to amplify DNA,
You had to grow tons and tons of tiny cells.
Then along came a guy named Dr. Kary Mullis,
Said you can amplify in vitro just as well.
Just mix your template with a buffer and some primers,
Nucleotides and polymerases, too.
Denaturing, annealing, and extending.
Well it’s amazing what heating and cooling and heating will do.
PCR, when you need to detect mutations.
PCR, when you need to recombine.
PCR, when you need to find out who the daddy is.
PCR, when you need to solve a crime.
(repeat chorus)

22 January 2008

Tuesday top ten: bloggers for Beagle

I just had a look at our blog statistics for the first time in a long while, and I would like to give a shout out to those bloggers and websites who are sending traffic our way and thereby helping us to build a shiny new Beagle.

Top ten senders of traffic to the Beagle Project Blog:
  1. Pharyngula (especially the posts Help the Beagle Sail Again, Don't get David Attenborough mad and Ha-haa England!)
  2. Free Range Academy
  3. The Friends of Charles Darwin (and associated blog The Red Notebook)
  4. Swordplay
  5. John Hawks Anthropology Weblog (especially the post Five Scientists Who Made the Modern World)
  6. it's a tie between A Blog Around the Clock and Greg Laden's Blog
  7. Sandwalk (especially the post Top Five Dead Scientists)
  8. Beautiful Biology: Ramblings of a Science Teacher
  9. ClustrMaps (where we were named User of the Month in September 2007)
  10. The Tiny Aviary (blog of Beagle-supporter and artist Diana Sudyka)
Honorable mentions to Messing About in Boats (11), Evolutie (12), Sisu (13), The Science Blogging Conference Wiki (14), The Dispersal of Darwin (15), The Other 95% (16), Lunartalks (17), Sex, Science and Voicemail (18), Cephalopodcast (19) and Laelaps (20).

The small print: In compiling this list I purposely excluded 1) the Beagle Project website because, though it sends by and far the most readers to the blog, it's would be both boring and a little too self congratulatory to list it, 2) potential spam sites, 3) Google and other search engines. Also not included are hits to our old blog spot or our shops.

21 January 2008

Pics and vids from the SciBlogCon

No need to despair if you missed the Science Blogging Conference (SciBlogCon for short) this weekend in North Carolina. Photos are available on a series of recent posts by Bora at A Blog Around the Clock, and session videos and other pics and vids will continue to be posted to the SciBlogCon Commons.

It would be easy to get lost in the flood of media pouring onto the sites linked above, not to mention onto the conference delegates' own blogs, so here are a few that I deem worthy of special mention.

First up is the video stream of the conference session Real-time Blogging (RTB) in the Marine Sciences moderated by Kevin Z of The Other 95%, Jason Robertshaw of Cephalopodcast, Rick MacPherson of Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets, Peter Etnoyer of Deep Sea News and yours truly. We're all really happy with how the session went - there was a lot of energy in the room and we were able to cover a surprising number of topics in the short 70 minute session. As befitting a real-time blogger, Rick has already posted an excellent review of the session.

Second is one of Bora's photos of the Friday night dinner at the excellent Town Hall Grille. The picture shows not one but two fellow moderators of RTB in the Marine Sciences. From the left, Jason Robertshaw, the technical wizard behind Cephalopodcast, Jennifer Williams of Open Helix, Christina Whittle of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Christine Kristin Fellows, broadcast consultant for Wired Science and Nanotechnology on PBS (thanks, Bora!), and last but not least Kevin Z of The Other 95%, who has some photos of his own posted here. I chose this because of the sheer hilarity of Kevin Z's expression.

Third, be sure not to miss the photo of Shelly Batts of Retrospectacle (and others) impersonating PZ Myers (click teaser thumbnail to left). This is what happens when you don't come to the SciBlogCon. People make fun of you in your absence.

And finally, though Jennifer Jacquet of the Shifting Baselines Blog rightly warned us all about the fine line between personal voice and the "vulgarity of narcissism", I can't help crowing a little about my photo op with Professor Steve Steve, who has been proudly giving creationism the thumb since 2005. The fact that the photo was taken by Bora is a source of equal if not more pride.

A post-script about Professor Steve Steve:

Browsing through the prolific panda's posts, I find that he has already been to my place of work and I missed it! Fortunately he vows to return: "I think another visit to the Natural History Museum is in order," writes Professor Steve Steve, "as there simply was not time to visit everything. Next time I’ll use my contacts and arrange to travel behind the scenes and chat to the people who work there." Oo, oo, me, me, me!

David Attenborough: "My next project is about Charles Darwin."

Interviewed by Juliette Jowit for the Observer column "This much I know", David Attenborough (and, it must be said, Jowit was spot on to label him a naturalist rather than simply a television presenter) lets us in on a delicious little secret:
"My next project is about Charles Darwin. He says in a letter to Emma, his wife, something like: 'I sat down on a bench and saw a bird singing in the trees and saw a wide mass of life going on around me, and I thought I didn't care what the process was that brought this into place because it's so wonderful.' If I lost that feeling, I'd go and do something else."
This news induces in me much rubbing of hands and jumping up and down, and also gets me wondering:

1. What, specifically, is this "project" going to be about? The mind overflows with possibilities.

2. Might, oh, might the new Beagle be involved in some way? After all, our project was named by Future Earth as one of two things worth telling Darwin at a hypothetical dinner party.

17 January 2008

North Carolina or bust

I'm flying across the pond tomorrow to attend the Science Blogging (Un)Conference in North Carolina. I'm very honoured to be co-moderating a session on "Real-time blogging in the Marine Sciences" with fellow science bloggers Kevin Zelnio of The Other 95%, Peter Etnoyer of Deep Sea News, , Rick MacPherson of Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets and Jason Robertshaw of Cephalopodcast.

Even if you're not attending, you can still browse to your heart's content at the conference wiki.

The conference dovetails with the publication of Open Laboratory 2007: The Best Writing on Science Blogs, an absolutely heroic effort by editor Reed Cartwright and series editor Bora Zivkovic, who also happens to be organising the SciBlogCon. I swear that guy is an octopus (if you haven't been reading science blogs long, I should mention that that is a huge complement).

The Wallace Memorial Fund website is up!

Well done to George Beccaloni* (a.k.a. Wallace's Rottweiler) for launching the spanking new Wallace Memorial Fund website. The site sports this absolutely fabulous logo:

...which is strikingly similar (wink wink, George) to the Darwin200 logo:

For more about Wallace, be sure to visit the Memorial Fund site, and don't miss Olivia Judson's provocatively titled piece in the New York Times.

*Rather than telling you who George Beccaloni is, I thought I'd let his enviable email signature do it for me:
Curator of Orthopteroidea (cockroaches [including termites], mantids, earwigs, stick insects, grasshoppers, crickets etc) & the A. R. Wallace insect collection,
Entomology Department,
The Natural History Museum [British Museum (Natural History)]

15 January 2008

The 2007 science blogging anthology now for sale

The Open Laboratory:
The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2007

Edited by Reed A. Cartwright.
Series Edited by Bora Zivkovic.
More info (including background and all 468 entries) here.

Dinner with Darwin

A charming piece here. Charles Darwin is your dinner guest, dinner table conversation is inevitably interesting, and like all good wise men and women visiting prophets of enlightenment, gifts are brought. A selection of scientific dinner guests were asked:

What would you ask him?
What would you bring him?
How would you describe the evening?
What book would you bring him?
What film would you show him?
What would he think of the fact that his ideas and personality are under attack from Intelligent Design and creationism?

I'm reluctant to start memes and foist work on already busy bloggers, but if anyone feels moved to answer (mine are here), I'll post the links here.

13 January 2008

HMS Beagle off Cape Horn January 13th 1833.

HMS Beagle all its crew were 'sorely tried' in a Southern Ocean gale and the results belied the reputation of these little boats as 'coffin brigs'. Roger at the excellent Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary blog has done all the hard work, posting Darwin's Diary, FitzRoy's Diary entry and John Chancellor's hair-raising painting of the Beagle knock-down. Go and read, right now.

Had not Beagle been such a good sea-boat, and had not Fitzroy and his crew proved excellent seamen, we would not have 2009 celebrations to look forward to, would never have had the Origin of Species and the history of science might have been very different.

9 January 2008

We'll need sailing vessels (Part II)

In Part I of this post I wrote about an important but oft overlooked message to be carried by the new Beagle: that a return to sailboats as a viable form of transportation is an essential piece of the climate-saving puzzle.

Today, I stumbled upon this BBC video hilariously entitled Ship using 'sail' technology, with sail in quotes, just like that, as if the BBC thought its readers might not be sure what sails were for.

My laughter turned to cheers, however, when I watched the video, which reports that the first cargo ship to harness wind power in more than a century is going to sail across the Atlantic this year.

'The age of sail may not be past,' it begins. 'In the age of climate change, windpower is making a remarkable comeback.'

According to the video, the new merchant ship is equipped with something called a SkySail, a high-tech 160 square-metre kite that will deliver 20% savings in CO2 emissions and fuel costs, which is equivalent to $1600 US Dollars per day.

The video ends by echoing the hopes of SkySail's developers, that the SkySail's maiden voyage will 'herald a new age of sail'.

SkySail in action

8 January 2008

What Sailors term a strong gale

Another gem from Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary:
8th January, 1833

Off Cape Horn
On the 8th it blew what Sailors term a strong gale (it is the first we have had) the Beagle is however so good a sea-boat, that it makes no great difference.
Wow, that Darwin was made of sturdier stuff than I. The squiggly red line in the photo is, I can only suppose, the path that the Beagle took during the storm. Darwin was terribly seasick the entire five years of the voyage and yet in a "strong gale" off of Cape Horn he says, in essence, 'twas nothing. If it had been me, I'd have wet myself, and then written in my diary that I had wet myself. For a bigger version of the map you will have to visit its true home.

Evolution and science in teenage fiction.

Barbara J. King at Bookslut reviews Robin Brande’s novel Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature. It's worth a read, and it was thought-provoking.

Specifically: where are the fictional scientific heroes for our young people? Too often in fiction and film evil nerds do awful things in labs, the results escape and get out of hand with destructive consequences. The scientists involved are gnostic (they keep special knowledge from us) and gnerdy (bad hair, clothes, manners and specs). In an inversion of reality, normal people with chiselled jaws, silicone things, snappy one liners and cool specs save civilisation.

Believe Gillian Beer in Darwin's plots, evolutionary narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and 19th century fiction (1983), since the Origin hit the shelves fiction is imbued, saturated with Darwin's evolutionary ideas.

But where are the books for children and teenagers in which evolution does not cause mutated threats to the human race, where science and scientists save humanity and get the credit. Where scientists get the natty threads and the whip-crack one-liners. Where they don't just get to watch while their good work is taken by a cut lead man or woman and put to good use. Reading around science blogs and entries for Open Lab 2007, there is an abundance of imagination, good prose, ideas, sharp dialogue and great one-liners out there.

Winning young hearts and minds to science needs to be done outside the lab, too (hence the replica Beagle) and engaging minds through fiction and film is important. A flood of good fiction in 2009 where scientists and science were the heroes would be another good way of celebrating Darwin's life. There's time: first three chapters, synopsis, send to agent with a covering letter. I bet plenty of you have novel ideas in notebooks or drafts deeply buried in deliberately mis-named folders. This is a project to be continued elsewhere. I'll think about the elsewhere later, but for the moment Killian Crawford (who writes the excellent H5N1 blog) published a very useful guide for the first time novelist.

6 January 2008

The National Academy of Sciences weighs in on creationism

The National Academy of Sciences has produced another edition of their excellent book on the evidence for evolution and the threat of creationist creep into science classrooms. You can get it free if you go to this site and hunt and peck for the sly little blue button that says "SIGN IN - to download free PDFs", just below the really enormous red "BUY BOOK" button.

PZ Myers and Larry Moran say all well and good except for that pesky little paragraph of 'pablum' about science and religion being compatible. But even if Myers and Moran are right about the logical incompatibility of science and religion, and the fallacy of compartmentalization, it doesn't necessarily follow that incompatibility between science and religion should be the position of the Advisors to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine. I mean, if a national advisory body were really to tell people they can either believe in God or evolution, wouldn't they just be continuing that nasty black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us mindset that hasn't been doing us any favors of late?

Sunday update: I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking that I really ought to point out that the opinions expressed in this post belong to me, nunatak, and do not necessarily reflect those of fellow blogger Peter Mc or The Beagle Project. Actually, maybe I should think about getting a new blog for stuff like this.

3 January 2008

Artists in support of the Beagle Project

Our heartfelt thanks to two artists who have donated generous percentages of recent proceeds to the Beagle Project. Diana Sudyka of Chicago donated 30% of sales of prints of an original watercolour depicting Darwin decorated with friendly finches, while closer to home, local Pembrokeshire artist and author Claudia Myatt donated a share of proceeds from her pre-Christmas in-house exhibition. Please visit their sites and have a look at their work.

Left: Darwin's Finches by Diana Sudyka
Right: Quietly at Anchor by Claudia Myatt

If this welcome news buoys your own spirit of giving, it's as easy as cold Christmas apple pie to donate to the Beagle Project: just use the Paypal buttons to the right, or buy something in our USA/worldwide, European or Spanish language shops.

2 January 2008

Best writing on science blogs 2007

A tidy clutch of excellent, peer-reviewed science blog posts awaits you over at A Blog Around the Clock. These posts are the cream of a 486-post crop, and will be published shortly in the second science blogging anthology, 'Open Laboratory 2007' just in time for the 2nd annual science blogging conference.

1 January 2008

Help us build the Beagle in 2008!

With your help*, 2008 will see the keel of the new Beagle laid in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire:

Here's the build site in Milford Haven (Warning! wishful photoshopping alert):

*Donate using Paypal buttons at right or buy something from our European, USA/Worldwide or Spanish language shops. And if you happen to have access to all or even a sizable fraction of £3.5million, please contact us directly and we'll gladly make Mr. Darwin's berth ready for your visit during some juicy bit of the voyage, say, the Galapagos Islands.

I January 1833

Tierra del Fuego
For this & the following day we had a moderate wind from the old quarter SW; we all thought that after so much bad weather we should at least have a few fine days; the wind lulled & we hailed with joy a light air from the East; but in a couple of hours it veered to the North & then blew a strong gale from the SW.

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary.

New years day in a storm off Cape Horn. Oh dear. A happy 2008 from all at the Beagle Project.