14 October 2009

Darwin and the Adventure: media linkfest

At long last, I have got a leg up on the rigging (right) and written the first of several blog posts recapping our recent trip to Brazil for our British Council funded science, education and outreach extravaganza called Darwin and the Adventure.

This post will archive all the known links to media, blog posts, images and video to come out of the project. As it's an archive, I may will update it from time to time with more links so if you notice anything missing (bloggers, don't be shy), please let me know in comments and I will add it.

To start off with here's the overview I wrote for our press release:

In September, 2009, two hundred years after Darwin's birth, 20 marine research scientists from around South America, the UK and the USA, representatives from The HMS Beagle Project and NASA, and 60 local schoolchildren will gather in Paraty [pronounced Par-a-CHEE] (right) on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (source: Wikipedia) to:
  • Celebrate: During Charles Darwin's bicentenary year, the programme will promote the modern scientific legacy of his historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle.
  • Discuss: The British Council Darwin Now Network will convene for a one-day scientific workshop will be held to discuss the potential for modern science in a new age of sail. In particular, the discussions are meant to underpin a second more intensive scientific expedition using a new tall ship modeled on HMS Beagle for operation around the world in the path of the 1831-1836 voyage, including further research around Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius and South Africa.
  • Sail: Participants will undertake two half-day voyages to establish the feasibility of modern scientific techniques aboard a traditionally rigged tall ship, the Tocorimé (Spirit of Adventure).
  • Connect: Ship-to-space scientific and educational connections will be made with astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a demonstration project for the planned collaboration between the station and the new Beagle NASA and The HMS Beagle Project
  • Learn: Approximately 60 local schoolchildren will participate in educational activities around the programme, including the opportunity to speak directly to astronauts aboard the ISS.
  • Promote: Media involvement will be invited to promote Darwin's legacy, marine science and conservation, the history and future of science under sail, and the unique whole-earth scientific collaborations possible with the International Space Station.
So that was before... what about after? Here I give you the results of my exhaustive but admittedly amateur search for all of the content to come out of our 'party in Paraty' as we came to call it:

Mainstream media coverage:
TV Brasil
RioSulNet televisão
Terra Brasil
El Nacional
Tal Cual (pdf)
Duke University Press Release

Blog posts (English):
Deep Sea News 1
Deep Sea News 2
Deep Sea News 3
Deep Sea News 4
Deep Sea News 5
ISS Fan Club

Blog posts (Portuguese):
Instituto Sangari
Derrubando Barreiras
DC Una-SE Um Novo Tempo
Blog Carioca
Reporter Aventura
Mundo Eco
Ciencia Hoje


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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7 October 2009

Brazil round-up: coming soon

As some of you will know, we recently went to Brazil and, as some of you will wonder, this blog has been pretty quiet about it. Please rest assured that this is not because the whole trip wasn't covered in science, outreach and education-flavoured awesomesauce, but rather because I'm snowed under to an epic degree and still trying to process it all. I will have a full report for you soon, but until then here are a few things to keep you busy:
  • visit Deep Sea News where Kevin Zelnio has done a much more admirable job covering the event in a timely manner than I have
  • see our Flickr group for the event
  • watch me climb the Tocorime's rigging on YouTube

Mike Barratt landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday morning

NASA astronaut (and Beagle Project collaborator) Mike Barratt will land this weekend in Kazakhstan following seven busy months aboard the International Space Station, but he won't be grounded for long, as he's just been assigned to the final flight of the Space Shuttle, scheduled for the end of 2010!

I've had the great pleasure and honour of speaking to Mike several times by phone while he's been aboard the station and I can tell you that while he's looking forward to coming home and seeing his family, he will miss life on station, especially the views of Earth from up there, of which he never grows tired.

Watch a live on NASA TV:

October 9, Friday
  • 3 - 3:15 p.m. - Expedition 21/20 Change of Command Ceremony
October 10, Saturday
  • 5:30 p.m. - ISS Expedition 20/Spaceflight Participant Farewells and Hatch Closure (Farewells and Hatch Closure scheduled at 6 p.m.)
  • 8:45 p.m. - ISS Expedition 20/Spaceflight Participant Undocking from ISS (Undocking scheduled at 9:05 p.m.)
  • 11:15 p.m. - ISS Expedition 20/Spaceflight Participant Deorbit Burn and Landing in Kazakhstan (Deorbit burn scheduled at 11:36 p.m.; Landing scheduled at 12:28 a.m. Oct. 11)
(Eastern time)

Mike Atherton hits it out of the ground on The Origin.

An article in today's (London) Times looks at four writers' science epiphanies. It's a good read and instructive to see how the scientific scales dropped from formerly indifferent eyes.

Cricketer Mike Atherton's contribution particularly made me cheer, even before coffee. Atherton was a superb batsman who had the misfortune to captain the England cricket team when we were a particularly indifferent, cross-eyed malco-ordinated outfit regularly pummeled by all comers. But on science he times it beautifully off the bat and cover drives it for a four...
In our house, David Attenborough is a living god and it is to the great man that I defer most of my children’s questions through his wonderful documentaries. It is hard to think that there is a better living broadcaster: expertise, lightly worn, combined with unbridled, childlike enthusiasm and a lovely, warm voice makes him the perfect conduit between ignorance and scientific knowledge.

His recent programme, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Lifewas epic television. It made me realise that you cannot go through life having not read the most important scientific book ever, and so On the Origin of Species is lying by my bedside.
No hang on, he slogs it brutally a out of the ground for a 6:
After all, you wouldn’t want your son growing up as a loony creationist, would you?
Damn right Mike.

(For our American readers who may not get the cricket references: hitting a '4' means that the batsman hits the ball to the boundary but it bounces at least once on the way. The cover-drive is a particularly elegant batting shot. Hitting a 6 means that the batsman really gives it some humpty and wallops the ball clean over the boundary rope.)

6 October 2009

Beagle logbooks to provide climate data...

the logbooks of HMS Beagle are among those being used in retrospective climate studies according to a report on the BBC News website. The hourly records of weather observations made by the ship's senior officers may give researchers clues as to past climate.

The project will also digitize the logbooks, providing Darwin and Beagle scholars with another rich vein of information: the logbooks will be on the National Archives website next year.

This is a bit of kicker, since it's something I'd hoped we'd be able to do as part of the Beagle Project, but anything that puts more Beagle information in the public domain and brings Captain FitzRoy further to public attention is welcome here.

The homepage for the CORRAL Project is here.

The Times: Captain Cook's weather logs help scientists predict climate changes (Beagle gets a passing mention.)