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How to Talk to Your Parents About Climate Change

Editor’s note: When Buzz, Hoot, and Roar are out and about, we often get asked how to tell “nonbelievers” about climate change. That’s not an easy question. Climate change is a complicated issue with many answers. When we read news of unprecedented amounts of bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef or extreme polar ice melting, climate change can seem abstract and distant. Buzz, Hoot, and Roar have each attempted to explain the causes and impacts of climate change to friends, parents who’re enjoying our pleasant-weather winter, grandparents, random people on the bus, dogs, etc., sometimes with little success, and many times with all of us ending up confused and bewildered. So here we have a mission.

We asked Aranzazu Lascurain, who explains climate change for a living, to give us some simple talking points. Over the next several months, we’re going to provide you with examples of how the world around us is affected by climate change right now. We hope you can use these specific examples to help paint a broader picture for people who might be interested in how climate change affects them. We’ve enlisted some of our favorite artists to help us impart fascinating work by top-notch researchers. The story we’re sharing is sometimes frightening but not entirely hopeless. Here, Aranzazu shares with us Susan Hassol of Climate Communication’s five top talking points when talking about climate change.

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Check our facts!

It’s real: 1 http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2016/0420/Nice-weather-eases-Americans-climate-change-worries  http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

Scientists agree: 2 http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.short

It’s us: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/abs/nature06937.html  4 https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

It’s bad: 5 seasons are shifting 6 […]

By |June 29th, 2016|Other Science|0 Comments

Attention! Attention! Taxonomy Contest!

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In honor of our great appreciation for those who love to order, classify, categorize, group, arrange, grade and rank (and just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day), Buzz Hoot Roar is proud to announce its third annual pun contest.

Check out one of last year’s winners:

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Pun by Natalie Sopinka (@phishdoc). Illustration by Christin Hardy (@c_hristin).

Here’s how it works:

1. Tweet us your best taxonomy-related pun by Wednesday, March 9.

2. Our celebrity judges will select five favorites.

3. Winners will receive: their puns illustrated on Buzz Hoot Roar’s blog, a set of printed greeting cards to share with the taxonomists in their lives, and a BHR super-soft T-shirt.

Let the witticisms begin!

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By |March 2nd, 2016|Contests, Other Science|0 Comments

Are we human? Or are we microbe?

Microbes. EEK!!!

We spend a lot of time and money on antibacterial products. But despite our desperate scrubbing, we will never be free of microbes.

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In fact, our bodies’ microbial cells outnumber our human cells 10 to one! Which makes you wonder: If you have more microbial cells than human cells, are you human?

Of course! Humans play host to microscopic microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, that reside in the small and large intestine.

These microbial symbionts perform vital functions, especially during digestion.

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Many of these genes encode enzymes that digest food, such as CAZymes, which break carbohydrates into compounds that the body can absorb or excrete.
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If the composition of the gut microbiome changes, the body may lose the ability to perform certain functions, which could result in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Even from the deep regions of our intestines, our gut occupants can influence much more than our bowel health.

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Studies report colonization of certain species of bacteria is more likely to be associated with depression and anxiety. Many researchers believe adjusting the composition of the gut microbiome may be a viable treatment for these disorders.

We may be human, but we are run by microbes, no matter how many times we wash our hands.

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Check our facts!

1. Belkaid, Y. and T.W. Hand, Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation. Cell, 2014. 157(1): p. 121-41.
2. Cecchini, D.A., et al., Functional metagenomics reveals novel pathways of prebiotic breakdown by human gut bacteria. PLoS One, 2013. 8(9): p. e72766.
3. Forsythe, P., et al., Mood and gut feelings. […]

By |November 18th, 2015|artist in residence, No Backbones, Other Science|1 Comment

Your Anti-Shark Attack Handbook

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View/download our Anti-Shark Attack Handbook in poster form (PDF).
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Written by Roar with Katie Mosher (@ncsg_katiem) and NC Sea Grant (@SeaGrantNC). In addition to giving people the skinny on sharks, NC Sea Grant gives research, education, and outreach opportunities relating to issues affecting the North Carolina coast and communities. Whether or not you’re from NC, NC Sea Grant’s site gives you a chance to learn cool stuff. Check it out here.
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Illustrated by Heather Copley. Heather is a Clinical Social Worker whose hobbies happen to include: science, long walks on the beach, drawing technicolor dream sharks, and writing hilarious llama jokes.

By |June 24th, 2015|Backbones, Other Science|1 Comment

Attention! Attention! Taxonomy Pun Contest!

contest_flyer_15_01

In honor of our great appreciation for those who love to order, classify, categorize, group, arrange, grade and rank (and just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day), Buzz Hoot Roar is proud to announce its second annual pun contest.

Here’s how it works:

1. Tweet us your best taxonomy-related pun by Friday, February 27.

2. We’ll select our five favorites.

3. Winners will receive: their puns illustrated on Buzz Hoot Roar’s blog, a set of printed greeting cards to share with the taxonomists in their lives, and a BHR super-soft T-shirt.

Let the witticisms begin!

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By |February 18th, 2015|Contests, Other Science|3 Comments

The secret extra animals in your food

Yes, you CAN have your peanut butter and some roaches, too! In the United States, it’s legal to get served a little extra protein in your PB&J. Even vegetarians get a little extra meat, whether they want it or not.

Here are some of the FDA’s regulations regarding acceptable levels of insect parts in food. Most of these regulations were made for “aesthetic” purposes only:

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Peanut butter: You can have up to 30 insect parts or 1 rodent hair per 100 grams.

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Chocolate: If you want that Hershey bar, go for it, and get yourself up to 60 insect fragments or a big, fat rodent hair in every 100 grams.

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Canned fruit juice: Have yourself a nice glass of orange juice—with up to one maggot for FREE!

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Cornmeal: If you want to go whole-hog, may we suggest some cornmeal? You can get up to one whole insect per 50 grams and up to 1 piece of rodent doo doo per 50 grams (on average) and be juuuust fine. Tamales and hushpuppies for everyone!

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Fish: Because we like oozy things, we’d love to see the stuff we’re allowed to eat on fish. With red fish and ocean perch, we can have copepods “accompanied by pus pockets,” and for blue fin and other freshwater herring, we can have up to 60 parasitic cysts per 100 fish.

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Hops: How about a beer? With an average of more than 2,500 aphids allowed […]

By |December 17th, 2014|Backbones, Bugs, No Backbones, Other Science|2 Comments

Petrichor: Your new favorite word

Petrichor is Roar’s favorite word.

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It comes from the Greek “petros,” which means stone, and “ichor,” which is the blood that flows through the veins of gods.

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It’s the word for the smell that comes after a rain. You know that smell? The one that’s like the time you fell in love during the spring?

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Or the way it feels to be quiet?

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The smell of the earth, with plants and animals and dirt and rocks and clouds and everything? When it’s the thickest and lushest and fullest?

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That’s petrichor.

Here’s what makes it:

  1. When it’s dry for a little while, plants release oils into the ground1,2.6a

  2. Scientists think these oils stop seeds from growing in tough, dry times36b

  3. Meanwhile, Actinobacteria kick the bucket when it’s dry, releasing something called geosmin46c

  4. When it rains, petrichor and geosmin are released from rocks and dirt, and we can smell it.6d

So it’s all that. Plus stones. Plus the blood that flows through the veins of gods.

By Roar

Check our facts!

1http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0016703766900251

2http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=CH9650915.pdf

3http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v207/n5004/abs/2071415a0.html

4http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1058374/

 

By |May 16th, 2014|Other Science, Vocabulary Friday|7 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 5!

BHR_taxon_cards_web3Pun by Natalie Sopinka @PhishDoc

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!

 

By |March 14th, 2014|Other Science|0 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 4!

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Pun by Josh Wenderoff @JoshWenderoff

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!
By |March 13th, 2014|Other Science|2 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 3!

BHR_taxon_cards_web2Pun by  Morgan Jackson @BioInFocus.

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!

 

By |March 12th, 2014|Other Science|0 Comments