20 May 2011

Things Learned from a Gulf of Mexico Science Conference


The preliminary results are in on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

There basically wasn't any hugely negative impact to wildlife in the immediate aftermath of last summer's oil spill. Some stuff died because the oil was toxic, but other stuff stepped right up because the oil was food. A lot of stuff that looked like it ought to be affected ... wasn't. The stuff that was knocked down recovered within a few months after they capped it. In short, some short-term changes in ecological composition occurred, but no overall increases or decreases of anything.

Also, commercially important fish had an outstanding year due to the lack of commercial fishing.

This is not to say that the Gulf ate the oil and is just fine now. Although there weren't immediate effects, the oil is still there and will likely have longer-term chronic effects. Some fisheries might not collapse until a couple years later, depending on how long the life cycles work for the seafood involved.


The next time I find myself on the job market, all I really have to do is show up to a science conference and talk to people about what I can do with their CTD data. Voila, jobs will magically appear! Send out resumes? Phhht.

16 May 2011

New Chapters Begin, Old Chapters End

In mid-2008, my friend Robert talked me into signing up at eHow to write articles. He was making some serious pocket money and thought I could too.

Two years, ten months, and 44 articles later, I have $478.57 more than I did before. Some articles made a lot - one of them over $130. Others made diddly squat. In the process, I learned all sorts of things about freelance writing for content sites. Most importantly:

  • A whole lot of people make living-level wages doing it, for example this guy. Over at Demand Studios, the people who qualify to write the $30 medical/health articles, and who can crank out 10 of them per day, 6 days per week, from home while watching their toddlers, and without having to do any of the pitching/rejection of traditional freelancing, those people have it pretty good.
  • I'm never going to be one of them. In the end, I'm just not that fast.

    So, what's next? Who knows. I sure know lots more about SEO than I did before. But not enough about any actual topic to write a good-sized website of my own. My friend Robert keeps trying to talk me into making one about something marine biology related, but I've long since passed into the "I know enough to know I don't know anything" phase about that.

    In the meantime, Bright Hub is reeling but still standing after the Google Panda smackdown, most of my extant articles are now there (including several of the eHow refugees I had to move in the past ten days), so maybe I'll just watch what happens for a while...
  • 14 May 2011

    A Tall Shorebird

    Coastal Alabama has a lot of birds of all kinds. Here's one I saw yesterday morning:

    It's a great blue heron. Very common over most of North America. This one let us get real close. There were four of us out there talking, and it just stood there, so I took a picture. :)

    08 May 2011

    Newest Toy

    When the apartment management first told me about my new apartment, they said it wouldn't have any washer/dryer connections. But after I moved down here, they neglected to tell me that there were washer/dryer connections after all - and they especially didn't mention it was going to cost me an extra $10 per month.

    Right around the same time, someone mentioned how they'd just bought a small portable washer. Just like a regular-sized washer, they said, but smaller! Possibly small enough that even I can move it by myself! (This is a plus because I'm a firm believer in only having furniture and appliances that I can personally move by myself.)

    And so, after some shopping around I bought:

    It's a Haier pulsator portable washer. It turns out that I can lift the thing, but just in case I can't it comes with wheels. It's also a lot more roomy on the inside than it looks because it doesn't have that big column thingy up the middle. It's also cute. Cuteness is key when it comes to wanting to do laundry. :)