West Country

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 30, 2009 12:16 pm

A lot happened while I was out west. There was a senator’s 250 nm move left and the President’s promise that 3% of the GDP would go to research in science and technology. And you can bet I was elated when the Obama administration overturned Bush’s eleventh-hour rule intended to weaken protections of the Endangered Species Act:

Passed in January 2009, the Bush-era rule lifted the requirement that federal agencies consult wildlife experts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration before taking actions that could harm listed species. The Bush move allowed federal agencies to decide for themselves if their own projects, such as roads, dams and mines, would hurt species.

On a personal note, it’s also been a productive and busy week. I visited Bodega Marine Laboratory and enjoyed volunteering on some fascinating research in Boonville, California where cattle roamed around our field site. I also coincidentally met Mary Roach who is as delightful in person as she comes across on the pages of Bonk.

Today I’m back east in NYC with Chris to plan several upcoming events.  While we’re wandering the city much of the afternoon, here’s a glimpse of the landscape out west I recorded using The Flip:


Comments (4)

  1. Love the “250 nm” quip!

  2. Erasmussimo

    Vineyards?!?!! Is that your representation of West country? How about a few of our volcanoes, a rocky shore or two, a vast desert, a forest of redwoods, or maybe just some mountain terrain? I realize that you weren’t preparing a travelogue, but I regard vineyards as pretty dull vistas. Next time you’re in the Bay Area, drive to the top of Mt. Hamilton (Lick Observatory), Mt. Diablo, or Mt Tamalpais.

    Flatlanders… harrumph! 😉

  3. Is that your representation of West country?

    Most def not :) It was however, the only part of the trip when I brought out The Flip. I prefer the scenes along Rt 1 and those great big mountains and conifers too…

  4. MadScientist

    Out west? That’s funny, I’ve just returned from down south knee deep in cow poo. At least the weather was good and I was able to finish installing instruments and get out of the paddocks before I smelled too much like the cows. No vineyards along my route though or I might have taken an entire week to return to the city.


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.


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