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Back from ComSciCon 2016!

It’s been a while since I got back from ComSciCon 2016 in Boston, but it feels like I’m only just getting back into the groove of things here in Seattle.

Being surrounded by so many people dedicated to science communication was incredibly inspiring. Among the attendees and experts, there were artists, animators, film makers, writers, and more.

I learned from people who blended science research with environmental advocacy, who did field research for nature documentaries, who turned their passion for science and drinks into a career of science festivals.

I met others who were stoked about science in games and I hope we’ll carry that enthusiasm into more collaborations!

And of course, I reaffirmed that being in academia is not the only option, and even being a full-time researcher is not the only path to being a successful scientist. Mixing science and science communication may be the path less traveled, but the professionals I met at ComSciCon showed that it’s certainly possible. Success will come with lots of networking and putting my work out there, listening to what is needed in the science communication world, and carving myself a niche that is both fun for me and fits the needs.

After attending ComSciCon, I want to bring that inspiration here, so be on the lookout for the awesomeness of ComSciCon to hit the Pacific Northwest!!

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Climate Game Jam

Over the last weekend, I participated in a National Climate Game Jam. What is that, you ask? It’s an intense 48-hour event where participants are tasked with creating a game from scratch that teaches people about climate change! The world is experiencing warming at an unprecedented rate. As a result of increased carbon emissions, we are a point where climate change prevention is no longer possible. Rather, we must be ready to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and this was the theme of the game jam.

As part of a three-person group, we designed a cooperative board game called AdaptNation, where each player controls their own city and players must work together to manage their supply of power, water, and food to adapt to more frequent and severe environmental events (drought, wildfire, and ocean acidification, etc.). The game starts out relatively tame, and players are able to cope with the impacts of climate change without much trouble. However, as the game progresses, the impact of climate change on their resources will grow, and players will be forced to cooperate with their neighbors, or else fall into debt. Even then, players will have to plan and prepare carefully if they are to adapt to the new climate reality of AdaptNation.

For more information, check out the video below!

Butterfly wings!

A video from Smarter Every Day about pixie dust, how butterfly wings get their color, and some other oddities! Also, it looked like the butterfly was flailing when first dropped, before realizing that it could fly.

I wonder if man-made structures could be designed to produce fake colors like that of butterfly wings.

What is your favorite example of a biological design (biomimicry)?