When you are out riding a bicycle, running, or walking, make sure you don’t go so fast that you miss the special moments that you can find along the way. These two turtles were seen on the American Tobacco Trail (Durham, NC) while I was out riding. I saw them out of the corner of my eye and stopped to explore.

This little Mud Turtle hatchling was about the size of a quarter.

This little Mud Turtle hatchling was about the size of a quarter.


Notice the pollen on the shell.

Notice the pollen on the shell.

This box turtle was closed up tight!

This box turtle was closed up tight!

I could barely see the eyes!

I could barely see the eyes!


I’ve been so excited about the e-NABLE group that I am a part of, but I haven’t had the time to write about it. So, here’s a quick pic of the glow-in-the-dark test hand I printed on my 3D printer and then some links to the group’s social media presence. Please do check out all the work we are doing. It’s pretty amazing to see how the web, a 3D printer, people who care, and people in need can all get connected and see magic happen.


Google+ Community: e-NABLE

e-NABLE Facebook page

e-NABLE blog: E-NABLING the future

e-NABLE at ScienceOnline Together 2014

Blog post about my collaboration on Tully’s hand


External affirmation is really important. Encouragement, support, and appreciation help us get through the day and especially through difficult times. But it is not enough to motivate us to keep doing what we do, because when it is not there, you are in jeopardy of giving up unless there is something else deep in your core to keep you going.

I’ve looked this straight in the face this month.

The past six weeks (it feels like so much longer!) have been a difficult time in the ScienceOnline community (for those who may not know, I am one of the co-founders and the Executive Director of the ScienceOnline non-profit organization). And yes, I call it a community. Not everyone who attends a ScienceOnline event has to feel the same way, but I see the friendships, conversations, support, concrete help, fun, and challenges that occur—not only at the conferences/events, but also throughout the year. That to me is community.

Jobs, organizations, communities, and families are not “good” because of a lack of conflict. You will find conflict and problems wherever you go. What makes one place or group of people better is how they deal with that conflict and trouble. And, hey, we need to understand that it’s ok to disagree. We don’t have to all hold one ideology in order to be a community. In fact, the diversity can make the community richer.

And that is what motivates me. That is why I still stay up late working even when I feel bruised and crushed by what I see around me.

We can’t control how other people behave, but we can decide how to respond. I want to respond in a responsible, measured, fair, and yet hopeful way. I’m not talking about rose-colored glasses or burying my head in the sand to ignore issues. But what I am saying is that I want to deal with difficulties with grace and dignity.

Through the barrage of conflict, controversy, and criticism (& suggestions) this month, I had to keep reminding myself that this is worth it. The mission of ScienceOnline is valuable and worth working (very) hard for. The community is worth fighting for. I want us to be better at how we deal with the inevitable problems, conflicts, and even differences of opinion. Let’s treat each other right. As Anton has said for years—let’s treat one another with respect.

Science is important. The web has amazing resources. The people using the web for science are finding more and more creative, powerful ways to do their work and share their content. We need this. We need to keep getting better. And we do that by learning from each other. We do that by collaborating. We do that by serving a mission that is more than what we get out of it ourselves.

The sum is greater than the parts. I believe that now more than ever. We are better when we work together.

And that idea is what keeps me going.

Coming up: My trip to NASA JPL for an Earth Science NASA Social!

Next week I’ll be in Pasadena for a NASA Social at the Jet Propulsion Lab!

This view of Earth comes from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Click the photo for larger image.

This view of Earth comes from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Click to embiggen.

Here are some details from the JPL Press Release about the event:

NASA is inviting its social media followers to apply for participation in a two-day NASA Social on Nov. 4 and 5 at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The event will highlight NASA and JPL’s role in studying Earth and its climate and will preview three Earth-observing missions JPL is preparing for launch in 2014.

The event will offer people who connect with NASA through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks the opportunity to interact with scientists and engineers working on upcoming missions and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Participants will also interact with fellow tweeps, space enthusiasts and members of NASA’s social media team. They will get a behind-the-scenes tour of JPL, including:

– The Spacecraft Assembly Facility, where hardware for two upcoming Earth missions is currently under construction. This clean room is also where NASA’s Voyager and Cassini spacecraft and the Curiosity, Opportunity and Spirit Mars rovers were built and tested.
– The JPL Earth Science Center, where data from many of the agency’s Earth-observing missions are showcased in interactive displays.
– The Mission Control Center of NASA’s Deep Space Network, where engineers “talk to” spacecraft across the solar system and in interstellar space.
– The JPL Mars Yard, where engineers and scientists test engineering models of NASA’s Curiosity rover in a sandy, Mars-like environment.

The two NASA/JPL Earth-observing missions being assembled at JPL are the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft and ISS-RapidScat. SMAP will produce global maps of soil moisture for tracking water availability around our planet. ISS-RapidScat is a scatterometer instrument that will be mounted outside the International Space Station to measure ocean surface wind speeds and directions. ISS-RapidScat is scheduled to launch first, in April 2014, with SMAP scheduled to launch in October 2014.

A third NASA/JPL Earth mission, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), scheduled to launch in July 2014, is in final assembly and testing at an Orbital Sciences Corp. facility in Gilbert, Ariz. The mission will be NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote-sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.

To join and track the conversation online during the NASA Socials, follow the hashtag #NASASocial.

More information about connecting and collaborating with NASA is at: NASA Connect
For more on SMAP, visit: SMAP
For more on ISS-RapidScat, visit: ISSRapidScat and RapidScat Mission
For more on OCO-2, visit: OCO-2


Gorgeous Views of Alaska (but not what you might expect)

Yes, of course we saw amazing mountains and glaciers in Alaska. But some of the real treasures were found underwater in Tutka Bay. Take a look at some of these anemones, feather worms, sea stars, and other assorted beauties! These were all found under the dock of the lodge where we were staying. Although I also took some underwater photos, these were all taken above water, focusing through the cracks of the dock segments.

Click to embiggen the images.