Hi, Lima. Enough time to greet the ocean but now we’re on our way to Iquitos!  (at Mira Flores In Lima, Peru)

Hi, Lima. Enough time to greet the ocean but now we’re on our way to Iquitos! (at Mira Flores In Lima, Peru)

thingsondesk:

There’s this lab down the hall… I think they might be housing a puma… or an ocelot or some kind of killer… The Field Museum is no longer safe… Or this could just be the newish hideout for the thebrainscoop you never know

Hint: The identity of this killer will be revealed Soon. maybe.

He’s keeping watch of the office while we are out of the country.

Made it to Miami on our way to PERU!

My sister Serri and I used to run around our backyard as kids pretending to be contestants on Legends of the Hidden Temple. I’m pretty sure both of us regarded those experiences the pinnacle of our careers as explorers. 

3 years ago almost exactly to the date I started this blog, unemployed as a recently graduated art major, and tomorrow I’m leaving for Peru on an expedition with some of the best conservation scientists in the world. 

It’s unfathomable the ways in which life takes you places you could have never conceived.

Happy Birthday, tumblr. I owe more to you than I could ever repay. 

<3

The Brain Scoop:
Into Peru

This Saturday, Tom and I hop on a plane for Miami, on another to Lima, then Iquitos, and take a half-day boat ride to Requena before we helicopter into a biologically undocumented region of the Peruvian jungle. 

Am I prepared? No way. Excited? Absolutely. 

For the last 15 years The Field Museum’s conservation team, The Action Center, has been conducting rapid inventory assessments all over the world. Essentially, leading experts in their respective fields of botany, anthropology, geology, and zoology are brought together for a period of about four weeks to conduct surveys of specific and previously unrecorded areas of wilderness. The reason for these expeditions is to gain a stronger understanding of the biodiversity of the area: once we know what exists in a region, the case can be made to governing bodies to set aside that land as a national park. This makes it easier to enforce laws against the illegal logging and mining industries that are depleting the forest of its natural resources, often times exploiting local people and communities simultaneously. 

I had zero idea that this was the kind of work the scientists at The Field Museum were responsible for conducting before I started working here. We want to change that.

We’ll return around the first week of November provided I’m not put out by malaria or gastrointestinal parasites, but in the meantime you can follow our Facebook group for periodic updates from the field. This is the first time we’ve been able to commandeer social media for such a cause: there’s a very high chance we’ll be discovering new species and expanding the ranges of known flora and fauna. Seriously, what is more exciting!?

On Adventurers 
Most of us aren’t adventurers. It was never an option for us outside of penciling it into our lists of Things We Want To Be When We Grow Up. Situations in which you are enduring sustained periods with your life largely in the hands of surrounding environmental elements has become nearly impossible in the last 30 years: often times we can’t escape technology and modern convenience despite how hard we try, married to the blinking lighted signs of our time, and our individual abilities to find any areas of untouched or even infrequently inhabited areas is increasingly difficult if not downright impossible. The average citizen of earth does not typically get the chance to seek and find solitude in the style of Thoreau on Walden Pond. And it’s not because that is no longer the world we live in: these pockets of discovery still exist in a very large way, but not in close proximity of city limits or within the grasp of personal conception. We now have to actively seek out and pursue places where we can see the wide-open night sky unobstructed from the orange glow of light pollution.  


The world has failed the would-be, aspiring adventurers. Not only have we put up barriers in the forms of roads and physical obstructions in reaching our surrounding natural world, but we’ve deprived the last few generations of a feeling of empowerment and ownership of our planet. We’ve shoveled the ownness onto the ambiguous Someone Else: Someone who is closer in proximity to more trees and wide open spaces, Someone who is descended from a line of great biologists, researchers, world-travelers or landowners with vast expanses in their backyards, Someone who is Into That Kind Of Thing. We’ve failed to bring the natural world into the lives of so many to the point where we no longer consider how the water pouring out of our faucets came from the clouds above us, filtered through the lungs of fishes in our lakes and streams. 


We’ve been raised on a fear of the unknown and under the comfort of familiarity, influenced more strongly by our diets of readily-accessible information rather than driven by inherently adventuresome spirits. Made to feel as though Adventurers were a thing of the past or belonging characters of fiction; heroes like Indiana Jones racing cavalierly through life, bounding from one unlikely situation to the next without ever allowing us to stop and ponder if he ever questioned what he wanted to study as an undergraduate. Part of what perpetuates this disassociation of self contextualized within the world is the lack of emphasis placed on the importance of knowing what is outside our front doors. What is the name of the tree growing on your city block? What is the species of squirrel getting into your parent’s bird feeder? What’s your state fish, fossil, flower? Given a poll of my generation I wouldn’t be surprised if more people could name all of the members of the Kardashian family before they could list native species of flowering plants in their local county.


The downside of not adamantly insisting or even encouraging hands-on exploration of the unknown results in those would-be adventurers brought up being deprived of realizing their deepest aspirations. Maybe I just need to tell you that your deep-seeded dreams of discovery, your desire for the pursuit of knowledge and adventure and your insatiable urge to explore this planet are all real, valid, and possible feelings. I’ll tell you with great certainty that the Indiana Jones movie- and storybook heroes can’t be further removed from reality but our true heroes are those impassioned researchers and scientists going about their work without the pomp and circumstance of theme soundtracks and romantic notions of accolades and glory.


If I could improve anything about this world it would be to help others feel personal agency for change in order to perpetuate and foster passion and ownership of our collective planet on an individual level. Most of us aren’t adventurers now, but that doesn’t mean adventure isn’t out there for the taking; our world and its context within the universe remains unknown, unexplored, with questions that deserve answers, solutions to problems we haven’t yet anticipated. We need a stronger celebration of those heroes championing the pursuit of knowledge to cultivate that sense of duty within ourselves. The point of all of this is to say adventurers aren’t born, they’re created from a sense of duty, which is absolutely within anyone’s grasp.

Photo by Alvaro del Campo [x]

On Adventurers

Most of us aren’t adventurers. It was never an option for us outside of penciling it into our lists of Things We Want To Be When We Grow Up. Situations in which you are enduring sustained periods with your life largely in the hands of surrounding environmental elements has become nearly impossible in the last 30 years: often times we can’t escape technology and modern convenience despite how hard we try, married to the blinking lighted signs of our time, and our individual abilities to find any areas of untouched or even infrequently inhabited areas is increasingly difficult if not downright impossible. The average citizen of earth does not typically get the chance to seek and find solitude in the style of Thoreau on Walden Pond. And it’s not because that is no longer the world we live in: these pockets of discovery still exist in a very large way, but not in close proximity of city limits or within the grasp of personal conception. We now have to actively seek out and pursue places where we can see the wide-open night sky unobstructed from the orange glow of light pollution.  

The world has failed the would-be, aspiring adventurers. Not only have we put up barriers in the forms of roads and physical obstructions in reaching our surrounding natural world, but we’ve deprived the last few generations of a feeling of empowerment and ownership of our planet. We’ve shoveled the ownness onto the ambiguous Someone Else: Someone who is closer in proximity to more trees and wide open spaces, Someone who is descended from a line of great biologists, researchers, world-travelers or landowners with vast expanses in their backyards, Someone who is Into That Kind Of Thing. We’ve failed to bring the natural world into the lives of so many to the point where we no longer consider how the water pouring out of our faucets came from the clouds above us, filtered through the lungs of fishes in our lakes and streams. 

We’ve been raised on a fear of the unknown and under the comfort of familiarity, influenced more strongly by our diets of readily-accessible information rather than driven by inherently adventuresome spirits. Made to feel as though Adventurers were a thing of the past or belonging characters of fiction; heroes like Indiana Jones racing cavalierly through life, bounding from one unlikely situation to the next without ever allowing us to stop and ponder if he ever questioned what he wanted to study as an undergraduate. Part of what perpetuates this disassociation of self contextualized within the world is the lack of emphasis placed on the importance of knowing what is outside our front doors. What is the name of the tree growing on your city block? What is the species of squirrel getting into your parent’s bird feeder? What’s your state fish, fossil, flower? Given a poll of my generation I wouldn’t be surprised if more people could name all of the members of the Kardashian family before they could list native species of flowering plants in their local county.

The downside of not adamantly insisting or even encouraging hands-on exploration of the unknown results in those would-be adventurers brought up being deprived of realizing their deepest aspirations. Maybe I just need to tell you that your deep-seeded dreams of discovery, your desire for the pursuit of knowledge and adventure and your insatiable urge to explore this planet are all real, valid, and possible feelings. I’ll tell you with great certainty that the Indiana Jones movie- and storybook heroes can’t be further removed from reality but our true heroes are those impassioned researchers and scientists going about their work without the pomp and circumstance of theme soundtracks and romantic notions of accolades and glory.

If I could improve anything about this world it would be to help others feel personal agency for change in order to perpetuate and foster passion and ownership of our collective planet on an individual level. Most of us aren’t adventurers now, but that doesn’t mean adventure isn’t out there for the taking; our world and its context within the universe remains unknown, unexplored, with questions that deserve answers, solutions to problems we haven’t yet anticipated. We need a stronger celebration of those heroes championing the pursuit of knowledge to cultivate that sense of duty within ourselves. The point of all of this is to say adventurers aren’t born, they’re created from a sense of duty, which is absolutely within anyone’s grasp.

Photo by Alvaro del Campo [x]

Articulated primate skeletons, seen in the mammal range. (at The Field Museum)

Articulated primate skeletons, seen in the mammal range. (at The Field Museum)

I’m going on WPR in 8 minutes! Listen LIVE at the link! YEAH PUBLIC RADIO - talkin’ about adventures and expeditions!

YEAAAAAH 

We wanted to take a minute to give you all an update about what our production schedule is going to look like when Tom and I are in Peru - our interns Katie and Naushin will be commandeering social media in our absence.* There’s a chance this channel will surpass 250,000 subscribers during that time so this is acknowledgement and thanks for all of your support and interest in The Brain Scoop over the last 21 months. 

21 months.

I honestly cannot believe we have been making videos for this channel for nearly 2 years. The longer we go the more unlikely it all seems - the more fortuitous my meeting with Hank becomes in my mind, the stronger the happenstance, the luckier I feel. This isn’t just a once-in-a-lifetime, one-in-a-million deal: this is a This Never Happens deal. And the only reason it keeps happening is because of you: watching, sharing, clicking, viewing, commenting from all over the globe is what keeps us going in more ways than one. If we didn’t have views, we wouldn’t have a case to continue the program - if we couldn’t definitively say we are reaching viewers all over the globe, engaging people of all genders and ages and that your response is largely encouraging and enthusiastic, we couldn’t do this. This is both for you and because of you, and we are eternally grateful.  

We’ve got plans for, like, a million more series and episodes - and we cannot wait to share them with you for what is, hopefully, a very long time. 

<3 -Emily 

*no funny business guise, srsly 

Tags: love

pornottack:

I meant to post this earlier, but in case you didn’t know, this September is the 100 year anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

I used my ArtSnacks supplies from last month to do this acrylic sketch of Martha, the last passenger pigeon. Passenger pigeons were once among the most populous species in North America, and in just a few generations, they were extinct.

I originally found out about this from The Brain Scoop, whose very awesome and informative video on the subject is below.

This is reaaaally beautiful. <3 

This is going to be my automatic Out-Of-Office reply on my email, October 11-31st. 
Vamos ir al selva! Estudio peces en los rios! 

This is going to be my automatic Out-Of-Office reply on my email, October 11-31st. 

Vamos ir al selva! Estudio peces en los rios! 

Peru in 12 days. I don’t even know what I’m going to do if I see an anteater. (at The Field Museum)

Peru in 12 days. I don’t even know what I’m going to do if I see an anteater. (at The Field Museum)

upnotout said: What is your process on coming up with episode topics and deciding what to write/film/release?

Various scenarios and conversations between me and Tom regarding our production schedule:

"dude it’s Audubon’s birthday next week, let’s do an episode” 
"hey Shark Week sucks, let’s do something about that
"it’s mother’s day next week, let’s talk about breast feeding
curator of mammals: “you guys wanna hear about my naked mole rat research” 
conservation team: “yo Brain Scoop team, let’s go to Peru” 
curator of meteoritics: “‘sup, I got these super rare meteorites that are billions of years old and we’re like the only Museum this side of the planet with anything like this” 
anna goldman: “come check out this calf in my lab, it’s got two faces” 
geologists: “you wanna come to Wyoming and be part of a team that is the first to set eyes on 52-million year old fossil fish?” 

most of these conversations happen over happy hour beer. True story. 

The Brain Scoop
Fossil Fish, Pt. III: The Preparation

After Akiko returned from another tour of field work, we were able to meet up with her in the fossil preparation lab and get a taste of her day-to-day work! Within the last few decades, tens of thousands of fossils have been extracted from the Fossil Lake quarry near Kemmerer, Wyoming - and it takes hundreds of hours to prepare each fish, not only for display purposes but they require preparation in order to be viable specimens for study. This meticulous work is completed by Akiko and her team of dedicated volunteers and interns. She even let me try my hand at it, and as a result I’ve got a much deeper appreciation for the work and patience required of this practice. 

Check out the other videos in this series!: 
Part I: In Search of Fossil Fish
Part II: Fossil Fish: A History

An important lesson from the Curiosity Correspondent

gannettona2014:

There was a lot of ridiculous fun during a talk by Emily Graslie, the curiosity correspondent for the Field Museum and mastermind behind the Brain Scoop video channel on YouTube.

But while a newsroom might no closely mimic her excellent short-form science videos, there was something underlying her approach that I think we should pay attention to.

Graslie got her start by recognizing that museums have vast material that isn’t being presented to the public. It’s sitting there, unused, and uninteresting without the help of a storyteller like her.

News organizations are similar. We sit on great troves of reporting and reviews and do very little to keep them in front of readers. (Exception to the rule: The Tennessean’s “Because of You” civil rights movement series, which tapped into our 1960s material.)

Reporters are inclined to think about their stories in a broader continuum, but we can do more than embedding related links in a story. We should put more energy into curation, collecting, and repackaging of our good work.

Of course, this was also a strong message from The New York Times Innovation Report.

I didn’t anticipate hearing this approach from the razzle dazzle Brain Scoop talk. But the Curiosity Correspondent is not to be underestimated.

— Tony Gonzalez

image

Bam. 

Will post a link to the recorded video from my presentation as soon as it is available. It was a big honor to be asked to present at the 14th annual Online News Association conference! 

thecrashcourse:

Exploring the Universe: Crash Course Big History #2

In which John Green, Hank Green, and Emily Graslie teach you about what happened in the Universe after the big bang. They’ll teach you about cosmic background radiation, how a bunch of hydrogen and helium turned into stars, formed galaxies, created heavy elements, and eventually created planets.

I’m in a Crash Course! 

(via fishingboatproceeds)