Crumbling Foundations

Crumbling Foundations
For the last few months I’ve been one of the lab instructors for an introductory oceanography course at Oregon State. Despite it all being done through Zoom, I really enjoyed the opportunity to review and learn oceanography with students, and the challenge of adapting lab activities to remote instruction. One of the labs focuses on the concept of ocean acidification. While I’ve heard talks and read articles about the concept before, I hadn’t realized an important fact: it’s not the acidification that matters per se, but rather, it’s the fact that when CO2 dissolves in ocean water, along with lowering the water’s pH, the CO2 molecules interfere with ocean carbonate chemistry. Marine organisms use carbonate ions to build their shells. Extra CO2 molecules react with carbonate to form bicarbonate, reducing the amount of carbonate ion building blocks available for organisms to use.

Going Further
There is an enormous amount of well-put-together material available on ocean acidification, and I encourage you to do some exploration on your own. Some of the articles I found really valuable are listed below.

Oregon State University researchers have been examining the effect of acidification on oysters in the Pacific Northwest. I used an image created by Dr. George Waldbusser that I found in this article for a reference for Panel 11 in the comic. https://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/features/acidification/

Article from the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean: Find Your Blue project: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/ocean-acidification

Overview of the effects of ocean acidification from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory: https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F

The Sacraments

The Sacraments (11×16 drawing on illustration board). This is the fourth full-page hand drawn comic that I’ve done. It was composed in a similar fashion to the comics in That’s Not Math, the collage comic project I do with Anthony Heatherly. For this comic, I flipped through magazines, comics, stock photo catalogs, and text snippets I’d clipped and placed into a scrapbook album, looking for poses, moods, ideas, imagery, and language that evoked a certain mood. The inking was done with Micron pens, a pentel refillable brush pen, and fountain pens with calligraphy ink. The colors were done using brush pens I got as a free sample from an art store in Beaverton plus acrylic paint.

On passing

On Passing. Analog collage on paper, Dec. 2016.

On Passing is my first attempt at making a collage comic. I made it at my parent’s house in Idaho while visiting for the holidays. The comics here are from a comic book adaptation of the 1970s Battlestar Gallactica pilot episode that I found at The Arc in Corvallis. I’m very fond of the art style in 1970s comics, in particular the willingness to have expressive, loose line work, and the tendency to indulge in full-page abstractions in the middle of stories. It was this piece that I used to convince Anthony Heatherly to partner with me in creating That’s Not Math.

On the perception of trustworthiness

I had the opportunity to sit down with Zoe Alley along with fellow Inspiration Dissemination host Maggie Exeter on Sunday night to talk about Zoe’s work as a doctoral candidate in psychology. Zoe studies how the brain’s capacity to unconsciously analyze other people’s faces affects our lives. Her focus especially is on seeing how people are affected by others unconscious judgments.

You can read my full write-up over at Inspiration Dissemination, and the recording of the radio show will be uploaded to the Inspiration Dissemination podcast real soon.

Home

I took a history of science course recently, and at the beginning of the course, the professor had us do a get-to-know-you activity where everyone had to say an interesting fact about their hometown. Major themes among the answers were that most people thought that their hometowns were super boring. I picked out eight of my favorite answers to the questions and illustrated them. I’d love to hear interesting facts from your hometown!

P.S. I make no claim to accuracy in these portrayals.

Feather collections and stressed-out owls

Back in February I had the chance to sit down and chat with Ashlee Mikkelsen, a graduate student at Oregon State who studies the northern spotted owl. With my co-host, Lilian Padgett-Cobb, we talked live on KBVR about the path to graduate school, the benefits of telling people your life goals, and just how much you can learn about an owl from a single feather. You can find my full write-up here, and you can hear the interview via our podcast on iTunes.

Magnet Blocks, Connect the Dots, and the World of Modern Mathematics

platonic_solids

On Sunday, March 17, Maggie Exton and I sat down with Charles Camacho to talk mathematics, graduate school, and life lessons on the weekly radio show Inspiration Dissemination. The link below will take you to the blog post I wrote about Charles’ work. The interview will appear on the ID podcast in the very near future.

http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/inspiration/2019/03/17/magnet-blocks-connect-the-dots-and-the-world-of-modern-mathematics/

Uggianaqtuq

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Arctic climate change over the last four years. Much of that has been specific to my graduate school research on the atmospheric boundary layer in the Arctic and thus fairly technical, but recently I started reading two books that compile perspectives from North American Arctic communities: SIKU: Knowing Our Ice and The Earth is Faster Now. These books provide a lot of context that I think is missing in mainstream climate coverage. Elders and hunters in the far north have noticed changes in weather, animals, ice, and plants, and the particularities show a strong regional character. My hope is to eventually bring some of that to light through comics. Many books have been and continue to be written about this; I don’t aspire to make a complete portrayal of Arctic climate change, but I hope to be able to highlight perspectives that have gone unseen, as well as make some of the science clearer.

Sea ice graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

I drew this on 11×14 illustration board using Micron, Pentel Pocket Brush, and a Pilot 62. I prepared the digital version using Pixelmator Pro.

Trapper’s Peak

This last September I drove north with my friend Ben Lewis to hike and camp in the North Cascades. It was my first time to visit North Cascades National Park, and as is essentially always the case when I visit a park, I couldn’t visit nearly as many locations as I wanted to. Guess I’ll have to go back at some point (sigh).

This comic also represents another first–my first full-page hand-drawn comic. I’ve been making collage comics as half of That’s Not Math┬ásince August 2017, and I’ve made various single-panel gag comics through the years. But I’ve been wanting to get started with narrative nonfiction comics for a long time now. I’ve been putting off making a comic with thoughts of needing to write a great script, needing to learn better drawing techniques, etc., but realized that what really needs to happen is to just make comics. So here we go into a brave new world of comics!

Applied medical anthropology – an interview with Holly Horan

On December 9th, Adrian Gallo and I interviewed Holly Horan on the show Inspiration Dissemination. Holly is doing amazing work at the intersection of human health and anthropology in her studies of maternal health and stress in Puerto Rico. She has spent about a year and a half on the island (divided among a few trips), interviewing 80+ people in what is now the largest-ever study to measure perceived and biological maternal stress during and after pregnancy in Puerto Rico. Her time in Puerto Rico coincided with the Zika outbreak and, on a later trip, with the arrival of Hurricane Maria. I wrote a post giving more details about her work over at Inspiration Dissemination, and you can listen to our interview with her on iTunes here.