Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings


Hello friends,

Things have been a bit quiet around here – and I think I finally figured out the problem last night.  I moved a couple months ago and there is a high correlation between this life change and my inability to write.  So I rearranged my apartment last night – hopefully having a more legit “desk” will help?  I’m pathetic, I know.  My space is important to me, ok!!

It occurred to me yesterday that while stressing out about my writer’s block, I totally missed my ONE-YEAR BLOGIVERSARY.  Culturing Science and I have been together for a whole year!  And while we’ve gotten in some arguments over time, mostly we’ve learned from one another.

I really do want to thank you guys for sticking it out with me this year.  I went to a lecture last month and, afterwards, realized that all the topics he covered I did not know a year ago, but now understood because of writing this blog.  So thank you for putting up with my learning and stumbling.

Which brings up my next question:  WHO ARE YOU? Some famous bloggers sometimes do a roll call to get to meet some of their readers who don’t comment.  I think it’s a nice idea, although I’m a little nervous that not even my dad will comment.  But I really am interested in learning a little about you … so … will you leave me a comment?  I’m nice and friendly, we can be internet friends? Yeah?

Recent news you might be interested in:

You may know that I am attending the Science Online conference, being held in the Science Triangle in January, for the first time!  Not only that, but I’m on a panel to moderate a discussion about amateur blogging!  (Full program here)

“But it’s just a blog!” – Hannah Waters, Psi Wavefunction, Eric Michael Johnson, Jason Goldman, Mike Lisieski and Lucas Brouwers
Many young people are eager to communicate science despite their lack of scientific and/or journalistic credentials. While all science communicators face challenges, this subgroup has their own set of challenges including cultivating a following of readers from scratch, and high levels of self-doubt, often referred to as “imposter syndrome.” What value does this rapidly-growing group of science communicators bring do the field? How can the science blogging community encourage and mentor young bloggers? How can we hold these individuals accountable to the high standards of science and journalism while simultaneously allowing them to make mistakes as part of the learning process? In addition, established and successful science communicators will be encouraged to share their tips and tricks with their newer colleagues.

I entered a blogging contest to win $750 of funding from NESCent to attend the conference.  To read my entry about the population-wide evolution of Atlantic cod, click here.

And, lastly, I’m an reviewer for the 2010 edition of Open Lab!  Open Lab is a yearly collection of the best science blog posts from the previous year, collected together into a physical book (!).  This year, Jason Goldman is the editor and faces the monstrous task for sorting through the 900 nominated entries!  So I’ll be helping out with some of the ecology posts.  It’s a great honor and I’m very happy to support this fine publication.

Pretty snazzy, eh?  If you want to learn more, you can buy the last four annual collections here, or read Prefaces and Introductions to older editions here.

Thanks for slugging through this poor excuse for a blog post.  Don’t forget to check in in the comments!  (Please, Dad, will you at least check in so I don’t feel like a total loser?)


Written by Hanner

December 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

Posted in My life, News

33 Responses

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  1. Hi Hannah!

    Thanks to the interwebs, we folks from the other side of the ocean can also read EVERYTHING you write. Been a fan for a long time now. For more than a year, probably (Hi CS, congrats!). Secretly, I want to be a little bit more like you. I love the clarity of your writings and your knowledgability of so many different subjects. The new desk looks great, but the old one looks way more comfortable. Hope your sleep won’t suffer from it. I can’t wait to read more great stuff from you in the future, and I wish you good luck in the contest and good luck judging.

    That was all!


    December 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

    • LUCASBRO! Thanks for the comment – I am a little sad about leaving my bed (it’s so close… no more than 6 feet away…), but hopefully now I won’t revert to netflix just because I get a little droopy :) Hope to see you soon (i.e. best of luck to you, friend!)

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

  2. I’ve been following your blog since February. It’s great because you write about really interesting things. I am not at all in the science world, but it’s nice to keep my hand in and keep myself well-rounded. It’s also not hard at all for me to follow your pieces even though I have no real science training.


    December 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

    • That’s so good to hear, my dear! Your support this past year has really meant so much to me, BTW. I know I’ve done a half-decent job if you let me know that I have. For serious.

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm

  3. Hi hannah! I look forward with anticipation everything you write! You’ve quickly become one of favs. Keep up the good work, and speaking from experience, stick with it. Don’t feel you need to update often or you’ll burn yourself out. Too many good bloggers die out early. Quality is more important, which you do well. We’ll know when you update because it will get shouted out on twitter and show up in our feeds :)

    Congrats on the Blogiversary!

    Kevin Z

    December 7, 2010 at 10:36 am

    • Thanks, Kevin! I appreciate it… I try not to let the pressure get to me – I don’t even want this to be a burden in any way. It should be a place of JOY! Thanks for all your support!

      #InternetTwinsies forever!

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm

  4. I follow anyone who calls my Open Lab button designs “snazzy.”

    Zen Faulkes

    December 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

  5. At least I wasn’t the first to comment. That would have really been pathetic.

    What can I say, Hannah? You are a much better writer than you used to be? You ask really good questions (RGQs)? Desks focus body and brain?

    Let’s hope for even more great and interesting science to write about in 2011 so that you can keep pace in the intra-familial blog competition with your mother

    Blogger's Dad

    December 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

    • I can’t believe Mom isn’t on my blogroll! I’m a huge asshole

      When are you getting a blog? JUST DO IT ALREADY!

      Your Eldest

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

  6. Hi Hannah! I found your blog a couple of months ago through, and it’s one of my favorite science blogs ! I’m a Ph.D. student in ecology at UC Davis and I’ve just started blogging about ecology and economics.

    Noam Ross

    December 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

    • Hey Noam! Thanks for writing. I’ve been following you already (I KNOW EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET?) and I really like what you’re doing. Keep it up! See you around on the webz

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:56 pm

  7. Am I a lurker? Have I commented before? Everything Kevin Z said goes twice for me.

    Happy Blogiversary! Mine is next month, during #scio11

    Jason Goldman

    December 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    • WOO we’ll have to make a huge deal of your blogiversary in Jan. I’ll buy you a beer! (At this rate, I’m going to owe the entirety of the conference beers by the end of the month… it’s you, Colin and Kevin now. Though Kevin only gets one if he performs the boss.)

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm

  8. I read your blog not only because you’re my friend (and the best gal around) but also because you make science FUN and ACCESSIBLE for people like me, who are fascinated by the natural world but not so skilled in understanding the technical details. Also your writing is an oft-perfect reflection of your personality. I like that.

    MISS YOU and love you dearly.

    Your Friend Masha

    December 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    • Miss you too baby and thanks for reading! Philadelphia spring 2011?
      Da #1 Stunna

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  9. I knew you from summer camp and college, but not in any science-y context. I found your blog post about the hawk banding somehow and I was hooked immediately.

    Jon Sulman

    December 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    • Thanks, Jon! I unfortunately had to take that post down due to arguments with the organization.. I’ve been meaning to edit, repost and clarify that one for some time.

      I owe you some drawings. Soon. Hopefully they’ll get to you before you are a FATHER! (Wild! Dusty’s gonna be a daddy!)

      talk to you soon,

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

  10. Hi Hannah! I found your blog about a month and half ago and fell in love with it (shame on me for not commenting yet). All of your post that I’ve read so far are made of awesome.

    Happy Blogiversary!


    December 7, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    • Thanks, Zoologal! I’m so glad that you joined us over at the gam – nice to have you in the family :)

      Hannah Waters

      December 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

  11. Hi Hannah,

    I found your site after reading the article you wrote (for Scientific American, I think), loved your writing style and subscribed to your feed! I have a career in graphic design, nothing science related at all, but I’ve always been interested in science — really in learning anything new — and I read quite a bit, purely for personal education and enjoyment.


    December 7, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    • Hey Miriam. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you’ve found some of the other great science blogs out there

      Hannah Waters

      December 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm

  12. I’ve been following your blog since day ONE.

    I read your blog because it’s a noble substitute for our roommate living room chats in which you explain the natural world to me with tact, wit, and total patience. Sometimes I like to pretend that you’re writing just to me (that’s how palatable [and all the while sophisticated] your writing is!). Because of your blog, everyone at work thinks I know a lot about science; I just have an incredible teacher.

    I’m so, so proud of you and I miss you immeasurably.


    December 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    • ERINROSE. You are my original follower, my first reader. You were the only one I told when I began this effort in our apartment. You’re the one who encouraged me and gave me the courage to start, made me begin to believe that I could actually explain science and enjoy doing it. So, in a way, I am writing for you – always have been and always will be.

      And, really, the desk is a substitute for you. Something to keep me focused and thinking. I worry that I’m not thinking as well without being able to bounce ideas off of you, discuss the world and literature and science philosophically.

      Be mine, always. I cannot wait to see you!!

      Hannah Waters

      December 11, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  13. Sam (aka Sambob) sent me the link and it’s pretty great! Carleton pays off!?!
    Nice to discover the Gam too.

    Hugh Roberts

    December 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

    • Thanks, Hugh!! Your son didn’t turn out too badly either :)

      Hannah Waters

      December 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

  14. Hey Hannah! Your blog is mixed right in with the tables of contents I get. I check out every article. Your hand-drawn and mspaint illustrations are my favorite. Science writing needs more of that. Keep it up, and thanks for writing!

    Formicidae Forever,

    Peter Wilton

    December 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    • PETER!! WHERE ARE YOU?!? Amanda and I were just talking about you… your disappearance… what’s up? I’ll email you shortly

      Hannah Waters

      December 11, 2010 at 7:37 pm

  15. I’m late for the party! *rushes in* I am lab rat, you know me quite well for a bloggy friend :) I started reading this blog when it was just a little blog – but it was awesomely well written and I figured us student bloggers should stick together. Nominated it for the award (and bet I wasn’t the only one…) and was incredibly pleased when it well-deservedly won! Now you and Lucas have both done open posts I sort of feel I should do one…although like you I am slightly afraid noone will actually answer :p

    Something you probably didn’t know about me: I hate olives.

    Lab Rat

    December 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    • Hey girl,

      If Erinrose was my first reader and my dad was my second, you, surely, were my third. So happy to be in your company :)

      Don’t be afraid!! Ppl will come out of the woodwork…

      I used to hate olives too! They’ve grown on me though… No overkill, but a garlic stuffed olive suits me well on occasion


      Hannah Waters

      December 11, 2010 at 7:44 pm

  16. Hi Hannah! I found your blog several months ago, and what can I say, I’ve been hooked ever since :)) I also read your other blog on marine ecology; I’m a marine biologist, and I really really like it.
    Keep up the good work, and thanks!


    December 10, 2010 at 6:25 am

  17. Hi Hannah!
    Congrats on your one year blogiversary!
    I think your blog was the first or second that I added to my RSS feeder and haven’t missed a piece yet, that was like nearly a year ago I think :)
    Keep up the good work!!!
    Looking forward to another year of stellar posts!


    December 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  18. I read off and on because I am very ADD when it comes to blog reading. I go through phases where I read everything on my feed reader and then months where I read next to nothing except what catches my eye on twitter. Which explains why I’m just now commenting on this post. I think I found your blog through Bora. I am, um, Michelle! Obviously. I don’t know what else to say because I think I’m boring. And yes we can be internet friends, I like those.


    January 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

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