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HOCR Bah + Miscellanea

So we're a no-go on the 2x at the Head of the Charles. I can't say I'm overly surprised, because we had to enter the age 40-50 category (we average to 45), and that category has a very small number of entrants (17). It probably also has a large number of FAST returning racers. Disappointing, but there's not much we can do, really.

Miscellaneous links:
Thoughts on recruiting underrepresented students: https://smallpondscience.com/2016/09/05/recruiting-underrepresented-minority-students/

How do various academics keep up with the academic literature? https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/ask-us-anything-resources-for-designing-field-studies-and-how-to-keep-up-with-the-literature/

After reading Moby Dick, I was struck by how humans have been on this longstanding quest to find good sources of lipids. Petroleum products replaced whale oil, but clearly there are huge costs to petroleum, at all stages of production and use. So, how about those insects?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/08/29/mealworm-margarine-could-be-right-around-the-corner-would-you-try-it/

Algae are another major area of development. I've been keeping this on my radar because of ongoing concerns about deforestation to produce palm oil. In the long run, palm oil may be a good source to fuel humanity's hunger, but in the short term, we haven't figured out how to work with certain Asian countries that are burning down primary forest to plant palms. For now, I will continue to avoid palm oil. It isn't easy because often palm oil is cheaper and more efficient to produce than oils like canola.

Here's a thought-provoking story. scrottie said he read it a couple of weeks ago, and maybe you did, too.
https://aeon.co/ideas/what-i-learned-as-a-hired-consultant-for-autodidact-physicists
It got the two of us talking about Science Clubs as a way to get more people productively hooked into scientific resources and training. When I've responded to questions for Ask-A-Biologist, I've noted that the questions often come from people well above the targeted age demographic. That suggests some forms of untapped potential.

Comments

( 4 remarks — Remark )
twoeleven
Sep. 6th, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
AFAIK, people are playing with algae to produce oils for fuels and chemical synthesis, but I hadn't heard of anybody working on making them crank out food oils. I haven't looked though, so I could easily be wrong.

Out of curiosity, what age range was Ask a Biologist expecting?
rebeccmeister
Sep. 7th, 2016 01:13 am (UTC)
Well, well, well. A friend of mine posted this:
http://ensia.com/features/how-did-palm-oil-become-such-a-problem-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/

And Ask-A-Biologist is a K-12 site. Sometimes those 12th graders seem slightly older, though...
twoeleven
Sep. 7th, 2016 01:25 am (UTC)
Aha! So people are just starting to play with algae oils for food. That could be very interesting...
rebeccmeister
Sep. 8th, 2016 06:16 am (UTC)
It could indeed. I would think it would be slightly easier than trying to squeeze biofuels out of them, but what do I know.
( 4 remarks — Remark )

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