The other day, my father told me that China has placed a ban on buying and selling ivory. He was glad, but also had a question: The report he had seen said that around 37,000 elephants were killed every year. “How can that be?” he asked. “That’s a tremendous amount.”
I understood what he meant—it does seem like an impossibly huge number. I remember being boggled when I learned a similar statistic: 96 elephants are illegally killed each day. (I learned about it through a campaign called 96 Elephants, from Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that also runs New York City’s zoos and aquariums.)
I think the most surprising thing about the statistic is that it seems like so many, it’s hard to comprehend. So I decided to do a little more digging into the numbers.
The title says it all… two months ago, I began my new job at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. My position title is Interpretive Content Developer–if you’re not familiar with what that means, I research the animals, develop the look and feel of exhibit areas, and create materials for visitors. A lot of that is sign writing, but I also help design interactives and digital media, as well as the general guest experience at exhibits.
I’m very excited about my new place, but there’s a lot to learn about the zoo and my position, so I haven’t been able to write as much on my blog. I am looking forward to sharing all the cool things about the animals!
Last year, a mating pair of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) built a nest at the top of a tree in the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. The pair, affectionately named Mr. President and The First Lady, successfully reared an eaglet, and this year they have returned to raise more!
It’s also worth noting that if important scientific research, investigative journalism, and political action had not taken place several decades ago, this great moment of eagle family reality TV may have never happened. Continue reading →
I also like that each poster includes a brief description of the location that accounts for the poster’s illustration. For example, at first I wasn’t that impressed by the design for Europa, because I didn’t understand what it was depicting. Then I read the description: Continue reading →
In December, Joshua and I visited his grandparents in Houston, Texas, before the holidays. While most of the time was spent doing family things, we did get the opportunity to go to the Space Center. It was a blast…off! First I’ll share a gallery of some of the best images I was able to capture during our trip. Continue reading →
Tell me if this is familiar: You move into a new apartment or house, and you’ve started to settle in, but something is up. There are ghosts in your house–I don’t mean supernatural ghosts, I mean the “previous tenant” ghosts that receive more mail than you do.
As I moved a couple months ago, I am currently dealing with this problem. While some of the mail I can write “Return to Sender – No Longer at This Address,” some of it is magazines or junk mail. Now that the holidays are approaching, it seems that the volume of mail-order catalogs has quadrupled.
I think I’ve settled on the game idea I want to explore [see previous post about NagaDemon]. It’s inspired by the fact that the Seattle Public Utilities has relatively recently required that all food scraps be put in a compost/yard waste bin instead of the garbage. In fact, you can get a fine if they find food in the garbage (see this NPR story).
For myself and others, we have all had some hiccups getting used to the new system, so I thought a game would be a more engaging way to help people figure out what to do. (The Seattle Public Utilities apparently did have a recycling game from sometime around 2010, but I have never played it and all the links I can find for it are broken. My guess is that it was taken down because it doesn’t include the new compost rules). Continue reading →
I’ve decided for the first time to try to do NAGADEMON – National Game Design Month, which is November. (Incidentally, it is also the National Novel Writing Month, but I’ll try that next year, perhaps?)
I’m going to take the NagaDemon opportunity to try the free digital game design tool Construct 2. I’ve played around with Scratch before, but never completed a game. What’s cool about these tools is that you are not required to learn how to write code. There are drop down menus or “puzzle-pieces” that help scaffold the computational thinking process. Also, if you did at some point want to get in and edit the code directly, you can do that as well.
Luckily, I have a team of friends in the Seattle, WA, area who are going to help the motivation process of completing a game! I will be posting here about my ideas, progress and feedback. If you are also doing the challenge and want someone to bounce ideas off, send me a message!
I’m a big fan of Pixar because I think the studio consistently creates some of the most compelling and original stories in film today. However, now I have even more reasons to like them: In their most recent film about dinosaurs, the designers used used data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to help create stunning 3D landscapes.