So I’m back at William and Mary and back to conducting research in the ordinary lab.   It’s sad not being in the coastal studies center and being able to go out and see the ocean everyday.  There’s no more loud sea water pumps and no more daily collecting of animals.   Back to mixing Insta-Ocean and getting animals shipped to us.

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Study Tour – Hongcun Village (Anhui Province) July 6th

This post is from July 6th, 2010:

On July 3rd my WM study abroad group and I left Beijing on a trip, one which our director proudly announced is the only U.S. University in Beijing to do so, to central China and then Shanghai on the eastern coast.  I am writing this from Hongcun, a “village” in Anhui province.  I put village in quotes because even here there are cranes everywhere and new roads being built.  Billboards also dot the landscape, all signals of an obvious embrace of the tourist industry.  While this part of Anhui seems to be profiting from China’s economical boom, however, Anhui is generally  known as one of the poorest provinces in China, and many migrants living and working in China’s larger cities come from here.  As we were driving into Hongcun, my Professor pointed out several newly-built house, nestled among piles of brick and dirt, and stated that these new houses were being built from money sent back home from young migrants working in the city.  Seeing and hearing these things, I figured this would be the perfect place to interview the families witnessing such export of labor.  The following is a list of the questions I asked:

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All good things must come to an end

Well, the trip to Ireland is over and I’m back on campus (well, almost. I’m in the airport waiting for my flight). It was an amazing experience, and I have a new appreciation for people who are multilingual. The Irish language is particularly fascinating to me, not just because of my general interest in all things Irish, or because of its linguistic peculiarities, but because it was and is such a highly charged social and political issue. For generations, English was the language of the oppressor, and Irish was discouraged or even banned outright (although this appears to have begun after Elizabeth’s reign, according to my research thus far).  The government of the new Irish Republic naturally tried to bring back the language, and this movement has sparked mixed responses. Today language instruction is mandatory in school, and you have to pass a scrúdu bheal, or oral exam, to get into university. Businesses in the Gaeltachts and other areas receive government funding in return for speaking Irish. Not all Irish citizens approve of this, and if you tell an Irishman that you’re learning his language, your most likely response is a look of disbelief, followed by an incredulous, “why?”

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About That Energy Shift…

Hello Researchers!

Although my summer research on the oil and gas industries of the past has concluded, I felt it necessary to tie up some loose ends regarding current events. The relief well is still being dug in the Gulfwater Horizon oil leak from this Spring. Depending on whose accounts one trusts, it is estimated that roughly 5 million barrels spewed forth into the Gulf. A majority of this oil has either evaporated with the help of ocean surface bacteria, been skimmed by thousands of auxiliary vessels (you know, the ones that would normally be shrimping or fishing this time of year), or washed onto shore in the hundreds of miles of Gulf marshlands. Still, much of the heavy oil remains in the ocean and could do untold damage to lower tropic level organisms such as plankton, which will affect all the local ecosystem, including our friendly seafood vending. Amazingly enough, though, the 5 million barrels of crude leaked into the Gulf of Mexico represent less than one day of American domestic oil production. This fact should make us pause and rethink the progress of alternative energies.

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The beginning of the end

Updates from my last post:

As most researchers I think would agree, it becomes decidedly difficult to continue research from home. Without that favorite spot in Swem and an iced coffee for fuel, my productivity wasn’t exactly through the roof.

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