Southern California environment news and trends

Assassins of the Sea

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Grey days in Santa Monica Bay mean nobody else is out there except you and the dolphins.

Dolphin off of Palos Verdes, October 25, 2011.

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Two pods of dolphins kind of pushed a school of fish together so they could enjoy some Hobbit-like elevenses.

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Dolphins are the assassins of the sea, according to one aquarist from the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

Molly Peterson/KPCC

We were all going pretty fast. Sometimes I like pretending I can stand up in a dinghy going 30. Then I slam back down and consider myself lucky not to have dropped the camera.

A downside of blogs is that I now reveal what I really do in the field to the literally tens of people who read them. Hopefully today that doesn't include my editor. 

Yesterday I was out in a dinghy out of King Harbor with Seth and Jose, two aquarists from the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. (I decided it was slightly moronic that I had never checked the aquarium out the whole time I've lived here, but I have been on the Ferris wheel.) They were working: gathering kelp and algae for their exhibits, talking to me about how they do it, where they do it, and what their conservation concerns are. I think I was working. It's hard to remember. 

On our way back from P.V. we ran into a pod of dolphins and so I pulled out the fancy camera I don't know how to use yet. Jose called the dolphins "assassins of the sea" which is sort of awesome; I wish I had a job description like that.


Sailing the Seas of Science to the Doll Factory

Tabitha Esther has a day job in a science field. She's a geologist for a private company. But over the last year, she's spent her free time designing and building a live-action childrens' show called "Seas of Science," that'll make its debut at the Doll Factory on Temple Street in Filipinotown Los Angeles. Show's happening October 8 & 9. 

Esther is a former Derby Doll, a friend of KPCC's own Alex Cohen, and since she was named most effective blocker for the Dolls in 2008, she comes to play. A graduate of USC's earth sciences department, her masters thesis concerned sicilic acid in the Cascadia Basin

Her blog self description puts it simply: "I am a young lady working in the sciences, but what I would love to do is make a show for kids about science. With music and puppets and sailboats and robots." Four out of four of those things are awesome, and people on Kickstarted seem to have agreed


The easiest way to order fish in a restaurant?

Knowledge is power, right? Or at least half the battle, says GI Joe. But knowing too much about seafood can have the same effect as a phaser set to stun. That's the way it's been for me since Labor Day weekend, when I went on a marathon bike ride along the coast and I smelled fish fresh off of peoples' poles. After talking to Casson Trenor, who wrote about buying sushi right, I stay away from supermarket sushi. 

And when I do eat out, I tend to stay away from fish, because I moved here from Louisiana, where people in restaurants, even front-of-house, knew where their seafood was from. (And there, if they didn't tell you, you ran.) Here, I'm surprised how often restaurant staff don't know where fish come from, just as I'm surprised my friends can ever stop rolling their eyes at my questions.